Time To Take Plunge

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Time To Take Plunge

Postby dynamictiger » Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:14 am

Hi All

I currently have a Schwinn elite I have been using for a few years to commute to work mostly 2 - 3 times a week. I bought the Schwinn when what I knew about bikes was the front end is what has handle bars. Frankly I haven't moved on much in knowledge but have moved on in wants/needs.

I have kicked around the idea of a different bike for no other reason than I strongly dislike the look of the Schwinn. I bought it as it was cheap. It has a kind of classic retro look which I hate and always did but beggars cant be choosers.

As my weight loss strategy hasn't worked all that well and I find it harder to find the time to exercise on the days I don't ride, I have decided to make a change this year and ride my bike every day I can. As my job includes a company car and I need to go out a lot my idea is to drive in Monday with bike on back of car and leave car at work until Friday and cycle the balance of the week. This wont always work for me, but I think I can make probably 4 out 5 work.

So I have decided to upgrade from the Schwinn or perhaps change it for something I do prefer the look of. One thing I don't like Black. What the heck is the idea of making every bike I see black now?

Over the course of the last few months I have kind of decided I like the idea of a flat bar roadie. I am not 20 something anymore and whilst my back is solid I don't think it wise to tempt fate with a highly aggressive road bike. I like the idea of panniers and bags. I actually modified the Schwinn to take this and find them great. Makes the Mrs feel better when I can take rain gear, spare tubes, small repair kit and small first aid kit and I figure at my weight I can afford to drag a few extra kilograms as its comparatively nothing.

In the 2 odd years of off on riding I have only had one near incident. This near incident was when I wasn't paying attention and didn't see a car stop in front of me so jumped on the brakes and still nearly ran into it. Luckily I didn't so the car was able to drive off uninjured. From this incident I have kind of decided I think I like the idea of disc brakes. If I am guessing correctly they will stop me better and I need all the stopping power I can get as when I am riding at say 40 km an hour(down hill) and I weigh just over 135 kgs, I take a lot of stopping. Please do not call me or think of me as fat, large yes in every dimension, fat only small pot belly otherwise known as middle aged spread. I have only gained 20 kgs in my entire Adult life. My normal healthy weight is probably around 110-115 kg even though I am only 1.85m tall.

So I have kind of decided on a flat bar road bike, with disc brakes and in looking around have noted some seem to have 32mm tyres whilst others seem to have 57mm tyres and I am getting myself so confused to understand why and what? I thought narrower tyres were better for speed and speed is something I do like, I am not cycling to look at the scenery, I am cycling as exercise and weight management therefore I want to get home as quickly as practical. I have noticed the disc brakes are not too common on flat bar road bikes is there a reason? I am interested in others suggestions in any specific technical thing to look for e.g. 32 spoke wheels or avoid altus gears and am interested in anyones general suggestions on a bike that would suit me as I try and figure out my budget?

Thanks in advance
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by BNA » Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:01 pm

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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby mick243 » Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:01 pm

The fatter tyres give a much nicer ride, and unless you are a TT freak, they don't slow you down by a noticeable amount. Yes the skinny tyres are more aero, but the most non aero thing on a bike is the rider.....

I have a proper road bike, a flatbar road bike and a few MTBs, I can get my 29er with fat tyres going just as quick on road as my road bike - the only real difficulty there is holding the aero position with the different frame geometry and no drop bars.

Flat bar geometry frames will not be speed demons because of the riding positions you end up in.

If you get the bike made for fatter tyres, you can always put skinnies on it.

If you get the bike made for skinnies, fats may not fit.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby Nobody » Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:35 pm

Something to consider before ditching the idea of a drop bar.


Also what's the budget for this bike?
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby dynamictiger » Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:40 pm

Hi Nobody

I hadn't set a budget when I made the post. I was kind of hoping with some discussion to get an idea.

However I just rode three bikes a scott something or another on special, an Avanti Blade 3 and a Specialized Sirrus Elite. The last seemed the best of the three I rode. The budget seems to be about $1200 if I am on a 2014 model which seems to be what I need for the disc brakes.

