Getting into road biking?

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Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:08 pm

I've been a long-time runner, but am looking into getting into road biking for exercise and travel. I might even want to try out a triathlon someday. Anyways, I don't know a whole lot about the sport and about biking equipment in general. Does anybody have a good website, magazine, or book to point me towards to help orient me? I'd like to get tips mainly on good biking parts, frames, and equipment. General bike maintenance and advanced riding tips would also be appreciated. I'll have some disposable income in the next year, and would like to purchase a solid starter bike.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:30 pm

Hopefully Geoff will weigh in.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:17 pm

Ah yes, I hope so!
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:29 pm

Spyder22446688 wrote:I've been a long-time runner, but am looking into getting into road biking for exercise and travel. I might even want to try out a triathlon someday. Anyways, I don't know a whole lot about the sport and about biking equipment in general. Does anybody have a good website, magazine, or book to point me towards to help orient me? I'd like to get tips mainly on good biking parts, frames, and equipment. General bike maintenance and advanced riding tips would also be appreciated. I'll have some disposable income in the next year, and would like to purchase a solid starter bike.



You'll have to let us know what budget a "starter" bike is for you. I'd start off with a regular road bike (no tri-bike, cyclocross, or hybrid). Plan to spend $800 or so on the bike and $400 on equipment. Don't buy a frame unless it has a carbon fork. This looks decent: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/mer ... us_al8.htm

What kind of shape are you in? And do you want to ride in groups and/or compete? Runners usually take to cycling very well.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:53 pm

The Trek 1000 and the Specialized Allez lines are very nice entry-level bikes. Look around for "last year's" model. I saved $450 on a 2006 Allez Elite purchased in 2007. I agree with david00214 that you should plan on spending around $400 on equipment: shoes, pedals, shorts, jersey, helmet, pump, extra tubes, CO2 or mini-pump, gloves, bike bag, water bottles, water bottle cages lube, mini allen wrench set...

Check out: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/
That's a great reference site for just about any all things bicycle.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:05 am

david00214 wrote:You'll have to let us know what budget a "starter" bike is for you.


I was originally thinking around $1000 for a bike and equipment, but it's starting to sound more like $1500 if I want to be well-equipped. What's worse, a newbie with cheap equipment or "that guy" who knows nothing and yet goes out and buys all the best stuff (while using it all wrong)?

david00214 wrote:I'd start off with a regular road bike (no tri-bike, cyclocross, or hybrid).


I grew up with only mountain bikes, but have quickly learned that the weight of a mountain bike frame in addition to the rugged tires makes asphalt cycling a real chore. So yeah, I am definitely looking for a regular road bike, but I don't want something so fragile that it can't take bumps or occasional gravel. Speaking of gravel, is it possible to get road tires that are slightly beefier than the super-skinny road tires?

david00214 wrote:What kind of shape are you in? And do you want to ride in groups and/or compete? Runners usually take to cycling very well.


I think I'm in pretty darn good shape. I just climbed Mt. St. Helens, will be climbing Mt. Rainier next week, and will be running a half marathon on labor day. I think biking will be a great way to stay in shape. Too much running beats up my legs, so I generally aim for about 20 miles of running a week or less. As for biking, I plan to ride alone unless I decide to try a triathlon.

I live in Seattle and my parents live in the suburbs. There is a nice asphalt bike trail that I can take to my parents house. Round trip, the route would be around 36 miles. I think that would be the perfect route and an excellent workout.
Last edited by Spyder22446688 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:06 am

torax wrote:The Trek 1000 and the Specialized Allez lines are very nice entry-level bikes. Look around for "last year's" model.


Thanks for the tips. Especially for my first bike, when I don't really know what I want, I think going with "last year's" model or even a used model might be my best bet.

Also, thanks for the other information. Very useful.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:40 am

Spyder22446688 wrote:I was originally thinking around $1000 for a bike and equipment, but it's starting to sound more like $1500 if I want to be well-equipped. What's worse, a newbie with cheap equipment or "that guy" who knows nothing and yet goes out and buys all the best stuff (while using it all wrong)?

