Buying a bike: Some general advice for new riders

Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts

Buying a bike: Some general advice for new riders

Postby Mikka » Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:50 pm

(Edit by Mod: This thread has now been "stuck". We'll do the editing suggested by mikka soon, but newbies looking for advice can now read what's been written so far.)

Please throw ALL your ideas about buying a bike HERE ... Then .. when there is enough info .. the thread will be edited down and posted as a "Sticky" in the "Buying" section. Hopefully that will reduce the times the same questions are asked.... And give purchasers some practical basis for their decision...

All the usual suspects are wanted: Sizing, choice of materials, how much to spend, componentry, pedals, wheels, seat, LBS or online, new/secondhand, knicks/helmet/shoes etc etc .... Links ..
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by BNA » Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:58 pm

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Postby sogood » Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:58 pm

There's no free lunch... :(
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Postby Kalgrm » Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:59 pm

Steps to take:

* Work out what sort of riding the bike will be used for. That does not mean on-road commuting during the week with some gnarly downhills on the weekend - bikes are designed to perform a specific function and most don't do more than one well. If you want to do more than one type of riding, you need more than one type of bike. Not that there's anything wrong with that .... ;)

* Research the available bikes in your desired style within your budget (allowing an extra $300 for accessories). Accessories include a helmet, glasses, pump, spare tube, tube repair kit, gloves, cycling clothes, shoes, pedals, drink bottles, pump, hydration pack - actually, come to think of it, better allow more than $300 ;)

* Visit the bike shops in your area (the LBS) and speak to the staff or owner of the shop. Find out what they stock the bikes on your researched list and if you can test ride them. Any shop who says you can't test ride a bike they have on the floor does not deserve your custom. You MUST ride the bikes to make the decision.

* The LBS must offer credible advice on fit.
Fit is much more important than frame material or colour.

* Buy from the shop you established the best relationship with. When you're a newbie, you need to depend on the advice you will receive after the purchase. Later, when you're more experienced, you'll be able to work out stuff for yourself, but when starting out, a good LBS can make a huge difference to how much you enjoy the sport/transport/pastime/hobby. Price may not be the only factor in your decision.

* NEVER buy your first bike online. You haven't been fitted for the bike and you don't know enough to protect yourself from unscrupulous sellers or your own inexperience. Besides, you haven't ridden the bike, so how do you know if it's "THE Bike"?

* Don't spend less than a certain value on styles of bikes. $800 for an off-road hardtail (HT) MTB, $800 on a drop-bar road bike, $600 on a flat-bar roadie or $2000 on a dual suspension MTB are the entry level prices for bikes worth your hard earned cash. If you do spend less, you're wasting your money because the bike is not suited to the purpose you want to use it for.

* Above a certain price point, just about every bike in that style will be good. A HT MTB worth more than $1500, a dual suspension MTB above $2500 or a road bike above $2000 will all be decent. When you want to spend less than those figures, you need to be more fussy about the models.

* Don't expect the first bike you buy to be the one you'll be riding twelve months later.
We all suffer from "Upgraditis". Some of us get away with buying new wheels or a rear derailleur. They are the fortunate and strong ones. The rest of us buy a second - much better - bike within 12 months of our first purchase, regardless of how much we spent on the first one. Therefore, don't spend too much on the first bike, because your next bike is going to be the bike you truly love (for now). Those of us who are really badly afflicted by Upgraditis buy many more than two bikes .... N+1 is the rule for the number of bikes there should be in your life, where N = the number you currently own. (Don't spend too little on Bike #1 either, for the reasons mentioned above. Ya gotta love it to ride it!)

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby Mikka » Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:14 pm

Here are some useful links on sizing:

.. A good start from Rodriguez Cycles ..

.. Sized for Comfort ...Based on Pubic Bone Height

.. A motsa of lotsa links ..

.. The Fit Calculator ..

[url=http://archive.kleinbikes.com/us/cross_reference/index.html#fit_guide#geometry_direct_fit].. Klein Specs .. Useful as a Rough Guide ..[/url]

.. Useful info from Peter White Cycles ..
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Postby wayno » Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:40 pm

The usual responses....buy a Giant! Or more recently buy a Malvern Star!
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Postby sogood » Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:24 pm

wayno wrote:The usual responses....buy a Giant! Or more recently buy a Malvern Star!

I thought Avanti was the name... :roll:
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Postby kennyrocks » Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:10 pm

+1 for everything kalgrm said.

The following is aimed at those buying a road bike, but most applies equally to any sort of bike:

Establish a good relationship with your LBS.

If you are a first time buyer then buy from your LBS and get lots of advice from them about your options. Advice, and fit are more valuable than saving a small amount (less than $100) of money. Do not buy online if you're a first-time buyer.

At the same time, shop around. If you can do better elsewhere then do it, but tell your LBS that you would prefer to buy from them if possible and give them a chance to offer you a deal close to that of what you've found elsewhere. Even if its a different model, can be similar specs, avoid cheap and nasty, but don't get pre-occupied with brands.

