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Test Riding and what to look for as a complete beginner

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Test Riding and what to look for as a complete beginner

Old 01-30-20, 12:38 PM
  #26  
SayWatt
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Go test ride those bikes. While your at the shop test ride some more if you want to. If any shop give you a problem with providing pedals or time to test ride don’t spend your money at that shop. In my experience bike shop employees are almost always very helpful, especially if you show sincere interest in their products so I think your worries are for not. One tip: as a new cyclist you most definitely want to trust the shop you buy from and buy a maintenance plan that includes tune ups. For example: I’ve already gotten about $200 worth of service from a $100 plan in 4 months and it’s a two year plan.
as far as your third question goes. I wouldn’t worry about seat feel. You will want to get bike shorts. Two most important things will be does the bikes fit you and how you want to ride.
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Old 01-30-20, 12:51 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by aabb View Post
I understand your intentions, but the way you worded a large portion of your response is not great. Comes across as negative. If you don't feel like answering my questions, then great, don't answer - no one is forcing you. You could just read what I have to say and not reply.
Its unfortunate you found my post to be negative and not great. Its directly stated accurate information. It wasnt polite, but it wasnt meant to be. It was meant to recap your process to show you trends(which you have missed...still).

Originally Posted by aabb View Post
Secondly, what do you honestly expect? Im completely new to this. I will not take the advice of some LBS who often try to sell bikes that exceed people's needs. I would much rather take the advice of people who just want to help without benefiting financially in some way from my purchase.
Your decision to not blindly take the advice of a bike shop makes sense. Unfortunately, you have continually ignored the advice of posters here when it comes to their questioning the level of bike combined with the lack of experience. Not really sure what you are gaining from posting when the responses have either all been commenting that the bikes are 'nice' or that you are spending 'too much'(both comments are paraphrased).

Originally Posted by aabb View Post
I am thankful for everyone who has provided tips and suggestions and opinions so far in this thread and the others. It has helped me learn a great deal and day after day I am much better in understanding what bike I want, hence this thread about the test ride as I am getting close to purchasing one.
This is good to hear- buying a bike can be an exciting and confusing process due to the seemingly never ending options available. Not sure why you havent test ridden a bike yet though, especially since you have declared multiple times that you have found the bike you will buy. I would think such a declaration would come after a test ride.




Originally Posted by aabb View Post
No, this is literally the first thread where people have suggested spending much less. All of my previous threads have been about bike X, bike Y, and how that compares to bike Z.
Well thats just not accurate. Its as if you havent read the threads you started.
Again, its your money and we all spend differently and have different priorities. There is nothing wrong with spending this much on a new bike. Many others have found that they learned a lot from their first bike that was then used when buying their second bike. As you say- you are completely new to this. You dont know what you want/dont want. That only comes with experience.
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Old 01-30-20, 01:16 PM
  #28  
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The only thing you’ll be able to learn from a test ride, no matter how long it is, is to confirm the size of the bike that will fit you, which you can determine a priori on the basis of your height and inside leg length. You would need dozens of hours of riding—and that following many hours of fitting and adjustment to find the right saddle, saddle height, angle, fore and aft position, stem length, etc.—to find out if a bike is right for you. This would argue for a cheap first bike to experiment with. But it could also argue for choosing a bike on the basis of established reputation, and you seem to have done a lot of research on this point. I have no direct experience with the Cervelo (though it is one of the bikes I considered on the basis of reputation), but unless you expect to do a lot of aggressive racing, I fully expect that just about anyone can make the Domane a comfortable and satisfying bike for himself. If you were, say, my brother-in-law, I would advise, yeah, go ahead and get that $3,000 bike now. Hell, it ain’t MY money.
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Old 01-30-20, 01:24 PM
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aabb It's ok to be unsure. It's a very large world with a dizzying aray of choices. At the price points you are considering, it's hard to buy junk, if that's what your fear was/is. At worst, you'll just have spent money on the wrong bike for whatever you grow in to.

