First bike
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Thread: First bike

  1. #1
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    First bike

    I am looking at buying my first bike mainly for commuting and have been looking mostly at cross country bikes as I want something that is fairly light, handles hills well and can ride well in the winter (Mostly Snow and slush). At a local retailer they suggested a "KTM Sorano Cross" Which I like .

    Although I am a firm believer of you get what you pay for and while my wife doesn't like the $900.00 price tag I am learning that it is on the low end of the price range for a good bike. I was also looking at the Trek Crockett 5 Disc but with double the price I am unsure if its too expensive for a starter bike.

    While I appreciate my wives concern she is fairly frugal unless there is an apple on the back of the product. I was hoping someone could provide some insight, I wouldn't mind dropping 2,000+ on the bike but I would have to save a few months to get it where I could buy the Sorano cross today. I am currently stationed in Germany so european brands are much more readily available but U.S. brands aren't out of the question.

  2. #2
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    If you're going to ride the bike on loose gravel, mud, or other types of non-paved roads (not including MTB trails), then get a Cross bike.

    If you're only going to be riding the bike on paved trails, then it sounds like you want an endurance geometry road bike. Riding in the winter with snow and slush would indicate that disc brakes might be a better option than rim brakes. Since you want it for commuting, you want to make sure that the bike has rack and fender mounts. Some road bikes have it, but others don't. Same for cross bikes. There are specific touring bikes that should have these.

    In the US, you can get a bike that will meet your needs for $1200 or less. Also, you may not want to spend more than this, because the first bike is often not the last bike you'll buy, but you'll learn from riding the first bike, what you want in future bikes. If you spend $2000, you may get lucky and get a bike that is perfect for you now. But as you ride the bike, your body will change, so what is great for you now, won't be in a year or two. And a bike that is very uncomfortable now, may feel perfect in 2 years. $900 would certainly be doable. I got a Fuji Sportif 1.3c - 2014 for $800 from Perfomance Bike. It has disc brakes and Tiagra components. It is an aluminum alloy endurance road bike with a carbon fork. I've put over 700 miles on it, and I don't feel that it is holding me back. I've added a few accessories to it, and I've gotten a new seat, but that is all (other than adjustments, a basic fit and followup, and a flat tire fix).

    The suggestion that I give to new people is to find 3-4 LBS's, and road test several bikes from each. In your case, I'd road test Cross, Hybrid, and Endurance road bikes. If the LBS has different brands, then ride the different brands that they have. You may need to try different sizes, as each brand has different geometries, and different types of bikes within each brand also have different geometries. You might also be between sizes, so you may need to try both the sizes that you are between.

    Also let the LBSs know that you are going to several different shops to road test different bikes, and that you'll come back to the shop that has the bike that feels best that is within your budget, and after you and your wife discuss it at home. This will take some of the pressure off, and let them know that if they just try to offload a bike that may be close to a fit, but isn't as good of a fit as they know that they can give you, then you probably won't be back. When you buy a bike from a LBS, you're also choosing the LBS. As for new bikes, they'll often give you a year (or more) of free adjustments (e.g. making sure the derailleurs are aligned, that the cable are properly tensioned, minor truing of wheels, etc.). You should also get a basic fit with the bike, so that your seat, pedals, and handlebars are properly adjusted, so that you can ride the bike without any pain.

    Take the wife with you, so she knows that you are being thoughtful with the purchase. That goes a long way to show that it is not just an impulse buy, so she may let you exceed the stated budget by a little.

    Also, after you road test the bikes, make sure you know exactly what model it is, so that you can look up the specs online while you're trying to decide which bike is the right bike for you. Like earlier, I said that my bike had Tiagra components. While that is true, it does not have a full Tiagra group set. But none of the bikes in that price range had a full named groupset. They all had Oval, or Sunrace, or Bontager components in some places. But I had looked at the specs, beforehand, so I wasn't surprised by this. The more you're willing to pay for the bike, the more likely it is to have a full component set, but unless you're buying a Shimano 105 group or higher (or comparable SRAM or Campy group), it probably won't make a huge difference.

