Novice seeks advice. Flat bar vs Mountain Bike w/ slicks

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Novice seeks advice. Flat bar vs Mountain Bike w/ slicks

Postby benal » Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:33 pm

G'day everybody,

I'm sick of staring at the wall of the gym and pedalling nowhere fast.

I'm looking for my first 'real' bike which I want to use for getting to work once or twice a week (10km round trip) the gym twice a week (10km round trip) and a longer ride with fitness in mind on the weekend. Maybe even ride with my surfboard down to the beach too. I only have a BMX at the moment and it's way too slow.

I've been hunting around for a bike for about 2 weeks now but I've run into a problem. I've established that I don't want a hybrid, because it's been suggested a MTB with slicks would be equally as good. So I think my options are as follows: a) a flat bar road bike (probably the Giant CRX4) or b) a mountain bike fitted with slicks (probably a Giant Rincon) or c) buy an old racing bike from the notice board at uni.

I'm a uni student and am therefore on a budget which'll probably max out at around $600 (give or take).

What option should I take? What I'm really asking is to learn from your mistakes/experience. Bare in mind this'll be my first real bike.
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by BNA » Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:51 pm

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Postby triode12 » Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:51 pm

Option C.
Especially if you are going to ride it to Uni.
Live to ride another day.

Why take unnecessary risks? No matter how small they are...
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Postby stryker84 » Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:02 pm

I'd go option C as well.

If you get a good deal (good condition bike, reasonable price), you'll get a bike moer than suitable for your current purposes, and you'll save a fair bit of dosh, which can be put toward a dream bike, rather than the entry level machine you'd be looking at with your current budget.

And getting it 2nd hand doesn't mean it's gonna be junk. Just exercise some good judgement, there are plenty of excellent older bikes out there going for a song, which I'd happily ride everywhere.
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Postby benalc81 » Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:26 pm

I was just in the same boat as you. I ended up getting an Avanti blade 8, heck of a lot faster than my previous big w spec, comfortable, easy to ride and looks nice, plus i dont really have to worry about to much maintenance either.

got a 2007 for $650 and i think its fantastic! might be appealing to uni thieves though
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Postby Kalgrm » Thu Oct 04, 2007 10:23 pm

I'd go with C too, but remember you'll need a helmet, gloves, glasses, lights, a pump, etc. all of which eat into that budget severely. Expect the necessary accessories to cost around $200, not even counting the nice-to-have things like good clipless pedals.

Cheers and welcome to the forum,
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Postby stryker84 » Thu Oct 04, 2007 11:36 pm

Kalgrm wrote:I'd go with C too, but remember you'll need a helmet, gloves, glasses, lights, a pump, etc. all of which eat into that budget severely. Expect the necessary accessories to cost around $200, not even counting the nice-to-have things like good clipless pedals.

Cheers and welcome to the forum,
Graeme


you'll NEED a helmet, and lights if you're riding in low light conditions (not just dark, but any lighting that would impair visibility),
other items really are optional... gloves aren't necessary for your short distances, any longer they're nice to have, if only for something to wipe perspiration off with... pump is a must, and spare tube and patch kit you hope you never have to use but don't awnt to risk not having one... glasses don't t hurt, keeps the wind and dust out of your eyes, plus shades if it's bright... jersey/knicks/shorts/jacket/warmers... and etc etc etc, the money spent can easily blow into ridiculous proportions :shock: ... i know from experience :oops: !
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Postby europa » Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:18 am

I can't agree with Stryker about the gloves - they are ESSENTIAL. Not for comfort while riding, but for comfort after you've flung the whole shebang into the weeds. In any accident, the first thing you do is put your hands out to cushion the impact. Bitumen and hands are not a good combination. In the bingle I had on the Black Beast, the palms of my gloves had quite a bit of leather abraded from them ... and none from my hands.

Gloves can aid your comfort while riding and aren't really necessary for short rides, but they do make one hell of a difference to your comfort after a prang and therefore, I pull them on when I put on my helmet (which I wear for similar reasons, NOT because it's compulsory).

