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fitmom 02-21-12 06:46 AM

Bunch Of Newbie Questions
Hi!!! Hope you guys can help me out. I have several questions for you guys, would appreciate some feedback.
Would platform pedals be a good option for me as a beginner? Should I just go ahead and buy clipless pedals? Can someone please let me know of a good helmet under $100. My husband has decided to buy a bike as well, his budget is under $1200. He is in great shape, and prefers something built for speed. What are some good bikes to look at?

GamecockTaco 02-21-12 07:08 AM

Platforms will work, but if you plan to stick with, you might as well go ahead and invest in the clipless. You'll be glad you did. As for helmets, search around, you can often find most all helmets for that price, though it might be "last year's model" or something. Big thing on helmets its to make sure of the fit. Bell tends to fit my head shape better than Giro, but YMMV.

As for hubby's bike, check with your lbs. most all of the brands have a bike at that price point.

good luck.

kv501 02-21-12 07:10 AM

1. I would go with clipless right away. Using the pedals isn't tough at all; you just have to be able to turn your heel out when you want to stop. People make to big of a deal of it, which is a shame because it scares others away from trying them. The benefits you'll see from clipless pedals will far outweigh the short learning curve. All you need to do is practice clipping in/out a few times next to a wall/bench/etc and you'll be ready to go. Purely psychological. When I first used them I knew I'd never go back. You might fall once or twice at first but it's not a big deal; just practice in a parking lot/driveway/yard.

2. For helmets under $100, anything you find comfortable from a major manufacturer (Bell, Giro, Specialized, others) is fine. I'd stop at your local bike store and just try one on.

3. For a $1200 bike (if you buy new), you will be looking at an aluminum bike with entry-level SRAM or Shimano components (this would be the crank, derailers, brakes, and shifters). At that price level most if not all bike frames are made in China and are essentially the same. Trek, Specialized, Giant, and Cannondale all make bikes that fit what you are looking for, and the best answer is to go to a reputable bike shop and try one out. (Cannondale aluminum bikes are made in the US). Again, the bikes at this level all have very similar frames, and the quality of components is the main difference from model to model. For instance, if it came down to an aluminum Trek, Specialized, or Giant with say, Shimano Tiagra components, prices should be similar and you'd probably go with the best deal (or go with the brand your LBS sells). I would recommend searching the forums here to read about what the differences in component levels are.

Carbon fiber frames are next up from the aluminum bikes and you are going to be out of the $1200 budget.

jwill87ta 02-21-12 07:16 AM

As others have said, go ahead and get the clipless pedals. As long as you are comfortable riding a bike (not one of those people who are very woddly and nearly fall over trying to get on and off) you will be fine with the clipless.

As far as a bike for you husband, go to your local bike shop(LBS) and see what brands they carry. Pretty much every manufacturer has a comparable bike in a given price range to every other manufacturer so you don't have to worry about getting a bad deal.

ahsposo 02-21-12 07:22 AM

I really like clipless pedals and think if your bike handling skills are pretty good already sure start with 'em. If you need to learn or recapture riding skills you might want to start with platforms. It's easy to change pedals with a 15mm wrench if you remember two things. Always lube the threads before installing pedals and the non-driveside threads go backwards.

topflightpro 02-21-12 07:49 AM

Run platforms if budget is an issue. There is nothing wrong with platform pedals,they are just less efficient. But for a beginner, they are fine. Also, if you find you don't like riding, you won't be stuck with cycling shoes you don't need. (Yes, you can sell the shoes, but if you are buying entry level shoes, you're not going to get much for them used.)

As for a helmet, all helmets meet the same safety standards. As you go up in price, you get better fit, better ventilation and lower weight.

Finally, for $1200, there are hundreds of options out there. Anything from the major names, such as Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, Giant...., will be fine. At that price point, they are all pretty much the same anyway. The differences are so minor as to be inconsequential.

khatfull 02-21-12 09:45 AM

You might consider combined platform/clipless pedals, like the Shimano PD-A530:

Platform one side and SPD clipless the other. These would use more MTB oriented shoes but if you're looking to perhaps walk some after riding and not be a complete and utter roadie this might be a way for you to go. This also allows you tp hop on the bike with whatever shoes you happen to be wearing without worrying about your "bike shoes".

