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Thread: Biking

  1. #1

    Default Biking

    I'm highly considering buying a road or cyclocross bike, and wanted to see what everyone on here has for suggestions. I've looked into a Trek cyclocross as well as a Fuji Sportif. I bike on my own, but want something to help take me to the next level and think that these two bikes are good starters.
    If anyone who is a biker has a suggestion, please let me know!

  2. #2

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    Unless you are planning on competitive road racing of any kind, I would definitely recommend getting a cyclocross bike as opposed to a road bike. For smooth pavement, you can always use narrow road tires, but at least you have the option to use fatter tires on your bike for dirt or gravel roads. Trek and Fuji both make very good bikes; most brands do these days. What is really important is finding a bike that fits you well, and then maintaining it properly. I would advise you to find a local bike shop that has a good reputation for a service and repairs. Buying the bike from them, will help ensure that you get the proper size, and that you will have a reliable mechanic to help with upkeep over the life of the bike. Buying this way, will likely be somewhat more expensive than online, or through a discount retailer. However, it will ensure that whichever bike you purchase will serve you well for many years to come. Good luck, and happy riding!
    -Bean

  3. #3

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    ^^^ I disagree. If you're primarily a road rider, get a road bike. If you're primarily a mountain biker, get a mountain bike. If you're primarily a commuter over shit pavement, get a 'cross bike. Get the bike that is meant to do what you want to do. Very rarely does the "Swiss Army Knife" approach yield you a better tool for a particular job than the tool designed to do that job. A road bike will have different geometry that will get you more aero, will weigh less, and will ultimately help you ride more efficiently if you're primarily a road and/or distance rider. I prefer a 'cross bike for commuting because of the robust frame and more upright position (better visibility) and potential for disc brakes (which I have on my commuter).

    I can't speak to the particulars of those specific bikes, as I'm about to leave for work. But, hopefully I've said something useful, anyway.

  4. #4

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    I guess it depends on what you mean by "the next level". If you're even considering competition, you need a machine suited to that task. Showing up to a road race or a crit on a cross bike would get you laughed at first, then dusted when the gun went off. In a triathlon, it would be more acceptable, and perhaps suitable for your first season or so, but you'll never get a sniff of the podium or even age group hardware without a more purpose specific machine. Even on fast group rides, the lower gearing on a cross-bike will put you at a serious disadvantage.

    A bike is a tool. You need the right tool for the job.

    I have several bikes, mountain, tri, road, and a couple of garbage picked beaters for running to the store (zero theft risk...). Most of my (solo) training miles are done on nearby rails-to-trails paths to avoid interaction with motor vehicles. I use my mountain bike for this, because time and heartrate matter for training more than actual speed or miles. A hybrid or cross bike would be faster, but I'm already passing everyone else as it is. More speed would be a pointless hazard.

    Consider what kind of surface you'll be riding on, and go with that. If I were only allowed one bike, it would likely be a mountain bike, because that handles all terrain. A least common denominator, if you will. I detest group riding, but if I were more social, a road bike might be my choice.

  5. #5

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    Good point Maxx. I have a Trek road bike and a Trek hybrid. I find I ride the hybrid most of the time now, but there's a reason for that. I have back problems and my back prefers the upright position. If it helps, I ride a Trek 7.5, and it is a fast bike. I like having that smaller gear (it has three rings like a mountain bike) for the hills. I have no intention of racing anyone but I'm usually passing other bikers on our trail. Like Maxx, I prefer our bike trail to being run over by idiots in their cars. My son's best friend was killed on his bike by one such idiot.

  6. #6

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    See, I ride a bike trail that is crushed limestone on top of a cement and compact dirt at home, but have the chance for road riding as well, because I live in a small town and have access to rural areas. However, I'm slightly against road riding for now.
    Yet, when I'm at college, I'll be doing road riding 95% of the time, though, I'll be doing more riding at home in the summer on bike trails.
    That's what drew me to a hybrid/cyclocross bike. A local bike shop offered me a Fuji road bike at a good price, and the technician said a hybrid tire would fit well with my bike. The tires ran $25 per tire.
    I was weary of this at first, and am still doing all the research I can.

