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Beginner Cycler, need help!

Old 04-10-19, 04:24 AM
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tony77
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Beginner Cycler, need help!

Hello everyone,
Iím about 5í10 214 lbs male 18 and recently have changed my diet again to help me get down to 160 again. (i had a bad knee injury and basically canít do heavy excercise because it healed wrong and i need another surgery but i can still walk and bike and such)

i didnít want to just change my diet i want to add some fun exercise, i used to bmx bike a few years ago and i think cycling would be good because i would go biking literally all day.

i just have no idea where to start whatsoever, can i get a good bike for around $500 or are they more expensive?

basically iím just gonna be going for as long as i can every day probably about 20 miles starting then progressing when the weather gets better. (currently some snow)

Thank you !
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Old 04-10-19, 07:18 AM
  #2  
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This is tough.

First, how committed are you to cycling? if you really plan to cycle for a long time, you will want to spend possibly a little more than $500.

Even if you go to a cut-rate online store like Bikes Direct, you might need to take the bike to a shop to get is tightened up and tuned up---which might add $150 to your $500 "bargain" bike. And if you don't know what size you are ... you pretty much have to go to a bike shop. And at bike shops, unless you get a super deal on a two-year-old leftover, you are going to Want to spend more than $500.

You probably ride something in the region of a 56-cm frame, maybe a 54 on some bikes, depending on your proportions and flexibility. That is good in that those are probably the most popular sizes. You should be able to visit a couple shops and get a good idea of what's actually for sale.

But you also want to decide if you really want to take the plunge (of course, I strongly advise it.) If you do, double your budget at least.

You will want at least two pairs of shorts or bib overall, at least two jerseys, gloves, and you will almost certainly need to buy shoes and pedals. You will need at least one bottle cage and a bottle. You will want to buy one Quality tail light, at least, and a headlight if you ever plan to ride dusk or later. You will need a spare tube, a multi-tool, some tire levers, and a seat bag. This is just part of it all. You might as well budget for it.

Then you will need a bike .... might as well, since you bought all those accessories ...

I would recommend an endurance geometry road bike. personal favorites in that price range would be the Giant Contend and the Fuji Sportif. These tend ot be good values. Cannondale Synapse is popular as are Trek Domane and Specialized Roubaix. There are numerous others. Some people recommend Raleigh as a bargain brand offering good value, and there is some "corporate" code you can mention for a discount---someone here will know the details---but I think that is only online. You would need to visit some bike shops to make sure of what size you wanted, and just to see what it on the shop floor. Who knows what might capture your imagination?

https://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/Bi...a-9c42fd32faf3 $1,100---adequate drivetrain, rim brakes, Al frame CF fork
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/ro...=239328-159163 $1900---carbon frame and fork, good drivetrain (Tiagra), Fuuture-Shock contrioversial shock abosorber---not necessary IMO---decent brakes (Spyre Mech discs)
Fuji Bikes | Sportif 2.1 $949---Same drivetrain as Synapse (new Sora, Good Stuff) Al frame CF fork, rim brakes
https://www.fujibikes.com/usa/bikes/road/endurance/sportif/sportif-1-5-disc--$1199 Al frame/CF fork, Tiagra drivetrain, decent brakes (Spyre mech discs)
https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/contend-1 $945 Al frame, CF fork, Sora drivetrain, rim brakes
https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/bikes-defy-advanced $1,840 Tiagra drivetrain, CF frame and fork, Adequate brakes (Giant mech/hydraulic discs---not heard too many great or bad things)
https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...olorCode=black $919 Al frame Cf fork Sora drivetrain

That’s a summary of the type of bike I would recommend for a slightly portly person planning to lose weight (as a mega-clyde myself, I find this class of bike best for extended rides and still capable of any sort of high-speed riding.)

The more upright posture and wider tires (compared-to race-geometry bikes, generally) is great for people starting to ride or increasing distance because there is less stress on the lower back, I find, which makes it easier to keep good form and get full benefit of the bike as the miles add up or you add on more miles.

Everyone will have opinions … mine are right.

This gives you at least a start. You will have to google a lot of terms, perhaps, and you should to make sure some guy at a shop doesn’t take more of your money than he should.

Absolute minimum requirements if you plan to ride more than about three times: Claris 2400 (Not Claris 2000) drivetrain---Sora is better, Tiagra better still, 105 is the holy grail.

Al frame, though some steel frames are okay—Chromoly steel if you get a steel-frame bike.

Carbon fork---steel is heavy, Al is a vibration machine. 28-mm tires---just as fast and a lot more comfortable.

