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  1. #1
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    Turning 40 in July.... need advice for right bike

    I'm turning 40 this July (God how did THAT happen... I swear I was 23 just three weeks ago) and have decided I am going to spend my remaining years being fit and strong. I've been getting fit at the gym and am ready to move into biking to most places I go, to take it to the next level.

    Main Points:
    1. My main commute will be an 18 mile round trip, mostly flat with half paved and half mostly packed gravel.
    2. I'm 6'2" and 166# with 32" inseam and really long arms.
    3. I like the cyclocross idea because of the light frame paired with the ability to run bigger tires appropriate to the surface. Racing sounds fun too!
    4. I do have some upper back issues due to mild osteoarthritis. As long as I am moving it is not too bad.

    My Questions:
    1. Seems a light aluminum frame would be best, no?
    2. Disk brakes or not? They sure feel nice. What brand is good middle one?
    3. And SO many bike makers out there. How to choose which one?
    4. Where can I learn about what to look for in all the running gear, wheels etc...
    5. Would like to be able to haul stuff, life from the grocery store.
    6. What about wheels?

    I am looking to spend $500 to $700. Prefer used on Craigslist to save money/get a better bike; but may get a new bike to get one that fits perfectly and has everything I need and has no issues.

    If you all would kindly help educate and steer me in the right direction I would greatly appreciate it. I'm looking forward to getting off the bike at the gym and riding outside!
    Last edited by monkdude; 03-26-2012 at 10:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    I think your on the right the track with the Cyclocross bike thought. With a Cyclocross bike you could use the wider 32's when your commuting and if you decide to cyclocross race, and with that size rim you could change tires to a 28 for a faster ride on pavement, or you could get a second set of wheels that will allow 23's to be put on then you could ride even a bit faster on paved roads.

    For the price your looking at Aluminum is fine just make sure if buying used that nothing is bent visually, then try riding it with no hands to see if it pulls to one direction or another.

    Disk brakes are not really necessary, and if your buying used your going to have trouble even finding them yet on the used market.

    If you will be going to stores and want to carry stuff then you have to make sure that the bike you want to buy has eyelets on the rear dropouts and on the rear seat stay for panniers.

    Here's some low cost brand new cross bikes: Cyclocross Bicycles from bikesdirect.com If you take a look at the Motobecane Fantom Cross bike it comes with the really good Shimano 105 group and has the eyelets on the rear for either panniers or fenders which ever you want to use for the riding your doing; and the front has eyelets for fenders only. The next one down from that is the Fantom CX which also comes with the eyelets, but the component package is a mixture of Sora and Tiagra which is one to two levels below the 105. Also the Fantom CXX which comes with Sram Apex is another good bike with all the eyelets; but this one is a all steel frame and fork bike which probably would be a little heavier then the others but steel normally lasts longer then aluminium. I know a couple of the bikes I mentioned are $100 more then your wanting to spend, but you are getting a new bike for that, used you could get ripped off if you don't know what your looking at and how much it's actually worth.

    Go to bike shops and look at a few cross bikes and compare to Bikes Direct, You may be able to still find a 2011 bike on closeout and get a good deal from a local bike shop that way. Brands won't matter a whole lot, just find a nice bike, you have good choices in the new department for $800 to $650 range.
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  3. #3
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    I hate to say it, but...spend more. Like, twice as much. And if it's your first "serious" bike, it wouldn't hurt to get it from a good local shop. (If you had the knowledge necessary to choose the right used bike, you wouldn't be writing this post.) Don't get hung up getting a huge deal on your first bike...it's worth waiting a bit longer to save up money for a bike that will make you happy for a long time.

  4. #4
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    Surly LHT'd be a nice choice.

  5. #5
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by pretender View Post
    I hate to say it, but...spend more.
    I totally disagree. Bikes on craigslist typically go for 50-60% of their new retail value. If he has a $500 to $700 budget, he can EASILY get a bike which was $1000-$1400 new. That is plenty good enough for an entry level rider.

    For instance, I just did a quick craigslist search in my area.
    2006 cannondale cyclocross with 150 miles for $700. (Which is likely negotiable)
    Shimano Tiagra / 105 Groupset. Retail on the bike new was $1,249.

