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Buying advice

Old 10-12-15, 01:44 PM
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Rpbergie
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Buying advice

I am in the market for a new or slightly used road bike to be used for pleasure/training rides and the odd good conditions commute. Something stiff and <= 20 lbs. undecided about alum or carbon fibre. Will explore some threads on that question. I would like to know to what extent identical frames are marketed under different names. Where is the smart money spent and where is it lost?
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Old 10-12-15, 07:50 PM
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trainsktg
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I don't know who makes who's frames, but pretty much any LBS bike sold these days with a 'name' attached...Trek, Specialized, Giant, the store-branded bikes like REI's Novara, etc...are all equally comparable throughout their price ranges. A better way to select a bike is to get the one that fits you best after test riding several and has a decent component group. At this point I don't think aluminum/carbon or >20/<20 pounds should even play into the equation. My >20# 8-speed aluminum bike sees far more miles on a weekly basis than my <20# 11-speed carbon bike.

Keith

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Old 10-12-15, 07:59 PM
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Rpbergie
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Thanks, Keith. Yes, fit is foremost and it seems the hardest one to sort out. And when you say test ride, you mean they have no problem letting you pedal on the training stand to try out various frames?
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Old 10-12-15, 11:08 PM
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trainsktg
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Originally Posted by Rpbergie View Post
Thanks, Keith. Yes, fit is foremost and it seems the hardest one to sort out. And when you say test ride, you mean they have no problem letting you pedal on the training stand to try out various frames?
Actually in the four different shops I've bought my four different bikes from, each allowed me to take what I wanted to try out for a road ride for as long as I wanted. From both experience and what I've read, that seems pretty much to be the standard practice.

Keith
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Old 10-13-15, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by trainsktg View Post
Actually in the four different shops I've bought my four different bikes from, each allowed me to take what I wanted to try out for a road ride for as long as I wanted. From both experience and what I've read, that seems pretty much to be the standard practice.

Keith
There was a thread about this a while ago...apparently its not standard practice everywhere! I think the detractors were mostly stores located in places that experience higher crime, but in my area the shops have been all too happy to get me on a bike. I think its a reasonable request anywhere though...if a shop is hesitant, offer to leave some sort of ID and promise to keep the bike on pavement.
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Old 10-13-15, 08:48 AM
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The best deals are always found in lightly used bikes. Some folks buy new bikes every 5 years or so, and their cast-offs can usually be purchased at 25-50% of original price.

However, used bikes are limited by what is available, and as you said it's important to have a well-fitting bike.

Don't expect to get a free "fitting" from a bike shop (using a fitting gauge), but you should be able to test ride different models in different sizes to get an idea of your ideal frame size. Modern bikes with compact geometry come in fewer frame sizes, so it's not too hard to find the one that fits you best.

If the shop is friendly and helpful, consider buying something from them. Use the fitting/test ride process as a test for the shop, too.


Regarding frame material: aluminum and carbon are commonly used for light, stiff road racing frames. Aluminum is cheaper, whereas carbon is more expensive, can be lighter, and usually give a slightly more comfortable ride than aluminum.
I like steel a lot too, and road racing frames of high-end steel are usually much more comfortable than aluminum and/or carbon, and almost as light.

Within the last couple years, bike makers have been offering more mid-budget carbon framed bikes (around $2-3k), and aluminum is only used for the cheapest models of their road bike lineups.
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Old 10-13-15, 08:50 AM
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If you can do your own maintenance and can finish the assembly of a new/boxed bicycle then buying online can save some money. But if you want help with fitting the bike and maintenance after you buy, then the extra money at an established and reputable bike shop is well spent. The best deals on used bikes can be found on CraigsList, but you have to know what you are looking for, especially where to inspect for possible damage. Best deal for an inexperienced cyclist is to find a good bike shop.
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