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Need help selecting bike-info

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Old 04-25-09, 06:07 PM
  #1  
HIPCHIP
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Need help selecting bike-info

Sorry if this is a little long. Asking on the 50+ forum as I don't feel what a hyper-active 20-something rider who can ride all day at 40+ MPH is relevant to a 53 year old beginning road rider with a bad low back and just getting into shape.

Let me tell you where I'm coming from and what I'm looking for. If someone was to come to me and say they could get a Ferrari or a Chevy Corvette for the same price, which one would I recommend and why I'd tell them the Ferrari is more sport oriented. It's quicker, faster, better handling and stops better, but it's going to require more maintenance, maintenance costs are higher and you won't be able to run down to your local auto parts store to get parts, plus it has more than you can legally use on the road, whereas the Corvette is fast, quick, handles and stops well, is lower maintenance and you can probably get parts at the local auto parts store.

If they were to ask the difference between a Corvette and a high end Ford Mustang I would advise that they are similar and get the one they like best.

When it comes to bicycles I know nothing. If you put a Huffy, Schwinn, Specialized, and a Felt next to each other, without stickers, I probably couldn't tell the difference, so I have no idea about the three bikes I'm asking about, so need to know if they are similar or if one choice is better for me than the other.

My LBS, which is 2 minutes away and has plenty of free parking, is a nice shop that sells bikes of all ranges; BMX, MTB, etc, and some upper end stuff. They are a Specialized dealer. I told them about my bad back and they recommended a Specialized Sequoia. They didn't have one in my size, so I rode an employee's one (this is a friend) and immediately fell in love with it. I couldn't believe how good it felt. The bike is basically stock, but has a new saddle and wheels, but nothing drastically different from stock.

My other LBS, which is 30 minutes away and parking is terrible and restricted to two hours, is more of a performance shop with high end road bikes only. They do fits on all bikes purchased there and advise this can take hours, the other shop just does basic fits. They also have more clothing, parts, etc.

This shop advised that these two bikes are similar to the Sequoia, the Felt Z100 and the Scott Speedster.

As I said, I don't know the difference between one or the other, but the Felt only has a double chain-ring whereas the Scott and Specialized are triples. The Scott has an 9 speed cassette (I think), the Specialized a (I think, at least) 9 speed, and the Felt an 8 speed.

So, trying to figure out if one is better than the other for my purposes (bad back, beginner, pleasure rides for exercise with some racing possibly in the future), so basically looking for the Ford and Chevy as I don't need the Ferrari. Also curious if you think I'm better off at the close LBS or the more fancy one with bad parking and more time to get to. I do plan on getting serious with my riding.

Thanks for the help.
Dan'o The FNG who's learning a lot from you folks.

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Old 04-25-09, 07:40 PM
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If you can ride any of the mentioned bikes comfortably your can ride just about what ever you want for a road bike. The Felt must have been a compact because you can get it in a triple if you want they just must have ordered a compact. Unless someone just wanted a double. All of them are good bikes and you couldn’t go wrong with either of them. The Felt would be more of a conversation starter. Scott has moved back to the US but sources its bikes from Asia. Giant I believe or Hodaka. Felt is sourced in Asia as well. Specialized has sourced their bikes from Asia as well, one of their suppliers being Giant. I happen to like a compact crankset but not everyone does. Until I get stronger the compact allows me to push all the gears I have.

If I were dropping the hammer on one I might get the Felt for conversations sake.
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Old 04-25-09, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
If you can ride any of the mentioned bikes comfortably your can ride just about what ever you want for a road bike. The Felt must have been a compact because you can get it in a triple if you want they just must have ordered a compact. Unless someone just wanted a double. All of them are good bikes and you couldn’t go wrong with either of them. The Felt would be more of a conversation starter. Scott has moved back to the US but sources its bikes from Asia. Giant I believe or Hodaka. Felt is sourced in Asia as well. Specialized has sourced their bikes from Asia as well, one of their suppliers being Giant. I happen to like a compact crankset but not everyone does. Until I get stronger the compact allows me to push all the gears I have.