It's ok. We all sometimes get paralyzed by information overload, especially if we don't know by way of experience what we want. Heck, I did it recently with a thread about how to be more aero & I knew absolutely nothing about clip-on aero bars.

In the end, no matter the situation: If you don't know, then all the options are effectively the same. Think on that the next time you go out to a foreign ethnic restaurant you've never heard of with a menu written in a language you can't read. It doesn't matter what you order, it's all the same if you don't know what'll show up.

Go to a bike shop. Hand over your drivers license, & maybe you're car keys & do some A/B testing for a good 30-45 minutes each. A couple of 2 or 3 bikes, & maybe cycle back to a promising one that feels better. That's the best of what's available.

To have an 80% chance of finding the best possibe candidate for a position you only need to eliminate the bottom 66% of the applicant pool.

Out of 3 bikes, knock off 2. What remains has an 80% chance (or 4 out of 5 times) of being the ideal. Good enough. in my book.

Applied math.
Here is a good book on the subject.

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Old 01-30-20, 05:36 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by aabb View Post
Third, and most importantly, what am I even supposed to look for when I test ride? I'm a complete beginner, last time I rode a bike was when I learned how to ride bikes as a kid. How am I supposed to figure out if any discomfort or awkwardness is due to the fact that I'm a beginner and it will take some getting used to OR if its because something is wrong (e.g. saddle is uncomfortable, etc.)?
I say don't bother with a test ride - you are correct, because you have absolutely no experience and no point of reference, test ride will not provide you with any useful information at all. Just decide at the type of a bike you want (it seems that you already decided this - regular drop bar road bike), go to a good bike shop and let *them* based on your size and price you are willing to spend offer you a few bike choices, select the one looks of which you prefer and let them fit it for you - adjust saddle height, offset, stem etc. And then just ride it. With time you'll figure out what do you like and what not, eventually get what you like better. :-)

Of course, you can just go all in and get *any* reputable brand road bike with full hydraulic disc Shimano 105 (or Ultegra, Ultegra Di2) groupset from a local bike shop - any of them will be the same for you at this point, again, select just by looks. All of them will be somewhat different but all of them will be more than good enough.
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Old 01-30-20, 07:55 PM
  #31  
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Hey aabb, get over your analysis paralysis. Go buy a bike and ride it. The time you are spending hand wringing over minutiae is time you aren't enjoying riding. You have all the information you need to make an informed decision, now take the leap. I expect to see pics of your new bike soon.
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Old 01-31-20, 05:34 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Oso Polar View Post
I say don't bother with a test ride - you are correct, because you have absolutely no experience and no point of reference, test ride will not provide you with any useful information at all. Just decide at the type of a bike you want (it seems that you already decided this - regular drop bar road bike), go to a good bike shop and let *them* based on your size and price you are willing to spend offer you a few bike choices, select the one looks of which you prefer and let them fit it for you - adjust saddle height, offset, stem etc. And then just ride it. With time you'll figure out what do you like and what not, eventually get what you like better. :-)

Of course, you can just go all in and get *any* reputable brand road bike with full hydraulic disc Shimano 105 (or Ultegra, Ultegra Di2) groupset from a local bike shop - any of them will be the same for you at this point, again, select just by looks. All of them will be somewhat different but all of them will be more than good enough.

I agree a single test ride won't tell him much of anything beyond whether he can get on a bike and pedal (not something he should take for granted, btw). Several, on the other hand....

I think it's ridiculous to choose a type of bike you've never ridden.
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Old 01-31-20, 07:46 AM
  #33  
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This is an excellent thread ... one of the best set of responses to a "Choose a bike for me" posts.
@aabb, there are a lot of people here who really know their stuff really trying to help you enjoy cycling. We all have different modes of expression ... and a lot of us are frustrated by trying repeatedly to help an endless stream of posters who come here asking the same questions and not listening to the answers .... not your fault, just some context so you will understand people's responses.

