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Never bought a bike before

Old 12-17-01, 09:47 PM
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Rynak
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Never bought a bike before

Hello,

I am new to bikes. My wife is going to do a triathalon next year and needs a bike, which I plan to buy her for Christmas. What kind of type of bike do I need to get, what are some good brands for around $300 or so. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 12-17-01, 09:59 PM
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Why do so many people read this, and then not reply? Please help me out here, I'm dyin' here, c'mon! Thanks.
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Old 12-17-01, 10:05 PM
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its only been 12 minutes, give it some time, id answer, but im at work and only have a few minutes of free time each hour...
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Old 12-17-01, 10:09 PM
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So very, very true Joe Gardner. I'll be a little more patient. Sorry, it's my first time here!
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Old 12-17-01, 10:10 PM
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In the mean time, seach the forums, you may beable to find some more information, this topic has come up in the past many times Basicly what it comes down to, is buy at a local bike shop, not an x-mart, and get a bike that fits you. Good luck with the purchase, nothing like riding a nice bike.
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Old 12-17-01, 10:12 PM
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btw, most tri racers race very expensive tri bikes. The point to triathalon racing is pure speed, you will want a light weight road bike as a starter tri bike. You may be better off looking for a used bike at the $300 level. Thats not much money for a quality road / tri bike.
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Old 12-17-01, 10:26 PM
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In your price range, you absolutely definitely positively want a USED bike! Find a good mentor, preferably a triathlete or long-distance club cyclist, and ask his/her advice. More important than the equipment itself is how well the frame fits your wife.
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Old 12-17-01, 10:38 PM
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Joe is right...but you can get a really quality used road bike for about that price. My first road bike, an 11 year old Fuji Roubaix, is an excellent bike, and was within your price range. The most important thing is to get a bike that fits, and the best place to land one of those is at your local bike shop. Find a shop you feel comfortable with, and let them know what you need. Maybe they can help you find exactly what you want! Good luck!
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Old 12-18-01, 07:19 AM
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most tri racers race very expensive tri bikes.
For $300 you may have some difficulty finding a "used" bike that she will be happy with. Visit a few reputable bike shops and tell them what you'd like. They can tell you what you need to know.
The other problem is getting a bike that "fits" your wife. If this is planned as a surprise, forget it. She'll have to go with you so the bike shop folks can make sure the bike fits.
BTW: fit is the most important feature when buying a bike. Brand, components, frame material, etc. are secondary considerations.
Best of luck to your wife in her aspirations.
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Old 12-18-01, 07:40 AM
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Good advice above!

I think you'll be a little hard pushed to find a tri bike for $300.00.

Still, it might be worth your while looking at the LBS's in your area, or braving the internet with your wife and see what's about.

This is a great time of year to get a 2001 bike model deal.

Good luck and welcome to the forums!

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Old 12-18-01, 07:55 AM
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I have a hard time beleiving this post is legit, people do the same thing on the motorcycle forums. If it is my advice would be spend the $1000 and buy a bike you can ride for the rest of your life, cheaper in the long run, also maintain it, buy an indoor mag trainer and use your bike everyday. Or try the toy store forum.
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Old 12-18-01, 08:01 AM
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Of course, you never know when you might find a titanium Serotta in a pawn shop for $500...
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Old 12-18-01, 08:10 AM
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I might never win the lottery, but almost every dog has his day. Mine was just a bike day. forever vigilent, forever grateful. I may hang out at yard sales and pawn shops a little more often.
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Old 12-18-01, 08:13 AM
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$300.00 will buy a low end tri handlebar set.

By the sound of it, your wife is giving triathalons a first go. A fear, assuming she will enjoy the extremely gruling sport, would be to under purchase the quality of bike.

Many areas have triathalon clubs whose members are constantly buying and selling bikes. Contact one in your area and see what's for sale.

Good luck and be patient.
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Old 12-18-01, 09:20 AM
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If you buy a used bike from a private party instead of a bike shop and don't insist on all the newest technology, your $300 budget is reasonable. I consider my 1982 Bianchi to be triathlon-worthy, and recently saw one of its clones sell for about $250 on eBay.
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Old 12-18-01, 02:16 PM
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$300 for a new tri bike???
You gotta be kidding!!!!
Geez, maybe you can get a new rear wheel for a tri-bike for that price!
For $300, you won't even find a used bike that would be competitive. Maybe a used frame, or a well used component set, but that's about it!
Figure a minimum of $1500 for anything new that's even slightly competitive. Add another $150-200 for the pedals.
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Old 12-18-01, 04:23 PM
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Thanks all for your replies. When I said $300, I meant a VERY entry level bike, not a competitive road bike, which I found starting at about $800. I ended up purchasing a mountain bike and had it fitted with more road worthy tires. I did this for $250. Perhaps if I find she wants to continue and be more competitive, I will upgrade in the future.

