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Tom Stormcrowe 09-26-08 05:32 PM

Introduction to the Road Cycling Forum: References and Newbie Questions Answered Here
Welcome to the Road Cycling Forum!

This is a thread to ask all those questions that you're not sure are too simple or too complicated (trouble changing tires, what certain terminology means, etc...). In here there are no stupid questions though being really clear and posting pictures will get you better answers. Questions like "Shimano, Sram, or Campagnolo?", "Bibs or Shorts?", "What's the best saddle?", however are asked often - you'll probably find the answers you need by taking advantage of the search function (top right) first for an answer. We'll also maintain a list of quick reference links below - feel free to post others.

For veteran users this thread will be modded a bit heavier to ensure all responses are respectful to our newer members as per the forum guidelines. Any users that violate or attempt to push those guidelines will be issued infractions without warning, as well as responses that don't attempt to answer the question (eg., "use the search") though links to relevant threads are appreciated. OT discussion will be trimmed as needed.

After you've gotten comfortable and want to post more, let me fill you in a bit on the culture in the Road Cycling world.

Road Cyclists are in general highly competitive athletes, and can be a bit rough in their humor. Sarcasm and insults can and do occur, so you're going to need a bit of a thick skin in here. They aren't meant in malice (generally). It's just their aggressive, cutting humor, often with a razors edge. Think of them as an athletic versions of George Carlin, Billy Connolly, or Chris Rock. Just like riding with a new group of cyclists, it may be a good idea to sit in the back, to get a feel for the group, before you jump into the thick of things.

Now that you've been warned about the average road cyclist, enjoy the fun, grab the gems of information here, and always remember to keep a good hold on your sense of humor. They might yell at you from time to time, but they really do generally mean it to be constructive. If you see a bit of bantering back and forth between members, it's their way of hashing out differing opinions and is usually settled with a cyber handshake.

The above does not mean the guidelines aren't in force, because in point of fact, they are, and they are posted here (and at the top right of your screen).

Please review them to be familiar with them.

Bike Reference: - Anything you need to know about bicycles - Excellent mechanics site, how to on just about everything

Bike Forum Questions: - Forum Guidelines - Posting Pictures - BF News - Forum Suggestions

Road Cycling Stickies: - What happened to the other stickies (they're here) - What bike do you have? - For Trade, NO SELLING, NO MONEY - RIP Sheldon Brown - Thread About Nothing

Bike Buying and Materials: - How to buy a good bike - For heavier riders (otherwise known as Clydesdales or Athenas) - Road Bikes under $700 - Fatigue test of Carbon Fiber vs Aluminum vs Steel

General Differences between Cyclocross / Touring / Hybrid / Road / Mtn Bikes: - Hybrid discussion - Touring Bikes vs Racing Road Bikes (great comparisons here) - Newbie guide to touring - Triple vs Double vs Compact

Fitting your bike - Wrist pain - Specialized Seat Bone measurer - Knee pain - Fit Calculator

Mechanical Issues: - Sliding seat post - Truing bladed spoked wheels - Biodegradable degreasers - Pumps? - Caged vs Loose Balls - Hub overhaul - Grease - Pinned Chainrings - Lube - Rack and Fender installation - Measuring a bottom bracket
- Front DR adjustment
- Easy way to put on a rear wheel

Random bike stuff: - Road Rash Aid - Build a cadence monitor for <$12 - Rechargable battery for GPS - More on rechargables - DIY Custom Frame Kit - Physics of forks - Riding tips - Flat fix by tying a knot in the tube - dealing with rust - Wrapping Bar Tape

Tom Stormcrowe
Forum Administrator and all the Bike Forums Staff

bdcheung 12-03-08 12:56 PM

awesome, awesome, awesome thread. Buddy Christ gives it two thumbs up.

Ryleeryno 12-03-08 02:02 PM

Props on the thread from Toast Christ.

rollin 12-04-08 01:33 AM

Well laid out, I like it. :beer:

Just needs links to 2 other common topics:
"Campy vs Shimano"
"What to do with stickies?"

(unlike the previous posters, I don't represent any paticular "Christ" but I'm sure that baby Jesus would approve:))

Air 12-04-08 06:24 AM

Originally Posted by rollin (Post 7961664)
Well laid out, I like it. :beer:

Just needs links to 2 other common topics:
"Campy vs Shimano"

Good idea, would you point out one of the better arguments and I'll add it. Thanks!

roadiejorge 12-04-08 11:19 AM

Very nice, this is a great resource for everyone.


Tom Stormcrowe 12-04-08 02:40 PM

I merged the Intro and links thread for fewer places for the new membwers to have to look.

