Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

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lightheir
Posts: 2054
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Postby lightheir » Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:52 pm

guitarguy wrote:
fishboat wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
How "important" is the rear derailleur for durability and reliabliy? Assuming negligible difference in price at call it $70 difference, is this particular advantage really worth high attention?

I'm still a little new to judging these components and I know these are all entry level bikes, but if there is a clear winner at this price point for reasons I don't know, assuming all 3 are about equally comfortable to ride, I'd appreciate that feedback!


This will sound lousy, but I'm not well versed in components used on entry-level mountain bikes. I bought my mtb bike nearly 30 years ago with Shimano Exage on it..never had a spec of trouble with the group. Investing in good components is worthwhile. A bike that doesn't shift right is a PITA, while easy, flawless shifting is a real pleasure.

As a rule of thumb, when faced with a more expensive bike with cheaper components on it (wheels, derailleurs, brakes, crank...) or a less expensive bike(frame) with better components..pick the latter. You'll notice defects in cheaper components long before you feel some deficiency in a frame.

Make sure mounting a rack on the back of the bike is easy(hard-tail bikes only, no rear suspension)..sounds like you'll need one. Nashbar has good, inexpensive panniers/bags.


It's not lousy. If 2 steps up from "crap" is still "crap" to your knowledge then so be it. It's cool. I normally don't buy cheap and then multiple times...tools, music gear, etc etc...buy once cry once. The difference though, is those are things I know I will use long term, and I know what my needs are. I can't OTOH justify spending twice (or more) the money on a bike that's honestly more than I really need at the moment being a beginner and non-serious rider. On top of that what will my real needs be long term? Will I take up mountain biking more seriously? Or maybe I'll ride on pavement often and trails infrequently...so when I want to upgrade it won't even be a mtb. So...that lead me to the decision of not buying a big box piece of total crap, but instead just something of overall serviceable quality. Entry level components or not.

The thing is, I'm looking at a situation different than what you described for your rule of thumb. A slightly more expensive bike with supposedly slightly better components. What I would like to understand is just how much better are the upgrades? What's better about Acera than Altus? Altus vs Tourney? I can't really find the answer to this. Durability? Reliability? Performance? And if so, under what conditions will I see the difference? Stuff like that. What are the most important components to make sure are the best that I can afford? Hoping to find a better answer than "all" if I can! But if the real answer is "they're all the same entry level crap and you have to jump higher to notice a difference" then that's good info to know too!



If you buy an entry-level bike (road or mtb) from a REAL bike shop (hence you'll likely be paying $500+, if not $750+ for a drop-bar road bike or similar mtn bike), all of the entry-level shifters/derailleurs work well.

There's a lot of snobbery about how the $$$$ stuff is better, but in reality, ALL of the groupsets now work well - if they don't, it's farrrrr more likely that it got maladjusted.

I ride bikes competitively in triathlon and occasionally road racing, so very functional components that respond crisply and well (far in excess of what a casual rider would need) is very important to me. I'm not exaggerating when I say that my rock bottom Shimano 2200 entry-level group set on my entry level bike that was WELL adjusted, outperformed my $$$$ top-end Dura-Ace set on my other bike after it got bumped and got slightly maladjusted in terms of shift smoothness and accuracy. (I ended up having to use a derailleur hangar adjustment tool to get it back.) That 2200 shifts so well when it's correctly adjusted that the cost of Dura Ace seems like a total waste, except for the slightly better ergonomics of the shifter.

But for the OP or anyone else reading, you don't need to worry about poor performance of an entry level groupset from a bike you get at a true bike store - it'll be plenty good enough until you get upgraditis and want to upgrade just because. (This doesn't apply for big-box bikes, which are suboptimally assembled and use even lower-level components.)

stoptothink
Posts: 3512
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Postby stoptothink » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:19 pm

lightheir wrote: I ride bikes competitively in triathlon and occasionally road racing, so very functional components that respond crisply and well (far in excess of what a casual rider would need) is very important to me. I'm not exaggerating when I say that my rock bottom Shimano 2200 entry-level group set on my entry level bike that was WELL adjusted, outperformed my $$$$ top-end Dura-Ace set on my other bike after it got bumped and got slightly maladjusted in terms of shift smoothness and accuracy. (I ended up having to use a derailleur hangar adjustment tool to get it back.) That 2200 shifts so well when it's correctly adjusted that the cost of Dura Ace seems like a total waste, except for the slightly better ergonomics of the shifter.

