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  1. #1
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    Kinda New Rider. Need help deciding on a bike.

    Im not a new ride per-say. I have been riding bikes since I can remember but spent most of my years with BMX and dirt jumps. But now im older and in college so I want to start cycling a bit more. Get a workout and provide transportation when i dont want to drive to school.

    That being said I dont know anything about what constitutes quality parts and all that stuff. Im looking to buy a bike from bikesdirect.com and i know they arent going to be some world class bikes. But im just starting and most people around the web seem to agree that they make decent products and though they are not top notch, they are decent quality.

    The problem im having is deciding which of them come with better components.

    Road Bikes | Track Bikes | Fixed Gear | Single Speed Bicycles | Dawes SST singlespeed bicycles | Save up to 60% off list prices

    Windsor Fixie Singlespeed Bikes - Clockwork

    Track Bikes | SingleSpeed Bikes | Fixie | Windsor Bikes - The Hour | Save up to 60% off Fixed gear and singlespeed bicycles

    Motobecane Singlespeed Bikes - 2012 Track Bicycles by Motobecane USA up to 60% Off

    Save up to 60% off new Track Bikes - Gravity Swift2 | Save up to 60% off new Track bikes

    Motobecane Cyclocross Singlespeed Fixie Bikes - Fantom Cross UNO Track | Singlespeed Cross bikes | Save up to 60% off new bikes

    They all seem pretty similar and some are Windsow, Motobecane, one is Dawes, one is Gravity. But when i look a the components all i see is hi-tech mumbo jumbo. Are any of these significantly better than any of the others or am i just better off choosing which one i think looks the best?

    Thanks guys.

  2. #2
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    Automatically rule out the aluminum frame, due to the fact that steel lasts longer and gives you a better ride. That means that the Gravity Swift2 is out! The Windsor Hour Plus Track bike either may or may not come with brakes and brake levers. It all depends upon how early you order the bike. My advice would be to skip it altogether, in order to avoid complications. The Motobecane Cyclocross bike will be less difficult on the hills, but won't be as fast on the flats. However, it's more versatile, in that you have a much greater selection in tire widths. You therefore, can ride it equally well on both the boardwalk and the beach. Just switch out the tires from wide treaded (for the sandy beach) to skinny slicks (for the city and boardwalk). Otherwise, just keep the wide ones on and cycle slightly slower on all the hard flat surfaces. The Motobecane Track bike only has rear brakes. That's not quite enough for me. Therefore, I'd rule that one out, for safety reasons. Since, I'm a strictly a city slicker who only rides on the smoothest of roads most times, I'd choose the either the Clockwork or the Dawes SST. If you wanna do urban assault rides and cruise the beaches and wooded trails, then the Fantom Cross just might be the ticket for you.
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

  3. #3
    wim
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    Rule out all steel frames because they rust. Even if kept dry, condensation from temperature changes collects inside steel tubes and precipitates dreaded rust formation. Remember the adage: Rust Never Sleeps!

    I hope you know I'm kidding. My statement here ^ is just as bizarre as "rule out the aluminum frame." Buy what you think will do, ride it for a while and trade it for something even better if you stick with the sport.

  4. #4
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    I did a quick scan down your list and noticed that the highest priced bike is $400. For that price or a little less, you could keep your search local for a good, used, geared bike that you could see, test ride and bring to a LBS for mechanical and fit assessment.

    Two things I wouldn't recommend someone new to road riding do is 1) buy online because you essentially guess on sizing and 2) go with a SS. If you ever want to venture somewhere, do longer/ charity rides, that type of bike may well limit you. Also, if you're looking to commute, consider bikes that'll accommodate fenders/ racks - along with storage facilities (or lack thereof).

    Some sources would be your LBS (some sell used and include a warranty), CL, community newpapers (classifieds) and bike coops. The latter has the plus of assisting you with bike maintenance/ repair.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    I did a quick scan down your list and noticed that the highest priced bike is $400. For that price or a little less, you could keep your search local for a good, used, geared bike that you could see, test ride and bring to a LBS for mechanical and fit assessment.

    Two things I wouldn't recommend someone new to road riding do is 1) buy online because you essentially guess on sizing and 2) go with a SS. If you ever want to venture somewhere, do longer/ charity rides, that type of bike may well limit you. Also, if you're looking to commute, consider bikes that'll accommodate fenders/ racks - along with storage facilities (or lack thereof).

    Some sources would be your LBS (some sell used and include a warranty), CL, community newpapers (classifieds) and bike coops. The latter has the plus of assisting you with bike maintenance/ repair.
    +1 ^ This is excellent advice! However, if you ARE going to purchase online, anyway...I would also advise you to consider another option when it comes to the Fantom cyclocross bike being offered by Bikesdirect. That's mainly due to the fact that Nashbar offers their own version of CX in a SS for fifty bucks less. PJ is right on the money when it comes to proper sizing online. I would strongly suggest that you contact customer service for guidance as to your correct size with respect to the various models of bikes being sold. It will still be your dime that return ships the bike for an exchange. That's only if you can manage it within 30 days after delivery! By the time its over, if ordered incorrectly, you could've purchased a single speed from your friendly neighborhood bike shop!
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wim View Post
    Rule out all steel frames because they rust. Even if kept dry, condensation from temperature changes collects inside steel tubes and precipitates dreaded rust formation. Remember the adage: Rust Never Sleeps!

