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Advice for Getting my first bike and testing out bikes

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Advice for Getting my first bike and testing out bikes

Old 07-25-15, 12:05 AM
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DreamRider85
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Advice for Getting my first bike and testing out bikes

So the advice for me was to go out and test some bikes. I can do that, but I have many, many questions I want to ask you before I dive in. Will a bike shop ever have a weight limit for testing their bikes? I'm about 235 and muscular/broad, Trek has a 275 weight limit on their road bike. I know that the weight limit is 275, but I have to bring up again the time I went to a wearhouse about a year ago and the little guy didn't want to sell me a road bike, he said he'd rather sell me a mountain bike. He said typically he doesn't have people over 200 lbs get road bikes. So I guess I feel a little bit timid to show up and ask if I can ride a bike. I wouldn't know how to respond. For those of you that are bigger, what has your bike shop experience been? Also what I don't understand is this. Bikes can help you get leaner so why would they stop you from doing that?

When you test out the bike, do you just ride it around the block or do you bring it somewhere far like a trail to truly test it and its capabilities? How long do you get to test it for? I don't know this stuff. And how many bikes do I need to test? The problem is this could drive me nuts because sometimes you get used to different bikes and you never know which one truly feels right. Sometimes you remember it feeling better than it was.

Also, if you like the bike, how will they fit you and let u know if you're the right size for it? I really don't know bike sizes at all. I just have an old mountain bike.
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Old 07-25-15, 01:29 AM
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Most road bikes state a 275 weight limit but I have seen plenty of guys bigger than that on bikes. I know plenty of people your weight and heavier with various road bikes including high end carbon. Generally bike shop will want to hold your license and a credit card to let you test but I've never heard of a legitimate bike shop (and that includes Performance) deny someone a test ride based on weight. They want to sell you a bike. Most shops I've dealt with expect you to ride around the block or in the lot, not take off for 2 hours. Although I've heard of people taking extended test rides so you should ask the shop what their policy is. Ride as many as you can and try different types of bikes. Try endurance road bikes and bikes with more aggressive race geometry. Test some carbon bikes too even if they are out of your price range (the sales guys are going to try to upsell you so take them up on the offer to test out some bikes slightly beyond your price range for comparison). Take notes after test rides so you remember your thoughts about a bike Shops will advise you on what size bike to get. Without paying for a pro fit, they will probably guess based on your height but make sure to try same bike in different sizes. If they say you should be on a 56, try a 54 too just to see how it feels. If you have multiple shops that sell the same brands around you check them out and see if the staff recommends the same size in the same model bike. And remember if you end up taking to road cycling, you are going to want to upgrade to a new bike next year no matter what so don't overthink the first bike. If you buy a $700 entry level bike, you'll want a $1500 bike with 105. If you buy a mid level bike you'll want an Ultegra bike or a entry level carbon bike. If you buy an entry level carbon, you'll want to get a hi mod carbon with Dura Ace next year...that's just how it goes
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Old 07-25-15, 06:45 AM
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When I bought my V100 a month and a half ago I asked the salesman (which happened to be the owner of the shop I later found out) what the weight limit was for the bike. He told me he didn't know for sure but was certain that I was good to go. I told him how much I weighed (it was just under 280 lbs at the time...now I'm at 262 lbs) and he said he's put guys bigger than me on full carbon bikes with no problems. So at 235 lbs you have nothing to worry about. That guy who wouldn't show you a bike because you were over 200 lbs was just being a jackass. I'd tell him to pound sand and look at another bike shop. Tell management why they're losing your business as well.

As far as test rides goes...just ask them. When I test rode mine I just rode it around the parking lot in circles for about 10-15 minutes or so to get a feel. But I have heard of people taking bikes out on the roads in the area for several miles. I've even heard of a guy on these forums who was given permission to take it to the bike path he liked to ride and give it a whirl for a couple hours. There's no harm in asking what you can and can't do on a test ride. One would think that any bike shop would want you to really dig in and see what you like and don't like about a particular bike.

As far as fitting, all you're going to get is a basic quick fitting when test riding/purchasing a bike. Seat adjustment is about all they will do. But if you have a salesman who is worth anything he/she will make sure you ride something that is appropriate for your height/build. After purchasing a bike you can pay for a true fitting if you want (highly suggested).
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Old 07-25-15, 03:18 PM
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Okay, but you are suggesting me to try carbon bikes. I read that for someone getting their first bike to stay far away from carbon. DurianRider on youtube said stay far away from carbon bikes. Now when I test the bike and he tries to sell me, what do I say? Should I expect them to try to sell me? I just want this to be a smooth experience and I don't want to have to think about too many what ifs.
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Old 07-25-15, 07:45 PM
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When I was looking for my first road bike, I test rode 5 or 6 bikes before I found the one I liked. I was out riding on that bike for over 30 minutes. It just felt so right. The other ones had something that didn't work for me; I felt too stretched out or too cramped.

