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I've been riding since the first of June. My current ride is a men's Trek 7.2 FX hybrid. I bought it from a local Trek dealer and have been very satisfied with it. I can ride 19 miles at this point and am doing weight training a couple of times a week and occasional swimming to cross-train. I'm a BIG girl (5'91/2", 235 lbs.) with a long back (wear men's shirts a lot because they fit better). When I started having comfort issues with the Trek, I went back to the LBS I bought it from. They're nice folks, but weren't necessarily all that helpful. So I went to a different bike shop that's further away. They fixed me up on the spot, fitted my bike properly and had lots of other helpful advice to give. They sell Fujis and Jamises primarily and tune up bikes bought there for free for life. They've been very encouraging, and I would like to buy my road bike from them when I get one (probably next year after the tax return).

My question is-how far up the food chain price-wise should I go for a road bike? I would like to get a bike I'm not going to outgrow in less than a year. Should I get a carbon bike? What should I look for in components? I don't know how much weight I'll be losing in the interim (though I have lost about 15 pounds so far, I'm primarily riding for my cardiovascular health-I've got bad veins in my legs), and I've seen enough reviews here about frames cracking that I'm a bit paranoid about it. I gather there aren't a lot of 200+ pound riders out there.

I pretty much trust the LBS to steer me the right way-the owner says I just need to decide what I want to spend and he'll find me as much bike for the buck as he can, with the best components. He's told me about a few possibilities, both men's and women's bikes. I'm going to go this week and try a 2008 women's Fuji Finest 1.0 he's got in stock. He will let me take a bike for a long ride. Of course, at this point 8-9 miles is an hour ride for me, I'm not really very fast!

I was thinking maybe $1100-$1500 tops. Is that enough to get me a decent bike I won't "grow out of" too soon?
 

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Moderatus Puisne
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Your price range is plenty for a decent bike, and, you may be surprised, but, there are really plenty of 200-lb-plus riders out there.

Component-wise, there isn't anything in your range by the major manufacturers out there that is really undesirable. At the low end of your range you'll probably get Shimano Tiagra, which is 9-speed (9 rear gears), at the higher end, Shimano 105 or SRAM Force, which are both 10-speed. All are fine parts.

Carbon frame? The shop may give you a line about more comfortable ride, but I don't think it matters what material your bike is. A metal bike may be a little less vulnerable to impact damage if you put it on a car rack or what have you.

I'd suggest looking at the "Comfort road" bikes as opposed to the race-inspired lines, with slightly more upright handlebar positions. Most bike companies offer something in this range.

I am biased, as I work for a bike manufacturer, but the bike I ride every day costs $1,100 at retail, and I have put 10,000 miles on it since January. I am on my 3rd chain, have gone through 2 sets of tires, and 3 sets of brake pads -- plus about 12 flat tires. I am fairly light, but I live in the wet Pacific Northwest, which wears those items faster.

It is a steel road frame, comfort-distance oriented geometry, with full Shimano Tiagra drivetrain. It is not a featherweight, but, that's okay by me.
 
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Welcome to the forum.

As Argentius said your budget is plenty, try out some different bikes and see what's available, one of them will fit your needs.
 

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haole from the mainland
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Both Jamis and Fuji make a wide range of bikes. I'm particularly a fan of Jamis, partly because they still make steel bikes.

You're tall enough and long-torsoed enough that you don't need a women's bike.

Along the lines of Argentius' suggestion of a comfort road bike, consider the Jamis Quest. It's retail price is a bit above your ceiling, but your shop might be able to make you a deal since it's the end of the model year.
http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/quest/09_quest.html

For your price range, you should be getting Shimano 105 or better. The Finest 1.0 comes with Tiagra, which is below 105.
 

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How would you like to ride the new road bike?

20 mile rides a couple of times a week?
Longer weekend rides of 30, 40, 50+ miles?

You mentioned swimming, do you see yourself doing a triathalon for fun?