I can tell you exactly what I think you should do: by a Giant Contend of Fuji Sportif .... or for more gravelly work, a Yari .... in your size and with Sora running gear at least, and ride for a season. Spend about $1,000 or $1,200 but not a lot more. You can get so much bike for that money it is ridiculous .... and when you have several thousand miles on the bike, you will have laundry list of likes and dislikes, and your next purchase will be much more focused.

That said .... buy that Cervelo if you like it. At that price, if it isn't for you, you can turn it over for $2000 after a season, and if you like it, it will have been a good deal. That is another option. And I cannot say what will work for you .... because You don't know what will work for you. You might want a Camaro, or a Corvette, or a Ferrari, or a 4x4 Jeep. No one knows ... Heck, you might want a mini-van.

Seriously .... Go Ride Bikes.

Never go to a bike shop with money. Leave the credit cards at home, so you won't fall in love with an evil-hearted temptress. Be honest with the staff, and ride Several bikes at each shop. No, you will not learn a lot as far as how a bike will suit you six months from now, when your body will have changed significantly from continued riding .... but you will at least have a large sample of impressions, so that you can make comparisons. You will be able to say what was better or worse between what you have tried .... and maybe rule out some stuff.

Seriously ... your body today is nothing like the body you will have at the end of the season if you ride for six or eight months. "Fit" will change every few weeks as your various muscle groups adapt and grow. Also, your differing cycling passions will surface ... you might find that all you really want to do is trail riding, for all anyone knows.

Just Get On a Bike .... over and over again. Try Everything. And go into it knowing that stuff you hate today might be what you love tomorrow. Fast handling, a stiff frame, a short wheelbase, a long, low riding position ... you might hate them today and love them in six months ... or vice versa. .... Know that. Know that you are buying a First bike, not The Bike. it might turn out to be the same bike you will be riding in ten years, or you may replace it in ten weeks. Maybe you will stress less thinking this way.

But yeah ... RIDE BIKES. AThere is absolutely no relationship between sitting in front of a PC and riding bikes ... I'd win every Tour de France otherwise. Get out and Experience what is out there. It can't hurt and it will probably help. And in a few months You will be the person here with a bunch of knowledge helping new riders get started.

Last edited by Maelochs; 01-31-20 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 01-31-20, 09:20 AM
  #34  
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I'll amen Maelochs here and add one thing. The biggest risk for you right now is that you will buy a bike that you just can't stand to ride right now, and then you'll never develop as a rider because you won't get past the first step.

OP--I asked above if you've ever ridden a drop bar bike. If you haven't, you can't just assume that it will be the type of handlebars you like even though that's what the cool kids are riding. Try riding a wide range of bikes if you haven't done so already.
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Old 01-31-20, 12:40 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
OP--I asked above if you've ever ridden a drop bar bike. If you haven't, you can't just assume that it will be the type of handlebars you like even though that's what the cool kids are riding. Try riding a wide range of bikes if you haven't done so already.
That's a good point. Back in 2002 I entered in to what I would call my "I'm not a serious cyclist any more" phase. I was no longer doing the mountain bike races I was doing a few years earlier, and had sold my 1980's Fuji road bike and my Trek 8700 MTB. I was mainly looking for something for casual rides and commutes, and decided on one of those Trek fitness bikes (basically a hybrid with slightly lighter components and tires that were not knobby).

At first I mainly did rides five miles and less, using the bike to get to work on nicer days or for riding to a farmers market. But after I decided to start doing some longer multi-hour rides again, I noticed that the flat bars and upright riding position were worse for my back, and the hand position was compressing my ulnar nerves. I really needed the drop bar option to have more hand positions, and the more aggressive roadie riding geometry actually put less strain on my back (slight bends are worse for me than deeper bends, I've learned).

