new bike

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Anonymous's picture

I'm ready to switch from a hybrid to a road bike. Can anyone give me some tips about where to go (or where to avoid) and what to try (or what kind of cycle to avoid)? I can't spend a fortune, but...
I ride between 130-150 miles/week (including commuting and a weekend ride).

Anonymous's picture
Carol Waaser (not verified)

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. Ask 10 members what their favorite bike shop is and you'll get 10 different answers. That being said, I recommend Sid's on E. 34th St. They know how to fit women cyclists. Call and make an appointment or go when they're not likely to be busy (i.e. not on a Saturday).

After fit, appropriate gearing is next most important. 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.

Know what type of riding you'll be doing. The right frame geometry will be determined by that. Are you most interested in speed and power, or is comfort more important? Also, if you're planning to use this bike for commuting or light loaded touring, you'll want one with rear rack braze-ons. If you're just using it for club rides, you don't need to worry about that.

Anonymous's picture
bill (not verified) is a great resource. Lots of reviews. Lots of msgs in the discussions area.

They have a sister site for mountain bikes (

If you have the space for 2 bikes, keep the hybrid for commuting. More upright position, fatter tires, OK to lock up = a good commuting bike.

As for shops, my favs are Toga, Sids on 34th, and R&A in Brooklyn.


Anonymous's picture
Aviva (not verified)

"Hey Nancy,

I just bought my first ""real"" (ie-not when I was in middle school) road bike--been riding hybrid all these years--and had a great experience with Will at Toga. I found him to be friendly, good on follow-up, and educationally oriented. He even showed me some gearing basics and gave me some form pointers on the trainer. Love my new bike and the fit feels great! :)

Good luck,


Anonymous's picture
rob (not verified)
biking - commuting

You may want to consider getting two different bikes, one for recreational riding and one for commuting. A commuting bike needs to be more durable to deal with NYC streets, and depending on if you ride in the rain, lock it outside, ride in traffic, etc, you may be able to find a beater on Craigslist. On the other hand, you probably want a lighter, more responsive, and more expensive bike for your recreational riding.
Also, pedals with cleats are best for biking, but a little scary to be locked in when riding in traffic.
Good luck!

Anonymous's picture
Fred (not verified)
Buying a roadbike for the first time

"Carol's point about fit being the #1 concern is right on. Also, do not underestimate the value of her advice to avoid strolling into a shop at a busy time, such as a weekend afternoon in the spring or summer. You'll want to spend some time with the salesperson in an unrushed environment. Even if your salesperson is courteous and genuinely trying to give you his or her full attention, you may feel pressure if the store is full and other customers are waiting for you to be finished so that they can be helped. If you can plan ahead, you might call the shop, find out what would be a good time to come in, and make an appointment. My guess is that they'll appreciate it your interest and go out of their way to make the experience pleasant when you do come in. Another suggestion is to plan on visiting several shops and trying out a number of bikes over a period of weeks. I visited three shops (one twice) and test rode about 5 or 6 bikes before making my first roadbike purchase. By the way, I was looking in the $1,000 - $1,500 range, and I never got the sense from any of the salespeople I dealt with that I was a second class citizen because I was not in the market for something higher end.

In terms of specific shop recommendations, I've bought two bikes from Sid's and was pleased with the salespeople and follow up service both times. I also had a good experience with Casey at Larry & Jeff's. Recognizing that I was a roadbike newbie, Casey was very patient and made sure I tried out at least 3 or 4 different bikes at the shop to give me a sense of different geometries and ""feel."" Piermont Cycles was also very accomodating and had a great selection of bikes. In the end, though, I felt more comfortable buying from a shop in Manhattan, since I thought after-purchase tune ups and service would be more convenient.

Good luck!

Anonymous's picture
Claudette (not verified)
Second on Casey and Larry and Jeff's

He is very knowledgeable and will not try to oversell you. In fact, he has talked me OUT of purchases which, now, I realize would have been a bad move.

Anonymous's picture
Betsy Hafkin (not verified)
Another vote for K.C. at Larry & Jeff's

I've bought 2 road bikes from him and both times he insisted that I try numerous bikes and then asked me loads of questions to make me think about whether or not my needs were being met. The first time I was a complete newbie and he could've sold me anything. Instead he spent a lot of time with me to determine exactly what would make me happy.

Anonymous's picture
Bob Ross (not verified)

"I hate to be the guy who just posts ""what she said"" or maybe ""+1"" but yeah, KC is definitely Da Man. He listens, he remembers, and he has the wholly unorthodox approach of seemingly valuing the customer's needs above his employer's bottom line. In short, he's not like any salesman I've ever met; more like a cross between a lifestyle consultant and a shrink."

Anonymous's picture
Morene (not verified)
Larry & Jeff's

Ditto what Fred suggested, and I agree that KC (a/k/a Casey) is a knowledgeable and great guy to talk to. I bought my first road bike there from Chris, who also is knowledgeable and listened to my desires, though he can be more skewed to Specialized...he likes their product. On that note, I love my Specialized, and they ALL worked with me till it fit me perfectly. My recommendation: be patient and ask LOTS of questions. Good luck!

Anonymous's picture
David Carr (not verified)
Chad at Toga

If you're wanting to check out some different places, I have had a good experience with Chad at Toga (on Westend). I already had a bike fit (from Paul Levine) when I purchased my bike through him, so can't speak to that, but he has been friendly and knowledgable both with the bike purchase and follow up.

Anonymous's picture
Jim Reaven (not verified)
Know what to ask for

"Carols advice is great. I just want to add that there is a strong tendency among almost all bicycle sales people in the competitive environment of NYC to avoid raising issues. They are justifiably afraid that if they raise an issue you will say, ""Wow, I hadn't thought of that. I had better get some advice on that,"" and then you will walk out and, after getting your advice, end up at a different store. So please do some reading and take some notes and talk to some club members and visit some shops then go into the store to buy with a prioritized list of requirements, at least."

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