Road Bike Recommendations

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 19, 2011 2:50 AM GMT
    I want to start biking - but i dont know what brands or exactly to look on a road bike... my goal is to eventually do triathlons - recommendations? Advices? . Please help!
  • SFGeoNinja

    Posts: 510

    Mar 19, 2011 4:45 AM GMT
    Are you looking for a high-end, performance bike or just some easy to commute with?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 19, 2011 5:33 AM GMT
    Have fun trying out different ones to find the one you like. Most shops should set you up and take you for a ride, if you're serious about spending some money.

    I'm still riding the ones I bought more than 20 years ago, so I have no idea what's out there, except for ridiculous stuff I see in shop windows.

    Personally, I found it necessary to have one lean mean speed machine, and a cheaper, longer, touring bike kitted out with fenders, lights, and racks for commuting and grocery shopping.
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    Mar 19, 2011 8:04 AM GMT
    i started riding a road bike in november of 2011 and i went the middle road.. not cheap but not expensive. I bought a CFR Scatantte. It is a great bike and easy to use.
  • Profire

    Posts: 224

    Mar 19, 2011 11:49 AM GMT
    Go find a good bike store and talk to the sales guys.
    When I say "good bike store", go to one that isn't a mass seller like Walmart, Target or even Trek stores. IMHO, I would stay away from bike shops whose core demographic is families or college kids. If they are predominately selling to families they will most likely not have the depth of knowledge about road biking and competitive racing. If they are selling to college kids (ie store near a university), they know they are selling a cheap bike expensively and the person won't be back in 6 months.

    I have found that the smaller, owner/operator type stores are more informed and better at giving you knowledge and service.

    When talking to the sales guys, let them do most of the talking and, if you are even remotely intuitive, you will be able to see if they are BS'ing you.

    Be honest with them and tell them what you want to do, what your expectations are (road biking now and migrating to triathlons later). They can tailor the bike for you. Also, have them fit the bike for you. By fitting the bike, it should take more than 5 min...it will entail having you sit on the bike and pedal, seeing where you are comfortable and where you feel uncomfortable (stretched too far, too tight, too narrow, seat uncomfortable, etc) and making adjustments to the bike until you are comfortable.

    I noticed that you are in Austin.
    Lance Armstrong opened a shop called Mellow Johnny's which I would assume would be pretty decent to hire the best in the industry.
    You also have Austin Tri-Cyclist, which is a pretty decent tri store and they sell road bike that will let you start with a road bike and then, if you want, to add on additional items to make it more of a tri bike, such as aero bars.

    Some decent mass-market brands are Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, Orbea.

    At a minimum, you will need:
    - HELMET - don't ride without it. Use it on every ride.
    - Pedals - Most bikes do not come with pedals and you will need to purchase your own. Get clip-less pedals, such as Look, Shimano or Speedplay.
    - Shoes
    - Repair kit - Get a bike bag and repair kit, tubes, CO2 cartridges and know how to use it. You will get a flat and you need to learn how to change a tire.
    - Water bottle cages and bottles - Couple of cages and bottles
    - Shorts/Jersey - Get decent shorts as these will let you sit in the saddle longer and will let you enjoy riding vs. being miserable.

    This may seem like a lot and could get expensive, but it need not break the bank.
    I did some quick research and found a starter bike package at Austin Tri-Cyclist for $1,000 that will get you everything you need except the clothing.

    Good luck. Cycling is great and triathlons are 3x better. icon_lol.gif







  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 19, 2011 12:43 PM GMT
    Profire said...Some decent mass-market brands are Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, Orbea.

    At a minimum, you will need: (etc)

    I agree with most of the above. I've owned Cannondale, Trek & Specialized, to which I would add the Chinese company Giant, which has a fairly inexpensive line with moderate quality, if entry price is a critical concern.

    It might be unfair to call them "mass market" since they aren't kids department store brands, and they have some models that approach $10,000, and exceed that price in their custom-build programs. Some of the top teams & riders in the world compete using these bikes.

    At the same time, these are not exclusively hand-built bikes from small, low-output manufacturers, a purchase choice which, as a private recreational rider, I've never judged to be as practical overall to me as staying with the major companies, with their wide network of dealers, service, and parts availability. But I do work with true bike shops as you recommend, whose people are avid riders themselves, and eat, sleep & breathe this stuff.

    On the issue of pedals, here I disagree. It is true that better bikes do not come with pedals, or at best plastic "demo" pedals meant to be replaced with the buyer's personal choice. But clipless (they snap onto cleats built into the bottoms of special riding shoes) have some disadvantages for casual around-town riding.

    A beginner can find it difficult & distracting to keep engaging and disengaging the cleats at every street corner and other stop. You also can't walk around much in them, although some are built to be better for walking than others. The cleats are recessed into the sole, but that sole is very rigid, performing the function of the platform pedal for your foot while pedaling. One solution is to carry your walking shoes in a backpack.

