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Newbie here--Best road bike under $1500

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Newbie here--Best road bike under $1500

Old 10-29-17, 09:12 PM
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GaryDGullett
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Newbie here--Best road bike under $1500

Hey...

I'm new here and still learning my way around the forum. I found my way to this forum thru a google search of dealing with dogs while riding. LOL...But either way, I'm glad I did.

I realize this may be a subjective question and will most likely net lots of opinions. But I am looking to upgrade from a cheap MTB to a road bike. I ride road 90% of the time ranging in distances from 5-10 miles to 20-30. And will undoubtedly ride more once I settle on the right bike. I'm certainly a novice when it comes to biking. My current bike was actually given to me from a friend who rides $$$$ bikes. Since he doesn't have children, he has the extra cash. I, on the other hand, am limited. He rides dirt mostly and travels several hours or more away from home to ride trails. I want something I can hop on at home and ride 3-4 hours. And eventually upgrade MTB's.


Let's hear it...In your opinion, what is the the best overhaul road bike based on comfortability, components, speed, fun to ride factor, and overall value? And any other factors I'm not considering at this point.

What would YOU buy today for $1500 or less???
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Old 10-29-17, 09:16 PM
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I'd look for a closeout deal on a BMC Alpenchallenge with 105 components.

https://www.bmc-switzerland.com/us-e...enge-ac01/105/
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Old 10-29-17, 09:34 PM
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Good question. You might imagine one bike would have a decent wheels, for example a lightweight but inexpensive-to-manufacture aluminum framed bike with a sub-1500g wheelset, but apparently none do. The Fuji Roubaix Elite comes close (when it's on sale) with its Oval 724 wheelset. Entire bike at 15.5lbs. according to the Fuji website http://www.fujibikes.com/usa/bikes/r.../roubaix-elite

Last edited by Clem von Jones; 10-29-17 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 10-29-17, 09:48 PM
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I'd get a Bikes Direct Road Bike for $1,500 price range. Can't beat the value for the dollar they give.

Save up to 60% off Road Bikes, Free Ship 48, Schwinn, GT, Kestrel, Fuji, Motobecane and more Road bikes. Authorized dealer for Schwinn, GT, Kestrel, Fuji, Motobecane, Mercier, Gravity, Dawes road bikes. Shimano Carbon Road Bikes, Titanium Road Bikes,

But only if you're comfortable putting together the bike yourself.
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Old 10-29-17, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Boondocksaints View Post
I'd get a Bikes Direct Road Bike for $1,500 price range. Can't beat the value for the dollar they give.

Save up to 60% off Road Bikes, Free Ship 48, Schwinn, GT, Kestrel, Fuji, Motobecane and more Road bikes. Authorized dealer for Schwinn, GT, Kestrel, Fuji, Motobecane, Mercier, Gravity, Dawes road bikes. Shimano Carbon Road Bikes, Titanium Road Bikes,

But only if you're comfortable putting together the bike yourself.
Their bikes with Ritchey Zeta II wheels come close. Have you noticed any other bikes there with decent wheels at that pricemark?
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Old 10-29-17, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Clem von Jones View Post
Their bikes with Ritchey Zeta II wheels come close. Have you noticed any other bikes there with decent wheels at that pricemark?
I don't know - they have a huge range for road bikes. Really depends what other components the OP needs - disc brakes, etc.

I'm planning on getting their one of their Titanium Motobecanes in December.
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Old 10-29-17, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by GaryDGullett View Post
Hey...

I'm new here and still learning my way around the forum. I found my way to this forum thru a google search of dealing with dogs while riding. LOL...But either way, I'm glad I did.

I realize this may be a subjective question and will most likely net lots of opinions. But I am looking to upgrade from a cheap MTB to a road bike. I ride road 90% of the time ranging in distances from 5-10 miles to 20-30. And will undoubtedly ride more once I settle on the right bike. I'm certainly a novice when it comes to biking. My current bike was actually given to me from a friend who rides $$$$ bikes. Since he doesn't have children, he has the extra cash. I, on the other hand, am limited. He rides dirt mostly and travels several hours or more away from home to ride trails. I want something I can hop on at home and ride 3-4 hours. And eventually upgrade MTB's.


