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Interested in biking, looking for info...

Old 03-29-03, 12:36 AM
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jt0
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Interested in biking, looking for info...

Hey all,

I've been thinking lately about how I need to do some kind of excercising for my health and because I need to lose weight... so bicycling has come to mind. When I was younger I was always out riding, day-in day-out, and I was in great shape... now that some years have past, and I've let myself get out of shape.. I need to do something about that. Right now I'm weighing in at ~250lbs so weight loss is my primary goal.

I'd like any information and opinions on the kind of bike I should get, and what would fit into my price range. I was thinking about a more road-bike style, but from what I'm to understand, those thin road tires require/are best for well-paved roads and not very rugged terrain? But they are better for long distances and performance overall?

My concerns are (and please try to address any of them):

The area(s) I would be riding would mostly be paved roadway, like on the side of busy routes (my area is not good for biking). The roads will be bumpy at some points, sandy, and a fair amount of hills. Would any of these effect the type of bike I should buy?

My spending limit will be around $300-$400. That doesnt leave a whole lot of options, I know, but I have limited funds to work with. I could just go down to wal-mart and get a bike, but I know from experience that they are trash. I'd hope to be able to find some kind of low-end bike at a bike shop, possibly even a used bike in good condition.

I know I want those pedals and shoes that snap together and lock in place, making for much easier riding.... that is an option I can add to any bike right?

I know nothing about the hardware of the rest of the bike, i.e. gear-stuff, shifting-stuff, the crank stuff ... so any general information on that would be good too... what should I look at when I go down to a bike shop? What should I stay away from? What should I look FOR?

the padded bicycle shorts.... are there shorts with EXTRA thick padding? :-) the last times i rode a bike while i was vacationing in canada my butt was in pain let me tell you (didnt have any padded shorts).. seats are so uncomfortable.. (and read that first paragraph again.. ~250lbs of pressure on my butt wedged with a narrow seat )

i know that when i do go to a bike shop, they will probably measure me or whatever, and tell me the size of the frame that fits me, etc... is there anything i should know about the sizes and stuff that would affect my choice of a bike?

as you can tell, I'm a complete newbie about this stuff.... so I'm really looking for any advice any of you can give me... on anything I've said or anything else in general, I've probably forgotten to write something down, so just throw anything else in.


and on another note, i only know of one or two bike shops around here locaally, so if anyone is in massachusetts, specifically central-mass, where do you shop?


thanks

Last edited by jt0; 03-29-03 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 03-29-03, 01:02 AM
  #2  
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Originally posted by jt0
Hey all,

I've been thinking lately about how I need to do some kind of excercising for my health and because I need to lose weight... so bicycling has come to mind. When I was younger I was always out riding, day-in day-out, and I was in great shape... now that some years have past, and I've let myself get out of shape.. I need to do something about that. Right now I'm weighing in at ~250lbs so weight loss is my primary goal.

I'd like any information and opinions on the kind of bike I should get, and what would fit into my price range. I was thinking about a more road-bike style, but from what I'm to understand, those thin road tires require/are best for well-paved roads and not very rugged terrain? But they are better for long distances and performance overall?

My concerns are (and please try to address any of them):

The area(s) I would be riding would mostly be paved roadway, like on the side of busy routes (my area is not good for biking). The roads will be bumpy at some points, sandy, and a fair amount of hills. Would any of these effect the type of bike I should buy?

My spending limit will be around $300-$400. That doesnt leave a whole lot of options, I know, but I have limited funds to work with. I could just go down to wal-mart and get a bike, but I know from experience that they are trash. I'd hope to be able to find some kind of low-end bike at a bike shop, possibly even a used bike in good condition.

I know I want those pedals and shoes that snap together and lock in place, making for much easier riding.... that is an option I can add to any bike right?