But for the OP or anyone else reading, you don't need to worry about poor performance of an entry level groupset from a bike you get at a true bike store - it'll be plenty good enough until you get upgraditis and want to upgrade just because. (This doesn't apply for big-box bikes, which are suboptimally assembled and use even lower-level components.)


I could have written this, very similar background and same exact experience. I've had them all, previous two bikes were Dura-Ace and SRAM Red (black), my current 105 performs just as good (if not better). You are paying a huge premium for looks and an extremely marginal difference in weight/ergos. When everything is tuned correctly, I'd be amazed if anybody could legitimately tell the difference in performance between Shimano Tiagra and Dura-Ace

2pedals
Posts: 169
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:31 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Postby 2pedals » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:07 pm

stoptothink wrote:
lightheir wrote: I ride bikes competitively in triathlon and occasionally road racing, so very functional components that respond crisply and well (far in excess of what a casual rider would need) is very important to me. I'm not exaggerating when I say that my rock bottom Shimano 2200 entry-level group set on my entry level bike that was WELL adjusted, outperformed my $$$$ top-end Dura-Ace set on my other bike after it got bumped and got slightly maladjusted in terms of shift smoothness and accuracy. (I ended up having to use a derailleur hangar adjustment tool to get it back.) That 2200 shifts so well when it's correctly adjusted that the cost of Dura Ace seems like a total waste, except for the slightly better ergonomics of the shifter.

But for the OP or anyone else reading, you don't need to worry about poor performance of an entry level groupset from a bike you get at a true bike store - it'll be plenty good enough until you get upgraditis and want to upgrade just because. (This doesn't apply for big-box bikes, which are suboptimally assembled and use even lower-level components.)


I could have written this, very similar background and same exact experience. I've had them all, previous two bikes were Dura-Ace and SRAM Red (black), my current 105 performs just as good (if not better). You are paying a huge premium for looks and an extremely marginal difference in weight/ergos. When everything is tuned correctly, I'd be amazed if anybody could legitimately tell the difference in performance between Shimano Tiagra and Dura-Ace


Sometimes it's not the component set model name that matters, it's the year of that model name that matters. Many times they tweak things a bit and end up ruining a good thing. I had problems with a front 105 shifter in a 2009 model that had well known problems. After replacing with the latest 105 shifter I never had a problem. I also had problems with a Alivio rear derailleur that had a loose spring. I replaced that with a Deore ($40 upgrade) rear derailleur.

Only a few things that are important to me with a bike (sometimes wet weather commuter).

Rear Derailleur
If you have problems chains slipping and un-commanded shifting your commute will be miserable trust me I know. If you bike does not have a good derailleur not too hard to upgrade.

Puncture Resistant Tires
Very hard to beat Schwalbe Marathons. You don't want to be late and you don't want to be repairing a tire in the cold rain. Stock tires are usually not very good and most likely you should upgrade your tires.

Disc Brakes
So much better than V's and calipers rim brakes in the rain. Small price to pay for safety.

Helmet, Rear and Front Lights
Very important, safety again

Extras:

Fenders
Dirt and grime all over you without it and the rain. You don't need it otherwise.

Pannier Rack and a Set of Waterproof Panniers
Seems like a lot of money for this but it is well worth it. Backpacks are a pain in the back and are sweaty in the summer time.

Water Bottle and Cage
Do I need to say more?

wrongfunds
Posts: 436
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Postby wrongfunds » Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:48 am

bltkmt wrote:The anti-BH bike: https://budnitzbicycles.com/our-company

Why do you say that? I do not find their prices out of line compared to other premium bicycles. Mind you, I ride a department store bike (bought 30 years ago; I am an engineer, I tweak and tune it so that it is good enough for my needs) but I can appreciate and understand how an excellent bike can cost few thousand dollars. $3-$5K bikes are being sold in marketplace which are built in China/Taiwan, so a made in Burlington VT bike for similar price could be considered a BH bargain for the right kind of BH aka the one with the means and the desire to appreciate such a bike.

I thought I was going to see $30K+ bikes on that web-site.

Naismith
Posts: 338
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:58 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Postby Naismith » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:10 am

2pedals wrote:Only a few things that are important to me with a bike (sometimes wet weather commuter)....