Having ridden the disc brake bikes now these are a definite must for me. The stopping power is exactly what I need.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby Duck! » Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:46 pm

Nobody wrote:Something to consider before ditching the idea of a drop bar.


Also what's the budget for this bike?

Something funky I noticed in this clip that they didn't mention was that their "flat bar" was a riser, and the stem was a higher rise than when they converted to drops, so their comparison was invalid from the start. :?
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby dynamictiger » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:12 pm

Duck! wrote:
Nobody wrote:Something funky I noticed in this clip that they didn't mention was that their "flat bar" was a riser, and the stem was a higher rise than when they converted to drops, so their comparison was invalid from the start. :?


Perhaps. But the point the video made was valid. It was saying you can change the position of the drop handle bars and this may make it easier on your back as you can move around more. This is something I hadn't considered and I am certain something a lot of others hadn't either.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby Nobody » Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:56 pm

dynamictiger wrote:Hi Nobody

I hadn't set a budget when I made the post. I was kind of hoping with some discussion to get an idea.

However I just rode three bikes a scott something or another on special, an Avanti Blade 3 and a Specialized Sirrus Elite. The last seemed the best of the three I rode. The budget seems to be about $1200 if I am on a 2014 model which seems to be what I need for the disc brakes.

Having ridden the disc brake bikes now these are a definite must for me. The stopping power is exactly what I need.
Hi Dynamictiger,

Are you interested in drop bars? If so, Cell are supposed to be releasing a CX bike with discs in Feb-March if you can wait.

Nothing wrong with flat bars and they have the advantage of being cheaper as their brake levers and shifters are cheaper than drop bar brifters. They brake better too due to generally better weight distribution. For me, flat bars cause numb hands on longer rides.

It would be worthwhile to get a frameset with a lifetime warranty. There's a good chance that you'll get a fatigue failure at your weight.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby dynamictiger » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:10 pm

[quote="NobodyAre you interested in drop bars? If so, Cell are supposed to be releasing a CX bike with discs in Feb-March if you can wait.
It would be worthwhile to get a frameset with a lifetime warranty. There's a good chance that you'll get a fatigue failure at your weight.[/quote]

I may still consider drop bars. It is just the price. To my mind I can buy a bike around this price, ride it for a year or two maybe and afford to replace it the following year if I use it as much as I plan.

Good point on lifetime frame warranty in case I do hold the bike longer than planned. Oh go on every weld is made super strong and every tube is perfect. Little fairy like me wont hurt them...surely
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby trailgumby » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:27 pm

Just be aware fatigue is not covered by warranty, as a rule.

Warranty usually only covers manufacturing faults.

However, if you are up front about your weight then consumer law will back you against the bike shop if the manufacturer welches... what they sold you was not fit for your stated purpose and reasonable expectations regarding service life.

Many bike and component manufacturers have published rider weight limits. Sometimes though they are hard to find (eg Mavic wheels weight limits are not published to the public). Some shops are less diligent in this area with their customer care than others.


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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby dynamictiger » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:44 pm

trailgumby wrote:However, if you are up front about your weight then consumer law will back you against the bike shop if the manufacturer welches... what they sold you was not fit for your stated purpose and reasonable expectations regarding service life.
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Cant exactly hide my weight. I am about twice the size of the average shop assistant in every dimension.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby Nobody » Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:35 pm

This talk of weight limits got me digging. I found some examples:

Trek has a weight limit of 136Kg for the bikes you'll be looking at.
http://www.trekbikes.com/faq/questions. ... tionid=104

Looks like Giant have a weight limit too now. At least it is listed on the UK site.
http://www.shopgiant-bicycles.co.uk/368 ... -bike.aspx

Specialized have 100Kg general weight limit unless otherwise specified.
http://cdn.specialized.com/OA_MEDIA/pdf ... EN_r11.pdf
http://www.specialized.com/us/en/support/manuals
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby nickobec » Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:51 pm

2 Rules for buying a bike
1. Stick to your budget
2. Buy the bike that makes you want to ride it the most
3. If you have to break rule 1 to met rule 2 do it if you can afford it

Only thing I would add, is don't write off a drop bar cyclecross bike. In the long run you will be faster and if you do a search on youtube for cyclecross, you can see what abuse these bikes can handle.