Now all of my bikes are drop bar, and probably always will be. But some people have the opposite reaction, and strongly prefer flat bars and an upright riding position. I think you really need some miles on the bike to make this determination.

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Old 02-01-20, 06:38 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by HarborBandS View Post
That's a good point. Back in 2002 I entered in to what I would call my "I'm not a serious cyclist any more" phase. I was no longer doing the mountain bike races I was doing a few years earlier, and had sold my 1980's Fuji road bike and my Trek 8700 MTB. I was mainly looking for something for casual rides and commutes, and decided on one of those Trek fitness bikes (basically a hybrid with slightly lighter components and tires that were not knobby).

At first I mainly did rides five miles and less, using the bike to get to work on nicer days or for riding to a farmers market. But after I decided to start doing some longer multi-hour rides again, I noticed that the flat bars and upright riding position were worse for my back, and the hand position was compressing my ulnar nerves. I really needed the drop bar option to have more hand positions, and the more aggressive roadie riding geometry actually put less strain on my back (slight bends are worse for me than deeper bends, I've learned).

Now all of my bikes are drop bar, and probably always will be. But some people have the opposite reaction, and strongly prefer flat bars and an upright riding position. I think you really need some miles on the bike to make this determination.
And OP hasn't ridden since childhood. There's really no way of knowing whether he/she could even start riding on a particular style without trying stuff out. At this stage, OP needs the easiest bike to ride while learning the basics, and that's going to vary from person to person. My criteria for a good beginner bike is one that won't fight against you while you develop some endurance and speed, not worrying about what its capacity will top off at. By the time the beginner is good enough to worry about high performance, they'll know what kind of riding they want to do and be ready to make a more targeted choice.

A bike the beginner can't ride isn't just a waste of money, it's also a lost opportunity to get started riding.
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Old 02-01-20, 12:22 PM
  #37  
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This thread has progressed to: ..... Endurance bike with some gravel capabilities?

The dude still hasn't put his butt on a saddle, but now he absolutely knows he wants a gravel bike.

He doesn't know it, nor does he want to know it ... but he doesn't even know if he wants any bike.

I say ... buy the most expensive bike you can, so I can buy it at a deep discount three years from now when you get tired of looking at it.
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Old 02-01-20, 01:32 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
This thread has progressed to: ..... Endurance bike with some gravel capabilities?

The dude still hasn't put his butt on a saddle, but now he absolutely knows he wants a gravel bike.

He doesn't know it, nor does he want to know it ... but he doesn't even know if he wants any bike.

I say ... buy the most expensive bike you can, so I can buy it at a deep discount three years from now when you get tired of looking at it.
Mr. double-a-double-b deserves a lot more damn respect than he's getting from you geezers who are advising him to buy a cheap POS and ride it around for a year. He's already done a lot of research, he's already narrowed it down to two bikes, he's already decided to spend $3,000 on a new bike. All he asked for was advice on how to test ride these two bikes. He didn't ask for your financial advice. For all you know, aabb is in early retirement pulling down eight figures a year, and $3,000 IS the cheap, entry-level amount he's decided to spend. Next year he might well spend three times as much on a bike that weighs two candy bars less.

It's also worth pointing out that spending, say, $750 on a cheap used POS for what amounts to a year-long self-educational test ride is quite an expensive proposition. Once you add in a stem or two, seatpost, a couple of saddles, pedals, shoes, and a bike fitter, you've doubled that initial investment, most of which goes out the window next year, and that $3,000 bike has set you back $4,500.

The two bikes aabb is considering are both great bikes. It would be a joy even for a newbie to get on either of them and ride. They are at the sweet spot of maximizing value to cost. And in the likely event that he decides he does indeed enjoy drop-bar road biking, which is vastly superior to all other forms of cycling, aabb is very unlikely to outgrow his enjoyment of his new bike. I say go for it.

