Taking up cycling for the first time

Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts

Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby spirro » Sun May 12, 2013 6:52 am

Hi all

First time on this forum and apologies I'm sure this has been asked many times before. I'm considering starting up cycling for something recreational and to get fit (and lose a bit of weight would be a bonus). Something to get the heart pumping. I figured I would find this more enjoyable than walking or jogging. 95% of my riding will be on the road with the rest being on paved bike ways. I don't want a drop bar road bike because of issues with my back and neck, the more upright position would be best. I'm thinking a flat bar road bike/hybrid (I believe the terms can get mixed between brands) would be best for me.

My budget is around the $800 mark. I've been searching around for a good hybrid/flat bar road bike in my price range and I've come up with a few from the popular brands, being Giant, Trek and Specialized that meet my price range and look like the sort of thing I'm after based on my requirements.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/urlaueey2hcdaa4/Trek.pdf
https://www.dropbox.com/s/w1l3fx4dwv4dic8/Giant.pdf
https://www.dropbox.com/s/x9xri4ae6li30 ... alized.pdf

I'm open to other suggestions. I'm really after advice on which of these are the best and have the better quality components. There's like $150 difference between models for each brand but what do you get for that? I assume it's better components. It really doesn't make much sense to me. The only thing I know is apparently Shimano is a good brand.

My other query is I noticed kick stands are optional. I assume they add weight and wind resistance but how do you park your bike without one?

And for those that use the iPhone apps like Strava, do you have an iPhone holder attached to the bike or do you store the phone in your pocket, etc? Also if using the iPhone app, do you still need a speedometer, as I believe the app can track your speed also?

Apologies in advance for the noob questions. It's all new to me and I don't really trust sales people to tell me the right thing. Thanks


I'm a complete noob so any advice would be most appreciated. I don't know if it matters but I'm 173cm tall and 75kg. Also I have no intention at this stage of riding to work. This is more just recreational for me to get fit. So likely to be solo rides around my area. Who knows if I can really get into it I might starting riding to work. We'll see.

Thanks in advance
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by BNA » Sun May 12, 2013 6:14 pm

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Re: Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby open roader » Sun May 12, 2013 6:14 pm

As a small aside - re: Issues with back/neck - I'd still test ride a couple of drop bar bikes (which are a good fit for you) alongside the flat bar offerings. From my own experience returning to riding several years ago I was surprised at how rapidly my own back and neck concerns (genuine - medical) faded into the background after a couple of months of bi-weekly rides on a drop bar bike.

spirro wrote:There's like $150 difference between models for each brand but what do you get for that? I assume it's better components.


I'd agree with that statement based on a quick look at the PDF's listed. You are looking to purchase in a very tightly competed section of the bicycle market, most of the larger manufacturers will have a handfull of bikes very closely spec'ed with price differentiation based upon small componentry upgrades as models progress up the ladder. Given good maintenance and not excessive milage any of these bikes will give longevity to your light training regime, bodyweight, and moderate mileage. As for paved vs. non paved surfaces, if the stock tyres are oriented too much one way ie too slick or too knobby - a decent pair of cross purpose tyres can transform the handling of any bike on mixed surfaces - a minor investment for a significant improvement in handling.

Standard (but invaluable) advice is to get a bike fitment - ignore shops that only want to sell you a bike straight off the floor without a measure up and fit up. Test ride plenty of bikes - avoid shops that refuse test rides. If you cannot pick a prefered ride from a fistfull of test rides, then best to purchase a cheaper model as you will not miss the performance / handling differences (if any) of costlier models.

Kick stands, never missed having one on 5 bikes I've owned and ridden plenty in the past 6-7 years, I'd rather lean a bike on a nearby static object any day (even a very expensive bling machine) rather than use a kick stand in the hope the wind/errant child/youth etc does not push my pride and joy off the stand....... 90% of the time I simply lay my bike down on the ground if it's a quick stop duration - can't fall any further that way........

Sorry- I'm a mobile phone luddite....... can't stand the things........
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Re: Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby jaffaman » Sun May 12, 2013 8:35 pm

Try more than just the standard type of bikes. Find an Electra Townie and try it out - they are reasonably available. They have a much more upright sitting position where you are in a position more similar to sitting in a chair. You may or may not like it, but it is worth trying a different approach, and it is hugely popular with people with back pain. If you don't like it, not much lost.

Yes, sitting upright means more drag than a drop bar, so you have to work a bit harder when your speed gets up. But that makes it easier to get a work out and loose weight anyway. And isn't that what you want?

Just do a google and read some reviews as a starter.
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Re: Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby bychosis » Sun May 12, 2013 9:27 pm

No idea about the bikes, but sit on them, take them for a ride and then decide.

+1 for no kick stand, lean up against something with saddle or rear tyre.

As for Strava or similar I just use phone in pocket. On my good bike I have a speedo to give me an idea of speed or distance covered, but really just because I had one available not because I need one. Its handy for commuting and ensuring im making good time. On my fixie or SS MTB just phone in pocket coz they aren't about speed or distance just about riding.

