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  1. #1
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    Advice before I make an expensive mistake.

    Greetings Everyone, Ruben here from South Texas and here is a little bit about me and my need for advice. I am 47 (soon to be 48) years old, in 'ok' shape, soft in some areas and not so soft in others, 5'7" tall and about 180lbs though I carry it well being ex-Navy.

    I recently got a job as a dispatcher VERY close to my house, about 1.5 miles away and so in lieu of buying a cheap used car/motorcycle/scooter, I opted instead to get in better shape than I am now and purchase a road bike.

    Now my need for advice, I am NEW NEW NEW to cycling, apart from a Panama Jack beach bomber I had a few years past I have not been on a bike in ages.

    i have decided between two models after having exhausted many hours of reviews online as well as YouTube videos and they are:

    Diamondback Century Sport, about $470 online.

    Tommaso Imola Compact Aluminum, about $600 online.

    I also plan on getting a little seat 'fanny' pack type of carrier with bike pump, flat tire type of fix it, Garmin 310XT watch and some assorted bike tools to fit in the seat carrier pouch.

    All in all my budget is roughly $700-$800 dollars. Between the two cycles I mentioned, which of those two would be the better/more durable/reliable, better component type of value?

    Again I am new and will go to my LBS tomorrow to get fitted so as to get a better idea of what size frame to buy, I think I am a 53 to 54 size frame due to my height and 30" inseam.

    Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated as I plan to buy in the next two weeks and would also like to hear about alternatives I may not have considered.

    Best Regards!

  2. #2
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    1.5 miles? If it were me I'd hoof it. Otherwise, I'd buy the cheapest serviceable bike I could, which is how I got into this sport. That way, if you find you don't like cycling then you're not out a lot. If you do, you either save for a better bike or put better parts on the old one.

  3. #3
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    Advice: If you're going to your LBS for a fitting and it's a FREE fitting, then buy your bike from the LBS.

    If you're not experienced with bikes, I further encourage you to buy from an LBS as they may have a program to swap out an uncomfortable seat at no charge. They may also be willing to swap the stem upon purchase for a better fit. Since you're new to cycling, you may wind up bringing your bike to the LBS for adjustments, etc., and many offer the first year free.

    Your 5'7" height and your 30" inseam put you right where you think you should be with regard to frame size; 53-54cm. I'd probably pick the 53. Due to your weight vs. your height, you likely lack the physique and flexibility to ride a low slung racing position. The two bikes you're considering have sufficiently tall headtubes to deal with your bodytype, and yet will allow a lower stem if your evolve toward that position.

    I recommend the Diamonback because I don't think you need the triple crank gearing of the Tommaso. More complexity and extra low gears you'll never use.

    For a seat bag, it should fit 2 tubes, patch kit, tire levers, multi-tool, wallet, and keys. These will all fit in 100-110 cu.in. bag. Buy the accessories and try to fit them in the bag while in the store, along with the wallet and keys. The typical frame pump for your type of bike comes with a small bracket that bolts onto the waterbottle bosses. The longer the pump, the better; those short pumps take a lot of strokes to be of any real use. Don't buy CO2 cartridges; those are only for experienced cyclists, and obviously if you use up the cartridges on the road, you're SOL.

    Honestly, for 1.5 miles and if you're looking for exercise, I'd just walk. But if you choose to ride, that's fine.

    Have you considered a used bike? If you're merely going to use the bike for to/from work and secure parking is not available, then you'll want something cheap in case it's stolen. Also, being new to cycling if you buy used, you won't be spending lots of money to find out whether you'll continue the routine or you'll discover what type of bike works better for you. Seriously; check craigslist in your area. You'd be surprised at what's for sale. You could always buy from craigslist and have the LBS tune the bike up to make it roadworthy.

    For your short commute a mountain bike with or without road tires would be fine.

  4. #4
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    Thank you for the advice on what to carry in the tool bag. The main reason I cannot walk to work is where I live, just outside town connected by a Farm to Market road. There are no sidewalks and the road varies in lane width. Apart from the fact that the majority of traffic is mostly trucks (18 wheelers) , though there is ample road shoulder and walking to work would mean dealing with the occasional mean dog or three.

