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New Bike Purchase Advice

This topic contains 72 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  Mikhail 1 yr, 10 mos.

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jonawebb

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Feb 7 2013 at 9:09pm #

I agree about the used bike idea. But since we don’t know what the OP has in mind when he says upgrade he may well be able to do it new for $500.


Drewbacca

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Feb 7 2013 at 10:02pm #

Fair enough. I think it really depends on how much riding he plans to do…

Entry level parts = entry level rider. They aren’t bad parts, they just won’t last as many miles. Fortunately, even if necessary, new parts are cheaper than a new bike down the road. I’m not being a snob, just realistic. What the OP needs to decide is if he wants to pay a little more now or a little more down the road.

Then again, higher end parts fail just as easily sometimes; a friend just posted a picture on FB of a carbon rear-derailleur that snapped in half. I’ve also seen low end parts last for a decade… so, I guess it’s a gamble.

Still, I’d go with a 105 Nashbar CX ($800 but often on sale for $700) over the $500 CX bike on the same site with Sora or below. When you break it down by the expected number of miles, I think the extra $200 is worth it (not to mention the Alex DC19s have an ok rep relative to other Alex rims).

I forgot to mention before… the online places are a bit cheaper. Then to compare cost to the LBS, factor in the cost of tuneups and drivetrain optimization. If the OP can’t do that himself, that’s at least another $100 tacked on to the price of a mail order bike by the time he gets everything functioning correctly. As for the 60% off, that’s based on a made up number of what the competition charges for a bike with the same components… but the competition often gives a lifetime guarantee for the frame itself. Not to mention that the MSRP is inflated. Mail order is cheaper, but likely closer to 30% on average and rarely the advertised value. To determine what is a good value, pay attention to what is sold out in all sizes.

On the downside re: used bikes… I also suppose that the used approach is a pain-in-the-ass if you don’t have a knowledgeable friend to shop around with… so that’s a factor.

@forest412, how many miles do you think you’ll ride in a year?


byogman

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Feb 8 2013 at 10:15am #

Let me bounce something specific off the board here.

Diamondback Podium 1.

I know pretty close to nothing here, but put it on my “pretty please” on this one with my birthday coming up based off random site talking about entry level bikes and this one pretty glowingly, good reviews on Amazon, and an acceptable price.

Details:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005NXPELY/ref=s9_simh_gw_p200_d0_i4?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0N3306QJS7AWG08QZTZE&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846

I’m quite sure I would have to take it to a LBS to get it all adjusted right, so add that to the price.

Good, bad, meh? I know it’s individual and perhaps a bit crazy to order a bike without getting a test ride, this just seemed like a winner.


Marko82

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Feb 8 2013 at 10:43am #

^It doesn’t appear to have eyelets for racks or fenders which is weird for a triple. I’ll let others comment on quality,


jonawebb

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Feb 8 2013 at 10:49am #

Yeah, watch out for things like eyelets. It’s true that you can add clamps to mount things but over time they rust and it’s not very elegant. If you’re buying a new bike you might as well get exactly the right frame etc. to begin with.


Jacob McCrea

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Feb 8 2013 at 10:59am #

It looks like a nice bike and would pay for itself pretty quickly. But, you should recognize that it would be expensive to upgrade that 8 speed drivetrain in the future as you would have to replace nearly everything to switch to a modern 10 speed setup. That may or may not be a concern of yours.

Also, for what it’s worth, my experience is that entry-level road bike frames vary wildly in weight and ride quality. On the one hand there is the base model Cannondale CAAD10 or whatever number they are up to now, which is a very light, racing-grade frame. On the other hand, the Gary Fishers and Jamis (I think) road frames I’ve seen in the $800-$1,200 range feel like they are made of solid tubing. Again, that may or may not be a concern of yours, but I wanted to mention it as I’ve been surprised by the variances in that price range.


jonawebb

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Feb 8 2013 at 11:21am #

Excuse me, Jake, how can I get my bike to pay for itself? :-)


Mikhail

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Feb 8 2013 at 11:58am #

Start racing and get prizes? :)


byogman

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Feb 8 2013 at 12:45pm #

No prize money is in my future. Just looking for something first as a fast commuter, and second as a comfortable bike for longer rides, preferably in the fast group if it splits.

