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new bike advice - buying new after 16 years.

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new bike advice - buying new after 16 years.

Old 07-18-08, 05:57 PM
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Carys
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new bike advice - buying new after 16 years.

I'm not sure if this should go here or in recreational cycling - I'll start off here.

I'm looking for advice about the SORT of bike I should be looking at. At first I thought a hybrid because that is what I currently ride, but the first LBS I went to is steering me more toward a comfort bike. Reading through the forums here - I think that might limit me a bit. I don't want to 'outgrow' my new bike. Or maybe I just have an issue with being led toward a 'comfort bike' even though comfort certainly is an issue. The saddle on my current bike is a real...PITA (literally!) - although raising the seat helped a bit.

About me: Female, 5'4 (well nearly) early 40's. I rode a lot when my eldest was a baby because she was happy on the back but then things slowed down for a few years especially since my youngest wasn't having the bike seat at all. Now I'm back to riding regularly and loving it. I'm a pretty casual rider. I don't ride particularly fast (I probably average about 14 MPH or so and I'll brake on hills because I don't feel comfortable with high speed) and this summer I've been riding about 10-15 miles at a shot - getting out about 5 days a week. I'm hoping to bring that up to 20 miles - but until I can ride faster, that is more of a time constraint than a physical one.

What I ride now:
My current bike is a 16 year old Mongoose Hybrid 12 speed bicycle. It is a dynametric 525, and I haven't customized it at all - everything on it is what it came with (except I think we've replaced the tires but that was a flat swap out) I don't find it particularly comfortable to ride, but it is a sturdy little beast and very durable. I've ridden it for 25 miles without a real issue. I have a birthday coming up - a new bike would be a nice present.

What I'm looking for:
I'm looking for a bike with lower gearing than what I currently have, that isn't skittish or temperamental, and that won't pop a flat every time I go over pot holes and rough roads. I ride mostly on the street and on paved bike paths. I would like to be able to outfit the bike with a rack and panniers so that I can use it to run errands and pick up shopping, but I still want to be able to do my regular 'run' each day. I know that as much as I've always liked the idea of bike touring, I probably won't ever go on a ride longer than 25 miles, and I won't be doing road races or 'mountain biking'.

Where I'm at
: Researching! I'm still not sure if I should be looking for a hybrid or a 'road' bike. I've read here that some mountain bikes with swapped out tires are great for pavement. The first LBS I went to suggested either a Jamis Explorer 2 or a Jamis Trail XR with the wheels swapped out for a different size and different handlebars. They didn't have an Explorer in my size to try (but should have one in soon and I'll go try it out). I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about such an upright riding position. The Trail XR didn't really do it for me, but when I go back to try the Explorer I will give that a try as well. It seems a bit low-end, but with the mods that might not be an issue. A look at the Jamis website made me think that maybe I should be looking at the Citizen over the Explorer - but I'm not sure. I'm not even sure what I think about 'comfort' bike. Then again, I haven't ridden it yet, so I reserve judgment.

Any thoughts on these models or any suggestions about what I should be looking at for? My budget for the bike is no more than $600 although the ones I've looked at so far are less than that.

Thanks so much in advance. Please let me know if there is a better forum to cross-post this.

Cheers.

C.

Last edited by Carys; 07-18-08 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 07-18-08, 06:01 PM
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You can start here http://www.terrybicycles.com/ My wife is about your size with a few extra years . She is quite happy with the fit of her Terry
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Old 07-18-08, 06:04 PM
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Take a look at these;
I have 5,000 miles on mine and love it.
http://www.feltracing.com/08/thumb.asp?catid=1508
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Old 07-18-08, 06:09 PM
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The Terry is a nice looking bike. The only one anywhere near my budget is the Susan B - but that seems to be pretty much for the sort of riding I do - thanks! Those Felt bikes are too expensive just now but I might have to up my price...

