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Old 12-06-17, 10:52 AM   #1
jebjam
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Bike buying advice?

I have been an avid mountain biker for years, recently transitioned to include road biking and love doing both. My wife (we are both 60) has never been that comfortable on a bike, though she has ridden casually and we did a guided bike tour years ago, she also had a nice road bike for commuting while in college.

She owns a mountain bike but really doesn't like riding trails. Now that I am road biking I'd like to involve her on some casual rides with me, her bike isn't the best for touring back roads, but I don't think she'd be comfortable on a classic road bike.

I'm considering surprising here with a hybrid or cyclocross bike for Christmas - she's not asking for one but I'd like to include her in my sport even if its just occasional.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the best bike for a cautious cycling adult novice riding mostly roads and paved trails? Hybrid or cyclocross or touring or something else? Drop bar or straight? Planning on disc brakes. I know she needs wider tires and won't get suspension. Appreciate the experience and thoughts of anyone here. I don't want her to struggle on her mountain bike and want her to feel more comfortable than she does riding beside me.
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Old 12-06-17, 02:03 PM   #2
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If your wife is like most wives, you should take her to a bike shop, and let her pick the bike she'll ride. You could always install some smoother tires on her mountain bike, just to get her out on the pavement. If she enjoys that, then go bike shopping for something more suited to the roads and trails. My wife loves her hybrid, and won't let me buy, or build, her another bike. She picked it out, though, which makes it "hers". The bike I bought for her hangs from the ceiling in the garage, and hasn't been ridden in years.
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Old 12-06-17, 02:33 PM   #3
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If your wife is like most wives, you should take her to a bike shop, and let her pick the bike she'll ride.
Yup.

Unless she has expressed a lot of interest in rising with you, you might be creating an expensive and uncomfortable Christmas morning.

She might not be comfortable riding on a bike, on any sort of road or trail. She might be fine on MUPs but not on the road. She might like the idea of a tandem. She might like something you don't like.

If she really liked riding, she'd ride her MTB ... anywhere. It might be noisy on pavement and a little heavy, but it's a bike, right? If it was your only bike, wouldn't you ride it anywhere you wanted/needed to ride?

And imagine her reaction, if she woke up to find a multi-hundred dollar present which she totally didn't want ... and then felt some need to ride just to please you .... and all that.

Too big a thing to use as a surprise, I think.

Tell her you'd be thrilled to get her a bike ... not as a Christmas gift, get her something else, you Know she will like ... but as an "After-Christmas Add-On" or something so there is less pressure. Take her to a shop, talk her through her options, and if she isn't Really excited, tell her to think about it.

Otherwise, odds are yoi will be stepping around the dusty, unused bike in the garage for the rest of your marriage.
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Old 12-06-17, 02:48 PM   #4
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Otherwise, odds are yoi will be stepping around the dusty, unused bike in the garage for the rest of your marriage.


Unless, of course, you can hang it from the ceiling!
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Old 12-06-17, 02:54 PM   #5
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Well yeah - I hear all of your voices of reason, and you're not wrong. She has ridden with me and does fine on recreational rides, there's a gravel path nearby she enjoys. We rented bikes on a week-long beach vacation recently and she enjoyed that. We rode 20 miles a day on a trip to France two decades ago. I know the smartest way to do this is to take her to the shop, and in fact I would be sure to purchase locally at a shop we can return for a proper fit and even a swap out, I wouldn't purchase a done deal.
Fact is she has nothing on her list this Christmas she's wanting (isn't that a nice place to be!). I'm usually pretty good at coming up with ideas, but used them all up on her birthday last month. So it'll be clothes, and/or this. And yes she might make a noise like the Charlie Brown teacher when she takes off the cover, but I'm betting I know her well enough that she'll be excited/touched that I want to include her on my rides, and she knows I'll slow for her without any complaint.
So you're both right, I know that. But hey, its Christmas - ideally I could take her to a shop, but she'll want to settle for something less than she should have. As long as the return policy is intact, I don't feel too worried about jumping in.
I do love that the responses so far are looking out for her emotions and my welfare, before any hardware advice comes through. You guys are great. So I could use the after-Christmas "here's what I wanted to get you but needed you to do it" advice, but even given that then - what's the best all around bike advice for "us" to be looking for that she could use non-competitively on road and paved/gravel trails that will be comfortable, not too heavy and better than the low end MTB she has now?
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Old 12-06-17, 03:11 PM   #6
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Consider if she has half a chance at riding at the pace you like to ride at. If so, and she isn't opposed to the riding position, then a cyclocross might make sense. If she rather ride more upright, then a hybrid might be a good choice.