I do think the weight has to be pretty low. It’s mentioned in a couple of the reviews, and the shipping weight seems lower than anything else I’ve seen in the same price range (though the sheer range of those numbers make me seriously doubt their accuracy).

By the way, the 8 speed vs. 10 speed drivetrain, what makes the 10 meaningfully better?

They eyelets was a good catch, definitely something I missed. Debating how much I care though. Fenders yeah, I want something I think (though I’ve been lazy putting them back on since I got rain pants), rack, much more debatable. I never carry a lot and my backpack has always been sufficient. I got it for the menorah ride and have been too lazy to switch away from the backpack, so that’s it so far.

I do want to be able to tow the kids in a double trailer, but my understanding is that the one I stand to inherit from my neighbor doesn’t use eyelets, and maybe none of them do? I don’t know how to judge suitability of a bike for towing, but if I’m doing it, it will be on a very slow ride (my 8 year old daughter alongside on her bike), so I think that leaves some room for fudging it.


Mikhail

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Feb 8 2013 at 1:24pm #

Ben,

If you care a lot then bike weight is not the first attribute you should look at. :)

Consider your weight (from the blue) 180 lbs.
You carry 30 more in bags.
A cage for bottle and bottle itself (750 ml) 2 lbs. if two of them then add extra 2.
Lights, fenders, pedals (those are not counted for bikes that come without pedals) 1-2 lbs.
Rack 1-2 lbs.

Total without bike is about 214-218 lbs. So if bike is a real race bike with nothing extra — 15 lbs. Entry level race bike close to 18-19. Touring bike about 25-27. So 7-12 pounds of difference for total weight 230-242 is about 4-5%.

My carbon bike is about 18 lbs if I remove bottles, lights and under saddle bag. With everything on it’s about 23.

Could you be more specific about longer rides?

BTW there is Sunday ride for 25 miles.

PS Somehow no one from the board (except me) showed on Jacob’s ride. It was excellent (even they easily dropped me on hills :)). 53 miles.


Jacob McCrea

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Feb 8 2013 at 1:38pm #

“what makes the 10 meaningfully better?”

For riding to work, cruising around town, etc., nothing as far as I’m concerned. But, I would still prefer to get a Shimano-type ten speed system because you have a far wider range of component choices and availability when things wear out, as opposed to having to choose between 1) installing another lower-level component and 2) buying most or all of a totally new drivetrain/group set. This is not a big deal in my mind, just something to be aware of when you hand over your money.

If you are towing your kids in a trailer you might want to consider the quality of the bike’s brakes. That’s tough to assess from a computer. Although, for what it’s worth, my 20-year-old Cannondale R400, with downtube shifters and low-end components (a $100 bike), stops as well as my carbon-everything Specialized S-Works (not a $100 bike), if not better. But the differences in ride quality, efficiency, stiffness, etc. are massive, especially over the course of, say, 100 miles.

Mikhail, glad you liked the ride. Stef meant to attend but missed us by a few minutes. We will probably put on a big ride next Saturday, weather permitting.


byogman

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Feb 8 2013 at 1:52pm #

Hi Mikhail,

I’m quite short, have dropped a little weight since I started, and carry less baggage so the numbers are a bit different, but the broader point of course is quite true, differences in bike weight would be a very small part of the equation.

I’m not all that hung up on it, but if I see it as part of the reviews, hey, that’s nice. And since do stand and mash (not always, but a decent bit), having something lighter might make a little more difference in getting that slight side to side motion feeling easier and more natural.

Longer rides? Well, at the moment just about anything is a longer ride… max I’ve done is a little over 20 miles. Certainly, the ride with Jacob would have been nice. But the warning about showing up on a hybrid kind of scared me off… I can stay in the 18-21mph range on my hybrid on the EFT but that’s pushing a bit (impatient to get home), and only for a couple miles. And then checked the date and it was Saturday, which is just always no go for me.