Yes, those extras can make a huge difference. I would add my rear view mirror. We like the
https://www.mirrycle.com/
mounted on the handlebar, but some people use helmet mounted.

I have never gotten the hang of using a water bottle in a cage. For daily commuting I wear a water bottle around my neck like this one
https://www.amazon.com/GoNovate-Carryin ... B019CNNIS6

and for weekend trips we use small backpacks with a camelback bladder for drinking on the go.

invst65
Posts: 294
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:04 am

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Postby invst65 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:24 am

Make sure you are able to take it for a test ride. Which means don't buy it a store like Dick's Sporting Goods. Their policy is once it goes out the door you can't take it back. I put that policy to the test after buying a Schwinn for my wife that looked good and felt good to sit on but as soon as she took it for a test ride she did not like it at all (nor did I - thought it was a piece of junk). We immediately returned to the store hoping we could take it back since it was less than an hour later. The clerk had to call the manager and she grudgingly agreed to take it back even though she said it was against the store's policy and I should remember that in the future. I assured her that I would never again buy a bike in a store that won't let you take it for a test ride.

My personal recommendation is a Specialized Sirrus and its female counterpart, the name of which I forget right now. It's around $500 but as other posters have said, you probably won't be happy with anything under that price range. And if you don't like it, you won't ride it and you'll just have it sitting in the garage taking up space.

guitarguy
Posts: 1573
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Postby guitarguy » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:46 pm

lightheir wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
fishboat wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
How "important" is the rear derailleur for durability and reliabliy? Assuming negligible difference in price at call it $70 difference, is this particular advantage really worth high attention?

I'm still a little new to judging these components and I know these are all entry level bikes, but if there is a clear winner at this price point for reasons I don't know, assuming all 3 are about equally comfortable to ride, I'd appreciate that feedback!


This will sound lousy, but I'm not well versed in components used on entry-level mountain bikes. I bought my mtb bike nearly 30 years ago with Shimano Exage on it..never had a spec of trouble with the group. Investing in good components is worthwhile. A bike that doesn't shift right is a PITA, while easy, flawless shifting is a real pleasure.

As a rule of thumb, when faced with a more expensive bike with cheaper components on it (wheels, derailleurs, brakes, crank...) or a less expensive bike(frame) with better components..pick the latter. You'll notice defects in cheaper components long before you feel some deficiency in a frame.

Make sure mounting a rack on the back of the bike is easy(hard-tail bikes only, no rear suspension)..sounds like you'll need one. Nashbar has good, inexpensive panniers/bags.


It's not lousy. If 2 steps up from "crap" is still "crap" to your knowledge then so be it. It's cool. I normally don't buy cheap and then multiple times...tools, music gear, etc etc...buy once cry once. The difference though, is those are things I know I will use long term, and I know what my needs are. I can't OTOH justify spending twice (or more) the money on a bike that's honestly more than I really need at the moment being a beginner and non-serious rider. On top of that what will my real needs be long term? Will I take up mountain biking more seriously? Or maybe I'll ride on pavement often and trails infrequently...so when I want to upgrade it won't even be a mtb. So...that lead me to the decision of not buying a big box piece of total crap, but instead just something of overall serviceable quality. Entry level components or not.

The thing is, I'm looking at a situation different than what you described for your rule of thumb. A slightly more expensive bike with supposedly slightly better components. What I would like to understand is just how much better are the upgrades? What's better about Acera than Altus? Altus vs Tourney? I can't really find the answer to this. Durability? Reliability? Performance? And if so, under what conditions will I see the difference? Stuff like that. What are the most important components to make sure are the best that I can afford? Hoping to find a better answer than "all" if I can! But if the real answer is "they're all the same entry level crap and you have to jump higher to notice a difference" then that's good info to know too!



If you buy an entry-level bike (road or mtb) from a REAL bike shop (hence you'll likely be paying $500+, if not $750+ for a drop-bar road bike or similar mtn bike), all of the entry-level shifters/derailleurs work well.

There's a lot of snobbery about how the $$$$ stuff is better, but in reality, ALL of the groupsets now work well - if they don't, it's farrrrr more likely that it got maladjusted.