    If you decide to buy a used bike, you can often get a good value, as bikes, like cars, lose 40%-50% of their value as soon as they leave the showroom floor. So, if you really want a Trek Crockett 5 Disc (or a similar bike), you might be able to find it used at closer to your budget. But you have to be careful that you do get the right value for the bike. That the bike hasn't been wrecked. That the bike has been kept in good maintenance. If you're not sure that you can do this, then you might want to avoid the used bike market. Also, all the free adjustments that the LBS will do on a bike that you buy from them will cost money if you buy used. Also, new bikes have warranties, but only for the original owner. So buying used, you won't have any warranties on the bike.

    So without knowing your heigh, weight, and inseam, this is all the advice that I can give.

    GH

  3. #3
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    I would ride all the bikes you can to get an idea of what you want. Then I would check ebay or some other sites to see if you can find it used and at a better price.

    I recently got a used Trek Domane from someone that didn't like biking for $600 off retail and only 300 miles on it. So there are good deals out there.

    I've had my eyes on a Trek CrossRip for something to use in fall winter and spring when wet and snowy.

  4. #4
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    All the responses so far have discussed "cyclo-cross" bikes, which are basically road bikes adapted for moderate off-road conditions. The bike you linked to is a 29er mountain bike, in the category sometimes called "cross-country".

    If you really intend to ride in significant snow and slush, a mountain bike is a good choice. You can put smaller and smoother tires on it for the nicer parts of the year. But it will never roll as easily or fast on pavement as a road bike (even a cross-type bike), and depending on the length of your intended commute might not be ideal.
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

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    Thanks for all the great replies and advice. Buying used isn't really an option being overseas as its hard to communicate with most people I would deal with. LBS would be the best choice and some people suggested some great shops in nuremberg, now the only question is which bike is the best for me which I know is impossible for someone to tell me but I'm hoping I can use all of your opinions and make the best choice.

    After more research I found that throughout three shops in my local area I can pretty much find whatever bike I could ever want. Honestly I don't know how much snow and slush I'll actually be riding through but right now I am in living in Germany so there is a lot of hills and a lot of cobblestone roads. Then in about a year i'll be moving to Colorado so again more cold winters + hills and possibly small trails.

    Right now I am leaning towards a XC bike as theres a lot of variables. Honestly though I think a road bike is more of what I'm looking for but as I said with the variables I feel that I would end up hurting my self or paying a lot of money to replace parts on the bike. The thought of a trail bike has crossed my mind but commuting is my main priority right now. As for the actual commute it'll only be about 10 miles, 5 there and back. Most of it is hills and I'm not sure the grade of the hills but there is a good half mile of pretty steep hill.

    As for my height and weight I am very slender at 72 inches and 145lbs, also I am pretty fit as I have been in the Army for 8 years but I am more attuned to running and such. From what I hear you can get great deals on bikes in Germany due to the exchange rate / Tax free so while price is a factor I'm not so worried about my budget I am still going to try and stay between 900-1500 dollars as I want room to grow. The current bike I was looking at retails at I believe 1300 euro but I found it for 800 dollars. I have been looking really hard at Trek's as well.

    I plan to go out saturday to look at more bikes but I really don't want to waste my time riding a road bike when I really need a trail bike or XC. I have never been to Colorado but from what everyone tells me I'd want at least a XC even for just commuting. I keep going back to cycle-cross bikes but i've been told while they can handle better over rough terrains they still are mainly for the road and shouldn't be taken on trails for a long period of time. I'm just hoping to gain insight on the whole process so I don't regret my first bike.

  6. #6
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    Sounds like a commenter? Wider tires/wheels, fender and rack mounts. Still a good drop bar bike...

    Like this:

    Surly Pacer - Brielle Cyclery - Trek Bicycle Store of Middletown

    and this:

    Trek 520 - Brielle Cyclery - Trek Bicycle Store of Middletown
    To date, philosophers have merely interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it.

  7. #7
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    If commuting is your main priority, then you need to get a bike that is good on the roads, but can handle the snow. A gravel grinder or crossbike are probably your best bets for this. Some type of hybrid would be a second choice. But there are some endurance bikes that also would fit, especially if it has disc brakes. A bike that can be taken on single-track technical trails (with lots of roots and rocks) will be really frustrating on the road.