  5. #5
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    Peter P has good advice. LBS is where you should spend your cash Trucks and Dogs will still be a pain but you'll be out on the road less time. Are you interested in riding longer distances? If so buy the cheaper Diamondback from a store as you'll be upgrading if the cycling bug grabs you. IIWM I wouldn't drop money on a Garmin watch until I knew I was going to ride longer distances. Use your smart phone as a timer and speedo.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwisimon View Post
    Peter P has good advice. LBS is where you should spend your cash Trucks and Dogs will still be a pain but you'll be out on the road less time. Are you interested in riding longer distances? If so buy the cheaper Diamondback from a store as you'll be upgrading if the cycling bug grabs you. IIWM I wouldn't drop money on a Garmin watch until I knew I was going to ride longer distances. Use your smart phone as a timer and speedo.
    Thank you for the reply, yes sir I will be riding longer, not just to work. I see quite a few road bikes on my way to work, they are all pro looking fellows though with the fancy pants and snazzy helmets etc. I know once I start that the bug will settle in and I will want to take advantage of what the sport offers. My smartphone is a Blackberry Passport and I will be upgrading that soon as well as some aps are left to be desired.

    To be honest I has NO IDEA how expensive this sport was! I mean 700-800 Dollars for a bottom tier BEGINNER bike?!? Wow how times have changed, but as I stated earlier, I am totally new and I hope to learn much from you all in the coming summer.

    Thanks again for reading and replying to my post everyone, it has been most insightful. Have a good weekend!

    Best Regards, Ruben

    The Garmin watch is something I can use regardless of what bicycle I purchase, plus i'm the type that would hate to buy something and then NOT put it to its intended use and thats another reason for the watch, to get me off my lazy rear.

  7. #7
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    If you need a bike only for commuting 1.5 miles, you do not want a road bike. What you need is a hybrid with platform pedals and fenders for a very short commute like yours.

    Now, if some day you say you want to buy a road bike for fitness riding, come see us then.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  8. #8
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    always find it curious that people who are just entering a gear-intensive sport want to invest in brand new equipment.

    if there's any kind of used bike market available, I'd consider that option to see if riding is appealing at all. if it's enjoyable, you can always upgrade...keep the first bike as a back-up or sell it.

    but, if the OP is set on a new bike, I vote for the Diamondback.
    Ancient Astronaut theorists say, 'YES!'

  9. #9
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    Op, make sure you get your fit right. I am half an inch taller than you, the same build, and I ride a 50/51cm. I started on a 54- lots of back pain from being so stretched out.

    I would rather have a beach cruiser that for great than a road bike that fit terribly.

    Where are you? If you live somewhere with lots of weather then a bike with room for fenders may be key.

    You may need a lock to keep your bike safe while you work. Get a u lock, not a cable one.

    I would go for the diamondback, they're usually a little more refined than the tommaso mail order bikes I've seen.

    Check the used market too, it may be a good way to start slow.

    I started on a 1985 Schwinn road bike. I was doing 5k+ miles/ year on that damn thing. It taught me a lot about how to work on a bike, my preferences, and my fit for $100!

    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    i'd buy the best vintage steel lightweight road bike you can afford, with:

    - chromoly frame or better
    - all aluminum components
    - down tube or bar-end shifters
    - on-frame rear derailleur hanger
    Yossarian: don't worry. nothing's going to happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.

  11. #11
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    Ok i just got back from my LBS and they were kind enough to answer my questions as well as see what size frame i need. Since I am a small fellow, they recommended a 50-52 frame depending on the company. Also they tried to talk me into a TREK Series 1, about $840. With new helmet, tool bottle (had no idea these existed, but its a bottle where your tools fit into and then clamps onto the bike frame) as well as bottle cage and taxes worked out to $1048.

    They also do consignment sales, and the manager heard me asking about the Diamondback Century Sport and the Tommaso Imola bikes. He said he has a customer who just won a Diamondback Century 1 (MUCH better than the Century Sport as it has 105 Shimano group set!) in a raffle but has no use for it and will see if the frame will fit me but pretty sure it will since its a small.

