New to biking - Need to buy a good road bike in Manhattan

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Anonymous's picture

I am new to biking and am signed up for a 190-mile road ride in late summer. I want to spend up to around $500 and don't know where to go. I've looked on Ebay but haven't found anything. Where should I look around Manhattan? Are there good classifieds or bulletins somewhere? Are there shops where I can get a decent bike for $500? I'm much more interested in comfort rather than speed in a bike. I am generally athletic, about 6' tall and believe I'd be either a 58 or 60cm. Thank you.

Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)

$500 is very low for a road bike, so I suggest you look for a decent used bicycle. I would maybe tour the shops to get ideas - Sid's, Gotham, Bicycle Habitat, Conrad's, Toga - and see what's out there. New road bikes cost from about $1,000 to over $7,000, with some specialty TT bikes at over $14,000. Haha, I'm not suggesting buying one, but look at them, see what there is.

Craig's List is pretty good, and sometimes a sale pops up on this board.

Check out Bike Works:

Steve Perry at BW always has bikes and frames to build up - and he is inexpensive.

Remember, you need extra $$$ - pedals, shoes, water bottles and cages, a spedometer/heart rate monitor, tires, tubes, lube, pump/CO2, tire levers, saddle bag, maybe lighting, maybe locks, shorts/bibs, jerseys, shoes, pedals, helmet, glasses, gloves, etc. And if riding in cold weather, ... jacket, base layers, wool socks, booties, heavy gloves, hat/balaclava. Try for getting ideas.

Good luck!

Anonymous's picture
Christian Edstrom (not verified)


Like Journey?

I think you meant Dave Perry at BikeWorks. I second your recommendation, though.

And slightly off-topic, I present the best review of a Journey concert (alas, post-Steve Perry), ever:

And even more off-topic, I present a collection of terrifying fan fiction:


Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)
Stand corrected ... actually ...

... I'm sitting. :-)

Yes it is Dave and at that hour of the AM, without coffee, i had no business posting :-)

Journey is great, yes!!! Before and after Dave, eh ... Steve Perry.

See ya on the road maybe ...,


Anonymous's picture
David Regen (not verified)
re: ebay

I wouldn't buy a bike on ebay unless it was a local auction so you can at least see the thing and maybe even ride it, and avoid expensive shipping that could wipe out a lot of your savings.

Another possibility if you go ebay is to get something kind of old, say, 8-10 years, that doesn't have a lot of miles on it. Lots of people buy nice bikes with the intention of riding them alot, then use them on a few long rides and loose interest. Those bikes are perfectly sound, just a bit outdated compared to the new stuff, and usually heavier, but any new bike for less than $600 is going to be on the heavy side. Just make sure it has a 130mm rear dropout spacing so you can use modern wheels.


Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Used bike

"""I am new to biking and am signed up for a 190-mile road ride in late summer. I want to spend up to around $500 and don't know where to go.""

If you're not knowlegeable about road bikes, do some homework before buying anything.

Some questions. You say you're signed up for a 192 mile ride. What will the typical daily mileage be? Flat, rolling, or mountainous terrain? Will you be carrying your baggage on the bike or is it transported by sag wagon?

You can get a new entry level road bike for around $600. Check out Trek 1000, Giant OCR3, Fuji Ace, Raleigh Grandsport, and Fuji Touring.

Yes, a used bike can be a better value IF it's in good shape (not just shiny paint), and fits properly. Oh, and all 58 cm frames are NOT the same size! Check how it's measured, and also check top tube length.


Anonymous's picture
Steve (not verified)
questions for chainwheel

Thanks a lot for the advice. I realize that $500 is a small budget for the bike but as this may well be my first and last long-distance bike ride experience I don't see the need to buy a really pricey bike. Someone else recommended the Giant OCR series, glad to hear you think they're acceptable, too. A couple remarks to your comments:

Regarding the bike ride: It's 190 miles in two days (110 the first, 80 the second). The average speed depends on the person, I will probably shoot for somewhere between 16 and 18 miles an hour, but we'll see how well I train. The first 50 miles are very hilly (lots of steep inclines and declines) but the rest of it is relatively flat, all on paved roads or very firm dirt. We will not be carrying any baggage at all, they take care of that for us.