If I were dropping the hammer on one I might get the Felt for conversations sake.
I looked on the Felt site and it shows a double chain-ring too, so not sure what's going on. It sounds like all three would be OK. If that's so then I'm probably better off with the shop that's just down the street.
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Old 04-26-09, 05:21 AM
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Don't get hung up on brand names. Buy a bike that fits. If you are looking at aluminum frame bikes
there are only three main factories. Giant, Ideal or marida They mfg. for all the big brands.
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Old 04-26-09, 05:46 AM
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The Sequoia is a good entry-level road bike with relaxed geometry and decent components. You would not be getting junk if you bought it... and you liked it, yes? Do a search on it and you will find quite a few users in the BF crowd. (Note: older Sequoias were flat bar hybrids...). I loved mine and still have it as a backup bike, but have moved on to harder stuff.
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Old 04-26-09, 06:03 AM
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First off, bikes are not like autos. The automanufacturers make the engines, the brakes, the body, the frame and on and on. A bike manufacturer makes the frame only. They don't even make the forks anymore. They make the frame and then they go out and buy the wheels, cranks, deraillers, brakes and so on from component manufacturers (most components are either made by Campy or Shimano). So two bikes in the same price range will generally have very similar components. Sometimes one bike will have a higher tech frame and less expensive components and the other will have higher priced components and a more basic frame. Most of your LBS do not sell bad bike. By the time you get up to Shimano 105 or better, you are looking only at very good to excellent bikes.

The major thing to choose between them is the geometry and how the bike will suit the kind of riding you do. If you are slow and want comfort and ride sedately on bike trails, you do not want a high end, high performance bike. Shoot, even in the high performance area there is specialization. If you are a triathelete, you want one kind of bike. If you do criteriums, you want another. And if you do fast centuries, you want yet a different kind of bike.

So the thing is to get a pretty clear idea of what kind of riding you are going to do and select a bike that will augment that. It is like a pair of shoes. Even the best shoe does not work if it does not fit and does not suit the purpose.
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Old 04-26-09, 07:27 AM
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Dan,

Your first bike, most likely, will not be your last. Since you are in a populous state *I* would look for a used bike with a fairly upright riding position because of your back.
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Old 04-26-09, 08:47 AM
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I have chronic low back pain.

I have a LeMond Buenos Aires, which has "relaxed geometry" to begin with. I added a riser stem to give me a bit more relaxed riding position still.

It sounds weird, but being in a road riding position seems to stretch my lower back. I usually feel much better after riding on the road for awhile.

Just a thought.

If I were a resaonably fit over 50er looking for a first bike, and have reason to believe I'd enjoy it, I'd buy a crabon fiber bike. Much easier on the joints, and not so bad dragging it up the hills either.
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Old 04-26-09, 09:37 AM
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I would seek out a steel frame bike with a carbon fiber fork. The bike frame acts as a spring to flex and absorb some road shock. Steel frames are often softer than aluminum frames is the lower price range, the word "spring-ier" comes to mind. A Carbon fiber fork is also a shock absorber. The plastic resin used in these forks absorbs high frequency vibrations that otherwise would reach the hands and arms. Also, avoid bikes with 700cx23 tires. These need rock hard air pressure levels that will reduce ride smoothness.

Try to ride a Jamis Coda Comp: http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik..._codacomp.html

If this was a car, it would be a Audi A3. This is a very good quality bike that should help to ride on a frequent basis and should be comfortable over longer rides.

Also be ready to spend a little money on good bike shorts, these are padded and will improve comfort. Padded cycling gloves also improve comfort and control.

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Old 04-26-09, 09:45 AM
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Felt F 75

http://www.bikesportmichigan.com/rev...F75-2009.shtml
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Old 04-26-09, 12:41 PM
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Buy all of them and get N+1 out of the way.

I would just get test rides on each of them. There will be one screaming "Buy Me".

And already mentioned The Felt has more "Bling" than the others- but only if you can get comfortable on it- And the Sequoia is a known product. I am surprised the the shop did not mention the "Roubaix". The next grade up on bike to the Sequoia and is a favourite here on the forum.

Can't offer any info on the Scott as I do not know the bike.

And lower back pain on a road bike- Just done 40 miles on the TCR with the bars 2" below the saddle. Longest ride so far this year- I think- And the back is fine. Have a bit of neck ache but that will improve with Practice. A longer stretched out position on the bike does suit some back problems.
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Old 04-26-09, 01:38 PM
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Well, did some more research and for the money it seems the Specialized is maybe a better choice. The kid at the 2nd LBS talked about components, and for the same basic money the Felt and the Scott use Shimano Sora/Tiagra components, while the Specialized uses the 105's. Don't know the real difference between the Sora and 105's and if I would even notice it.

Only other thing I can find is the Sequoia weighs in at something like 24 lbs where the Scott and Felt are 20.5/20.75 lbs. Don't know if the extra couple of pounds would make that big of a difference or not, and the Scott and Felt seem to be more race oriented than touring, so might not be as easy on my back.

Any thoughts on the above?
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Old 04-26-09, 01:50 PM
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105 is a better spec than Sora or Tiagra-- and from experience-- A 21 lb bike rides easier than a 24- But doubt that you would notice the difference right now.

