How low can you go for a "real" and enjoyable road bike?
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  1. #1
    mm9
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    How low can you go for a "real" and enjoyable road bike?

    At 50 something and having ridden a hybrid for the past couple of years, I'm assuming that an "endurance" road bike is going to be the way to go??

    I've seen endurance road bikes at local bike shops for as low as $489 up to thousands.

    My goal would be to buy a bike as cheaply as possible to try out a "real" road biking... A bike that would work well enough to give a fair representation of the sport. "Real" being group rides and possible beginner level racing at some point. And, one that would last a couple of years. My thinking is I would rather just pay $450 to say $780 to make sure I want to invest more in the sport in the future. I don't think i know enough now to make an intelligent 1500 - 3000+ decision. But, I don't want to buy a piece of crap that won't give me a good feel of the sport.

    I'm going to go to a real bike shop to buy one.

    What would you suggest as far as minimal level of components/price ranges etc. Any low cost/good value brands/models you would suggest?

    PS - I noticed a "Performance Bicycles" near me seems to have better than normal prices, but I understand the company is more of a mass market company. They do seem to be nice and well informed people there. What is the word on this company?

    Thanks
    Last edited by mm9; 02-11-2015 at 09:35 AM.

  2. #2
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    It's hard to say. It depends upon the people there to support your sale. It can vary alot, ask them how much experience they have and go from there.
    The Performance place by me is pretty good for the entry level crowd it seems.

  3. #3
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    I guess maybe save a little more and get an entry level Cannondale, Trek or something along that line.
    Last edited by BikeLayne; 02-11-2015 at 10:15 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm9 View Post
    PS - I noticed a "Performance Bicycles" near me seems to have better than normal prices, but I understand the company is more of a mass market company. They do seem to be nice and well informed people there. What is the word on this company?

    Thanks
    This will be location specific. Just ask pittcanna.

    edit: Had to reread the question in the title

    upgradeitis is real though. so look out for it.
    Last edited by faulker479; 02-11-2015 at 10:03 AM.

  5. #5
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    My first Bike was a Spec Secteur Sport (disk). You don't need disk (a whole different topic, it was the only bike in stock when I bought it). Like you, did not want to spend a lot on a bike I was not sure I was going to ride. It has a carbon fork and Sora Components. I enjoy riding so much I bought an Ultegra equipped Lynskey this fall. While I am very happy with my new bike, I don't get 3 times the enjoyment out of riding. I feel like you can get 90 -95% of the enjoyment out of a Sora bike as you can the nicer bike. So you can definitely get the full road riding experience on a lower end bike.

    All the brands have similarly priced endurance geo bikes with sora components. Just about 1K give or take. I can't speak to the next level down (Claris). As you've probably read here, make sure it fits properly.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
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    Buy a bike already. You are not getting younger. You like riding. So, spend the cash to get a good piece of equipment.

    $1000 is really pushing the limit of a decent road bike. $500 - no way.

    I'd try to go 105. But, at your price point you are not going to find anything better than a mix of a bunch of different stuff smashed together to hit the price point with sufficient "blinginess" (e.g. 105 rear mech with bottom of the barrel not shimano brakes, no-name stem and post).

    Don't buy with the thought of upgrading parts. That is more expensive than just buying the stuff you want first time around.

    I will now take the barrage of other forum members who will fervently argue that sub-$1000 road bikes are good enough, "if you aren't going to race". - While I would suggest the opposite: a sub-$1000 bike may be a great tool for getting into local crits; but a sub-$1000 may not be the best bike to ride for the next 5 to 10 or more years.

  7. #7
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    Yes, you can get a "real" road bike for $ 700-800. And Performance Bike would be a perfectly good place to go for your needs. They're a big chain, been around for decades. They were a mail-order and then online outlet for many years, and have opened a bunch of stores in recent years. I'd say you should go test-ride a bunch of bikes and buy one that feels and looks good to you.

    I wouldn't characterize any of the bikes they sell in that price range as a "piece of crap." All of them will be functional and durable enough for your needs now.

    Wouldn't hurt to check out the other shops around you, too. You might find a deal on a last year's closeout or the like.

    It's not worth worrying much about component choice, etc., in that price range. Everything will be pretty comparable.
    "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.

  8. #8
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    Buy it used. Of course you need to define "real" and "enjoyable" I rode a mid eighties steel bike with down tube shifters for like 8 years, it was real and enjoyable. I paid $300. I have a modern bike with STI shifters now and it's real and enjoyanbe too. I would like to ride steel again though, I've been eyeing stuff like this 50th Anniversary Schwinn Paramount for a while now and I can assure I will be able to beat the same people on that as I do on my other bike...

