Bike upgrade recs?

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carorun
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Bike upgrade recs?

Post by carorun »

I see a lot of posts about biking on BH, so here’s hoping there are some recs on what bike to buy. I’ve been a casual biker for years but Covid and knee pain from running has pushed me to bike a lot more often and farther, and I think it’s time to upgrade my bike.

I know bike inventory is nonexistent right now and I want to make sure the habit of longer weekend rides (~35 mi) sticks, so I’m thinking of buying this fall or after Christmas.

My current ride is a Diamondback that retailed for $500 when I bought it in 2013. I’ve installed clip in pedals which makes a big difference as well as water bottle and repair kit holders but that’s about it’s max for upgrades. It’s a bit heavy and not the most comfortable on longer rides, and at 1k miles it’s approaching time for chain and gear replacements. That bike itself is an upgrade on the $150 Kmart bike I rode for a few years :D so I don’t have high standards or want a carbon frame but would like something nicer if I’m going to use it for 3-5 hours a week.

It looks like many bikes now retail for $1k+ now, but I don’t want to buy something that is just more expensive than my current bike without a large difference in quality.

What specs should I look for in a new bike? And what’s the best time of year to buy a new bike?
livesoft
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by livesoft »

I think it would depend on where you do your riding:

A. You like to go on gravel roads or along dirt paths next to drainage ditches or up in the hills and mountains.

B. You typically ride on the paved shoulder of less-trafficked roads, but sometimes have to stop at traffic lights, stop signs and street crossings.

C. You just go around the neighborhood and the kids pass you on their skateboards.

D. You are into tours with panniers or races without panniers and ride 30 to 80 miles a day when you go. You ride in the rain, too.

E. Something else.

BTW, I had a Diamondback for riding to the grocery store and doing shopping. The brand has all kinds of bikes, so just knowing the name means little. I'm not sure why you believe the bike needs a new chain and gears. Perhaps so, but that would be so inexpensive that it would be something to do rather than get a different bike. The bike I ride routinely was made in 2004. It would not be a bad bike to buy today: https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/value-g ... uct/92678/
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carorun
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by carorun »

Mostly riding on dedicated (paved) bike paths or in bike lanes at less crowded times. Most rides are 20+ miles and I average about 14mph, but think it would be faster on a better bike and with more muscle tone. I have commuted on this bike in the past but don’t see bike commuting in the near future.
Elysium
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Elysium »

carorun wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:22 pm Mostly riding on dedicated (paved) bike paths or in bike lanes at less crowded times. Most rides are 20+ miles and I average about 14mph, but think it would be faster on a better bike and with more muscle tone. I have commuted on this bike in the past but don’t see bike commuting in the near future.
You need a road bike based on that profile. Congratulations on riding 20+ miles rides and getting clip on pedals. These two are the important landmarks to determine you are ready to cross over into a serious rider.

You should seriously consider getting the best bike you can afford. Don't listen to those who say any battered old bike will do the job and expensive doesn't mean better. It does matter. You can go fast on a battered bike and you can go fast on a carbon frame bike, but for the same amount of fitness and watts produced, the carbon bike will go faster and you will feel much better. Especially as to start climbing hills it will make a huge deal of difference. It will save you more time, that means riding more miles in the same amount of time.

You can also get a good quality Aluminum bike that will do the job, but only if you cannot spend $2K upwards for a carbon bike. It is an investment that will pay for itself, so unless you really can't afford it then I would recommend spending minimum $2k and getting the carbon frame.
livesoft
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by livesoft »

Elysium wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:43 pm..., but only if you cannot spend $2K upwards for a carbon bike. It is an investment that will pay for itself, so unless you really can't afford it then I would recommend spending minimum $2k and getting the carbon frame.
A titanium frame would be practically bomb-proof and almost as light. Carbon fiber frames have a tendency to not survive some simple crashes, if any crash could be called simple.

OTOH, the OP seems to be a recreational rider like my spouse and an Aluminum frame would be fine.
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InvisibleAerobar
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by InvisibleAerobar »

carorun wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:59 pm I see a lot of posts about biking on BH, so here’s hoping there are some recs on what bike to buy. I’ve been a casual biker for years but Covid and knee pain from running has pushed me to bike a lot more often and farther, and I think it’s time to upgrade my bike.

