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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, my name is Jeremy and I'm new to these forums.

I'm a college Freshman at UC Davis (it's a HUGE bike campus) and have recently become interested in road biking as a form of exercise. Running is too hard on my joints, and I hate swimming (the chlorine). I've been around bikes my whole life (my dad used to ride across the country) and I've ridden a bmx around for most of my own. I'm currently borrowing my dad's spare bike, a Fuji hardtail mountain bike with clipless pedals (why are they called clip-less if you clip into them?) around the trails around here, and interested in something a) that will lower my profile so I have less wind resistance and b) without shocks.
ie. I want a road bike. I've been lurking on this forum for the last few days and read the stickies in the beginner forum, and saw that the recommended way to purchase a first bike is to go to my LBS. I went to my LBS back home, and test-rode two bikes, a Le Tour for $600 with sora and Tiagra parts, and a Schwinn for $800 with mostly tiagra and some 105 parts. I didn't really like either of them though. Neither of them shifted smoothly (hated the sora shifting mechanism too), not even comparably to my current MTB. They would "click" into gear, and then the chain would go rattle-rattle for a while until I pressed the shifter more (without making it click a second time) so the chain would hop up. This was for both the front and back gears. (sorry, I'm not sure what they're called).

I guess I'm really wondering what kind of money I should be spending. I can probably borrow or buy my dad's mtb pedals and shoes, the odometer, and seat-bag, and I already bought a pair of lycra shorts (which really help tremendously. I tend to ride 10-15 mile trips in an hour to an hour or so, and this weekend, I'm going to try to go for a 30 mile or so ride. I think, I'm riding about 50 miles/week at this point, maybe a little less. I really want to do this as my main form of exercise. Also, I'm looking at our school cycling team for training next year. Not 100% certain on that yet, but I'm interested.

What should I be looking for most in a new bike? I'm a 6'3", 190lbs guy, mostly legs, and have been recommended a 60-62 cm bike. In that range, would there be much of a difference between the 60cm and 62cm?

Also, when I went into the LBS, they fit the seat height (which I understand and can do myself), but said nothing about the handlebars, seat position and tilt, etc. I asked and they said it wasn't really necessary. Is this bad? There's couple more LBS's up here at Davis that I'm going to try in the next few days.

What's the deal with used bikes? If I can find a, say, 04 bike with ultegra and 105 parts in decent condition, would it be breaking down on me a lot, or would it be a good buy for the money? I'm interested in going mainstream my first buy, but I'm also really interested in saving money. I play paintball and I almost always buy used because if it doesn't work out, you can sell it again and recoup most of your money. Is it like that for bikes?

Sorry this post was so long. Thanks for the help.
 

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I would go find another shop in a hurry. Fore/aft positioning is just as important as the saddle height measurement is. I'm a leggy 6'3", and I ride on a 58cm frame, because I needed a smaller frame with a shorter top-tube (the one parallel to the ground) in order to compensate for my short torso / arms. There are several fit calculators on-line; there's one here.

As for Sora and Tiagra components. Trust me, they can be made to shift smooth as silk. Sounds like whoever put the bike together in the first place didn't spend a whole lot of time carefully adjusting it. i.e., they made it work; they didn't make it right.

Buying used is a great way to save money -- if you know what you're looking for. Getting a bike that fits is paramount. If you don't ride it because it causes your back or knees to hurt, then what did you really save? Most good LBS's will work with you on fit issues; also, most shops will provide free basic tune-ups for a year (very usefull as bikes do tend to need minor adjustments after their first couple hundred miles while everything "settles in").
 

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I too am new to the scene and am slowly but surely learning this seeming insurmountable amount of info. First the "clip-less" pedal derives its name from the pedal with cages or as they are know as "toe-clips". So when this cage isn't present they are thus "clip-less" pedals.

As for the fit I couldn't agree more with the handlebar height being key, especially if you are all legs. If this doesn't fit right your back neck and arms will let you know.

Now to the bike question. If you are DEAD set on a used bike then by all means go for it. They are without a doubt phenomenal for the money and already broken in. With that said though you can do quite a bit with 800$ in the new bike world. Id say do some research on reviews of various bikes. Then go to the local dealer and ride it. If you don't like it, move to the next model. This is what I did and found a good bike for 800 that I love. Worse comes to worse you go back to the used ones that will obviously always be there!

Best of luck to you and welcome to the forum. :cornut:

P.S. Im moving back to Sacramento in a few days and believe me there is plenty of beautiful road to be ridden between there and Davis.
 

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You can get a very nice (race-able) bike for $1500-2000. Find a shop that can fit you correctly and has people that are friendly. Sora and Tiagra will shift well if adjusted well (it sounds like the ones you test rode were not adjusted well).

So for components you probably want 105 level (shimano). Ultegra and Dura-ace are more expensive and really won't shift much better than 105 but they look better and are a lot lighter. If you want more bling you could go with Ultegra, but Dura-ace is really high end.