For your first road bike, no need to pay extra for carbon fiber, unless money is no object. Carbon is plenty strong and durable, but more expensive than aluminum or steel.

Fit is key; if the bike doesn't fit, you won't ride it. Frame material is further down the list. I do recommend going to wider tires for a more comfortable ride. 700c x 28 should be wide enough for comfort and still plenty fast. I can't tell the difference between 700 x 23 and 700 x 25; 28's aren't that much bigger and I weigh 165 pounds.

Talk with the shop guys. Tell them what you want out of cycling. What type of riding you want to do now. You are not too big for a road bike; don't let them sell you a mountain bike. If they do, just say thanks, but no thanks and walk away.

A nice aluminum frame with Tiagra components would be a very nice bike to begin with. If you can afford more, spring for Shimano 105 components.

But most importantly, the bike must fit you and be comfortable. That may very well mean swapping the stock saddle for something else. No big deal, most riders ditch the stock saddle. I can recommend Brooks saddles and the Selle Italia SMP line. But saddles vary as much as our posteriors so you'll just have to check them out yourself.
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Old 07-26-15, 03:47 AM
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Who the F is DurianRider and what makes him the authority on cycling? He seems like just another jackass with a blog and its not even a cycling blog. Is OP really DurianRider? I think it's fishy that he's mentioned this guy like a dozen times over his three threads as if he's trying to plug the guys site or something
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Old 07-26-15, 06:41 AM
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No, I wasn't suggesting you try carbon bikes at all. I don't know where you got that idea from...I just said that my LBS has put guys bigger than me on full carbon bikes and they had no problems. My point was that I'm heavier than you are and can ride a regular road bike just fine and there's guys out there bigger than me who have carbon bikes and have had no problems with them. Someone insisting you can't ride a road bike if you're over 200 lbs is an idiot.
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Old 07-27-15, 08:51 AM
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Interesting thread. It sounds like your previous experience with a sales rep was not great. There is no problem with your weight. 235lbs is not that heavy.
There is no reason to avoid carbon, aluminum, steel or ti. They are all fine materials. I would recommend that you go try out entry level bikes as another poster stated. Ride it for a year or two and then, if you like the sport, you will know exactly what you want. It is nearly impossible for a new rider to know exactly what they want or need until they get into the sport and ride for awhile.
None of your questions are silly at all and you should not feel that way. We all have had those same issues at some point.
Every LBS has a different way of doing things when it comes to test rides. I personally think that test rides are a little over rated as it is hard to really tell much by riding for such a short duration. My first bike, the shop sales rep. took me out and rode for about 10 miles. The other bikes that I looked at the shops just let me ride around the parking lot.
Visit a few shops and ride a few bikes. Ask questions and see what shop you feel comfortable with. All the bikes are pretty good. Bikes within the same price range are typically very similar as far as quality goes. Figure out your price range and stick to that budget. Most places will try to sell you a model up from that. It is natural but you can spend a lot more than anticipated if you are not careful.
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Old 07-27-15, 09:42 AM
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go test ride a few... then come back and ask questions that the rides brought to mind.
If during your test rides, one sings out to you "buy me" in a special way, forget my advice and buy it.
Oh, and remember, the red ones are always faster.
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Old 07-27-15, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
Who the F is DurianRider and what makes him the authority on cycling? He seems like just another jackass with a blog and its not even a cycling blog. Is OP really DurianRider? I think it's fishy that he's mentioned this guy like a dozen times over his three threads as if he's trying to plug the guys site or something
durianrider is a bit of a viral-seeking troll blogger / salesman brand plugger on YT. his videos are more entertainment than actual cycling advice. he will title a video as a review and just show it on a website on his computer and list the components. he's pushing his "go vegan" brand for weight loss and he sells advice and ebooks to out of shape people.

he has a video which he tells amateur bikers to stay far away from carbon because he thinks they are too fragile which is what the OP is referring to.

Last edited by exime; 07-27-15 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 07-27-15, 09:56 AM
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First of all, go to a local bike shop and don't order online. Getting the fit right is key and you can only do that at a bike shop where you can test ride bikes. They'll usually offer free tune-ups for the first couple weeks and be sure that everything is right. The extra cost will be worth more than its metaphorical weight in gold.