    The TREK they showed me was gorgeous, and stupid light as well, but then again im not a pro-biker and the associate actually told me its one of the heavier models they carry, just wow! the TREK has Shimano Sora componentry, 9 Speeds and he did say in a group I will likely get left behind if the guys are serious and they have the 105 which has more speeds.

    If I should buy from my LBS, then I am seriously gotta make it work with the TREK as the wife will be watching my EVERY move to ascertain I go out and ride lol. Likely kick me out of the house on a rainy day to make sure i get my money's worth.

    Another option right now is that Diamondback is having a sale and I can get a new Century 1 for $800 (well, $799 but you know its really 8) and the 105 setup on it is better than the Sora on the TREK.

    Guys I know Im new to this BUT I do intend to take it seriously and as I stated I am not just going to ride to work, I will be out riding on the weekends as well. I think its better I increase my budget a bit to a full grand, this includes helmet, gear etc. and know that I at least am getting a value for my money, rather than spend half of that and the bike I bought is junk or I will outgrow it in a year. Just my two cents.

    What are your thoughts on the TREK Series 1? That thing was sex on two wheels just sitting there! BUT for $50 less, I can get the Diamondback Century 1 with the Shimano 105 rather than the Sora 9 speed on the TREK....

    One more thing about the TREK, when I asked the associate can I upgrade the groupset later to the 105, he said yes but the best thing would be to just bring in the bike and trade it in for a new one when I outgrew this one??? Is this normal?

    Thoughts?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CentrumSilver View Post
    Ok i just got back from my LBS and they were kind enough to answer my questions as well as see what size frame i need. Since I am a small fellow, they recommended a 50-52 frame depending on the company.

    I think the 52 will be too small for your height. I still think you need the 54, and I looked at the Trek Series 1 geometry chart. Ride bikes above and below the suggested sizes to get an idea of what fits and what doesn't.

    Also they tried to talk me into a TREK Series 1, about $840. With new helmet, tool bottle (had no idea these existed, but its a bottle where your tools fit into and then clamps onto the bike frame) as well as bottle cage and taxes worked out to $1048.

    Stick to your budget. I'm always leery when I'm being up-sold.


    The TREK they showed me was gorgeous, and stupid light as well, ..., just wow!

    Weight is irrelevant, but easy for the sales people to sell as a benefit. Ignore the allure of the pretty girl...


    the TREK has Shimano Sora componentry, 9 Speeds and he did say in a group I will likely get left behind if the guys are serious and they have the 105 which has more speeds.

    Your getting left behind will be due to fitness and not the lack of a number of gears. Same holds for the component level i.e., Sora vs. 105. STICK TO YOUR BUDGET. It will keep the wife happy, too!


    Another option right now is that Diamondback is having a sale and I can get a new Century 1 for $800 (well, $799 but you know its really 8) and the 105 setup on it is better than the Sora on the TREK.

    I certainly would recommend Shimano 105 over Sora but only if it's within your budget.

    What are your thoughts on the TREK Series 1? That thing was sex on two wheels just sitting there! BUT for $50 less, I can get the Diamondback Century 1 with the Shimano 105 rather than the Sora 9 speed on the TREK....

    Yes; I'd advocate for the Diamondback over the Trek, as long as it fits.


    One more thing about the TREK, when I asked the associate can I upgrade the groupset later to the 105, he said yes but the best thing would be to just bring in the bike and trade it in for a new one when I outgrew this one???

    Six of one, half a dozen of the other. If you wind up doing your own mechanical work, it's cheaper to buy the parts. But you're left with a box of old parts which likely are still good. I'd only upgrade each part as it wore out, which could be a long time, indeed.
    .....

  13. #13
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    Thank you Peter, I greatly appreciate your insight. I think I will stick to my guns and if I can get the Diamondback with the 105 group set and disc brakes for the $800, then that is the best deal for me, still leaves a little left for a helmet, bike lock, bottle cage/bottle, tools etc.

  14. #14
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    I think that's a good decision. Since you're going to commute on it you should also budget for front and rear lights.