If you're a first-time buyer, purchasing the Bicycling Australia buyers guide for the appropriate year is worth a thought.

As with anything, some brands will make you pay extra just for the label. Think about what you're paying for, look at componentry and compare. Some frames are superior to others and its true that you get what you pay for, just be aware of BMW syndrome.

Don't buy a carbon fibre bike for less than $3000. There may be some exceptions to this rule, OPPY looks like one of them, but it may be best to play it safe. If you're a big guy (90kg or above), then avoid CF seat stays.

If something seems to good to be true price-wise then it probably is. (other than end of year sales).

Take your time and be prepared to walk away.

Some bike shops do not do the test ride thing, or it is not practical to get your size in unless you're buying it, meaning a test-ride is not possible. This is fine as long as the shop does a full fit for free with the purchase.
As long as you get a reasonable size for your frame, parts can be changed around (make sure they do it free of charge) so that the bike fits like a glove.

Get clipless pedals and shoes. Don't worry about a jersey for now unless you really want one. You dont need it, they're expensive and if you're not that good you'll look like a fool. Bike shorts are a good idea to stop your butt getting really sore, particularly on a hard saddle. Do yourself a favour and wear some sports shorts over the top though unless you're in a race. Allow for these extras in your budget.

Trip computers are great.
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Postby Kalgrm » Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:29 pm

Good points there Kennyrocks. I don't agree with all of them, but I'm not going to debate them (... trip computers ...). Something you said made me remember another point for newbies:

Don't go out and buy a new saddle just because your butt hurts after the first few rides on your new bike. Any and every saddle will hurt in the first two weeks of your new sport because your body hasn't adapted to feeling pressure on the sit bones yet. Give it time - about 2-3 weeks - and the pain should diminish.

If rides longer than two hours are hurting after the adjustment period (say after a month) then you may consider a better saddle. More padding does not necessarily mean a better saddle though, and in fact, it may make it worse because the padding presses into your soft tissue, causing serious problems (how do you spell errectile disfunction?). A better saddle supports your "sit bones" more effectively.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby kennyrocks » Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:08 pm

Trip computers are great c'mon! :lol: Oh not going to debate them, okay :wink:
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Postby Mikka » Wed Sep 17, 2008 5:37 pm

Kalgrm wrote: (how do you spell errectile disfunction


N... O.... T ..... A ...G ...A ...I ...N ... :oops:

(I ..t '..s ..... A ...l...l ...r ..i..g..h..t ...... H ...o ...n...e ...y ...... H ...o...n...e...s...t...l...y... :roll: )
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Postby Mulger bill » Wed Sep 17, 2008 7:16 pm

Kalgrm wrote:(how do you spell errectile disfunction?)


With one R and a Y in the second word :P

Don't wear cotton shirts, they'll stick to you in a very icky way.
Go to KMart or similar and buy a Soccer shirt.

Look at tools at purchase time too. Basics are: spare tube, patchkit, tyre levers, multitool, a pump and a saddlebag to hold it all.

Shaun
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Postby Mikka » Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:57 pm

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Postby Mikka » Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:27 pm

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Postby emilyj » Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:35 pm

I bought my first giant bike from a classified online it turned out to be a bargain and great place to shop around for other stuff. the site is gopost you can google it .
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Postby redcorpsjames » Thu Nov 27, 2008 5:54 am

i looked at giants, meridas, potenzas and scotts. if ur just starting off and want a drop bar road bike then i would suggest the merida or potenza. the bigger names offer shitter groupsets with there bottom off the line bikes. with the merida and the potenza u get a full sor groupset, with the bigger names they come with sora/2200
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Postby artemidorus » Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:05 pm

kennyrocks wrote:Bike shorts are a good idea to stop your butt getting really sore, particularly on a hard saddle. Do yourself a favour and wear some sports shorts over the top though unless you're in a race.

I'm surprised that you were allowed to get away with saying that.
This is bad advice.

Bike shorts are good, but every layer of non-cycling clothing that you place between the shorts and the seat dilutes the comfort. I'm not certain exactly what favour you will be considered to be doing yourself with "sports shorts", whatever they are. If you must be prudish, then a better option would be a single layer of MTB shorts, if you can tolerate the flapping about at speed.

The real question is bib vs knick shorts. Most people are strangely frightened by the former, fearing that they'll look like some kind of mankini-clad Borat when wearing them. For me, bib shorts are much more comfortable, especially in hot conditions where sweaty chafing becomes a real problem.
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Bike bikes bikes........................

