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Teenager Looking for a First Road Bike

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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

Teenager Looking for a First Road Bike

Old 08-16-11, 04:19 AM
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edbale
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Teenager Looking for a First Road Bike

Hi everyone,
I'm a 15 year old and i've been riding fairly regularly on my dad's older road bikes over winter. Seeing as my birthday is now approaching he offered to buy me my own bike. I was looking for some advice in what too choose as obviously i'm not the professional rider but i still want a decent machine. I've answered some questions that might help.

New/used? Either, but in good condition.
Price? $1000 - ish
Nice weather/crappy weather? Nice weather
Snow? No
Do you want to wear street clothes or change/shower at work? Change.
Distance? 20km+ each ride
Hills/Flat? Generally flat.
Do you want to ride fast or slow? Both
What sort of shape are you in? Very Good. Still improving.
Pavement/dirt/gravel? Pavement
How much crap do you want to take with you? As little as possible.
Do you want to carry it on your back or on the bike? Back, water on the bike.
Are you unusually short/tall (below 5'6" or above 6'4" mens, subtract about 2-4" for women)? No
Do you want to do anything else with the bike? No
Store bike outside/inside? Inside
Theft a problem/concern? No
Do you want it now or have time to shop around? Shop around.
Ride at night/day only? Day mostly. Night rarely.
Do you have any sort of injuries/physical issues (old broken or artificial limbs, back pain, wrist problems, etc.) No.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Ed
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Old 08-16-11, 07:00 AM
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The first thing you need to know is what size you need, you LBS should be able to help with this. I would suggest a mid level Alum bike, Giant Defy, Trek 1.2, Felt 85, Scott Speedster, ect. These will not be the lightest or have the best parts, but are all great stater bikes. Remember your not done growing, so no need to get your dream just yet.
If you are going use make sure you no what you are looking at. If the deals looks to good. it is.
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Old 08-16-11, 07:15 AM
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A word of caution-- the MTB I got at age 14-15 isn't even close to fitting me now.

I would attempt to get the bike at least 1 size larger than a 'proper' fit in an attempt to have it fit you when you're 19. An alternative idea is to spend very little on the bike, but IMHO you can't spend little enough unless it is used. (Which isn't a bad idea for utility purposes, but a used gift doesn't sound that awesome.)
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Old 08-16-11, 07:15 AM
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Anything you buy from the major manufacturers will be fine. They are all equal in terms of quality. You will find some part differences that might make one a better buy than another, but that is something for you to decide.

Are you still growing? If you are, I would suggest going with something that comes in a compact frame design - Giant and Specialized both offer compact - and buy a frame that is almost too big. You can run a short stem and lower your seatpost for now. Then as you grow, all you will have to do is raise the seatpost and put a longer stem on there.
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Old 08-16-11, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
A word of caution-- the MTB I got at age 14-15 isn't even close to fitting me now.

I would attempt to get the bike at least 1 size larger than a 'proper' fit in an attempt to have it fit you when you're 19. An alternative idea is to spend very little on the bike, but IMHO you can't spend little enough unless it is used. (Which isn't a bad idea for utility purposes, but a used gift doesn't sound that awesome.)
Thats bad advice. I would go with the proper fit now as oppose to "waiting" for the body to grow. Stay with the size the recommendation bike size to his body. That way, if he does grow, all he has to change is the seat height, seatpost (for Setback) and stem length.
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Old 08-16-11, 07:37 AM
  #6  
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Depends on how much he grows, right? A 54cm frame can't be made to fit a 6' tall dude. In my example, I was on a 17.5" MTB and now I ride 19-21". No amount of stem or seatpost can make the 17.5" MTB fit me. As long as he has some standover with shoes on, the frame isn't too big.
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Old 08-16-11, 08:20 AM
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Now is the perfect time of year to buy a new bike since the season is winding down and shops are starting to discount bikes to make room for the next year's models. With that budget, you should be able to get a nice bike equipped with Shimano 105 or Sram Apex components. Start test riding bikes at that level and price and see what you like.