Let's hear it...In your opinion, what is the the best overhaul road bike based on comfortability, components, speed, fun to ride factor, and overall value? And any other factors I'm not considering at this point.

What would YOU buy today for $1500 or less???
An overly broad question that pops up in this forum almost daily. There are so many road bikes on the market made for all kinds of riders. If you are looking to upgrade from your cheap MTB, almost anything you get for over $800 will be a huge upgrade. I would almost say your budget is too big and you are at risk of wasting money on too much bike for where you are at. I know someone who did this, and wound up getting a tremendous deal on a $3K racing bike. Problem is, she is actually afraid to ride it because it is too responsive, some would say twitchy for her ability. In a nutshell, she bought a Ferrari when she should have bought a Toyota.

I sense you don't have the luxury to make a mistake. Maybe look around for a deal on a used bike, or an entry level one on sale and see what you like, and dislike about what you get. Set your budget around $500 or so and see what you can find.
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Old 10-29-17, 10:36 PM
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If you're 5ft10in or shorter, you'll have a really easy time finding nicely equipped used road bikes on Craigslist for far less than your budget if you know what to look for. Fit to the frame is, in my opinion, the single most important attribute - frame material is a distant second and weight really doesn't matter as long as the bike overall is lighter than 30#. That said, a good LBS that fits you and provides free tuneups to bikes purchased from them is absolutely worthwhile if you don't know anything about setting up your bike or servicing it. But as a previous poster said, you can find some excellent rides for under $800. Also, if you aren't in it to race, but rather to have a reasonably responsive, long-riding bike with drop bars that can handle roads (and maybe other surfaces), it's hard to go wrong with a cyclocross bike (e.g. Mongoose Selous Comp - smoking hot deal at about $500 on Amazon and totally unrelated to the ****ty mongooses sold at discount stores) or something like a Marin Nicasio (about $700 at your LBS, where you may get fit assistance and free tuneups, plus it's steel which feels good).

Last edited by bcpriess; 10-29-17 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 10-29-17, 11:36 PM
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I'll second the wise advice from MRT2. You're very early in the learning curve and therefore can't really know what you'll like a year from now. It's a much smarter move to spend $750 on a solid entry level bike and establish a good relationship with you local bike shop. Based on your comment that you'll be riding 90% road, look at a decent entry level road bike like a Giant Contend, Trek 1.2, Cannondale Synapse, etc. I was able to pick up a Raleigh Merit 3 with 105 groupset, thru axles and disc brakes for well under $1000 and it's been great. If you really think you'll be riding both road and gravel, make sure you get tires at least 28mm wide or consider a cyclocross/gravel bike with drop bars. Regardless, ride that entry level bike for a year while you're learning to be a good rider, then you'll have a better sense for what kind of riding you like and where you want to go next. Good luck!
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Old 10-30-17, 12:04 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by cj19 View Post
I'll second the wise advice from MRT2.

It's a much smarter move to spend $750 on a solid entry level bike and establish a good relationship with you local bike shop.

Based on your comment that you'll be riding 90% road, look at a decent entry level road bike like a Giant Contend, Trek 1.2, Cannondale Synapse, etc.

If you really think you'll be riding both road and gravel, make sure you get tires at least 28mm wide or consider a cyclocross/gravel bike with drop bars.

Originally Posted by Clem von Jones View Post
The Fuji Roubaix Elite comes close (when it's on sale) with its Oval 724 wheelset. Entire bike at 15.5lbs. according to the Fuji website
Fuji Bikes | Roubaix Elite
Originally Posted by Boondocksaints View Post
I'd get a Bikes Direct Road Bike for $1,500 price range. Can't beat the value for the dollar they give.

[url=http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/road_bikes.htm]Save up to 60% off Road Bikes, Free Ship 48, Schwinn, GT, Kestrel, Fuji, Motobecane and more Road bikes. Authorized dealer for Schwinn, GT, Kestrel, Fuji, Motobecane, Mercier, Gravity, Dawes road bikes. Shimano Carbon Road Bikes, Titanium Road Bikes, http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/road_bikes.htm .
I quote these because they are about all the advice you need. If you are going to a bike store which only carries big-name bikes, those are some good places to start.

If you can put on wheel and handlebars and adjust brakes and shifters, BikeDirect ... spend about $600 now and in a year spend that $1500 when you know exactly what you want.

