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Good Evening, first of all -

Where to start - I'm new to cycling as a participant, but not new to the sport, as I try and follow as many races (mostly local, but of course everyone watches the Tour) as I can. I'm very well versed in weight-training knowledge and general cardio/calisthenic exercises (my drill instructor saw to that), but when it comes to road biking, I'm a newbie. I want to get into road cycling as a hobby and sport, as I dont think there is much that is more challenging, fun, or physically demanding.

Unfortunately I'm having a problem figuring out where to "start." I am interested in entry-level equipment, but nothing that is garbage. I need to know what factors go into choosing a bike, general startup costs, etc. I don't like going off half-cocked into something, because thats a good way to waste money, time, and get injured. My main goals for cycling are to find a good compliment to a weight training regiment and one that can very much catch my lower legs up to the rest of my body (I'm one of those individuals that has the unfortunate "little calves" syndrome. Sigh.).

Anyway - I'm looking for good, cost-friendly brands of bikes (I understand that is a relative statement), how to make my equipment last, and a general figure of a "startup cost." Also - is it cheaper/better to buy components and put together a bike rather than buy one complete? (The idea of a "pain in the butt" doesn't bother me, I'm going to have some time on my hands waiting for my flight school slot and I love putting things together). Just some basic questions from a newbie.

If anyone has any for me, or if I failed in some way to properly address my first post - a thousand apologies. Let me know and I'll correct, post-haste.

Good talking, Happy Biking.
-R.
 

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Taking a trip to the local bike shop is probably a good idea, assuming a decent one is available in your location. The reason for this is twofold. You have an opportunity to try out some bikes and many bike shops are affiliated with local clubs to some degree. While there are going to be some folks that are ridiculously loyal to their local shop, there will be others that can give you a balanced view of the shop and the bikes they sell there.

One thing to keep in mind is that most big name (Giant, Specialized, Trek, etc) bikes at a given price point are pretty much created equally, with the main difference being fit. Make sure you give the bike a ride around before you buy, and factor in other costs (pedals, helmet, bottle cages, etc) to your budget. Clipless pedals/shoes vs. platform pedals will add a lot more speed than Ultegra vs. 105. I would not suggest building because you can't ride before you build and it would be harder to make sure you're getting exactly what you want.
 

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I just recently posted some interesting findings

JohnnyRingo said:
Good Evening, first of all -

Where to start - I'm new to cycling as a participant, but not new to the sport, as I try and follow as many races (mostly local, but of course everyone watches the Tour) as I can. I'm very well versed in weight-training knowledge and general cardio/calisthenic exercises (my drill instructor saw to that), but when it comes to road biking, I'm a newbie. I want to get into road cycling as a hobby and sport, as I dont think there is much that is more challenging, fun, or physically demanding.

Unfortunately I'm having a problem figuring out where to "start." I am interested in entry-level equipment, but nothing that is garbage. I need to know what factors go into choosing a bike, general startup costs, etc. I don't like going off half-cocked into something, because thats a good way to waste money, time, and get injured. My main goals for cycling are to find a good compliment to a weight training regiment and one that can very much catch my lower legs up to the rest of my body (I'm one of those individuals that has the unfortunate "little calves" syndrome. Sigh.).

Anyway - I'm looking for good, cost-friendly brands of bikes (I understand that is a relative statement), how to make my equipment last, and a general figure of a "startup cost." Also - is it cheaper/better to buy components and put together a bike rather than buy one complete? (The idea of a "pain in the butt" doesn't bother me, I'm going to have some time on my hands waiting for my flight school slot and I love putting things together). Just some basic questions from a newbie.

If anyone has any for me, or if I failed in some way to properly address my first post - a thousand apologies. Let me know and I'll correct, post-haste.

Good talking, Happy Biking.
-R.
Those findings are that it has NEVER been a better time to get into cycling than now. I am simply blown away at the quality level of bikes for the price. Things have really changed for the better.

What has happened is most bike frames these days that you will find in shops are most likely made in several factories in Asia somewhere, so you end up with a frame supplier and rebadged bike frames. Unless you are looking for something really different or unique.

It will always be cheaper to buy the entire bike as a package than to build by parts.