NewEngland 12-08-08 08:29 PM

Beginner Road bike (how many million times has this title shown up on here before..?)
Bummer. I had a really nice, clever, pretty much amazing in every way lengthy thread/post written, and had to go before it was complete. I copied what I had and emailed it to myself to bring back later (now)...and wow, what do you know, no pasting! I am much too stubborn to type it all again.

So, here's a much more simple, less entertaining version on my post:

I am looking for my first road bike. I am pretty new to biking. This August I picked up my first 'real' bike, a 1994 diamondback sorrento, for $35 used in a parking lot. On a test ride, I was shocked. Biking is amazing! Sure, a probably 35-pound (with bike bag and water bottle) beat up mountain bike (too new to call vintage, too dated to call new, so simply 'old') doesn't sound speedy to you, but coming from my $60 target little boy's mountain bike, I was in paradise. Gripped by a new pastime, I logged about 500 miles over the next three months. Now it's cold, and icy, and I'm on the track team, so I've called my season pretty much over.

So, I had been walking with my friend one day in November when he introduces me to the world of road bikes. Never heard of them, imagined them, noticed them, etc. A few weeks later, I am mildly well researched. I want one. I want to feel the same change; If I could manage a 40 mile town to town to town ride on a '94 entry MTB, then just how far can I go on a this-century road bike, at maybe 60% the weight, skinnier tires, carbon fork, drop bars, etc.?

Naturally, I have questions.

First, if you have an opinion on the following bikes and deals, please share it:

2007 Iron Horse Triumph 5.0 ---$450, used but generally unridden.

For some reason I have really been fond of Iron Horse. Perhaps I route for the underdog. Nice looking bike, Tiagra. 22.3 pounds (not too good?)


2006 KHS Flite 300 ---$380

From what I can tell, this bike would be a great option. Very affordable, and from what I've read seems very solid. 22 pounds-ish. Bike used 1 season, a few hundred miles. What is the general opinion on KHS?


2006 Scott Speedster S50 +Extras $450

This deal seems great. Bike is used about 300 miles. Comes 90% assembled (frame and conponents, must attach wheels, adjust and tune-up)
Comes with:
+++Bike computer much better than my cheapie (Blackburn 4.0)
+++Limar 720 helmet ($50...I need a helmet, too, since my kids one is broken)
+++Pearl Izumi cleats (Just happens to be my size, size 12. I have never used clipless pedals, but I would have to buy shoes
+++A very nice looking Profile Designs saddle (The Bell saddle that came on my diamondback is acceptable, but not expensive and/or stunning)
+++Trek gloves (don't have these, could use)
+++Oakley sunglasses (probably wouldn't use. Could sell, gift, give, etc.)
+++Sunlite underseat bag (I have a frame bag that I am fine with. Still, I would use it.)
+++Topeak Micro Rocket bike pump (Presta...I'm assuming if it's included, then that's the style the tires are.)
+++"2 tire irons and spare tube" (What are these?)
+++Shipping crate

Is this a great deal, or no? The bike alone for the price wouldn't be awful, in my opinion


2004 Trek 1000 $400
No need to provide link, I assume.

Bike is consistently used, but seems in order. I can actually try out this one, the others are online (If I order an online and it doesn't fit right, I can always resell. Disappointing, but not totally heartbreaking).
Notorious beginners road bike, but I don't know, I think the other deals can compete with it.


I am 5'9, with longer arms, and will maybe grow a couple more inches. However, I am leaning towards choosing a bike over getting a car until after college, so I will probably upgrade to a better bike after this one in a year or 2. This bike is meant to transport my teenage self, on a very teenage budget ($500 or less, firm). I will use this bike at least 5 days a week come spring time, through next late autumn. I expect 200-500 miles a month, depending on the bike's amazingness. I rank performance over comfort. SO, what are your thoughts on all or any of these bikes? Which is the best deal? Which is right for me? All are 54-57 cm. I marked 54-58 as my range. I did try a specialized 52cm bike once (compact no-less!) and it wasn't awful...but I could tell a few more cm would help. It would be doable though. I know, I know, fit is #1 Important.

Other questions off the top of my head:

How fast will I actually be going on a road bike? I mean, I have no idea. On an average flat at an average pace on my mountain bike, I will be going 13MPH (casual riding, relaxed, not pressing for speed on the flat). I am a strong rider, strong legs with just below-average endurance (average endurance coupled with asthma make some hills a real pain on my bike).

Clipless pedals- So, it's like you slide in them, and then when you pull up you are stuck to the pedal? But then, when you slide sideways out, you are free? How easy is it to get out of the pedal...instantaneous with a little practice?