    I hope you know I'm kidding. My statement here ^ is just as bizarre as "rule out the aluminum frame." Buy what you think will do, ride it for a while and trade it for something even better if you stick with the sport.
    What if you had a choice between two lawn mowers? One is guaranteed to last for 5 years and the other one is guaranteed for twenty years, but they both cost the same amount of cash. They both perform equally as well. Would there be any question as to which one has the better value?
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeet View Post
    What if you had a choice between two lawn mowers? One is guaranteed to last for 5 years and the other one is guaranteed for twenty years, but they both cost the same amount of cash. They both perform equally as well. Would there be any question as to which one has the better value?
    Take a look at your local Craigslist some time. Mid-80's Trek, Klein and Specialized bikes are everywhere. Steel might have an advantage over aluminum when it comes to fatigue life, but that isn't the only thing that can damage a bike, hence wim's humorous rust analogy. Claiming that determining longevity is as easy as choosing the material the bike is made out of is as significant of an oversimplification as claiming that a cyclocross bike will be slower on the flats than a track bike. Since when does a few ounces of weight and additional tire clearance slow down your average SS rider?

    The the OP...find a used bike locally that you can test ride. Finding your size now will pay dividends down the road. If you are intent on buying a SS from BD.com get the Fantom Uno. Flexibility is a marvelous thing. I have been mixing things up lately due to some minor burnout on road biking and mountain biking. I find that I spend more time on my SSCX (single speed cross bike) than all my other bikes combined.

    Last Saturday I did about 35 miles on the road/MUT's on my mud tires. This weekend I rode single track on the exact same setup. If the custom CX bike I am having built isn't ready later this month I will be doing a 100k gravel race on it. This fall it will be my primary CX race bike.

    In my opinion a modern cross bike is what a "bike" should be. A vehicle that can get you anywhere under your own power. While it can't quite go anywhere, a CX bike is one of the most flexible vehicles you can own.


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by xjbaylor View Post
    Take a look at your local Craigslist some time. Mid-80's Trek, Klein and Specialized bikes are everywhere. Steel might have an advantage over aluminum when it comes to fatigue life, but that isn't the only thing that can damage a bike, hence wim's humorous rust analogy. Claiming that determining longevity is as easy as choosing the material the bike is made out of is as significant of an oversimplification as claiming that a cyclocross bike will be slower on the flats than a track bike. Since when does a few ounces of weight and additional tire clearance slow down your average SS rider?

    The the OP...find a used bike locally that you can test ride. Finding your size now will pay dividends down the road. If you are intent on buying a SS from BD.com get the Fantom Uno. Flexibility is a marvelous thing. I have been mixing things up lately due to some minor burnout on road biking and mountain biking. I find that I spend more time on my SSCX (single speed cross bike) than all my other bikes combined.

    Last Saturday I did about 35 miles on the road/MUT's on my mud tires. This weekend I rode single track on the exact same setup. If the custom CX bike I am having built isn't ready later this month I will be doing a 100k gravel race on it. This fall it will be my primary CX race bike.

    In my opinion a modern cross bike is what a "bike" should be. A vehicle that can get you anywhere under your own power. While it can't quite go anywhere, a CX bike is one of the most flexible vehicles you can own.
    There is no over simplification concerning the fatigue issue that aluminum has. At this time, I'm most certain that there are many more steel framed bikes remaining from the 80's and 90's, than aluminum ones. Also, additional weight always serves as resistance to forward motion when surface resistance is involved. The engine needs to apply greater force in order to overcome the additional weight, despite how small it may be. This is especially demonstrated whenever accelerating, or when climbing inclines. IMO, the Gravity Swift2 is in its rightful place, at the bottom of a short list. If the list were any longer, it would still remain near the bottom. The Uno is most probably the best bike, if your terrain is varied. However, if it's not, the SST and the Clockwork would most certainly out pace it in the long run on well paved roads, given their greater number of teeth and narrow tire width. Though the Uno would most likely accelerate faster at the start, it would tend to lose, given greater distances.
    Last edited by Zeet; 07-01-2013 at 09:35 AM.
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