Another example of what I mean. A few years ago it used to be that the entry level point between ho hum bike and quality entry level was around $1500. That same $1500 bike now is around $1000. I will go out on a limb and state that the dividing line for a component group for race quality vs recreational is the Shimano 105 group. I saw a full carbon fiber bike with a 105 group for around $15-$1600. It does not speak of the quality of the frame but a CF bike frame alone a few years ago was $2K. See where things have gone?

The next thing you need to do is figure out your size etc. You should also ride as many bikes as you can before buying, each trip to a shop is a learning experience. Another way I judge the quality of a shop is if I am going to be test riding a bike there, I make an appointment and bring my pedals/ shoes/helmet/riding gear and am sure they have the ride in my size before I go in. If they balk at this arrangement, then I'll find a shop that will work with me on this.

I don't like recommending indivdual brands of bikes but see if you can find a Masi dealer in your area, look at their website, also look at Specialized, I think you might like what you see with those 2 for starters.

Also check out the sticky notes in the beginner forum for some help and info.
 

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Why Johnny Ringo, you look someone just walked over your grave...

Sorry I just had to say that.

When making your choices just remember a lot of the info you will glean from this forum is opinion. So get out on as many bikes as you can (find dealers with good demo policies) and don't fall for the first bike that has a sexy ad or great write up here.
 

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Arrogant Roadie Prick gave some excellent advice. At a given price point, from frame quality to component spec, just about all factory bikes are "created equal."

Fit is crucial and only a qualified bike shop can help you out there. And it is always a better deal to buy a complete "new" bike than to build one up yourself - plus the fact that you can test ride it and get some input as to fit.

Us old guys can look at a geometry chart and figure out what "might" work, but beginners do not have that luxury. Find a good bike shop, don't be hung up on the "latest" componentry, and as I say to my customers, "Buy the frame and fork - components wear out!"
 

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Welcome!
Everyone here has such great advice. All I can say is that after you get all your equipment, you should find a good cycling club to join. This will give you tons of good riding experience and knowledge. After that, you may find youself going more competitive or just staying on club rides. You will also develop tastes for certain brands, equipment, wheels, and such.

Glad you decided to try cycling.

"Cycling is the new golf."
Randy Komisar, Silicon Valley, California
 

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Hey Johnny Ringo,

Welcome to RBR!

As has already been mentioned, bike fit is probably the most important factor to get right for the new cyclist. The best way to find a bike that fits properly is to visit a competent and professional local bike shop and to get a good fitting. But just in case you want to read up a bit on bike fit before you visit your LBS, try this primer on bike fit on the Colorado Cyclist web site.

http://www.coloradocyclist.com/bikefit/

It has lots of useful information and covers the subject about as well as anything I have read online.

Good luck!

Jay B.
 

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Hey there! I was just recently in the same predicament. I had been off roadbikes for about 10 years and wanted to get back into it for the fitness and fun of it. Things had changed pretty dramatically since I was last into bikes so I started out by simply hitting all the major manufacturer websites - Trek, Specialized, Schwinn, Cannondale, Giant, Jamis, Fuji, Felt, etc. Then I started reading through threads on this and some other forums to kinda see what people were recommending to look for and what to shy away from. Of course, I also had a budget of around $1500.00 tops so I was mostly looking at entry to low-mid level roadbikes. Some of the things I learned in my quest:

1. Find a good LBS that is willing to take the time to talk with you and help you decide what you need and provide the support down the road.
2. Component groups are what distinguish bikes from different mfg's in the same general price range.
3. Ditto the above but substitute carbon fork/seat post/seat stays.
4. Used bikes are a gamble unless you are very familiar with bikes.
5. Make sure you like the way it looks and more importantly, make sure it fits properly, otherwise riding might end up being more of a chore than a pleasure.

With all that said, I ended up going the SS/FG route (Felt Dispatch) and am really liking the light weight, simplicity and discipline of riding just one gear. It was quite a bit cheaper than a multi-gear bike too and I feel Iike every ride is a full-on sprint - just pedal, pedal, pedal, no shifting, no resting, etc. Want to go faster, pedal faster. Gotta get up that hill, stand up and mash that one gear. Whoo hoo!! My goal is to get in shape to be able to a century with that one gear!



Have fun with your decision!
 
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