As I said- Ride the damn things- all 3 and see what calls to you. It is the only way.
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Old 04-26-09, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
105 is a better spec than Sora or Tiagra-- and from experience-- A 21 lb bike rides easier than a 24- But doubt that you would notice the difference right now.

As I said- Ride the damn things- all 3 and see what calls to you. It is the only way.
I plan on riding all three before I buy, it's just that the other bike shop is in a really busy traffic area, they don't have pedals on the bikes, and they want to spend a half hour doing a basic set-up before you take the bike out to try, so I'm just doing more research so I know what's what before I spend, and they have to spend, a bunch of time.

When I go over and we do all this I want to be able to say "Yes" or "No" about buying. I don't want to do it, then have to do more research, then go back, etc. Also, the LBS doesn't have a Sequoia in my size in yet, so when they do I'll ride it, then go bug the other shop and ride theirs and be able to make a decision in one day.

All this stuff is so new to me that I'm finding out different things I had no idea about every day! Also, wanna get the coolest new toy for my money and wanna make sure I'm gettin the best one!!!
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Old 04-26-09, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
I have a LeMond Buenos Aires, which has "relaxed geometry" to begin with.

It sounds weird, but being in a road riding position seems to stretch my lower back. I usually feel much better after riding on the road for awhile.

Just a thought.

If I were a resaonably fit over 50er looking for a first bike, and have reason to believe I'd enjoy it, I'd buy a crabon fiber bike. Much easier on the joints, and not so bad dragging it up the hills either.
+1

Buy the one you fall in love with!
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Old 04-27-09, 12:49 PM
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hipchip, the fun is in the hunting. go pester the LBS. gives them something useful to do. you get the pleasure of being fussed over. you also get to see them in action.
as for the fit routine. you won't want to just ride a bike without it. get it fitted otherwise you may have a good bike but not fitted and a bad experience in test riding it and loose out on that opportunity and regret it later when you find out that it was poorly fitted. since you are new to this there is all the world of difference between properly setup bike and not. someone pointed out this is not an automobile. it really is more personal than that.
besides once you do purchase the bike you will know whether the LBS will be truly helpful or not after the sale. you are in a sense 'test riding' the service at the shop as well as 'test riding' a bike. Heard it said here and elsewhere service makes the deal.
happy hunting. don't give up too fast.
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Old 04-27-09, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bikegeek57 View Post
hipchip, the fun is in the hunting. go pester the LBS. gives them something useful to do. you get the pleasure of being fussed over. you also get to see them in action.
as for the fit routine. you won't want to just ride a bike without it. get it fitted otherwise you may have a good bike but not fitted and a bad experience in test riding it and loose out on that opportunity and regret it later when you find out that it was poorly fitted. since you are new to this there is all the world of difference between properly setup bike and not. someone pointed out this is not an automobile. it really is more personal than that.
besides once you do purchase the bike you will know whether the LBS will be truly helpful or not after the sale. you are in a sense 'test riding' the service at the shop as well as 'test riding' a bike. Heard it said here and elsewhere service makes the deal.
happy hunting. don't give up too fast.
Actually, my LBS is really good. Rode the Sequoia and REALLY liked it. The fancy LBS that sells the high end stuff wants to spend 30 minutes just to do a quick set-up before you can even take the bike out for a quick putt, which may be good, but may be too much too. The LBS just down the street from me is being very helpful (of course the fact the employees have known my wife and kid for years probably doesn't hurt either) so I figure no matter what I do I will probably be doing well. Actually went to the LBS to say "Hi" and then was running over to the race oriented LBS to get some shoes. My LBS had great shoes at a better price, so I may actually be better off with the close one, but I'm still gonna look before I slap down the plastic!!
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Old 04-27-09, 02:51 PM
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Service is worth Something. It might be worth 2 or 3 pounds. Not Stapfam's pounds but US pounds.
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Old 04-27-09, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by HIPCHIP View Post
Actually, my LBS is really good. Rode the Sequoia and REALLY liked it. The fancy LBS that sells the high end stuff wants to spend 30 minutes just to do a quick set-up before you can even take the bike out for a quick putt, which may be good, but may be too much too. The LBS just down the street from me is being very helpful (of course the fact the employees have known my wife and kid for years probably doesn't hurt either) so I figure no matter what I do I will probably be doing well. Actually went to the LBS to say "Hi" and then was running over to the race oriented LBS to get some shoes. My LBS had great shoes at a better price, so I may actually be better off with the close one, but I'm still gonna look before I slap down the plastic!!
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There's your answer.

There's a lot more difference between bike shops than there is between bike brands. Once you find the right people (and it sounds like you have) buy a brand they sell and you'll never go wrong.

