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need advice for an entry level road bike

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

need advice for an entry level road bike

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Old 04-24-03, 09:15 AM
  #1  
descartes
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need advice for an entry level road bike

I have a higher end mountain bike (yeti) that I love to ride off road. I have always owned mountain bikes and I know very little about road bikes. However, I am thinking about getting a road bike for weekly group rides and possibly centuries in the future. Not road racing and not commuting. I have done my best to read old posts to get an idea of what to look for.

Basically I have two questions:

1) For around $500 usd am I better off getting a used road bike or a bottom of the line Trek (1000) or Specialized (allez)? Trade off is of course getting fitted for the bike. From what I gather, road bikes seem harder to fit than mountian bikes.

2) If I wanted to spend more cash, how much better of a bike do I get for jumping up into the $800 range? My LBS carries Trek, Specialized and Cannondale. I was thinking about the Trek 1200 or the Cannondale R400.

Am I missing something or are road bikes higher priced than mountain bikes? I mean, for a mountain bike, $300-400 can get you in the door and $500-600 can get you something fairly decent. It seems to me that a $500 road bike is equivalent to a very low end mountain bike and an $800 road bike is equal to an entry level mtb. Please enlighten me. Okay I had more than two questions. Thanks.
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Old 04-24-03, 09:35 AM
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Try and find someone who knows about road bikes and buy a used one from someone. Most shops have post it boards with a list of bikes for sale. The bike shop in my town has a Trek 5200 used for sale for $1200 and it only has around 1400 miles on it. There are good deals out there, and do pay a little for a fitting to find out the size frame you need. You can always tweek the saddle and stem if you have the proper size frame. You can't make a road bike fit properly if it's just the wrong size!
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Old 04-24-03, 10:26 AM
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Descartes,

You don't need to pay to get fitted to a bike. When I was looking for a new bike, I swung by my LBS and kicked a few tires. They also let me stand over a few frames and would have let me ride their bikes as well. But, I didn't need to take it that far. Once I figured out what frame size to get I bought everything online. There is a massive profit margin in the bike industry. You would get your best deal online or at a shop on last season's bikes. I can tell you right now that 500 bucks won't get you much of a bike. I bought a Fat Chance MTB in 1991 for $2200. Today it rides no different from the day I bought it.

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Old 04-24-03, 10:32 AM
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Originally posted by Merckxrider
When I was looking for a new bike, I swung by my LBS and kicked a few tires. They also let me stand over a few frames and would have let me ride their bikes as well. Once I figured out what frame size to get I bought everything online.

You used the convenience and expert knowledge of your local bike store, then shafted them and went and bought online once they'd helped you?

No wonder margins have to be high.
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Old 04-24-03, 10:52 AM
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Originally posted by Merckxrider
I bought a Fat Chance MTB in 1991 for $2200. Today it rides no different from the day I bought it.

Steve
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I know I dont need to pay to get fitted, but as I understand it road bikes are a bit more custom fitting than mountain bikes. When I bought my mountain bike I basically had a choice between small, medium and large. After only adjusting the seat post, it fits great. If I were to buy another mountain bike, I know that I would probably need a medium or 17/18 inch frame regardless of the manufacturer. However, since road bikes come in so many sizes and, from what I understand, vary considerably btw manufacturers, I am not as confident as buying online. Perhaps that is all in my head though. If I knew I was a 54cm in a Trek then a 54cm in a Cannondale would be fine. Either way, thanks for all the help, everyone.
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Old 04-24-03, 11:42 AM
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Originally posted by belfast-biker
You used the convenience and expert knowledge of your local bike store, then shafted them and went and bought online once they'd helped you?
Have you tired on clothes at one store and gone to another because it's cheeper?

Ever eaten a sample at the store with no intention to buy?

Test drive a car at one dealer and then bought at another?

Then you've done the same thing.

At anyrate, what's the crime of finding something at a lower price?
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Old 04-24-03, 11:50 AM
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Originally posted by William Karsten
Have you tired on clothes at one store and gone to another because it's cheeper?

Ever eaten a sample at the store with no intention to buy?

Test drive a car at one dealer and then bought at another?

Then you've done the same thing.

At anyrate, what's the crime of finding something at a lower price?


"No" on all counts. My computer shop recently closed for good after 20 years due to the internet competitors undercutting us. Didn't stop people buying over the internet then having the cheek to come to us for support afterwards! You're doing the same thing but with the pre sales service instead of the after sales.