Fuji is Excellent value. I might recommend the Sportif/Gran Fondo range to start with ... you probably don’t need a super-racy bike as a first road bike.

The Only piece of advice I can actually add ...

Got to a lot of shops and ride a lot of bikes.

We can tell you what we like. Only you can figure out what really speaks to you.

Visit some shops, ride some bikes and you can come back here with more specific questions for Stage Two of the process.
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Old 10-30-17, 05:11 AM
  #11  
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You can get a lot of bike for your money at the $1500 and less mark on the used market.

1-5 yr old bikes with higher end groupsets and/or wheels. Heck some of my favorite paint/color schemes seem to go back to 2011-2012 range since now everything seems a one solid fluoro color or black. And those bikes still look current/new in design.

Try some shops for old inventory as well. My local Specialized dealer still has several new Sram Apex Specialized Tarmac's from 2013, 2014 etc for like $1300.
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Old 10-30-17, 06:17 AM
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My wife is interested in getting back into cycling after about 20 years off. Her requirements are women's specific endurance geometry, disk brakes, 105 level components, and clearance for 32c tires, which will be good for some of the gravel bike paths we have in the area. Before we started shopping, I set the budget at $2k and looked at Trek, Specialized, Giant, Cannondale, Bianchi, Performance, Bikes Direct, Raleigh, Canyon, Diamondback and probably a few others that I don't recall.

I am getting her the women's version of this Diamonback Century 1 for eight hundred bucks. The carbon frame/hydraulic disk version is $1600, but she agreed that it's not worth it right now to spend an extra $800 to save 2 pounds.

I've become less of a fan recently of sending people to bike shops for a new bike. Two of my good friends did that in the past year and dropped $4 & 6k on their first bike, which I thought was ridiculous.

My advice is to:
  1. Think carefully about how you are planning to use the bike
  2. Write down a list of requirements
  3. Check your size with the Competitive Fit Bike Fit Calculator
  4. Visit a few shops to get a feel for how different types of bikes fit
  5. Update your requirements
  6. Buy the cheapest bike that meets your requirements

By the way, my wife's original requirements were for a comfortable bike for short rides in an upright position, so I bought her a second-hand Gazelle Omafiets, which she hates because it is so heavy and slow. The point is that your requirements are going to change as you get more riding experience so don't spend too much on your first bike. If you get into cycling it won't be your last.
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Old 10-30-17, 06:53 AM
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Many brands will have a bike at that target price point, go find a bike shop test tide the shop and their bikes.

Giant makes many brands other than theirs, So does Merida and Maxway ..

Best being an opinion, your just getting I got an X brand popularity tout..
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Old 10-30-17, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
My wife is interested in getting back into cycling after about 20 years off. Her requirements are women's specific endurance geometry, disk brakes, 105 level components, and clearance for 32c tires, which will be good for some of the gravel bike paths we have in the area. Before we started shopping, I set the budget at $2k and looked at Trek, Specialized, Giant, Cannondale, Bianchi, Performance, Bikes Direct, Raleigh, Canyon, Diamondback and probably a few others that I don't recall.

I am getting her the women's version of this Diamonback Century 1 for eight hundred bucks. The carbon frame/hydraulic disk version is $1600, but she agreed that it's not worth it right now to spend an extra $800 to save 2 pounds.

I've become less of a fan recently of sending people to bike shops for a new bike. Two of my good friends did that in the past year and dropped $4 & 6k on their first bike, which I thought was ridiculous.

My advice is to:
  1. Think carefully about how you are planning to use the bike
  2. Write down a list of requirements
  3. Check your size with the Competitive Fit Bike Fit Calculator
  4. Visit a few shops to get a feel for how different types of bikes fit
  5. Update your requirements
  6. Buy the cheapest bike that meets your requirements

By the way, my wife's original requirements were for a comfortable bike for short rides in an upright position, so I bought her a second-hand Gazelle Omafiets, which she hates because it is so heavy and slow. The point is that your requirements are going to change as you get more riding experience so don't spend too much on your first bike. If you get into cycling it won't be your last.
Great advice about your requirements changing OP. Perhaps a cheap hybrid for now until you find what you want exactly.