    A bike that can mount fenders/rack and have 32mm wide tires (and you may need to change them to studs in the winter, or have a second set of wheels/tires) is what you want in a commuter that will have to travel in the snow and slush in the winter.

    There's probably not going to be a single bike that excels at both commuting and single-track trails. The best you can do is find a bike that's not terrible at both. Or you can find a bike that really suits your commuting needs, which will be most of your riding. You have to decide which is more important to you. And one of the ways to determine this is to road test a wide variety of bikes.

    And it is not wasting your time to road test road bikes. At worst, you'll determine that they are not going to be suitable for what you want to do. This will at least keep you from having buyer's remorse. And since the bike shops that have the other bikes will probably have road bikes, also, you're not wasting a lot of time.

    Depending upon where you are in Colorado, you'll probably want a pretty light bike with which to commute, because of all the mountains and elevation changes. A road bike is probably going to be what you want to use for commuting in Colorado.
    GH

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PBL450 View Post
    Sounds like a commenter? Wider tires/wheels, fender and rack mounts. Still a good drop bar bike...

    Like this:

    Surly Pacer - Brielle Cyclery - Trek Bicycle Store of Middletown

    and this:

    Trek 520 - Brielle Cyclery - Trek Bicycle Store of Middletown
    Bingo! This is what I would suggest. A touring bike. The Trek 520 is one of Trek's better offerings, but no disc brakes for foul weather. The Surly mentioned above is probably not the best choice. I would look at this one:

    Disc Trucker | Bikes | Surly Bikes

    A more rugged touring bike than the Trek 520.

    And you didn't mention, but do you prefer straight bars or drop bars? If you prefer straight bars, a mountain or hybrid would be a better choice. A hybrid would be a little lighter and you would have more differnt tire choices you could switch between. If you are regularly dealing with dicey conditions, a straight bar bike would be better.

    I would not recommend a road bike if you will be riding in foul weather, nor would I recommend one for city conditions with subpar pavement conditions. Cyclocross? That's really just a road bike with a little more aggressive tires, slightly different gearing and inline brakes added. Road and cyclocross frames are nearly the same.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    I would look at this one:

    Disc Trucker | Bikes | Surly Bikes

    A more rugged touring bike than the Trek 520.

    Take the term 'trucker' for this bike literally. It feels more like a truck than any other bike I have ever ridden. Including the 520 and a Steel Bianchi CX bike I had 20 years ago. ;) I had a 620 for a while that was too tall for me, an old good condition one of these might be something to seek also.

    If you have the coin, habcycles.com has a titanium choice that will be a lot less truck like.
    How loaded it makes sense to use it should be considered.

    A good friend built a disc LHT with Roloff, and rode it a few times only. It got a Ti frameset upgrade [Ti cycles Portland import variety] and the like new LHT frame and a bunch or parts is on PDX Craigslist.

    So make sure you want a Lincoln Town car bike, if I may give my opinion in analogy.

    If you need a 58 LHT and are going to build up instead of a turn key, PM me, I am sure he would ship it lower 48. Has headset BB7s, bars, stem suspension seatpost etc etc..
    Quote Originally Posted by Robt57/Me!
    Everything you read that I post is just '1' guy's opinion, try to sort it all out best you can. ;) I will try to add value in my posts, if I miss the mark please let me know using a little decorum.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by robt57 View Post
    Take the term 'trucker' for this bike literally. It feels more like a truck than any other bike I have ever ridden. Including the 520 and a Steel Bianchi CX bike I had 20 years ago. ;) I had a 620 for a while that was too tall for me, an old good condition one of these might be something to seek also.

    If you have the coin, habcycles.com has a titanium choice that will be a lot less truck like.
    How loaded it makes sense to use it should be considered.

    A good friend built a disc LHT with Roloff, and rode it a few times only. It got a Ti frameset upgrade [Ti cycles Portland import variety] and the like new LHT frame and a bunch or parts is on PDX Craigslist.

    So make sure you want a Lincoln Town car bike, if I may give my opinion in analogy.

