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Writing a bicycle guide for my sister

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Writing a bicycle guide for my sister

Old 11-15-20, 08:55 PM
  #1  
hybridbkrdr
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Writing a bicycle guide for my sister

OK, I understand not everyone is going to agree with my ideas. But I figured I'd try to give my sister at least some ideas on what she can choose, not just my personal opinions. Would you like to add anything to this list?

TYPES OF BICYCLES: For your needs, I think you may want either a hybrid or gravel bike. A gravel bike is like a road bike but it has slightly larger tires and a more comfortable position. A real race bike might hurt your neck in the long run. A hybrid gives you a better chance to turn your head in traffic. And more, it's more comfortable in general (even if a drop bar bike gives you 3 positions in case you lose circulation in your hands).

FRAME MATERIAL: Carbon, steel and aluminum. There are stories of people who cracked a carbon frame by tightening a seatpost clamp too tight. Steel can better absorb vibrations than aluminum but aluminum doesn't rust and is lighter. I like aluminum frames (even though lots of people prefer carbon these days).

DISC BRAKES VS RIM BRAKES: Disc brakes is without a doubt the most popular choice now. But my own opinion is rim brakes are a bit more simple to work with. Also, it may be a bit easier to install fenders and racks on a rim brake bike.

MECHANICAL DISC VS HYDRAULIC DISC BRAKES: Hydraulic brakes are seen as superior but mechanical brakes are a bit more simple to work with. Bleeding hydraulic brakes is not obvious for everyone.

700c VS 650b WHEELS: If you want larger tires, 650b wheels can give you the same circumference as a 700c wheels with smaller tires. So the frame geometry stays the same and you won't lose speed (with minimum 2 inch tires for 650b tires).

9mm QR VS THRU-AXLE HUBS: If you choose 9mm, there are Allen key skewers you can use. But the thru-axle is more modern and safer. (Only just enough force to install 9mm QR wheels so you don't too much pressure on the bearings.)

BOTTOM BRACKETS: The most common standards are square taper and Hollowtech II. Hollowtech II is superior. Press fit bottom brackets can creak and be a headache. T47 is a new standard which is meant to replace press fit.

GROUPSETS (derailleurs, cranks, shifters): Shimano almost has a monopoly. On road bikes: Claris, Sora, Tiagra and 105. Some people recommend minimum Tiagra. On hybrid/mountain bikes: Altus, Acera, Alivio, Deore. Some people recommend minimum Deore. You can survive on Claris or Altus. Don't get Tourney derailleurs for either one (lowest level).

FOR MORE COMFORT: I like WTB Rocket saddles. And if you get a drop bar bike like a gravel bike, you can buy gel pads. (You can re-install bar tape and install the gel pads.) I tried double wrapping but it wasn't as cushy as I wanted.

PLATFORM VS CLIPLESS: Pedals like the Shimano PD-T420 (or T421) place your feet in the middle of the pedal while other models can place the pedals in a position closers to the end of your feet. Platform pedals like the HT PA12 NANO P and XLC PD-C08 have sealed bearings. Shimano sizing is the same for their shoes as your regular shoes.

DOUBLE VS TRIPLE CRANKS: Sub-compacts like the 46/30T are easier to pedal than a 50/34 compact (50 teeth & 34 teeth). The front derailleur on a double is easier to adjust than a triple.

TIPS: A rear kickstand is more stable than a kickstand close to your crankset if you put weight on your racks (gravel, touring, hybrid but not road bikes or flat-bar road bikes since your feet can strike the rear kickstand due to road cranks being closer to the frame). Cross chaining (using big-big or small-small gears) is not recommended. It ages your transmission. Pants that are a bit large can get caught in a crankset with no chainguard and potentially cause an accident. The Topeak Joe Blow Sport III is a good pump. Troy Lee Designs helmets are comfortable (they have gloves as well). The MIPS category is a new standard for helmets. You can get an Allen key set at the hardware store with 3, 4, 4.5, 5 and 6mm etc. Pedros tire levers are easier to work with (Vaseline on end of the tire levers can help too). Spoke protectors are recommended to keep your rear derailleur hitting your wheel and causing an accident.