Last edited by Carys; 07-18-08 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 07-18-08, 06:17 PM
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Womans frame (different propositions from mens) hybrid or mountainbike depending on the wheelsize you want. I suggest no suspension. Let the tyres do that job when needed (fatter tyres low preassure). Swap the stock flat bars for northroad or similar to get a more relaxed (comfy) ridingstyle. I did this to my hybrid (that I did not use before) and to several older MTB`s. Like this solution alot. Also you can go back to flat bars or other type of "agressive style bars" if you want to. If you buy a comfort bike you are stuck with a comfort bike. Not much to do about them.
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Old 07-18-08, 10:37 PM
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The ideal bike for you would be touring bike, but those are very rare now. Second choice would be a women's sized road bike: when you're going 15+ miles you don't want a hybrid or mtn bike. You can put mtn gearing on a road bike. Your LBS should do it for free. Just don't get a compact double, you'll want a triple and make sure you have the option of later adding either a bike rack or panniers. Not all bikes will allow this.
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Old 07-18-08, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by HiYoSilver View Post
You can put mtn gearing on a road bike. Your LBS should do it for free.
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Old 07-19-08, 09:00 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I'm going to a second LBS (we're lucky - there are three good ones pretty close by - and a few a bit further away) and I'll see what they have on offer. I had basically written off road bikes because I'd read they were 'harder' to ride but I suppose I really ought to try one out and see for myself.
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Old 07-19-08, 10:58 AM
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The LBS I visited today had a totally different approach to the sort of bike I needed for the sort of riding I do. They had me try two Marin bikes - a Larkspur and a Fairfax. Both felt pretty good - the price difference might put me on the Larkspur, but I haven't decided yet. With the Fairfax I'd have a men's frame, with the Larkspur a women's. Both were really nice to ride and felt comfortable. I think I prefer the tires on the Larkspur because they look a bit sturdier (although we were told the Fairfax ones are pretty durable).

Any thoughts on these two? They seem to fit the bill for the riding I do and were comfortable without being a 'comfort bike'. I feel that this LBS owner treated me with a lot more respect than the other shop. He took me seriously and asked questions about my riding. That alone might make the difference and if I decided on the Jamis - well, they sell those as well.
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Old 07-20-08, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Carys View Post
I feel that this LBS owner treated me with a lot more respect than the other shop. He took me seriously and asked questions about my riding. That alone might make the difference and if I decided on the Jamis - well, they sell those as well.
I think that's the key right there! Never underestimate the importance of a bike shop that listens to you. Unfortunately, women have to deal with this more than men still.

I don't know those particular bikes, but I can tell you that I am riding my touring bike more and more lately. It is a road style bike (with some differences in tire size and geometry); it took me a while to get used to the drop handlebars (in other words, I was scared spitless!), but now I LOVE how zippy this bike feels
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Old 07-21-08, 05:49 AM
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The only time I've ever rode on drop handlebars was an old Schwinn 10-speed. I was never comfortable on those. In the upright position I felt wobbly and unstable and the lowest position just felt wrong. I ended up always riding in the same position which sort of defeats the whole purpose!
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Old 07-21-08, 06:49 AM
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You should at least test ride a road bike. You might like it, more than you think now.

Yen started on a hybrid, then got a road bike. See the threads here and here.

Last edited by rm -rf; 07-21-08 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 07-21-08, 07:33 AM
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Much as I personally love road bikes, it doesn't sound to me like that would be a good choice for you. A comfort bike is fine for short, flat rides, but it's really more of a discomfort bike for anything longer. It seems like a hybrid that appeals to you would be right up your alley. I don't have any specific models in mind, but I would bet you would be happiest with a hybrid type of bike that is built around 26 inch wheels rather than 700c, or even a simple, unsuspended mountain bike (with the knobby tires swapped out for wide smoother tires such as Michelin Transworlds). Try to get one that has flat handlebars as opposed to motorcycle style "riser" bars, and then put bar ends on them. You will find those useful on your longer rides.

You don't want a bike that won't let you easily do at least 10 miles per hour for those longer, 25 miles rides.
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Old 07-21-08, 08:03 AM
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I am still having that discussion in my head - what about a road bike. The one road bike I did try, the ALP Fairfax wasn't as comfortable as the Larkspur. It was comfortable - it just didn't feel as good as the other. It didn't have drops - it has flat handlebars with what I think are bar-ends.

The Larkspur has 700 X 35c tires which are slightly narrower than the tires on my Mongoose but otherwise the same size. I don't think anything I've tried yet had 26" wheels so maybe that is the next thing to try. I think I have made up my mind, but I still have at least one more LBS to check out.

Right now I'm not a terribly strong cyclist. I don't go very fast and I'm not comfortable with speed as it is. I'd like to pick up my average MPH a bit so that I can go further in less time. I think if not for speed on hills my average speed is probably about 11-12 MPH (the 14 includes downhills) Will the bike itself really make a difference in how fast I can go when I'm not that good to begin with? I wonder between the two bikes I tried that I really liked there is going to be a noticeable difference for me to make it worth spending the extra money as the Alp costs more.
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