Again, thanks for all the input.
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Old 12-18-01, 04:54 PM
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Let me try to be more helpful, and less flippant:
A tri-bike, for those who don't know, is similar to a road bike, but has a higher BB, shorter cranks (both to allow pedalling through corners), short chainstays, short top tube, and often has CF 3 or 4 spoke wheels. They are designed for trialalons, and nothing else. they are usually quite light, expensive, and are rarely used outside of triathalons.
Of course, you could use a road bike, but you would most likely need to use very short (160mm or so) cranks. An ATB with slicks will have the BB height, but will be about as heavy as an anchor. You could even use a lead-sled boarwalk cruiser, but I can't imagine anybody actually doing such a thing.
Tri-bikes are quite specialised, and there really is no "entry level" model. Used road bikes are the entry end of the tri-bike spectrum.
The "ATB with slicks" setup you mentioned will get her to the finish line, but certainly as a backmarker. If she is good enuf in the running or the swimming, she may stand a chance of finishing somewhere above the lowest 10%. An ATB rarely has the kind of top-end gearing needed for road racing, unless the course is very hilly.
FWIW, a truly competitive road or tri bike will set you back more like $3500, not $800. Racing ain't cheap.
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Old 12-18-01, 05:00 PM
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Thanks for that info. Her goal is to only finish the event, she is not trying to compete in this one. I think if she enjoys it, she might try to be competitive in the future.
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Old 12-19-01, 08:44 AM
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Educate me, Alex -- I can understand the shorter toptube because of upper body fatigue from swimming, but why does a triathlon bike need a higher BB and shorter cranks than a road racing bike? Why would one class of riders pedal through corners, whereas the other group coasts through them (as I always do), inside pedal up, weight on the outside pedal? Why would 3- or 4-"spoke" aerodynamic wheels be more suitable for a triathlon than for a road race?
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Old 12-19-01, 10:07 AM
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Well, the tri-specific bikes have a higher BB and short cranks so you can pedal through corners, of course.
As for the 3 and 4 spoke CF wheels, I guess it has something to do with reliability. Not a lot of triatheletes are in it primarily for the cycling, and a lot of these bikes are not used for training. People need a light wheel that will be true when they use it, without maintenance, and will stay trued even after minor shunts, or when thrown to the ground (as some triatheletes seem prone to do). Really, though, it's probably mostly for show.
It may be different where you are. Around here, triathalons exist mostly for people to show off the expensive gear they have bought. Cyclocross bikes in this area are often fixed gear, and nobody ever uses fenders, despite the crappy climate.
I'm sure a decent road bike is at least good enough to keep you from losing ground, but the really gung-ho triatheletes always try to pedal hard and constant.
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Old 12-19-01, 11:02 AM
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You need to get a bike of the correct size, and good smaller bikes are hard to find 2nd hand. New ones are gonna a min $800. Clubs are the best source for quality used bikes, esp if you know the previous owner.

You ought to consider a used general purpose road racing bike, rather than a special tri machine. My brothers gf has had some very successful tri results on a 2nd hand Trek road bike.

If your wife is new to cycling or tri, then she will need to work on her riding position. Join a local triathalon club and get some help. Tri setup is a little different to road bikes, but you can change seatposts and stems to get the position right. Its not something you adapt to quickly, it may take a few months to pin down a good riding position.
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Old 12-19-01, 01:04 PM
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Originally posted by D*Alex
Well, the tri-specific bikes have a higher BB and short cranks so you can pedal through corners, of course.
... I'm sure a decent road bike is at least good enough to keep you from losing ground, but the really gung-ho triatheletes always try to pedal hard and constant.
I already covered the contents of your first sentence in my post, Alex. I can see the attraction of pedaling through the corners on a flat, curvy course, but otherwise I don't understand why a triathlete and a Tour de France rider would handle corners differently.
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Old 12-19-01, 03:57 PM
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triathalon=a few minutes
TdF=1 month
They need a little rest, now and then. Besides, most of the time, the peloton isn't racing, they are just hanging together to save energy. I know that some people would call this heresy, but it's true.
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Old 12-20-01, 08:35 AM
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If your spouse is just starting out in racing Tri and is not going to be going into it on a regular basis then I'd suggest a used bike too.

Check out the local bike clubs, they often have classified ads in their newsletters or web sites. $300 isn't much for a decent bike that she can keep for a long time, but again as others have stated, better to get a bike that fits. And I don't mean just your typical fit session in a low-end store where they have you stand over the top tube and see if there is space between you and the frame - there is more involved to it than that. You may want to get a different stem (take-offs at bike shops have lots of those) that works.

Also get your wife involved in the buying decision and fitting.

Good luck.
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