I'll chime in on the sizing up debate. I bought a bike 1 size too large for me when I was 15, and I literally stopped growing that year. The bike had always felt a little sluggish and I couldn't get more than 1" of saddle to bar drop. I ended up selling the frame and getting a smaller one. Also, I know 6' dudes on 54s. I'm 5'10 and ride a 54, and I could ride a 52 if I got a seatpost with a little more setback and a 120mm stem (not uncommmon). Also, the standover with shoes comment doesn't fly with me either. Nobody likes riding a bike that feels too big to handle. It's possible to ride it, but takes the fun out of it. So I recommend getting the right size now. You can always pick up a larger frame and swap the components later.
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Old 08-16-11, 09:38 AM
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i agree, at your age you may still be growing a bit. if I were a kid who's parents were prepared to pony up $1000 for a bike I'd take them to an LBS and show them a few bikes in that price range. then I would go home and show them the bikes direct bike. for $1000 at a bike shop your going to get at Sora/Tiagra bike, maybe you'll get lucky and find a deal on a 105 equipped bike. I'd go on bikes direct and find something similar on there and try to convince my parents that if I save them money now by getting a $500 Tiagra bikes direct bike that they will spring for another bike in 2 years when you have outgrown that one.


Then in 2 years you convince them to spring for the DuraAce Di2 model as a hs graduation gift!
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Old 08-16-11, 09:55 AM
  #9  
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You mentioned that dad has older road bike(s) so I'm assuming he has more than one. What size/make/model are they and which one do you like the best - what do you like about it. Which one do you like the least - what don't you like about it. If you give us this additional info we could really hone in on something good for you. Other than that I would say that if your father has a lot of bikes he might be a good source for advice as well. Finally, Bikes Direct can get you a good deal but make sure you can set it up and fit it correctly, or plan to save some of that $1000 for a LBS to do that for you.
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Old 08-16-11, 10:01 AM
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My Dad has a Raleigh Revenio 3.0, great bike. He got it new for like 1200 or 1300. Went back to the LBS we got it from a couple weeks ago and the price had dropped to 999. Raleigh updated the Revenio line for 2012 so you can get a great deal on the 2011 model. 105 components, light as any other bike in that price range, great value. You get a lot of bike for the price. I ride a Felt Z85, also a great bike, 105 components, great value. Got it for like 1150 new. So as far as bikes go I would look at those two. As far as fitting goes...I got nothing...
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Old 08-17-11, 12:58 AM
  #11  
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Thanks for replying everyone.
I am still growing, so thanks for the advice on that. In regard to my dads old bikes, i ride his old Daccordi frame, not sure which model, with updated wheels. I believe that to be 54cm. It is heavier than most present day bikes but this point in time i dont think weight is an issue. Also i was also surprised at the $1000 bid from my dad, but i can assume that he'll want to good value for money and will be happier for every dollar i can save. The Trek 1.2 looks like quite a good deal from my LBS.
Thanks Everyone,
Ed
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Old 08-17-11, 02:28 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
Depends on how much he grows, right? A 54cm frame can't be made to fit a 6' tall dude. In my example, I was on a 17.5" MTB and now I ride 19-21". No amount of stem or seatpost can make the 17.5" MTB fit me. As long as he has some standover with shoes on, the frame isn't too big.
Like I said before, you can easily manipulate the fitting by starting a smaller frame. Changing the seatpost (setback), stem length, and seat height are easy adjustments. If you look at some of the pro-peloton, most riders are using frames 1-2 sizes smaller than their manufacturer's recommendation.

With your recommendation, I did have the same experience with what you said. I bought a used 54cm frame which was one-size above with Specialized recommendation. I figured I would train through it and eventually I would "outgrow" it. After a years worth of lower/upper back pain, I said I had enough and decided to buy a new frame that would fit me well. So I took the old parts and added them to my new 52cm S-works frame. I got a BG fit recently and the fitter recommended that I should decrease my "reach" length from a 100mm stem to 80mm. Now my bike's handling is quite different than I want to. Now I kind of regret that I should have gotten a 49cm than a 52cm. But luckily it fits me well.

If by going one-size up for the OP, it could make matters much worse. We cant predict his peak of growth but at least we can prevent injury.
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Old 08-17-11, 04:27 AM
  #13  
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My Dad is 6'0.5" while my Mum is 5'4" and i'm still growing at 5'6". Genetics say i won't be a giant, but still have a bit of room to grow. Cheers, Ed
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Old 08-17-11, 09:03 AM
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Hmm, 5'6". I would be looking at 56cm bikes. If you can't standover them, then 54cm, but I would avoid going smaller because you will outgrow it within 1-2 years. Correct seatpost setback & stem length, of course!