As mentioned before, your weight shouldn't be an issue. Just walk in and ask to try out some bikes. When I try out bikes I usually take it for a 5-10 minute spin to see how it feels. They'll hold your license or a credit card while you ride so you don't steal it.

A good shop will be happy to spend as long as it takes to get you properly fitted on several bikes for you to try. Ask them questions, tell them what you want, tell them what you don't want, and be honest with them. Don't say you're going to be racing with it if you aren't going to be racing, because you'll get the wrong bike.

In terms of what to look for, don't overthink it. Go with what feels and fits the best. Don't buy a bike just because the paint is cooler or its the cheapest one in the shop (or most expensive one, for that matter). If you get a really nice bike that doesn't fit well, you aren't going to ride it and you'll be out $2000+. A $500-600 bike that feels great will make you want to ride it and will be a much better buy.

Finally, don't listen to the people who say that you *have* to get at least X groupset or components for your first bike or that "steel/AL/carbon is the only way to go," or "for the love of god don't buy a steel/AL/carbon bike." No. Listen to your hands, your feet, and your butt when you ride a bike. If the one on the floor that's 3 years old feels like the one, get it. If a fancy new carbon bike is the one, get it. It's really difficult to buy a bad bike these days from a local bike shop. You're gonna be happy as long as you get a good fit. With that said, if you end up loving road biking and feel like you want to upgrade in a year, then that's a good thing. Maybe not for your wallet, but definitely for your health.

Good luck!

Last edited by lkngro; 07-27-15 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 07-27-15, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by exime View Post
durianrider is a bit of a viral-seeking troll blogger / salesman brand plugger on YT. his videos are more entertainment than actual cycling advice. he will title a video as a review and just show it on a website on his computer and list the components. he's pushing his "go vegan" brand for weight loss and he sells advice and ebooks to out of shape people.

he has a video which he tells amateur bikers to stay far away from carbon because he thinks they are too fragile which is what the OP is referring to.
Your description also describes OP perfectly based on all his threads
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Old 07-27-15, 10:26 AM
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As a new cyclist you must be overwhelmed! But even with all the choices available, I think you can shop for bikes the old fashioned way. Go to your LBS, not department store or warehouse store (though you might visit them later), and look for the bike that appeals to you. Your weight is not an issue, I'm not exactly a welter weight and I have no problem with riding bikes that are made of carbon fiber. The danger with carbon fiber is mostly related to neglect. Drop it against a sharp edged rock and a tube could be punctured. But there is no stronger material for enduring the stresses of everyday riding, at least not for the careful rider.

Most advice about carbon fiber gets outdated pretty quickly. The bike industry has advanced more in the past twenty years than at any time since the invention of bikes. Gearing options are greater, material options are more, and prices have absolutely plummeted. The 6 speed Dura-Ace freewheel (that set of cogs in the back) in my basement is marked $36.95. In today's dollars that is $82.39! Sure, the best racing parts are still very expensive but a freewheel is not much more than a set of stamped metal plates joined with a ratchet mechanism. Today you can get cutting edge parts (11-spd, shifter/brake combinations, disc brakes, etc.) on bikes that cost a fraction of what they used to cost, bikes that were mostly heavier and less capable.

So the popularity of cycling remains strong and carbon is incorporated in the forks of almost every road bike sold today (the department store models excepted). Carbon can mute some of the worst road vibrations letting you ride longer with less wrist and hand stress. Carbon fiber is also well suited for making seatposts for similar reasons.

Buying a full carbon bike would probably not yield a good return on your investment. Lots of people think of their bikes simply as an exercise tool so there's no one saying you need to ride any particular bike to get exercise, as long as you actually ride it. Haha I think aluminum and steel-framed bikes can function just as well from this perspective.

One of my favorite combinations for bike build is an aluminum frame with carbon fiber fork and seatpost. The aluminum brings lightweight (compared to steel), a stiff chassis (more efficient for transferring power to the rear wheel), generally good durability (more resistant to puncture damage than carbon fiber but less than steel), and lower cost than carbon fiber (saving hundreds of $s). A similarly configured steel bike typically weighs a pound or two more depending on the size, so you don't really give up much when choosing steel and you get a more lively ride sensation. All materials have their pros and cons.

Good luck dude/dudess, you're in for a ton of fun!

