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Combo Commuter/Weekend Get In Shape Bike?

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Combo Commuter/Weekend Get In Shape Bike?

Old 05-16-09, 07:23 PM
  #1  
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Combo Commuter/Weekend Get In Shape Bike?

After realizing that the waist line has expanded beyond the point of no return, I have figured I need to get back into shape. I have a Specialized Rockhopper that I have been riding, but is not all that comfortable on the pavement. I never go off road anymore.

I am pretty pitiful at this point only able to do 6 miles round trip (max). The top of the knees and the butt get to hurting. Anyhow, I live in Huntington Beach, two blocks from the PCH and ocean bike trail. That is where I have been riding and suffering the agony of defeat at the hands of the ocean wind. I teach at a high school about 2.5 miles away. This summer I want to ride almost everyday and get to the point where I can ride into work comfortably without huffing and puffing and sweating and stinking. It isn't far, but I am out of shape. Also, I want to be able to ride a couple of hours on the weekend.

I am in search of a combo/light touring bike, so I can have something to grow into. I like steel frames, but there aren't many around and seem $$$. I keep checking CL (that is where I got the Rockhopper), but very few bikes my size come up. I am 5'6" with shorter legs. Any ideas on what I should be looking into? One of the LBS recommended a Raleigh One Way. I had a Raleigh when I was like 10, it was a good bike. I don't know about SS because I want to get into this as a hobby with evening and longer weekend rides when I get into shape.

I definitely don't want to spend over $1,000. I first went looking for bikes thinking they were $300, boy was I shocked. I am not going to wear the skin tight rodeo clown outfits (no offense, just not me). I appreciate the help in guiding a newbie.
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Old 05-16-09, 07:39 PM
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I'd recommend against a singlespeed - if you're just starting to get in shape and you're complaining about knee pain you definitely should have gears for going into the wind and climbing hills.

Beyond that almost any hybrid or touring bike in your size should suit your needs nicely. I'd avoid any racing style road bike for now, but you might like a vintage steel touring bike, if you can find one on craigslist or at a garage sale.

Beyond that, it shouldn't be too hard to find a used bike that meets your needs for ~$300 or a new bike for about $600. (I'm think a bike that looks something like this Windsor Stratford.

I wouldn't worry too much about the brand or frame material - either aluminum or steel will work fine. Your local bike shops should have something similar to that bike that you can try out.
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Old 05-16-09, 07:42 PM
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Look at the Trek 7.3fx or 7.5fx bikes. They're under 1000.00 and are excellent bikes for what you plan on using it for. I currently have a 7.2fx which I use for commuting and I find it a great bike for weekend use
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Old 05-16-09, 07:44 PM
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And another suggestion - before even getting another bike you could try narrower, slick tires on your Rockhopper. Narrower tires with a slick tread and higher pressure will roll much easier than MTB tires. It still won't be a great bike for longer rides, but it would be perfectly suitable for your commute.
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Old 05-16-09, 07:49 PM
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+1 on the Treks. I passed up a great deal on a garage queen 7300 recently. Still think I could have rode it a while and got my money back...

Also, before you buy look into the matter of frame size and personal fit, and then have whatever you get adjusted to set you up properly. That alone cured about 75% of the re-entry pains and aches I was dealing with when I got to the same point in life that you have described.

Good luck!
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Old 05-16-09, 07:56 PM
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Good point by BookFinder. Bike fit is "THE MOST IMPORTANT" thing. A $2000.00 bike will feel like crap if it dosen't fit. Make sure you get fitted at a reputable LBS
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Old 05-16-09, 08:00 PM
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Besides the tires, the Rockhopper also has the front suspension that is a pain when stopping and going. I have looked at frame size. I was at a LBS today and the guy suggested a ~50cm. Beyond that I am not sure. Most of the bikes on CL seem to be 58cm or bigger. It is like trying to find pants with a 27" inseam, forget about it. Actually the size frame that worked best on the straddle test (straddle, should have an inch before it hits) was a 43cm, but everything else was too small. How much does the fitting stuff people talk about cost?
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Old 05-16-09, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by divtag View Post
Besides the tires, the Rockhopper also has the front suspension that is a pain when stopping and going.
You're right - a bike without a front suspension is certainly more appropriate on pavement. If you're having trouble finding a hybrid with 700c wheels that fits maybe you could find a vintage mountain bike with a rigid fork that fits?

