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  1. #1
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    Need a new bike...

    Last summer, I bought a really crappy used road bike. I have a bit more money now and would like to buy a new road bike. Nothing fancy, I just want a bike that I can use to go on long bike rides in the summer evenings after work or commute to my sports games and go on some half/full day bike rides on weekends for fun. My biking experience so far is spinning classes and my current crappy bike.

    I've decided that I want a road bike. Reason for it, I like the kind of handle bars and wheels on them and find them comfortable. I need to decide if I want a single or multi-speed one. I am planning on going to a bike shop and trying a few bikes out, then looking for something similar on a website like bikesdirect.com. I would like to spend a max of $500. I'll be going on bike rides with my boyfriend who is much faster than me but not a hardcore cyclist. I need something that is light enough for me to carry up and down the stairs. I don't need something uber light, just much lighter than my current pos bike.

    I'm writing here because I have no idea where to start doing research and figuring out what I should get. I know for sure that I'm never going to become a super competitive racing type cyclist. Thanks in advance for the advice.
    Last edited by crotte-de-nez; 03-27-2012 at 06:44 AM.

  2. #2
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    Really?? No-one has any advice??

  3. #3
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    Single speed is a bad idea if you live in a hilly place. Need more details about the terrain. You mentioned half day rides. If you have not ridden outside, need to build up.

  4. #4
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    Alright, I'll bite. I'm the kind of bike snob that hears "My current bike is a POS" and "I want to spend $500 on a new bike" and thinks "So, you're upgrading from a POS to a POS?"

    Seriously though, you didn't give much to go on. You say you want to do long rides. To the people on this forum "long ride" probably means 100+ miles. Is that how you define long rides? What is important to you? Comfort, weight, reliability?

    Further, you contradict yourself. You say you like the bars and tires on a road style bike because you find them comfortable. But then you go on to say you want to buy a bike from Bikes Direct (a topic that gets some of people on this forum worked into a fit) without riding it first. Riding the bike is the most important way to gauge comfort.

    Bottom line: Your post reads like you're trolling.

  5. #5
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    You have the right idea ... visit you LBS and then go online for value

    Here are a few suggestions in lightweight aluminum in your price range:

    Shimano Sora 24 Speed Windsor Willow $459
    Women Specific Road Bikes - Windsor Willow


    Shimano 2200 24 Speed Mercier Elle $399
    Save up to 60% off Road Bikes - Mercier Elle Women Specific road bikes

  6. #6
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    Love the sign-in name. I had to Google it, of course.

    I think the best way to stretch a buck is on a used bike. I have a Trek Portland that I got for a little less than your budget. The friend who sold it to me put a SRAM Rival drivetrain on a few years ago.

    Before that option presented itself, I was thinking about a Torker Interurban. That's a $600 retail bike, so with a little luck, you can probably find one for your number.

    About the only truly important things about a bike for long rides are that it fit you well and that everything on it works. It doesn't need a lot of speeds or carbon fiber bits or fancy wheels. I once rode from San Francisco to Santa Cruz on a 12-speed. Of course, older posters here (I'm 30) will have done all kinds of things on 12-speeds because they were what was current. Just because those bikes are no longer the new, hot thing doesn't mean they've magically stopped being good enough for a long ride.

    Which brings me to another option - if a friend of yours doesn't happen to want to get rid of an old bike that happens to fit you right at this moment, you can get used bikes from all sorts of sources. I think the best is a shop specializing in used, but Play It Again Sports and pawn shops can also be decent sources.

    Whatever you do, test ride.

  7. #7
    HELL ON WHEELS
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    IMO, $500 for a new bike not only limits your choices, it's also not going to get you a whole lot of bike, and will defiantly leave something to be desired.

    I say save, put the $500 in a savings account, a mattress, or where ever it is you save your money and add as much as you can when you can. Aim for $1100-$1500 and get a bike with Shimano 105 or Sram Apex.

    Or buy used, you can find a good bike for $500 on craigslist if your patient.
    Religion. It's given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.

  8. #8
    help us all
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    I honestly don't think I've been to an LBS an saw a $500 road bike new
    2011 Cervelo r3

  9. #9
    Road Bike Mike
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    Welcome to the slippery slope of cycling gear. Regardless of budget, there will always be a better, faster, sexier bike. The sooner you come to terms with this mantra and the sooner you come to terms with your budget, the better. That said, ignore anyone who tells you that $500 can't buy you a nice road bike.