Commuting is a great way to keep fit. Saving the fuel of driving and not needing to make time to exercise are a couple of the benefits.
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Re: Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby The Walrus » Sun May 12, 2013 10:05 pm

I've had back issues/surgery and been riding MTB's for years. I got my first drop bar about a year ago and I'm still considering swapping the drops for a flat bar!

But that's just me and you should try all the options before you even decide on a style of bike.

IPhone apps? I've used a few and they are a great cost effective way to keep a record of you k's but I never attached it to the bike. I used a $50 bike comp with it and it was a good set up.

I've always liked the Giant Seek models!
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Re: Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby DavidS » Mon May 13, 2013 12:10 am

You have quite a lot of options out there. I have a bad back but my bad back likes to be bent and I like flat bar roadies because I like the longer cross bar and having the handlebars at about the same height as the seat. A flat bar roadie has a more aggressive riding position than a hybrid and there are variations, my new bike is more aggressive than my old one. A hybrid will often have suspension (waste of weight on the roads if you ask me) but also has a less aggressive riding position with handlebars often above the seat height.

Totally agree about getting the right size bike. My previous bike was too small and I ended up breaking the frame. Get the right size. I am finding a bigger frame a lot better and the frame might even be just a touch large (I just stand above the cross bar) but I really like it. You may not.

So, get on a few bikes and see what suits you. Have a look on bike exchange and see what sort of prices are out there.

I like having a speedo and you can get them fairly cheap so why not.

I have no stand on my new bike and I'm not really missing it. I can find somewhere to lean the bike just about anywhere, or I could just lay it on the ground.

In terms of equipment I think decent equipment should serve you well. A lot of people seem to criticise Shimano Sora as it is the bottom of the range road gears. All I can say is that my Sora lasted 21,000KMs on the last bike with no problems and it never looked like giving me trouble. Gears changed well. My new bike has 105, yes it shifts better but the Sora was fine.

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Re: Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby spirro » Mon May 13, 2013 12:49 pm

Thanks all for your advice so far. It's very helpful.

I had narrowed my choices down to the Giant Cross City 2, Trek 7.3 FX and the Specialized Sirrus Sport. One thing that's been brought to my attention is that the Trek and Specialized bikes I've mentioned use a combination of road and MTB components, where the Giant is using road bike components. Is this the case and if so is that a problem, considering my riding will be mainly on the road? Thanks
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Re: Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby bychosis » Mon May 13, 2013 1:09 pm

Is really only the marketing that makes stuff MTB or road components. They are all bike components that have different targets. MTB gears have a wider range MTB bars are flat so the shifters suit that. Roadie gears are narrower range and drop bars so they suit those options. If your potential bike has a triple front ring its likely to be running MTB dérailleurs. If it has flat bars it will most likely have mb shifters and brake levers.
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Re: Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby spirro » Mon May 13, 2013 1:46 pm

A friend of mine just threw Merida and Schwinn into the mix. Any thoughts on how these compare to the three I've listed?
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Re: Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby spirro » Sun May 19, 2013 6:16 am

Yesterday I bought a Giant Cross City RX 1 2013. The store had 20% off all bikes so it was $1099 down to $880.

I also got 20% off (plus a bit more from negotiating) on all the accessories totaling $1000 in total. I'm sure being a complete noob I got ripped off on the accessories but its done now. I'll pick it up later on in the week. Looking forward to it.
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Re: Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby bychosis » Sun May 19, 2013 8:05 am

Your accessories may have been priced more than online, and you may end up finding that they aren't exactly what you need/want, but I doubt that you have been 'ripped off' because you are a newbie. You were obviously given some advice and accepted it in purchasing you accessories. You will need accessories, only you can tell over time exactly what you need.
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Re: Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby moosterbounce » Sun May 19, 2013 12:30 pm

Nice one Spirro - hope you enjoy it :)

Lots of forum members started their cycling addiction with something similar. Mine was an Avanti Blade which I loved to bits. It made me realize how much I enjoyed riding again and started me down a very slippery slope to full carbon roadie, carbon TT bike, and cyclocross commuter/fun-bike.

Only thing to do now is get out and ride!!
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Re: Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby spirro » Sun May 19, 2013 1:29 pm

Thanks guys. The thing I'm looking to buy now is a floor stand to store it safely in the garage. I've got kids and worried they will knock the bike over just resting up against the wall. Do you think this will be OK? http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/151042251871 ... 1423.l2648
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Re: Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby The Walrus » Sun May 19, 2013 9:02 pm

Nice one. New bike! Always exciting times...says it all really. I hope you love it
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Re: Taking up cycling for the first time

Postby DavidS » Sun May 19, 2013 10:51 pm

Hey nice bike and that sounds like a good price for a bike with Tiagra drivetrain and shifters. Looks very similar to the model above my old bike so you should get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

I'm sure you'll use the accessories. If they included lights then you will definitely need them at this time of the year.

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