    If you need a 58 LHT and are going to build up instead of a turn key, PM me, I am sure he would ship it lower 48. Has headset BB7s, bars, stem suspension seatpost etc etc..
    But for a first bike, it is a reasonable bike.

    Most cyclists who are buying a first bike, should buy an intro aluminum bike with a decent group set. They're not going to be able to appreciate stiffness vs. compliance, and if they're a little out of shape, a few extra pounds on the bike won't make a big difference.

    As they ride the first bike, they'll get more fit (or more bike fit), and they will learn more about the nuances of bikes. They'll be able to get lower (and more aero), spin with a higher cadence, and get better with their handling and braking skills.

    So when they are ready to upgrade to a 2nd bike, they'll be much more knowledgeable about what they want in the 2nd bike. What type of geometry they want on their bike, which may be more "racy" as their fitness has improved. So when they know what they like about their current bike, what they don't like about it, and what improvements they want in their second bike (and some of these may include fit, compliance, stiffness, weight, etc.), that is the time to spend more money on a bike like a TI or CF bike.

    The big advice would be to road test many bikes in your price range that will suit your riding choices at several different LBS's. Hopefully, one will speak to you, and practically be begging you to buy them. If not, you should still have a short list of bikes that seem to fit best, and ride best for your needs, and you can choose between them. If you road test a Surly Trucker, and don't like it as much as a Trek 520, that's fine. Or you may like the stability that a Trucker gives you as a first bike.

    Road test a bunch of bikes in your budget, and buy the one that makes you want to get out there and ride it.

    GH

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by robt57 View Post
    Take the term 'trucker' for this bike literally. It feels more like a truck than any other bike I have ever ridden. Including the 520 and a Steel Bianchi CX bike I had 20 years ago. ;) I had a 620 for a while that was too tall for me, an old good condition one of these might be something to seek also.

    If you have the coin, habcycles.com has a titanium choice that will be a lot less truck like.
    How loaded it makes sense to use it should be considered.

    A good friend built a disc LHT with Roloff, and rode it a few times only. It got a Ti frameset upgrade [Ti cycles Portland import variety] and the like new LHT frame and a bunch or parts is on PDX Craigslist.

    So make sure you want a Lincoln Town car bike, if I may give my opinion in analogy.

    If you need a 58 LHT and are going to build up instead of a turn key, PM me, I am sure he would ship it lower 48. Has headset BB7s, bars, stem suspension seatpost etc etc..
    OK, I will defer my judgment to you since you have actually ridden a Surly LHT. But could it be as much of a "Lincoln Town Car" as a full-suspension mountain bike? I own a 2002 Cannondale Jekyll 500 and use the "Lincoln Town Car" analogy for that one, even though it has more off-road prowess than the LHT or the Town Car. A luxury SUV may be a better analogy for the Jekyll.

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    Germany? That's the home of Canyon bikes. A LOT of people over in the US are salivating at the idea of getting a Canyon, but alas they are not sold here.

    They have a unique direct to consumer model which cuts some of the LBS' overhead. Check them out:

    https://www.canyon.com/en/road/inflite/

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColaJacket View Post
    As they ride the first bike, they'll get more fit (or more bike fit), and they will learn more about the nuances of bikes. They'll be able to get lower (and more aero), spin with a higher cadence, and get better with their handling and braking skills.

    So when they are ready to upgrade to a 2nd bike, they'll be much more knowledgeable about what they want in the 2nd bike. What type of geometry they want on their bike, which may be more "racy" as their fitness has improved. So when they know what they like about their current bike, what they don't like about it, and what improvements they want in their second bike (and some of these may include fit, compliance, stiffness, weight, etc.), that is the time to spend more money on a bike like a TI or CF bike.
    GH
    I can't emphasize how true this holds for most everyone who enjoys and stays with this sport. Ride your bike for 1+ years and you'll know exactly what you want from your second bike. At first, you're basically picking by color and recommendations.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9W9W View Post
    I can't emphasize how true this holds for most everyone who enjoys and stays with this sport. Ride your bike '______' for 1+ years and you'll know exactly what you want from your second bike. At first, you're basically picking by color and recommendations.
    +1

    If I may, insert the word 'frequently' in that space I have added about in the quote. ;)

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