Postby Lonerider1968 » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:54 pm

I have,in the last say ten years...................NEVER been under 105 kilos and have had a Giant OCR1 with carbon stays that gave me no probs (AT) all................. and I was putting in serious kilometres on that using Kysirium Equipes that I must admit, did groan a bit from time to time !!!! As far as actually buying a bike is concerned. Buy what you can afford and more importantly. ENJOY the ride !!! There is a HUGE amount out there and the 2nd hand market cannot be ignored in my oh so humble opinion.
HEY! Let go my blouse!!!
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Postby moz023 » Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:38 am

if i am riding a flat bar atm a trek 7.0fx and wanting to move to a drop bar road bike and cant decide between a carbon frame with 105 or alumimun frame with carbon fork and stays with ultrgra

any advise would be great
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Postby sogood » Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:55 am

moz023 wrote:if i am riding a flat bar atm a trek 7.0fx and wanting to move to a drop bar road bike and cant decide between a carbon frame with 105 or alumimun frame with carbon fork and stays with ultrgra

any advise would be great

If you want it now with that two options, then I'd go with CF (assume it's of decent quality and is of better quality than the alu alloy frame). Otherwise, save up some more and get good CF with Ultegra.
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Postby TiD » Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:04 pm

TiD's Experience in purchasing a new road bike :D
  • Try every bike in your price range
  • The more bikes you look at, the bigger the headache choosing a bike becomes
  • If you're unsure, walk away
  • If the bike you tested is "the one", walk away and come back in a few days. It should still be "the one" then.
  • When you feel like your head is about to explode with the amount of travelling you did and the amount of bikes you looked at, make a short list of less then 4.

Remember, at the end of the day, you still need to pedal the damn thing.
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Postby casual_cyclist » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:29 pm

+1 for Bike shorts "Knicks". They can be purchased for as low as $40 and have made my ride a lot more comfortable. I don't bother wearing anything over the top.

+1 for secondhand bikes. If you know your size, you can get a good deal from obsessive upgraders. I bought my current bike in good quality second hand and have had no problems with it.
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Sizing

Postby Davey » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:24 pm

Some bikes, the better known ones usually (giant) have sizing guides. You may also find out rider heights from ebay.

Look at sizing of a bike and ask the rider their height if it's not shown, maybe also try to find a geometry chart and check if it has similar geometry to a known brand for sizing.

Not sure how to solve the headset stem height/angle or seat angle, but if you get the right size frame you should be able to fix this later, maybe you can get a higher angle stem if the fork is too short and is cut already.

Does anyone buy into the shorter cranks thing for shorter riders (like 165)? Seems hard to find cranks thats small.

Check your prices when you get home from the shop, and don't get talked into deals unless you know the value of the extras being added on in a shop, chances are you could get them cheaper elsewhere.

The discount isn't as good if you could package your own stuff together and there is nothing worse than a salesperson using cheesy lowball tactics and creating a false deadline or shortage "If you buy it today I can give it to you for $ blank, but the sale is only on till tommorrow".

Sometimes they are as bad as those suit salesmen in thailand who come and shake your hand asking you where you're from.

Do your research on parts etc to check out the salespersons knowledge, some are just sales people, and have no idea of sizing component quality etc...

I went into a giant dealer, the guy knew his stuff about certain things, but couldn't tell me why the 46.5 cm was shown as my size on the sticker when my height usually is a 50 cm frame.

I later found the frames were compact geometry do the tubes slope sown on more of an angle, the tt sizing is different to standard bikes and the smaller size was equivalent to a 50 cm.

I think maybe I could fit both sizes as theres some overlap, but the guy should have known this if he is selling them.

I would try and find out a ballpark frame size using a calculator from height/inseam measurments to get an idea if the salesperson knows what they're on about.

Usually the ones who have eager, stick next to you customer service are jerks, but this may actually be good service, just creeps me out sometimes.
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Re: Buying a bike: Some general advice for new riders

Postby noload » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:51 am

great advice thanks
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Re: Buying a bike: Some general advice for new riders

Postby birdbrain » Mon May 04, 2009 8:07 pm

great advice thanks


ditto!

Being completely niave I ended up with a piece of crap! However whilst it was a mistake I did help me make a better decision 2nd time around.
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Re: Buying a bike: Some general advice for new riders

Postby Starfesh » Sat May 30, 2009 1:19 am

After reading all that I feel I may have made a little mistake...

I went to a few LBS and found them to be slightly ignorant, all I wanted was a first road bike at a price that would keep the wife happy (what I spent on a bike she would get from Tiffany's!!!).

After a while researching I heard about the Malvern Star Capo (as a Pom I had never heard of the brand before). I was told by my LBS that they had none and WA did not have any and then he showed me bikes at twice the RRP. I left after looking. The next day I popped back to look at shoes and pedals and saw 8 Capo's (not one in the store the previous day).

After losing heart with LBS's I measured by inseam and put it into a few calculators to be told I needed a 57 frame. So I went and purchased a Cell S2200 with Sora upgrade for $550 plus $99 delivery. 4 days to come overland... GREAT. The only problem I have with the bike now it is put together etc., is that the brakes don't feel as good as my Claude Bulter Cape Wrath MTB.

I hope my purchase will be a good one to lead me into an upgrade later... the wife will be happy with more Tiffany's!!!!!!
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