You need to know the general terrain you would be riding the road bike most of the time.
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Old 10-30-17, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by GaryDGullett View Post
Let's hear it...In your opinion, what is the the best overhaul road bike based on comfortability, components, speed, fun to ride factor, and overall value? And any other factors I'm not considering at this point.

What would YOU buy today for $1500 or less???
- Take $500. Look at Craigslist for a road bike that fits and is in good working order(wheels spin true, no rust, etc) with Sora or better shifting. If you are in/around a populated are, there should be something for $300-500 that fits you.
- Ride it. Ride it for at least 1000mi.
- Learn from it. Figure out what you like about the stock drivetrain(gearing specifically) and brakes. Figure out what you dont like. Does the bike fit your style of riding or do you want something different to ride gravel?
- Sell it next spring and buy a better bike...if you even think you need a better bike.

It may end up you like the bike as is. It may end up you like the bike but want a lighter more responsive set of wheels and tires. It may end up you realize you hate road cycling.

Chances are if you are buying a used bike now, you will sell it for about the same(or perhaps more) in the spring, so there is little invested.
This is, at least to me, the best way to figure out what you really want while not spending a ton of money in the process.
Buying a road bike that is limited to 25mm tires and finding out you actually want a road bike that can fit 32s for comfort where you ride is a waste and unnecessary.
Buying a road bike with Ultegra or even 105 when you find Sora to be perfect is a waste and unnecessary.
etc etc etc
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Old 10-30-17, 12:30 PM
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I think with $1500.00 you can score a $5000.00 bike from Craig's list providing you know about cycling and bicycles,the quality there of,,,,, of course it's got to be the right size,,,,,,
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Old 10-30-17, 12:42 PM
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@mstateglfr, this is great advice for someone who knows something about bikes or has the help of someone who does. IRL, I don't think it's that easy for someone who doesn't know anything about bikes to sort through all the listings on CL to find a good one. Also, the new bike market is always changing so you may not even be able to find what you are looking for on CL. For example, I know a lot about bikes and have been looking for a bike that satisfies my wife's requirements (women's specific endurance geometry, disk brakes, 105 level components, and clearance for 32c tires) for six months and have not seen a single one her size in the Chicago market. I normally buy used bikes for myself, but there are valid reasons for a new rider to get a new bike. Even if you do end up finding a used bike, you can learn a lot by visiting several bike shops.
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Old 10-30-17, 12:55 PM
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Knowing what I know now, for $1500, for a new rider, I'd get a Cannondale CAAD12 105. Brand new. It's listed at $1699, but I have seen this as low as $1200(in REI sale). Or perhaps an LBS has sale/old stock.
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Old 10-30-17, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
@mstateglfr, this is great advice for someone who knows something about bikes or has the help of someone who does. IRL, I don't think it's that easy for someone who doesn't know anything about bikes to sort through all the listings on CL to find a good one. Also, the new bike market is always changing so you may not even be able to find what you are looking for on CL. For example, I know a lot about bikes and have been looking for a bike that satisfies my wife's requirements (women's specific endurance geometry, disk brakes, 105 level components, and clearance for 32c tires) for six months and have not seen a single one her size in the Chicago market. I normally buy used bikes for myself, but there are valid reasons for a new rider to get a new bike. Even if you do end up finding a used bike, you can learn a lot by visiting several bike shops.
For sure- visiting a few shops is great. And yes, CL poses a greater risk of being screwed over, but ive found that in the $300-500 range for modern bikes(at least around me...and chicago) that isnt typical. I typically see entry level bike shop road bikes that sold for $750-1000 that people either want to sell to upgrade or want to sell because they werent used.

As for your wife's bike- thats a pretty specific list and though its surprising Chicago CL hasnt netted anything in half a year, i would say her list of needs is much more specific than the OP's.
Your wife needs disc brakes, 32c tires, at least 105 components, and women's fit. Thats significantly more specific than 'modern road bike with Sora to 105 components'.
I just looked- took all of 3min, and found 4 bikes with Sora on Chicago CL in varying size that look clean and ready to ride. 5'5" - 6-3" for size ranges between the bikes and priced from $290 to $550.

I totally get that the specifics your wife requires is going to make finding something a lot more difficult.