    The world of $500 road bikes is a strange one. For starters, if you're looking for a new name-brand, $500 bike forget about it. Here's a $600 offering from Trek and here's Specialized's best offering for $649. I'm anything but a bike snob, but even I turn my nose up at an 8 and 16 speeds (respectively), Alivio derailleurs, steel forks and the sorry excuse for 2012 technology that the name players have put on these bikes.

    You could always shop used, but it sounds like you've btdt (been there done that) and are unwilling to dta (do that again). And who could blame you? If you're lucky you pick up someone's 4-5 year old dust-collector. While abuse and miles may be minimal, so are the components and technology. Carbon? Maybe if they upgraded the cages. Not to mention the lack of warranty and the time spent browsing craigslist, interacting with possible craigslist-killers and negotiating with idiots. okay, maybe a bit harsh...but as I grow older, two things continue to grow alongside: my interaction with people through craigslist and the number of idiots I know. Coincidence? You decide.

    Finally, that brings us to non-brand name bikes and sub-brand name bikes. I've ridden them all: Motobecane, Kestrel, Diamondback, Windsor, Fuji, Tommaso, and unbranded homebuilds. With the right components, these bikes will run laps around brand-name bikes at double, even triple the cost. My suggestion, do your homework. The proper preparation will prevent future pain and prevent you from riding a POS.

    Since people hate homework and love top ten lists, here's a list of the top ten steps when buying a road bike:

    1. Set a Budget – Few beginner cyclists have the coin or commitment to shop with an unlimited budget and even fewer beginning cyclists will see value in buying “too much bike.” Instead, I recommend that you settle on a budget you’re comfortable with ($500 – $1,500 should be plenty for your first bike) and get as much ‘bike’ as you can for the money. Remember, bikes have specs and specs are easily compared.

    2. Add $300 to Your Budget – A lot of good a road bike will do if you don’t have a helmet, pedals (yes, many road bikes do not come with pedals), shoes, clothes, tools, water bottles, etc. If this extra $300 breaks the budget, revisit Step 1 with this in mind. If you already have this gear, move to Step 3.

    3. Determine the Frame Size – You can believe *almost* everything you’ve read and heard regarding bike fit. Yes, it’s incredibly important to your comfort and enjoyment. Yes, you should spend time getting the right size frame. Yes, you should have a professional fine-tune the fit. No, you should not be paralyzed by this step in the process. Using a trusted fit source (i.e. Competitive Cyclist’s Fit Calculator) will help you identify the appropriate geometry and frame size. Armed with this information, you can safely buy a bike and ride it out of the box.

    4.Research – Spend some time with your local bike shop, on eBay/Craigslist, reading online forums. This research will help you understand the basics, know what questions to ask the shop/seller/vendor you ultimately buy from, and ultimately help you decide what bike best fits your criteria. Research is more than just reading. Ask questions of your roadbike friends. Ask questions at the local bike store. Heck, ask us questions!

    5. Pull the Trigger – You’ve set your budget, checked it twice, determined the proper frame size and learned all you can about frame materials, bike components, pricing, used options, new options, etc. Could you be more ready? Maybe. Is it worth delaying your first ride to get from 95% comfortable to 100%? No. It’s a bike, not a marriage. Nothing against marriage, but in this deal, you can easily fix almost anything that doesn’t match your expectations.

    6. Assemble the Bike – Since you’ve done your research and learned (from myself and others) that your budget goes further with online retailers and “non-brand name bike” you ended buying a Motobecane, Tommaso or other brand that gets you twice the bike for half the price; you’re now patiently waiting for a bike box to arrive. If you’re mechanically inclined, the assembly is easy enough to do yourself. If you’d rather trust the pros, drop it off at the local bike store and have them assemble and tune the bike.

    7. Fit the Bike – Formally or informally, set an appointment with your local bike store to help with a preliminary fit. From seat height to seat setback; stem rise to stem angle your local shop can get you in proper position to begin piling on the miles.

    8. Ride – Log your miles. Enjoy the bike. After you’ve accumulated the miles and grown accustomed to your bike and the sport in general, move on to step 9.

    9. Perfect the Fit of your Bike – After several hundred miles, you’ll be able to identify everything from minor nuisances to major discomforts. Head back into your local bike store and share your experience. Slight discomfort in the lower back? Tell them, it could mean that your reach is too long and that a new stem could alleviate this discomfort. Elbows feeling strained? Let ‘em know, perhaps your handlebars need a slight adjustment.

