Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts
bit of background: I have recently moved to Sunshine Coast with my fiancee with one car...problem. The Sunshine Coast isnt exactly public transport friendly. So I bought a cheap MTB thingy that looked the goods with dual suspension from Big W or Kmart (cant remember which) for next to nothing. So I started my journey (about 12km one way) and hated it, because for way too long my tyres were not properly pumped up (30psi) and my brakes were dragging on the rim (stupid me I know). So I pumped up the tyres (im lucky to have compressed air at work) and fixed the brakes, although I now only have a front brake, and dropped over 10 minutes off my time, I am pretty much hooked. Now the question....what bike for me. 12km, mostly flat but with one or two nasty hills (what qualifies as nasty?) and i mostly ride on the footpath but have to deal with idot peds most of the way, I guess I am a little scared of the road still. I am 6foot1 weigh about 90kegs and would be using this new bike purely for commuting (apologies I know you have answered this sort of thing repeatedly). I rang the local shop and he said get a hybrid, and while they look nice I am wary from similar thread responses, plus its logical that a bike trying to do 2 jobs will do neither as good. I do like to go across grass, etc. ocassionally for fun and to keep it different. Long story short what is the bike for me (I want to faster than 20km/h but dont want to wear lycra)????Please help....
G'day mate. Welcome to the nuthouse. Will your fiance be joining us?
For a commute of 12km, anything will do it. Just go buy that bike you love. Oft repeated advice because it works. That's the simple answer and if you keep it in mind, you won't go wrong.
I now use a Brooks leather saddle and don't wear lycra or padding - I could, there's nothing wrong with it, just haven't found the need to (and I have a stubborn, rebellious streak that wanted to test the theory ). When I had the racing saddle on the bike, I wore Shyshorts by Netti - basically quite good looking shorts with the padded bit built in, an excellent alternative to lycra.
But over 12km, you don't need padding.
Any ride under half an hour doesn't need padding.
Any ride under an hour doesn't need padding but you'd probably appreciate it.
Getting longer than that, and you need to think about what you're sitting on and most people opt for padding. The Shyshorts were my choice, but you can also get nix which go under normal shorts.
Incidentally, cycling jersies, though lycra, are much more comfortable than t-shirts. They are longer at the back so your back isn't exposed. They don't flap. They are made of a material that wicks the moisture away from your skin (which lycra nix do too, another reason they are so comfortable) and they have those nifty pockets at the back.
For a short ride, I just wear whatever. For longer rides though, I always wear a cycling jersy because they are more comfortable and practical (though they aren't 'needed').
Modern road bikes are pretty robust things, even with the narrow tyres. Unless you are riding dirt roads, you don't need wide, nobbly tyres. I'd suggest you go for a flat bar bike - similar to a hybrid but with narrower wheels and a less upright riding position. It'll do all you want for the next twelve months. Most people upgrade after a year anyway, but you won't know how you'll be riding this bike until you've done a year. In a year's time, you might just be trundling to work or you might be racing or you might be doing long rides on the weekend or ...
But heck, it doesn't matter what you buy, it'll do your commute. Think about where she'll be left - few people would leave a multi thousand dollar bike chained to a fence all day for example. Look at lots of bikes from lots of shops, you'll soon work out what it is you're attracted to.
The road thing? I don't blame you for being nervous. I'm not scared of traffic or main roads, but make every effort to use paths where possible and back streets where it's not. Avoidance isn't cowardice, it's good sense.
I had a good bike ... so I fixed it
Thanks for the response, very helpful, basically I knew that a flat bar was the right choice just needed confirmation (could a flat bar handle going down a 90deg kurb?). Secondly, I will need a list of some flat bars in my price range to out and try and fall in love, its best to have a qualified list first though (getting stolen isnt an issue, will be left inside). Thanks for the tips on clothing, I sot had this rebellious feeling that I didnt want lycra cause everyone else does, but it sounds like there are some decent alternatives.
You need to visit quite a few shops anyway to fine tune your !! BAN ME NOW FOR SWEARING !! detector and to work out who's going to look after you after the sale, so just go looking at lots. Pricing can be weird, especially now that new models aren't far away - last years bikes can be discounted quite heavily if you're in the right shop on the right day. And it is very hard to make recomendations because we are all so different.
David A loves his Felt and having ridden it, I can see why. He was also attracted to the Orbea (but had distributor problems there). Giant are always popular. I think browing the forum and looking at the shops is the best move.
I had a good bike ... so I fixed it
I started out with an Avanti Blade Sport - there are quite a few models of the Blade but the Sport to me was the best looking (although the current model is a weird beigey colour , not the pretty silver I went for). This really liked this bike - very comfy for me and around the $800.
I rode it on the road, paths, kerbs, grass...anywhere. Started out with normal pedals, then cages, then cleats - it was pretty versatile. I won't get rid of it as it is handy to have for the quick or bad terrain trips. I was doing regular 50km trips on it and it was fine.
It did have some downsides though:
1. The headset wasn't adjustable so would have required $ to bring the bars up.
2. The rims were Alex Rims DA16 - I broke 4 spokes on the rear wheel in less than 12 months. You can get a dodgy wheel so I may have been unlucky, but I did read somewhere on the 'net that it was a common problem with this model (though my LBS at the time had not heard this).
3. It won't cope with a gravel track - but then again, nor will I so this may be more a rider limitation than a bike. It wasn't designed for this anyway.
4. It made me realise how much I loved riding and forced me into spending thousands on a full carbon road bike
Avanti are a pretty common local brand so you should be able to find one pretty easily. It is certainly worth taking the test ride.