$1500 will get you a very nice road bike that won't hold you back if you decide to race it. i got lucky and ended up with a shimano ultegra equipped orbea (carbon fork and rear end; rides / handles great). what you want to do is go to every local bike shop in the area and test ride everything. don't be affraid to test-ride bikes way outside of your price range; you're mainly seeing how different frames / geometries handle and ride at this point. whatever you get, make sure it fits (spend the money to get the bike fit and adjusted for you; it makes a big difference in comfort). road bike review has very good forums and product reveiws, and the park tool website has all the repair how-to's you'll need.

I grew up with only mountain bikes, but have quickly learned that the weight of a mountain bike frame in addition to the rugged tires makes asphalt cycling a real chore. So yeah, I am definitely looking for a regular road bike, but I don't want something so fragile that it can't take bumps or occasional gravel. Speaking of gravel, is it possible to get road tires that are slightly beefier than the super-skinny road tires?

that really depends on the mountain bike and the tires...befor i got my road bike i'd use my mountain bike (specialized epic with 1.75" slicks) for training and 20+ mph average group road rides (yea they were all on road bikes). personally, i don't really worry about gravel.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:43 am

What's worse, a newbie with cheap equipment or "that guy" who knows nothing and yet goes out and buys all the best stuff (while using it all wrong)?

"That guy" is far far worse than a newbie with cheap equipment. The road biking world is full of "those guys." For some reason, skinny (otherwise athletically inept) people in spandex feel empowered to talk like they just completed the Tour de France when they sit on a 16lb $10,000 waste of money.

I can't begin to count how many times the people I ride with have said something along the lines of, "If you bought [X Component] you could save [Y] grams!" I like to reply with, "You know what - I'm not an elite cyclist, AND NEITHER ARE YOU! Work a little harder!" (You can further shrink their e-penises by flying by them up on a big climb) It's just like how people who suck at golf spend thousands of dollars on clubs.

That said, don't buy entry-level but don't even think about buying mid-high to high end. Like Cyco-Dude said, get whatever bike you decide on fitted properly, but don't let the bike shop charge you for it if you buy the bike from them. I suggest looking for a bike with a carbon fork, carbon seat post, aluminum frame, and shimano tiagra (at the lowest) components. That will put you around $700-$900 with a comfortable, responsive, quality ride and some money left for the rest of the gear.

Another thing to look for would be a double crank (two sprockets in the front) instead of a triple crank. Since you're in good shape, you won't use the smallest front sprocket on a triple, and triple front derailleurs usually require a lot of adjustment to keep them shifting properly.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:45 am

torax wrote:
Another thing to look for would be a double crank (two sprockets in the front) instead of a triple crank. Since you're in good shape, you won't use the smallest front sprocket on a triple, and triple front derailleurs usually require a lot of adjustment to keep them shifting properly.


Triples are also a dead giveaway you're a "noob". Like it or not...

If you can run a half marathon then you are dedicated to fitness. If you get into cycling you'll probably kick yourself if you by a group that's anything less than Shimano 105. Torax's comments to get a carbon fork and seatpost are very good suggestions as well.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:11 am

I'm a roadie as well - the BEST thing you can do, is to find your local road riding / road racing club. A lot of them offer a "learn to race" program or similar - even if you dont plan on racing, the group riding skills are incredibly valuable.


Also, while you don't want to be the guy who shows up with a Colnago who's never ridden before, don't skimp on componentry either. Dropping chains on a hill because you're not experienced... AND your parts suck.. is very annoying.


Also, you'll still probably want to keep the bike under 20lbs, even if you're going entry level. It does make life easier.
Make sure you have a good helmet.
I don't know if this goes without saying, but make sure you have clip-in pedals and shoes. The Shimano SPD pedals are crap for this however, being more suited for mountain biking they're very small and don't get a lot of power from your legs. I personally like Look pedals but everyone is a bit different. Even if you end up using pedal straps, make sure you pull up with your leg as well as mashing down. It's a circlular motion, not a piston, and a lot of people forget that, especially early.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:03 am

I am going to chime in with a few thoughts of restraint:

First, the intended purpose was exercise and travel, so carbon frames and shaving every ounce off isn't really important. I'm not saying disregard materials entirely, just be reasonable about it.

