Advice- Focus Plant, or....

Advice- Focus Plant, or....

Postby Yeahpetrus » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:20 am

Good morning all,

Forgive me for treading a well-worn path, but this is a request for advice on buying a first bike.

It's been 5+ years since i regularly used a bike, and even then I never cycled seriously. With the onset of mid-thirties and a job that has me stuck behind a desk, I've decided to start cycling to work and making an effort to add cycling to my already regular running regime.

Despite being highly prone to catching the bug of a new hobby, I can't quite imagine myself becoming a serious road cyclist, (yet). The current priorities for a bike are commuting in traffic, (25km round trip), local errands and general fitness. My instincts are to spend more on quality at the beginning, even if I'm not yet sure where the cycling-bug will take me.

So, having spoken to my LBS, and read as much as possible, I've settled on the idea of a good quality flat-bar road bike. I enjoyed testing a 2012 Focus Planet TR.2, (which are now sold out), so I thought I'd order a 2013 TR.1.

A couple of question;

1- Am I on the right track with the flat-bar idea? My fear is that soon after starting to commit to riding regularly, I'll wish for a drop-bar position. (Or is it reasonable to have the idea of converting later up my sleeve?)

2- If the flat-bar idea is right, am I onto a good thing with the Focus Planet? That seems to be what I've read, and i did enjoy testing it, but happy for any real-world advice.

Many thanks in advance for any thoughts,

David.
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by BNA » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:48 am

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Re: Advice- Focus Plant, or....

Postby NhiTrac » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:48 am

Welcome :)

I went through the same thought process when I wanted to get back into cycling. Bought a $1k flat bar because I thought a full blown road bike would be a little too much for me and I was worried that I won't use it properly.

Eight months later, I sold it for $400 ($600 loss) and bought a road bike. Have not looked back since.

Now I recommend people who want to get into serious cycling to just get a proper fitting road bike and skip the whole flat bar thing altogether.
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Re: Advice- Focus Plant, or....

Postby find_bruce » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:56 am

I have a different view to NhiTrac - I prefer to commute on a flat bar with disc brakes and an alfine internal gear hub & enjoy riding a roadie on the weekend.

It's not that either choice is right or wrong,it's just that different people have different preferences and priorities. The reason that which bike is a well-worn path is that there are so many different variations as each manufacturer tries to find its own niche. If you look at any popular commuting route you will see a wide variety of bikes and riders - at least on my route it is uncommon to see the same bike twice.

So it really comes down to what are you looking for in a bike ?
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Re: Advice- Focus Plant, or....

Postby Yeahpetrus » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:25 am

Many thanks.

I can definitely see both sides. In lieu of the "buy a cheap bike and accept that you'll buy another one soon", I'm looking for experiences that may match mine.

I am relatively fit and I do like to "get into" new hobbies. As I said, my only fear is having a simile experience to NhiTrac, so I'm just vacillating at the moment. I've certainly enjoyed riding the flat-bars I've tested, but can also imagine myself wanting to get serious quite quickly.

Any other points of view are certainly welcome. Thanks.
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Re: Advice- Focus Plant, or....

Postby Sydguy » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:46 am

Definitely get a road bike - no questions. They are more exciting to ride, you can easily commute on them and also use it on weekends.

I've got a few bikes and without fail take the roadie for commuting and cafe trips.

Wet weather commuting it the only time I enjoy disc brakes and 32mm schwalbe marathon plus tyres - all other times its Giant TCR time.

JM
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Re: Advice- Focus Plant, or....

Postby jasonc » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:34 pm

if you get a flat bar make sure it has road bike gearing (and not MTB stuff)
makes the ride easier. and easier when you do finally get a roadie.

still like commuting on the flat bar - don't have to worry about scratching it/getting it wet - and it's good weight training
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Re: Advice- Focus Plant, or....

Postby Dean Whittle » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:49 pm

I bought the Focus Planet TR 5.0 in early August for a 30km round trip commute. Like yourself I couldn't see myself becoming a road cyclist so I went the flat bar urban/hybrid rather than a road bike.

I love the way the bike handles, it's relative lightness (in comparison to my last bike 25yrs ago) and the feel of being out on the road again. I'd highly recommend the Focus Planet series for what you want to do, if the bug does bite harder once you're out on the road you can always buy a second bike ... remember the Velominati's Rule # 12 (http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/#12):

The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.

:D
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http://www.itsprimalprotection.com

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Re: Advice- Focus Plant, or....

Postby grimbo » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:52 pm

I started commuting on a hybrid, then got a road bike, then got another road bike. My pros and cons:

Flat Bar Pros:
- RIding a bike is fun
Flat bar cons:
- none

Road Bike Pros:
- quick to accelerate
- hills are easier
- bike is lighter and more "snappy" to ride
- riding a road bike is really fun
Road bike cons:
- none

YMMV
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Re: Advice- Focus Plant, or....

Postby JustJames » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:01 pm

Cyclocross bike?

Efficient frame layout of a roadie, but with more comfy ride from the fatter tyres. Easy to roadify it with lighter tyres if required.

Inevitable disclosure: Yes I have one. New convert, and very pleased with it as a commuter/ride with my son bike.
My bike blog. Long on rumination, rambling and opinion. Why let facts ruin everything?

http://pedallingcharm.wordpress.com/
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Re: Advice- Focus Plant, or....

Postby Yeahpetrus » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:46 pm

Many thanks for the thoughts, (and the sweet link, Dean).

Might need to spend a bit more time testing various riding experiences.

Will keep you posted...
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Re: Advice- Focus Plant, or....

Postby sambo1 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:32 pm

I bought a Planet after commuting on a Giant CRX1 flat bar for a number of years.

Unfortunately the Planet was stolen outside my work after only a month of riding it.

I spend another 3 months trying to decide whether to replace it with another flat bar or step up to a roadie (I had moved house in the meantime and my commute was now 18km each way) - eventually I bought a Focus Variado and it's the best thing I ever did.

The entry level road bikes seem to be much better value than the flat bars... must have something to do with the volumes and competition for that market. It's allowed me to really step up my riding and I'm so glad I didn't get another flat bar.
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Re: Advice- Focus Plant, or....

Postby rpmspinman » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:40 pm

+1 for going straight to the road bike. Like Yeahpetrus I went for a Kona Dew Plus FB hybrid thinking I wouldnt be getting too far into it, and 6 months later I went and bought a Focus Cayo 2 carbon framed bike. Havent looked back. Still ride the Kona on occasions and it handles better off road than my road bike, but generally the road bike is just me and has helped my performance, skill and fitness overall.

That said, I have heard of people going straight to a road bike and then giving it up because it wasnt for them and losing hundreds selling their gear.

Bottom line is only you can tell if you will love it or not. The key is, you need to 'LOVE IT' to take the step of a road bike or you will find it will sit in the shed for long periods of time.
Cheers
Shav

My Bikes:
2011 Kona Dew Plus (commuter)
2012 Focus Cayo 2.0 (road)
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