I know bike inventory is nonexistent right now and I want to make sure the habit of longer weekend rides (~35 mi) sticks, so I’m thinking of buying this fall or after Christmas.

My current ride is a Diamondback that retailed for $500 when I bought it in 2013. I’ve installed clip in pedals which makes a big difference as well as water bottle and repair kit holders but that’s about it’s max for upgrades. It’s a bit heavy and not the most comfortable on longer rides, and at 1k miles it’s approaching time for chain and gear replacements. That bike itself is an upgrade on the $150 Kmart bike I rode for a few years :D so I don’t have high standards or want a carbon frame but would like something nicer if I’m going to use it for 3-5 hours a week.

It looks like many bikes now retail for $1k+ now, but I don’t want to buy something that is just more expensive than my current bike without a large difference in quality.

What specs should I look for in a new bike? And what’s the best time of year to buy a new bike?
Comfort has a lot more to do with a proper bike fit. You could easily find yourself having spent $2k on a new bike and still woefully uncomfortable. A good bike fit isn't cheap, probably at least $200. Probably budget another $150 for a decent saddle.

As for good time to buy, fall is usually the best time, but the pandemic has emptied out inventory, so old rules may no longer apply.

You should probably also decide how much you are willing to spend and whether you are sure you want to ditch your old bike.

Your old bike certainly isn't at the end for upgrades. it sounds like your bike is a hybrid that could be converted into a road bike with a drop-bar conversion (and the requisite groupset). Used latest generation Shimano 105 groupset (shifters, brakes, FD, RD, crankset) will probably set you back $350 at most. Tack on another $50 for a handlebar, and $100 for bike shop service charge, you could upgrade your current bike to something that'll come quite close to an mid-level bike for $600 tops. If you are feeling like it, another $350-500 will get you wheels that are a lot better (in terms of durability and mass, though the effect of mass often gets over emphasized) than what would come stock on a $2k bike.
livesoft wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:49 pm
Elysium wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:43 pm..., but only if you cannot spend $2K upwards for a carbon bike. It is an investment that will pay for itself, so unless you really can't afford it then I would recommend spending minimum $2k and getting the carbon frame.
A titanium frame would be practically bomb-proof and almost as light. Carbon fiber frames have a tendency to not survive some simple crashes, if any crash could be called simple.
While I'm a big fan of Ti frames, a good frameset, even used, may still cost at least $1k (and that's being conservative).
Elysium
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Elysium »

livesoft wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:49 pm
Elysium wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:43 pm..., but only if you cannot spend $2K upwards for a carbon bike. It is an investment that will pay for itself, so unless you really can't afford it then I would recommend spending minimum $2k and getting the carbon frame.
A titanium frame would be practically bomb-proof and almost as light. Carbon fiber frames have a tendency to not survive some simple crashes, if any crash could be called simple.

OTOH, the OP seems to be a recreational rider like my spouse and an Aluminum frame would be fine.
Don't crash, that's my solution. It's not that hard not to crash unless someone is doing some serious racing or doing crazy things during a group ride. In the unfortunate event of a rare accident which could happen to anyone then I would actually worry about bodily injury. That said, Titanium is fine, just an unusual choice that is less used.

Few other thoughts:

As for availability, I don't think there is shortage on inventory for higher priced road bikes, it's the lower end recreational bikes that are selling out during the covid slowdowns. Trek Superstore in CA will sell nationwide and ship the bike to you, then you can have it built at a local bike store for a small charge, there are other similar online sellers like Competitive Cyclist which is a big store for all things cycling.

About the bike fit, I didn't mention it because any decent bike shop where you will end up buying a good road bike will do the fit. They will not sell you one without doing a basic fit and geometry match. After that the full fit sometimes can be had as part of a negotiation, there is serious margins on the higher priced bikes, my last purchase of a $5K bike came off about $1500 and a full bike fit worth $150 with it.

On pricing, you can negotiate pricing as you go up anywhere from $1000. When you negotiate pricing, use online store pricing as a basis, which are often cheaper than store, then negotiate downwards. My goal always is to find higher priced bikes then negotiate a large discount, instead of buying cheap bikes with no discount.
Last edited by Elysium on Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:27 pm, edited 10 times in total.
livesoft
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by livesoft »

InvisibleAerobar wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:06 pm While I'm a big fan of Ti frames, a good frameset, even used, may still cost at least $1k (and that's being conservative).
That is true. I paid $400 for my used titanium bike with Shimano Ultegra components. I had to buy new tires & tubes as well. I don't get the idea that the OP is going to go out and buy a used bike.