I will look at the links you recommended and I will also look around for those bike recs you made. I guess I was hoping that I could find a 2 year old used bike that maybe sold new for $1200 and I could buy it used for $500. Are those around?

Thanks again very much.

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
You need to do a lot of training

If you are planning to do those kind of distances in two days, you need to do a serious amount of training. The average speeds you mention sound unrealistic if you are new to cycling, although I don't know your level of fitness. But an average speed of 16 to 18 mph over a distance of 110 miles would challenge the strongest riders in the club, especially over hilly terrain and some dirt roads.

You will certainly need to do a lot of training, involving many hours in the saddle. Comfort and good fit are essential considerations, otherwise you may pick up a nasty repetitive strain injury, which will hamper your prospects to do the ride that you've signed up for.

I wouldn't recommend rushing into buying the wrong bike, but you do need to get on the bike as soon as possible and start training, so do talk to as many bike shops about fit, and follow the links suggested by other posters.

I have to say, that I think it is a tall order to find the kind of bike you will need for $500, even a used one. If you happen to be extremely tall, or have unusual limb and torso dimensions, the task will be much harder, as standard 'off-the-peg' frames may be entirely unsuitable and cause you much discomfort and/or injury.

You may find that once you start riding, you will be hooked and want to keep the bike for longer than just this ride. So spending more may not be such a bad thing. And if you decide that cycling is not a long-term thing for you, you could always resell the bike after the ride.

But to have the commitment to do those kind of distances and the training required, you really need to be a commited, long-term cyclist.

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Ride lots

"""It's 190 miles in two days (110 the first, 80 the second). The average speed depends on the person, I will probably shoot for somewhere between 16 and 18 miles an hour...""

Back-to-back long distance rides are much tougher than a single 100-mile day. Even if you've been running or doing other aerobic exercise, you're going to have to spend a good deal of time on the bike training for this.

I wouldn't worry too much about bike weight even with the hills. As long as the bike is under 24-25 pounds it will be ok. Remember you're hauling yourself and the bike up those hills, and the bike is only a fraction of your weight. Low gears (i.e., triple crankset) would be advised.

Since there will be some dirt roads, I'd go for at least 700 x 25mm tires for traction and comfort.

You'll be spending at least 7 hours in the saddle the first day. A comfortable position and saddle will be a must. Do at least one ~80 mile training ride before the event. Of course, you'll need to do lots of 30-60 mile rides as well. This will not only get you prepared, but will shake out any problems with the bike.

While some folks might be horrified that you're not riding a $1500+ bike, I don't think that's going to hold you back much. But don't under-estimate the difficulty of the ride.


Anonymous's picture
Alfredo Garcia (not verified)
420-620 dollares


Some ideas:

This rig is featured in the current Bicycling magazine, the Felt ""F90"" road bike, MSRP-$629.99:

Another: Fuji ""League"" road bike, MSRP-$418.00

Pros: Reasonable price
Cons: Entry level components (e.g. Shimano Sora); heavier bike; Are you comfortable riding an alumimun bike?

Suggestion: Shop around, gather info, ask around, consider going for a bike fit. Attain a NYCC general meeting. You might spend a few more bucks.

Suggestion #2: You have lots of time to train for your ride. Try to attain at least 1,000 base riding miles between now and then. And get some climbs and foul weather rides in. It can be done."

Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)

"IMHO, an entry-level road bike should do fine for what your looking to do. Fit and assembly are key, the bikes Alfredo pointed to and their equivalent should do fine. People have apprehensions about aluminum, but each bike is different and there are ways to mitigate the supposed harshness. I recall road-testing bikes 10+ years ago and tried the ""bonded"" entry-level Treks and found them a bit harsh, yet found the equivalent Cannondale acceptable. That Felt has a carbon fork, which should also smooth things out.

Toga, which is a nice shop, had good deals on steel entry-level Fujis, retired from their rental fleet, which several SIG members bought. Perhaps they'll have the equivalent.

