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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all

I am admittedly unfit, and at 35 years of age (5'11", 180 lbs) I am looking to take up cycling as a means of establishing an exercise regimen.

I will not be taking the bike off-road. There are some good cycling paths along the lakeshore here in Toronto, and I intend to limit my cycling to these areas.

I want a reasonably lightweight machine without bells and whistles, and I am somewhat familiar with the Marin range. The two machines I have looked at are the Larkspur and the Belvedere.

I have a price range of $450-550, but could go up a little if a highly recommended machine was introduced.

Do either of those machines meet with approval? Are there any others that you would recommend in their stead?

Many thanks
Stephen
 

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My suggestion would be to stay within your budget. Why spend more when you haven't even established if cycling is going to be a mainstay in your exercise program? I will say that I definitely encourage you to try it and I'm hopeful that you'll find it perfect for your goals, but there's always the chance that you won't.

Validate that you're going to stick with cycling in the long run and then you can think about spending more.

I would suggest that you find a good local bike shop that can help you find the right bike for your needs and budget.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
 

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The two bikes you mention would be fine for cruising on bike paths.

If you find you like cycling, you're likely to outgrow either of them fairly quickly. On the other hand, if you haven't been riding at all lately, you may have a hard time getting comfortable with a road bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Many thanks for the helpful responses.

Is there a notable difference in quality between the two Marin models which would suggest one or the other being a better value?
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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Yerbury said:
Many thanks for the helpful responses.

Is there a notable difference in quality between the two Marin models which would suggest one or the other being a better value?
Marin bikes are generally good quality at a good price. Both bikes being so close in specs, if you got the cheaper of the two, I guess it could be argued that you got the better value. :)

The only notable difference I see in the two is in gearing. Both are triple cranksets, but the Larkspur has a 32T cassette while the Belvedere has a 25. Seems odd for a hybrid, but not a big deal, because (depending on your terrain) the LBS could swap it out.
 

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They're advertised a little differently - the Belvedere is listed with the road bikes, and the Larkspur is listed with the street bikes. Better crankset on the Belvedere. The geometry looks identical. Bigger tires on the Larkspur.

Have you tried riding the bikes yet? Could you feel a difference?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello again!

I haven't yet test-ridden either bike - that happily takes place today. I did sit on both machines in the shop last week, and it appears that the 20.5" frame is the better size (the 22" saw the balls of my feet on the ground with the seat at its lowest possible position).

I do take your point - without riding the bikes there is no way to tell which feels better - but the Belvedere was noticeably lighter to pick up. I am not sure how that would translate when riding any reasonable distance.

Anyway, I will return with my thoughts later today.

Many thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The other thing I have noticed is that the three stores - which are unaffiliated - that I have visited in this area so far all have last year's models in stock. I am no stickler for fashion, but I raise the point as components may have changed from 2010 to 2011 (although I could find nothing obvious confirming this).
 

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The components almost always change at least a little from year to year. It's rarely a big enough difference to worry about, and shops are often more willing to move on the sticker prices for last-year's models. So I wouldn't let it stop me. In fact, the bike I've owned the longest sat on a shop floor for a year before I bought it.
 

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I don't know what your timeframe, but you may wan to consider looking at the Toronto Bike Show: http://www.bicycleshowtoronto.com/. At least ask the shops where you're looking if they'll have those bikes there. It's always a crapshoot, as they may not have your size, model, etc., but you may get a good deal. At least check it out for a helmet, shorts, etc.

Also, for riding, the waterfront trail is awful in evenings and on weekends (though it may be improving a bit this time of year). There's just so many people. Depending on where you live, try the Leslie Spit. No car traffic (except a little bit getting there, or just drive there), and very little bike/ped traffic. 10 km from the gate to the lighthouse and back, and a great view of the downtown skyline from out in the lake.
 
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