Once you know your size and what the various components are you can also shop Bikes Direct---but these bikes are a mix-and-match of good and okay, and come only partially assembled.

You still need to start by going to a couple bike shops, in my opinion.
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Old 04-10-19, 07:34 AM
  #3  
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Your $500 puts you in the squarely in the entry level bike category these days. Better than a department store bike but certainly not enough for a really high quality bike. If you take the time to learn which components are mid level then looking for a used bike could land you a better than entry level bike for your $500. You can read lists of components to see where in the hierarchy a particular brand/model is Ride on the Edge: BIKE GROUPSET HIERARCHY. At least with a used bike you can see if it will fit you before you buy. That's harder when you order online. The sweetest spot is to be able to maintain your own bike so if you buy a used bike you can go through it thoroughly if needed. I've bought some pretty nice bikes with decent components this way and it is way nicer to ride a high quality bike than an entry level one.
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Old 04-10-19, 07:42 AM
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Go to some local bike shops. They always know people trying to sell used bikes. They know that they might not get a sale, but they might get a loyal customer. Around here we have a mailing list from a local cyclist for his group rides and he often posts bikes for sale.
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Old 04-10-19, 07:51 AM
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Great you're doing this !! As they have said for the money you get into a new entry level bike. If you go used you can get an excellent older bike. As mentioned I would go online and find the local bike shops and talk to them. They might have a good used machine.

I ride road type bikes the majority of the time but ride a mountain bike on the local paved trails to get a much tougher work out. Pushing the bigger tires is a lot more work.

Let the folks know your location as some on here might be local and may have suggestions.
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Old 04-10-19, 08:44 AM
  #6  
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A lot of great advice on here already, I just wanted to share my experience being a "beginner cyclist"

I walked into my LBS about 7 months ago looking for a good entry-level hybrid bike. I was used to the $100 department store bikes, so I thought spending $400 on a bike would get me something really good and keep me motivated to ride. After realizing how expensive a quality bike was, I decided to stretch my budget up to $700 and get the Specialized Sirrus Sport, thinking that the bike would last me years and would pay for itself after a while. After two months of riding 2-3 times per week, I was hooked on pushing myself to ride longer and faster and got myself to complete a few Strava Gran Fondo (100km) achievements. After going these longer distances and after getting into hill climbing, I decided to test ride a carbon road bike. Friends warned me about test riding a road bike because "once I ride one I'll buy one", and they were right. Ended up buying the Specialized Roubaix Comp Di2 model on sale 3 months ago. Completed my first tour ride last weekend (Tour de Mesa) and loved it, and now I'm searching for more tour rides and races.

Long story short, $500 will get you a decent entry level bike, but if you're thinking about biking every day I can bet that you would end up wanting something more expensive or nicer. Check Craigslist or the used section of your local bike shop for a deal on an older but nice road bike, and you might be able to stick to your budget. I just wanted to warn you about the slippery slope that you might be getting into!

Also @Maelochs brings up an excellent point about accessories. Make sure to factor in the necessities (helmet, bike shorts, lights, saddle bag, tools) into your budget.

Last edited by alfhasian; 04-10-19 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 04-10-19, 10:36 AM
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I might suggest a little different direction since you really don't know yet what kind of riding you are going to enjoy. Get a reasonably decent used hybrid bike or whatever for about $200 and consider it your "audition" bike--see how long you like to ride and what else you like to do with it. I find as a general rule, beginners who go on to get serious usually end up buying their "real" bike after about a year when they know what they want to do more of.
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Old 04-10-19, 11:19 AM
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In addition to a cheaper used bike, do you have any friends / family around the same height that will allow you to borrow a bike for awhile? Preferably not a department store bike. This is a good way to learn what type of riding you'll like.

You don't have to buy all the accessories at once. Things you'll likely buy right away are: helmet, water bottle w/ cage, better saddle, spare tube, tire levers and pump.
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Old 04-10-19, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by tony77 View Post
Hello everyone,
Iím about 5í10 214 lbs male 18 and recently have changed my diet again to help me get down to 160 again. (i had a bad knee injury and basically canít do heavy excercise because it healed wrong and i need another surgery but i can still walk and bike and such)

i didnít want to just change my diet i want to add some fun exercise, i used to bmx bike a few years ago and i think cycling would be good because i would go biking literally all day.

i just have no idea where to start whatsoever, can i get a good bike for around $500 or are they more expensive?

basically iím just gonna be going for as long as i can every day probably about 20 miles starting then progressing when the weather gets better. (currently some snow)

Thank you !