I know nothing about the hardware of the rest of the bike, i.e. gear-stuff, shifting-stuff, the crank stuff ... so any general information on that would be good too... what should I look at when I go down to a bike shop? What should I stay away from? What should I look FOR?

the padded bicycle shorts.... are there shorts with EXTRA thick padding? :-) the last times i rode a bike while i was vacationing in canada my butt was in pain let me tell you (didnt have any padded shorts).. seats are so uncomfortable.. (and read that first paragraph again.. ~250lbs of pressure on my butt wedged with a narrow seat )

i know that when i do go to a bike shop, they will probably measure me or whatever, and tell me the size of the frame that fits me, etc... is there anything i should know about the sizes and stuff that would affect my choice of a bike?

as you can tell, I'm a complete newbie about this stuff.... so I'm really looking for any advice any of you can give me... on anything I've said or anything else in general, I've probably forgotten to write something down, so just throw anything else in.


and on another note, i only know of one or two bike shops around here locaally, so if anyone is in massachusetts, specifically central-mass, where do you shop?


thanks
First off, let me tell you that here, everybody has an opinion. Take it with a grain of salt and try not to be overwhelmed with all of the input.

But, to address your questions, here's my 2 cents.

If your range is 3-400 dollars, and you'll be riding bumpy roads, a comfort bike may be up your alley. You can get a nice comfort bike for that price.

Yes, if you want the clipless pedals (the ones you clip into), you can add those later. Any comfort bike you buy at that price should be compatible (9/16"spindle I believe).

As far as shopping, I'd either go with someone who knows bikes, or I would stick to brand names. If you live in the same area as someone who posts here, maybe they can point you into the right direction of a reliable bike shop. Beware, some bike shops are shady and will try and sell you the wrong bike.

Hardware? For 3-400 dollars, I'd skip on rear suspension (unless your just talking a suspension seatpost). You probably won't run into in for that price range; but if you do, they would probably have to skimp on component quality just to put that rear suspension on.

Shorts? I thought I'd never spend 70 bucks on shorts. One day, I did and I don't regret it. They had much more padding than some of the cheaper shorts I previously had. However, I'm not much of an expert on shorts.

Measurements? If you post your height and inseam length, we can probably tell you what size bike would be best. As far as inseam, stand with bare feet 7 inches apart, wedge a book in your crotch and try to put it at a 90 degree angle, and measure from the floor to the top of the book.
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Old 03-29-03, 01:27 AM
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I agree a comfort bike will probably be the best for you, you will be able to take to the side of the road a lot better than with a road bike, but will have better rolling tires than a mountain bike. Get used to the bike then start thinking about pedals. Clipless take a little getting used to.
Some folks I know swear by gel shorts, I don't use them but it is an option. I think you just have to get used to riding, no shorts(or saddle)is going to seem perfect right away.
Some of the comfort bikes come with suspension seat posts, but they are usually cheap models and may detract from the rest of the parts on the bike.
Try to find a closeout or spring/summer sale, bike shops are competitive and sales are common with sales being off in a bad economy. A friend of mine just bought a mountain bike that was $729.00 last year for $479.00. Enjoy riding!....tom
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Old 03-29-03, 01:51 AM
  #4  
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Quoting danr but really aiming this at the other guy...

Originally posted by danr
Yes, if you want the clipless pedals (the ones you clip into), you can add those later. Any comfort bike you buy at that price should be compatible (9/16"spindle I believe).
Since you're new to this and haven't ridden much in a while, I would wait on the clipless pedals until you get used to the bike and get your conditioning up to the point where the extra efficiency of clipless pedals would really do some good. Clipless pedals are good, but they'd be a distraction to you right now.

Shorts? I thought I'd never spend 70 bucks on shorts. One day, I did and I don't regret it. They had much more padding than some of the cheaper shorts I previously had. However, I'm not much of an expert on shorts.
Good shorts are a GOOD thing to have! I wasn't anxious to spend that kind of money either, but haven't regretted a cent since then. Watch for sales and look online -- I got two pair of Sugoi Technifine shorts (normally $70) for $45 on sale recently at a LBS. Keep in mind that if you're just starting back with cycling that the shorts by themselves are not going to save your ass -- you're still going to have to put in enough miles that your backside gets used to being on a bicycle seat. Don't be shy about asking the LBS to swap seats or letting you try a few after the sale -- seats are very personal things when it comes to fit and you just have to try before you buy.
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Old 03-29-03, 02:38 AM
  #5  
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JTO.. I was very close to your situation when I took up cycling..
I was interested in a road bike for long distances. I got what I wanted.. Touring bikes can come with fairly wide tires. you want to carry much stuff, touring or hybrid style bikes can favor road bikes..
Last I knew Bicycling magazine's website had a helpful bike finding service called Bike finders. Asks you questions about price, style, design before narrowing down bikes in that specific range, along with its recommendations....
First question to ask is, what type of riding will I do and what are my long term goals with cycling.. Don't think your present physical condition is permament. You could soon find yourself quite a different person. I lost about 30 pounds in six months..Diet is a big consideration in accomplishing this.
A consideration is your physical health.. Some people can't be too aggressive until you are fitter.... Consult your doctor..
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Old 03-29-03, 06:26 AM
  #6  
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If you are not frightened off by road style drop bars, there are some very useful styles which are more general purpose than the typical racing bike.
Generally, they give you greater clearance for wider tyres and fenders, and lower gears for off-road, hauling luggage, and climbing hills at a non athletic pace.