OTOH, the bike I was riding before my $400 purchase was a very nice De Rosa w/ full Dura-Ace from the early 1990's. That was one sweet ride and sits in my garage.
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Go to a good bike shop. Ask them to explain what you get for how much money. Tell them how much you ride and that you'd like to ride more. Don't go into it looking for a carbon or titanium or steel or aluminum frame. You're looking for a complete bike that performs well and rides well. A good shop will give you some info, ask some questions and give you a couple appropriate choices, set up a couple bikes and have you go out and ride a bit.

I bought a bike for my son and the bike shop did exactly this. From the explanation of the bikes and the looks of the 2 similar bikes...2 different brands, before riding, I'd have chosen bike A. My son and I went out with the 2 bikes on the bike path and swapped half way. Both of us chose bike B as riding noticeably better. These were pretty much entry level "good" bikes. Now a little background....I worked at a bike shop and raced from the time I was 15. I built my own custom bike in 1974 with a custom Colin Laing frame and all Campy components. Not much better could be purchased at that time. Probably a few grand in parts today. That $700 bike rides better. It's also more reliable without the potential hassle of sew up tires.

I didn't go into the shop looking for some pre-conceived idea of a bike. Keep an open mind and have fun. You really don't need a $2k bike these days to get something that performs really well.
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ThankYouJack
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by ThankYouJack »

Elysium wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:43 pm It does matter. You can go fast on a battered bike and you can go fast on a carbon frame bike, but for the same amount of fitness and watts produced, the carbon bike will go faster and you will feel much better. Especially as to start climbing hills it will make a huge deal of difference. It will save you more time, that means riding more miles in the same amount of time.
How much time do you think? Most of what I've read states that saving a little bike weight doesn't save that much time at all. It's not like a 20 mile ride will turn into a 25 mile ride on a carbon frame.

Here's one article - https://www.outsideonline.com/1959681/w ... erodynamic.
A lighter bike may save you a few seconds per climb. But if you really want to get faster, there are better ways to spend your energy and money, like shedding bodyweight, upgrading your wheels, and making your bike more aerodynamic.
mrb09
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by mrb09 »

My 2c:

Get a professional fitting on your current bike. Best money I ever spent. Then if you're looking for another bike, you'll know the basics (google stack/reach) of what to look for.

Then for me, the next thing after fit is tire width. Do you want a road bike with 25c tires, or a gravel bike with 40c tires? Latter is heavier, but man is it more comfortable on a rough road.
Rcf
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Rcf »

I would recommend a Trek FX series bicycle. I just bought their FX 6 model and love it. It cost ~$2000 but they have less expensive models. It is lightweight, has disc brakes, and upright style handlebars. I ride everyday and fell quite safe on it.
Oreamnos
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Oreamnos »

livesoft wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:13 pm OTOH, the bike I was riding before my $400 purchase was a very nice De Rosa w/ full Dura-Ace from the early 1990's. That was one sweet ride and sits in my garage.
Get that De Rosa out there! Just went for a ride on my custom 1991 Paramount with DA this afternoon....
bob60014
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by bob60014 »

Trying to vary my exercise routine I recently returned to biking after a long absence. For the life of me I couldn't find a bike that was a good fit, meaning comfortable. I finally went old school and found a 1972 Schwinn Super Sport ( I looked at a few Paramounts and Continentals too) on Facebook Marketplace that was in good condition and it fit like a glove. After a few adjustments and cleaning it was good to go. I'm up to 25-30 miles a ride on paved trails and it feels great. Sure it's a bit heavy and may not have the latest and greatest but for $50 I can't complain. Plus I get a kick when others see it and say "I had one of those (or a Varsity) when I was a kid"! Lol.
roadnottaken
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by roadnottaken »

I'd recommend an entry-level carbon road bike. These can be had for < $2k new. My personal experience was that I got an entry-level aluminum road-bike when I started cycling (~$1k) and after putting a few thousand miles on it decided I wanted carbon and spent an additional $2k for bike #2. Bike #2 is better - it just feels good to ride a light bike with good components. Make sure you get Shimano 105 shifters or better. I think returns diminish pretty fast above ~$3k but an entry level carbon bike with good shifters is worth it.
Chip
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Chip »