IN GENERAL: You probably won't find a bicycle with all my preferences unless you want to do a custom build. But that's easier said than done. But at least I gave you ideas on what you can choose.
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Old 11-15-20, 09:06 PM
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What about 1x you insensitive jerk

I wonder what your sister is looking for in a bike? This might be overwhelming and misses a lot of key stuff which is also not really needed in some cases. There is a lot that is just fine and a lot that is just not right but most of it doesn't matter a huge ton without knowing what she wants? Or at least some idea of where and how she is riding, what she is currently on what she likes and doesn't like what she has ridden...


I want to respond to so much of this but SPOKE PROTECTERS ARE SILLY. Just adjust your limit screws properly, maintain your bike and the derailleur won't be able to move that far unless you get into a crash and you will have worse things to worry about than a plastic disc on the back. Also Aluminum isn't lighter unless it is. Any frame material can be heavy or light depending on how it is built and quality of materials. Also no titanium...
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Old 11-15-20, 09:08 PM
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Don't pedal out of the saddle for ladies. Unless you wan't hordes of motorists following you.
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Old 11-16-20, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
Don't pedal out of the saddle for ladies. Unless you wan't hordes of motorists following you.
Shhhhhhhhhhhh...
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Old 11-16-20, 12:47 AM
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So what about cycling kit? Does she know about padded shorts, cutout saddles, padded gloves and jerseys with pockets in the back?
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Old 11-16-20, 07:21 AM
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Send her this guide, but also tell her to go to a bunch of bike shops and test a lot of bikes.
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Old 11-16-20, 07:48 AM
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Kind of depends on who my sister is. A physically active 20-30 something, or a finally getting off the couch 50 something.
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Old 11-16-20, 07:48 AM
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Generally a pretty good guide.

Couple points:

Aluminum is absurdly stiff. I choose chromoly over Aluminum because I'm not a serious racer.

derialleurs all do the job fine. You can get smoother shifts with a new well oiled chain and the right ratio spread.

a 40/52t front crankset works best for my needs.

Not enough detail between how the different bikes fit you. Look into stack and reach measurements. Trail and xc bikes tend to have a longer reach. If your sister wants a more comfortable riding position, look for bikes which have a reach of roughly 420 or less. Most of them will be drop bar bikes. Converting one to flat bar I find is very comfortable.

Or just get a comfy cruiser.
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Old 11-16-20, 07:55 AM
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Can't she phone you if she has a problem?

You forgot "titanium" for frame material (and a whole lot of other things in other areas).

But really, frame material probably doesn't matter to your sister, since you feel it is necessary to write a "guide". Instead, let her choose between the bikes she wants and you actually guiding her to choose between specific bikes instead of writing what is essentially a list of "things I know and feel".
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Old 11-16-20, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by CargoDane View Post
since you feel it is necessary to write a "guide".
Means she probably won't pick a good size frame for herself.

Originally Posted by CargoDane View Post
Instead, let her choose between the bikes she wants and you actually guiding her to choose between specific bikes instead of writing what is essentially a list of "things I know and feel".
.....
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Old 11-16-20, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Means she probably won't pick a good size frame for herself.