    10. Share the Love – Welcome to the Club! You’ve gone from road bike newbie to road bike groupie. Spread the love and get a friend, co-worker, sibling, parent, neighbor, etc. involved in the sport. Share what you’ve learned, share what you love and let’s fill the streets with cyclists.

    And, if you've read this far and are still looking for an answer to what bike to get...I'd pick up a Tommaso Imola or a Motobecane Grand Record and never look back. Or, if you are looking back, you'll be looking for your boyfriend who will undoubtedly be sucking wind trying to keep up with you!

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dharrison View Post
    Alright, I'll bite. I'm the kind of bike snob that hears "My current bike is a POS" and "I want to spend $500 on a new bike" and thinks "So, you're upgrading from a POS to a POS?"

    Seriously though, you didn't give much to go on. You say you want to do long rides. To the people on this forum "long ride" probably means 100+ miles. Is that how you define long rides? What is important to you? Comfort, weight, reliability?

    Further, you contradict yourself. You say you like the bars and tires on a road style bike because you find them comfortable. But then you go on to say you want to buy a bike from Bikes Direct (a topic that gets some of people on this forum worked into a fit) without riding it first. Riding the bike is the most important way to gauge comfort.

    Bottom line: Your post reads like you're trolling.
    I'll address you first. Pos=rusted out frame, gears, brakes an a very heavy frame.
    Bikes direct: I said I would go to an actual bike shop to try things and try to find the frame etc online. Thanks for being very helpful though.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by arshak View Post
    Single speed is a bad idea if you live in a hilly place. Need more details about the terrain. You mentioned half day rides. If you have not ridden outside, need to build up.
    I actually meant to put this in the OP. I live in NYC, the only hills are mainly the ones to get up the bridges. By long rides, I would like to ride my bike all day exploring the city. I ride outside on my current bike (shoddy brakes). I just haven't really done more than a couple hours at a time and that's not often.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Love the sign-in name. I had to Google it, of course.

    I think the best way to stretch a buck is on a used bike. I have a Trek Portland that I got for a little less than your budget. The friend who sold it to me put a SRAM Rival drivetrain on a few years ago.

    Before that option presented itself, I was thinking about a Torker Interurban. That's a $600 retail bike, so with a little luck, you can probably find one for your number.

    About the only truly important things about a bike for long rides are that it fit you well and that everything on it works. It doesn't need a lot of speeds or carbon fiber bits or fancy wheels. I once rode from San Francisco to Santa Cruz on a 12-speed. Of course, older posters here (I'm 30) will have done all kinds of things on 12-speeds because they were what was current. Just because those bikes are no longer the new, hot thing doesn't mean they've magically stopped being good enough for a long ride.

    Which brings me to another option - if a friend of yours doesn't happen to want to get rid of an old bike that happens to fit you right at this moment, you can get used bikes from all sorts of sources. I think the best is a shop specializing in used, but Play It Again Sports and pawn shops can also be decent sources.

    Whatever you do, test ride.
    Thanks! Booger was already taken.

  13. #13
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    When I lived in NYC I had a couple of bikes. My commuter evolved its way down to a singlespeed. On the good side, the damn thing was finally reliable once I threw out most of the old drivetrain parts. On the bad side, you'd be surprised how much variation you get in resistance from wind, and how much your comfortable power output varies with your energy level. Also, if you cross the GWB, you'll want your gears.

    WRT bikesdirect bikes - they're not the same bikes you buy at a shop. People argue that the frames come from the same place, which I believe to be more-or-less true although I think they're more cheaply manufactured. But the geometry isn't the same. This is important because sitting on a badly-fitted bike for more than a half hour or so sucks. You've probably already experienced that; it doesn't have to be the case. If you're going to try to take bike shops' time and dirty up the bikes they buy upfront figuring out how to size a BD bike, do it right. The single biggest determiner of whether or not a bike can be made to fit me, IME, is the frame's reach. This is the horizontal distance from the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube. Bikes' sizes are given in nominal sizes related to the length of the seat tube, or what it would have been on a bike with a horizontal top tube. So if you want to know if a bike online will fit you, you need to read the geometry chart. Usually they give effective top tube length, not reach. So if the seat angle is different, it messes up the comparison. It's nothing you can't correct for, but you should be aware of it before you go in. There are some ways to guesstimate the amount of change floating around. I'll leave it to you to read a few and see what you think.

    FWIW, I was thinking about getting one of their bikes myself. I ended up finding a used bike locally that I think will meet my needs a little better.