Elysium wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:43 pm You should seriously consider getting the best bike you can afford. Don't listen to those who say any battered old bike will do the job and expensive doesn't mean better. It does matter. You can go fast on a battered bike and you can go fast on a carbon frame bike, but for the same amount of fitness and watts produced, the carbon bike will go faster and you will feel much better. Especially as to start climbing hills it will make a huge deal of difference. It will save you more time, that means riding more miles in the same amount of time.
The alternative viewpoint is that if the OP is interested in improving fitness (rather than racing), there is no need to save a few pounds of bike weight. It's all about the energy expended, not going faster.

If the OP isn't already at 5% body fat, dropping a few pounds of body weight will be much more efficient financially than dropping a few pounds of bike weight.
livesoft
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by livesoft »

Rcf wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:13 amI ride everyday and fell quite safe on it.
:shock:
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Colorado Guy
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Colorado Guy »

carorun wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:22 pm Mostly riding on dedicated (paved) bike paths or in bike lanes at less crowded times. Most rides are 20+ miles and I average about 14mph, but think it would be faster on a better bike and with more muscle tone. I have commuted on this bike in the past but don’t see bike commuting in the near future.
As an alternative, a gravel bike would also work on bike paths. With slightly larger tires, and tubeless tire sealant, you gain some comfort and avoid many flats along the way as well. Invest in a comfortable seat as opposed to a racing seat (ISM brand, used for cyclocross, is a good support for men). Road bikes are definitely faster, though. I do get jealous of those on $15k Specialized sWorks bikes passing me by, but not enough to purchase one.

And for something totally out of the ordinary, depending upon where you live, invest in a trike for comfort. These are more popular in flat-ish type areas.
http://www.catrike.com/

Edited to add a link for fun
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWQhugLNh3I
Elysium
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Elysium »

ThankYouJack wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:12 pm
Elysium wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:43 pm It does matter. You can go fast on a battered bike and you can go fast on a carbon frame bike, but for the same amount of fitness and watts produced, the carbon bike will go faster and you will feel much better. Especially as to start climbing hills it will make a huge deal of difference. It will save you more time, that means riding more miles in the same amount of time.
How much time do you think? Most of what I've read states that saving a little bike weight doesn't save that much time at all. It's not like a 20 mile ride will turn into a 25 mile ride on a carbon frame.
Sure, it will. Not overnight, but as your fitness improves, better bike will incrementally improve speed and efficiency, both go together. I ride anywhere from 4k to 5k miles a year with a couple of century rides and several 50+ miles group rides. Some are fast and flat and some are hilly. The difference is between riding in the front or middle of the group vs. often being dropped at the back of the group and missing the traffic light, then riding alone trying to catch up. It takes only 5 seconds to 10 seconds to be left alone on an unfamiliar country road. Ask any competitive cyclist, no one wants to be at the back of the group huffing and puffing up the hill while others go past you. You don't need to be a racer to shave off few seconds. My feeling is that OP is on a gateway to become a group rider one day, and once you are in a group you always want to go up to the next class, from being a D/C rider to a B rider, and while not always possible an A rider.
Elysium
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Elysium »

Chip wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 7:40 am The alternative viewpoint is that if the OP is interested in improving fitness (rather than racing), there is no need to save a few pounds of bike weight. It's all about the energy expended, not going faster.

If the OP isn't already at 5% body fat, dropping a few pounds of body weight will be much more efficient financially than dropping a few pounds of bike weight.
As I said in my previous response, it is all about whether one will graduate to next level of riding, from riding alone into a group. The group ride is always the goal and for many younger riders the goal is to graduate into teams that do racing, not pro but a level down is still pretty serious. Older riders will still enjoy higher end frames, as they absorb the road vibrations better, provide stiffness and reduce the shock waves up your body as you spend hundreds of miles every week. Obviously, none of this matters if someone is recreational riding 500 miles a year along bike trails. Agree, that dropping body weight will always more beneficial than dropping more money on high end frame, but both can be done at same time. The goal is always to drop weight as you start riding more, so that you can become better. Although getting the next bike upgrade is always a goal, the right number of bikes is n+1 :D
Chip
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Chip »