If you did change to a more road oriented clipless setup these pedals would have resale value if in good shape.

Something to ponder.

pdedes 02-21-12 10:58 AM

don't forget to budget for some ancillary items:
floor pump, frame or mini pump, basic tools, tubes, clothing, gloves and so on.

icyclist 02-21-12 11:43 AM

"Would platform pedals be a good option for me as a beginner?"

You've never ridden a bike? If not, then the answer would be yes, since you're going to have problems just learning how to balance a bike. Otherwise, no.

SlimRider 02-21-12 12:29 PM

Yes! Go with clipless right away! Practice clipping in and out, until it's second nature, before actually riding.

Go to your nearest Jamis dealership and checkout there Satellite Series. The Satellite Comp is well within you budget.

Also, if your husband is a veteran cyclist and is somewhat mechanically inclined, there's always where you can save cash and upgrade.

Here's just a few recommendations:



Good Luck! :thumb:

- Slim :)


You can get nice functional helmets practically anywhere, including Walmart!

* If you are truly a "beginner", as in never, or seldom ever ridden a bike before, then just ignore my post!

If you're a "beginner", only in the sense that you've just recently taken on the actual sport of serious road biking, but you've both cycled before, then please consider my recommendations.

wi.flash 02-21-12 04:43 PM

Personally I would go clipless.

Helmets have standards so really if you want just go down to Walmart and buy a helmet for $20.00.

For the price range of bike, try to get at least carbon fork with 105 components.

SlimRider 02-21-12 05:31 PM

Originally Posted by wi.flash (Post 13880827)
Personally I would go clipless.

Helmets have standards so really if you want just go down to Walmart and buy a helmet for $20.00.

For the price range of bike, try to get at least carbon fork with 105 components.

Agreed! As a matter of fact, according to, Schwinn helmets sold at Walmart for $17 - $25, are pretty good helmets.

I also happen to agree with you concerning 105 componentry and the carbon fork.

- Slim :)

Burglar 02-21-12 06:24 PM

Helmet: I tried on a few and ended up with a Specialized Echelon simply because it was the most comfortable ON MY HEAD. They can be had for around $60-65. Helmets are one of those things you just have to try on.

I had a $20 Schwinn helmet that I used for a while. The plastic shell is held on with double sided tape. The tape eventually started losing its stick. Maybe it was the excessive heat of the summer, the humidity, the rain... it just kind of started falling apart.

What I learned when shopping for a bike in the $1200 range: There are a TON of bikes in that price range. And a lot of them are pretty much the same. The quality of bike shops is all over the map though. Find a shop you like. A good shop will have no problem wheeling out bike after bike for you to test ride. There are still a few shops that are genuinely concerned with your satisfaction. If you get a weird vibe from a shop, go somewhere else.

wkg 02-21-12 06:34 PM

Originally Posted by SlimRider (Post 13879914)
just ignore my post!

i like this part.

i love moms.

wi.flash 02-21-12 06:39 PM

Originally Posted by SlimRider (Post 13880977)
Hey there Flash,

I would like you to reconsider your position on many Walmart bicycle helmets.

According to Schwinn helmets sold at Walmart for $17 - $25, are good helmets.

- Slim


I happen to agree with you concerning 105 componentry and the carbon fork.

My wording is strange, but if you read carefully I am on board with Walmart helmets. When I said helmets have standards, I did really mean it.

daxr 02-22-12 10:45 PM

I've put 30k on my bikes in the last 3 years, and done a few races, wearing a $20 bell slant helmet. It looks ok, does the job, and is comfortable enough that I haven't really though about upgrading (which is exactly the kind of equipment you really want!).

You should be able to find a good aluminum bike in that price range at an LBS. Carbon is probably overkill, and a steel bike is more likely to be one you start looking to upgrade pretty soon.

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