Oh, and I forgot to add--welcome and good luck!
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Old 04-10-19, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I might suggest a little different direction since you really don't know yet what kind of riding you are going to enjoy. Get a reasonably decent used hybrid bike or whatever for about $200 and consider it your "audition" bike--see how long you like to ride and what else you like to do with it. I find as a general rule, beginners who go on to get serious usually end up buying their "real" bike after about a year when they know what they want to do more of.
So my $600.00 bike isn't real?
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Old 04-10-19, 11:30 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I might suggest a little different direction since you really don't know yet what kind of riding you are going to enjoy. Get a reasonably decent used hybrid bike or whatever for about $200 and consider it your "audition" bike--see how long you like to ride and what else you like to do with it. I find as a general rule, beginners who go on to get serious usually end up buying their "real" bike after about a year when they know what they want to do more of.
This is the correct advice. Also hold off on buying a bunch of cycling-specific clothing and gear. Just get what you need when it's clear that you need it.
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Old 04-10-19, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by coffeesnob View Post
So my $600.00 bike isn't real?
Huh?
Didn't say or imply that. I said as a general rule and $200. If you got it right for $600 the first time, good for you!

Most I've ever paid for a bike is $620, but I was able to do that because I learned what I wanted on really cheap bikes.

I outlined a strategy, never said it was the only one.
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Old 04-10-19, 12:39 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by coffeesnob View Post
So my $600.00 bike isn't real?
It might be real. It's not "real". Get with the program. We're trying to sell bikes, here!
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Old 04-10-19, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by kevindsingleton View Post
It might be real. It's not "real". Get with the program. We're trying to sell bikes, here!

Yeah, I totally have a $200 bike I was trying to sell OP.

Geez.
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Old 04-10-19, 12:54 PM
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I actually disagree in this case. Normally, buying cheap and learning are good things ... but this guys is going to spend $200 on a bike and be over it in two weeks? Then he has to go out and get the $1000 bike he should have bought originally ... and he has the unused bike sitting around. Or ... he spends $1000 on a bike and if he only rides it three times, sells it for $800 in two weeks. he tosses in the accessories for half-price (assuming the shoes and helmet fit the new buyer) or Ebays them.

But ... I see no reason to think this guy is full of it. I see no reason to think he is suddenly going to develop a passion for MTB and hate road-riding. (Not sure I would recommend MTB for someone with a bad knee anyway.)

On top of that a $200 used bike will likely need work and parts anyway---tubes for sure, likely tires, probably cables ... which means he might need help adjusting the brakes and shifters. So ... a trip to the bike shop.

On top of that he needs to find a cheap but not garbage used bike, in his size, in his area, in good shape ... I watch the ads where I live and you know, I don't see many options, and I can do all the repair work myself. I look for any bike which isn't crap and is cheap, because I could swap out the entire group set off my spares shelf if i wanted. I still don't see many bikes worth the effort.

The last thing this guy needs to do is get a crappy bike and have it not work well, seize a bearing, not shift properly ... and what if the wheels are not round and true? Not properly tensioned? Not odd on a $200 bike. All that means time and money at the bike shop, and less enthusiasm about riding. And if this guy knows next to nothing about bikes ... how could he tell what he was getting?

I'd rather he get a $125 Walmart bike if he was only planning to ride it for a season anyway. For $75 more at the LBS he'd at least be pretty sure it would last until the snows returned. A used bike is a crapshoot.

So ... let him go to the bike shops. Let him see the price tags. If he is scared off, oh well. But maybe, Like Any Of Us, he will see the bikes and get excited about riding one regularly. Maybe, Like Any Of Us, he would picture the place he could ride, he would imagine himself going farther and faster ... maybe he would imagine one day buying one of those really hot-looking but pricey bikes and doing centuries or multi-day rides.

Just Like Any of Us.
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Old 04-10-19, 12:55 PM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Yeah, I totally have a $200 bike I was trying to sell OP.

Geez.
Don't take it too seriously. It's just bikes.
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Old 04-10-19, 01:38 PM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by kevindsingleton View Post
Don't take it too seriously. It's just bikes.

I find it annoying to be the subject of a such a dumb cheap shot when my advice was actually to spend less than what he OP was planning on. Might have actually laughed at your little joke if it had actually been, y'know, funny.
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Old 04-10-19, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I actually disagree in this case.

TL/Didn't Quote

Just Like Any of Us.
He said he's ridden some BMX. I assume he knows enough to figure out if a bike is serviceable for 20 mile rides.

There's some pretty decent bikes at $600, and there are some that are complete crap. He wouldn't necessarily be any better at sorting out the $600 crap than he is the $200 crap. There are, of course, also pretty damn good used $200 bikes.

