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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, Im looking to buy my first road bike and had a few questions about the process and so on... I just finished college and my rowing career is for the most part over and I need something to A. Keep me in shape, B. Keep my competitive juices flowing, and C. hopefully save on fuel.
My first question is about frame material: I would like to keep this bike for at least a year, but possibly do some racing/triathlons, and was wondering if I should stay away from carbon fiber frames. I guess my question is if carbon fiber frames are durable enough to be a daily rider over a year or two.
My budget is around 800-1200 for the bike itself and I have read of good deals online opposed to at an LBS, my second question would be how LBS' feel about buying a bike online and then asking to get sized/maitenaince at the shop if I buy the accessories at the shop?
A couple of quick questions, Whats the differance between a cyclo-cross bike to a road bike, and also a triathlon bike?
Do I have to be concious of number of spokes? I am 6'3" and around 210 pounds.
Are bikes like Motobicane, and Scattante the same quality as a Specialized, Trek, etc...?
I think that is all for now, thanks in advance
 

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As far as carbon fiber goes, I dont think you'll have any problems with its durability over the life of the bike. Obviously if you abuse it it will fail at some point. Your budget is way low for a brand new carbon bike. Since you're talking about buying online i'll assume you are also wanting new. You might be able to find a used one in your range. Likely you'll be getting an alluminum bike with carbon fork and maybe full 105 groupo for that range. If you plan on buying it online, try and ride the same bike at a shop to get the feel of it before you commit. You could take it to a shop but dont expect to get a fitting for free. They will definitely charge you for it. Shops prefer customers who buy bikes not just accessories. Main difference between the 3 types of bikes is their usages and geometry. Tri bikes are very specific in their purpose. Road and Cyclocross are more flexible. Being a big guy i would stay away from low spoke count wheels and ultralight wheels in general. Get the bike with 28-32 spokes so you dont have to true the wheels constantly. As for the brands, often time house brands are made in the same factories that the big name brands are made it. They are just rebadged. Do some research on any brand you are concidering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks for the info, I have a new question now... If I decide to buy a used bike, how old is too old? I see alot of bikes on ebay from 2004 and dont know if its worth buying a 4 year old bike.. any insight on used bikes?? thanks again
 

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I'd stay away from buying something on Ebay or online...

...not because you won't get a good bike...you might get an XLNT bike at a decent price...but you don't know anything about bikes yet, and you need somebody in a shop to walk you through your first one. Scattante is one of Performance Bike's house brands, and I'd say they are probably pretty decent bikes. A lot of people diss Performance, but I think you can get both a decent bike at a decent price and some fairly knowledgeable hands on help. You also don't want to overbuy on your first bike, because if you get into it, you're inevitably going to want something lighter/more responsive/with better components sooner than later. For example, you can get a Scattante R-330 for $600 instead of $1000 right now, and it's certainly a perfectly servicable first bike:

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/profile.cfm?SKU=5820&subcategory_ID=3040

If you want to go name brand/carbon, you can get a 2007 Schwinn Peloton for $1200, and I've read some good reviews of that bike:

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/profile.cfm?SKU=24474&subcategory_ID=3040

As one of the other posters pretty much said, just get a road bike with road bike geometry and slap some aero bars on it if you decide to do some triathalons. A tri geometry bike is way too restrictive for anything except beaming along at high speeds in a straight line.

Don't forget, you're going to have to cough up a bunch of $$$ on essentials other than the bike itself. Helmet, decent bibshort and jerseys, gloves, water bottles and cages, a frame pump, tool kit, floor pump with a guage, lubricants...you're gonna spend at least $300 on this stuff. And if you don't think it's at least as important as the bike, wait until you're 15 miles into a 50 mile ride wearing a pair of gym shorts...
 

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LostRower said:
thanks for the info, I have a new question now... If I decide to buy a used bike, how old is too old? I see alot of bikes on ebay from 2004 and dont know if its worth buying a 4 year old bike.. any insight on used bikes?? thanks again
Age means nothing. Condition matters, and it's a function of how the bike was ridden, and how much, and how it was maintained. Also keep in mind that parts that wear out can be replaced, and routinely are. Lots of guys who post here are riding around on frames that are 20 years or more old.

That's why it's hard to buy on ebay. That 1996 bike might be in great shape, and perfect for you, and the one from 2006 might be beat to hell. You really need to see them, and you need to know what to look for.

But get a bike and get out there. It's a great way to stay in shape. You don't want to trun into one of those fat ex-jocks, right? :)

Welcome to a great life-long sport.
 

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1. You definitely need to get sized at a bike shop first, so you know what size frame to get. Your height alone won't tell you this. You also need to get a sense of how far out the handlebars need to be, and whether a given frame size will accomodate this. This is why you should try to at least test ride any given bike before purchasing.

2. Carbon is arguably stronger than steel, and most frames come with lifetime warranties anyway. Besides being lighter (and therefore faster), carbon is also more comfortable, which is nice.

Look for last year's model sales at the bike store or better deals, especially with companies like Giant, which are not as brand-priced as Trek, Specialized, etc.

Cyclocross is basically a modified road bike with more tire clearance for larger tires, so you can ride on rougher surfaces more easily. They are almost as fast as road bikes (especially if you put on slicker tires), but are more durable and versatile. They also tend to have more upright seating posture, so they're generally more comfortable overall than comparable road bikes.
 
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