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New to road cycling. Some advice?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

New to road cycling. Some advice?

Old 07-21-16, 07:15 PM
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bay88
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New to road cycling. Some advice?

Hi all -- hoping to receive some advice on how to get started in road cycling. Here's what's worth knowing about me:

- I can ride a bike. I'm also experienced riding on city streets, in traffic, as I used to commute on a bike in Manhattan.

- I'm looking at buying a "real" road bike for a couple of reasons:
- Ever since I injured my knee I haven't been able to run, and I've been struggling to find ways to get that GOOD cardio. I know that the low-impact nature of cycling is better on my knee.
- I recently moved to a beautiful part of the country with abundant opportunities to explore via bike.
- I'm willing to spend up to ~$1,200 to get a good setup and start getting out there. But I'm admittedly unfamiliar with the hardware (have mercy on me!).

I'd appreciate any and all recommendations about getting started. If you were me, what would you buy? Should I start out with the clipless or no? Should I buy online or go into a bike shop (I work in sales... so I'm more than a little concerned about my newbie status being taken advantage of)? Any good road bikes in my price range that you're crazy about?
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Old 07-21-16, 07:24 PM
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Welcome. There are several very similar threads that have gotten started on this forum in just the last week, and I'm sure hundreds of others in the archives. I'd start there.

Regarding your knee injury, it's not too hard to exacerbate a knee injury on a bike, because you use that joint more than any other on your body when your ride. So start slow, and consider swimming, as there's no better cardio exercise that will also not stress your knee.
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Old 07-21-16, 07:37 PM
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Go to a shop. It will cost more, but your paying for knowledge. And most importantly, a good fit and set up.

Shop around for the right shop, somebody who will spend time with you and let you try out different bikes. They should also give you a discount on accesories with your purchase and include some future tune up work as you and your bike settle in. A great shop might let you swap stems and saddles until you get it right. Don't be surprised if this takes a while.

Go clipless, and spend a really long time trying on shoes. And get some decent bike shorts, or better, bibs. Having comfortable feet and butt will be a thousand times more important than having Ultegra instead of Tiagra. Figure this stuff and a helmet and gloves into your budget if you haven't yet. And a pump and flat kit. Good sunglasses. If it means a cheaper bike, so be it. In fact, better. Get a cheap bike. If cycling sticks with you you will probably want something different in a year no matter what you buy now.
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Old 07-21-16, 07:50 PM
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Anything that fits right (frame size to start and you can swap saddles and stems/spacers as you get more experience and familiarity on the bike) and is 105/Ultegra/DuraAce. Really, 105 minimum.


If you're looking to do longer (and/or slower) rides, consider a "century" bike like a Specialized Roubaix. If you're looking to shorter (and/or faster) rides, consider a racing bike (like a Tarmac) or an Aero bike (like Venge).

Doesn't have to be specialized I just know their products best.
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Old 07-21-16, 07:58 PM
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Cough, CAAD, cough.
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Old 07-21-16, 08:04 PM
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CAAD 6? CAAD 12? CAAD 8? What's the differences between each? Why CAAD and not, say a Trek or a Giant? That's assuming he even knows what CAAD means.

Or is it some cult thing where he'll get girls flashing him when they drive by?

(Seriously, could you at least try to be helpful?)
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Old 07-21-16, 08:39 PM
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I think $1200 will fall a little short to getting you on one of the big name brands (Trek, Specialized, Cannondale) with Tiagra level group. Many consider Shimano's 105 to be the minimum group level but with the current Tiagra (4700 series) being so close to last generation 105 (5700 series) both 10 speed, I'd think Tiagra would be the starting point. The Tiagra level bikes from the carry an MSRP in the $1200-$1400 range (some samples)
Émonda ALR 4 | Trek Bikes
Domane ALR 4 | Trek Bikes
https://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/Bik...e-779bb5bec710 https://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/Bik...b-6ea0e0343297 https://www.specialized.com/us/en/bi...w-elite/106649
When you figure in some shoes, helmet and riding clothes these bike will push you well over the $1200 mark. Drop back to some other brands and buying online and you can get into bikes from Nashbar, Bikes Direct and Performance Bikes and you can get a lot of bike for the $1K range but you're running a pretty big risk with getting the sizing right. If you live in an area that gives you access to a Performance Bikes or maybe REI you'd have you best chance a hitting you mark and getting the most bang for you buck.