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Old 02-01-20, 01:51 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Moishe View Post
...And in the likely event that he decidess he does indeed enjoy drop-bar road biking, which is vastly superior to all other forms of cycling...
You should have stated this "fact" upfront. It provides the basis for what to look for in the rest of your opinions.
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Old 02-01-20, 03:07 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Moishe View Post
Mr. double-a-double-b deserves a lot more damn respect than he's getting from you geezers who are advising him to buy a cheap POS and ride it around for a year. He's already done a lot of research, he's already narrowed it down to two bikes, he's already decided to spend $3,000 on a new bike. All he asked for was advice on how to test ride these two bikes. He didn't ask for your financial advice. For all you know, aabb is in early retirement pulling down eight figures a year, and $3,000 IS the cheap, entry-level amount he's decided to spend. Next year he might well spend three times as much on a bike that weighs two candy bars less.

It's also worth pointing out that spending, say, $750 on a cheap used POS for what amounts to a year-long self-educational test ride is quite an expensive proposition. Once you add in a stem or two, seatpost, a couple of saddles, peddles, shoes, and a bike fitter, you've doubled that initial investment, most of which goes out the window next year, and that $3,000 bike has set you back $4,500.

The two bikes aabb is considered are both great bikes. It would be a joy even for a newbie to get on either of them and ride. They are at the sweet spot of maximizing value to cost. And in the likely event that he decidess he does indeed enjoy drop-bar road biking, which is vastly superior to all other forms of cycling, aabb is very unlikely to outgrow his enjoyment of his new bike. I say go for it.

Hey, if he test rides those bikes and enjoys the rides, go for it. But telling him to buy them without trying them out is pretty dumb.

Labelling one form of riding as being "vastly superior" isn't just pretty dumb, maybe as stupid as deliberately mischarachterizing everything people have posted in this thread.
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Old 02-01-20, 04:09 PM
  #41  
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Old 02-02-20, 09:42 AM
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Hey fellas, c’mon. There’s no need to get our noses all out of joint in a tangential discussion about mud biking. Let’s just assume I’m right about road biking and drop the subject. It would be stupid to argue about it.
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Old 02-02-20, 11:32 AM
  #43  
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Here is this----if a person Really knows what's up, s/he isn't going to come here asking for entry-level advice.

I own a bunch of bikes, and have owned a bunch. The only time I ever needed to come here to ask for help, was before purchasing my first Workswell frame, simply because there weren't many people around who had one. I didn't need to ask what specific model to buy, because I knew what I wanted it for and what it was good for. I just wanted to talk to people who had bought that specific frame from that specific (and at the time, little-known) company to see how the business went.

I felt secure choosing a frame after (at that time) 45 years of riding.

Here we have someone who hasn't ridden, in maybe, 45 years. Here we have someone who is obviously intelligent but apparently has some huge blind spots. here is a place where people who have long cycling histories can maybe save a person some time and money.

But ... really, I can not help anyone. I can offer to help a person help him- or herself. I toss out the rope, the person grabs it and get hauled to safety ... or swims alone. Not my problem either way. Same for all the other sound opinion offered here. Opinion. Heeding it is optional.

In any case .... in a short while I am going to go for a ride---On Pavement---on my Workswell 066--and excellent bike which turned out almost exactly as I had envisioned it. I am highly satisfied. What others do is their business.

Moishe ... you do a decent job of posting from under that bridge. I guess wifi gets everywhere nowadays.
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Old 02-02-20, 11:41 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Moishe View Post
Hey fellas, címon. Thereís no need to get our noses all out of joint in a tangential discussion about mud biking. Letís just assume Iím right about road biking and drop the subject. It would be stupid to argue about it.
We're not engaging in a tangential argument about "mud biking". You just assumed that OP can use "vastly superior" drop bars. It's a stupid assertion and no, we're not going to assume you're right because whether the op can actually use drop bars is probably the first thing they'd figure out from test rides.

