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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m looking to get my first road bike and was looking for some community advice. I’ve always ridden mountain bikes (all Treks) but don’t really have a whole lot of “know-how” with bikes. Anyways, what do you think the min. component set I should be looking for? I’m in college so I really don’t have much money to throw into it. For this reason, I would consider buying a decent used bike or an affordable new one. Any recommendations?

I’m looking to experiment in the road bike world and am not willing to shell out a lot of cash. If I get into it, I will certainly upgrade to a nicer bike eventually once I graduate and get a real-world job. For now, I just would like something to introduce me to road bikes and get me through the next 2-3 years. As a side note, I have been doing a lot of research lately and feel like for my needs that I’ve mentioned, perhaps bikesdirect.com would serve me well. What do you all think? Any recommendations in the line of Sora or Tiagra line of bikes on that site? Finally, if I were to shop around for a used bike, are there any particular older models I should keep an eye out for?

Thanks in advance for any help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
hate to post on my post, but just to clarify I'm still in the research phase right now. I'll probably go to my bike shop here to have them help me with some questions/frame sizes and such.
 

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to start your research, you should take a look at what bikes the lbs's in your local area sell, each prob sell 3-4 different brands. Then of those, go to each manf's website and pick a bike within your budget.

I'd really suggest AGAINST used. If you get a used bike and have a bad experience with one; you'll sway yourself away from biking. Start with a good bike and move to a better one.

For me, my starting "minimum" was Shimano 105/SRAM Rival. They are med-high end depending on your level; but each have their own feel to it. I hear many people say that Tiagra shifts fine and works well (never used them though.) They're just a bit heavy.

If you have $1600, check out the Cannondale CAAD9 5. Very good bike with 105's.
 

· Cycling induced anoesis
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If you're new to road riding and don't know your sizing requirements, that's where to start. Also, when visiting the LBS's keep in mind that sizing is somewhat arbitrary, so brand a's size 54cm frame won't necessarily fit like brand b's.

If your budget allows, I suggest working with a reputable shop for your first road bike. Buying used/ online without adaquate knowledge can easily lead to the purchase of an ill fitting bike that will be of no value, monetarily or otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have actually been to my LBS recently and tried out a few trek's and talked with some of the guys there for awhile, they helped me fit a few different frames and a 56cm was definitely the best fit for me however they said I could go 58 cm if needed. I did like the Trek 1.2, but sadly it is most certainly out of my budget for right now.
 

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airnull said:
I have actually been to my LBS recently and tried out a few trek's and talked with some of the guys there for awhile, they helped me fit a few different frames and a 56cm was definitely the best fit for me however they said I could go 58 cm if needed. I did like the Trek 1.2, but sadly it is most certainly out of my budget for right now.
There are plenty of bikes that aren't Trek, just as good (or better), and more affordable. Not bashing Trek, but there's a given percentage of $ because it's such a popular and well known brand.
 

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I'll play devil's advocate and say going the used route shouldn't be completely ruled out if you are careful and know what to look for. A lot of people warn against buying used online from places like eBay, especially with carbon fiber bikes, since you won't really be able to tell the condition of the bike until after you've paid and the bike is on your doorstep.

If you are in no rush (and by "no rush" i mean REALLY not in a rush) you can wait for a decent deal to pop up on craigslist. That way in the mean time, you can build up your knowledge of road bikes, and by then perhaps you will have saved up a little more money for a nicer bike. I was in exactly the same position as you (in college, little $, just starting to get into biking). It took maybe a year and a half of casually checking craigslist until a great deal popped up (tiagra/105 mix next to new for $400). I was able to set up a test ride to make sure the bike worked fine and that I would like riding it before I bought it.

If you are still unsure about your bike know-how, I'm sure there's a cycling club at your school, befriend some of them and learn from them. Or, have them go with you to check out a bike to make sure everything is in working order. Like I said earlier, if you do your research and know what to look for, used is a perfectly viable option.
 

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airnull said:
I have actually been to my LBS recently and tried out a few trek's and talked with some of the guys there for awhile, they helped me fit a few different frames and a 56cm was definitely the best fit for me however they said I could go 58 cm if needed. I did like the Trek 1.2, but sadly it is most certainly out of my budget for right now.

Just a word of caution...Bike aren't measured the same...One companies 56cm might be measured differently than another companies 56cm..

There is nothing wrong with BD bikes but you really need to know what size will fit you,, you can't say a 56cm Trek fits and get a 56cm BD bike
 

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Dave Hickey said:
Just a word of caution...Bike aren't measured the same...One companies 56cm might be measured differently than another companies 56cm..

There is nothing wrong with BD bikes but you really need to know what size will fit you,, you can't say a 56cm Trek fits and get a 56cm BD bike
Amen!!!
 

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airnull said:
I have actually been to my LBS recently and tried out a few trek's and talked with some of the guys there for awhile, they helped me fit a few different frames and a 56cm was definitely the best fit for me however they said I could go 58 cm if needed. I did like the Trek 1.2, but sadly it is most certainly out of my budget for right now.
As was mentioned, the thing to keep in mind is that (presumably) the 56cm Trek 1.2 that you rode and fit well may not fit the same as (for example) a Giant or Specialized 56.

