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Please help me choose my first 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

Please help me choose my first bike.

Old 07-05-12, 11:20 PM
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Please help me choose my first bike.

Apologies if this is the wrong place for this post.

I'm looking for my first bike. I'm interested in road cycling and would like to do long-distance rides as soon as I'm fit enough. I'm having a lot of trouble choosing a bike, though - I feel like my searching has been kind of aimless because I don't know what exactly I'm looking for, which makes comparison shopping difficult. My budget is approximately $1200, and I'm fine with a secondhand bike.

Right now, my first choice is the Cannondale CAAD 8 6. Is this a decent choice for a first bike?

I've also looked at the Fuji Roubaix 2.0 because it's on sale at Performance Bike right now.

Do you have any other suggestions? What should I be looking for?

Thanks!
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Old 07-05-12, 11:32 PM
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Welcome To Bike Forums, Castafiore!

1) So what will you be doing with this bike?

2) Will you be racing her?

3) Will you join a road bike club and do club rides, centuries, and such?

4) Will you like to do some credit card touring?

5) Will you commute to work or to school on this bike?

TIA
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Old 07-06-12, 12:03 AM
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1. I mostly just want to get into road cycling for fun and exercise. At some point, I'd like to make it my primary form of exercise.

2. I'd probably like to race, but only when I become good enough not to be embarrassed.

3. A club would be fun, and I really want to be able to do a century at some point. I can only see out of one eye, so I don't want to commit to too much group stuff before I know how well I'm able to compensate. I'd be mortified to run someone off the road accidentally.

4. Doing a tour would be awesome at some point in the semi-distant future.

5. I might commute to work occasionally, but I only live about a mile from my office, so my primary use for the bike would be sport/recreation.

As a final point, I'm a fairly small girl, so I don't want anything too heavy - I'd like to be able to carry the bike into my second-floor apartment by myself.
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Old 07-06-12, 12:23 AM
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CAAD8 would be perfect, especially if you want to race in the future. The ride is kinda harsh(I have a CAAD9) but I like the road feel.

If you can save up a little more money you can get the CAAD10 which is a bit lighter.
My 50cm size CAAD9 without any accessories and pedals is a bit lighter than 18lbs(with upgraded wheels), it was originally close to 20lbs. A CAAD 10 might be a couple ounces lighter.

Last edited by fishymamba; 07-06-12 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 07-06-12, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by fishymamba
CAAD8 would be perfect, especially if you want to race in the future. The ride is kinda harsh(I have a CAAD9) but I like the road feel.

If you can save up a little more money you can get the CAAD10 which is a bit lighter.
My 50cm size CAAD9 without any accessories and pedals is a bit lighter than 18lbs(with upgraded wheels), it was originally close to 20lbs. A CAAD 10 might be a couple ounces lighter.
Ah, that's good news.

I'd LOVE a CAAD 10, but it's going to be kind of a stretch to save for the 8, and I don't think that I can justify the expense of the 10 just yet.

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 07-06-12, 01:44 AM
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Originally Posted by castafiore
1. I mostly just want to get into road cycling for fun and exercise. At some point, I'd like to make it my primary form of exercise.

2. I'd probably like to race, but only when I become good enough not to be embarrassed.

3. A club would be fun, and I really want to be able to do a century at some point. I can only see out of one eye, so I don't want to commit to too much group stuff before I know how well I'm able to compensate. I'd be mortified to run someone off the road accidentally.

4. Doing a tour would be awesome at some point in the semi-distant future.

5. I might commute to work occasionally, but I only live about a mile from my office, so my primary use for the bike would be sport/recreation.

As a final point, I'm a fairly small girl, so I don't want anything too heavy - I'd like to be able to carry the bike into my second-floor apartment by myself.
Here's how I perceive your answers and some creative input.

1. Getting a road bike is great fun and exercise. As for the primary, there's always other things that you have to maintain, I think. i.e. Core training is something that is pretty crucial for cycling as you may feel back problems and whatnot after riding because your muscles tend to ache in your lower back. Core training will alleviate that.

2. Don't be embarrassed to race. We all suck in the beginning, but you will learn the ropes. Racing isn't not only about physical activity, its also about making good decisions about following wheels and how to ride in a pack. Go to a few local races and watch to see if you want to be in the race or not. Me, I'd rather do a loosely organized race rather than crits around here. But whatever you do with it, learn from the experiences and have fun.

3. Clubs are always a good thing. I call them "cycling support" groups because it's like being in a giant group of bicycle addicts. You get to meet people that will help you along the way. Some of those people will help you with #2 and also give you tips on doing centuries eventually. I've also rode with a couple of visually impaired people, and they have done very well in a pack (one is legally blind and can't drive a car, but he gets around on bikes well when we're out.)

4. Skipping because I don't tour really.

5. Commuting is a rewarding thing to do. Even though you live a mile away from work, you may want to have a 5-10 mile loop that would end at your work location to give you a little boost in the morning.

