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Bike suggestions please

ski stef

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So, I probably haven't been on a bike in....well a long time. I signed up for a triathlon (it's in 8 weeks) and I need to start training. I'm thinking about purchasing a used cyclocross so that I can use it for the triathlon but not just strictly only on the road afterwards. I'm 5'4" 130lbs. I have NO idea what size bike is right for me, what's a good brand? How much should I spend as a beginner? Is the cyclocross the right bike or should I just purchase a cheapy used road bike to train for the tri and later a beginner mtn bike? What should I be looking for? Thanks in advance if anyone has suggestions.
 

MR. evil

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If your considering a road bike, for your first bike I would get new through a bike shop. Sizing is much more important on a road bike than a MTB because on a road bike you remain in the same position for longer periods of time compared to a MTB. The wrong size road bike will not only be very uncomfortable but could also lead to repetitive stress injuries.

You might be able to get lucky like I did and get a used road bike from a bike shop.
 

ski stef

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Local bike shop put me on a womens specific size medium Specialized Amira and let me take it out for a spin. I didn't realize it would stick with me so fast... I'm assuming since it is a higher end model it was super comfy so I'm sure he spoiled me. Anyways, somewhat already obsessed and looking fwd to training for the Tri!!!
 

MR. evil

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Bike comfort is all about fit and setup, has nothing to do with how nice or expensive a bike is. A when I was shopping for my road bike I tested out a $5000 Cervello for shits and giggles and it was torture. Then tried an $800 Spesh Allez and it was the complete opposite. I ended up buying used Spesh Roubaix elite from that same shop which is just an upscale version of the Allez that fit me so well.

what model of the Amira are you considering?
 

ski stef

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Oh I'm not considering buying one! I'm going to go to Denver and get on a couple other models and see how those feel. I may just rent the bike from these local guys a few times to get comfy and use it on race day. If I really start to enjoy it I may pick one up... My budget for a bike is pretty small. (<$500)
 

ski stef

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Well still considering purchasing a bike but not something like what he put me on. I can't afford it although it was so comfortable and did actually fit me really well
 

Nick

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I feel like expense in road bikes isn't quite as justified as it is on a mountain bike. Road bikes are lighter, etc. but i feel like the dynamic conditions on a mountain bike make the expense more worthwhile for things like durability, better suspension, etc., doesn't apply as much on a smooth surface.

boo road bikes :p
 

MR. evil

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I feel like expense in road bikes isn't quite as justified as it is on a mountain bike. Road bikes are lighter, etc. but i feel like the dynamic conditions on a mountain bike make the expense more worthwhile for things like durability, better suspension, etc., doesn't apply as much on a smooth surface.

boo road bikes :p

I ride both and I am also a self professed bike snob. From my experience I can tell more of a difference between road bikes of varying levels of quality over mountain bikes. This of course is taking the really low end stuff out of the equation for both types. Also take into account that I have a very high end boutique mountain bike with a nice build vs a middle of the pack road bike. When mountain biking there are so many trail variables you have to concentrate on that you tend not to notice the little nuances of your bike. But on the road all your doing is pedaling and you have lots of time to think and notice how your bike behaves, handles, accelerates, etc..... This is just my opinion of course.
 

andyzee

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I love my Carbon Fiber, however good luck getting one for cheap. Depending what your needs may be and what king of distance your considering, Chrome molly is inexpensive and a pretty good material for less money but not very stiff. Aluminum is a great material for a racing bike at a decent price, nice and stiff allowing for better transfer of power. However I wouldn't recommend it for anything more than a 25 - 30 mile ride since being stiff, you will feel a lot of the road. And Mr evil is on the money with regard to sizing. With regard to brand, eh, 6 of 1 half a dozen of the other. I have all Treks, happy with them. Specialized has always been a good one. To save money, you may want to look at Giant, they are one of the biggest, if not the biggest bike maker in the world and sell under numerous brand names, including some for Trek and Specialized.

Oh, and one thing to consider for a tri, is aero bars. Great help
 

ts01

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+1 for clip-on aero bars on a road bike that fits you properly, for triathlon and training purposes.