How many times are you going to feel comfortable going back to the fancy shop if the bike "just doesn't feel right"? How about your neighborhood shop?
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Old 04-27-09, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by HIPCHIP View Post
Actually, my LBS is really good. Rode the Sequoia and REALLY liked it. The fancy LBS that sells the high end stuff wants to spend 30 minutes just to do a quick set-up before you can even take the bike out for a quick putt, which may be good, but may be too much too. The LBS just down the street from me is being very helpful (of course the fact the employees have known my wife and kid for years probably doesn't hurt either) so I figure no matter what I do I will probably be doing well. Actually went to the LBS to say "Hi" and then was running over to the race oriented LBS to get some shoes. My LBS had great shoes at a better price, so I may actually be better off with the close one, but I'm still gonna look before I slap down the plastic!!
:**
Last year's base model Sequoias are on sale here for $725, and some of the models have CF seatstays for extra comfort. That said, and as my signature will show, I can't disagree with going the relaxed geometry CF route either.

As to the elaborate "setup" the fancy shop insists on doing... that kind of stuff really puts me off. It kind of gets you 'complying' with them right from the get go. IMO if the bike is right for you, you can tell without all that fine tuning stuff. Let the hail of objections begin...
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Old 04-27-09, 10:08 PM
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I agree regarding the brand of bike. Since 95% of all bikes are made in Asia, it really does not matter what name is on it. Finding a good LBS is definitely a plus. I visited three, and think I found the one I want to keep. It is not the closest, but they were the most helpful, and accommodating, and I ended up buying a bike from them (A KHS TC-150) after riding it, and a Trek Navigator 2.0.
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Old 04-28-09, 09:23 AM
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Sounds like great advice. I'm pretty happy with my close LBS as they have already started giving me a discount on purchases and their prices are as good, or better, than the further away LBS. The "Fancy" shop is more race oriented, and if I get to the point where I want to do some serious racing I will definitely give them another look, but they mentioned that they have had bike fittings that took over 8 hours and since parking is restricted to 2 hours (they can tell if you just moved one space) a lot of their customers get parking tickets.

You folks are the best. Helped my decide a bunch this week.
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Old 05-01-09, 01:07 AM
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Twenty years ago I could no longer put off the fact that life in Vermont required a chainsaw. I had no experience whatsoever with them, but I "knew" Husqavarna, Stihl, and Jonsereds were the only ones a true woodchuck would consider. I asked some knowledgeable friends which was "the best." Each had their preferences, and each gave me some good guidleines, like no less than 60cc, and a 16" bar will do fine. They said too that those brands were all good, and since I was starting fresh, with no habits or predilections, to make a decision based on the dealer, service, and not to worry about price too much as everyone is competitive. I still have that saw, it is an excellent tool, and the people I bought it from still treat me great.

That said, your most convenient and friendly LBS with whom you already have a good relationship has a bike you "REALLY" like. I think the Sequoia is a good choice for a "first" bike. Starting out it will be more comfortable than a racier bike with its longer wheelbase and less steep frame angles. If it is at all hilly in your part of the world the triple chainrings will give you more climbing ability; the compact gearing setup has its advantages but requires greater fitness levels. If you get the racing bug and have to have a new, sub 20 lb. bike, the Sequoia can be set up for touring or commuting.

Incidentally, a local Specialized dealer told me not to wait too long to order. I don't think he was trying to pressure me; with today's uncertain economy there isn't much inventory.

Good luck! Hope this helped a little. Cycling sure is more fun than bucking up firewood. In Vermont a wife can still sue for divorce if her husband fails to provide DRY kitchen wood!
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Old 05-01-09, 09:05 AM
  #24  
Hermes 
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I would not let "racing" enter the evaluation. Most riders never race their bicycles even if they "talk" about it. Bikes are to racing what running shoes are to running. Racing is about training. But it is true that everyone in the peloton thinks they need the best equipment and it does make a small but important difference.

Bike fit is the most important metric when starting out. Spend the time getting it right. It will pay dividends in power production and less chance of injury.

Whatever you buy, I suggest keeping it standard i.e. no upgrades. Once you determine what you really want, it is easy to sell stock bikes on Ebay and the cost of ownership is less. The stronger the brand the better the resale and lower cost of ownership.

I like riding nice bikes and driving nice cars. I do not race my cars but I could. Riding a great bicycle is fantastic no matter what shape you are in or stage of development.
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Old 05-01-09, 09:26 AM
  #25  
HIPCHIP
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Thanks for the great advice folks. I think I'm going to go with the Specialized Sequoia Elite from my close LBS. Good bike, upgraded components from entry level, comfortable to ride, and I can go to another shop or location to get a custom fit if I need to as my LBS only does a basic fitting, but at this point in my riding career I couldn't tell one fit from another for the most part. I'm sure that will change shortly though.
Dan'o :**
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