I ride bikes competitively in triathlon and occasionally road racing, so very functional components that respond crisply and well (far in excess of what a casual rider would need) is very important to me. I'm not exaggerating when I say that my rock bottom Shimano 2200 entry-level group set on my entry level bike that was WELL adjusted, outperformed my $$$$ top-end Dura-Ace set on my other bike after it got bumped and got slightly maladjusted in terms of shift smoothness and accuracy. (I ended up having to use a derailleur hangar adjustment tool to get it back.) That 2200 shifts so well when it's correctly adjusted that the cost of Dura Ace seems like a total waste, except for the slightly better ergonomics of the shifter.

But for the OP or anyone else reading, you don't need to worry about poor performance of an entry level groupset from a bike you get at a true bike store - it'll be plenty good enough until you get upgraditis and want to upgrade just because. (This doesn't apply for big-box bikes, which are suboptimally assembled and use even lower-level components.)


Thank you for the input. We are definitely shopping at local bike shops and not Target or Walmart, or even Dick's or REI...so I'm hoping whatever I end up with is at least serviceable. On top of that, as I mentioned, I'm a new rider and won't be pushing the bike to its limit anytime soon. Assuming I don't find any of the 3 bikes I'm planning on test riding drastically different in terms of feel/fit/etc...I'll go with the one that has the best components...which on paper looks like the Giant Talon 3. All 3 are around the $500 price point, +/- $50.

guitarguy
Posts: 1573
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Postby guitarguy » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:48 am

Update: DW and I are now bikers. 8-)

We ended up visiting another (non chain - in business for 40 years and a slew of 5-star ratings online) local shop yesterday and DW found a bike she loved more than any of the others she tried out so we bought it...a Giant / Liv Sedona DX. Price was $435.

They also ended up having a Trek Marlin 5 in stock in my size that I rode and really liked. I honestly couldn't feel the difference between that and the Marlin 7 which was $300 more and had "better quality" shift components and fork. Once the guy helped me adjust the fork to stiffen up the damping, it felt great. The lockout also seems to work well for road use, and I actually liked the grips on the cheaper model better. Since I liked the Trek bike more than the Talon and the Rockhopper (tried both of those the other day) I went with the Marlin 5, and they priced matched to the sale price at the Trek store. Price was $449.

We also bought a Thule Raceway trunk mount style bike rack. It's compatible with both of our vehicles...very versatile...appears to be compatible with almost any car under the sun. The guy took time to mount the rack on our vehicle and explain the process step by step. Super easy and convenient to use. On in about 2 minutes, off in under 30 seconds.

They also offer lifetime free service for as long as we own the bikes. First off we bring the bikes back after about 30 days for an initial checkup and readjust. Then each spring to get our bikes ready for the year we just bring them in and they'll clean/lube everything, make sure the drivetrain and brakes are all adjusted and set correctly, etc. On top of that if we ever feel anything weird and something needs to be adjusted...bring it in and it's free of charge. Very cool. All of the other shops we visited offered this service for only one year.

So we spent the evening riding around..through the neighborhood, to the park, to the store, and to dinner. It was awesome! Very happy.

Thanks to all for the info on this thread!

fishboat
Posts: 419
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:15 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Postby fishboat » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:20 am

Sounds like you "done-good". Congrats. Sounds like a good bike shop to do business with. Avoid "gel" seat covers and big poofy seats. If you ride often enough your sit bones will get accustomed to it. Refer the the Cervelo Engineering site I posted earlier to understand seat selection, if needed.

After nearly 40 years of riding, I finally started wearing a helmet last year. Never crashed yet, but I don't want to mess up now. Whether or not you're wearing a helmet, you may find this rear view mirror handy(link below). It'll fit your sunglasses or clip onto a helmet(secure with small zip ties). The main advantage is it offers a very wide, actual-sized, minimal vibration, view of what's behind you. Contrast this to a bike-frame mounted mirror where vibration wipes out most of what you see and the cars behind you are very tiny..more trouble than it's worth..imo. I started using the mirror last year** when I got the helmet..it works well. I have no issues hearing someone behind me, what the mirror offers is a quick glance to make sure they see me and are giving me a little extra room.

Take a look at the amazon customer images in the review area. If you have any issues adjusting it to get a good view, let me know.

https://www.amazon.com/Bike-Peddler-Cycling-Eyeglass-Mirror/dp/B001VTQNVO/ref=zg_bs_3403241_3?_encoding=UTF8&refRID=MYKJK8SR3YJMN5GJJPXZ


(** Got the mirror after a young, texting, lady veered off the road a few feet in front of me and only looked up when her tires hit the gravel shoulder. The mirror gives me a little peace of mind in the age of smart phones and car "infotainment" systems being a key attribute for new car selection.)

