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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,
I am returning to road cycling after a 20+ year hiatus. I have a number of LBS' (4) in the area and have been looking around for the last few weeks or so and also lurking/learning here as well.
I am taking tomorrow off to test ride some bikes that I have been just looking at.

My interests lie in fitness/social rides of 30-60 miles with a goal of doing a century in the near future (next spring, maybe?) I am in decent shape though I need to loose another 20lbs. I have already lost 15 and have been working with a trainer and doing boring treadmill workouts for the last 2 months. I hope to get into better shape while actually seeing the lanscape that is around me here in the Piedmont and coastal plain of NC. And maybe, when I get more fit, our beautiful mountains!

The bikes I will be taking out tomorrow are:

Giant Defy 1
Specialized Allez Elite Compact
Specialized Roubaix Compact

There is another shop in town that carries Trek and Gary Fisher. I will try to get by there today to look at their offerings.
Both of the shops I have visited are pretty comparable in service and knowledge. They offer first and followup fitting as needed included and have full time mechanics and a large stock of probably anything you will need down the road (pun intended!).

Questions:

1) What should I include in my test rides? Hills, rough road, etc?
2) How much of a fitting should I get prior to the tests?
3) Should I were padded cycle shorts? (I don't have any, but I could buy some to use. They said they will provide a helmet).
4) Are these bikes good choices for what how I plan to ride?

Thanks for any and all input.
Joe
 

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The Allez has a different geometry than the Roubaix, it's a more all out racer geometry. Suggest throwing in a Secteur Elite Compact also (essentially, aluminum version of the Roubaix geometry)

1. Include as much as possible. Including steep climbs and decents, to see if the price and weight savings of carbon is worth it to you

2. They won't be doing too much of a fitting.

3. Sure, it can help, but for short test rides... not really critical
 

· Cycling induced anoesis
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joesheets said:
Hello All,
I am returning to road cycling after a 20+ year hiatus. I have a number of LBS' (4) in the area and have been looking around for the last few weeks or so and also lurking/learning here as well.
I am taking tomorrow off to test ride some bikes that I have been just looking at.

My interests lie in fitness/social rides of 30-60 miles with a goal of doing a century in the near future (next spring, maybe?) I am in decent shape though I need to loose another 20lbs. I have already lost 15 and have been working with a trainer and doing boring treadmill workouts for the last 2 months. I hope to get into better shape while actually seeing the lanscape that is around me here in the Piedmont and coastal plain of NC. And maybe, when I get more fit, our beautiful mountains!

The bikes I will be taking out tomorrow are:

Giant Defy 1
Specialized Allez Elite Compact
Specialized Roubaix Compact

There is another shop in town that carries Trek and Gary Fisher. I will try to get by there today to look at their offerings.
Both of the shops I have visited are pretty comparable in service and knowledge. They offer first and followup fitting as needed included and have full time mechanics and a large stock of probably anything you will need down the road (pun intended!).

Questions:

1) What should I include in my test rides? Hills, rough road, etc?
2) How much of a fitting should I get prior to the tests?
3) Should I were padded cycle shorts? (I don't have any, but I could buy some to use. They said they will provide a helmet).
4) Are these bikes good choices for what how I plan to ride?

Thanks for any and all input.
Joe
Hi Joe, and welcome to RBR. Congrats on the weight loss and taking steps towards a healthy lifestyle. I thinik you'll reap many rewards.

To answer your questions:

Fit comes first, and the more reputable shops will place an emphasis on it by taking some time asking about your cycling experiences, fitness/ flexibility, type(s) of riding you'll be doing, goals and from there will offer some brands/ models that may suite you.

Once sizing requirements are determined, some fitters use stationary trainers that they mount the bike on and from there, tweak fit. This usually includes setting saddle height, fore/ aft (KOPS), tilt, and making adjustments to stem length/ angle, if needed.

With the fitting completed, you're ready to test ride the bike. Again, because the better shops recognize the importance, will encourage you to take the bike out on the roads for some duration, preferably similar to the types of road you'll be riding. If this includes some hills and rough sections of road, then include them as well.

When you return, the fitter should ask for input from you, so during the ride, focus on fit/ feel, ride and handling. If the bike isn't to your liking, move on to the next, or if you like it but fit wasn't quite right, small adjustments can be made and a second test ride may help you to decide.

If a bike purchase is imminent, then yes, cycling shorts would make the rides a little more pleasant, but they're not necessary. And for a first pair, you don't have to break the bank.

Before talking bikes, one note about the fit process. What I've offered is meant 'in general'. Many shops follow slightly different processes, but that doesn't mean they're not reputable if they stray from my outline. What matters is that they take the time to ask questions/ learn about you - and show interest in hearing your feedback.