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Last edited by MountGower on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I was very close to buying one of the bottom of the range '08 Norco flat bars based purely on the cool green color of the frame. The intention was to upgrade with some Deore level shifters via eBay as the ones that came on it felt rubbish in my hands, buttons in the wrong places. The rest looked like it would do the job. Anyway, pretty sexy looking bike for not much cash in my opinion. Might be worth hunting down a Norco dealer in your area.
I got a pair of Fox Midranger shy shorts from my lbs in the beige/brown color. Basically a pair of padded spandex shorts stitched to the waist of a normal pair of shorts but the geometry is designed around sitting on a bike so they are very comfy. Definitely worth the 100$ I spent on em.
I currently wear soccer jerseys up top, got a really nice Nike one for 40$ at Rebelsport with their super duper latest and greatest wicking fabric and it works amazingly well. I tend to sweat A LOT and the fabric really does it's job leaving me totally dry at the end of a ride. Only problem, as Richard mentioned, is that it's a bit short in the back which I'm noticing now that I've switched to a roadie, so will look into a proper cycling jersey for that extra length soon.
Good luck with your spendings.
i can second the Avanti Blade series, I have a Blade Sport (in the "weird beigey colour" as moo puts it - actually quite like it, more dusky/sandy brown than skin beige), and it handles most things pretty well. it's what's called a flat bar road bike, which basically means similar to a roadie, but slightly more upright, and flat bars. (duh) - start at about $500 for the basic Blade, up to $1.5k iirc. the Sport sits at middle range, at $750.
the thing with a road style is that it won't do too well on gravel/sand/grass, more to do with the slick tyres than anything, but it'll still get you across them (though with caution).
also consider a more MTB style - this is probably what your LBS guy meant when he said hybrid. not a full MTB, but it'll be more upright than the flat bar road bikes (by definition also another type of hybrid, but usually called flat roadies to differentiate), and usually have semi slicks which will be slightly easier on non-road surfaces. also called city/comfort bikes.
ideally you'd want knobblies for off-road, gravel, etc, but then you'd hate having the weight/drag on the road for your commute.
in the end, buy the bike that you feel right riding. for a short commute, any bike will do you fine.
They look very sexy in real life too - there's a red one that goes to my library quite often. I reckon it's those tapering tubes that does it.
I had a good bike ... so I fixed it
If you don't want to wear tight lycra Netti Shy Shorts or similar are a good idea, especially in summer. A lot of bike shops stock these, they're not as comfortable as higher end bike shorts but they do just look like regular shorts from the outside. Wear without undies for the best comfort.
A plain jersey is also good, they keep you drier & cooler & have convenient pockets which you can fit quite a lot into.
I went from
flat bar + street clothes ->
flat bar + shy shorts ->
trekking bars + shy shorts + proper jersey ->
drop bars & carbon fibre + all bike gear
in the space of about 2 years. When I started I couldn't ride 8km without a few breaks, now I can ride 60km non-stop and fast. So if you get into it, don't be surprised when the shiny racing gear starts looking more & more appealing. The further you go and the more you sweat, the better your gear needs to be - for 12km you can probably just wear regular clothes comfortably.
When I was starting out riding on the road I found a mirror very helpful to reduce paranoia, if you have flat bars there are some good ones you can get that stick out of your bar ends.
Well now that the mountain bike option has been mentioned it has thrown a spanner in my thinking. Am I right in saying that the right tyre on a mountain bike would help it go quite fast. Thanks for all the help on clothing too everyone.
What difference is there between a flat bar and a mountain bike with suitable tyres (slicks?)
PS the title, well Richard seems to have celeb status on this forum, and the marketer in me only wanted the most qaulified opinions, might have worked
What makes you imagine I'm qualified
The mtb has a very upright seating position and is set up so you can lever it around in tight conditions.
The flat bar has a more lean forward position which aids the aerodynamics. It'll also be lighter and have thinner, higher pressure tyres.
The hybrid falls somewhere between the two.
There's a lot to be said for putting slicks on your old mtb and just riding that until something else tugs at your heart.
I had a good bike ... so I fixed it
I agree. I regularly ride Joe on a 30 km geocaching trip and still on his OEM knobblies. I average about 4 km/h slower than I do on Chase. Not a big difference and when I upgrade to a new MTB will fit out Joe with slicks and use him for shopping etc.
Joe is a 02 Giant Boulder SE
The rims on a flat bar roadie will be quite a lot thinner than your average mtb allowing it to fit a narrower tyre for less rolling resistance and therefore more speed or less effort to maintain the same speed.
A rigid fork as opposed to a suspension fork will save a lot of weight and also help you transfer your power to the ground more effectively.
I rode with slicks on a dirt jumper mtb [heavy but strong with 100mm travel forks] and while the slicks made a huge improvement, it still doesn't compare to something designed for going fast. It was a great stop gap while I proved that I was going to stick with it and then got something more suitable.
Thanks for posting this Dave. Made me poke around the Felt website and I discovered the Q800 which fingers crossed is pretty much what I have been looking for. Now to find a dealer.
No worries Andrew,
I probably sound like im on the Felt payroll sometimes, but they do offer some seriously nice bikes of all persuasions, and in particular the hybrid range.
Check out the component lists of their bikes, you would be doing well to find better bang for your buck anywhere.
As you can see, a hybrid doesnt have to be some fat tyred, wide seated dorkmobile that many think the breed are.
Im surprised Felt get overlooked so often in favour of the Holdens and Fords of this world
Having found the 2007 Q800 it seems Felt are out of stock and the 2008 model is going over to disk brakes . Hoping to find a 2007 model in dealer stock, otherwise may be back to searching for a second hand one.
But if I go new and disk I will seriously look at the Felt that is for sure.
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