But really, you should be able to find something appropriate and that fits for ~$500. If you have short legs you might have to live with a little less room on the straddle test - that aspect of the fit isn't too important if you're riding on roads anyway. The top tube length and reach are more important for determining bike fit, in my opinion.
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Old 05-17-09, 06:15 AM
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Thinking about it overnight, knowledge is power in this case. And you can gain a lot of knowledge at the manufacturer web sites.

E.g., Giant offers a lot of information on their bikes. If you go to the links and then click the tab for geometry you'll get plenty of info about how their frame sizes interface with inseam length.

Giant treats hybrids under the category of Lifestyle bikes:

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...le/2303/32207/


And the fitness bikes are under the Road category:

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...ad/2268/32201/

Based on handling, speed, and quality I love my TCR, but my next purchase will move me in a more "comfortable" direction.

If I stay with a DF model bike that will probably be a Giant FCR, or something in the Trek 7.x series.

Otherwise, I'll fall over into the dark side and buy a recumbent!
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Old 05-17-09, 02:25 PM
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+1 for Giant bikes, they have many models with low stand over height geometry.
The Tran Send, Crypess and such.
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Old 05-17-09, 02:39 PM
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$1000 will buy a nice proper fitting hybrid from a LBS. That's what I'd get, with a rack and some fenders and a light and a rear blinky and a better seat. Maybe I'd get an $800 hybrid and save a little for the extras.
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Old 05-17-09, 07:01 PM
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hey divtag, welcome to BF and congrats on your decision. You should be proud of the amount you can ride - I'm not being sarcastic - you're probably better off than about 80% of Americans i would say.

In general if you're new I would suggest going the new route because of the advice, support, free service etc and in your case size. However, I would avoid the LBS (local bike shop) or at least the person who recommended a SS. imo that is a dumb suggestion for someone just starting out.

You mentioned touring bikes. There are quite a few options that are just under a grand. Ones that are highly recommended on this forum are, in no particular order, Bianchi Volpe, Novara (REI's store brand) Safari and Jamis Aurora. If you can get your hands on an 08 model you should be able to get a good deal - but even if you dont, those are 3 good bikes assuming thats the way you want to go.

Good luck!
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Old 05-18-09, 10:49 AM
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I saw this and it is in the range for my size: http://www.rei.com/outlet/product/775011. Marin Corte Madera. I wanted drops, if I switched out does it mess up geometry?
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Old 05-18-09, 11:01 AM
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A new rider with an aching butt is one thing but at least make sure you are properly fit to your bike. One very common mistake by newbs is a seat set MUCH too low.... resulting in knee issues, harder to pedal, etc.
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Old 05-18-09, 12:55 PM
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You might start with walking. I did in 1999 and worked my way up and it was safe and healthy. Regular walking is so good, so safe and when combined with a lifestyle nutrition change (note not a temporary "diet") may prove more effective and WAYyyyyy cheaper.

Meaning in your shoes biking will not yield the results you desire. This is not to say you shouldn't get a bike, just that to reduce the waistline - do something more efficient, cheaper & safer. By all means get a bike and ride! :-)

I like to suggest new riders rent bikes to get a feel for they like and don't like.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 05-18-09, 01:27 PM
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My bike seat is plenty high. I researched plenty. REI, for example, has some very informative videos. So, does Youtube. I have ~90% extension at the bottom. Plus, I moved the seat a bit forward to have proper setting.

I walk, I am not that big. It is not like I am 200 pounds with a 40" waist line. I used to mountain bike quite a bit ~ two years ago, but busy starting teaching and eating too much Mexican food has me move the belt out too much.