But if you know she will never ride a speeds you prefer, then It might be that a beach cruiser style bike or even a fat tire bike will make make more sense. But I'm basing this last statement on my assumption that those two styles will allow for an upright posture with lots of ride comfort for adverse pavement conditions.

Whatever it is, her involvement needs to come into play. I've already eaten one bike I bought for my wife. Although both of us were involved in the selection, she knew nothing about biking. I based everything I explained to her on my use of a bike, road biking. Her riding style and desire is entirely different so she never enjoyed riding it and it sat in the garage unused.
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Old 12-06-17, 03:27 PM   #7
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My wife started road bike riding on a Specialized Allez. After a few years she changed to a Cervelo R3. Although a very able and light road bike she says it is far more stable and feels much more secure than the Specialized ever did.

I find my Devinci touring bike the most stable bike I have ridden. I expect the Cervelo C3 would be another excellent choice. It is a bit more of a cross bike and could easily be ridden on gravel.

I know the need to give a gift at Christmas. If she doesn’t ride it you can eventually sell it and still get points for trying.
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Old 12-06-17, 04:14 PM   #8
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Thanks for your thoughts Iride and Mitch...
We have ridden together and I just adjust to her pace, that part is fine I'm happy to have her along. A comfortable upright ride is what I'm thinking - we bought a MTB for her off craigslist thinking it would be good for occasional trails and gravel. In the end she never rides trails and its too klunky to be very nice for the road which I'm enjoying more and more. Its a low-mid range bike so its heavy and i don't mind spending a bit of money to get her something light, stable, comfortable and more road worthy.

She'll do a 10 mile country road ride with me, so while the beach cruiser and fat tire might be comfy, I'm thinking a touring bike, hybrid or cyclocross will be my best bet, good to have the input of those who have owned one of those, I never have.

And Mitch, I appreciate the gift understanding - even if she doesn't ride it often, she will time to time, and trying matters! Basically I'm looking to exchange her MTB for something better for her on the road.
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Old 12-06-17, 04:15 PM   #9
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But hey, its Christmas - ideally I could take her to a shop, but she'll want to settle for something less than she should have.
I had the same problem with my mother when she needed a lift chair. So I called the local furniture store and they agreed to remove the price tags from the chairs when she came in. Mom felt free to ignore the prices she couldn't see anyway, and got the one she liked best. It wouldn't surprise me if your LBS would do the same for you if you asked.
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Old 12-06-17, 05:14 PM   #10
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depends entirely on budget .... sort of.

Once you decide drop/flat bars, Then it is all budget. it will generally be easier to get more upright with endurance geometry bikes with longer chain stays and taller head tubes. Something like Giant Contend/Defy (Al/CF) or a Cannondale Synapse, a Trek Domane or a Specialized Roubaix are the bikes from the Big Four in that category.

I ended up buying an Aluminum Fuji Sportif (Al version of the Grand Fondo, I hear, which is CF) and I really like it. If you can afford to buy better, the Sportif is heavy.

If I were to pick a Big Four bike in this class it would be a tough choice between a Defy and a Roubaix ... but I have never ridden either.
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Old 12-06-17, 11:06 PM   #11
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Thanks all, lots of food for thought. I looked at a GT Grade, both the Cannondale Quick and Synapse and Trek FX this evening, all have pluses and minuses. I own a Roubaix and road a Domane when I was shopping for mine, both of those more aggressive than i think she'd like - the four I saw would all give her an all-around bike she could ride on road, paved trail or gravel. I know GT has fallen out of favor with some but the Grade was a nice package. Shopping is pretty fun!
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Old 12-07-17, 03:27 AM   #12
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Maybe get a tandem?
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Old 12-07-17, 09:52 AM   #13
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I have been thinking about my wife's next bike. She would like to ride but doesn't like feel like she can go far or go very quickly. So far I have two ideas for us: First thought is a tandem. She'll never get left behind. I don't know how to transport the thing however. My second better thought is an electric pedal-assisted bike for her. She is coming around to that idea.