  15. #15
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    OK, here's one more thing to consider; you are down in thorn country, so you'll need either bulletproof tires, or you'll be getting a lot of flats. Can you change a flat?
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    OK, here's one more thing to consider; you are down in thorn country, so you'll need either bulletproof tires, or you'll be getting a lot of flats. Can you change a flat?
    Yes sir I am in Laredo, TX, lots of potholes and such on my little way to work (was actually thinking of the Cannondale Bad Boy 4 as well) but yes I can change a tire.

  17. #17
    pmf
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    Whatever you do, don't buy a bike thinking that you'll upgrade the components on it. that's a waste of money. You're basically buying the bike twice. If you want a bike with 105, get a bike with 105.

    Another thing to think about is that whatever you buy, in a year from now it'll either be gathering dust in your basement, or you'll be lusting after a different bike. So don't buy a POS because you won't enjoy riding and will never get to the point of lusting over something nice. But don't buy something really fancy because your wife will never let you live it down if you decide cycling isn't your thing. Bikes depreciate faster than cars.

  18. #18
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    What PMF said. Make sure what you get you will enjoy, if things get frustrating, you're more likely to quit.

    Get the bike with the upgraded components. You would be paying retail for three components, which is quite a bit more costly than the wholesale and buying power that manufacturers have.

    Whatever you get, regardless of cost, make sure you fit it.

  19. #19
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    my local shop has an ebay department. They blow out last years leftover bikes for pennies on the dollar. I just got a SCOTT Sub Evo 20, hydraulic disc brakes, dora...rack, dynamo lights, fenders....for $300.
    I will use it to drop off baby in daycare and commute to office (4.5 miles).

    Also, what PMF said X100.
    Will never upgrade, will either use as a coat hanger, or be on bike #2 at this point next year. Buy what looks good to you, it has to look secksy for you to want to throw your leg over it.
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

    LOLOLOL

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9W9W View Post
    it has to look secksy for you to want to throw your leg over it.
    Ummmm. Are we still talking about bicycles?

  21. #21
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    First off, let me say I think Peter P's advice is spot on!

    To add to that, 105 is a better groupset, yes. It will shift smoother and probably have fewer chain drops if adjusted correctly. But you also need to look at what else is better or worse.

    My gut feeling is for the Diamondback. Keep in mind that Trek is now putting a lot of pressure on their dealers and requiring them to keep at least an 80% Trek inventory in order to call themselves a Trek dealer. My shop is severing its relationship with Trek because of this.

    My advice is to visit some other shops, test ride more bikes and see how you like those. In the end, buy the bike that you like the feel of best. And most importantly, buy the bike that fits you best. A good shop will take the time to put you and your new bike on their trainer, watch you pedal and make fine adjustments to dial in your fit just right. Only a bike shop will do this. If you buy a bike on the internet and bring it into a shop for a fitting, they will charge you around $100-200 for that service. This service will be free if you buy from the shop.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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  22. #22
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    1.5 mile commute, unless you plan to do some extra riding, I wouldn’t bother with a road bike. I would probably ride one if my BMX Bikes or MTB
    If you don't follow the liberal flock, you are called a troll.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CentrumSilver View Post
    Greetings Everyone, Ruben here from South Texas and here is a little bit about me and my need for advice. I am 47 (soon to be 48) years old, in 'ok' shape, soft in some areas and not so soft in others, 5'7" tall and about 180lbs though I carry it well being ex-Navy.
    I am 5-7" and 195lbs and I have a 54cm Trek road bike. I agree with the other poster that a 50 would probably be too small. You just need to make sure and get a good bike fit, so you don't have those back problems. You can also strengthen your lower back with some "good mornings" back workouts.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Keep in mind that Trek is now putting a lot of pressure on their dealers and requiring them to keep at least an 80% Trek inventory in order to call themselves a Trek dealer. My shop is severing its relationship with Trek because of this.
    "Lawsuit Happy" Specialized is doing the same thing. I know of four shops that have dropped them. Someone told me that Giant is also doing this, but I haven't been able to confirm this.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by terbennett View Post
    "Lawsuit Happy" Specialized is doing the same thing. I know of four shops that have dropped them. Someone told me that Giant is also doing this, but I haven't been able to confirm this.
    I know that Specialized does this. One shop I know of will always try to bait and switch you toward Specialized if you're looking at the other brands they sell.

    I believe Giant is starting to do this as well.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



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