    My own solution is 2 pedal sets. For daily use and errand running I have the older-style clips, which are cages attached to standard platform pedals, that you slip your shoes into. I can wear any footgear I want, from joggers to mocs or sandals. For longer rides, over 40 miles, which I only do a few times a year, I replace the pedals myself with Shimano clipless.
  • Profire

    Posts: 224

    Mar 19, 2011 1:10 PM GMT
    Just to clarify on the pedals, I read the OP as someone who wanted to get into cycling as a sport vs. commuting/casual around-town riding. I read the title for a Road Bike and his comment that he wanted to get into triathlons, thus, indicating its a sport. If he would have commented that he wanted to get into commuting or ride around on the weekends, than my recommendations would be completely different.

    If you are commuting, in town, casual around town riding, putzing around on the weekends, than yes and I agree with Art_Deco, get the flat pedals. They are easier to walk around in, easier when stopping at stop signs/lights, easier to dismount if you have to stop quickly, etc.

    However, if someone is interested in cycling as a sport than clipless is almost a requisite. You won't be walking around in your cycling shoes very much as you will be riding. You may stop for a quick bite at a bagel shop or a convenience store, but for the most part, its a quick stop.

    Cycling is a diverse activity/sport. It can be anything from Lance Armstrong type racing, weekend warrior competition, triathlons, family togetherness, commuting, transportation, work, grocer shopping, etc.
    For each aspect of the activity/sport, there are numerous options for you to choose.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 19, 2011 1:29 PM GMT
    If you are looking for a good bike with an eye on triathlon then I suggest going to Jack and Adam's or Austin Tri-Cyclist. Both are on Barton Spring Rd. and are almost across from one another. I personally am biased toward J&A as I have always had a great experience with them but ATC has a great reputation as well.

    J&A mainly sells Felt bikes and you really can't go with the bikes Felt makes.
    http://www.jackandadams.com/

    Tri-Cyclist will like steer you to either a Cannondale or Fuju. Again, good bikes.
    http://www.austintricyclist.com/

    I am not a fan of either TREK or Specalized as I think you end up paying more for the brand name than the bike itself but if you really want to see what those are about then go to Bicycle Sport Shop. They have several locations around town.
    http://bicyclesportshop.com/

    I disagree with Profire on going to Mellow Johnny's. All due respect to Lance, he is a great rider but skip his shop. You won't get the level of service there that you would with the three mentioned above.

    The difficulty with coming new to cycling is a lot of the things that riders find they like or don't like about a bike is really discovered over time. So, your best bet is to stay with entry level bikes and take out a few different models out and see which one feels best.

    There are more technical pieces to consider when it comes to gearing and this has more to do with the types of rides you will do. Tooling around central Austin is pretty flat but if you go out west of town you will find yourself on some pretty decent hills and this is where the gearing comes in. It isn't uncommon for entry level bikes to come as either 8 or 9 speeds rear cassette and when on a hill you will want the extra gear options so I would avoid the 8s and go for a 10 if possible.

    As far front chainrings go, your options will be two or three rings. Most people suggest three for new comers as it gives you more combinations of gears and I tend to agree with that, but more recently entry level bikes have started to offer a compact (smaller) two chainring crank and having tried both the three and a compact two I prefer the two.

    Past that Profile has a pretty good list of other items you will need.





  • Profire

    Posts: 224

    Mar 19, 2011 1:33 PM GMT
    "I disagree with Profire on going to Mellow Johnny's. All due respect to Lance, he is a great rider but skip his shop. You won't get the level of service there that you would with the three mentioned above."

    Interesting that you say that.
    I am going to Austin in May and was hoping to stop by the shop thinking that it would be cool with great and really knowledgeable guys.
    Sad to see that he is just hanging his hat on his past accomplishments and not building the best bike shop.

    BTW - Anybody doing the Muddy Buddy in Austin in May?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 19, 2011 1:44 PM GMT
    Profire said"I disagree with Profire on going to Mellow Johnny's. All due respect to Lance, he is a great rider but skip his shop. You won't get the level of service there that you would with the three mentioned above."

    Interesting that you say that.
    I am going to Austin in May and was hoping to stop by the shop thinking that it would be cool with great and really knowledgeable guys.
    Sad to see that he is just hanging his hat on his past accomplishments and not building the best bike shop.

    BTW - Anybody doing the Muddy Buddy in Austin in May?


    I will clarify my comments on Mellow Johnny's. It isn't a bad bike shop and they are doing a lot to promote cycling in Austin. That said, it is Lance Armstrong's shop and it is always packed and getting someone to help you is a bit of a challenge. Getting someone to help you for more than 5 minutes is even harder. My issue is not with knowledge but level of service they are able to provide. I have also found some of the folks there to be a tad on the condescending side. If you are going to look at high end gear then it is little different. They have a whole downstairs area for the expensive stuff and different staff.

    If you are in Austin it is worth swing by and seeing, but when it comes to buying a bike, J&A, ATC and Bicycle Sport Shop are the places to go.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 19, 2011 2:10 PM GMT
    I did business primarily with Helen’s in Soviet Monica as they are really a good shop. I’ve had Cannondale after Cannondale and last was a System 6. That one was getting a bit expensive, but once acclimated to riding, you can feel the difference with the better bikes. I rode the entire time I was in SoCal (30yrs) and loved it. It’s one of the primary reasons I want to move back out there. I put way more miles on my bikes than I did my cars.

    Bikes don’t have much in the way of resale value so you might want to check out ebay or craigslist for a high end, nearly new bike. You’ll find some great deal if you know what you’re looking for.