bike recommendations

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Anonymous's picture

I am a new member to the club and relatively new to cycling. I have an old Specialized bike that I used in the early 90s for some biathlons, but I would like to upgrade this spring and would welcome any new road bike recommendations. not looking to do any racing; purely recreational/fitness riding in 50-75 mile/week range. in terms of budget, $2-3k is my target. any suggestions would be appreciated. thanks. John

Anonymous's picture
Steve (not verified)

Most important thing is that the bike fits well, beyond that brand and model are far less important.

Anonymous's picture
Carol Waaser (not verified)
Ditto the above

Fit is the #1 concern. Take your time, go to several bike shops and talk to the sales and fit people. Find a shop you're comfortable with that will work with you to find a bike that fits you properly and suits your riding style and position. If a shop tries to sell you a bike without asking you a lot of questions first, walk out and go someplace else.

Your price range is high enough that you'll have lots of choices, including components. I don't know how young and strong you are (or how old with weak knees), but talk with someone knowledgeable about the right gearing for you and the type of riding you plan to do. If you're not racing, you probably don't need a 53 or even a 52 chainring, so you could consider a compact double or even a triple or compact triple. After fit, appropriate gearing is next most important. And after that, just go for pretty or cool or whatever turns you on.

Anonymous's picture
Claudette (not verified)
From one newbie to another

I began riding in late May '06 and bought my first road bike then. I've had some excellent advice from many friends about frames, gearing, etc.

One thing I've learned is that if you plan to keep your bike for a long time, you ought to make sure the frame is the best you can get. The Trek line (so far as I know) is the only bike that comes with a lifetime frame warranty. Cannondale has a better than average frame for the price range, in general. So you get a better frame with the same components for about the same money as with other brands. I got a bike I love for 1300 bucks.

Once you decide on those things, then get a great fit and spend the rest of your money on a cycling computer and clothes. There is endless debate on what components to get. Much of this is going to be your personal preference and you'll learn by trial and error what you want. Ask lots of questions. There are incredible resources in this club.

Also, know that many bike shops give a discount to NYCC members. So your joining BEFORE you buy might save you some big bucks. My membership has paid for itself scores of times.

Have fun!

Anonymous's picture
[email protected] (not verified)
Three suggestions.

"1) Consider a steel frame as an option. With a modicum of pre-emptive rust proofing (""Frame Saver""), it should last you many years. Carbon and aluminium are essentially disposable after a crash of any significance. Titanium is pricey and yields few benefits over steel except to save you the rust proofing. Sid's can custom order Independent Fabrications, Waterford (butted) or Gunnar ($800+ for frame).

2) Nail down whether you're going to get a double or triple chainring. Expensive to change after the fact.

3) Have fun.

[I concur with others about the importance of a good fit but I'm dubious about paying $400 for a guru.]"

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Consider building your own

"You can surely get a good package deal for well under $2K from a major manufacturer. These deals usually save you the most on components because they're getting the old economies of scale. Other advantages are that you can test ride it before buying. And you might be able to get a 2006 model on sale right about now. Check out some of the bike catalogues as well as local bike shops. Bicycle Habitat usually has year-end inventory.

If you're willing to spend that much, however, you might want to take the extra time and trouble to research getting one built. (In which case, you can buy package components from Colorado Cyclist et al at something of a discount, or go hog wild and buy whatever you want a la carte.)

I highly recommend Philly framebuilder Harry Havnoonian, who custom-made my steel fixed gear frame. Harry even has stock frames on sale right now (bargain!) or you could get one custom, if you want a bike to love and cherish throughout life.

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I agree with Neile that ""steel is real"" and wouldn't touch a carbon frame. (It might fracture.) But I had an aluminum frame for five years with no problem, and it has since gone on to a new owner. I also bought a ti frame last year before the military ate all the supplies and forced the price up. It's very nice, but I like my Harry frame best."

Anonymous's picture
Christophe Jammet (not verified)

IMO, carbon fiber is just as, if not more robust than thin-walled alumnum. given normal wear, aluminum will become prone to stress fractures before carbon fiber does. The material has come a long way from the lugged carbon treks of the 80's.

Anonymous's picture
Christophe Jammet (not verified)

I would look for a well spec'd bike from one of the major manufacturers. They each have advantages/disadvantages but are almost all very well spec'd. The specialized Tarmac, Giant TCR, and Orbeas come to mind. for that price range you can get an ultegra-equipped bike with an all carbon or AL-Carbon mix frame.

the most important thing, however, is a good fitting! make sure you spend the $$ on a good fitter above all else.