I started out like you, just riding to work and back on a hybrid. Within 6 months I was looking for more pure road bike and taking longer weekend rides of 30-40 miles, doing charity rides, etc.

I ended up, after much trial, error, purchasing and craigslisting, with a Cannondale Carbon Synapse (Feminine) with 105 components. Love it. I also rented a carbon Trek Madone 5.1 for a couple of long rides and I found that bike very nice as well, although it did leave me feeling a bit more beat up, it jumped a bit more when I said "go!".

I enjoy the comfort geometry of the synapse a lot. It's speedy enough for me (trust me, it's not the bike geometry making me any slower than my friends), it's responsive, it climbs nicely, but doesn't leave me sore after the ride. My long rides are in the 60 mile range (working up to a century). I've been riding for 2 years, give or take.

I'm also not a light weight rider. However, I don't have your height, or long torso, so for me Women's bikes with slightly shorter reach and short reach shifters worked best for me. I'm only 5'3'' so finding a bike to test ride that was small enough was my challenge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the helpful suggestions! No, I don't see ever doing a triathlon (my sister does, though!). I've got arthritis in my left foot (should mention that I'm 52), and walking or running cause my feet to swell, so I've really only got two legs of the triathlon. Right now I'm doing 2 or three 10 mile rides during the week with an 18-19 mile on the weekend. I'm hoping to up that mileage eventually and do 20+ milers 2-3 times a week if I get a road bike, but I don't think I'll be doing that on my current bike. Actually, I'm just hoping not to backslide over the winter at this point!

30-40-50 miles seems a far off goal at present, but I am hoping that maybe by next summer I'll be able to do that. I hadn't considered the steel frame, because it seemed to me that everything now is aluminum or carbon. I do carry my bike around on a fork mount in the back of my pickup truck and I'm clumsy enough that having something a little tougher might be the way to go.
 

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Keep it up. I'm 64 with bad knees, bad hands, and a now much smaller pot belly. I did 500 miles a month since April. Never felt better since I finished boot camp at 20.
 

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Colorado Springs, CO
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Isabeau said:
Thanks for all the helpful suggestions! No, I don't see ever doing a triathlon (my sister does, though!). I've got arthritis in my left foot (should mention that I'm 52), and walking or running cause my feet to swell, so I've really only got two legs of the triathlon. Right now I'm doing 2 or three 10 mile rides during the week with an 18-19 mile on the weekend. I'm hoping to up that mileage eventually and do 20+ milers 2-3 times a week if I get a road bike, but I don't think I'll be doing that on my current bike. Actually, I'm just hoping not to backslide over the winter at this point!

30-40-50 miles seems a far off goal at present, but I am hoping that maybe by next summer I'll be able to do that. I hadn't considered the steel frame, because it seemed to me that everything now is aluminum or carbon. I do carry my bike around on a fork mount in the back of my pickup truck and I'm clumsy enough that having something a little tougher might be the way to go.


I started riding 5 years ago at 47 - the only problem I see was waiting too long to start.

A road specific bike will, well, you'll notice a bike change for the good.

The price range you are quoting you can get a really nice bike. Go up into the $2000 - $3000 range and it gets better. I have an all carbon trek pilot 5.0. Nice ride.

The only thing I can add is:

a) Try LOTS of bikes. Best time to go is a Tuesday or Wednesday morning right after the LBS opens up so they can give you lots of attention and compare notes with you. Yes, the "right" bike will be very apparent once you get on it.

b) Be careful of "racing" bikes. The geometry of a racing road machine is different from a touring one. You'll want something that is comfortable and relaxed. Racing bikes are put together to put your butt in a place and bend you over where maximum power can be achieved from the legs. But, that crouched over position can be draining to a recreational rider.

c) If your hands are small, you may want a women's specific design bike. The shifters are smaller. Or, have the LBS trade out "big" shifters for small ones. On various bike tours I have been on I have seen women riding machines that had big levers and they couldn't reach the brakes properly. Just watch for that.

