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Some questions from a convert!

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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

Some questions from a convert!

Old 07-16-02, 02:31 AM
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Some questions from a convert!

After a good few years riding an MTB, I'm toying with the idea of getting a road bike, but in all honesty I don't know where to start!

I've gone through a load of the archives here, and they're a wealth on info but I hope you can help with a few more suggestions on that important first purchase...

Firstly, I'm in the UK so choice is a little limited (plus all the shops that advertise in the magazine are up North)... I'm looking to spend a little as I can get away with, but I guess the upper limit is about £600 - £700 (though I was shown a Cannondale R500 the other day and it looked sweet)... So what other brands should be looking for in this price bracket? I'm looking for a bike to work on fitness with mainly so it doesn't have to be the finest bike known to man!

Secondly, how will I know if the bike I test drive is the right size? Probably a stupid question, but are there any pointers?

Thirdly, a sloping top tube would be more akin to a MTB right?? Therefore would probably be a better choide?? I don't want to open that debate up again, but according the LBS guy I spoke to yesterday a compact frame is much easier to get used to(?).

I think I've probably asked too much already... any thoughts would be most welcome.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-16-02, 03:59 AM
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better get a standard UCI approved frame, this way if ever you joined a race, you won't be told that your bike is not UCI approved, hey what I"m, I talking here
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Old 07-16-02, 06:12 AM
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The sloping top tube is NOT an issue. Don't let a salesman tell you it's better or worse. Fit is much more important. Proper fit can be achieved with a sloping top tube frame, but some parts may have to be interchanged to get there, especially stem and seatpost.

Fit. . .

1. Standover. Straddle the frame with feet flat on the floor. You should have an inch between the top tube and your crotch.

2. Saddle height and position. Proper height should give you a bend at the knees of a few degrees and fore-aft position should put the front of your knee over the pedal axel when the cranks are horozontile.

3. Top tube/stem length. This is more difficult to quantify, and subject to various opinions regarding comfort. Since you're starting out, when in the saddle and hands on the hoods, the bar should obscure the front axel. You may find this too upright, or even too far extended. It's personal choice.

Any decent LBS should know this already and properly fit you to your bike as part of the purchase. If you can, ride different size frames of the same model.

All of the major manufacturers produce good bikes at nearly every price point. I wouldn't sweat the brand as much as the quality of the LBS and the bike's fit. Do some online research so your educated on price, but if the LBS' price is a little high, but the service is good or better, pay the price and keep the shop.
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Old 07-16-02, 06:40 AM
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Cheers for the info. That's exactly the sort of thing I was looking for on the sizing front!

My local shop is pretty good (it's where I got my MTB a few years back) but they only appear to stock Cannondale and Scott. The guy I last spoke to was seriously pushing me towards the Cannondale (R500?) over a cheaper Scott...
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Old 07-16-02, 07:27 AM
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A couple of additional notes:

I work at a shop that specializes in upper end road bikes.

Here's what I do to fit someone.

1. I find out what your inseam measurement is. Multiply your inseam (in cm) by .667 and that should give you a size frame to start your test riding on. IOW, if you have a 31 inch inseam, convert by multiply by 2.54 to get 78.74 cm. Multiply that value by .667 to get 52.52 cm. I would have you throw a leg over a 52 cm and then a 54 cm and compare the two fits.

2. I would adjust the saddle height and fore/aft position of the saddle. For height, place the heel of your foot on the pedal and lock out the knee. When you put your ball of the foot on the pedal you will have a slight bend in your leg. I'll verify this and adjust seatpost up or down accordingly to provide ample bend at the knee. Fore/aft position is adjusted by dropping a plumb line from the front of the knee cap and line it up with the pedal axle in the 3 o'clock position.

3. Check top tube length. Hands in hoods as noted previously should make the front hub dissapear from view behind the handlebar and the stem/bar interface. Adjust stem length and rise for most comfortable riding position. Newbies tend to have a higher position, Racer types more forward and lower. (Stem nearly horizontal). I try to avoid too short or too long stems. If either extreme is more comfy, I'll go back and choose next size frame.

4. Constantly question comfort of adjustments. Once the initial adjustments are made, (to both sizes) go and test ride both bikes and compare comfort back and forth between the bikes.

5. Do the same thing to the other brand you're looking at!

6. Then I sit and wonder why people buy their bikes online without this professional fitting included as part of buying a bike from a LBS.

7. When you're happy with your selection, I strongly recommend you buy a helmet, then cycling shorts, then a seat bag with emergency repair items( patch kit, mini-tool, CO2 or pump).

8. If new to cycling I suggest you get comfy with the bike B4 getting clipless shoes and pedals. If your accostomed to clipless, I suggest putting the pedals from your mt. bike on the road bike until your used to your new bike and then recommend road/pedal specific shoes at a later date.

Good Luck & L8R
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Old 07-16-02, 08:12 AM
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Just a minor addition to a2psyklnut's post.
Measure inseam without shoes on, facing a wall.
use a hardback book under your bottom about the same
pressure as a saddle, mark the top and that is
a good estimate of inseam height.

Marty
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Old 07-17-02, 02:31 AM
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IMHO, for getting a bike that fits properly, it is much better to use inseam measurement methods than the "straddle the bike" method. Although it sometimes works, the straddle method is only relevant for standing with the bike. You want to use a method that sets you up for riding the bike.

Try looking around for a bike shop that can give you good attention on getting the fit right. It is truly the most important aspect of buying a bike.

Cheers,
Jamie
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Old 07-17-02, 11:34 AM
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Cool... Thanks for all the help..

I guess there's only so much research you can do from behind a computer so at the weekend its off to the shops!

Just from the web and some mags I've shortlisted a few brands / bikes to hunt out...

Giant OCR1
Monoc Compact Mirage
Orbea Naranco
Trek 1000 / 1200
Fondriest Mega
Specialized Allez A1
Scott Expert

Some of these are going to be a ***** to find here, so I'll probably only end up seeing half of them, but are there any glaring omissions or any on the list I should cross off immediately?
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