I race with a guy who is close to your weight. He has trouble with any climbs, but on a flat course he is difficult to beat.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby Red Rider » Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:09 am

I commute on a Sirrus Comp Disc, which is very similar to the Elite Disc. Overall it is a great bike, the frame is sturdy, the brakes are good. The wheels are heavy but strong.
The saddle is average, I had problems with it from the start so changed it for a comfier one (Milano). The Nimbus tyres seem ok, I think they are too hard compound (they probably last a very long time though!) so the ride is a bit harsh and not as compliant as say a Continental Gatroskin or even GatorHardshell. I put a Spec All Condition tyre on the rear and the ride is a lot nicer. The front Nimbus still looks virtually brand new after 5000km :|
The wheels are still as straight as a die, although I'm a relative light-weight I do journeys with my son sitting on the rear child seat, which is weight directly over the rear wheel. I've had to adjust the brake pad assembly thingy alignment a couple of times, but I assume this is normal for discs (my first bike with them) and it's very easy to do.

I deliberately chose flat bar over drop bar for my latest commuter as it provides better to control over any terrain/road/traffic conditions and is easier to tootle down to the shops carrying something in one hand. I did cut an inch off each end of the bar as it was stupidly wide, tricky to get it past the car in the carport, and the gear levers were too far away from the grips (shops fault). Thinking I might shave a cm or 2 more off.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby Duck! » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:22 am

trailgumby wrote:Just be aware fatigue is not covered by warranty, as a rule.

Warranty usually only covers manufacturing faults.

That has not been my experience. Warranty also covers "materials and workmanship", which includes selection of material and construction of said materials. If a frame cracks (typically around welds, where the material is stressed during construction), it's regarded as a material defect providing the bike was used as intended (eg. if you go bombing off-road downhill tracks on a roadie and break it, you won't be covered by warranty, because that's misuse/unintended purpose).
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby cyclotaur » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:03 am

nickobec wrote:2 Rules for buying a bike
1. Stick to your budget
2. Buy the bike that makes you want to ride it the most
3. If you have to break rule 1 to met rule 2 do it if you can afford it
...

There are 3 types of people in this world, those who can count and those who can't.
:lol: :lol:

Good rules, BTW.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby Calvin27 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:28 am

dynamictiger wrote:I may still consider drop bars. It is just the price. To my mind I can buy a bike around this price, ride it for a year or two maybe and afford to replace it the following year if I use it as much as I plan.


I'd stick to flat bar until they sort out the disc brake mess on drop shifters. Besides, like you said it's not a small premium - it's quite significant to move from flat bar to drop bar disc bikes.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby elantra » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:07 am

dynamictiger wrote:.....................................................
I may still consider drop bars. It is just the price. To my mind I can buy a bike around this price, ride it for a year or two maybe and afford to replace it the following year if I use it as much as I plan.
................................................

I was in a similar situation a few years ago - admittedly when bikes were a bit more exy than what you can get now.
But anyway i looked at the dollars and thought i would be smart to buy a flat bar with 9-speed cassette gears and dual chainrings.
Tiagra drivetrain - nice. But it came with a non-shimano handlebar thumb shifters.
Seriously, shifting a 9 or 10 speed cassette with thumbshifters is woeful. Brifters are better.

Needless to say, i sold that bike.
Purchased new (2007) for 990 dollars. Sold 2 years later for 390 dollars.
In summary, brifters are the way to go, and to get brifters you need drop bars :!:
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby Nobody » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:22 am

Calvin27 wrote:I'd stick to flat bar until they sort out the disc brake mess on drop shifters.
The mess is mainly with hydro for SRAM and some cable for Shimano from memory. No problems with most cable drop bar disc brakes (which is the normal mode currently). Hydro drops are currently too expensive for most people.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby rodneycc » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:54 am

I reckon for bigger guys the Hybrid City type of Bikes are the way to go if you have your heart set on disc brakes.