Anyway, there's nothing particularly wrong with your approach and the OP will know better if it's a good strategy for him. I've just seen my strategy work out really well for myself and others with limited knowledge at the time.

Keep in mind also that he has an injury and some experimentation of what style of riding is best with that may be in order before he pulls the relatively big trigger.
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Old 04-10-19, 02:27 PM
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Go to a bike shop...
kick the tires on a few ..
test ride some ..
report back
..
I did that, got a decent Mt bike for $500..
versatile, comfortable , in budget
rode a year , learned what works for me
now have more bikes...addictive
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Old 04-10-19, 02:36 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I might suggest a little different direction since you really don't know yet what kind of riding you are going to enjoy. Get a reasonably decent used hybrid bike or whatever for about $200 and consider it your "audition" bike--see how long you like to ride and what else you like to do with it. I find as a general rule, beginners who go on to get serious usually end up buying their "real" bike after about a year when they know what they want to do more of.
This.

This is the answer.

Also...don't get into biking at 18! You'll be poor. By getting into it young you are adding many many years to all the buying of accessories, upgrades, second...third....sixth bikes....

(Just kidding....you'll love it. But seriously you'll spend all your money on it if you get really into it. That part's no joke.)
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Old 04-10-19, 02:54 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I find it annoying to be the subject of a such a dumb cheap shot when my advice was actually to spend less than what he OP was planning on. Might have actually laughed at your little joke if it had actually been, y'know, funny.
lol.
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Old 04-10-19, 04:36 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
He said he's ridden some BMX. I assume he knows enough to figure out if a bike is serviceable for 20 mile rides.

There's some pretty decent bikes at $600, and there are some that are complete crap. He wouldn't necessarily be any better at sorting out the $600 crap than he is the $200 crap. There are, of course, also pretty damn good used $200 bikes.
Wait, he knows enough to tell which $200 bike is crap but not which $600 bike is crap? How's that again?

On the other hand, I suggested some very sound bikes there.

No one is saying your strategy didn't work for you or would only work for you. But this guy already has a plan .... and also, he might Not know anything about bikes, really ... BMX bikes aren't exactly high-tech. if he buys a $200 bike and he has never had a bike with multiple gears, two-wheel brakes (or hand brakes) or shifters, or a multi-piece crank .... Which is why I suggested he go to a bike shop first. Because likely if he bought a $200 bike he'd be going to a bike shop ... and wouldn't it be funny if he was there spending $100 on a bike which needed some work and saw the bike he wish he had bought first, hanging on a rack?

Anyway, this is real life, so not everyone will always agree. I explained my thoughts, you explained yours. It is up to the OP now. It ain't about us.

Be well and do good.
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Old 04-10-19, 04:47 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by tony77 View Post
Hello everyone,
Iím about 5í10 214 lbs male 18 and recently have changed my diet again to help me get down to 160 again. (i had a bad knee injury and basically canít do heavy excercise because it healed wrong and i need another surgery but i can still walk and bike and such)

i didnít want to just change my diet i want to add some fun exercise, i used to bmx bike a few years ago and i think cycling would be good because i would go biking literally all day.

i just have no idea where to start whatsoever, can i get a good bike for around $500 or are they more expensive?

basically iím just gonna be going for as long as i can every day probably about 20 miles starting then progressing when the weather gets better. (currently some snow)

Thank you !
go to ebay and esnipe ur self more bike than u could afford new
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Old 04-11-19, 07:17 AM
  #24  
livedarklions
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Anyway, this is real life, so not everyone will always agree. I explained my thoughts, you explained yours. It is up to the OP now. It ain't about us.

Be well and do good.

Yeah, I wasn't actually ever disagreeing with your original post so much as laying out the "other" school of thought on buying a first bike, figuring OP would be the one to sort out which suited him best.

My experience with this is that when I came back to riding after a very long layoff, I very quickly found that I was riding the cheap and/or decrepit bikes I had really long distances, and I hadn't expected that I would do that. That informed me better for what to look for when I wanted to actually spend some money. If I had bought my "serious" bike before that, I probably would've gone more for a comfort-oriented bike as that was what I had grown accustomed to when I was hauling kids around and doing some medium range commuting.

OP knows better than thee and me how certain he is about what he's going to do with the bike, and I hope he gets what he needs whatever he decides to do.
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Old 04-11-19, 08:30 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I find it annoying to be the subject of a such a dumb cheap shot when my advice was actually to spend less than what he OP was planning on. Might have actually laughed at your little joke if it had actually been, y'know, funny.
Since I got an email about this, I looked at it, again. It wasn't even you that I quoted, so you're annoyed over something that doesn't even concern you. Jeez.
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