If the local shop is good enough to size you, let you try frames, let you test ride bikes, give you advice, the least you can do is buy it there. Thats why the extra expense is there - the convenience of buying local if something goes wrong, the personal touch, trying before you buy.

I think it's a bit of a cheek to take advantage of a shops good nature with no intention of buying there.

Just MHO of course.

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Old 04-25-03, 02:13 PM
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Thats crap.I am going after the best price.If they give it to me i will buy from them.After i get my bike from the internet they will be the ones i spend MY MONEY at for service and parts.What,because one car dearler lets me test drive and check out the car i should buy from them only even if another dealer sells it to me for $1000 bucks less,WRONG.Cheapest price gets my money and so will the bike shop if they are not a bunch of dicks.
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Old 04-25-03, 02:28 PM
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BELFAST-BIKER whines too much!!!! I wish he wasnt so negative all the time, sounds like discreet bashing to me!!!!
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Old 04-25-03, 06:58 PM
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I agree completely that you should help support your LBS. As long as the prices are reasonable I will buy from the place that helped me by answering questions and letting me try things on. Now for example my LBS has a mag trainer at $200 and I can get one online for $90, that is a different story. But if they are within 10% to 15% I will pay the premium for service.

I work for a computer service company and we have a simple guideline which I think they should apply to the bike industry, here is a brief sample:

If you bought the machine/equipment from us, in shop service is $60/hr, if not, $80/hr. There are no free questions, you want an answer to ANYTHING, you pay. If however you buy what you were asking about, the amount you paid for the answers is deducted from the price of the machine you bought.

If it wasnt for our policy we wouldnt be in business, which means you would not be able to get the service at all. What shokhead doesnt seem to understand is that those people who answered his questions in the LBS and helped him out cost money, and someone had to pay for helping him out. Basically in my opinion, he committed theft of services by using that information to buy online.

Attitudes like shokhead's are the reason there is no service in the retail industry anymore. And the reason so many idiots buy those el-cheapo computers that never work right because it had a 1Ghz processer for $500 instead of the one I quoted for $600 (the cheap one was a celeron, the one I quoted was an P3, with other differences as well). The 1Ghz was only an example, no I dont really sell anything that slow :-)

Used to be retail outlets cared about their customers, now the employees act like you are interrupting them and wish you would go away. Why? Because of customers who use them and buy online so the local stores cant afford to hire good help anymore and hire losers.

Just my two cents worth.

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Old 04-25-03, 07:13 PM
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I am saying the same thing as you.If the bike shop is close,of course i buy there.But if i can get it 200-300 bucks cheaper of course i buy it online.Yea i will throw my money like hat just to buy local.You must be rich,i am not.I shop for the best deals,where ever they may be and not chepo junk.Did i say if i got a bike online the lbs would be where i buy my parts and srevice or cant u read that far.ook,i want the best deal. work hard for mine and i will make it go as far as i can.I do have a problem buying good stuff that lasts ands not cheapo stuff over and over.You dam well better be nice to me when i come in you place of money making.You do want return customers,right.Oh,its only money so i will buy it from you for 2000 bucks EVEN if i can get it online for 1000 because i am supporting local,so screw my money.Sorry but you better have a competive price.Oh i have a gateway and its a pile of ****.
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Old 04-25-03, 07:22 PM
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Yes I am after return CUSTOMERS, not return leechers. If someone is buying from my shop I treat them like family. If someone comes in just asking questions and doesnt want to pay for it, then I shift them to one of our "tech in training" guys (translated=idiots that think that since they installed a hard drive in their mother's computer they are techs).

I am not rich (although not poor either), but I realize that if I want the LBS to be there to answer my questions, someone has to pay their bills, because the guy that owns the LBS isnt rich either!

Personally the trainer I spoke of is the only thing I have found, new that is, that the LBS isnt reasonably close to. They were a little more expensive on my bike but I didnt have to pay shipping either, and they fitted me to the bike and gave me a free tune up after a month. Those factors were worth way more than what I would have saved.