What is the Sunday ride which you’re referring to? This Sunday is probably off, but if there’s anything regular I might be game.


edmonds59

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Feb 8 2013 at 2:21pm #

I sincerely hope the manufacturers are done adding sprockets and stop at 10 for a while. I am quite tired of this engineered obsolescence. AFAIC 8 was perfectly adequate for 90% of riders and usages. Now this electronic nonsense, just to sell New! and Improved! Whiter Teeth! Fresher Breath(tm)! Just my grouch. Carry on.


jonawebb

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Feb 8 2013 at 2:22pm #

Campy’s at 11…
Edit: when I started riding 10 speed meant you had a double chainring on front. Then there were the fancy triples and then they started adding them in back. I’m up to 27 myself and feel pretty happy. I don’t think the next 3 make that much difference. And, truth be told, if I did want to add 3 more all I would have to change is my brifters. My crankset already requires a 10s chain.


Drewbacca

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Feb 8 2013 at 2:33pm #

8spd vs 10spd…

Parts availability is the primary concern, but considering that you can still track down 7spd parts, that’s probably not a huge problem. You may find your choices limited, but then, you could always upgrade the entire drivetrain at some point in the future.

It will be more difficult to track down a replacement 8spd shifter if necessary. But, fortunately, Campagnolo 10spd shifters use the same cable pull as Shimano 8spd… so that’s always an option (with two gears locked out via limit screws).

The plus side of 8spd is that the chain has more meat (no offense Pierce) and thus more durable… that’s a positive. Having a triple up front makes up for any loss of gears in the back.

ps: Shimano also has 11speeds now… I honestly don’t see the point.


Pseudacris

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Feb 8 2013 at 2:40pm #

To the OP: I have the ladies’ version of this:

http://www.khsbicycles.com/06_urban_xpress_m_12.htm

It is not as nice as some of the other bikes described here, but it is closer to your price range, takes racks & fenders &tc. I ride it on the trails & city streets with no problem. I changed the saddle & tires.
They sell em at Iron City Bikes. It could use one more granny gear for steep hills, but I still come up Panther Hollow & Liberty ave (just slower than everyone else).


jonawebb

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Feb 8 2013 at 2:52pm #

I’m still waiting to hear how I can make my bike pay for itself. Honestly, any monetary return at all would be great. Right now it’s a pure money-sink. It’s like owning a small boat.


Drewbacca

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Feb 8 2013 at 3:23pm #

@jonawebb, sorry… I can’t hear you! I’m under a few feet of water…


byogman

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Feb 8 2013 at 3:32pm #

Definitely want drops, going down Panther Hollow, for instance. Go 30ish right now, want faster not for time, but to reduce relative velocity a bit.

I think I’m more than fine with 8spd since we’re still supporting 7 (which is good, that’s what I have on my bike right now!). My major needs now will still be my major needs when the components wear.


Pierce

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Feb 8 2013 at 3:55pm #

@byogman

From my experience, the only parts that will wear out are chain, rear cassette, rear derailleur, and front chain-ring, in that order.

You can still buy midrange derailleurs; I think chains and cassettes are bound to wear out no matter what


Drewbacca

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Feb 8 2013 at 4:18pm #

@byogman,

This one is just a rebadged Giant and would probably fit you (but not the OP)

Amazon doesn’t have it in stock, but there are some reviews there.

Just don’t tell Mike Sinyard that I told you so.


rice rocket

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Feb 8 2013 at 5:23pm #

ps: Shimano also has 11speeds now… I honestly don’t see the point.

SRAM does too in their XX1 group. No front derailleur to mess with, zero chain drops, and the range of a full compact double and standard 11-28 cassette. Pretty f’in awesome if you ask me.


