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Looking for a road bike for my girlfriend

Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

Looking for a road bike for my girlfriend

Old 12-09-00, 01:17 AM
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It's the holidays, my girlfriend would like a new road bike, and I'm pretty much clueless wrt what to look for (I'm a mountain biker myself; this causes only minor amounts of friction between us). I took a look at the road bike review site, and it seems as though the Bianchi Brava might do the trick, as it is of reasonable cost (neither of us are rich by any stretch) and I have a reputable dealer in town.

If anyone has suggestions for a low-cost road bike with a nice ride that isn't a piece of crap, and that could hold up to a century in good standing, I'd be happy to hear your opinions. Also, if there's anything that I should be looking for wrt derailuers, cranks, wheels, hubs, brakes, etc., a heads-up on those issues would be appreciated.

Thanks for any and all help, and happy cycling!

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Old 12-11-00, 10:55 AM
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Bianchi is a wonderful bike maker. La dolce vita on two wheels! I love the new Campagnolo components... the ones that actually work, as opposed to back in the 1970s, when they looked good but didn't work. I'd buy a Brava without hesitation.

Might I suggest that you also look into the good mid-price bike from Trek, Cannondale, Schwinn, Specialized, or Giant?

In other words, choose a road machine from the very manufacturers you trust for your mountain bikes.

Steel frames are good, and can be found on the cheapest.. and curiously, the most expensive... bikes, and aluminium fills up the middle price ranges. Carbon frames are growing more common, although I just don't like them, and titanium is available as well, although at severely elevated prices.

The component group will be familiar Shimano this-or-that, almost all of it 9-speed, so you won't be lost. Most modern road bikes have integrated shifter-brake housings, although down tube shifters work just fine... and are great for novices (or those of us who wear heavy gloves in winter.)
You, as a dirt rider, won't like or trust the brakes... side pulls, mostly. They're fine on road.

Most road bikes can be had as "triples," that is, with a third chainring, just like your mountain bike. This aids climbing like you would not believe, and can motivate a less-strong rider into attacking hilly terrain. (I have a 1994 Trek 1220 "triple," and I adore the indigo/violet thing.

Expect to pay perhaps $650 for a steel framed entry level road bike, perhaps $800 for the lowest price alloy ones, and $1,200 to $1,500 for a very nice road machine.

My advice is to shop the LBSs, and see if you can turn up one of last season's models... It will work just like this year's bike, only for less initial outlay.
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Old 12-11-00, 12:32 PM
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Many great buys out there. As you may already know to dave money buy a complete bike from one of the mass produced giants. One thing to note is sizing. Make sure you get proper sizing and the place where you buy allows you to make changes. For example pedals, seat, tape, etc.

Try to buy at least Shimano Sora or better 105. Make sure all parts are replaceable just in case you may need to replace an item, it doesn't get too costly.

Bianchi, Marin, Giant are nice brands that offer great value for the money.

As far as wheels, do not buy any of those trick wheels. Many do not hold up and no service can be found. Stick with conventional wheels.
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Old 01-29-01, 09:45 PM
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From walking around in LBS this past weekend I was presently surprised with the Trek 1100-3000 series. These bikes have a very nice feel and good reliable components from a great company. I saw most of these bikes in the $650-$1300 range (some had performance add-ons).

Regardless, I feel as though it's best to get her a comfortable bike that she test rides and gets the full review on from a local store. In the long run, any problems or maintaining issues that arise will give her less stress if they are handled by the LBS.
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Old 01-30-01, 12:41 AM
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girlfriends bike

Try to stay with a steel frame, it will ride better/smoother more comfortable than aluminum and can be repaired rather than be replaced if bent etc. I prefer to go with campagnolo parts, vs Shimano, as they are designed to last longer, work better as the parts "wear in", have fewer compatibility problems between model levels and model years, better resale value, better parts availablity as time goes on, and when you need to replace or upgrade something you won't be forced to buy more things than you need to get what you want. Shimano loves to sell things in "kit" form, I've heard this is improving though.

Make sure you get her a bike that meets her needs now, not what they may be or what you would like them to be. I bought my girl friend a Lemond "Maillot Jeune" (top of the line) and she can't ride the damned thing, she needed a cruiser, city or touring type bike.
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Old 02-03-01, 07:16 AM
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Have you considered........

a Terry?? If your lady is vertically challenged (5'4" or under), alot of the traditional road bikes don't fit that well (especially in the top tube). Terry makes real Women Specific Designs (not just a smaller frame, they design the whole bike to fit a women better). If you can get past the look of their smaller frames (17" or less) - they have a 24cm front wheel and regular back wheel - it is actually a pretty decent bike. They come with Shimano 105's and are about $900 and steel frame. I will warn you, it is a very small operation and most LBS don't stock them. But, there are alot of shops that can order a bike to test ride, no obligation. Just something to consider!!
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Old 02-20-01, 11:43 AM
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Bianchi are a top company take womens sizing pretty seriously these days. Check out the Donna models for the petite, on their website. They use shorter cranks, narrower bars, and smaller wheels.

Small wheels (either 650c or 26" atb with slicks) and shorter cranks allow a lower bottom bracket, shorter top tube and a more comfortable, better handling machine.
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