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Going to Get Back Into Bicycling - Shopping for that First New Bike? (My Thoughts)

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Going to Get Back Into Bicycling - Shopping for that First New Bike? (My Thoughts)

Old 01-30-15, 01:18 PM
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Going to Get Back Into Bicycling - Shopping for that First New Bike? (My Thoughts)

I was reading the ďIs it my imagination, orÖ ď thread and was going to post, but by the time I composed my thoughts I felt I would be rambling off topic. So while below might be rambling, itís my topic.

So who am I?
Middle aged + guy who decided to get a little more fit about 8 months ago after giving up some of my poorer lifestyle choices (sound familiar?). I figured if I was going to give up some of my poorer lifestyle choices (some of which I really did enjoy) I wasnít going to just going to sit on the couch and call it a day. I was fairly active way back in my younger years and wanted to get back to doing some of those things I did back then. I just barely qualify for both the 50+ plus forum and the Clydesdale/Athenaís forum.

Bikes in General
So here we go, you might (or might not) be like me, but none the less you are looking to buy a bike after being a non-biker for many years most likely to get some exercise and a little (or a lot) more fit.
  • First of all I do agree that best option is to buy from a bike shop.
  • Second thing is most bikes at the bike shop are pretty dang good.
  • Third most of bikes are actually somewhat similar, you have a brand, model and level of model and each company will have some proprietary items such as frames, seats, and rims with clusters (gears), chain rings (gears), derailleurs, cranks and brakes being sourced from the same few companies.

The Shopping
When I was shopping for my bike I was over whelmed, by types of bikes, prices of bikes, opinions of bikesÖ bah. I looked and looked and rode some, thought I need to spend this or that, have one of these or those, it really started to be a drag. Finally I was in a shop, one I had been to multiple times already and picked what was probably the most modest bike in the shop and asked basically will this bike serve me well if I would just like a bike to ride? The answer was yes, he said if I take care of it, donít abuse it and ride it for its intended purpose, it should serve you well.

Buying the Best Bike You Can Afford
Iíve heard (and seen) it suggested to beginners buy the best bike you can afford, that doesnít necessarily make sense (to me). I could have afforded most any bike I wanted and spending a bunch of money on something I was not yet ready for could have been a waste of money and potentially lessened my biking enjoyment and enthusiasm. I probably would have been intimidated by a high end bike and afraid something might happen to it (see Me as a Bike Owner below).

Spend the money now or you will just end up spending more later upgrading or buying a new better is what I heard and read. I look at it this way, if I progress to the level where I need a better bike, I earned it. I would rather have a thoroughly enjoyed and useful $350 bike that I need to sell or give away to step up to the next level than a $1000 (or more) bike that did not get thoroughly enjoyed and used due to my grandiose expectations, physical capabilities, or the mere fact that while we all typically have somewhat reasonable expectations. The reality is life often moderates expectations a little more than we might like. On that note if it all went down the tubes I would rather have a $350 bike collecting dust that a $1000 bike collecting dust, but letís hope that neither happens to any of us.

The Future Need to Upgrade
Now about that need to upgrade, I heard I would need lighter wheels, better gears and derailleurs, special pedals, a different seatÖ For starters I was fortunate enough that the seat actually works quite well for me, as I can see where that might be a needed upgrade for some. In the big picture, it will still be a bit of time (that probably being an understatement) before I am better than my bike. When the day comes that I am exceeding (or even coming close) to the performance that my current bike has to offer, I will be a very happy and fit person. At that point, yes I might consider an upgrade or whatnot.

Me Riding My Bike
Now since the purchase I have rode it around a fair amount and enjoyed the heck out of it, everything from around the block to 20 miles + and itís all good, I love my modest bike and it serves me well. I donít worry too much that my forks apparently donít smooth things out as much as some, or the shift is not as crisp as some, being pretty new to bikes the forks seem fine to me as does the shifting, the brakes work well, wheel spin like crazy. I think itís really a cool bike.

Me as My Bike Owner
Iíve accidently tipped it over a few times, got a little heavy handed with a toolÖ so much so that I sheepishly took it to the bike shop and respectful request they replace the cable I frayed and make the adjustment I was attempting. I think that these little bungles are a part of the new biking experience for me and are in an unexplainable way appropriate to both the level of the owner and level of the bike.