Second, with respect to being a noob or not - so what. My bike has three cogs in the front, but I ride it a lot more than a guy I know who has a Lightspeed - full titanium frame, top of the line gear shifts and brakes, just plain old top of the line bike. He rode his bike to work the other day; first thing I did was squeeze his tires - they were way low on air. So he has this super spiffy, image whore, 18 pound bike with only two cogs in front but doesn't know how to inflate his tires.

I do advise that you get a good bike. A bike will last ten years with ease if taken care of. Get a good bike. Just don't worry about how many cogs it has in the front, carbon fiber, or whether or not you look like a noob, given your stated uses. If you turn into a pro bike rider, you will end up getting another bike regardless.

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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:50 am

flip-mode wrote:I am going to chime in with a few thoughts of restraint:

First, the intended purpose was exercise and travel, so carbon frames and shaving every ounce off isn't really important. I'm not saying disregard materials entirely, just be reasonable about it.

Second, with respect to being a noob or not - so what. My bike has three cogs in the front, but I ride it a lot more than a guy I know who has a Lightspeed - full titanium frame, top of the line gear shifts and brakes, just plain old top of the line bike. He rode his bike to work the other day; first thing I did was squeeze his tires - they were way low on air. So he has this super spiffy, image whore, 18 pound bike with only two cogs in front but doesn't know how to inflate his tires.

I do advise that you get a good bike. A bike will last ten years with ease if taken care of. Get a good bike. Just don't worry about how many cogs it has in the front, carbon fiber, or whether or not you look like a noob, given your stated uses. If you turn into a pro bike rider, you will end up getting another bike regardless.

Agreed - I should clarify that a carbon fork and seat post have everything to do with comfort and nothing to do with image or even performance. To me, that's being reasonable with materials.

My comments on the number of cogs in the crank come from my own experience with my triple. I have a 105 crankset with a 105 derailleur (so component quality is not the issue) that I find myself adjusting every couple of rides, which is a bit annoying. I'll keep doing it though because the alternative is spending a heap of cash to replace everything with a double.

Triples are also a dead giveaway you're a "noob". Like it or not...

If you worry about that, you'll find yourself looking like flip-mode's fellow rider, "Lightspeed" before you know it.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:57 am

Will comment that for road cycling two cogs is just a lot easier to deal with;
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:05 am

I may be in physical shape, but I definitely need to start reading to understand what cogs, forks, and derailleurs are, not to mention which brands and types are best for my needs.

Thanks again for the wealth of information. Once I read up, I'll have about 100 more specific questions, in addition to suggestions about the parts I am looking at.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:26 am

Spyder22446688 wrote:I may be in physical shape, but I definitely need to start reading to understand what cogs, forks, and derailleurs are, not to mention which brands and types are best for my needs.

Thanks again for the wealth of information. Once I read up, I'll have about 100 more specific questions, in addition to suggestions about the parts I am looking at.

Cogs = the physical disk that has the teeth in it by which you change gears
derailers = the mechanism by which the chain is moved from one gear to another
fork = the metal piece under the handlebars that goes on either side of the front tire (Unless it is one of those funky lefty bikes)
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:29 pm

Spyder22446688 wrote:I may be in physical shape, but I definitely need to start reading to understand what cogs, forks, and derailleurs are, not to mention which brands and types are best for my needs.

Thanks again for the wealth of information. Once I read up, I'll have about 100 more specific questions, in addition to suggestions about the parts I am looking at.


You should definitely go to some local shops, and make friends with the staff... you'll learn a lot and sometimes they can hook you up with some great deals.

Carbon fork is an absolute must though!
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:43 am

Spyder22446688 wrote:I may be in physical shape, but I definitely need to start reading to understand what cogs, forks, and derailleurs are, not to mention which brands and types are best for my needs.