Anonymous's picture
Ivy (not verified)
Reality Check?

"$3000 is a lot of money to spend on a bike. My advice: take your ""old"" Specialized to Master Bike for a tune up and spend a season riding it to see whether you are really into cycling. If you love cycling, then spend the cash. A year of riding will teach you about the things that you need/want from a bike and the things that you can save money on because they aren't really important to you. A bike from the 90s really isn't that old, anyway. I have a 1982 Trek that I ride approximately 50 miles a week on. Yes, I also have an expensive custom bike, but I didn't drop the cash on that bike until I'd logged several thousand miles on a less-expensive bike."

Anonymous's picture
John K. (not verified)
reality check?

Thanks for your concern Ivy, but I did those things that you recommended last year, and I've decided that it's time for an upgrade/update. Thank you all for your suggestions; they were very helpful.

Anonymous's picture
Bob Shay (not verified)
Trek Madone 5.0

Check out a Trek Madone 5.0. It is a new offering for this year and I believe you can get a new one for under $2,600. I've ridden over 40,000 miles on different bike frames including steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber. I like the new (2005 year+) Trek Madone carbon the best because the frame is stiff and light with very little flex. That translates into a confidence inspiring rides downhill and almost full power transfer from the pedals to the rear wheel. Very sweet on long rides with hills.

Plus, Trek warranties the frame for life. I used this once in 2004 - 30,000+ miles on a 1994 frame with a crack under the top tube. Within two weeks Trek gave me a new 2004 frame and rebuilt the bike at no cost to me. Trek stands behind their warranty. The next day, I purchased a new Madone.

P.S. If you go down this path, have the wheels swapped out for ultegra hubs, mavic open pro rims with 32 spokes. I always do this because it is more reliable - and the LBS gives me a price break because they are a less expensive set of wheels.

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)

"John, what don't you like about your bike? You haven't really described it, or explained why you want to replace it. What problem are you trying to solve? What do you envision a new bike will do that your old one won't?

There may be good reasons to buy a new bike. But if you're just looking for something fancier or lighter, don't expect it to make much difference beyond the initial ""new bike placebo effect"" period.

Those of us who have been riding many years develop certain preferences as to frame geometry, gearing, wheels, etc. Personally, I'm more concerned with reliability and maintainability than light weight and fashion. That rules out things like carbon seat posts and bars, and low spoke count wheels.

We need more information on what you're priorities are before we can make recommendations.


Anonymous's picture
RichardFernandez (not verified)

Check out Glenn at Piermont bikes in Piermont New York(closed on wed.)Hook yourself up with a $1700 all uluminum Cannondale frame with ultegra parts.I'm getting one for my brother in March and then I'm getting one for my cousin in July both for their birthdays...errrr for the rest of their lives.Rich

Anonymous's picture
Peter (not verified)
Fitting outfitters


Anonymous's picture
David (not verified)

Remember when buying your new baby, that you will be spending money on pedals and proably new shoes. This adds anywhere from $250 to $500 to your cost. You will most likely add a cycling computer with hopefully a cadence and heart rate. Another $75 to $300 and of course you could spend more. Be prepared to spend another $100 in a couple months for a descent pair of tires.

By the way carbon gives a lovely ride. If your not into doing 35 mph in a paceline look into the Specialized Roubaix line. The Tarmac is more agressive but its geometry is tougher on the back.

The bottom line it will be very easy to break your budget if you don't have your eyes opened.

Anonymous's picture
Fendergal (not verified)

"I disagree with David's assessment of the Tarmac as ""tough on the back."" I bought a Tarmac in spring of '06. It is a superb racing bike, and I have yet to find something about it that I don't like. And no, I haven't had any back pain.

You have to consider what kind of riding you primarily do, and what, if any, riding you'd like to do in the next few years. Racing? Diner stops? Touring? Around town?

IMHO, compact frames are great, but they are flawed in that, in smaller sizes, carrying two full-sized water bottles is difficult if not impossible. Also many compact frames make it hard to carry a full-sized frame pump. Not a big deal, but something to consider."

Anonymous's picture
Compact Guy (not verified)

In my opinion, the fundamental flaw of compact frames is that they're ugly as sin.

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