  9. #9
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeet View Post
    What if you had a choice between two lawn mowers? One is guaranteed to last for 5 years and the other one is guaranteed for twenty years, but they both cost the same amount of cash. They both perform equally as well. Would there be any question as to which one has the better value?
    Yea, but who here buys bikes like one does lawn mowers? If people here applied your "service life" criteria, they'd all be riding fendered Surly Long Haul Truckers carnauba waxed every week and frame-savered every three months. With a race-type bike, you buy into a dream or follow a passion. With lawn mowers, not so much.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wim View Post
    Yea, but who here buys bikes like one does lawn mowers? If people here applied your "service life" criteria, they'd all be riding fendered Surly Long Haul Truckers carnauba waxed every week and frame-savered every three months. With a race-type bike, you buy into a dream or follow a passion. With lawn mowers, not so much.
    Slightly exaggerated, but I do get your point. However, there are people here, who would opt to purchase a bike for a life of recreational cycling, rather than to simply race, or speed. OTOH, for the roadie purist, yeah, I would absolutely have to agree with you.
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post

    Two things I wouldn't recommend someone new to road riding do is 1) buy online because you essentially guess on sizing and 2) go with a SS. If you ever want to venture somewhere, do longer/ charity rides, that type of bike may well limit you. Also, if you're looking to commute, consider bikes that'll accommodate fenders/ racks - along with storage facilities (or lack thereof).
    +1 ^ Great advice for the most part. However concerning single speeds....
    I dunno, I started on a single speed. Most anyone born before WWII, grew up on single speeds. When your next bike has multiple speeds, you can appreciate it more! Single Speeds Rock!
    Last edited by Zeet; 07-01-2013 at 07:23 PM.
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

  12. #12
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    Wow. Enthusiastic forum. Thanks guys.

    I am set on a single speed because I love the simplicity of them. Im not interested in a geared bike right now. And I did go to a local shop and made sure to get my size right. I understand about the durability of the steel as well as its higher comfort level so I removed the Gravity. And as I really like the idea of the Fantom Cross being more versatile as I like to be able to go on a dirt path or two if need be.

    Thanks guys. This was definitely helpful and educational. I think ill probably go with the Fantom or Dawes SST (mostly cuz I like the blue one).

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manopka View Post
    Wow. Enthusiastic forum. Thanks guys.

    I am set on a single speed because I love the simplicity of them. Im not interested in a geared bike right now. And I did go to a local shop and made sure to get my size right. I understand about the durability of the steel as well as its higher comfort level so I removed the Gravity. And as I really like the idea of the Fantom Cross being more versatile as I like to be able to go on a dirt path or two if need be.

    Thanks guys. This was definitely helpful and educational. I think ill probably go with the Fantom or Dawes SST (mostly cuz I like the blue one).
    Congrats on a wonderful decision, Manopka!
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeet View Post
    Most baby boomers (or anyone born before) grew up on single speeds.
    I'm a boomer and the only two SS bikes I recall are a tricycle and a bike with training wheels. After than I had a 3 speed (w/ Sturmey Archer hub) and Schwinn 10 speed (actually, 5 by todays standards)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeet View Post
    When your next bike has multiple speeds, you can appreciate it more!
    Sorry, but this logic escapes me. It's like saying, I'm gonna withhold something I know I'll like and reward myself at a future date. And the reason being.... what???

    To each his (or her) own, but I say spare the knees, do the extra modicum of maintenance (and it is a modicum) and go with a correctly geared bike given rider fitness/ terrain.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    I'm a boomer and the only two SS bikes I recall are a tricycle and a bike with training wheels. After than I had a 3 speed (w/ Sturmey Archer hub) and Schwinn 10 speed (actually, 5 by todays standards)
    OMG! Am I really that old? I guess I'm quite a bit older than you then, PJ. I was primarily thinking in terms of Cruisers.
    Sorry, but this logic escapes me. It's like saying, I'm gonna withhold something I know I'll like and reward myself at a future date. And the reason being.... what???
    No. It's more like, since I mostly ride on smooth flat paved roads in only one speed anyway, why not just get a single speed? I know waaay too many roadies who infrequently change gears while cycling. Most cyclists change gears in order to either climb, or accelerate. On the flats, most cyclists don't even change any gears, unless it's a windy day.

    To each his (or her) own, but I say spare the knees, do the extra modicum of maintenance (and it is a modicum) and go with a correctly geared bike given rider fitness/ terrain.
    If you aren't challenged by many steep or frequent hills, then a single speed won't hamper the knees at all.
    Last edited by Zeet; 07-01-2013 at 05:22 PM.
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeet View Post
    No. It's more like, since I mostly ride on smooth flat paved roads in only one speed anyway, why not just get a single speed?

    If you aren't challenged by many steep or frequent hills, then a single speed won't hamper the knees at all.
    This is where advice has to be tailored to suite the audience. In my area, you can't ride more than 500 feet without a change in terrain. No mountains or huge climbs, but lots of up and down (undulating, I call it).

    But even in flatter terrain, (as you mentioned) headwinds can necessitate the need for a gear change when cruising. Bottom line, I see no benefit to someone denying themselves a useful tool (gears). As always, YMMV.

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