Something like this from Cell (Cell X2 Hybrid City Bike ) is nice and gives you good value until you decide how serious you want to get.

http://www.cellbikes.com.au/Cell-Hybrid ... ory=215538

Might be a little hard to view a test ride a bike like this in WA though so maybe have a look at the spec of this and see if your LBS has something similar maybe...
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby dynamictiger » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:07 pm

rodneycc wrote:I reckon for bigger guys the Hybrid City type of Bikes are the way to go if you have your heart set on disc brakes.

Something like this from Cell (Cell X2 Hybrid City Bike ) is nice and gives you good value until you decide how serious you want to get.

http://www.cellbikes.com.au/Cell-Hybrid ... ory=215538

Might be a little hard to view a test ride a bike like this in WA though so maybe have a look at the spec of this and see if your LBS has something similar maybe...


I would have thought riding to work every week (most of the year) two to three times a week and deciding to increase this as much as work and time allows would suggest I have committed to the idea and does show at least an intent to get more 'serious' being a serious commuter.

I was reading on Bike Radar about entry level bikes and then mid range bikes and so on. Which whilst perhaps confusing for me that knows bum does not go on handle bars and that is the length and breadth of my indepth knowledge, is still interesting to read. I would have thought given a couple of years riding as I have I would be looking at spending a bit more on the bike than the Cell hybrid. The problem with Cell is as you say I cant test ride it and compare it which I think is something I think is important.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby rodneycc » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:31 pm

Depending if you have some rough roads and bike paths on your commute then you are going to get a lot of vibration through your body using a flatbar or even a normal road bike imho. I just think a hybrid/city type bike makes a better commuter on rougher surfaces and if you can find something with Deore components (I love my 30 speed with the triple front to get up those hard climbs just that little bit easier). Anyway just my 2c worth.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby Nobody » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:45 pm

If you buy a bike with Al forks like the Cell X2, remember to keep checking it for cracks. I'd probably prefer carbon over Al for forks these days. Steel is usually a worry free fork because it's slow to fail.

Another option is a drop bar CrMo touring bike like the one below currently on special. Many extras for commuting like dyno lights, pannier rack and mudguards included.
http://www.viventebikes.com/main/page_p ... evers.html
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby nickobec » Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:51 pm

Lets look at your requirements;

You live in Vic Park
You want to commute to the CBD?
It is about 5 to 7km trip one way?
There are no big hills on your route (Berwick St is the worst I can think off)?
You will mainly ride on the road with good surfaces and bike paths including the concrete (if I remember correctly) causeway bike path?
You want disk brakes.
You do not want an aggressive road bike, because you are old and inflexible (note I am old, inflexible and have a very aggressive position, greater than 10cm saddle to bar drop, but that has evolved over the years and suits my riding)
You weigh over 135kg now.

OK what you don't need:
A mountain bike or anything with suspension, everything is flat and smooth, paying for suspension means you are missing out elsewhere + you will be slower.
A triple (front chainring), you are riding in a very flat city, a double is all you will ever need (unless you want to ride up Mount St)
A lightweight race bike, totally overkill for the type of riding you will be doing.
Tyres wider than 35mm, you will be riding good surfaces, nothing that requires tread or wider contact section. 57mm will not give you any advantage.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby dynamictiger » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:00 pm

nickobec wrote:Lets look at your requirements;
You live in Vic Park
You want to commute to the CBD?
It is about 5 to 7km trip one way?
There are no big hills on your route (Berwick St is the worst I can think off)?
You will mainly ride on the road with good surfaces and bike paths including the concrete (if I remember correctly) causeway bike path?
You want disk brakes.
You do not want an aggressive road bike, because you are old and inflexible (note I am old, inflexible and have a very aggressive position, greater than 10cm saddle to bar drop, but that has evolved over the years and suits my riding)
You weigh over 135kg now.
.


Thanks. Not quite right.

I ride from Vic Park to Willetton its about 11.5km one way.

No big hills some minor bumps - Hill View Terrace

On bike paths and roads.
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Re: Time To Take Plunge

Postby dynamictiger » Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:31 pm

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