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Selecting A Bike

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Old 04-10-10, 05:58 PM
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SoldierMom
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Selecting A Bike

I am a beginner to biking; have not ridden a bike since I was a little girl. I'd like to get into the sport though b/c of the health benefits. I am in the Army and truly despise running, but would like a way to increase my heart and lung endurance to be a better runner. I also enjoy being outside and really can't find a hobby to get into that would allow me to spend time outdoors. I chose biking b/c I'd like to get my thighs into better shape, and also for the cardio. Right now I am in Northern VA, but I am moving to Colorado Springs in the summer. With the higher elevation, I'd really like to start training my heart and lungs now and think biking would be an excellent way to do that.

Here in Northern VA I will probably be on pavement most of the time, but in Colorado I'd like to experiment with mountain trails.

Could you all please recommend a bike for me that wouldn't break the bank?

Thanks in advance for any advice you guys might have!

Ashley
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Old 04-10-10, 06:42 PM
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Just bought my wife a KHS Alite 500L. Decent entry level components and KHS has a great reputation. Just remember, for all the different bike names out there you have maybe 3 or 4 companies that make most the frames for all of them. There are exceptions but you then get into major money. The KHS Alite 500L is about $500. Good luck.
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Old 04-10-10, 07:21 PM
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As a runner who bikes, I can tell you that there's not really a substitute for running. Cycling isn't going to get you into running shape because the muscles you use are different. It will, however, get you into shape cardiovascularly, so in that respect, it will help more than doing nothing.

Now, for the next question...what do you define as not breaking the bank? What kind of price range are we looking at here?
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Old 04-10-10, 07:34 PM
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I understand what you are saying about different muscle groups for the two exercises. Honestly my issues with running aren't really my muscle strength or endurance, it's more a mental thing. I get bored when I run, or the distance will seem insurmountable. The jarring also hurts my back b/c I have an old back injury. The only muscles that ever get sore from running are my thighs and my butt, which is what I'm hoping the bike will work. Mainly though I'd like to do it to be outside, and improve my cardio so when I do run, it's at least not a struggle in that aspect.

As far as price, I don't want to pay much more than $300. Would it be too risky to buy a used bike?
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Old 04-10-10, 10:08 PM
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How tall are you?

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/m...676031975.html
$200 for a medium '06 Rockhopper Comp: http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...Comp&Type=bike
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Old 04-11-10, 12:02 AM
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I can't help you with a bicycle selection, but I'd say something like a Cannondale F8 or F9, which is a light-duty mountain bike, would do you fine, especially if you feel like getting into some really mild trail riding in the future. You could just buy different tires.

Anyway, just wanted to post and thank you for your military service, Ashley.
 
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Old 04-11-10, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
I am 5'3". Thanks for the links; I emailed the poster to ask if the bike would fit me.

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Old 04-11-10, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by RatedZ View Post
I can't help you with a bicycle selection, but I'd say something like a Cannondale F8 or F9, which is a light-duty mountain bike, would do you fine, especially if you feel like getting into some really mild trail riding in the future. You could just buy different tires.

Anyway, just wanted to post and thank you for your military service, Ashley.
Hey thanks and you're very welcome. There is nothing I would rather do; playing with big guns legally is pretty cool lol
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Old 04-11-10, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by SoldierMom View Post
Hey thanks and you're very welcome. There is nothing I would rather do; playing with big guns legally is pretty cool lol
Yeah, being 5'3, most of those guns are probably bigger than you are!

Because of your height, it may benefit to steer towards a female variant of whatever bikes you're looking at. The frames are smaller, and the handlebars are closer together, obviously to benefit the size of a woman. My wife is 5'7, so she was okay getting a man's bike. Normally, most of these "womens' bikes" are made for shorter women.
 
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Old 04-11-10, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by BurnNotice View Post
Just bought my wife a KHS Alite 500L. Decent entry level components and KHS has a great reputation. Just remember, for all the different bike names out there you have maybe 3 or 4 companies that make most the frames for all of them. There are exceptions but you then get into major money. The KHS Alite 500L is about $500. Good luck.

Did you get it at Carolina Fatz??????
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Old 04-11-10, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by mtnbiker66 View Post
Did you get it at Carolina Fatz??????
Yep..........
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Old 04-11-10, 09:25 AM
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Running does use different muscles than riding but conversely the same applies to a runners attempting biking. I ran alot but turned to biking due to running is actually bad for your joints from the impact. I have lower back issues too from over 20 years of serious weightlifting. Biking has given me a great cardio outlet and a means to lose serious weight.

Your doing the right thing by switching to biking due to alot less to almost no impact on the knee's for sure. Your feet will love you too. I know this statement will tee off the runners here but it is a fact. Sports medicine doctors all say the same from my experience. Let's face it, your trying to exercise your heart point blank. Why ruin your knees and feet in the process.

I am not saying biking does not have it's drawbacks too but not near as much. I find biking is hard on your saddle and at times being bent over my back locks up but not like it did running.