  7. #7
    BordercollieTrigger

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    I have only a mountain bike because has all gears I drive in grass and everything. It runs great in grass mountain bikes. On 1 or 2nd gear it is.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogboy View Post
    Good point Maxx. I have a Trek road bike and a Trek hybrid. I find I ride the hybrid most of the time now, but there's a reason for that. I have back problems and my back prefers the upright position. If it helps, I ride a Trek 7.5, and it is a fast bike. I like having that smaller gear (it has three rings like a mountain bike) for the hills. I have no intention of racing anyone but I'm usually passing other bikers on our trail. Like Maxx, I prefer our bike trail to being run over by idiots in their cars. My son's best friend was killed on his bike by one such idiot.
    Reminded me of the most important issue when getting a bike of any kind - Size and Setup. Frame size, saddle height, bar height, saddle angle, stem length. Most bike shop people are more than happy to help you get this right if you ask. Don't be in such a hurry that you blow it off. A few millimeters in any of these can make the difference between a fast, comfortable ride, and a torture device that lives out its days collecting dust in the garage.

    Too large a frame, you're reaching for the bars. Shoulder and other problems can result. Too small a frame, the potential problems should be obvious. Most bike manufacturers have frame size charts vs. human height on their websites. Your best fit may vary a little if you have an odd torso to leg length ratio. DO NOT buy a frame the wrong size because of a clearance price, or that's what they have on hand. Some accommodation can be made with stem length and seat fore-aft adjustment, but those are compromise solutions you don't want to make when buying a new bike.

    Aside from comfort, there's the issue of making maximum horsepower and transmitting it to the ground effectively. Competitive cyclists and triathletes know this is important enough to spend $100 or so for a professional fitting. This involves putting you and the bike on a stand with a power tap, then making watt vs. heartrate measurements while tweaking ride position. You probably don't need to go to that level, but it highlights the importance.

    Some quick notes, seat height is probably the most critical. It should be as high as you can get it without rocking your hips as you pedal. Too high, you grind your taint into hamburger. Too low, you give up horsepower, and eventually your knees explode. Optimum is a slight knee bend at maximum downstroke. The amount of bend varies, depending on the flexibility of your hamstrings and how agressive your riding position is. As I've gotten older and less flexible, I've had to drop a couple millimeters.

    Then there's aero position. Sitting upright, you're pushing a wall of air. A complete waste of hard won aerobic capacity. The ultimate, Chris Boardman's Superman position to set the hour record. Somewhere in between is a position you can comfortably maintain on public roads while controlling the bike, yet not pushing more air than you need to. Important? To give you an idea, just dropping down to my aero bars from the brake hoods gives me 2 mph at the same heartrate. (heartrate is the best indication of effort level)

    Saddle angle is largely determined by riding position. Conventional road bike, with bars at the same height as your saddle, the saddle should probably be level nose to tail. More upright, on a mountain bike or hybrid with bars above saddle, a little nose up may be called for. Aggressive aero, with bars below saddle, a little nose down. You'll know if you've got it wrong. If "something" hurts, the nose is too high. If you're sliding off the front, its too low. (or your frame is too big...)

    Note to Dogboy: Back problems aside, its a common misconception that upright is more comfortable. Even with the back, I'd bet that I, or a competent bike fitter, could make you comfortable on drop bars with the right combination of components and frame size. Caveat: a large gut could rule that out - agressive aero requires clearance for your knees. Knees need to be aligned with feet. They should just about brush the top tube while pedaling.

    Not saying you need to do that, just something to be aware of.
    Last edited by Maxx; 19-May-2015 at 14:55.

  9. #9
    BordercollieTrigger

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    I make it so i can just reach the ground with feet on one side easily and not to low. I do go on 5 or 6th gear a lot so i like speed.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxx View Post
    Reminded me of the most important issue when getting a bike of any kind - Size and Setup. Frame size, saddle height, bar height, saddle angle, stem length. Most bike shop people are more than happy to help you get this right if you ask. Don't be in such a hurry that you blow it off. A few millimeters in any of these can make the difference between a fast, comfortable ride, and a torture device that lives out its days collecting dust in the garage. .
    Great response Maxx, and you're right. When I bought my rode bike many years ago, the bike shop was having a sale using a radio station to discount dollars. I got a fairly expensive bike for less than what the store bought it for, according to them. I simply snatched up a good sale. When I bought my hybrid a couple of years ago, I paid full dollar, but I had them fit the bike to me. We actually spent quite a bit of time doing all of that. It does make a difference. All I can say is, I wish I could ride with you because I'd learn a lot. I probably ought to join a riding club sometime.

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