Edited to add, look for strong wheels. The bike frame isn't likely to break from weight but the wheels are very susceptible to weight related stress. Lots of road bikes are sold with low spoke-count wheels that aren't worth riding if you weigh over 200 lbs. This is a broad generalization, of course, but search here at BF and the number of replacement wheel threads will support my conclusions.

Last edited by cale; 07-27-15 at 11:58 AM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 07-27-15, 11:16 AM
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Actually, shopping for a first road bike is a piece of cake compared to shopping for a mountain bike these days.
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Old 07-27-15, 12:26 PM
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OP, the shop trying to sell you a mountain bike should be avoided. Their statement about the "200 lb limit" is either totally mis-informed or the sales person is a liar, either is not to be trusted.
As for how long a ride you can take, when just kicking the tires and trying out a bike, a short ride is typical. When you choose one, and you're serious about buying it, tell the shop you're close to a decision, but you want to ride it a few miles or half an hour at least. I've actually had two shops want to know why I returned a bike so soon after riding for only 20 minutes. Some shops will not let you do this, but at least try.
Buying a first bike depends on your finances. If you've got the money, here's something to think about. Some folks start out on inexpensive all alloy road bikes with alloy forks. IMHO they ride like a NYC taxi with blown shock absorbers and with Claris 8 speed you get what you paid for, a low end system. If you can spring for a better bike with carbon fork, Tiagra drivetrain and maybe a little better wheelset, you're more likely to get a better idea what a quality bike is like and more likely to stay with the sport. I'd recommend you buy as high a quality level as you can afford.
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Old 07-28-15, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bbattle View Post
When I was looking for my first road bike, I test rode 5 or 6 bikes before I found the one I liked. I was out riding on that bike for over 30 minutes. It just felt so right. The other ones had something that didn't work for me; I felt too stretched out or too cramped.

For your first road bike, no need to pay extra for carbon fiber, unless money is no object. Carbon is plenty strong and durable, but more expensive than aluminum or steel.

Fit is key; if the bike doesn't fit, you won't ride it. Frame material is further down the list. I do recommend going to wider tires for a more comfortable ride. 700c x 28 should be wide enough for comfort and still plenty fast. I can't tell the difference between 700 x 23 and 700 x 25; 28's aren't that much bigger and I weigh 165 pounds.

Talk with the shop guys. Tell them what you want out of cycling. What type of riding you want to do now. You are not too big for a road bike; don't let them sell you a mountain bike. If they do, just say thanks, but no thanks and walk away.

A nice aluminum frame with Tiagra components would be a very nice bike to begin with. If you can afford more, spring for Shimano 105 components.

But most importantly, the bike must fit you and be comfortable. That may very well mean swapping the stock saddle for something else. No big deal, most riders ditch the stock saddle. I can recommend Brooks saddles and the Selle Italia SMP line. But saddles vary as much as our posteriors so you'll just have to check them out yourself.
Yea I've heard to stay far away from carbon bikes because of the fragility. Now, what if the bike feels good but isn't technically the right size based on a pro fit? Do you do a pro fit after you get the bike or before? Also, is 28 mm better for riding? How is it more comfortable? I thought smaller tires were smoother and faster. My goal is to ride for 2 to 3 hours most days of the week. But I don't want it to be as slow as my mountain bike. Thanks. Let me know what you think. I am taking notes on all responses.
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Old 07-28-15, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by DreamRider85 View Post
Yea I've heard to stay far away from carbon bikes because of the fragility. Now, what if the bike feels good but isn't technically the right size based on a pro fit? Do you do a pro fit after you get the bike or before? Also, is 28 mm better for riding? How is it more comfortable? I thought smaller tires were smoother and faster. My goal is to ride for 2 to 3 hours most days of the week. But I don't want it to be as slow as my mountain bike. Thanks. Let me know what you think. I am taking notes on all responses.
Carbon is extremely strong. They make downhill mountain bikes out of carbon and they aren't all disintegrating. Wider tires and rims are generally more comfortable because they can be run at lower tire pressure. The idea that skinnier tires are faster has been debuncted by people actually doing scientific research. Wider tires are certainly trendy with most new road bikes coming with 25 and some endurance coming with 28s. But there are many factors to comfort. I ride a steel frame with 23s at 110 psi and I'm pretty comfortable on not so great city streets