User avatar
bltkmt
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:56 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Postby bltkmt » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:18 pm

wrongfunds wrote:
bltkmt wrote:The anti-BH bike: https://budnitzbicycles.com/our-company

Why do you say that? I do not find their prices out of line compared to other premium bicycles. Mind you, I ride a department store bike (bought 30 years ago; I am an engineer, I tweak and tune it so that it is good enough for my needs) but I can appreciate and understand how an excellent bike can cost few thousand dollars. $3-$5K bikes are being sold in marketplace which are built in China/Taiwan, so a made in Burlington VT bike for similar price could be considered a BH bargain for the right kind of BH aka the one with the means and the desire to appreciate such a bike.

I thought I was going to see $30K+ bikes on that web-site.



Agreed, at least from me. However, my guess is most BH's do not fall into this category.

alfaspider
Posts: 727
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Postby alfaspider » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:55 pm

bltkmt wrote:
wrongfunds wrote:
bltkmt wrote:The anti-BH bike: https://budnitzbicycles.com/our-company

Why do you say that? I do not find their prices out of line compared to other premium bicycles. Mind you, I ride a department store bike (bought 30 years ago; I am an engineer, I tweak and tune it so that it is good enough for my needs) but I can appreciate and understand how an excellent bike can cost few thousand dollars. $3-$5K bikes are being sold in marketplace which are built in China/Taiwan, so a made in Burlington VT bike for similar price could be considered a BH bargain for the right kind of BH aka the one with the means and the desire to appreciate such a bike.

I thought I was going to see $30K+ bikes on that web-site.



Agreed, at least from me. However, my guess is most BH's do not fall into this category.


I think cost per mile is a good BH analysis for a bike. If you buy a $100 Walmart bike, but ride it twice a year for 10 miles on sunny days, and keep it for 5 years, it costs $1 a mile. If you buy a $1000 bike and ride it 1,000 miles a year for 10 years, the cost per mile is 1/10th the Walmart bike (perhaps a bit higher given maintenance requirements over that period). Of course, a higher priced bike won't necessarily last longer or be used more, but I've rarely encountered someone who rides 1,000+ miles a year on a Walmart bike, and I see plenty scrapped after a very short usage period after something breaks and the cost to fix exceeds the value of the bike (just about any repair would).

wrongfunds
Posts: 436
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Postby wrongfunds » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:12 pm

Our close to 30 years bikes purchased from a department store (less than $100 each) are still being used. Wife got a new one but later she told me that her brand new expensive bike bought from LBS was really not necessary. Mind you, the new bike is better but NOT 7 times better than the old one!

Why do you think $1000 bike is needed to ride 1000 miles every year? Or what makes you think the $1000 bike would NEVER be used for few short rides and then quickly put in the storage? It is NOT the bike which determines the miles put on it per year. It is the rider!

When we purchased the bike for wife, she was asking me to upgrade mine too. Yes, I can get a better bike for $2000 but as long as my old bike is working and is serviceable for the recreational rail trail rides, I just don't see the need. Bike is a trivial mechanical contraption. I don't need a bike shop to "tune it up" for me.

alfaspider
Posts: 727
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Postby alfaspider » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:23 pm

wrongfunds wrote:Our close to 30 years bikes purchased from department stores (less than $100 each) are still being used. Wife got a new one but later she told me that her brand new expensive bike bought from LBS was really not necessary. Mind you the new bike is better but NOT 7 times better than the old one!


So much depends on usage. Just about anything is fine for tooling around the neighborhood. If you took a department store "mountain bike" on a serious advanced-level trail, it's unlikely it would survive a single outing (people have tried such things for kicks and destroyed them in short order). It's also worth noting that a $700 bike is still considered entry level for an LBS bike. $2-3k is regarded as mid-range, and most LBS start referring to "high end" once you get past $5k. Finally, a 30-year old department store bike was actually likely better made than the Walmart specials of today (and was around triple the cost adjusted for inflation).

wrongfunds
Posts: 436
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Postby wrongfunds » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:33 am

You are right about that! They were made in USA (I think) by Huffy


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