Apart from that, get an old roadie and start riding that around. It'll give you a chance to get fit and to work out what sort of riding you genuinely want to do (and that will always be different to what you think). Once you've bought your dream !!! Spammer !!! on that new information, the old roadie will still be there as a back up and as something to ride to places where you don't want to leave the good bike. They're like an old pair of boots, you can't for the life of you work out why you've still got them but they're invaluable to the way you live your life.

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Postby stryker84 » Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:27 am

europa wrote:I can't agree with Stryker about the gloves - they are ESSENTIAL. Not for comfort while riding, but for comfort after you've flung the whole shebang into the weeds. In any accident, the first thing you do is put your hands out to cushion the impact. Bitumen and hands are not a good combination. In the bingle I had on the Black Beast, the palms of my gloves had quite a bit of leather abraded from them ... and none from my hands.


Fair point. Myself, I tend to use my arms to cushion, and lift my hands at the wrists before impact, so instead of the palms, i get the gravel rash on the inside of my arms instead. Must be ingrained habit from lots of falls in high school sport, and also music - protect the hands no matter what (grazed arms you still can play, grazed hand hurts like heck in basketball)
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Postby Kalgrm » Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:30 am

stryker84 wrote: {snip}... gloves aren't necessary for your short distances, any longer they're nice to have, if only for something to wipe perspiration off with... {snip}


I love your confidence Stryker84. I have fallen without gloves and not being able to use my hands for a few weeks due to the grazing was not fun. Worse so when you're a student and you need to be able to take notes ......

Glasses are not optional in my opinion. I need my eyesight for all the ways I can make money to live. My glasses are safety glasses first, sunnies or clear second. A rock flicked up by an oncoming car with a closing speed of ~100kmh will blind you before you knew it was there. Ever broken a windscreen in your car from a rock? Imagine the same rock if the windscreen weren't there. The good news is that medium impact safety glasses can be bought for about $30. My eyesight is worth somewhat more.


cheers,
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Postby benal » Fri Oct 05, 2007 3:49 am

benalc81 wrote:I was just in the same boat as you. I ended up getting an Avanti blade 8, heck of a lot faster than my previous big w spec, comfortable, easy to ride and looks nice, plus i dont really have to worry about to much maintenance either.

got a 2007 for $650 and i think its fantastic! might be appealing to uni thieves though


I did look at the Avanti Blade and thought it very good for what I needed. Only got turned off by the fact that very few "Local Bike Shops" stock avanti (I've learnt that LBS stands for the same long had I just recited ... yeah I'm learning quick).

As for the rest of you helpful folks. I'm leaning toward agreeing with you. I'm probably not in the position of hind-sight to workout what I really need. A cheap 'learner' bike (I guess slightly like a late 80s model corolla for the learner or provisional liscence car driver) would cover most of my basic needs whilst leaving plenty of room for education and improvement.

Should I approach this second hand (possibly corroded given I go to uni in wollongong - near the beach - and I live in Cronulla - near the beach) as a work in progress?

I'll type that again as my dear friend writing style misconstrues what I want to write ... Should I approach this bike as a "work in progress" ... learn how to maintain and fix a bike, as well as learn what I want from a bike and how to ride it?

Well and to cover bases ... if for instance I can't find a suitable older road bike, should I just bite the bullet and get a beautiful new bike?

This is my first forum ... wow you guys work fast. I checked the "read first" category on the forum page before posting this topic ... and I saw the all rounder bike (it was given some fancy francais name - I do watch le tour religiously but didn't pick up on le french terminology), that bike seemed what I needed and I link what I've learnt from you fellas to that bike. I.e. a hot rodded basic bike.
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Postby benal » Fri Oct 05, 2007 3:53 am

I'm gonna have to shorten my posts. I tend to ramble...

However, budget for accessories is NOT an issue. My younger brother was an avid mountain biker when he was in bush boarding school in yr 9 (he is finishing NSW yr 12 this year though). So he has all the repair kits and pumps, as well as a KILLER mountain bike. I'll tax those. I own a helmet.

