Just new to road bikes - overwhelmed by choices

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Just new to road bikes - overwhelmed by choices

Postby Sambo » Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:34 pm

Hi,
I am in the market for a new road bike. I have persisted for 20 years on my mountain bike (guys frame) which has wheels made of blu tak. Turns out though, when a friend offers you a go on their modern road bike, you completely fall in love, take out a more permanent loan, and hit the road. So awesome! The only thing is it doesn't fit, and it's not mine!

So I have been to a few bike shops and don't know where to start. I have ridden a MERRIN and TREK, and am working my way through them all. But how do you decide? I also need to move into clip in shoes etc. I am covered in bruises from my feet flying off the peddles.

We are currently in Canberra, but moving to Wellington NZ in January. Lots of hills!!! I am 39, 165cm and 57kgs. I have really short arms! I am into long distance running, but following a knee injury, I am looking to move into another sport (hasn't bothered me riding so far!). I am expecting to ride for fun and to meet people, but would also like to take up some longer road events.

I would really appreciate some help to enable me to target my questions a bit in the shop, and even help me hone in on particular brands. I was looking to limit the bike spend to $1500, but if a little bit more gets me something cool, then I'm open to it!
Thanks for all your help!!! :D
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by BNA » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:34 pm

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Re: Just new to road bikes - overwhelmed by choices

Postby CommuRider » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:34 pm

Sambo, if you decide to do a short trip to Sydney I can recommend two LBS in the CBD area that have good "female-specific" knowledge. With your budget I'd recommend Clarence St. Cyclery and Inner City Cycles (Glebe).
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Re: Just new to road bikes - overwhelmed by choices

Postby wombatK » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:44 pm

Steve Hogg's articles on Sensitive Issues and More Sensitive Issues are well worth reading. They illuminate the short-comings of mass produced frames, and might give you something to think about when assessing how well bikes fit you. The competitivecyclist Fit calculator can give you a good idea of what youe fit should be close to.

For the money you're prepared to shell out, a respectable LBS will do a fit for you. But it's handy to have a reference point that you can check this against - and hence tell if they have put you on the right track. The fit calculator might also give you an idea of how well a mass-produced frame will suit you. Hogg does not believe in the computer-formula fit process, but I've found they got close enough for me. Reading Hogg's articles nevertheless, will give you a couple of tests you should try (eg checking balance on the seat by pedaling with hands raised just off the bars).

Some BNA's contributors speak very highly of Steve Hogg's fitting service, and given your injury history, it might be something very worthwhile for you.

While Hogg doesn't seem to be a fan of the mass-produced women-specific road bikes, they do seem to address some of the issues like hand-reach and seat fit better than the mens bikes. There's not much choice if you limit your search to women-specific bikes, and that might make your choice clearer !
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Re: Just new to road bikes - overwhelmed by choices

Postby damhooligan » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:51 pm

Sambo wrote:Hi,
I am in the market for a new road bike. I have persisted for 20 years on my mountain bike (guys frame) which has wheels made of blu tak. Turns out though, when a friend offers you a go on their modern road bike, you completely fall in love, take out a more permanent loan, and hit the road. So awesome! The only thing is it doesn't fit, and it's not mine!

So I have been to a few bike shops and don't know where to start. I have ridden a MERRIN and TREK, and am working my way through them all. But how do you decide? I also need to move into clip in shoes etc. I am covered in bruises from my feet flying off the peddles.

We are currently in Canberra, but moving to Wellington NZ in January. Lots of hills!!! I am 39, 165cm and 57kgs. I have really short arms! I am into long distance running, but following a knee injury, I am looking to move into another sport (hasn't bothered me riding so far!). I am expecting to ride for fun and to meet people, but would also like to take up some longer road events.

I would really appreciate some help to enable me to target my questions a bit in the shop, and even help me hone in on particular brands. I was looking to limit the bike spend to $1500, but if a little bit more gets me something cool, then I'm open to it!
Thanks for all your help!!! :D


the best way to get started is to find a good bike shop.

Even if you buy a top dollar bike , it is useless without a good fit, and that is where the shop comes in.
If you really have short arms and need for example a shorter stem, then again a good shop can help you.
Take the bike for a short rides and feel if it is comfortable.

secondly, if you still don't know what to pick , just get a bike in a colour that you like....
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SCHIJNVEILIGHEID !!
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Re: Just new to road bikes - overwhelmed by choices

Postby Parker » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:01 pm

wombatK wrote:While Hogg doesn't seem to be a fan of the mass-produced women-specific road bikes, they do seem to address some of the issues like hand-reach and seat fit better than the mens bikes. There's not much choice if you limit your search to women-specific bikes, and that might make your choice clearer !

Find me a Pro women's team that rides WSD, Cervelo doesn't make WSD bikes but does have one of the best women's pro team, who ride a rider specific bike.

Its simple, take a men's bike, change the saddle if it is not comfortable for you, it may be okay for you, short reach levers (we can put spacers to make them easier to reach for a women), handle bar width is different for each rider, not gender.

A good bike shop will make the above issues go away and they will fix it.

If a WSD bike makes you feel more confident then go for it, mostly they are a lower spec for higher the price, I will say that the exception on this is the trek brand, they are primarily on par, but there frame meassurements still seem to be the same across the board.

If you want somethng with more clearance between your vagina and the top tube then look for brands that do a sloping top tube, colnago, bianchi, spec, cervelo (make small frames, think Emma Pooley her wheels are 650 and she's tiny, not a WSD bike)
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Re: Just new to road bikes - overwhelmed by choices

Postby Robdog » Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:29 pm

damhooligan wrote:the best way to get started is to find a good bike shop.


I assume you've been to Smith Cycles in Fyshwick because you mention Marin, they consistently have the best service of all the shops I've been to in the last 5 years (ONYA in Tuggeranong were good the last 2 times I've been there, but a couple of atrocious visits about 3 years ago has them slowly earning my respect again).
Please don't get sucked into the WSD thing just because it says Women's Specific - pick a bike that you feel fits you best regardless of the sticker on it
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