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    If you've already put in a couple years on a hybrid (I'll assume on pavement of some sort) and managed to reel off a couple hundred miles or so then you've really already tested your interest. IMO - it only gets more fun with a dedicated road bike. Who doesn't like to go faster? Find something you like and ride like the wind.

    If you are overly concerned about depreciation of your new asset - you can gauge that easily enough by researching the used market sales for late model bikes. I'd guess that you will find that 2 year old aluminum framed bikes with Sora, Tiagra and 105 that cost $950, $1100 and $1400 ish new sell for around $650, $750 and $850-$950 - respectively - or something close to that.
    Last edited by Sundog; 02-11-2015 at 11:26 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    Buy a bike already. You are not getting younger. You like riding. So, spend the cash to get a good piece of equipment.

    $1000 is really pushing the limit of a decent road bike. $500 - no way.

    I'd try to go 105. But, at your price point you are not going to find anything better than a mix of a bunch of different stuff smashed together to hit the price point with sufficient "blinginess" (e.g. 105 rear mech with bottom of the barrel not shimano brakes, no-name stem and post).

    Don't buy with the thought of upgrading parts. That is more expensive than just buying the stuff you want first time around.

    I will now take the barrage of other forum members who will fervently argue that sub-$1000 road bikes are good enough, "if you aren't going to race". - While I would suggest the opposite: a sub-$1000 bike may be a great tool for getting into local crits; but a sub-$1000 may not be the best bike to ride for the next 5 to 10 or more years.
    I didn't read anywhere in the original post that he was going to buy a bike and get into local crits.

    The way it was stated and should of been understood, is he is looking for an entry level road bike with endurance fit. Cheap but good enough to see if he likes them.
    Anyway... My first bike was a Trek 1.2. Got on sale from a friend of a friend that owns a bike shop. It got me interested in biking and I rode it for 2 years before I knew I wanted something more. I turned around and sold my 1.2 to a friend and got far value out of it.

    Just as long as you stay away from department store road bikes you should be fine. Like JC said, most will be comparable at that price point.

  11. #11
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    We can't tell you what to buy as much as we can tell you how to shop. Look at last year's models, they'll be on sale, if you don't see any or aren't sure ask the guys at the shop. Also test bikes outside of your price range, that will at least baseline what you are looking at cost wise. If you aren't using clipless that should be your first upgrade, maybe even go clipless out the gate and prepare to include that expense.
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  12. #12
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    I agree with Sundog. You're already riding a road bike. It's just got flat bars instead of drop bars. If you are having fun riding it and have been doing so for a while you have already passed the "will I use it" test. Use your experience on it to guide your next bike purchase.

    Also agree with Crit_boy's post. $1k is about the bottom of decent.

    Why would you need an "endurance" bike? Being 50-something does not mean you have one foot in the grave. I'm 50-something and have no problem riding my race bike on a double century, and the bars on it are pretty low. OTOH if you want one, there's nothing wrong with them. But you don't have to get one because you are "old".

  13. #13
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    I started with a Fuji Newest with Sora components and Alexrims R500 wheels. Aluminum fame, aluminum fork. 20,842 miles later, and it's still rolling just fine. I added a Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 after I figured out that I enjoyed road cycling. The Cannondale is the weekend bike, and the Fuji is the after-work ride and back up bike.

  14. #14
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    I think a cheap cannondale synapse would be a great way to start. it looks like 900 -1300 should get you off to a good start
    Dogma, synapse disc, caad 10, de rosa neo primato, felt CX, epic, fat bike

  15. #15
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    I have a Scott Addict that MSRP was $12k in 2009 when new. [Inflate that to 2015 dollars dong some math.]

    I also have a redone 80s Bridgestone 400 and a 1972 Chrome Paramount both re-purposed with 9 and 10 speed cogs. [bar end shifters]

    I do not enjoy any over the other, but more like the right shoes so to speak.

    So from the guy with 15 bikes, read this:

    You can listen to the music, or you try to listen to the equipment. The essence is in the riding. I feel it is all too possible to have obsessing [to what ever degree] over the equipment actually take too much from listening to the music.

    BUT, if you are riding in tight quarters [inches] with other riders with the latest/greatest, I actually have seen and am of the opinion of the following. A guy mixed in with downtube shifters with ERGO/STI [unless he has a gazillion racing miles on DT shifters] can be a recipe for crashes. There is a guy I won't ride with/along that I have seen cause and almost cause multiple spills. [he stays up somehow ;)]


    For enjoyable casual riding, a re-purposed older quality steel bike can not be beat. I see them on CL here all the time and have cobbled my share. I had a steel Trek hybrid 730 for years with dura ace bar cons and modern gear with good wheels and Conti all season 28C that albeit a little porky by plastic bike standards was awesome and fun plain and simple. And 45C knobbies fit and it was my only woods bike for a few years too [think monster CX].
    I can't say how many time at tight single track spots guys on duelys shouted out 'that guy is on a CX bike' holy ship! ;)

    Both the Bridgestone and Paramount I have I would ride across state/states and probably be more comfortable easily over my zoot plastic bikes. But you can't love them all, so love as many as you can. ;)

    Take any or all of my drivel for what you will. ;) But ride and enjoy via the music I maintain.
    Last edited by robt57; 02-11-2015 at 11:28 AM.
    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.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    Buy a bike already. You are not getting younger. You like riding. So, spend the cash to get a good piece of equipment.
    ^This. OP, you're already more than halfway to your grave yard.