I might be the one keeping up with her.
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Old 12-07-17, 04:00 PM   #14
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My wife is not a very strong rider and is always concerned about slowing me down. Recently bought a used tandem and slowly sorting it out to make the fit work for her. She enjoys riding it with me.

We are more compatible on the tandem than separate bikes. Just food for thought.
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Old 12-07-17, 07:38 PM   #15
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We are more compatible on the tandem than separate bikes. Just food for thought.
Because she can yell at your back all day, and you can say, "Sorry, honey, I couldn't hear you over the wind."
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Old 12-07-17, 09:54 PM   #16
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My wife and I met in a bike shop, rode together and eventually married. Time changes a person and at 55 she has zero interest in any riding other than cruiser riding. Let her define the use without your influence or the thought of "It will be so nice to do something together that we both enjoy". If she is happy tooling around the neighborhood, then direct her towards and updated "tooling" bike.
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Old 12-08-17, 10:52 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by jebjam View Post
...recently transitioned to include road biking...My wife (60) has never been that comfortable on a bike, though she has ridden casually...I don't think she'd be comfortable on a classic road bike...Does anyone have any thoughts on the best bike for a cautious cycling adult novice riding mostly roads and paved trails? Hybrid or cyclocross or touring or something else? Drop bar or straight? Planning on disc brakes. I know she needs wider tires and won't get suspension.
Just a thought. Or this. A less expensive option.

Last edited by tcs; 12-08-17 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 12-08-17, 03:41 PM   #18
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This past summer, I got my wife and I matching road bikes. It is a kick riding along with matching purple and yellow Centurions. If I was a Specialized Roubaix rider, and my wife wanted a road bike and I wasn't sure about anything, I'd get something like this https://www.specialized.com/us/en/cr...=239495-129217 While it is pretty neat that my wife got the hang of timing a 1987 front derailleur, I think that a 1x11 set up would be easy to learn and a new rider could focus on fun. When I see couples with matching bikes, it makes me smile.

Nope. Changed my mind. https://www.linusbike.com/products/m...nt=16842629316 Get a pair. Cream and Sage.

Last edited by Classtime; 12-08-17 at 03:52 PM. Reason: changed my mind
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Old 12-10-17, 10:59 PM   #19
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So......after shopping for gifts for the adult kids at REI today i casually suggested that "maybe we should look at a bike she might like better for the road"...as expected she demurred, suggesting her bike was just fine. I know she struggles - a mountain bike was just never her thing. I shared what I knew about the choices "from when I was shopping for my own bike" (heh, thanks all). At first look she really didn't think the hybrids offered anything different than what she had. I'd primed the salesperson ahead of time to help with advice and a test ride. She was excited to look, skeptical about any change. It was a beautiful day, the staff set her up and suggested she ride on the paved trail outside.
She started off dodging pedestrians with a little shake as she sorted out the unfamiliar feel - then disappeared across a bridge and over a hill. 10 to 15 minutes later she returned with a huge smile on her face, "Lets go for a ride!" "I love this, it is so comfortable and so easy to shift even going uphill!" "This is SO much better!" Her pride and excitement was awesome.
Bam.
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Old 12-11-17, 07:12 AM   #20
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Well.....
What did you get?
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Old 12-11-17, 08:24 AM   #21
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Well.....
What did you get?
Cannondale Quick Disc 3 Woman's...but she doesn't know it yet. She loved the bike. I've one on order to be picked up at a local store in a week. Under the tree it will be!

Must say..the Mixte 8 and the Specialized were sweet!
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Old 12-11-17, 08:31 AM   #22
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OK , nobody sells C'dale here , i cannot guess what brands are in other people's favorite bike shops.
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