    That's a GREAT deal and an excellent "serious" bike for an entry level rider.
    Soooo many beginners go out and spend hundreds to thousands on a "fancy" new bike. Ride it a few times then realize they don't like riding. Only to sell the bike later at a big loss to them. Their loss, our gain.

  6. #6
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    I recommend going to a local shop to be fitted properly - especially considering you have `upper back issues`. It would seem foolish to me to strive to make a positive personal change but then ultimately do more harm than good because you bought an ill-fitting bike to save a few bucks. You should also get a warranty from an LBS which would be a great benefit should you ever need it.

    Part of the fun of having a bike, for me anyways was spec-ing out different bikes and finding which one was "mine" when I wanted to buy one. At the end of the day, it`s your body and your money, so it`s totally your choice but HAVE FUN doing it!
    Last edited by XLNC; 03-27-2012 at 06:36 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Soooo many beginners go out and spend hundreds to thousands on a "fancy" new bike. Ride it a few times then realize they don't like riding. Only to sell the bike later at a big loss to them. Their loss, our gain.
    As I said. I think this is because they don`t get the bike fitted properly. I`d wager 100 times more people are turned off of biking because of poor ergonomics in the saddle than them realizing they just don`t like riding.

    It doesn`t take a huge scientific behavioural experiment to dictate if you`re sore for 2 days each time you do a small 5 mile ride, you`re going to give up WAY quicker then if you`re just not having fun on the ride itself.
    2002 Cannondale Jekyll 800
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  8. #8
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by XLNC View Post
    As I said. I think this is because they don`t get the bike fitted properly. I`d wager 100 times more people are turned off of biking because of poor ergonomics in the saddle than them realizing they just don`t like riding.
    I'm referring to people who spend hundreds to thousands on a "fancy" new bike.. from a LBS. Hence they were "fitted" for their bike. Just because you buy from an LBS doesn't guarantee you'll be properly fitted.
    I've bought numerous used bikes from Craigslist. I haven't had anyone say bike comfort was the reason they're selling.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    I'm referring to people who spend hundreds to thousands on a "fancy" new bike.. from a LBS. Hence they were "fitted" for their bike. Just because you buy from an LBS doesn't guarantee you'll be properly fitted.
    I've bought numerous used bikes from Craigslist. I haven't had anyone say bike comfort was the reason they're selling.
    I'm not saying you're incorrect, because obviously your experiences are your experiences, but in my experience if someone is selling a high value "fancy" bike on kijiji or CL, especially for an inexplicably low price, and they claim "it turns out they just don't like riding" - they probably didn't 'buy' the bike at all and the local Police are probably looking for it. Seriously, if you show up to get this bike that you're fairly certain should fit you, but the guy you're buying it from is 6 inches shorter (or taller).... shouldn't that set off some flags?

    Conversely, I know 4 people that purchased 'over their ability carbon bikes' for several thousand dollars it turned they didn't have time to ride it (not because they didn't like riding) but none of them sold it online - It was always sold to a friend of a friend etc (or me lol).... Once again, in my experience, If you have the means to pay that much for bike, often you'll have the means to get rid of it faster (and easier) than trolling online for a buyer.

    Once again, not saying there aren't people that overpay for their skill, because I just gave an example of people who do, but selling a bike for less than it should be sold for online with the excuse "I don't like riding bikes" should be taken suspiciously.
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  10. #10
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by XLNC View Post
    but in my experience if someone is selling a high value "fancy" bike on kijiji or CL, especially for an inexplicably low price, and they claim "it turns out they just don't like riding" - they probably didn't 'buy' the bike at all and the local Police are probably looking for it

    but selling a bike for less than it should be sold for online with the excuse "I don't like riding bikes" should be taken suspiciously.
    I'm not saying they're selling it for an inexplicably low price. Nor that they're potentially stolen bikes.

    Just like used cars, new bikes instantly depreciate once you drive them off the lot. Bikes older than 2 years old, no matter the condition almost always sell for 50% of new value. Bikes 1-2 years old will sell for 50-75% of new value.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the info. I agree that fit is THE most important factor here.

