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Old 06-17-09, 08:58 AM
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You should do some research about bike-fit and make sure any bike you are considering will fit you well.

When similar questions come up here one strong argument is to buy used (through craigslist ect.) from an individual. If you have good used bikes available in your area, know how to spot a good bike, and have a plan to deal with any fit/maintainence issues (or have a knowledgable friend) this is an good option.

Some bike shops sell used bikes. Used bike-shop bikes may not look new and shiny but are generally considered to be of more quality than a new bike from a department store. A bike-shop bike will be far more likely to have everything on the bike tuned up/tightened properly (hubs/rims, bottom bracket, derailleurs, brakes). A bike shop might offer one or more free follow-up tune-up visits and should help you get a well-fitting bike also. If I found myself without a bike I would probably explore this route first.

I own a Denali. It doesn't quite fit me. I have fairly long inseam in relation to my height (my height is around 69.5 inches and my barefoot cycling inseam is around 34.5 inches). With the seat set at the proper height the handle bars are at an uncomfortable low position for me. (some people would not have a problem with this seat-to-handlebar drop, but I like the highest part of the handle bars to be about level with the seat height. (this is one reason I stressed fit-research at the beginning). My Denali IS functional. The frame seems to be durable and true. On the more negative side: at around 29 lbs the bike is generally considered heavy for a modern roadbike. The gearing is said to be more like a mountain bike's (lots of low gears for climbing, but you would probably "run out of gearing" racing down a hill). The grip-shifting gear-changing system seems to be "clunky"/clumsy to me (especially shifting under when shifting to an easier gear while pedalling up a steep hill at low speed) though it is possible that I just haven't done a good job at adjusting the derailleurs. I think my front axel is slightly bent (inconsistant back-and-forth play that I can't adjust away). This is hard to explain... I checked to see if the crank-arms were on securely. When I was tightening one crank-arm (with moderate-to-high "arm" force) it didn't seem to want to reach a stopping point. So I stopped myself, I was afraid I was going to break something or strip out something (everything seems fine with the crank, but it doesn't inspire confindence). I'm a novice mechanic, mostly I deal with flats, adjusting derailluers/brakes, I can true-up a wheel to some extent. I don't have the tools and know-how to deal with modern bottom-brackets and the rear hub/cassette assemblies. Finding the correct-sized part for a particular bike seems like a great task to me. My point is that if you are really mechanical minded then you can probably deal with whatever this bike might throw at you (do a search for the Denali-Cigtech thread). I've not been "inspired" to invest myself in this bike. It has an odd size quill stem which I would need to change out to a taller one if I wanted to get a good fit on the bike. Bottom line: I don't recommend the Denali.

I've seen the Schwinn Varsity at Walmart (I think it is about the same as the Prelude, different stores seem to use different names for the same bike). It appears to be a more quality bike than the Denali (and about $60-$100 more expensive). It has stem shifters near the top of the head-tube (as opposed to the grip-shifters on the Denali). I assume this is considered old technology but I don't mind stem shifters. I think it has a quick-release front wheel but not on the back wheel (I could be wrong about this). My Denali has no quick-release on the wheels. I suspect that the Prelude (with two chainrings up front and seven gears in the back) might not have super-easy gears for climbing steep hills but this might not be a problem for you.

I have one of the Dawes Lighting Sports that sell on ebay for around $240 shipped and I like it enough to get a new stem for it (I just ordered the stem a few days ago). The frame is chromoly steel (some people prefer steel frames, I'm not sure if I can tell the difference in "feel" between aluminum and steel). It has quick-release wheels on both front and back. It has stem-shifters (near the top of the head-tube). It's not super-light (around 29 lbs). It only has two chainrings up front, and seven gears in back, so it doesn't have super-easy gears for climbing (like the Denali).

Last edited by mawtangent; 06-17-09 at 09:05 AM.
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