This is the right time of year to find some good deals on 2016 models at the LBS (local bike shop) with the 2017 models now being released but of course you run a risk of being pushed or tempted into a size or bike that's not exactly what you want/need.
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Old 07-21-16, 08:49 PM
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https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/bid/5647343925.html

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/bid/5663557615.html
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Old 07-21-16, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by dksix View Post
Many consider Shimano's 105 to be the minimum group level but with the current Tiagra (4700 series) being so close to last generation 105 (5700 series) both 10 speed, I'd think Tiagra would be the starting point.
Except for the grams, it's mostly better than 5700. It's like a heavier 10 speed 5800. The grams (as far as grams go) are pretty bad though, they made the crank heavier so it could have the proprietary fancy looking 4 arm cranks.
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Old 07-21-16, 09:19 PM
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Factor into your budget: shoes, pedals, helmet, clothing, basic tools, pump, spare tubes....
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Old 07-22-16, 10:00 AM
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Thanks all. Some great input so far. What about this Tiagra? On sale locally.
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Old 07-22-16, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by dksix View Post
I think $1200 will fall a little short to getting you on one of the big name brands (Trek, Specialized, Cannondale) with Tiagra level group.
Au contraire, mon frère...

Check out these fantastic, brand new Tiagra+ bikes for ~$1200:

Fuji Roubaix 1.3 (105) - $1199

Eddy Merckx BlockHaus67 (Tiagra) - $1199

Giant Defy 2 Disc (Tiagra) - $1200

Specialized Allez DSW Elite (Tiagra) - $1250

Cannondale CAAD8 (Tiagra) - $1250

Emonda ALR4 (Tiagra) - $1310
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Old 07-22-16, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by bay88 View Post
Thanks all. Some great input so far. What about this Tiagra? On sale locally.
Seems like a good deal, but you'll need to make sure they still have your size in stock.

A new 2016 is only $1,250.
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Old 07-22-16, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by velociraptor View Post
Au contraire, mon frère...

Check out these fantastic, brand new Tiagra+ bikes for ~$1200:

Fuji Roubaix 1.3 (105) - $1199

Eddy Merckx BlockHaus67 (Tiagra) - $1199

Giant Defy 2 Disc (Tiagra) - $1200

Specialized Allez DSW Elite (Tiagra) - $1250

Cannondale CAAD8 (Tiagra) - $1250

Emonda ALR4 (Tiagra) - $1310
You did agree with what I said and then provide duplicate information? In my state the sales tax will push those bikes closer to $1350 than $1200 and once gear is added the cost will likely exceed $1500. I stand behind the information I provided.
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Old 07-22-16, 11:48 AM
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Bike fit, saddle, bike fit, shorts, bike fit...did I mention fit yet?

Getting bike that fits you and has the saddle and handlebars in the right place, even if it weighs 20+ lbs and has Claris or Sora components, will be a much more pleasant experience than a 105 or illegal level bike that doesn't fit right.

Also, some with knee problems find that clipping in exacerbates the problem, others find that with some adjusting of cleat position, and loose float (how tight the pedal is attached to your shoe cleat), those problems are eliminated.
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Old 07-22-16, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Cough, CAAD, cough.
You should get this looked at. Sounds productive.
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Old 07-22-16, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by dksix View Post
You did agree with what I said and then provide duplicate information?
Oh sorry, you're right... Saw the Trek links, but my eyes totally glazed over the subsequent, illegible links.

Originally Posted by dksix View Post
In my state the sales tax will push those bikes closer to $1350 than $1200 and once gear is added the cost will likely exceed $1500.
I didn't realize that anyone paid list retail for a new bike(?)

I stand by my post – any of the bikes I listed can be had for $1200 out the door, after taxes (the Emonda might be the only exception – but hey, we're coming up on the end of the season so anything's possible).