If your budget is $300 I suggest too looking used. Great used bikes out there because bikers tend to keep their gear in great shape. Try the classifieds here and on mtbr and craigslist and I am sure you will find something to fit your needs and budget. If your 5'3" I assume you would need a small frame bike for sure. Just an assumption.
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Old 04-11-10, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by RatedZ View Post
Because of your height, it may benefit to steer towards a female variant of whatever bikes you're looking at.
Disagree. I'm also 5'3 and all of my mountain bikes are normal unisex versions. It has more to do with your inseam to torso length ratio than height. I just ride XS and S mountain bikes.

That bike I linked to will *probably* be too big for you.

Originally Posted by BurnNotice View Post
running is actually bad for your joints from the impact.
Disagree there too. Commonly held myth, but most modern studies are saying that runners are less likely to suffer from arthritis later in life. So why do you hear about some runners having joint issues? Poorly fitting shoes. People wear shoes that don't have the right amount of support and cushioning for their level of pronation, which causes excess torque on the hips, knees, and ankles. Going to a specialty running store can lessen the chances of this happening, but I've seen running stores put people in bad shoes too. It's the same as running your saddle too low and sitting and spinning at 90 rpm for yours...bad fit, and your joints turn on you.
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Old 04-11-10, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
Disagree there too. Commonly held myth, but most modern studies are saying that runners are less likely to suffer from arthritis later in life. So why do you hear about some runners having joint issues? Poorly fitting shoes. People wear shoes that don't have the right amount of support and cushioning for their level of pronation, which causes excess torque on the hips, knees, and ankles. Going to a specialty running store can lessen the chances of this happening, but I've seen running stores put people in bad shoes too. It's the same as running your saddle too low and sitting and spinning at 90 rpm for yours...bad fit, and your joints turn on you.
Everyone has their entitled opinion. I guess all the sports doctors over my career I have been to are wrong. Not saying you believe every word they say but everyone has always told me biking takes all the impact off the feet and knees. Seems like a reasonable hypothesis to me given pedaling has not impact.

Like I said......to each their own and I have ran my share of miles in my career and wish no longer to destroy my knees or feet. Plus riding a bike just gives me something to keep fiddling to with new upgraded parts.
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Old 04-11-10, 11:41 AM
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Biking does take the impact off the feet and knees. Running is a high impact sport, no doubt about it. But destroying joints isn't solely about impact, it's more about biomechanics and what you do to correct biomechanical inefficiencies. A pair of shoes that fit my biomechanics that was replaced when the foam was worn out has gotten me through 11 years of running, with the last 6 at 70+ miles per week and the last 2 at 85+ miles per week with very few injuries.

It's not about having an opinion, because how much stress a given sport puts on your body has as much to do with opinion as someone having the opinion that 2+2=6. It's funny...I've had a lot of running teammates over the years who say they've only had knee problems when cycling. Their argument is that turning little circles is an unnatural motion and the high rpm wrecks their knees. And I've talked to a lot of sports doctors who said the exact same thing. But then you check their saddle height and give them pedals with more float, and they're usually alright (unless they had a preexisting knee condition, either from running or cycling, that was exacerbated by the particular stress that cycling puts on the knee).
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Old 04-11-10, 12:03 PM
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I find that impact of biking is much harder on my joints that the impact of running. Over a month after a biking impact my shoulder is still messed up.
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Old 04-11-10, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
Disagree. I'm also 5'3 and all of my mountain bikes are normal unisex versions. It has more to do with your inseam to torso length ratio than height. I just ride XS and S mountain bikes.

That bike I linked to will *probably* be too big for you.


Disagree there too. Commonly held myth, but most modern studies are saying that runners are less likely to suffer from arthritis later in life. So why do you hear about some runners having joint issues? Poorly fitting shoes. People wear shoes that don't have the right amount of support and cushioning for their level of pronation, which causes excess torque on the hips, knees, and ankles. Going to a specialty running store can lessen the chances of this happening, but I've seen running stores put people in bad shoes too. It's the same as running your saddle too low and sitting and spinning at 90 rpm for yours...bad fit, and your joints turn on you.
Gonna have to disagree back with you regarding sitting in a saddle that's too low. For nearly 10 years of my life I rode a bike with a saddle that was probably far too low, and I don't have any problems. While the saddle wasn't super-low, it was low enough that it wasn't going to get in my way of jumping anything (BMX-style). I did plenty of exerting myself on a bike when I was younger. Nowadays, the saddle resides where it should, but I'm not having any ill-effects from my younger days.
 
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Old 04-11-10, 02:26 PM
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Saddle on my BMX bike is super low too. So is the saddle on my DJ. And the saddle on my hardtail, while not slammed, is still too low to be a good pedaling platform. But ask me how often I sit down on those bikes. Doubt you were sitting and spinning on a BMX bike. I'm referring more to people who are riding their road bike/hybrid/XC bike on totally non-technical trails having their saddle too low.