I'd also check the speed of the ride. There's a big difference between 16-18 MPH ""peak,"" 16-18 MPH ""cruising"" and 16-18 MPH ""average.""

Consider a ""wanted-to-buy"" post on this message board for your bike and any accessories you might need, but do get yourself a fresh helmet.

...and start training soon. Happy riding!


Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)

Oh, almost any shop in the area should do fine.

Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)


A 16-18 mph average is rather fast, depending on the terrain contours. If you have proper gearing, hills will be OK, but remember, the low gears that are easy to turn up a hill require a faster cadence. Whatever your style of riding/climbing, train now. In fact, maybe don’t even consider it training. “Ride lots” as one great cyclist said and look at it as fun with dedication.

An 8% grade hill should see you doing 6-8 mph. If you have 25 miles of climbing (1/2 of the first hill 50 miles), you have 3-4 hours of ascent. Getting up to an overall 16-18 average after that needs what, 24 mph average or so!!! Muy rapido!!! Tres vitesse. Italian anyone??

Also, bear in mind that riding is only ½ of the story. Recovery is the other ½. If you knock yourself silly day 1, you will have trouble finishing day 1. The plan should be to stay within your aerobic zone as much as possible – 70-80% of your max heart rate. In that zone, people ride for days, literally. Of course you will go beyond that from time to time, but keep it at a minimum. Also, if you do knock yourself out day 1, day 2 is all that much harder because you’ll need extra recovery time.

Be aware, train for base miles and endurance then get into intervals – where you want to go beyond your aero zone. Warm up and then do a 30 second interval, recover for several minutes, and repeat 3-4-5 times. Then go to 1 minutes intervals, 1 ½, then 2, 3, 4. Get the Armstrong-Carmichael book or Friel’s Cyclist’s Training Bible and read about period training, intervals and diet. Carb big time before long hard rides. And try to have fun amongst the sweat, seared lungs, aching legs and seemingly endless climbs.

Anonymous's picture
Christian Edstrom (not verified)

"""molto rapidamente"" or ""molto velocemente"", perhaps?

Yes, Virginia, fast can be an adjective or an adverb, no -ly needed!

- Christian"

Anonymous's picture
Steve (not verified)
The ride is the PMC

Thanks for the training advice. The ride is the Pan-Mass Challenge ( and I'm doing the longest ride - Sturbridge to Provincetown.

Need to get the bike ASAP. Am going to take the recs mentioned earlier in this thread and hope to find something soon.

Anonymous's picture
fendergal (not verified)

"In regards to recovery and training, it's important to learn how to eat and drink on and off the bike. Decide which sports drinks (Gatorage, Cytomax, et al.) you like and which react well in your system when you're riding. You'd be surprised how differently people react to different brands. Do not ride just with plain water. Carry (and eat) pocket food, whether it's a bagel, PB&J, banana, Clif bar or gel. It doesn't have to be expensive, it just has to fuel your body. You're not on a diet, you're training, so don't deprive your body of calories. That said, don't pig out. Eat a solid breakfast, like oatmeal (which you should already be doing!).

After the ride, do some stretching, especially if you are prone to cramping. Some people do stretch, some don't. Alternating heat and cold water on your legs in your post-ride shower can also help speed the recovery process, as can getting a regular massage. Eat protein and carbs to replenish the calories burned, and to help your muscles repair themselves. Take a nap.

Drink fluids before, during and after the ride, but make sure your post-ride drinks have electrolytes to replenish what you sweated off. Don't drink just plain water. Emergen-C packets are great.

Don't worry so much about specifics in training, as in the Carmichael or Friel. I can't imagine you're going to buy a heart rate monitor, so who cares about that? And intervals? Yuck. You're doing this for fun, not for a ""personal best"" time. It's not a race, right? Just ride your bike. As others have posted here, you just need to be on the saddle, getting your body used to a new activity. Good luck and have lots of fun!

Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)
Training Intervals - Fendergal

"Fendergal (hello) says ""Yuck"" to interval training and that is just fine. Different strokes for pluralism and individuality.

Me? I do intervals. They really work your c-v system, build muscles and bloodflow and - and this is the clincher - make road riding fun. How much fun is it to summit a climb after almost dying? You’re out of breathe, aching, screaming for O2 and have watched everyone else pass you. And OH NO another hill!!!! not fun.