At this point, I can't tell if you're kidding. I hope so.
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Old 02-02-20, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
We're not engaging in a tangential argument about "mud biking". You just assumed that OP can use "vastly superior" drop bars. It's a stupid assertion and no, we're not going to assume you're right because whether the op can actually use drop bars is probably the first thing they'd figure out from test rides.

At this point, I can't tell if you're kidding. I hope so.
Well God bless you for your hope, oh my beloved Brother in Biking. One should never lose hope. It would be stupid to do so. Even if you're stupid anyway, even if you're stupid enough to throw that epithet around willy-nilly, keep hope alive.

Just kidding.
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Old 02-02-20, 02:53 PM
  #46  
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I was thinking about this on my bike ride this morning and decided that I agree with @Moishe. A carbon endurance 105/ultegra is a good entry level bike for the top 1%. I have known a bunch of those guys and that's exactly what they do. They go to the Trek/Specialized/Cannondale shop and pay retail for the Domane/Roubaix/Synapse with 105/Ultegra. Then in the next season or two, if they're still into it, they get some carbon wheels, a few seasons later they get something exclusive like a custom titanium, C64, stuff like that with Dura Ace or SR because that's the best. Lather-rinse-repeat every few seasons. What they don't do is start half-a-dozen threads on bikeforums asking for advice on which close out model bike to buy and how to do a test ride. For normal people who live in a world of limited resources, aluminum Sora/Tiagra is the sweet spot for a starter bike.
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Old 02-02-20, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Moishe View Post
Well God bless you for your hope, oh my beloved Brother in Biking. One should never lose hope. It would be stupid to do so. Even if you're stupid anyway, even if you're stupid enough to throw that epithet around willy-nilly, keep hope alive.

Just kidding.

Speaking of willy-nilly epiphets, you sure like "POS.". Not that you care, but I've had enough of you (prior interaction remembered) and you just made my ignore list.
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Old 02-02-20, 03:14 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Speaking of willy-nilly epiphets, you sure like "POS.". Not that you care, but I've had enough of you (prior interaction remembered) and you just made my ignore list.
I have two POS flat-bar road bikes.
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Old 02-02-20, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Speaking of willy-nilly epiphets, you sure like "POS.". Not that you care, but I've had enough of you (prior interaction remembered) and you just made my ignore list.
Cool
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Old 02-02-20, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I was thinking about this on my bike ride this morning and decided that I agree with @Moishe. A carbon endurance 105/ultegra is a good entry level bike for the top 1%. I have known a bunch of those guys and that's exactly what they do. They go to the Trek/Specialized/Cannondale shop and pay retail for the Domane/Roubaix/Synapse with 105/Ultegra. Then in the next season or two, if they're still into it, they get some carbon wheels, a few seasons later they get something exclusive like a custom titanium, C64, stuff like that with Dura Ace or SR because that's the best. Lather-rinse-repeat every few seasons. What they don't do is start half-a-dozen threads on bikeforums asking for advice on which close out model bike to buy and how to do a test ride. For normal people who live in a world of limited resources, aluminum Sora/Tiagra is the sweet spot for a starter bike.

I agree that the bikes could be a good fit for the OP, but I'm taking the headline of this thread seriously --the number one purpose of a test ride for an absolute beginner is to confirm or disconfirm whether or not the newbie rider can actually tolerate the bike their analysis says they "should" like. I think the fact that the OP hasn't actually tried out ANY bikes is as clear a symptom of analysis paralysis as there could be.
I don't know and don't want to know the financial status of the OP, and really don't think I have anything to offer as to what level of quality they should pay for, but I do think my experience seeing newbies finding they don't feel secure enough on drop bars to actually get the thing out of their garage is data worth relaying. Likewise, I think clipping in is problematic for a lot of newbies, and I and a lot of other riders do some pretty damn good riding without it.
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