I hiked up to the ropes on half dome, no problem.
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Old 05-18-09, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by divtag View Post
I saw this and it is in the range for my size: http://www.rei.com/outlet/product/775011. Marin Corte Madera. I wanted drops, if I switched out does it mess up geometry?
Thats a good value. Changing to drops can cost more than expected, but does not change the geometry. The bike will feel different, your will have more of your weight on the front wheel, but if you have shorter legs & a longer torso the bike will still fit. You might just add aero bars, cheaper and more effective in winds.

I have a Giant Cypress, its a very good bike. But I would avoid suspension forks on road bikes.

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Old 05-18-09, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
I have a Giant Cypress, its a very good bike. But I would avoid suspension forks on road bikes.Michael
I also have a Cypress, I bought it brand new as a left over from the previous year. No complaints.

The only thing I'd change is the front fork. I don't really need suspension on this bike, you live, you learn.
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Old 05-18-09, 03:00 PM
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Yeah I have front suspension now, not so good on a commuter. It is excellent off road, though.
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Old 05-18-09, 03:54 PM
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If your knees are hurting that suggest that there's something wrong with the size/setup of your bike. Options include:
1. Seat is to low
2. Seat is to far back and you're sitting to far back (this happened to me recently as I played around with my fit)
3. You have bike shoes/cleats and the cleat isn't adjust right (it's probably to far forward on the shoe).


On the other subject, if you're looking for a road bike that's going to be comfortable, one bike I'd suggest looking at is a Specialized Sequoia:
http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...=39270&eid=117

Skinny road tires and drop bars, but designed to be more upright (for a road bike) and be vibration absorbing. $880 retail price for the base model, which would be ok for what you're trying to do.
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Old 05-18-09, 04:23 PM
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I may sound crazy but have you gone and ridden any of the "comfort" bikes? They may be what your looking for as far as giving you a more comfortable ride. Something like the Giant Sedona. It just depends on the type of riding you want to be doing. I could very much see riding a comfort bike on an ocean beach trail. Go to some LBS and ride a bunch of bikes. Take care
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Old 05-18-09, 05:36 PM
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After converting a bike to drops I wouldn't do it again, well actually I did do it again this weekend, I mean I wouldn't do it on a new bike, I would buy a bike setup with drops and the accompanying hardware from the get go.
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Old 05-18-09, 09:42 PM
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I saw an '08 Fuji Touring for $599 at a LBS, but it was too small (43cm). I am 47-50cm. It was nice though, with steel frame, drops, plenty of braze ons, etc. It was just too small, even for me.
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Old 05-19-09, 07:24 AM
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don't give up. keep looking and do take your time there really is no rush to get a bike. stay with the riding while you are looking. get a bike fit while you are looking. my LBS measured me for my bike and fit it for me. Gave me better idea of what to look for before I finally went back to that LBS for the purchase. I have a Fuji Absolute 4.0 Hybrid that I use for my commute. Now that I know more about bikes (thank you BF and all those miles on the saddle) I would likely go up a few notches for a weekend bike. My commuter is just fine and I'll likely be riding it for a lot of years.
Contrary to someone's post on this thread I have lost about 30 pounds with my commuting since June last year. It does work. I started a short 2.5 mile commute to the bus station daily for the first 9 months of my first year commuting (where I lost most of that 30 pounds btw) and now (just recently started doing this) ride the entire distance to work 10-11 miles depending on route. I have to actually stuff myself to keep the weight on now! nice change that. this is paying dividends!
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Old 05-19-09, 09:31 AM
  #25  
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bikegeek that is great. i want to get to the point where i could do small tours. i was camping up through humboldt and oregon last summer and saw people doing touring for the first time. or at least there were so many, it was the first time that i noticed. however, the hills up there are too much for me. flat land touring in a summer or two could be cool though.

i have the benefit of living a block from the pacific coast highway, so it is nice riding right outside my door.
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