These days the best price / performance choice, by far, is aluminum. andyzee is correct, it can have a harsh ride relative to carbon or steel, but that's a function of several factors well within your control.
1 - alu had a "harsh ride" rep back when it first was introduced but there is a world of difference between 80's and early 90's alu (I still ride one as beater bike) and this century's (my tri and training bike). If you're a relative noob, just ignore this. "90% of the game is half mental," as Yogi Berra said.
2 - fit, fit, fit. when you're buying and setting up the bike, make sure your weight is balanced between hips and hands; too much on the hands and you'll be hurting, no matter what material. very good fit guides to be found on the interwebz, IIRC www.wrenchscience.com and competitive cyclist both had good frame size calculators and guides.
3 - carbon forks on alu bikes = good
4 - 25mm tires not 23mm; you can run a little softer pressure, for a nicer ride and no appreciable downside in performance
5 - add an extra layer of tape or cushioning to the top of your bars before taping up.
6 - gloves.
7 - flex your elbows and knees. this should come naturally to a skier. when you're on crappy pavement, loosen those joints and let your limbs absorb the hits. straight arms and/or too much weight on the saddle relative to pedals is painful.
 

ski stef

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went to Mountain Sports Outlet in Silverthorne here and picked up a last years Bianchi road bike size 53. It was between that or a women's specific 51 cm Trek Lexa. I probably rode both of them around for about an hour each. The Bianchi had compact gearing which I enjoyed more than the triple. I had to move the saddle forward about a cm or two and it fits like a glove.. very excited for my new baby and I even got to ride it work this morning for Colorado's ride your bike to work day and get free coffee at our local frozen yogurt joint. :grin:

Excited to be able to train on my own bike for the tri and feel comfortable on it. Also very excited to get into this new sport!
 

ski stef

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Also, thanks for all the advice! Those aero bars are something I will look into down the road... I'm also holding off on clipless pedals for the moment. Hopefully can get into those in the near future.

Next purchase will be padded bike shorts.....
 

MR. evil

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When you get shorts, go for bib shorts...MUCH more comfortable! Also, I have a new in the box never used pair of Shimano 105 clipless road pedals that I purchased last summer and never used. Will sell them very cheap ($40) if and when you decide to get clipless pedals.

You mentioned that you moved the seat forward and the bike fit like a glove. Did you make these adjustments or did the bike shop? On a road bike you do not move the seat forward or back to compensate for bike size. The seat position is adjusted purely to make sure your knees are in the correct relationship to the pedals at a specific point in the pedal stroke. This is to avoid repetitive stress knee injuries. If you adjusted the seat position to compensate for a top tube that's either too long or too short you probably have the saddle in the wrong position for a good pedal stroke and risk knee issues. You should get a longer or shorter stem to adjust bike fit only after you have located the saddle for optimum knee alignment.

If the bike shop didn't do it already, spend the money to get a professional bike fit / setup. But wait to do this until after you get clipless pedals and shoes.
 

ski stef

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That's interesting you mention that about the position of the seat, I will take a look at that this afternoon. I was the one that suggested moving the seat forward a cm (to kind of put myself in the position that the women's specific had me in) but it seemed to come together perfect after that. I don't remember them checking my knee alignment after we adjusted that, I took like 3 spins and immediately felt that moment of "this is it." He did mention that it was a little difference since I had my tennis shoes on (which is what i'll be riding in at least for the next month I think) and probably for the tri.
Thanks for the advice, after I move onto clipless I'll get the bike resized and probably be looking at getting a shorter stem.

When should I move on to clipless pedals? After I've just gotten more familiar with the bike? I am interested in them, I think since I'm such a beginner right now it's not totally necessary.
 

ski stef

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^ that's good to know, i feel like the people i've talked to around here have been kind of telling me to wait and i wasn't sure why. so maybe i will just go for it! I need to figure out some pricing.. I'm hoping for my first pair of shoes and pedals i can go basic and spend <$100?
 
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