Thankyou though.
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Postby benal » Fri Oct 05, 2007 4:53 am

oh and while it's late at night. and I think of it. How do I choose an older bike? I mean I could be left with an old hunk of junk. You suggest picking a good option C but how do I do that?

I know I sound overzellous with my three successive posts but I really want to ride. I used to be swimmer and since I got bored of the black line in the middle of the lane i've been looking for a much more interesting active past time/fitness regime. I fell in love with bike riding on a 24 hr endurance exercise during yr 11 of high school (15km trek, 60km bike and 50km kayak ... I think ... can't remember the exact numbers but it was a 4am til 4am deal in the foot hills of the blue mountains ... windsor/somerset for those who know the area).

I love how responsive you fellas are to my whims. I promise to return the favour once I build my knowledge base (admittedly with your help/my experience once I get on the road).

also excuse the gramatical/spelling errors (i think there's one there) but i'm not feeling like whipping out the dictionary. thanks
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Postby HyperHorse » Fri Oct 05, 2007 7:08 am

Sorry to those who think otherwise..
But Id side with our Grandmaster Richard..
With saying YOU NEED SUNGLASSES..
Going down a road (AT) speed then having the possibility of having something in my eyes is something I DO NOT WANT TO CONTEMPLATE.
Gloves are important too...
Not just for protection...
Depending on the bike you get, you may not like the handlebar grips that come with it, they might be a bit hard...
Depending on the roads you are on, the palms of your hands can take a real beating..
Gloves provide extra padding/support so your hands are spared from the pressures of bumps and the forces induced on your handmeat from heavy braking.
Hope you get a decent bike soon, and enjoy riding!
cheers
Marcus
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Postby stryker84 » Fri Oct 05, 2007 9:57 am

Okay.

I think I came across wrong. By optional, I mean, not needed to actually PHYSICALLY or LEGALLY ride your bike.

That's why ESSENTIALS, helmet - legal reasons, lights - legal reasons, if after dark, pump /tube/patch - bike don't move very well if tyre is flat. And a lock (could be optional, if you never leave it outside, but OP's needs suggest otherwise)

others are OPTIONALS - sure they're great to have, to improve comfort/safety/performance, but really, how many thousands ride without them and never have any problems ever?

Hope this clears things up. Cheers!
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Postby Blybo » Fri Oct 05, 2007 10:51 am

When looking for a second hand bike take into consideration that a road bike or flat bar roadie (ebay is your friend) will be more comfortable on bike paths and the road that a mtb with slicks and quicker too. I just got my road bike and was amazed at the compliance it has for smaller bumps and cracks in the road surface. As my LBS explained it a mtb has a very stiff and strong frame and uses suspension (which you would want to lock out if possible on road and bike paths) to absorb bigger bumps, where a roadie frame has the compliance (suspension) built into the frame. A 2nd hand mtb will most likely also have more maintenance issues due to complicated suspension.
There are plenty of newish bikes on ebay where you could visit a lbs to get and idea of the size you need before the auction ends. If you go down this route please support that lbs with future purchases.
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Postby beauyboy » Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:59 pm

Benal it is all up to you but what ever you get you will replace within 2 years. I thing everyone that is on this forum after buying there first bike has bought a replacement, this bike is proably the one you will keep for a longer time. I started with an Avanti Discovery I now have a Avanti Pioneer. Both are hybrids but the is more what I needed.

As a hybrid rider here are my views. Flat Bar, hybrid or mountain will all do the job.
Flat Bar and hybrids are very similar
Same wheel diametre but different tyres thicknesses.
Hybrids have front shockies flat bars don't. The shockies are good for droping off kerbs onto the road.
Seated position is slightly different.
One thing that a hybrid does come with is an adjustable handle bar stem. This allows you to adjust the handle bars to a height that suits you. It also allows you to change your position as you get more comfortable.

Donald
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Postby stated » Fri Oct 05, 2007 5:06 pm

Make sure the bike you buy fits you well.
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Postby benal » Fri Oct 05, 2007 9:31 pm

Thanks guys,

I'm on the hunt. Found a dream road bike for a song in the trading post but missed out on it by a couple of hours. What a shame. I'll soldier on though.
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