Cyclo-cross styles are designed for mixed road and trail riding; they are light, rugged and very practical, and the latest styles have threaded fittings for fenders and luggage rack.
http://www.jamisbikes.com/bikes/03_2nova.html
http://www.bianchiusa.com/site/bikes/20_Volpe.html
http://www.trekbikes.com/bikes/2003/road/xo1.jsp

Light touring bikes are like road bikes but with a bit more tyre clearance and lower gearing.
http://www.jamisbikes.com/bikes/03_2aurora.html
http://www.bianchiusa.com/site/bikes/24_SanRemo.html
http://www.trekbikes.com/bikes/2003/road/1200c.jsp

Full touring bikes are stronger and more stable, but make great general purpose bikes.
http://www.trekbikes.com/bikes/2003/road/520.jsp
http://www.bgcycles.com/blt.html

These are all quality bikes in the price range $800-$1200. If you can up your budget you will get a lot more bike for your money.
Ther are some good budget bikes in this category, check out Fuji and REI (the camping store).

In MA, one of the more famous bike shops is
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/bikes.html
which is a great source of info on all things cycling.
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Old 03-29-03, 06:47 AM
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I started on an old GT hybrid with 15,000 miles on it and i added 1000 before i was hooked.I rode with everyday shorts,t-shirt and nikes.I slowly added baggies,loose fitting jerseys and helmet and gloves,got a nicer hybrid and so on so start out cheap and see how it goes but give it a chance.
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Old 03-29-03, 07:16 AM
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I've been thinking lately about how I need to do some kind of excercising for my health and because I need to lose weight... so bicycling has come to mind. When I was younger I was always out riding, day-in day-out, and I was in great shape... now that some years have past, and I've let myself get out of shape.. I need to do something about that. Right now I'm weighing in at ~250lbs so weight loss is my primary goal.
Great that you are thinking about getting into riding.

I would just like to caution that if your principal goal is to lose weight, you are probably not going to be too happy with biking.

Iy your primary goal is to get out in the fresh air, find the pleasures of biking, get a little exercise, and feel your body getting bcak into better shape, then biking is the thing for you.

Weight loss is more complicated than exercise - it must also involve a change of eating habits. Without that you are most likely to increase your muscle and decrease your fat, with little or no weight gain. This may be discouraging to you unless your goal is the fun of biking.

Have fun out there on your bike. You have had some excellent suggestions about bikes. Start simple and easy, don't worry about clipless pedals and things like that - that is pretty advanced for you at this stage.

You might also consider a decent entry level mtn bike such as a Specialized or Raleigh, with "slick" (not knobby) tires.

And, yes, your butt is going to hurt. Don't get a soft plushy saddle - it will give you chafing and sores. Get a decent saddle, and get used to it. After awhile your butt will hurt no longer.
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Old 03-29-03, 10:48 AM
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thanks for all your replies... good reading so far.
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Old 03-29-03, 11:18 AM
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my height is 5'10" (~178cm) and inseem is approx 30" (76cm)

if anyone could give me a rough estimate on what bike size i should look at online, just to get some idea... i'm sure 26" would be fine since thats what i've always ridden, but maybe things change for the "grade" of bike.....