Mikhail

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Feb 8 2013 at 5:35pm #

Ben,

http://bike-pgh.org/mb/topic/pmtcc-rides/page/2/#post-263058


cburch

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Feb 8 2013 at 7:09pm #

fyi, forge bikes arent actually rebadged giants. they are catalog frames manufactured by giant like the majority of bikes in this world. (giant is the largest manufacturer of bikes in the world and builds them for many brands).

the company is philly based and the bikes are decent. a little heavy, but decent component specs, especially for the price. their old website was better though…

also 1×11 and 2×10 exist for a good reason. not only can you get the same gear range with fewer parts, but the cogs are closer together in tooth count on the cassette so shifting is super crisp, even under heavy loads. it might not matter too much on a daily commute, but when you are pushing the performance of you and your bike on a hard ride or racing, it makes a big difference.


Drewbacca

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Feb 8 2013 at 7:23pm #

I wasn’t really thinking about the 1 x __ setup. If you can lose the front derailleur it kinda sorta makes sense.

Personally, I don’t think that the thinner chain and deeper dish are worth the trade-off but obviously we all have different needs.

Thanks for the clarification on Forge, I was just going by Sinyard’s letter (or my interpretation of it, maybe I read that wrong). Cool to know that they’re based in Phila.


stefb

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Feb 8 2013 at 8:15pm #

http://ecom1.planetbike.com/7016.html

I don’t believe this will damage any paint. This is what I have. I stole them from cburch. Love them.


cburch

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Feb 8 2013 at 8:52pm #

a) sinyard is a legendary douche who loves to try to scare the crap out of his dealer network with these emails every year or so.

b) if you read the text carefully he never actually says giant owns forge. he’s very careful to leave his lawyers room while insinuating things that may or may not be true.

forge is actually a father and son both from the financial services industry out of philly. they saw a business opportunity and went after it even though they werent really all that familiar with the cycling industry or culture. they, like most of the other online only retailers, buy their bikes out a catalog of designs from giant’s manufacturing arm and have little if anything to do with the giant retail brand. even the production artists that put together the graphics for the bike frames are part of the chinese manufacturing arm of giant, not the us based design shop for the retail brand.

full disclosure, forge used to be a client of mine. i designed their headtube badge (and revamped the logo) as well as their first two websites and quite a few of the frame graphics (trust me, the chinese production house was not exactly up to the same level of work as their us counterparts, they had a hard time even copying my designs correctly, much less doing something original)

im honestly a bit surprised that they are still in business as they havent redesigned the frame graphics in 4 or 5 years, save for the revamp of the sawback where they ripped off the gary fisher designs from the previous year (this si when i stopped working for them, as i refused to do that).


cburch

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Feb 8 2013 at 8:56pm #

http://ecom1.planetbike.com/7016.html
I don’t believe this will damage any paint. This is what I have. I stole them from cburch. Love them.

actually you have the road bike version. the ones you linked are for mountain bikes and wouldnt work very well on a 700c road bike.


StuInMcCandless

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Feb 9 2013 at 6:11am #

“Having a triple up front makes up for any loss of gears in the back.”

Precisely. That third ring up front is how I do hills, even the measely 5% grade on Perrymont every morning. Or how I would do hills if any of my road bikes had one.


edmonds59

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Feb 9 2013 at 8:24am #

I’m not sure how eliminating the front derailleur is a desirable goal. The gear range I want is not achievable with a 1x setup. I use about 26 gear inch low and 120+- high. I would need a 48 tooth chainring and an 11>48 casette to get that, and I’m pretty sure I can’t get one on Nashbar, let alone the derailleur for that. But it’s easily achievable with 40 yr old technology.


cburch

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Feb 9 2013 at 8:33am #

1x setups are not for the road.


edmonds59

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Feb 9 2013 at 8:55am #

Ahh, that makes sense.


Mikhail

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Feb 9 2013 at 9:10am #

Front deraileur is much more sensetive to load then the rear one. As cburch mentioned if cogs are close to each other in terms of teeth you can change your gearing even you push hard (especially with superglide technology or similar). You need to push much easier to change front chainring. The front delaileur is working in different conditions on piece of chain where teension is great while the rear one controls chain on return and tension is what spring of deraileur provides (and one of the main concern is that chain does not slip at the point where tension starts and superglide technology helps chain to climb to thenext cog). And most of chain drops are due too front derailers. You can see it at Dirty Dozen Race.

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