And by the way, I love how you say you buy the good stuff, not the cheap stuff, and then mention you are using a Gateway computer :-)

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Old 04-25-03, 08:02 PM
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Got it 3 years ago,i didnt know it was that bad but its showing now.
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Old 04-25-03, 11:15 PM
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Originally posted by Merckxrider
There is a massive profit margin in the bike industry
I actually laughed out loud at that. Where did you get this information? I'd like to know what brands I should switch to because our shop's margins are nowhere near massive.
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Old 04-26-03, 12:55 AM
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Waldo,

Check this out. I just paid $52.96 for two water bottle cages and two water bottles. I just bought two bike shirts @ $135.00 EACH. 2 pairs of shorts cost $400. And I could go on & on & on. Are you trying to tell me that there aren't insane profits being made by the companies that make this stuff? Maybe my terminology was incorrect, but, this is what I was talking about. And to the dude from Belfast, you probably won't believe that the guys in my LBS actually told me to buy on-line. Maybe I didn't get my bike from them, but, with their excellent attitude I'll be purchasing many other items from them. Also, they're repainting two of my older bikes, including my MTB, which I did buy from them for $2200. So, don't have a cow. This is NYC, not Belfast.

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Old 04-26-03, 05:09 AM
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descartes

Get a entry level 9 speed groupset so that you can upgrade worn out components further down the track.

Just my 3 cents.
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Old 04-26-03, 09:18 AM
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Originally posted by mnppunky
BELFAST-BIKER whines too much!!!! I wish he wasnt so negative all the time, sounds like discreet bashing to me!!!!



Discrete? I'll be less subtle next time.



"When I was looking for a new bike, I swung by my LBS and kicked a few tires. They also let me stand over a few frames and would have let me ride their bikes as well. But, I didn't need to take it that far. Once I figured out what frame size to get I bought everything online."



It's not whining, it's saying that the original poster abused his local bike shop. He seemed to have NO intention of buying there.

HTH
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Old 04-26-03, 09:52 AM
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He got the best price.If the bike shop would have had it,it would have been bought there.Its called shopping around,just like cars.Now the bike shop asks if you are going to buy and you say i can get it online for xxx amount and they say we cant beat that but i'll give you a better deal then whats marked on the bike and lifetime tuneups and % off anything else you might need then thats a nice deal that might swing me to them.The markup on bikes are large and dont tell me there not.A smart consumer will get the best deal he can.Of course you are using the lbs but if thewy are cool you are going back for all your needs and speed plenty there in the long run.I am looking at bikes right now and i am driving 30 miles away to different lbs for prices and there is at least 3-5 within 10 minutes of me.So answer me this.A 2003 super cervelo prodigy at the lbs for $1799 but you hunt around online and find it for $1399 and free shipping and no taxes,which do yuo choose?
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Old 04-26-03, 10:12 AM
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A 2003 super cervelo prodigy at the lbs for $1799 but you hunt around online and find it for $1399 and free shipping and no taxes,which do yuo choose?
That completely depends. If that is all the information you are letting me have, and I can use "my" LBS, then I would buy it from my LBS for these reasons:

1) They spent the time and effort to show me bikes and find the right size for me.

2) Someone paid them to sit there and help me.

3) If I want them to stay in business, and be there to help me next time, SOMEONE has to buy from them, might as well be me.

4) They are some really cool people and I want them to be there.

5) My LBS took the bike I bought, adjusted it perfectly for me explaining exactly what they were doing and why. Then suggested necessary accessories. They also readjusted my derailers after I thought I could do better and screwed up the adjustments, for FREE. No online store will do all that.

Now I am not saying I dont buy on the internet. I am saying that when my LBS spends time and money to help me with something, I buy the item in question from them, be it bike or shoes. If it is something they didnt help me with, then I buy from them if the price is close and on the net if it isnt.

My complaint for you is that you basically stole their services and expertise on choosing a bike, in my opinion that is. And frankly, $400 or less than a 30% premium for those services is not too high for what I received. (When I consider I get $100/hr on site to fix servers and they spent way more than 4 hours helping and explaining things to me)

Allan
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Old 04-26-03, 11:37 AM
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You make more then i do so i guess we shop different.The lbs gets enough of my money for all the services they provide,fixing my bike,buying gloves,tires,shoes,helments,parts so why not answer my questions on a bike that i will buy for the best price.
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Old 04-26-03, 11:59 AM
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This is going to be a constant debate.. I buy some things at my LBS and some on-line.. it all depends. Sometimes my LBS does not carry what I need, sometimes the cost is just way to high. But if anything I need done which I can't do I always go their.. and I browse through there probably atleast twice a month and spend money. RIght now I'm having a fork installed, the fork and frame I bought on-line they did not have the fork in stock (fox talas) and woudl not be in stock in a timely fashion, and frame they did not carry. But I bought the headset their.