thanks

one more thing, i once read a website that gave a short description of the different types of bikes, but dont remember what it was..... if anyone has a website that tells what a comfort bike is, compared to hybrid, road, mountain, etc.. please pass a link. i'm not even sure what terms to use in a google search for this.
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Old 03-29-03, 11:28 AM
  #11  
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Here's my 2 cents: for the money you are wanting to spend i bought a trek 7100 and i love it! I looked at a lot of bikes, but this one seemed to fit the bill for me best. Honestly look around and try some out a lbs will usually let you ride one for awhile to see how you like it before you buy it. On to pedals and shorts I personally use platform pedals and have never bought biking shorts, however I am about to buy my first pair this summer so I will see if they make any difference in my comfort level. the best thing it to get out and ride, get used to the saddle and so on experiment with position and so on to find the best for you. one of the best things about the trek 7100 is the adjustable stem makes finding a great riding position easy.
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Old 03-29-03, 02:25 PM
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Here are some bikes in your price range. My advice is to go to your LBS (local bike shop) and talk to them. Tell them what you are looking for, and test ride as many bikes as you can. They will also help you find the right saddle.

marin larkspur $350

http://www.marinbikes.com/bikes/hybr..._larkspur.html

jamis aragon $340

http://www.jamisbikes.com/bikes/03_2aragon.html

Bianchi Avenue $320

http://www.bianchiusa.com/site/bikes/11_Avenue.html

Giant Cypress LX $360

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/030...00&model=10611
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Old 03-29-03, 04:28 PM
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Originally posted by nemo
Here's my 2 cents: for the money you are wanting to spend i bought a trek 7100 and i love it!
Somebody warned you your question could lead to a lot of confusing answers.

I bought a Trek 7200--like the 7100 but with a suspension fork. I started riding it ten months and forty some odd pounds ago. Since I bought it I've added clipless pedals, bar ends, and a cyclo computer. Be careful, you could become addicted.

Look around at bikes in your price range. Test ride them. Buy the one you like the best. Ride it as often as you can.
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Old 03-29-03, 05:00 PM
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Originally posted by jt0
my height is 5'10" (~178cm) and inseem is approx 30" (76cm)

if anyone could give me a rough estimate on what bike size i should look at online, just to get some idea... i'm sure 26" would be fine since thats what i've always ridden, but maybe things change for the "grade" of bike.....
There are a few things you should know about bike sizes.

[1] Most dept. store bikes tend to all be referred to as 26" bikes. This is generally due to the propensity for these stores to stock 26" wheel bikes (typically "mountain bikes"). That number refers to the wheel size and not the frame size. These stores only distinguish bikes of different wheel size, 20", 24", 26"... Don't ever rely on this number. Then again I personally would never rely on a dept. store for a bike but I think you came to that conclusion already.

[2] Bikeframes are generally sized by either the center-to-center or center-to-top measurement between the bottom bracket and the top tube. This measurement is generally taken at the seat tube. Some things can throw off this measurement for purposes of camparison such as compact-geometry which has a sloping top-tube. In such cases, the manufacturer will typically list both an effective seat-tube size as well as an effective top-tube size.

[3] If you're purchasing a road bike, you will of course want enough standover clearance (distance from the ground to the top of the top-tube) but what's really more important is the length of the top tube so that you don't feel too cramped or stretched out. This of course can be adjusted somewhat by position of the saddle and length of stem but only to a certain extent before handling becomes drastically altered. It's better to get a bike with a top tube in the proper ball park to begin with. My road bike actually seems a bit small if you just go by seat-tube which makes for a lighter (not by that much) more stiffer frame (makes it a little more nimble I think) but the seat-tube is cranked back so my top-tube length is just right. By all traditional sizing charts I should be riding a 50cm but I'm riding a 48cm frame. Sometimes it really depends on the specific frame design. For a mountain bike, you'll want plenty of standover clearance and personally I think it's better to try and ride the smallest frame you can without sacrificing proper top-tube sizing. Remember that mountain bikes have higher bottom brackets so a seat-tube size of the same length as that of a road bike will probably give you too large a mountain bike frame.

[4] Given your inseam measurement and height, and assuming traditional frame layout, I'd be looking somewhere in the 50cm-54cm range for road bikes and 16"-18" range for mountain bikes.