You can do lots of research and try to buy everything used individually, but buying a new bike package will not be that much more money. You save a lot when you buy it all together. So talk with the LBSs in the area, they should tell you the same sort of thing.
 

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I am sure you have seen some posts then about checking into Campus bike clubs as a source of info and help. Here is a website I goggled. http://www.davisbikeclub.org/ I have no idea what they can offer seeing how I am on the other side of the country but a lot of clubs are great for folks just starting out. They sometime get deals via bike shop sponsors, can help with fittings, and are in general a good source of ride info possibly even selling a used bike. Just a thought.
 

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Bacon!
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Check out the other LBS's. Davis has some good ones around there and you should notice the difference in the level of service right away. A good LBS is going to be very worried about all aspects of fit. This will include pedal position, seat height and fore/aft position, stem length, handlebar width, etc. If they aren't, then they aren't a good shop. If you are just going on a test ride they probably will only take a few minutes to adjust the seat for you though so you can just get a feel for the bike. Also, the more you show how interested in buying the bike the more they will probably put into fitting you on it. My shop, even for test rides, will throw the bike onto a trainer, throw you onto the bike, and take about 10-15 minutes to get it set up before a ride. Then, if you are really interested they will really go to town to get you fit. I think Davis Wheelworks sells Felt. Take a look at them. You get a F85 105/Ultegra bike for around 1000.00 and it could be used when training with everyone else. That seems to be the price range you're looking at. Hit all the shops in town though, and see if anyone has any 2006 or so aged bikes they want to sell cheaper to get get them out of the store. You might land a deal. As for the pedals, they would work great for starting out with the length of rides you will be doing. But living in Davis, I'd think you'll quickly want to start doing the longer loops out to Vacaville and what not so you'll want to upgrade to road shoes/pedals at some point. But right now, it's not critical. Good move on the shorts, your butt will thank you.

As for what to look for in a bike. It's pretty much how it feels when you ride it, you want a shop that can properly fit it out for you, I'd really recommend 105 components which fit your price range and the level of quality you'll want when group riding and what not. Used is fine if it doesn't look too beat up, they'll let you ride the bike to see how well it shifts and rides, and the price is right. Make sure to research the pricing first.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
First off, thanks a bunch guys.
I'm actually thinking of joining the UC Davis cycling club/team rather than the Davis Bike Club, but yeah, a similar idea. I've been super busy this week, and haven't gotten a chance to go to the shop, but I should be able to find some times to check out wheelworks tomorrow.

Also, I've noticed a distinct lack of pockets in my current plan. Jerseys have pockets, right? What's the cheapest I could find a jersey for? I know they give you a UCD one for joining the team, but I won't be doing that until next fall at the earliest, so I'm curious how important it is for me to get one.

Also, my price range in this is really in the 600-800 range. Possibly, Possibly up to $1000, if I REALLY fall in love with a bike. I'm a college student. We poor.
 

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jenarelJAM said:
First off, thanks a bunch guys.
I'm actually thinking of joining the UC Davis cycling club/team rather than the Davis Bike Club, but yeah, a similar idea. I've been super busy this week, and haven't gotten a chance to go to the shop, but I should be able to find some times to check out wheelworks tomorrow.

Also, I've noticed a distinct lack of pockets in my current plan. Jerseys have pockets, right? What's the cheapest I could find a jersey for? I know they give you a UCD one for joining the team, but I won't be doing that until next fall at the earliest, so I'm curious how important it is for me to get one.

Also, my price range in this is really in the 600-800 range. Possibly, Possibly up to $1000, if I REALLY fall in love with a bike. I'm a college student. We poor.
You should still be able to find a bike in that range, probably used, with good components. Jerseys, you can find them on sale online pretty cheap 20-30 dollars sometimes with pockets, I like my pockets. Look at Performance or Nashbar.com, they have sale on there brands all the time. And hey don't worry about the money, as long as you body is making blood you can always sell plasma. Might slow you down on the rides but what is more important. :thumbsup: :D
 

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I would echo most of what others have said and add a thing or two. The bike you tested weren’t set up right, but unless the shop test rides each one, it’s hard to get them adjusted right. In similar situations, I have bought the test bike back and asked them to make the adjustments and taken it back out. No big deal. As far as fit goes, the shop will get you on the frame size that they think works for you. Most aren’t going to start swapping out stems unless you‘re getting ready to buy or at least think you are. My advice here is to ride lots of bikes at different shops and then narrow down the selection, decide where you want to buy, and they get fit to the bike. Lastly, unless you are confident that your bike will be where you left it when you return, I’d shy away from spending to much on a bike to lock up on a college campus. If you get serious about riding get on the team and have Dad buy you a better bike to use for training and racing.

Good luck.
 

