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Newbie Here Wanting to Buy a Bike!

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Newbie Here Wanting to Buy a Bike!

Old 07-03-14, 11:24 PM
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lordofthereef
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Newbie Here Wanting to Buy a Bike!

(this was pasted from the Intro section as it was recommended I post here!)

Hello folks!

I am a newbie that is completely overwhelmed with the vast information out there on how to choose a bike. Not only are there about a million price ranges, there are almost as many (maybe even more) configurations.

A little about me. I am 6"1' and about 180 pounds. I am 28 years old and I literally learned to ride two summers ago (don't laugh... yes it's true). The only bike I have ever owned was a Raleigh road bike. I believe it was a 12 speed. I don't know a whole lot more than that. I road it to work when the weather was nice and I rather loved riding it; I probably put 1000+ miles on the thing that summer, which I felt was a lot (not so much after reading what you crazy folks do lol), especially since it was sort of a whole new experience for me. It sort of fell into my lap when I told some friends I couldn't ride and they essentially forced me into it.

Fast forward nearly two years and I have moved cross country. The bike, I left with my friends. Even though it was a gift, I felt bad selling, and all we took with us was what fit in the car and what we could cram into a POD and away we went 1600 miles to the East Coast. I haven't been completely sedentry. I picked up running (while missing my bike) as well as weight lifting. I still do about 5-8 hours of cardio a week and five days a week lifting (I only point this out so that any recommendations are not made for someone you might assume has become a complete couch potato). I also spend some time on the spinning machines in the gym, though probably not as much as a should; I try to vary my cardio around each week.

Anyway, I am looking for a road bike, I think. If I ride on trails they will be mostly paved, and if not, very smooth. No real mountain biking. I do not really have a set budget in mind. I'd say something under $500... If $150 gets me what I need, I don't feel I should spend the $500. But if $500 gets me what I need, so be it. I am pretty certain I can stay under that. I am not looking at competitive racing, just something to ride for fun, MAYBE commute to work with (right now I live about 40 highway miles from work but we are looking at relocating again).

Anyway, any advice would be appreciated. Searching basically brings me to "do some online research and then check out a bike shop" types of responses. That's probably great for someone who knows what he's looking for. I, mostly, do not.
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Old 07-03-14, 11:43 PM
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mcmoose
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Welcome, LOTR! I'm not sure why you're posting in the Hybrid forum -- it sounds like you want a road bike (or maybe an XC).

For a road bike, your price point is a bit problematic. In the $500 range, you're really looking at a used bike or maybe something from an online source. But both of those sources work better if you know bikes and what you need as a rider (e.g., frame size, preferred geometry).

It sounds like you're in pretty good shape in general (even if your bike-specific fitness has lapsed a bit). Have you made any friends in your new locale who are avid bikers? If you have, start talking with them about how you really want to get back into biking. Chances are, one of several wonderful things will happen:
- Someone will offer to loan you a bike;
- Someone will offer to sell you one of their bikes;
- Someone will fix you up with one of their friends who will sell you a bike; or
- Someone will offer to check out used bikes with you to ensure you get a good deal on one that fits.

Really... nothing makes a cyclist happier than getting a friend of theirs started (or back to) biking. (Well, maybe buying themselves a new bike makes some cyclists happier, but helping someone buy a bike is at least a vicarious way for them to experience N+1.)
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Old 07-04-14, 06:30 AM
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Number one and two - you MUST do!

1. Decide what type of bike you really want - you do this by going to a Bike Shop to test ride some bikes, in different configurations.

2. Decide what size bike you want/need, in different configurations. - You do this by test riding, and asking questions at a Bike Shop.

3. Then, come back here with questions.............. and comments.

4. I suggest you ride some "relaxed" road bikes, different Hybrids, and even Cross bikes.
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Old 07-07-14, 05:49 PM
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Thanks for the responses!

As far as me wanting a hybrid bike... honestly, it just seemed to make sense to me for riding around road and sometimes gravel. I guess maybe that's not specifically what they are for? I am fully willing to accept that I am even below beginner level at this point (lol).

As far as riding some bikes at a shop... do I just give them the story I just did here? My fear is being steered in the wrong direction by someone who may be able to benefit from misleading me. Do I try multiple shops? What sort of "feel" amI looking for (ie how do I know that I want a road versus hybrid bike during my test ride)?

I am positive these questions seem like common knowledge, and they very well may be for folks (most people) who grew up riding bikes as kids. Me, well, I have only really been riding for a couple of years.

As far as friends, nobody I know rides in a serious fashion. They all have walmart bikes that they take out once in a blue moon. I was hoping to get a little more serious than that.

Last edited by lordofthereef; 07-07-14 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 07-07-14, 06:15 PM
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Sorry… I read your initial post to mean that you thought you were looking for a road bike.

If you posted in Hybrids because you're considering those as well, that's cool. In fact, an entry-level hybrid (e.g., Trek 7.2, Cannondale Quick, etc.) would hit right around your $500 price point.

As you can see in my profile, I have both a hybrid (Trek 7.3) and a road bike (Lexa S). I call my hybrid my quarter horse and my road bike my thoroughbred. That's not a bad analogy. Like many people, I use my hybrid as my commuter, and my road bike for the long group (or solo) rides.

If you go to a bike shop, be honest and say you're trying to decide on what type of bike to buy. Ask to ride a lower-level hybrid (these will be around $500) and a lower-level road bike (these will be around $700… maybe $750). Even a fairly short test ride (half a mile to a mile) will tell you a lot about how comfortable you feel on the bike and how natural the braking and shifting feels to you.

If you have time, go to several shops and try several brands. Most of the major manufacturers have similar offerings at a given price point, but the different brands will feel different. You'll know when you ride them which one feels better to you.

While you're at the shops, ask about special deals (last year's models, trade-ins, anything that will get things into your price range). Most GOOD bike shops want to get people started in biking because they know your first bike is never your last bike, and everyone falls prey to the N+1 syndrome.
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Old 07-07-14, 06:34 PM
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Thanks again!

I think I am just going to take the plunge and head into a local shop tomorrow and see how it goes. The worst that can happen is that I will have more questions after leaving than I did going in!

I will update here with my findings.
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