General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Buying first bike Rss Feed  
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2019-07-18 11:50 AM


Subject: Buying first bike
Hello All

I've been scouring the message boards and have seen some good info but think i'm in a somewhat unique situation so figured I would just ask a question of my own!

I completed a sprint tri a few years ago on a borrowed road bike and enjoyed it. Have a new home and now have space for a bike of my own so I am trying to find a road bike that wont break the bank ($200-$400) that I can use for the occasional sprint tri's (maybe super sprints or Olympics in the future) but also for general biking and exercise around the city (tons of great biking paths around the city)

Mainly, I am worried about investing in a bike > $400-$500 if I end up not using it. Any advice would be great such as best places to look for a bike in that budget range and possible brands to look for. I've done enough research to know that a 55-57cm size bike is what I should be looking for (i'm 5'10 with a 32 in seam, 165lbs)

Thanks in advance everything, love the content on here.

2019-07-18 12:54 PM
in reply to: BikingOnBudget

Subject: RE: Buying first bike
Not really sure if you'll find much in that price range but you could try I did a quick search and saw several road bikes in your price range. I don't know much about them and I'm not too familiar with their brands, but maybe someone can chime in.

you could also try craigslist or ebay. A lot of people will offload a bike so they can upgrade or they're cleaning out their garage.

If you don't want to deal with purchasing online or through a random person, you could also try a big box store.
2019-07-18 1:49 PM
in reply to: BikingOnBudget

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Placitas, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Buying first bike


Repeat this mantra:  "There's no such thing as a 'cheap bike.' "  

Now repeat this mantra:  "The correct number of bikes to own is N+1 where N is the number of bikes currently owned."  

Every type of bike has advantages and disadvantages. 
Step 1 is to consider all the types of riding you might do.  
Racing and training for triathlons.
Commuting to/from work.
Off-pavement riding (e.g. crushed-gravel rails-to-trails)
Mountain biking
Biking instead of driving for errands. 
Group rides.  

Road bikes with skinny, high pressure (and often delicate) tires are very efficient meaning you can go faster or further for the same effort.  The riding position takes time to be comfortable and puts a lot of pressure on your wrists and also your neck.  Maneuverability and visibility for riding in traffic are worse than some other styles.  Road bikes are welcome if you are joining group rides.  New road bikes start at about $700 and go up quickly from there.  

Mountain bikes are heavy with wide, low-pressure tires good for overcoming imperfect riding surfaces.  The riding position is more upright, taking pressure off your wrists and neck, but putting more on your butt.  The more upright position also improves visibility for riding in traffic.  The heavy duty tires resist road debris more than road tires and are less likely to catch in grates, railroad tracks, or cracks in the pavement.  

Hybrids or fitness bikes fit somewhere between these two extremes.  Some are almost road-bike like in terms of weight, tire width, tire pressure (often called "flat bar road bikes").  Others are almost mountain bike like with full suspensions, differing primarily in having tires more suited to roads than dirt (no knobs).  These are available at bike shops and many of the big-box sporting goods stores for $250-500 but can be more expensive.  

Now...back to the first mantra...I'll assume you're not comfortable doing your own work on a bike.  You find a road bike online or at a garage sale for $50 and you think "What a deal!"  You take your new acquisition to the bike shop only to find out:
Road bike tires are $30-60 each.  
Tubes are $7 each.
An inspection/tune-up not requiring new parts is $90 (or more, depending on the area).  
Brake pads installed by the shop are ~$25.  
New cables installed by the shop are $100-200.  
Truing wheels is $25/wheel.  
A new chain installed by the shop is $40-100.  

So your $50 find is suddenly $230 if you only get new tires/tubes and almost $500 if there are other things needed.  

At some point, you might pay for a fitting ($80-300) or hurt yourself ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$) because you don't realize how stresses change based on small tweaks to your riding position (especially on a road/tri bike).  

2019-07-18 1:56 PM
in reply to: #5261019

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Subject: RE: Buying first bike
I’d check out Craigslist and Facebook marketplace. I purchased both of my bikes that route and got excellent deals. You say you have nice bike trails around so I’m sure you probably live in a good market for used bikes. Check out local pawn shops or look around for a Play It Again Sports.

If you’re patient, you can find some good deals.

You may also consider saving up for a few more months. If you can bump up your budget to around the $700 mark, you can find some new bikes in that price range that will fit your needs.
2019-07-19 1:30 PM
in reply to: Parkland


Subject: RE: Buying first bike
Thanks for the info everyone. Do you guys think a road bike is where I should start? or would a mountain bike be more appropriate given that many people use MTB's in sprint tri's. Again, if I had to put a percentage to the future use of the bike it would probably be 75% recreational/exercise and 25% low end triathlons.
2019-07-19 6:56 PM
in reply to: #5261035

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Subject: RE: Buying first bike
I’d look for something like a specialized diverge. It will accommodate wider tires for gravel/off-road riding but can still perform well as a road bike. This bike is certainly out of your price range but other bikes similar to this is where I’d start looking.

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