You Like Me or the Others
Yes, there are people who can set an objective purpose and nail it i.e., I need this type and level of bike because I am going to do XÖ and they probably have a more appropriate sense of bicycle responsibility to not to tip it over more than once and either have the skill or better sense when it come to the mechanical stuff. They also have a very firm grasp on what they want to do and the ability to get there. I honestly admire those people. When it is related to starting biking again, thatís not me at the moment. It might be me in the garden, but not yet me and biking.

In Summary
Do you have to buy the most modest bike, no, but take an honest look and see where youíre at, where you want to go and then think realistically where you think you can go. Itís cool to want something a little upscale because of features or color or whatever, just donít get over your head on a bike thatís too far beyond your physical, lifestyle or fiscal capacity. Any or all of those can diminish your participation and enthusiasm for bicycling.

Oh and regarding all the technology available to track and measure and this and thatÖ Itís great if it helps you better understand what youíre doing or need to do, accomplish you goalsÖ just donít let it get in the way. You can ride a bike with all that stuff, but you donít need all that stuff to ride a bike.

I wonít go into safety, but do ride safely and treat other riders, cars, pedestrians, animals and any space aliens you might come across with respect.

It all comes back to just riding. If youíre riding your bike, no matter what bike, no matter how fast youíre going, no matter where youíre goingÖ Youíre doing it right, or at least close enough.

With the holidays and the cold bug that has circulated I need to get back out for a ride; itís been a little too long. My regular weekly ride is about 12 miles RT to the local swap meet and back on Sunday mornings. I also try to find time for something else every week or so as time permits, sometimes shorter, sometimes longer.

I ride a 2015 Giant Escape 3 that I got new for $350.
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Old 01-30-15, 01:42 PM
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WOW - Missing from your Bio is some very important notes.

Are you the kind of guy who has figured out how to tune up his wheels or change his own flats?
Are you the kind of guy who sees a guy riding and old rusty HUFFY with a 4 pound crank and two working gears and says.... "Nice Bike" and means it?
And just how much do you weigh?
And do you have hands?
And are you an improviser?
And what kind of rides do you like. Up and Down, Flat out, Fast, Trail...?

These are important factors in classifying you and your bicycle.

For me sometimes it can be embarrassing crawling up a hill on my CroMo 70s-80s UNIVEGA with my 3 pound tool kit and some young rider blazing past me on his stream lined composite bike. I still have to smile. We are on the road and riding what we have...

HAPPY Happy... JOY Joy...
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Old 01-30-15, 01:47 PM
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+1 My story is similar except that I have always kept a lightweight road bike regardless to my fitness. Some years back I bought an inexpensive bike like your Giant. I needed lower gearing because I live atop a steep hill in a city full of steep hills. My other "road" bike might have served me well in my youth but was geared too high for the miserable shape my body was in.

I was amazed at how well the inexpensive bike performed. It shifted well, had strong brakes, and required little maintenance. I called it my Fat Man bike and rode it two seasons while I slimmed down. (I would imagine a thin stripe of fat being deposited on the road as I climbed back up the hill.) Then I sold it to a college student and went straight back to a skinny-tired road bike.

Have fun with your bike and just keep riding.
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Old 01-30-15, 02:06 PM
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FWIW a very few Big factories make a large number of Frames wearing other Brand Names and that is why they seem so similar .

Yea after over 100 years s the way a Bike is Made is pretty settled . though fashions change and Engineers alway s need to make something new

and Marketing convinces the Upgrade is Important ..

The clever thing about the lower end components is the fully automated manufacturing that makes Millions of them , and they work OK.
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Old 01-30-15, 07:41 PM
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Yup, if your happy with the bike, no need to throw more money into a more expensive one.....
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Old 01-30-15, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by gpsblake View Post
Yup, if your happy with the bike, no need to throw more money into a more expensive one.....
+1. Also, when you start to feel like you might need a different bike for slightly different riding, consider a used bike to achieve an upgrade: a bike that someone else bought for $1000 but then they let it gather dust in the basement. You will likely know what that looks like by then. Ride lots!
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