Aw, now you guys have me all off topic! I was trying to be all helpful in the beginning, and now I'm ranting about saddles.

Anyway, now that I know how tall you are, this is the size you want most likely, a small or extra-small (14-15"). That bike ('08 C'dale F7 Feminine) is stupid overpriced though, Bikepedia says it was $380 new and they want $450 for it. And even though the bike in that picture is a women's specific, don't limit yourself to women's bikes. A unisex bike may end up feeling better. You should have come here last year, geez. I would have had a decent bike with a bunch of upgrades to sell you.

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Old 04-11-10, 03:20 PM
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Well sorry to spark a debate guys! I have heard both things about running; that it's more harmful than good for you, and that it's the best exercise on the planet. I guess I am looking to find something that will help me w/my cardio, keep me in shape (weight wise) and tighten up my thighs and glutes that I can actually ENJOY doing. I HATE running, but I know when I was in training and in better shape, running bothered me less b/c it wasn't as hard. If I can get my cardio up (w/out running) I think it will be easier. Makes no sense, I know, but I've wrestled with running since I was 12. Being in the Army, it's not going to go away any time soon and until they start letting us listen to music on PT runs I'm doomed. I do pass my 2mi test every time, but alot of times the group runs are 3, 4, 5 miles and if you can't keep up you are harrassed to no end. I honestly don't think my cardio is suffering too terribly bad b/c I do well w/ruck marches and that takes a lot of cardio as well. So I really think it's a mental thing w/running.

SO, I'd like to try biking. When I get my taxes back I will probably go down to the shope here in Woodbridge and get fitted by someone who knows what they are doing. (Not that you guys don't, but you know what I mean). Thanks for the advice though. Does anyone know where I can find the laws for biking on the roads in VA?

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Old 04-11-10, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
Saddle on my BMX bike is super low too. So is the saddle on my DJ. And the saddle on my hardtail, while not slammed, is still too low to be a good pedaling platform. But ask me how often I sit down on those bikes. Doubt you were sitting and spinning on a BMX bike. I'm referring more to people who are riding their road bike/hybrid/XC bike on totally non-technical trails having their saddle too low.

Aw, now you guys have me all off topic! I was trying to be all helpful in the beginning, and now I'm ranting about saddles.

Anyway, now that I know how tall you are, this is the size you want most likely, a small or extra-small (14-15"). That bike ('08 C'dale F7 Feminine) is stupid overpriced though, Bikepedia says it was $380 new and they want $450 for it. And even though the bike in that picture is a women's specific, don't limit yourself to women's bikes. A unisex bike may end up feeling better. You should have come here last year, geez. I would have had a decent bike with a bunch of upgrades to sell you.

Thanks again for the link; that bike sounds like exactly what I need, something for on road and off, and small. I may get a new one like that when my taxes come back.
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Old 04-11-10, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
Saddle on my BMX bike is super low too. So is the saddle on my DJ. And the saddle on my hardtail, while not slammed, is still too low to be a good pedaling platform. But ask me how often I sit down on those bikes. Doubt you were sitting and spinning on a BMX bike. I'm referring more to people who are riding their road bike/hybrid/XC bike on totally non-technical trails having their saddle too low.

Aw, now you guys have me all off topic! I was trying to be all helpful in the beginning, and now I'm ranting about saddles.

Anyway, now that I know how tall you are, this is the size you want most likely, a small or extra-small (14-15"). That bike ('08 C'dale F7 Feminine) is stupid overpriced though, Bikepedia says it was $380 new and they want $450 for it. And even though the bike in that picture is a women's specific, don't limit yourself to women's bikes. A unisex bike may end up feeling better. You should have come here last year, geez. I would have had a decent bike with a bunch of upgrades to sell you.
I did a lot of riding on the street, too. No issues with my joints.
 
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Old 04-11-10, 04:24 PM
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Riding in the street isn't necessarily the same as putting in serious mileage at 90+ rpm. And you were most likely standing for a good bit of it rather than sitting and spinning. If I'm putting in 5-10 miles where a lot of it is standing mileage, then I'm fine on some bike with a slammed saddle. If I'm putting in a 25 mile XC ride or 50 mile road ride, I want my saddle in the right place.

Good idea on the going to a shop and getting fitted. It's impossible to do online without seeing you on the bike, and no one will be able to know how a bike feels until you actually ride it.
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Old 04-11-10, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
Riding in the street isn't necessarily the same as putting in serious mileage at 90+ rpm. And you were most likely standing for a good bit of it rather than sitting and spinning. If I'm putting in 5-10 miles where a lot of it is standing mileage, then I'm fine on some bike with a slammed saddle. If I'm putting in a 25 mile XC ride or 50 mile road ride, I want my saddle in the right place.

Good idea on the going to a shop and getting fitted. It's impossible to do online without seeing you on the bike, and no one will be able to know how a bike feels until you actually ride it.
I can agree with that. I'd rather be in a proper seating position for a 25 mile trek, but the odds are, I'm probably not going to go on a 25 mile trek anytime soon.
 
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