As far as taking your bike around your apt. complex, if you feel like your bike may be too heavy, you can always take the wheels off and take the frame up first, then the wheels. My ex did that when I was away and she wanted to ride around.

But this is the most important piece of advice that I can give you. You'll want to test out the bikes and give them a ride. Being comfortable on the bike is number 1 on the list. Don't care about if this is a good bike or not. Don't care how others perceive your bike as good or not. Go out and ride and have fun with the bike that you like underneath you. So go to performance and ride the Fuji and find a dealer to ride the Caad 8, just don't give into public opinion.
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Old 07-06-12, 02:10 AM
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The CAAD 8 is a nice bike. If you want to test ride a bike with a bit more relaxed geometry, the Felt Z85, https://www.feltbicycles.com/USA/2012...eries/Z85.aspx is one of the best deals out there: all 105 components. It's the engine, not the bike that counts if you want to race.
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Old 07-06-12, 02:35 AM
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$1200, pretty good budget for a starter. are you mechanically inclined? do you think you could partially assemble and tune a bike out of a box? if so www.bikesdirect.com is a great place to start. if not your LBS will do the assembly for you for about $100.

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._carbon_xi.htm
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/fuji/fuji_sl3.htm
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...e/sprint_x.htm
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...y/team_wht.htm
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...e_x_carbon.htm
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...rvus_al_xi.htm
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Old 07-06-12, 08:00 AM
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/fuji/fuji_sl3.htm
Hey there Castafiore!

Since you're a beginner cyclist, it most probably will behoove you to shop locally at your friendly neighborhood bike shop. The bike shop will be better able to get you properly fitted and should there be any structural, mechanical, or cosmetic issues down the road, the folks at the bike shop can act as your advocate and mediate any discrepancies. They'll help with any warranty issues and will be responsible for any mechanical adjustments or repairs. They will also be there to answer any questions you might have concerning cycling.

If you order online, you'll have to pay for any repairs or adjustments immediately after purchase and you won't have the benefit of getting properly fitted. Of course, you could always depend upon BF to answer any of your questions that don't require any actual visual inspection.

At any rate, I think it would be a good idea for you to locate and join a nearby bicycle co-op, so that you can learn to repair, upgrade, and mechanically adjust you own bicycle in the not too distant future.

Your budget will get you a fairly decent entry level road bike at a LBS. However, for much better components, you'd have to add about $200 more, unless you buy online with bikesdirect.

The following are my recommendations:

1) The Schwinn Fastback Comp ~ $1430
www.schwinnbikes.com/bikes/road/2012-fastback-comp-womens-14314

2) The Schwinn Fastback Sport ~ $880
www.schwinnbikes.com/bikes/road/2012-fastback-sport-14336

3) The Jamis Satellite Comp Femme ~ $1400
www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/satellite/12_satellitecompf.html

4) The Jamis Satellite Sport Femme ~ $700
www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/satellite/12_satellitesportf_wh.html

5) The Jamis Ventura Comp Femme ~ $1400
www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/ventura/12_venturacompf.html

6) The Jamis Ventura Sport Femme ~ $700
www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/ventura/12_venturasportf_bl.html

7) The Fuji SL 3.0 ~ $1000
www.bikesdirect.com/products/fuji/fuji_sl3.htm

Good Luck!

Last edited by SlimRider; 07-06-12 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 07-06-12, 09:20 AM
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I see that your budget is $1200. Do you already have padded shorts, gloves, pedals, helmet, jerseys etc? I would spend as little as possible on your first road bike and ride it into the ground so you will know exactly what you want in a bike. Your first road bike will become your bad weather/rain/winter bike if you become addicted. Just don't get too caught up in the hierarchy of 2300/Sora/Tiagra/105/Ultegra/Dura Ace components. Bikes equipped with 2300/Sora are just as capable as those with Dura Ace. Once you get your bike, show up for an easy going paced LBS no drop ride. For an introduction to racing, look into doing a time trial in 2013. You don't have to worry about other riders getting too close or riding in traffic in a TT. After riding one of those though, you will just want a TT bike as well...
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Old 07-08-12, 09:58 PM
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I just purchased a Caad8 6 as my first road bike just today and can't wait to get it! If you've tried the bike out and like it, try a few others to see if they feel any better or worse. If you prefer a more relaxed ride or if you plan on doing half or full centuries a lot, you may want to try a Cannondale Snyapse or Giant Defy. Both have compact frames that sit the rider upright slightly more, putting less stress on the arms/back/neck. The Trek 2.3 is also a good ride, similar to the Caad8. A Caad10 will get you a more aero rider position for crits or other shorter/faster races.

I tried several bikes and felt that the Caad8 was a great middle-of-the-road bike and a perfect fit for me. Still comfortable enough to do centuries and fast enough to enter a crit if I wanted. It's not the perfect bike for either of these, but, like me, it's a jack of all trades that I can use for just about any type of road biking I want to do. I also felt that the ride of the Caad was smoother than the Trek. I had both the Trek 1.2 and 2.3 kick like a mule a few times over some harsh bumps on my test rides where neither the Giant or Cannondale bikes did that.
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