A true pro fit is done on your bike so after you buy it. If it's through a shop they should help size the bike before you buy. For a first bike I would just find a competent shop that can put you on the right size bike for no extra cost. Then you should read up on fitting and learn to dial in your own fit just like you should learn to change your tires and adjust your drive train
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Old 07-29-15, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
Carbon is extremely strong. They make downhill mountain bikes out of carbon and they aren't all disintegrating. Wider tires and rims are generally more comfortable because they can be run at lower tire pressure. The idea that skinnier tires are faster has been debuncted by people actually doing scientific research. Wider tires are certainly trendy with most new road bikes coming with 25 and some endurance coming with 28s. But there are many factors to comfort. I ride a steel frame with 23s at 110 psi and I'm pretty comfortable on not so great city streets

A true pro fit is done on your bike so after you buy it. If it's through a shop they should help size the bike before you buy. For a first bike I would just find a competent shop that can put you on the right size bike for no extra cost. Then you should read up on fitting and learn to dial in your own fit just like you should learn to change your tires and adjust your drive train
Oh really? So don't get a pro fit? I read that getting the right size is the most important thing. How do u dial in your own size? do u mean flip the stem? I still don't know all these things. Should I get a book? I saw one at the store. Or would that over complicate things?
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Old 07-29-15, 01:39 AM
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By all of your previous posts it seemed like you were on a tight budget for the bike. If that's the case, spending a couple hundred dollars on a pro fit seems like a bad place to spend money especially if you need pedals, shoes, helmets, etc (which maybe you already have). If you do have all this money to spend then why scoff at the suggestion to look at some carbon bikes? You continue to contradict yourself. You should just pick a shop and go let them help you
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Old 07-29-15, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by DreamRider85 View Post
Okay, but you are suggesting me to try carbon bikes. I read that for someone getting their first bike to stay far away from carbon. DurianRider on youtube said stay far away from carbon bikes. Now when I test the bike and he tries to sell me, what do I say? Should I expect them to try to sell me? I just want this to be a smooth experience and I don't want to have to think about too many what ifs.
Don't worry about the material, worry about the bike. You can make a great bike or a crap bike from any of the popular materials. I just replaced a 2007 carbon frame with a custom made stainless steel frame which is lighter, performs better and is a better ride.

If you are new to cycling, you'll be good on pretty much any bike that fits properly. As you gain experience and depending on how serious you are about cycling, it's likely you'll want other features that are different from the frame you select now. So I'd look at this bike as a transition until you have a lot more miles under you and have a better idea of what you want in a bike. I'd go for a bike that was Shimano 105 level of components and pick the one you like. They'll all be good in that range. Put your money into good cycling shoes, shorts/bibs etc.

As for test riding, the longer the better. Even then, things like saddles, bike fit (handlebars, positioning, stem length) are going to make the largest difference so you might not be able to tell the difference in the actual bike itself. With that in mind, I think it's more important to get to a highly competent bike shop with patience and who will work with you on saddles and fit over time. If you find that, then have them work with you on the particular bike they sell. There is more benefit in having a good bike shop then in the particular brand or model of bike.

J.
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Old 07-29-15, 07:10 AM
  #21  
sw686blue
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OP, it's really hard to not take you for a troll. You received so much good information and come back with a bunch of ridiculous comments. Go to a competent bike shop and let them fit you on the right sized frame.
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Old 07-29-15, 07:21 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by DreamRider85 View Post
Should I get a book? I saw one at the store.
Yes, definitely get a book and not a bike. They sound very similar so you should be fine. Make sure you get a large book... you know, due to your size and all.
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Old 07-29-15, 07:33 AM
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Get something like this and learn much about bikes and riding them.

Road bike triathlon series
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Old 07-29-15, 07:41 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by sw686blue View Post
OP, it's really hard to not take you for a troll. You received so much good information and come back with a bunch of ridiculous comments. Go to a competent bike shop and let them fit you on the right sized frame.
I'm not a troll. But does it or does it not take a couple hundred bucks to let them fit me? I can't comprehend what it is I'm asking them to do for me.
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Old 07-29-15, 07:45 AM
  #25  
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My best advise is to just start riding bikes in your price range. The more bikes you ride, the more one or two will stick out to you as "better". Know now that there is no "perfect". In fact, you may want another/different bike a year from now after you've ridden a couple thousand miles & realize that what was perfect for you originally has changed. But don't sweat that for now. For now just test & shop bikes in your price range & make sure they fit you well.

As for Harley (Durian Rider).......if he was OP, he'd make no bones about it. He'd simply say so. It'd be too much work for him to pull a troll stunt like this here. Maybe elsewhere but not here. I find him pretty hilarious otherwise. No gospel in what he's saying, but it's definitely what works for him. He's a VERY strong rider and is probably healthier than most here.
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