d) Carbon forks are a must to take out the road vibration. Carbon seat post adds to the dampening. All carbon bike makes for a nice smooth ride. Be certain to try all the various material types (aluminum, titanium - yeah expensive, carbon fork, carbon fork with carbon seat post, all carbon bike). You'll have a definite opinion once you try them all.

e) Don't be afraid to buy a "expensive" bike (like ~$2500+) You're riding now and like it. Better to have a good ride than something that you'll grow out of quickly (go look at an Orbea Diva).

f) Triple versus compact crank. Personally, I think a triple front chain ring gives more variety in gears. Especially when climbing (and we have some hills here). But, it's almost a religious subject and people have very strong opinions either way. Try it and see what you like.

g) finish off the compete new bike - new pedals and shoes.


h) Now that you're riding long distances, come out here and do some hills. Set an objective for you and go for it:

www.ridetherockies.com
www.bicycletourcolorado.com

Yeah, these are long rides with challenging topography. But, you'll have permanent bragging rights for the rest of your life ("what did you do this summer" Well, I went on a 400+ mile bike ride in the Colorado Rockies and spent most of week climbing 10000 and 11000 foot mountain passes on my bike")

Hope it helps...drop a PM if you want to discuss more detail.

Later!

ColoradoVeloDude
Colorado Springs, Colorado
 

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So, in plain words- you want to purchase a decent bike within $1100-$1500. Right? Why you're being overwhelmed for this easy task? Have a look to the Gearbikes, shop for the best suitable category bike in your budget, set up the speedometer, and hit on the road!
 

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I've been riding since the first of June. My current ride is a men's Trek 7.2 FX hybrid. I bought it from a local Trek dealer and have been very satisfied with it. I can ride 19 miles at this point and am doing weight training a couple of times a week and occasional swimming to cross-train. I'm a BIG girl (5'91/2", 235 lbs.) with a long back (wear men's shirts a lot because they fit better). When I started having comfort issues with the Trek, I went back to the LBS I bought it from. They're nice folks, but weren't necessarily all that helpful. So I went to a different bike shop that's further away. They fixed me up on the spot, fitted my bike properly and had lots of other helpful advice to give. They sell Fujis and Jamises primarily and tune up bikes bought there for free for life. They've been very encouraging, and I would like to buy my road bike from them when I get one (probably next year after the tax return).

My question is-how far up the food chain price-wise should I go for a road bike? I would like to get a bike I'm not going to outgrow in less than a year. Should I get a carbon bike? What should I look for in components? I don't know how much weight I'll be losing in the interim (though I have lost about 15 pounds so far, I'm primarily riding for my cardiovascular health-I've got bad veins in my legs), and I've seen enough reviews here about frames cracking that I'm a bit paranoid about it. I gather there aren't a lot of 200+ pound riders out there.

I pretty much trust the LBS to steer me the right way-the owner says I just need to decide what I want to spend and he'll find me as much bike for the buck as he can, with the best components. He's told me about a few possibilities, both men's and women's bikes. I'm going to go this week and try a 2008 women's Fuji Finest 1.0 he's got in stock. He will let me take a bike for a long ride. Of course, at this point 8-9 miles is an hour ride for me, I'm not really very fast!

I was thinking maybe $1100-$1500 tops. Is that enough to get me a decent bike I won't "grow out of" too soon?
I would go to a specialty bike shop and get something good, around $1500 , my daughter purchased her last two bikes on the cheap and both of them are wrecked. chains snapped and derailers broken. See below for an idea of someone who shouldn't ride a lower end bike
479467
 

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I would go to a specialty bike shop and get something good, around $1500
What's a specialty bike shop? Any bike shop is going to have a bike around $1500.

, my daughter purchased her last two bikes on the cheap and both of them are wrecked. chains snapped and derailers broken. See below for an idea of someone who shouldn't ride a lower end bike
I don't care how big your legs are... you're never ever ever going to break a derailleur, even a cheap one, by simply pedaling.
And chains snapping? Lower end bikes don't have different chains. In fact, they're likely stronger than higher end bikes as they're not made to be uber light.
 
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