You do not have to be pushing 28 mph on the road to reap interval benefits. Intervals simply make a hard task a bit easier and allow you time and ability to smell the roses if you like. Or go faster. Or climb again. interval training opens more options for riding .

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
Training intervals

"Sometimes, while trying to give helpful advice, we lose sight of the original poster's question. He said, ""I'm much more interested in comfort rather than speed in a bike."" So, I wouldn't recommend intervals. I would recommend going out on NYCC club rides, which is a fun way to get in good cycling condition. Intervals are not fun.

Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)

"It is a matter of individual taste. Did I not say ""different strokes""?

Also, my point is that if you do intervals, your road riding is easier and more fun. At least mine is. Plus, it's nice to burn 15 calories/minute.

Different strokes dude."

Anonymous's picture
papafrog (not verified)
another thing to consider

One thing you may not be considering is how much you may end up loving to ride. I know many a rider who has bought a bike, fell in love, and quickly wanted to upgrade. Ultimately, they ended up spending a lot more money because they went real low on the first bike. If you end up buying a $500 bike, you may not even be happy with it by the time you actually get to your big ride at the end of the summer. If you go an extra $300 you may end up much happier down the road. That could get you a nice Shimano 105 group depending on where you look. Here are two sites you may want to look at that have some nice deals:

Good luck.

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)

"Supergo and Bikesdirect are exactly what a first time road bike buyer should avoid.

Yes, you can save a couple of bucks, but you don't get to see the bike close up, ride it, or even sit on it. You get no guidance from a knowledgeable salesperson. And you don't even get a fully assembled bike. They say, ""We suggest you take it to your local bike shop for final assembly & safety checks.""

Bikesdirect in particular sells ""Motobecane,"" ""Mercier,"" and ""Windsor"" bikes that have no relation whatever to those original respected brand names.

Then if you decide to return the bike, you pay return shipping and probably a re-stocking fee.

Better to buy a used bike locally if cost is the overriding factor.


Anonymous's picture
papafrog (not verified)
point taken

"I personally have never bought from Supergo or Bikesdirect. That was more of a reference for pricing of bikes with a decent group. The real point of my post, however, was that a lot of new riders buy a cheap bike and then get the ""bug"" and immediately want to upgrade, hence spending more money over the long haul. I would suggest that he consider this when making his purchase. It may be wiser to spend an extra few bucks now if he can afford it. I do agree that it's always best to go to your LBS, test ride the bike, get fitted, etc."

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Agree with that

"True. The worst thing to do is to start upgrading components within a year of buying a bike. Steve's case seems unusual in that he's taking on a big challenge and may not become a regular rider afterwards.

But it may actually be a good idea to start with a fairly inexpensive bike. Then by seeing what you like and dislike, you can make a more informed decision about what your next bike should be. You can then either sell the first bike, or keep it as a beater.


Anonymous's picture
Someone (not verified)
Supergo & Bikes Direct

"IIRC, Supergo is owned by Performance, probably fine bikes (probably same as Performance's ""Tirreno."") Downside is that they recommend professional assembly, and you'll need a fitting, which will eat up your savings If the bike's not for you the return shipping totally kills it, and you're out time too.

BikesDirect is a whole other story. I soured on them a few years back when they would advertise that ""Bike X"" was priced ""Y dollars below MSRP"" and pointed you to the manufacturer's web site. What they didn't tell you, was that they were the ""manufacturer"" and that they ran both web sites.

My current local faves are Toga (where I got mine, pleasant atmosphere) Sid's (again, atmosphere) and Habitat (unpretentious, owner is a major cycling advicate.) If you're willing to travel, the shop in Piermont is more laid back, has a great selection and is in a really nice setting."

Anonymous's picture
Reg (not verified)
re:Looking for good place to buy a used bike in NYC

If you feel like making a quick trip to Williamsburg, you could check out Spokes and Strings on Havemeyer(or somewhere there abouts). They can sell you something for $500. But $500 don't buy you much bike.

Good Luck


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