I to worked for many years in the computer service center, we loved it when people bought things on-line, the profit margin in computer industry at this time is about 5%, so off a $200 video card let's say we make $10. BUt when they come to us to install it we charged $65. While if they bought it from us we did it for free. Customer service will keep customers coming back and will buy things from us in the future even if they do not buy that one item. I directed many people to watch the sales that bestbuy etc have since they are below cost and there is no way we could beat that. I don't know the bike retail business, but I know computer retail industry the money is made in service on average not in selling things, years ago we made money off of both. I know I
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Old 04-26-03, 12:05 PM
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To get back to the original question - you should buy on-line. You will get twice the bike on-line as you can at a bike shop. Better bikes and equipment are very good and last years, except for aluminum (just kidding all you aluminum riders). You can get a great late 80's - early 90's bike fitted with higher end Campy or Shimano gear for $500-800. Base on the description of your riding you will be extremely well served by same.

Don't be shy about getting a quick sizing at your LBS. As several have stated above, you will use them for other parts and service. And they will be pleased to have your business. Mine is and I've have never purchased a bike from them. But they liked selling me a $100 CK headset and charging me $80 to move the gruppo from my old bike to my new one (both purchased off of eBay). And I was happy to pay them. And will do so in the future. Enjoy!
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Old 04-26-03, 12:22 PM
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Try not to set your price range right away. You might overlook a great bike thats cheaper then you were thinking or overlook a higher priced bike like a left-over last year model that your local lbs might cut you a deal on.

Since we don't know your body type, riding style, road conditions, etc., it is tough to recommend a frame/fork. No two people are alike and each brand / frame material rides different. Plus the geometry differs from brand to brand. This is where a lbs really helps.

As for components, look at your mtb bike. You probably have a mixture of components like XT or XTR on the drive train and components such as LX or Deore on brakes, shifters, etc. The same goes for road bikes. For a good starting point, the 105 components seem to get a lot of praise. With cleaning and basic maintenance, they should last many years.

The rest of my post will be my comments on some of the previous posts. If you are going to buy online then use that online retailer for your pre-sales questions. I am sure they list their email address or phone number. Tell them your body measurements and have them recommend the correct size. If you use a lbs for pre-sales, at least have the courtesy to buy from them. Don't try to justify the "stealing" of service by saying you will take your bike there for service. It will take many years of regular visits for maintenance to make up for the loss of the several hours they spent answering your questions, fitting you, and letting you test ride their bikes.

I am not rich and I do shop around for the best prices. I make a lot of bike and non-bike purchases online. But I know the value of people's time and knowledge and I am willing to pay for that. I also know that they will take care of me in the future with free tune-ups, warranty claims, discounts on upgrades, etc.
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Old 04-26-03, 12:26 PM
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Don't try to justify the "stealing" of service by saying you will take your bike there for service. It will take many years of regular visits for maintenance to make up for the loss of the several hours they spent answering your questions, fitting you, and letting you test ride their bikes.

I am not rich and I do shop around for the best prices. I make a lot of bike and non-bike purchases online. But I know the value of people's time and knowledge and I am willing to pay for that. I also know that they will take care of me in the future with free tune-ups, warranty claims, discounts on upgrades, etc.
EXACTLY!!

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Old 04-26-03, 12:49 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by belfast-biker


"It's not whining, it's saying that the original poster abused his local bike shop. He seemed to have NO intention of buying there."

Belfast, You seemed to have missed that fact that I bought a $2200 Mtb from the same shop, not to mention a litany of supplies. I have a good relationship with the guys who work there and they could care less if I kick tires around. They know I am and will continue to be a good customer. Why else would they specifically tell me to go online after I told them I need a Merckx set-up? They couldn't even come close to the online price and weren't prepared to try to swindle a good customer. Now, I'm in the market for a new bike for my wife. A Giant TCR or the like will suit her just fine and that I WILL be purchasing from my LBS. Had they tried to swindle me when I was looking for a bike, do you think I'd go back to them later? Things tend to work out in life if you keep the right attitude.

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