Regarding the bikes. Depending on your preferences (which you may not yet know) any of the bikes will suite your intended purposes. The Giant and Specialized have what's referred to as 'relaxed' geometry, meaning they allow for a slightly more upright rider position, and slightly slower (more predictable) handling. The Allez has 'race' geo, which puts the rider in a more aggressive position, and will have slightly quicker handling. Which you prefer will get sorted out on the test rides.

HTH, and let us know how you make out after visiting the shops..
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
tednugent said:
The Allez has a different geometry than the Roubaix, it's a more all out racer geometry. Suggest throwing in a Secteur Elite Compact also (essentially, aluminum version of the Roubaix geometry)

1. Include as much as possible. Including steep climbs and decents, to see if the price and weight savings of carbon is worth it to you

2. They won't be doing too much of a fitting.

3. Sure, it can help, but for short test rides... not really critical

I will check the shops to see if they have the Secteur in stock. They were a little light on some models.

Thanks for the replies!
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Still haven't had a chance to test..hopefully Monday. Friday my daughter was sick and I stayed home with her and today I worked as SAG vehicle for a Habitat for Humanity ride. I did get by the 3rd LBS in town, though They carry Trek, but had nothing in stock in my size. I'll post results ASAP.
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I Bought One!!

I found out that 2 of the 3 LBS' were open yesterday and went to test ride the bikes I have been looking at.
The first shop I went to had 6 stores in the area, so I thought that they would be the best place to start. Boy was I wrong. The first person to meet me didn't seem to know what they had or didn't have. She found one bike that "fit" me. It was a Trek 1.2. I said I would like to start with 105's so she asked the shop manager if they had "anything like that" (not too sure she knew what I was talking about!) he found a 2.3 in "the system" and said he could order it. I said I would like to try the 2.1 out anyway just to get a starting point and she told me that I could ride it around the shop, so when I headed toward the door, she said "No, I mean inside the shop"! I said thanks, but no thanks. The shop is on a major 5 lane highway with no where to ride. Not a good location in my estimation!
So I quickly left there and headed over to a much smaller shop that is actually much closer to my home.

Wow, what a different experience!!

The guy that met me was definately a cyclist. The person at the other shop; I'm not so sure!

He started out with a short interview about my current fitness level and riding experience. Then asked me what kind of riding I wanted to do. I told him fitness, social and charity rides with the goal of riding a century at some point.
He then went to his inventory card file and picked out 3 bikes that he had that he thought met those goals. He picked out a 2010 Giant Defy 1, Defy Alliance and a demo 2009 Specialized Roubiax Expert so I could feel the difference in aluminum, combo aluminum/carbon and a full carbon bike.
I first road the Defy 1 about 2 miles OUTSIDE! This location had marked bike paths on each side of the road with low traffic. A great place for a bike shop.
The Defy was nice, shifted well with the 105's and felt very stable. I could tell what the shop guy described as "high frequency" vibration with this bike and I had to lift up over some of the pavement patches. I road the bike back and decided to ride the Roubiax next to compare the ride.
Wow, what a difference! The vibrations were almost gone completely. Sure, there were bumps, but they were muted and rounded-feeling, not sharp and jarring. I was trying to be very objective, due to the $900 difference in price!
When I got back to the shop, my mind was made up. I wanted the Roubiax! However, It was out of intended price range, plus the color was a very feminine shade of lilac purple.The guy at the shop said that he had a 2010 Roubiax Elite Comp with 105's all around still in the box that was $400 cheaper than the Expert with the same frame but with 105's instead of the Ultegra gear. I decided to go with Elite Comp. It was still abit out of my price range, but only by a little, and with the purchase, they gave me a $200,00 shop credit! That will help with helmet, shorts, etc. They are putting it together today and I should be riding by this evening.

I have been reading for the last few weeks here how the shop matters. And I can completely agree with that! The shop I used was small, but the staff was very knowledgeable and nice to this obvious noob. One shop I went into was very snobby and acted like they knew what bike i needed without even talking to me to see what my experience/fitness level was or how I was going to use the bike.
I cant wait to start my cycling experiance! I alread have been mapping out some small rides to start.

Thanks all for the input on this. I will post my experainces and questions as they occur.
Cheers,
joe
 

· Cycling induced anoesis
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Congrats on the new bike, Joe. That's a great choice for a first ride and I'm sure you'll enjoy many happy miles together. Post pics if/ when able, pls.

Also, thanks for posting your LBS experiences. many times noobs ask how they'd ever know a good shop from a substandard one, and you've given them the answers. I think hearing this from another noob will mean more than hearing it from others, so kudo's to you for taking the time to enlighten/ share. :thumbsup:
 
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