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Bacon!
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I second the bike lock comment. Davis is famous for bikes getting ripped off in all sorts of ways. If you are going to leave it anywhere on campus or around town, even for a minute I'd lock it up like it was made of diamonds and gold (to a bikeowner it is). MB1 posted some great comments on this in teh commuter forum and you should be able to find it through a search of the site. But basically you want a very good lock (top of the line Onguard http://www.onguardlock.com/ulocks/ makes a great heavy duty lock (stress the heavy part) but there are lighter models and lots of other brands people like. Check out these threads and always lock the rear wheel by putting the heavy lock through the frame and the wheel and then attach it to something SOLID! But honestly, if you are going to leave a bike on campus I would buy a 100.00 beater and lock it up just as well (people will steal a 15.00 bike just as quick as a 1000.00 from what I've seen).

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=31705

Anyway, it will save you a lot of heartache. Nothing worse than coming out and finding your baby gone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'll be riding my bmx around campus next year and over the summer. When not being ridden, the road bike I buy will be stored Inside the house. I currently u-lock the frame and then run a cable lock through both wheels of the hardtail I'm riding now. But I plan on never actually taking the road bike around campus. It's specifically for Riding.

Also, my dad isn't buying any of this. He's lending me his spare bike now so that I can bike around some trails until I can get a bike of my own. I'm only going to have this bike for a couple months, and then I'll hopefully have my own. The money is money I've worked lots of hours for over the summers, not a gift, and so I'm really weighing cost vs performance. However, I think I'm a lot more likely to take care of and maintain it since I'm buying it myself and know exactly how much it's worth to me. I like taking things apart and figuring out how they work and putting them back together again. While I will probably (for the most part) leave the bike alone once the shop puts it together, I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty and tech it myself. I have a full box of wrenches here I asked for for xmas just waiting to be used ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So... I took the plunge and bought a bike. I went to freewheeler, wheelworks, and a small place named B&L bikes. The lady at Freewheeler was extremely nice, willing to fit every little thing for me, and also willing to tell me what why was doing and WHY. It was really nice. I got a really good feeling there. She was also trying to sell me a $900 '07 Trek 1500GT, which was $100 out of my price range, and showed me the '07 Trek 1600SLR, which was even farther out of my price range, but she made me want to come shop at her shop. I went to wheelworks, and promptly walked back out. I hadn't realized just how high-end it was there. Nothing but Dura-Ace and some ultegra. Nothing even had price tags. It scared me. I checked out B&L next. They had a very impressive computer fit simulator, which promptly misfit me to the only bike I let them set up for me to test ride. I'm sure it was a perfectly fine shop, but it catered more towards family biking, and not road biking. It didn't help that their steel-frame bikes with sora components were $800. So I called my dad, and talked it over with him, and kinda came to the realization that even though it's a huge chunk of money to drop all at once (at least for me), it's also an investment, and compared to my other hobbies (paintball, snowboarding), it's pretty cheap after the initial outlay of money for the bike itself.

So, I went back and bought the Trek 1600SLR, a pair a glasses (really needed those), two water bottles and holders, two spare tubes, etc. Got all the last minute adjustments made to it and took it home.
Here she is:
<a href="https://s43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/jenarelJAM/?action=view&current=P1020993.jpg" target="_blank"><img width=33% src="https://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/jenarelJAM/P1020993.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
I was told that it has the "new" 105 componentry, rather than the "old" componentry, and that means it's capable of being upgraded to ultegra or dura-ace parts sometime in the future if I so desire. It's all 105 components except for the back deraileur (sp?) which is ultegra. Carbon fork and seatpost.
I took her out for ~23 miles today in 95 degree heat from Davis to West Sacramento. Just amazing...
 

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Good job on the purchase. Sounds like you covered all the bases like you should have. Hope you have fun riding her. Still would recommend joining a club. Good way to meet folks and stay motiviated to ride.
 

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Yea totally go to a different shop. In fact go to a couple to get an idea of whos being honest and who isnt. As far as bikes Id say that Fuji offers alot of bike for the money when youre just starting out. As a general idea about a grand is what to spend on a first bike. Anything less and youre really getting some sub-par components that will put a dent in your enjoyment. Used bikes are usually fine and a hell of a deal too. Look at Scott Speedsters, Specialized Allez or Rubaix, or any Fuji bikes. Usually theres a compromise when buying a bike at a reasonable price, either a great frame for the buck with lower components or a semi decent frame with alot of good toys attatched to it. Check out some shops and get some ideas but dont rule out ebay, theres plenty of perfectly fine rides on there for cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Went out for another ride today, ended up getting caught with nowhere to go but a dirt path. Tried to ride it a little, but almost fell twice. I will never try dirt in skinny tires again... Ended up walking most of a mile in the heat, looking for a road, any paved road. When I finally found one and took off, the wind hit the sweat on my shirt and cooled me off. Man it felt good to get back on the bike...

Then I went back to the shop to get some new gloves. Mine, in just the last two days, have opened HUGE holes across the index and middle fingers, and just below the thumb, on both gloves...

Looking forward to riding again on Tuesday, probably for a longer ride with a couple friends (My 10-12AM class got cancelled).
 
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