    If you have a friend who knows bikes that can help you, Frank's Bikes in the Lower East Side has a ton of used bikes. They're maybe not a stellar shop in terms of matching you to the right thing, but I think if you go in with your eyes open and a little knowledgeable help, you can get something really right for you.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RB Mike View Post
    Welcome to the slippery slope of cycling gear. Regardless of budget, there will always be a better, faster, sexier bike. The sooner you come to terms with this mantra and the sooner you come to terms with your budget, the better. That said, ignore anyone who tells you that $500 can't buy you a nice road bike.

    The world of $500 road bikes is a strange one. For starters, if you're looking for a new name-brand, $500 bike forget about it. Here's a $600 offering from Trek and here's Specialized's best offering for $649. I'm anything but a bike snob, but even I turn my nose up at an 8 and 16 speeds (respectively), Alivio derailleurs, steel forks and the sorry excuse for 2012 technology that the name players have put on these bikes.

    You could always shop used, but it sounds like you've btdt (been there done that) and are unwilling to dta (do that again). And who could blame you? If you're lucky you pick up someone's 4-5 year old dust-collector. While abuse and miles may be minimal, so are the components and technology. Carbon? Maybe if they upgraded the cages. Not to mention the lack of warranty and the time spent browsing craigslist, interacting with possible craigslist-killers and negotiating with idiots. okay, maybe a bit harsh...but as I grow older, two things continue to grow alongside: my interaction with people through craigslist and the number of idiots I know. Coincidence? You decide.

    Finally, that brings us to non-brand name bikes and sub-brand name bikes. I've ridden them all: Motobecane, Kestrel, Diamondback, Windsor, Fuji, Tommaso, and unbranded homebuilds. With the right components, these bikes will run laps around brand-name bikes at double, even triple the cost. My suggestion, do your homework. The proper preparation will prevent future pain and prevent you from riding a POS.

    Since people hate homework and love top ten lists, here's a list of the top ten steps when buying a road bike:
    Thanks for all the advice. I started trying to read up about bikes online. I just became really frustrated with a lot of articles. They seem to try and make everyone think they need the best bike ever because it will make them feel awesome, even if they just want it for leisure. People also chose a single speed or multi speed camp and stick to it and fight to the death justifying one over the other, so I stopped reading

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    If you have a friend who knows bikes that can help you, Frank's Bikes in the Lower East Side has a ton of used bikes. They're maybe not a stellar shop in terms of matching you to the right thing, but I think if you go in with your eyes open and a little knowledgeable help, you can get something really right for you.
    Before I moved to NYC, I did exactly this. I am obviously not satisfied with it and feel pretty ripped off. Almost immediately afterward the brakes weren't working and the gears jammed. Maybe my friend wasn't as good with bikes as I thought. I'm very leery of doing it again.

  16. #16
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    Is that your current bike?

    In their way, bikes are a pretty high-maintenance vehicle. Everything is exposed, some things are a little finicky about operation, and the rate of wear of things that matter is relatively fast. They're still cheaper to maintain than a car and can be very reliable, but you really need to keep on top of things.

    Check out parktool.com. That web site, a set of Allen keys, a few rags, a bottle of lubricant and a little patience are often all you need to get a bike that's performing poorly to behave itself. Without those things, it doesn't matter if you buy a $10000 wonder bike, it'll start working poorly in a couple weeks. I think I spend less time maintaining the bike I ride every day than I do washing dishes, but it definitely requires some attention.

    I'm not saying you won't be happier with a new bike. I don't know what you've got now, and I don't know if the rust damage is cosmetic or functional. But you have to appreciate that bikes are not solid-state; they require a little bit of commitment from their owners.

  17. #17
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    I agree with the last post. I have been riding bikes for 20+ years now and work on them myself. Back in the day before the intertoobs, only knowledge transfer consisted of observation and trial and error.you basically started out copying the set up of a really good racer /rider of similar height.

    Now a days, we got YouTube, Vimeo and other videos to watch on how to fix your bike. If your brakes are shoddy, adjust the brakes by luring the cable or cutting the cable outer housing to the right length. You will be surprised at how much of a difference it will make. And if your gear is getting jammed, it might be something minor like your derailleur cable being stretched since you first got the bike. All it needs is a quarter turn on the barrel adjuster on your rear dérailleur. Just examine your bike, identify the problem areas and look up the solution on YouTube. Voila! You have a nice bike.

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