  17. #17
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    With your experience you already have established you basically like cycling. The question now is, adjusting to the road-style of cycling, will you enjoy it as much, and how to best make that transition.

    At your age, I would agree that an endurance style road bike would probably be your best bet. I suggest you focus on new, because at his point you probably don't know enough to be able to differentiate a good buy from a bad one. But you need to increase your budget - as others have suggested, $1k minimum, and allow for more than that.

    Go to nearby dealers for all of the major production bike companies. To save some dollars look at aluminum frames. Look for quality components because that's where the problems and issues will come. Check out the options, and do some test rides. Find the one you like the best, the one you are most enthusiastic about, because it will the one that will encourage you to ride. When you're ready to buy pay for a good fitting, because that more than about anything else will determine your enjoyment potential. Then make the buy, and ride like crazy.

    The clock is ticking - don't over analyze this.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibericb View Post
    suggest you focus on new, because at his point you probably don't know enough to be able to differentiate a good buy from a bad one.
    ^^^

    If you get a used bike that needs chain cassette chainrings and/or has a wonky rear wheel, any purported saving with be vapor, and worse.

    Like buying a car with used tires VS new if you think about it. How long until it needs serviceable parts and amortizing cost per use/mile et al.

    And let me throw in a Yada while I am at it..
    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.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellzisu View Post
    I didn't read anywhere in the original post that he was going to buy a bike and get into local crits..
    You took my statement out of context and completely missed the point.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winn View Post
    Buy it used. Of course you need to define "real" and "enjoyable" I rode a mid eighties steel bike with down tube shifters for like 8 years, it was real and enjoyable. I paid $300...
    Totally. If it shifts and goes when you pedal it's real. Whether you find it enjoyable or not is entirely up to you.
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibericb View Post
    With your experience you already have established you basically like cycling. The question now is, adjusting to the road-style of cycling, will you enjoy it as much, and how to best make that transition.

    At your age, I would agree that an endurance style road bike would probably be your best bet. I suggest you focus on new, because at his point you probably don't know enough to be able to differentiate a good buy from a bad one. But you need to increase your budget - as others have suggested, $1k minimum, and allow for more than that.

    Go to nearby dealers for all of the major production bike companies. To save some dollars look at aluminum frames. Look for quality components because that's where the problems and issues will come. Check out the options, and do some test rides. Find the one you like the best, the one you are most enthusiastic about, because it will the one that will encourage you to ride. When you're ready to buy pay for a good fitting, because that more than about anything else will determine your enjoyment potential. Then make the buy, and ride like crazy.

    The clock is ticking - don't over analyze this.
    ^^^This^^^

    The only thing I might add is go to your LBS, tell them what your looking for and your budget. They should be able to make some recommendations.

    Now, that being said, I'm partial to Cannondale, so look at a Synapse
    "When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  22. #22
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    by the way, endurance geometry does NOT mean slow...
    I have a domane, a propel and a ridely.....I am not really much slower, if any, on the domane as compared to the propel....but am much more comfortable on the domane if riding over 2 hours....so on short rides I am a wee bit faster on the propel... but if I am going to be riding for awhile, I am actually a bit faster overall on the domane because I am more comfortable for a longer period of time....
    I do agree that in any of the major brands, $1000 to $1300 is a bit more realistic for a good quality entry level bike...

  23. #23
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    Performance sells Fuji and GT, among others. Both solid brands, and you won't be paying a little more to have a brand beginning with a S or T on the downtube. For $700 you're probably going to get a carbon bladed fork at best, Claris or Sora components with a FSA CRANK, pretty crappy wheels, and a house brand saddle.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpre53 View Post
    ...For $700 you're probably going to get a carbon bladed fork at best, Claris or Sora components with a FSA CRANK, pretty crappy wheels, and a house brand saddle.
    You make that sound even worse than it is ;)

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    Totally. If it shifts and goes when you pedal it's real. Whether you find it enjoyable or not is entirely up to you.
    Well said! I would also recommend you to take a look at the used market as well if you don't want to spend too much money at the beginning OP.

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