And every LBS I've ever been to offers a 10-20% discount on related gear with bike purchase... So helmet, shoes & shorts could likely all be had for ~$100.

I mean come on, anybody here ever read Art of The Deal? It's HUGE.
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Old 07-22-16, 12:26 PM
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First off, welcome to the Bay! There are plenty of great rides just outside your door.

Depending on how strong you are (and how well you ride hills), pay attention to the gearing on the bike. It is extremely difficult to find a ride without going up a bit. If you are buying new, pretty much every bike you will look at will have compact (50/34) chainrings. Larger cogs in the rear will take a bit of the sting out of climbing.
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Old 07-22-16, 12:33 PM
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Wow, that Fuji seems like a great deal.
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Old 07-22-16, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
You should get this looked at. Sounds productive.
I can never figure out which Robittusin® to buy...

Oh, and I do just fine on a 22 lb aluminum cyclocross Sora bike on the group rides full of SWorks this and Red that... A road bike needs to do two things, fit and work, everything else sits atop.
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Old 07-22-16, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by velociraptor View Post
Oh sorry, you're right... Saw the Trek links, but my eyes totally glazed over the subsequent, illegible links.



I didn't realize that anyone paid list retail for a new bike(?)

I stand by my post – any of the bikes I listed can be had for $1200 out the door, after taxes (the Emonda might be the only exception – but hey, we're coming up on the end of the season so anything's possible).

And every LBS I've ever been to offers a 10-20% discount on related gear with bike purchase... So helmet, shoes & shorts could likely all be had for ~$100.

I mean come on, anybody here ever read Art of The Deal? It's HUGE.
I'm sure you've bought more new bikes than I have. What I've looked at locally were at least MSRP (looked at Fuji's that were priced OVER the price posted on Fuji.com) and we have a 9.5% sales tax in TN. I suppose I'm painting a pretty clear picture of why I've not bought new bikes. Maybe in areas where there is some competition shops are forced to be more competitive. The only bike shop is the closest town to me is on average 200% + higher on parts and accessories ($39.95 for a 700x25 Ultra Sport II) and has the Fuji Sportif 2.1 I first looked at for $899. I went in there just a week ago looking for a tire, ended up ordering 2 Grand Prix GT from Ribble for $2 more a PAIR than a single Ultra Sport II locally but I'm wait for them to come in. Like they say, not all LBS's are created equally.
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Old 07-22-16, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by bay88 View Post
Thanks all. Some great input so far. What about this Tiagra? On sale locally.
That is a decent choice, but is only available in 51 and 58 cm sizes -- which would be okay if you're either ~5'1" or ~6' tall.

How tall are you? How flexible are you? How old are you? How much do you weigh?

With those bits, we can possibly steer you toward some specific listings on Craigslist (San Francisco, right?) that might be suitable used options (where you can potentially get a lot more bike for your $)
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Old 07-22-16, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by goenrdoug View Post
How tall are you? How flexible are you? How old are you? How much do you weigh?
I should have thought to provide this, sorry. I'm 6'1, ~165lbs, 27 years old. Fairly flexible, in fair-to-good shape, active, and largely comfortable with discomfort and endurance.
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Old 07-22-16, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by bay88 View Post
I should have thought to provide this, sorry. I'm 6'1, ~165lbs, 27 years old. Fairly flexible, in fair-to-good shape, active, and largely comfortable with discomfort and endurance.
At 6'1, definitely go check out that 2015 size 58 Synapse for $910.

Unless you think you might want a bike with more of a racing geometry. I'll leave it to someone else to explain what that means.
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Old 07-22-16, 01:41 PM
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Keep in mind that while you have a budget, it's going to get blown away if you're not careful. You're going to want jersies, shorts, shoes, pedals, bottles, flat repair kit, goo to smear on your taint, a helmet, arm warmers, special socks, etc. etc. etc. You're not just buying a bike, you're investing in a hobby that will last a while and absorb some of your ongoing entertainment/fitness budget... So, consider that..

Here are a few used options at various price points:
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/5654706943.html
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/5694472721.html
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/bik/5644830997.html
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/bik/5688801811.html
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/bik/5691222049.html
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/bik/5689387015.html
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