.....
His guide wasn't solely about size. It was a list of things he feels are correct and that she "needs" to know before selecting a bike. She is obviously not a geek like most of us here, so there is no need for geekery. He can go out and have her try bikes, help her with fit, and so on.
And if she is far away, she can get fitted at a shop. The various pros and cons of various choices will probably only matter if and when she has a selection of bikes to choose one from.
If she was a cycling geek, he wouldn't have to write her a "guide", and if she isn't, there's too much missing, while simultaneously too much information for her.
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Old 11-16-20, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by CargoDane View Post
His guide wasn't solely about size. It was a list of things he feels are correct and that she "needs" to know before selecting a bike.
Right. It really doesn't matter what sort of fancy kit your bike has. At the end of the day, if it is not a good fitting bike (ie. What some people THINK is a good fit, isn't) Youre ultimately limiting your power output, where you ride, for how long, and how much you enjoy the thing.

let me write a quick guide regarding what is actually important when it comes to selecting the right bike

1. Correct stack and reach measurement according to your body disposition
2. Correct crank arm length
3. Correct stem and handlebar size/orientation
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Old 11-16-20, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Right. It really doesn't matter what sort of fancy kit your bike has. At the end of the day, if it is not a good fitting bike (ie. What some people THINK is a good fit, isn't) Youre ultimately limiting your power output, where you ride, for how long, and how much you enjoy the thing.

let me write a quick guide regarding what is actually important when it comes to selecting the right bike

1. Correct stack and reach measurement according to your body disposition
2. Correct crank arm length
3. Correct stem and handlebar size/orientation
Yup. I will just add: Purpose of the bike. It's no good getting a good road bike fit if what you want is tour or go get grocieres. The reverse is true as well.
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Old 11-16-20, 09:25 AM
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Did she ask for your help? It was too long for me to read. And too short to explain the range of issues you raise.

But helping someone buy 'the right bike' is a commendable effort.

Good luck and happy miles to sister.


re-read edit: fat 650b tires at lower pressure are not as fast as 700c at higher pressure, given equal engine output.. Not that it matters to Sis.

Last edited by Wildwood; 11-16-20 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 11-16-20, 10:04 AM
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First.... good for you helping out your sister

IMO.... Too long. Too much info. I would try to prioritize. Some of these things do not matter to a beginner rider (which I assume she is if she really knows none of this already).

Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
TYPES OF BICYCLES: For your needs, I think you may want either a hybrid or gravel bike. A gravel bike is like a road bike but it has slightly larger tires and a more comfortable position. A real race bike might hurt your neck in the long run. A hybrid gives you a better chance to turn your head in traffic. And more, it's more comfortable in general (even if a drop bar bike gives you 3 positions in case you lose circulation in your hands).
High priority. Expand, even.

Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
FRAME MATERIAL: Carbon, steel and aluminum. There are stories of people who cracked a carbon frame by tightening a seatpost clamp too tight. Steel can better absorb vibrations than aluminum but aluminum doesn't rust and is lighter. I like aluminum frames (even though lots of people prefer carbon these days).
Low priority. Price point will be her guide, and material preferences are so subjective you have no idea what she will like, so don't add to the confusion.

Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
DISC BRAKES VS RIM BRAKES: Disc brakes is without a doubt the most popular choice now. But my own opinion is rim brakes are a bit more simple to work with. Also, it may be a bit easier to install fenders and racks on a rim brake bike.
Low priority. Most decent bikes will come with appropriate brakes, be they rim or disc. FWIW, In my experience, disc presents FEWER issues with racks and fenders. In terms of simplicity of upkeep: in my experience it is usually (from simplest to most fussy) Hydro Disc, Rim, Mech Disc.

Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
MECHANICAL DISC VS HYDRAULIC DISC BRAKES: Hydraulic brakes are seen as superior but mechanical brakes are a bit more simple to work with. Bleeding hydraulic brakes is not obvious for everyone.
I find Hydros are better for those who don't/won't/can't maintain their bikes. Less ongoing adjustments. Yes, a bleed can be intimidating, but that is an infrequent occurrence that she can get someone else to do. Most mechs require keeping on top of pad adjustments. But really, either work fine IMO.

Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
700c VS 650b WHEELS: If you want larger tires, 650b wheels can give you the same circumference as a 700c wheels with smaller tires. So the frame geometry stays the same and you won't lose speed (with minimum 2 inch tires for 650b tires).
High priority, Even expand on why she might want bigger tires.

Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
9mm QR VS THRU-AXLE HUBS: If you choose 9mm, there are Allen key skewers you can use. But the thru-axle is more modern and safer. (Only just enough force to install 9mm QR wheels so you don't too much pressure on the bearings.)
Low priority. This is not something a noob needs to be fretting over an a new bike.

Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
BOTTOM BRACKETS: The most common standards are square taper and Hollowtech II. Hollowtech II is superior. Press fit bottom brackets can creak and be a headache. T47 is a new standard which is meant to replace press fit.
Low priority. It is not entirely accurate (SRAM BB standard is very common, and ST is actually not all that common in mid+ level bikes these days), and the only thing that really matters here is telling her to avoid press fit.

Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
GROUPSETS (derailleurs, cranks, shifters): Shimano almost has a monopoly. On road bikes: Claris, Sora, Tiagra and 105. Some people recommend minimum Tiagra. On hybrid/mountain bikes: Altus, Acera, Alivio, Deore. Some people recommend minimum Deore. You can survive on Claris or Altus. Don't get Tourney derailleurs for either one (lowest level).
High priority. This is all budget dependent. BTW, Shimano does NOT have anything close to a monopoly, SRAM is very common on stock builds. Anyone looking at bikes needs to be just as familiar with SRAM as Shimano, Give her the complete groupset rankings, so she knows what is what when she is comparing bikes..

Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
FOR MORE COMFORT: I like WTB Rocket saddles. And if you get a drop bar bike like a gravel bike, you can buy gel pads. (You can re-install bar tape and install the gel pads.) I tried double wrapping but it wasn't as cushy as I wanted.
Don't even go there. Men should NEVER recommend a saddle to a woman based on their preference. Man and women have very different anatomies. Tell you to ask other women about saddles, or go to a shop that knows how to measure sit bones. Skip the bar tape stuff that is an advanced move.

Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
PLATFORM VS CLIPLESS: Pedals like the Shimano PD-T420 (or T421) place your feet in the middle of the pedal while other models can place the pedals in a position closers to the end of your feet. Platform pedals like the HT PA12 NANO P and XLC PD-C08 have sealed bearings. Shimano sizing is the same for their shoes as your regular shoes.
While the topic is important, I don't understand what you are trying to get at here. All clipless pedals have the engagement mech roughly in line with the spindle, and you can place the cleat on the shoe wherever you like (which is what determines where on the shoe the spindle lines up with). And if your sister is a noob, start with platforms.

Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
DOUBLE VS TRIPLE CRANKS: Sub-compacts like the 46/30T are easier to pedal than a 50/34 compact (50 teeth & 34 teeth). The front derailleur on a double is easier to adjust than a triple.
Low priority. There is no way of knowing what gearing she needs and keeping it to 46/30 cranks is going to limit selection of bikes. Few decent bikes come with triples these days anyway, so it is not likely to even come up.


That's my $0.02

Last edited by Kapusta; 11-16-20 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 11-16-20, 10:59 AM
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First, talk to her about her riding needs and dreams.

Every bike does something different better than every other (except for identical models, but I assume we aren't trying to bust each others' balls with such nit-pickery.)

IMO the most important step in buying a bike is deciding why you want a bike. Don't buy a screwdriver if you need a hammer---even the best screwdriver would be wasted.

The questions I ask on BF when people post "What bike should I buy" deal with how far they plan to ride, how often, what they plan to carry, how fast they want to go (or how hard they want to work,) what terrain and what road surface they plan to ride ....

Did she see people rising and think, "That looks like fun"? Maybe she'd be best served with a single-speed beach cruiser .... can't go wrong even with Walmart's model, and she can add a basket---or a cup holder and a radio ....

This is always a good place to start, so she can figure out if she even really wants to ride .... how it looks and how it feels are not really related.

if she is a little more motivated to actually ride .... are there safe roads around where she lives? Will she be riding MUPs? Sidewalks? Is she willing to ride in traffic?