That said, it's far better to work with reputable LBS's, but if your budget prohibits doing so, what you could do is note the geo of the Trek 56 and browse your local CL ads (or similar) for bikes with similar geo. Trek hasn't changed their geo much in recent years, so even an early 2000 model year should have similar geo.

Of course, going this route means no warranty and unless you bring along someone familiar with bikes (and ideally experienced in fit), there's an element of risk involved. We can assist you in comparing geo (and again, this assumes the 56cm Trek was the bike that fit best), but someone needs to be there to check the bike over to be relatively certain of it's mechanical integrity.
 

· Cycling induced anoesis
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Even if a BD bike performs relatively well 'out of the box' and after final assembly, after about 200 miles there will be a point when things settle in and need readjusting. I tear down, clean, relube and reinstall all components on my bikes annually, and anywhere from 100 to 400 miles I'm tweaking brake and derailleur adjustments, so count on doing the same with a BD bike.

I took some time to peruse BD's website and here's what I found:
On the Windsor Fens webpage "This bike comes 90% assembled. If you don't feel confident working on your bike, we suggest you take it to a local bike shop for final assembly & safety checks."

In their assembly instructions they state:
"Your bike either road, mountain bike or cruiser or other type of bike comes appx. 90% assembled and then packed for shipment directly from the factory. Although re-assembly is quite simple, we strongly suggest that you have your local bike shop do this for you since some final adjustments may be necessary due to being shipped directly from the factory."

And at the very end of those instructions:
"Bikesdirect.com will assume no responsibility for improper assembly."

Final assembly, tune up, adjustments, fit assistance - those are just some of the hidden costs when buying online, so unless you're a capable wrencher, plan on making friends with the mechanic at your LBS. And be sure of your sizing requirements, because the onus is on you to get it right.

EDIT: For clarification, this response is in answer to skyliner's post. I don't recommend the OP (or any noob) go the online route.
 

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Buy local and get the best you can afford. Dont listen to the "Its heavy" people or anything like that. Tiagra or even Sora will serve you just fine. And do it for a long time to boot. Get a bike that fits and that you can have repaired at your local shop. good relationship with your local shop goes along ways.

Remember there is alot more to the bike than just the cost. A good local shop can also add value to even a lower price point bike. They will give you tips, adjustments and a ton of valuable advice. Keep that in mind.
 

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I was in a similar boat as you three years ago. I wanted a road bike for those days I couldn't get out on the mountain bike. I am very comfortable working on bikes, but I knew squat about road bikes. I mean, who ever heard of brakes that could shift:) ?

So I went to a local shop and bought pretty much, the cheapest road bikes for myself and my wife ($750 and $700); a giant OCR2 and OCR3. Three years later and I am still on the bike. The Tiagra shifters work great. I just adjusted the limit screws last week, eliminating the ability to shift into the granny gear. I have not used that thing in two years and I hate it when I would get that occasional drop from the large ring into the granny (Tiagra can get a bit quirky with its feathering). I put a nice seat on it (Toupe Gel), Ultegra pedals, and a nice pair of tires. I keep the hubs greased, bike tuned and clean. The bike has about 3,500 miles on it.


My wife is in the process of getting some upgrades. Her Sora shifter is a pain. it requires a big throw to shift. I found a pair of 105s at a great price on ebay to replace them. She will also get an upgrade to a 10 speed cassette (and chain). Then I really went nuts and bought her pair of hoops from BWW; Blackset Race with blue rims to match her frame. I tell you this because even these cheap bikes can have nice frames and are worth the occasional upgrade. Plus, its fun to play with bikes.
 

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Dave Hickey said:
Just a word of caution...Bike aren't measured the same...One companies 56cm might be measured differently than another companies 56cm..

There is nothing wrong with BD bikes but you really need to know what size will fit you,, you can't say a 56cm Trek fits and get a 56cm BD bike
This advice is worth more than it's weight in gold. When I used to have my Trek 5200, I rode a 60 cm frame comfortably. On my Felt F1, 58 cm fits me comfortably- a 60 cm was too long for me on the Felt. Also, if you want an idea of a BD bike fit, get fitted on a Fuji. They have the same frame geometry and are made side by side at the same factory. My understanding is that Performance Bikes' Scattante brand bicycles are made there too. Keep in mind however, you won't get all the perks if you buy online (ie. free tuneups and adjustments) and you will have to take your bike to be built at an LBS if you don't know how to assembly a bike.
 

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terbennett said:
This advice is worth more than it's weight in gold. When I used to have my Trek 5200, I rode a 60 cm frame comfortably. On my Felt F1, 58 cm fits me comfortably- a 60 cm was too long for me on the Felt. Also, if you want an idea of a BD bike fit, get fitted on a Fuji. They have the same frame geometry and are made side by side at the same factory. My understanding is that Performance Bikes' Scattante brand bicycles are made there too. Keep in mind however, you won't get all the perks if you buy online (ie. free tuneups and adjustments) and you will have to take your bike to be built at an LBS if you don't know how to assembly a bike.
You might want to check out some of Fuji's geo charts. Depending on model, their geo doesn't run consistent. Neither do BD's bikes.
 
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