I would be looking at aluminum bikes in the $800 - 900 range in order to have enough budget left of your $1,000 total to buy a helmet, floor pump, bottle cages, bottles, and basic blinkies front & rear. (I see you wrote night riding was rare. Without basic lights front & rear, you shouldn't do *any* night riding at all.)

Giant Defy 3, Trek 1.1, Cannondale Synapse 7, Specialized Allez Triple/Double. If your budget is $1,000 for the bike and an additional $100-200 for accessories is ok, then I would definitely step up to the $900-1000 versions of these bikes. They have good upgrades at that price point.

Again I assume this will be a new bike but if you are considering used, there are many options.
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Old 08-18-11, 12:55 AM
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I have all the basics, helmet, pump, bottle cages etc. Used is still an option but im keen on something new
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Old 08-18-11, 02:40 AM
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Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
Hmm, 5'6". I would be looking at 56cm bikes. If you can't standover them, then 54cm, but I would avoid going smaller because you will outgrow it within 1-2 years. Correct seatpost setback & stem length, of course!

I would be looking at aluminum bikes in the $800 - 900 range in order to have enough budget left of your $1,000 total to buy a helmet, floor pump, bottle cages, bottles, and basic blinkies front & rear. (I see you wrote night riding was rare. Without basic lights front & rear, you shouldn't do *any* night riding at all.)

Giant Defy 3, Trek 1.1, Cannondale Synapse 7, Specialized Allez Triple/Double. If your budget is $1,000 for the bike and an additional $100-200 for accessories is ok, then I would definitely step up to the $900-1000 versions of these bikes. They have good upgrades at that price point.

Again I assume this will be a new bike but if you are considering used, there are many options.
Are you kidding me?! Even if he has an inseam of >34 inches his upper body has to compensate with a lengthy reach! He would be soo stretched out that he has to get stem thats <30mm.

To be honest, $1000 isnt a lot of money and you will spend more than that to get cleats, shoes, and apparel. So get a bike that fits! And in years time, you can upgrade to a sizable bike that's proportional to your body.
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Old 08-18-11, 02:14 PM
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i would buy a used bike as you're still growing. Once you're done growing, go out and spend some $$$. Also, you mention theft is not a concern. I don't care if you live in a small town or a big city, but with these bikes, theft is ALWAYS a concern.

sorry, that just rubbed me the wrong way a bit only because of the amount of people i know that have had their bikes swiped when they thought it would never happen.
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Old 08-18-11, 02:26 PM
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Ed,

You're getting lots of good advice about the bike, but I wanted to comment that you seem very mature and that you are asking good questions.

New is fun but buying used really stretches your value. Bikes like cars can depreciate horribly the minute you ride them...

Anyway, I hope you will have many years as a cyclist in front of you.

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Old 08-18-11, 04:46 PM
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Ed,

What are your plans for the bike? Do you plan on serious workout style cycling, do you want to ride into town and hang with friends , do you go off roads? When I was 15 I probably wanted to do all of those. Getting something new really is a great feeling, and it is a gift so go for it. Not knowing what your cycling style is, I'd recommend a versatile ride. I finally bought a second bike this year (Salsa Casserole) with wider tires and the truth is that it is not much slower than my road bike and is really comfortable and fun. At 15, your leg strength will be good. You decide; ride for performance or ride a fast versatile bike.
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Old 08-19-11, 04:38 AM
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I would rarely use the bike for the purpose of meeting friends, and I wouldn't go off roads. I live next to a river with a 15 km bike track that extends to the Olympic Park where a 5.5km road lap track is found. It is a good condition track and relatively flat. I would intend to ride the bike for the purpose of exercise and of course for the enjoyment of it as well. Thanks all.
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Old 08-19-11, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by edbale View Post
The Trek 1.2 looks like quite a good deal from my LBS.
If you do go that route don't go anything less than Sora. I'll give my same 2 cents as everyone here though. If that's what you want you can get the same thing elsewhere's for cheaper. It's a Taiwanese frame and you're just paying for the name. That's it. If you're gonna get that frame at least get good parts. Being it's your first bike and (hopefully) not your last, make your first bike not the best. That way when you do go out to spend some serious money you'll have a greater idea of what you want. My first bike was a Trek 1.2 a few years ago. I almost quit riding completely because it was just an utter POS, but that's me. YMMV.
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