If you can, help her shop for a decent cheap used bike----I always favor old rigid MTBs for beginners, because you can have the rider sit fairly upright, the gearing is low enough for any terrain but enough to get up some speed with some effort, the bikes are indestructible, and usually set up for racks and such.

Better to spend $200-$300 for a bike, tires, tubes, maybe cables, and have a bike you could sell for what it cost if she doesn't like it, than to spend $800 on a bike she has to walk around in her garage when she does laundry.

Of course, buying used only works if you are willing and able to shop with her, so she doesn't buy a burnt-out broke-down crap bike she never gets to ride.

Failing buying used ....

Take her to a bike shop, if you can.

Otherwise, send her to a bike shop. Tell her not to bring money or a credit card, just her phone. Have her actually ride several types of bikes for a few minutes. Have her record what the salespeople tell he about fit and function. Review the recordings and tell her whatever she really needs to know.

Stuff like BB and group set and frame material .... Not an issue. People getting a first bike care about cost and function. She wants a bike which will fit her, do the job she wants it to do, and is within her budget. What components she can buy will be determined by the cost she is willing to bear and the actual bikes which meet her riding needs.

No point talking about wrapping bars if she buys a flat-bar road bike...

Can she rent a bike where she lives? That's another decent way to get some mile sin, to see what works and what doesn't .... of course you will have to explain that the saddle probably sucks if it doesn't hurt after ten miles on the first day, and that after a few months everything will feel very different .....

Anyway .... My first "Buyer's guide" would focus on "Why buy a bike?" rather than "Which bike should I buy?"
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Old 11-16-20, 11:25 AM
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If I sent something like that to my sister, it would go right in the garbage. Maybe she's interested in bottom bracket alternatives, but I'm gonna go out on a limb here and .. ah... no.
It goes more like this: how much you wanna spend? OK. where are you gonna ride? OK. How many times a week? OK. Where you wanna get it (LBS, web, vhallmaert)? OK. Go get this one.
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Old 11-16-20, 11:45 AM
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At the end of the day it will all come down to color and whether the bike is cute.
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Old 11-16-20, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
If I sent something like that to my sister, it would go right in the garbage. Maybe she's interested in bottom bracket alternatives, but I'm gonna go out on a limb here and .. ah... no.
It goes more like this: how much you wanna spend? OK. where are you gonna ride? OK. How many times a week?
You forgot the most important consideration: What color do you want?

EDIT: Mojo beat me to it while I was typing.
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Old 11-16-20, 12:10 PM
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Point taken. I had "secret information" that was not generically useful. Everything she has is purple. (it's faster than red, I'm told).
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Old 11-16-20, 12:17 PM
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Like we say on the automotive forums, the right color can mean +5 horsepower.
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Old 11-16-20, 12:17 PM
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Personally, if I were a new bicyclist, and received this, I would be overwhelmed and simply give up.
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Old 11-16-20, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
Point taken. I had "secret information" that was not generically useful. Everything she has is purple. (it's faster than red, I'm told).
My wife was really upset that I wanted to buy a bike that cost over $1k earlier this year saying that was way too much money. Until she found out it came in purple and was in stock locally. She now owns 2 purple bikes, both bought in the last six months. Purple is good. It frees me to do some things.
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Old 11-16-20, 01:53 PM
  #24  
SurferRosa
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. This is ridic. Find her a good vinatage bike. When you visit, you can overhaul it for her.
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Old 11-16-20, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Mojo31 View Post
My wife was really upset that I wanted to buy a bike that cost over $1k earlier this year saying that was way too much money. Until she found out it came in purple and was in stock locally. She now owns 2 purple bikes, both bought in the last six months. Purple is good. It frees me to do some things.
1000% agree 3DV on everything or full purple (though sadly I don't have pictures of my Purple Cilo frame and my Phil frame is technically pink and white but Pink is also an awesome color)
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