How much would you estimate it would cost for one of my LBS to assemble a 90% assembled bike and tune it up? ...$40? I have absolutely no idea. How often should I get a tuneup on a bike? Is it like an oil change, every ___ hundred miles?

Say I keep whatever stock tires that come on my bike. How often will they pop? Will it be a monthly thing, or a once or twice a season thing? I know I will have to stop curb-hopping on a road bike, but I still may hit the occasional cherry-sized rock, or scraggly branch.

Gravel= a no-no? My road has been getting all redone and repaved and such. On my MTB, I just barrel through gravel pits, rocks, mud, dirt, etc. I'm not sure how much work will be left by next season, but since I'm not interested in a hybrid, I'm guessing I'll have to walk my bike through mild-tough spots?

This one is curiosity. Is it against the law to break the speed limit on a bike? Even I have gone 30 in a 25 zone on my there actually a law for it?

Frames. Do they really break? I rarely ever fall. I did hit a stop sign once, but that was back when I was a beginner sidewalk-rider. It's never something I really thought about. I just figure faster speeds + skinnier tires may result in a wreck or too for a beginner.

I'm sure there's more questions I have. I can't recall them. I'll ask when/if needed. This post is long enough. So really, any tips, opinions, etc. would be great. Although, navigating and reading this entire post was likely difficult enough.

Thanks for your time, APS.

Fremdchen 12-08-08 08:48 PM

Don't buy a bike without test riding it, no matter how cheap it is. Don't "make do" with a bike that almost fits.
Gravel is a no-no for a road bike.
Wow, that's a long post.. so many questions. Have you tried the search function on this forum? Road bikes are awesome fun, best of luck on your riding adventures :-)

garysol1 12-08-08 08:52 PM

My advice...
#1. Buy a store. Not a bike. In your price range all the MAIN manufactures make a good and equal equipped bike.Find a shop that wants your business and is willing to work with and for you. By that I mean they will include a basic fitting. They will let you ride a few bikes and not rush you and will answer your questions nicely no matter how silly they may be. Look at frame warranties. Trek, Specialized and others will offer a lifetime frame warranty. See if they will offer a discount on accessory's which you will need.

late 12-08-08 09:00 PM

The most important thing, the second most important thing and the third most important thing is fit. Which makes finding used bikes tough. Try the Trek. If it fits, you've got a bike. I wouldn't buy sight unseen until you know better what fits.

Tires are unpredictable. But one of the nice things you can do is get better tires when the old ones die.

You will be faster on the road bike, maybe not as much as you're hoping for, but give it time.

There are different kimds of clipless pedals. As a college kid, I'd suggest either staying old school, or getting spd. SPD shoes you can walk in.

Speeding is speeding, but you pretty much have to want a ticket to get one.

Frames don't break much. I see a lot of bikes on the road that over 30 years old.

Suggestions... take your time. Get a helmet. You prob need a 55cm or 56cm. But sizing isn't standardised, so a 55 from one company could stretch you out more than a 56 from another.

sfcrossrider 12-08-08 09:12 PM

All bikes in your price range are very similar in regards to quality. As sated above... you can, and will get a speeding ticket on a bicycle. And, you'll notice a big difference in performance over a 35 pound MTB.

Good luck.

squintal 12-08-08 10:28 PM

a few answers for your multitude of questions:

a tire iron is what you use to pop the tire off the rim when you get a flat - it's a little plastic lever with a lip on one side to wedge under the tire bead.

A tube would be an inter tube - you can keep one in your seat pack along with your tire levers and pumps so that when you get a flat you can replace the tube, rather than patching the old one.

You are allowed to ride a road bike on gravel - it's called cycle-cross, but be prepared for pretty rough handling and more wear and tear on your new bike.

As far as little debris in the road - you will feel it a lot more, and with skinny tires it can set you off balance, so try to avoid it. As far as hopping curbs - it is possible - although it takes practice and a bit of dexterity.

I second the above posts about buying sight unseen. don't do it - go to your local bike shop (LBS).

Make sure they treat you well - You should get the following deals when you buy a bike:
- Free service for at least a year (this is important - your bike will need more frequent tuneups in the first year, and it also shows that the shop takes care to adjust their bikes properly, so they don't have to waste time doing it over again.)
- Free fitting
- 10-20% off accessories is a nice bonus - it's worth asking

If your lucky your local shop may have some used bikes - also worth the inquiry.

Creating a good relationship with your local shop is very advantageous. If you are a loyal customer, and you show some interest beyond "it's broken, make it work" you should be treated very well.