But hey- there is more than one way to skin a cat, right?
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Old 10-30-17, 01:23 PM
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Normally I agree there are some great bikes out there in the $3-500 range, but my wife already has a nice 1992 steel paramount, and she likes the stack/reach/wide tires of the new women's endurance bikes which hasn't trickled down to the second-hand market yet. Requirements she didn't know she had before we visited a few shops.
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Old 10-30-17, 04:57 PM
  #21  
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I prefer new, so I would get an older model-year bike (new) at a discounted price at the LBS and budget ~20% on 'requirements' like a good helmet, front and taillights, clipless pedals and spd shoes, and a nice aero jersey and pants.
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Old 10-31-17, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
An overly broad question that pops up in this forum almost daily. There are so many road bikes on the market made for all kinds of riders. If you are looking to upgrade from your cheap MTB, almost anything you get for over $800 will be a huge upgrade. I would almost say your budget is too big and you are at risk of wasting money on too much bike for where you are at. I know someone who did this, and wound up getting a tremendous deal on a $3K racing bike. Problem is, she is actually afraid to ride it because it is too responsive, some would say twitchy for her ability. In a nutshell, she bought a Ferrari when she should have bought a Toyota.

I sense you don't have the luxury to make a mistake. Maybe look around for a deal on a used bike, or an entry level one on sale and see what you like, and dislike about what you get. Set your budget around $500 or so and see what you can find.

You may 100% correct on budget and I may need to scale back on that. Maybe pay less to learn more and be at less risk of having a super great bike that doesnt fit my needs. Thanks!
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Old 10-31-17, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
For sure- visiting a few shops is great. And yes, CL poses a greater risk of being screwed over, but ive found that in the $300-500 range for modern bikes(at least around me...and chicago) that isnt typical. I typically see entry level bike shop road bikes that sold for $750-1000 that people either want to sell to upgrade or want to sell because they werent used.

As for your wife's bike- thats a pretty specific list and though its surprising Chicago CL hasnt netted anything in half a year, i would say her list of needs is much more specific than the OP's.
Your wife needs disc brakes, 32c tires, at least 105 components, and women's fit. Thats significantly more specific than 'modern road bike with Sora to 105 components'.
I just looked- took all of 3min, and found 4 bikes with Sora on Chicago CL in varying size that look clean and ready to ride. 5'5" - 6-3" for size ranges between the bikes and priced from $290 to $550.

I totally get that the specifics your wife requires is going to make finding something a lot more difficult.

But hey- there is more than one way to skin a cat, right?

I've been scanning CL daily local and areas within a few hour drive. With my limited knowledge, my fear is I may get burned and spend more in the long run than maybe buying a new bike or even a new old stock. I had no idea there were so many bike options available. I will continue to research as much as possible to give myself the best informed decision when I pull the trigger.


I appreciate all the fantastic advice and I'm glad I joined this forum. I always try to make the most informed decision I possibly can. And y'all are making it easier. Thanks!
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Old 10-31-17, 10:06 AM
  #24  
fietsbob 
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I'd Recommend getting a bike from a bike shop as your first road bike since the whole mechanics may be new to you, and the Bike Shop will be there to help you after the Sale.

Maybe after some bike owning experience, then you can gain knowledge, to help you tell if a used bike deal is in good or bad shape..





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Old 10-31-17, 10:27 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by GaryDGullett View Post
I've been scanning CL daily local and areas within a few hour drive. With my limited knowledge, my fear is I may get burned and spend more in the long run than maybe buying a new bike or even a new old stock. I had no idea there were so many bike options available. I will continue to research as much as possible to give myself the best informed decision when I pull the trigger.


I appreciate all the fantastic advice and I'm glad I joined this forum. I always try to make the most informed decision I possibly can. And y'all are making it easier. Thanks!
Yup. There are racing bikes, endurance road bikes, light touring bikes, Gravel bikes, and touring bikes. And newer bikes sometimes come with hydraulic disc brakes and through axles. And that is on top of the whole frame material issue.

A lot of times, you have no idea what you want when you get started, but you will figure it out if you put some time in. Fit and comfort are important as you won't ride much if your back, neck, and posterior start hurting half an hour into the ride. This is a tough one though since you will experience some discomfort if you haven't ridden much before.

If you are unsure of what you are doing, a good bike shop should be able to help you. But be as careful picking a bike shop as you do picking a bike. Different shops cater to different types of cyclists.
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