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Hello everyone,

This is my very first post. I have been using spinning classes to get the pounds off. I have taken off 25 so far and feel great. I would like to buy a road bike to "take the show on the road". There are many riders in my class that have been riding for a few years and have some really nice bikes. I do not think I am ready to shell out $1800- $2500 on a bike and I am just getting started and need to make sure this is what I really want to do.

I am 5'11", 185 pounds with pretty long arms. I live in Central NY state so our season is short. My plan was to obtain advice on preferred manufacturers, key components etc from this website. I was then going to check out my local bike shop for my size and proper fit. From there, if a bike was available at a good discount from the dealer, I would pick it up. The other route was to look for a pre-owned bike with all the right components once I have narrowed it down to my preferred manufacturer/model.

The one thing that I hear the riders in my class say is "Do not skimp on your bike/components". I want quality in both bike and components but I am just getting started so I do not want to take out a home equity loan to get my first bike. All advice is appreciated.
 

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I think this is one of the hardest situations for a new rider.
Because you are going to get a ton of "advice" :eek:
Some will be worthy some will be irrelevant, and for a new cyclist
you will not be able to distinquish between the two.

My best 'advice' would be for you to start reading some cycling magazines,
specifically, reviews of entry-level and one step above entry-level type bikes.
Read some books on the hardware and componentry of modern road bikes.
Learn about Shimano and Campy components, learn about the different components
on a typical road bike. In the beginning, it seems foreign and even complicated.
But you will quickly find out it is basic mechanics and function that make up a bicycle.

If you ask "what bike should I buy" You are going to get dozens of suggestions,
and that will be confusing. You want to be able to make your own decision based
upon research and some testing of your OWN. Take a few weeks, and go through
the process of Due Diligence, it will be well worth it. it does not matter what brand
of bicycle you ultimately decide on, what will matter most is your level of comfort,
fit, budget, and esthetics. Not the name on the bike, which a lot of people tend
to put at times, unfortunate emphasis on.

Start with a budget, then narrow the field down to all brands within your range.
Look at the bike shops, and on the internet as well.
Talk to your friends who already ride, but ask them questions like, what don't you like about your bike?
Write it all down, ask them what they would change and why.
See who has any regrets and why, if anyone does, or will admit to it...:)

It is all too easy for someone to say...hey buy this bike! I did, and it's great.
Or you'll get, hey for only 200 or 300 dollars more...you can buy this brand X bike!
The next thing you know...your budget is blown out of the water. If you have parameters
like I did, then that is the framework you deal with, period. Good luck with your decision,
and stay safe once you get on the road. When you do buy your first bike, let us know
and give us your impressions.

Cheers Mate!
 

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gastarbeiter
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do some research, check the classifieds, buy used, enjoy :D
 

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I just did a quick scan of the classifieds here

You are about my size, fortunately for you that is a very popular bike size so there are lots of bikes available. If buying new now is the worst time to buy in NA because it is becoming spring and everyone has the itch to go buy a new bike and ride it. As stated I just scanned the classifieds and saw no less than 5 bikes that most likely will fit you, have a solid component group, and are <$1800.

That said, get one of your riding buddies to get some measurements for you. Use wrenchscience.com or Coloradocyclist.com to walk you through the fit process. REMEMBER, these fit formulas are a guide to get you in the ballpark in a frame size, experience while riding is the way i have figured out what fits me. I suspect that a 57cm or 56cm depending on mfgers. will fit you. I own a 55cmLemond, a 58cm Airborne. The common denominator in those 2 frames is top tube length (56.5 & 57), myself that is what I judge my frame fit by. Knowing what I now know about buying I would buy used in a heartbeat if a shop can verify the frame is straight and the components are not worn out from an unscrupulous seller passing them off as newer than stated. Now is the time to buy used. Good luck and get some help from your riding pals.
 

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ebay or internet

pull your budget down a little
then find a good deal on ebay or the internet; maybe at $800 or $900

ride it a season, decide what you what as your dream bike
then keep the first bike as a bad weather or commuter bike or sell it on ebay

then buy a super nice bike Ultegra or up level
 

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Cowboy up
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It sounds like you have a good process in mind. I think buying from a local bike shop has a lot of advantages for a new rider. They can help you with the fit, model selection, and other extras that are part of cycling. Plus a new bike will probably have fewer maintenance issues and the shop may offer a service plan.

If you go used it is better if you know a good amount about bicycles and can see the bike. If you buy off ebay you may have some surprises. The tires, chain, cassette, shifters, or wheels could be well worn and the cost of those components can add up quickly, especially if you are paying the bike shop to service the bike. You may need to change out the stem or the saddle as well. Used bike shopping can also be time consuming.
 

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I have the same question. I am looking for a road bike to use for commuting but also for the occassional long ride (long for me is 30-40 miles max) so I don't need anything super fancy. I am considering something along the lines of the Trek Portland or Soho (though not as expensive as the Soho for that style bike, but in the same 'fitness' style). I find it difficult to determine where to make the steps up in components? In addition, my LBS recommends the fitness model to me regardless of my wanting a more traditional style road bike. I don't know where to start and I also am scared to look beyond the most major brands like GF or Trek at this point. How do I broaden my horizons and figure this stuff out?
 

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I agree, buying from a shop is usually the way to go. Unless it's like my local shop. My friend, a new rider, walked in to buy a bike. The guy working in the bike shop looked at him and said, "looks like you need about a 52". My friend agreed and bought the bike. No measurements or test fittings. In my area MANY shops are like this. Find a good one!
 

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To Echo Two of the Above Responses

it had better "fit" or you will be unhappy and wasted money. Bikes depreciate 40-50% over the first couple of years so you can get a geat buy if you know what you're looking for. However do the fact you are asking the question, I suspect you will be better off passing on the "great" (or not so great) used bike and dealing with a local bike store of quality. Usually the ones that hard core racers use are a good bet. If the store personnel will not spend the time to help determine your needs and proper fit, find one that will. In fact shop several such stores. Travel a couple of hours to such stores if you have to. Most all the bikes in a price raange will be competitive. Some give you more frame for the money and cheaper parts, other better parts and less frame, some try to balance. None of this is as important as the proper frame size and then getting right stem and bar size. Then get the seat adjusted bothe fore and aft as well as height and cleats set on the shoes appropriately. Avoid pimply faced kid who calls you "Dude" and get the owner, manager or some one you feel comfortable with, or get out. There are lot of other stores that are pleased you give you the service you deserve.
 

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I am riding a Jamis Quest reynolds 631 steel fram and luv the ride comfort. Check out Jamis bikes as they have a number of lower cost bikes and there is nothing wrong with shimanno 105 components as i have thousands of miles on my 105 9 speed parts. Even tiagra is not that bad as i took those parts off a bike and they work fine on my winter Soma bike
 

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Pedal Master
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Visit a couple of bike shops and have them both size you up. I didn't think there was anything magical about sizing until I discovered that the first shop sized me as a 52...I'm actually a 56. As a reltively new road rider who WAS bent on buying a bike online, I would have been screwed and prolly would have never known why I was so uncomfortable riding. Fortunately, I found a GREAT LBS that sold me a great bike at a great price and will be there for years of service and help.
 

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Good advice above. Be sure to look into frame materials as well, a few options that you need to understand. I would say look at steel, I still think it's the superior material overall, (my opinion, many will disagree, which is fine).

One direction may be to pick up a Surley steel road bike on the cheap. Ride and enjoy! Figure out what you like and don't like from there. Better steel frames will ride differently, but this will get you and and fit to a frame.

I'll send a PM about something else, so please watch for one. And best of luck!!
 
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