About a year ago I bent my front wheel running into a car. I walked over to the bike shop I use and the owner gave me a new wheel for $20 - tire included - the tire by itself was probably worth more than $20, but he saw I was in a pinch, he knew I was a good customer, so he gave me a good deal. And I rode home, rather than waiting a week for a new wheel to show up after I bought it off of ebay.

Especially as a young person or college student you will be treated well - especially if you show some interest in the sport. Ask about local group rides or races - people love to see young folks getting involved in this sport.

As far as speed goes, I am going to estimate that getting on a road bike for the first time you'll average 15-17 mph on the flat cruising at a relaxed tempo.

That's all the questions I can remember.

if you haven't been there yet go to

There are more answers there than you could possibly absorb in a lifetime.

good luck

boulder bound 12-09-08 06:22 AM

New Bike Suggestions
Would like some help to narrow down my choices. I am 5 10 175, 44 yrs old. Just getting back into biking. Not looking to be competitive, maybe a mini tri if I get to that point, but really want something that cruises nice and is durable. I like the following:

Cannondale Synapse 5 or 7
Jamis Ventura Comp
Trek 1.5 or 2.1
Jamis Quest- read that steel is more comfortable

Looking in the $1,200 range. Less would be great of course, wont want to go much higher.


garysol1 12-09-08 06:45 AM

I would say to have a look at the posts right above this one. All of the bikes you have mentioned are alll very good bikes. Test ride a few and see which one you like the best and as I said above.....make sure the shop is willing to work with you to insure the fit is perfect for you. Fit is more important then the bike at this point for you.

gabdy 12-14-08 01:36 AM

Tom, you sure this doesn't give some people here Carte Blanche to be rude and obnoxious to new users?

Air 12-14-08 10:00 AM

No, the same rules apply but the bantering that's normal for established members can be intimidating for new members.

Air 02-11-09 05:18 PM

OK - I have a newb question. I'm helping a friend set up a bike he got off CL and the handlebars are too low for him. What's the steepest rise available? I don't know anything in the ways of threadless headsets.

AEO 02-11-09 05:33 PM

20 degree stems from MTB lines like easton.
otherwise 17 degree stems from most road stems.

Air 02-11-09 06:23 PM

Sweet, thanks!

SS_rider 02-14-09 02:48 PM

i have a question for everyone: i have a single-speed road bike and i was wondering what the cheapest/easiest way to turn it into a road bike was.
i've been to a lot of LBS's and they have given me price ranges from $10-$150

MrCrassic 03-02-09 10:56 PM

Great thread. Surprisingly, I never really noticed it. :)

Air 03-03-09 07:29 AM

Originally Posted by SS_rider (Post 8360589)
i have a question for everyone: i have a single-speed road bike and i was wondering what the cheapest/easiest way to turn it into a road bike was.
i've been to a lot of LBS's and they have given me price ranges from $10-$150

Sorry - just noticed this. Could you post some pictures, especially of the rear dropouts. Off the bat you'll need something in the neighborhood of:

If you really want to skimp you can get go to your lbs and get:
- cheap top mount shifters
- front and rear deraileurs from the used bin
- used brake calipers
- brake & deraileur cables and housing
- used crank set (I'd go with a triple and check out a fitting site for the right length, when I went up to 175 I felt a HUGE difference (I'm 6-1") from the 170s - I'd never go back) and:
- have them install a sealed bottom bracket so you can have them worry about the right spacing based on the cranks
- ($10 shifters, $40 deraileurs, $25 for brakes, $25 brakes and housing, $25 for bb, $25 labor, $25 crank set, $20 for gently used chainrings laying around (or could spend $60 for new ones there, get steel they're much stronger (I've bent the aluminum ones))).

brake handles ($15)

cassette ($20) and chain ($10 - 6/7/8 are all the same size and are thicker than 9 and 10 speed (which I tend to snap).

Total on the 'group' - $215.

Another option is to buy a 'group' which will be all those things together and better shifters that will probably start around $400.

xboxingsfuture7 03-15-09 04:09 AM

Big question
im going on a 6 day 350-360mile trip and really need 2 know what brand and/or specific bike anyone thinks i should get i have around $1500 to spend but am not sure if i want 2 spend that much im 5'5 male, and athletic so if you got any question or suggestions check out my post on the road forum

Air 03-16-09 03:48 PM

Welcome! You might want to check out the Touring section. Is there a SAG or supply truck going with you or do you have to pack everything on the bike?

Personally I'd say Surly but there is this thread that will give you suggestions of ~$600 bikes. At the end of the day you'll have to get on a few and test ride them till you feel one that's 'it.'

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