    Bikedirect.com appears to be selling new bikes for half or more of the MSRP. Are these brands going to be good ones? I could get fitted at LBS, pay them something for their time and then buy online perhaps? But supporting local business is really nice too. Anyway, what about these bikedirect brands and how are they able to sell them for such a low price??

    I've also disovered trail cross and tri cross. I am not sure exactly what the difference is??

    Anyone ever added an Xtracycle cargo kit to a cyclocross?? That setup could be really usefull

    I'd like to run paniers and a fender because it is often wet here. What do I need to look for to accomplish this?

    I'm selling my motorcycle to buy the bicycle. I LOVE my motorbike, a sweet Kawasaki KLR650. Its like a cyclocross but with 45hp and is freeway capable. With my back issues, when I crash (and it is a matter of when, not if) the consequences could be really bad. That and I am tired of the constant fussing they take to keep on the road. So I could spend over $2000 on a bike if I wanted to. But being new to this I'd like to be sure the biking thing is going to work out with the back issues before dropping that kind of coin n a bike. Esp a new one. I may be forced into a recumbent.

    Of course a bicycle will probably require some fussing too... but at least the water pump won't leak! (Unless I pull over and cause a leak hee hee )

    Maybe I could rent a bike for a week and see how I do.

  12. #12
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by monkdude View Post
    Bikedirect.com appears to be selling new bikes for half or more of the MSRP. Are these brands going to be good ones? Anyway, what about these bikedirect brands and how are they able to sell them for such a low price??
    There's some deception going on there. Bikesdirect I believe is the only distributor of Motobecane. Their MSRP is OVERLY inflated.
    They advertise "$699.95 (Compare at $1495)". Well where are you going to compare it, since there's no where else to buy them?
    But if you compare their MSRP with an equally spec'd bike from a reputable bike manufacturer, their MSRP is WAY higher.
    You'll get mixed reviews on Motobecane. Their prices for the component leves are pretty good. I can't speak on the quality of their frames.

    Why are they so cheap? Per wikipedia...
    The name Motobécane is also used for bikes of Taiwanese manufacture distributed through bikesdirect.com. These vehicles bear no relation to the older French made bicycles, other than the name.

    I could get fitted at LBS, pay them something for their time and then buy online perhaps? But supporting local business is really nice too.
    Yes it is good to do! If you can afford to buy a bike at an LBS, it's always the best option. However, sometimes in order to get a quality bike you can afford, that's not possible. Most LBS's would be happy to assist fitting you on a bike they didn't buy from them (for a fee of course). Most will have a fixed rated for this service. $75-$100.

  13. #13
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    A cross bike is a good type of bike for your purposes. They also tend to have more upright geometries, which will be good for your back.

    I would strongly recommend that you visit local bike shops and buy from them, as fit will be an issue for you: (1) you are new to the sport and don't know how to properly size a bike, which is not good when buying online or used; (2) geometries (head tube length, head tube angle, etc) differ for every manufacturer; and (3) you don't have an average build (long arms) and health issues which makes getting the correct size even more important.

    If you provide your location, some forumites might be able to direct you to a good local shop. There are plenty of bikes within your budget. You will pay more at a bike shop than online or used. But if you choose the wrong bike, then you end up paying for two bikes. Remember the old adage: Some times the stingy man pays more.

    It pays to support your LBS. If your LBS goes out of business like book stores and record shops, who will you turn to for help. You'll end up spending money to buy tools, workstand, manuals, etc plus your own labor. They are more expensive but have more overhead than online bike distributors like BikesDirect, such as rent, local property and sale taxes and staff. Most importantly, the LBS will be able to help you fix your bike (identfiy what actually needs fixing, otherwise you are guessing) and get any parts (do you want to ship your bike back to BikesDirect to get fixed?). They also tend to do a lot of support to the local bike scene - discounts for clubs, sponsoring charity rides, providing mechanic support for charity rides, etc.
    Last edited by veloduffer; 03-27-2012 at 11:21 AM.
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  14. #14
    jrm
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    You could allways upgrade to disc brakes

    A@ a late time. Just make sure the frame has disc tabs.

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