[5] Always test ride. Test ride as many as you can and as often as you can. You may even want to do "second-rounds" before settling on your decision.
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Old 03-31-03, 03:30 AM
  #15  
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Sizing is important, but should be easy, since you are average Male size.
I'm your height and ride a 21" frame road bike, but something more like an 18" MTB.
Bikes frames can vary in their ratio of height to length, and their style (compact/sloping top tube or standard). With a widely adjustable seat-post, length becomes the more critical dimension. Make sure you have adaquate clearance when you stand over the bike. Check that the bars do not feel to cramped or distant. Modern road bikes often assume that the rider wants a highly aerodynamic stretched out racing position, which is not suitable for general fitness and fun riding. Lower-performance bikes often assume a very upright riding stance, which becomes uncomfortable after 20 miles or so.

Finding your most comfortable position is something which comes with experience, and will change over time, but I would suggest starting with a touring style riding stance, where your back makes an angle of approx 45 degrees, and your elbows are not locked out when you hold the bars.

Dont buy online, find yourself a proper bike shop. This is more important than the brand of bike.
A good guide to fitting can be found at
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
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Old 03-31-03, 07:56 AM
  #16  
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Originally posted by jt0
my height is 5'10" (~178cm) and inseem is approx 30" (76cm)

if anyone could give me a rough estimate on what bike size i should look at online, just to get some idea...
Go to wrencescience.com to get a good idea about the frame size, stem length, saddle height, etc.

one more thing, i once read a website that gave a short description of the different types of bikes, but dont remember what it was..... if anyone has a website that tells what a comfort bike is, compared to hybrid, road, mountain, etc.. please pass a link. i'm not even sure what terms to use in a google search for this.
Go to Sheldon Brown's website and read the "beginner" articles and "bicycle glossary".
To find information on comfort bikes (hybrid), road bike, handlebar styles, saddles, or any subject just click on the appropriate letter (H for hybrid and handlebars, S for saddles, etc.)


With your limited budget you may want to ask a knowledgeable cyclist help you shop for a used bike. Quite often you can get a better bike by buying used.
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Old 03-31-03, 02:25 PM
  #17  
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My advice is first to become an addict. As an occasionally addicted jogger and an addicted bicycle rider I can't help it. We endure strange looks and risk our lives. If your an addict you'll know it within two weeks of cycleing if not your bike will likely sit in the garage or worse. Find something that really stokes you. Tae Bo's cool, Tennis, Jogging, Bodybuilding, Cycling are all good stuff the only requirement is that you have fun.
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Old 03-31-03, 03:13 PM
  #18  
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If you decide to get cycling shorts get "bib shorts" (with straps over the shoulders. I am nearly at your weight and this style prevents your gut hanging over the top at the front and you cleavage showing at the back. They may seem expensive but they make cycling a lot more comfortable.

In your price range you will probably be limited to a hybrid , unless you can find a used tourer. You will want to find one with sufficient reach to the handle bars to take some weight off your butt - some hybrids have short frames with very upright riding position, which puts too much pressure on your seat.
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Old 03-31-03, 06:01 PM
  #19  
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ive been to Sheldon Brown's but a lot of their glossery information isnt very helpful, and the descriptions of bikes can certainly be a lot better.

It's ok though, I think I'm set on a hybrid, because of it's more dual purpose advantanges than a strict road bike or a mountain bike. Now I just need to figure out what to get. I've got a list up of like 30 bikes on Bicycle Magazine's bike finder, but I have no idea about the quality/specifications of any of the listed hardware.. so to me it all sounds good, but I don't know if any one is better than the other, etc.... and even then, I don't know what I'd be able to get for bikes around here. Guess I'll just wait until I have the cash in hand and see what I can find.
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Old 03-31-03, 06:10 PM
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jatkins679
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Originally posted by jt0
It's ok though, I think I'm set on a hybrid, because of it's more dual purpose advantanges than a strict road bike or a mountain bike. Now I just need to figure out what to get.
Just be aware that a hybrid almost by definition is a compromise between a road and a mtn bike. So be prepared for so-so performance in both situations.

That might not matter to you now or you may not notice. But after awhile or after you become more accustomed to your cycling, you may find that it's more of a negative factor.
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