Thanks again for the wealth of information. Once I read up, I'll have about 100 more specific questions, in addition to suggestions about the parts I am looking at.


Usacomp's answers on what the cogs, forks and derailleurs are is dead on.

I'm going to suggest a different approach, though, to the bike and equipment. There is good information in "old tech" sources, like bicycling magazine or its website. There also can be good equipment in your local bike shop -- find a shop and employees that you can talk to, then buy a bike that feels good when you spin around the block or parking lot. You're starting out on a new kind of riding. The equipment can be changed if you buy a decent bike (not from the local big box store), so you don't need to be an expert to start.

Get a bike you like, don't skimp on the helmet, and get some decent shoes and pedals and have fun. There will be plenty of time to develop expertise.

Enjoy!
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:20 pm

a lot of good info so far.

As for bike's back in my competitive days I was a solid Trek guy. However last year when buying my wife a bike I got sold on Lemond frames. When I put my foot down on the pedals it just felt the the bike wanted to jump forward. I love his designs. but don't be afraid to try different frames.

But I will say this, go to a bike store, more then one with different brands if you can, and try them out. Good shops will let you. Try carbon, steel, aluminum, and things in between. It should feel comfortable, and springy. Not heavy and sluggish. Also, back in the day this book was a huge resource, probably a little outdated today, but the bike fit section would still be valid. His ideas on bike fit are still used today and a very good rule of thumb.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:22 pm

Thanks again for all the help. The consensus seems to be going to multiple bike shops and trying out the models is the best idea.

I am currently in no rush, and don't even plan to purchase a bike until the end of October at the earliest. In the meantime, I will first read up online and perhaps purchase a few magazines or a book. Once I have a generalized idea what I'm looking for, I plan to visit the bike shops and try stuff out. From there, I'll likely post again with specific questions and then purchase the equipment. The goal would be to ride during the winter on nicer days, and then pickup my training during the spring with the hopes of competing in a triathlon during the summer of 2009.

Boy, I just ran a half-marathon yesterday, and the thought of a 35 mile bike ride without the rough impact on my knees and ankles sure does sound delicious.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:37 pm

Spyder22446688 wrote:Boy, I just ran a half-marathon yesterday, and the thought of a 35 mile bike ride without the rough impact on my knees and ankles sure does sound delicious.


Yea, trade the rough impact on your knees and ankles to "your boys" and you'll have a good idea of what road biking feels like after a long ride :) Some nice bike shorts are a must for anything over 5-10 miles.

I just recently upgraded from a hybrid to a Trek 2.3 and totally loving it. The accessories to add up though, so factor that in to the cost.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:14 pm

I hope this isn't considered a threadjack...

If a person wants to bike for exercise, why all the emphasis on expensive things that make it easier?

I ride my cheapo Schwinn mountain bike ~20 miles on streets/sidewalks/bike trails and I really feel like I got a good workout when I'm done. At no point in my ride do I ever wish I could go faster because frankly it's scary. If my bike was lighter and easier to peddle I'd have to go farther/longer to get the same workout no?
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:38 pm

JJCDAD wrote:I hope this isn't considered a threadjack...

If a person wants to bike for exercise, why all the emphasis on expensive things that make it easier?

I ride my cheapo Schwinn mountain bike ~20 miles on streets/sidewalks/bike trails and I really feel like I got a good workout when I'm done. At no point in my ride do I ever wish I could go faster because frankly it's scary. If my bike was lighter and easier to peddle I'd have to go farther/longer to get the same workout no?


I have to agree about the scary part, but I am looking to bike distances longer than would be comfortable with a heavy mountain bike. For the same calorie burn, I'd rather bike 35 miles on a road bike as compared to 25 miles on a heavy mountain bike. In addition, I'm hoping to compete in some triathlons, where time and weight matter. That's from my end.
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Re: Getting into road biking?

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:07 pm

nothing scary about the speed...so you go 20mph instead of 15, big deal. you get used to fast decents after a while too.
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