Elysium wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:30 am As I said in my previous response, it is all about whether one will graduate to next level of riding, from riding alone into a group. The group ride is always the goal and for many younger riders the goal is to graduate into teams that do racing, not pro but a level down is still pretty serious.
Ummm, no. The group ride is not always the goal. Especially with Covid. The OP is talking about 35+ mile weekend rides on bike trails. That's a long way from centuries and 5k miles per year, especially in Chicago.
Older riders will still enjoy higher end frames, as they absorb the road vibrations better, provide stiffness and reduce the shock waves up your body as you spend hundreds of miles every week.
If someone is riding hundreds of miles per week, sure. But they had better lay in a supply of anti monkey butt powder first. I am an "older rider" and my steel frame absorbs road vibration quite nicely. But I only do 1.5-2k per year.

Let me propose a bike spend formula: $ = max(750,average annual mileage for previous 3 years * .75.)
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McGilicutty
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by McGilicutty »

I just bought a Trek Comfort Verve 3 hybrid bike last weekend. It's the new model and has just come out. As I understand it, Trek has just started distributing their new models so there might actually be some inventory at your local bike store right now. It's worth a look.

As far as the bike I got goes, it's probably not what you are looking for as it is built more for comfort than speed (pretty nice seat and a shock absorber under the seat). The ride is pretty smooth and it absorbs the bumps pretty well (even for me as I'm on the obese side at 270 pounds).

I have a bike/walking trail near my home that is about 4.5 miles long and have ridden it 5 times so far. It's moderately hilly and I average about 9 miles/hour.

My bike is an 18-speed and came with puncture-proof tires, Shimano gears, disc brakes, and vibration-reducing handlebars and grips. I had the shop install a water bottle holder, a kick stand, and a bell for alerting walkers on the trails I ride. At the next tune-up I might have them install a odometer/speedometer. Also, the front tire is fairly easy to take on and off if you don't have a bike rack for transporting.

I did try a road bike at the store before I bought my bike and the ride was bumpy as heck. I could feel every little pebble which is why I went with the comfort hybrid. I think the bike was $799 and after I got a helmet and the other accessories it was like $1000 out the door.
Elysium
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Elysium »

Chip wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:29 am Ummm, no. The group ride is not always the goal. Especially with Covid. The OP is talking about 35+ mile weekend rides on bike trails. That's a long way from centuries and 5k miles per year, especially in Chicago.
We are forward looking here, as with stock market, thinking of normal times coming back. There are huge benefits from riding in groups (in normal times), you improve 1-2 miles per hour in average speed from drafting, and it's a very different experience than riding solo. I also will not venture out into some of the country roads riding solo, but with a group will. There is strength in numbers, you make new friends, socialization after ride, I can go on, but this isn't about me. I started out like OP, then quickly learned the mistakes in buying low in the beginning. Had I known before everything I know now about cycling then I would have avoided buying an entry level Hybrid bike several years back, which I eventually sold to someone else.
Chip wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:29 am If someone is riding hundreds of miles per week, sure. But they had better lay in a supply of anti monkey butt powder first. I am an "older rider" and my steel frame absorbs road vibration quite nicely. But I only do 1.5-2k per year.
I ride 100-150 miles per week in summer months, between June and August, and never needed any butt powder, my posterior feels fine, thank you. It's all about incremental progress, you don't start out riding 150 miles a week from get go, you get there incrementally, just like compounding and regular paycheck contributions. BTW, Steel is one of the best frames available, no question about it, but I also think people who ride steel frames tend to look down at Carbon frames as some new innovation they want nothing to do with :annoyed
Last edited by Elysium on Sat Jul 11, 2020 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
livesoft
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by livesoft »

I'm waiting for Elysium just to buy the OP a bike or give them one of their old ones. :)
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Elysium
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Elysium »

livesoft wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 10:45 am I'm waiting for Elysium just to buy the OP a bike or give them one of their old ones. :)
Touche. And I am waiting for OP to accept Livesoft recommendation to get the cheapest old bike you can find from yard sale :D
jkhayc
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by jkhayc »

Elysium wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:43 pm
You need a road bike based on that profile. Congratulations on riding 20+ miles rides and getting clip on pedals. These two are the important landmarks to determine you are ready to cross over into a serious rider.

You should seriously consider getting the best bike you can afford. Don't listen to those who say any battered old bike will do the job and expensive doesn't mean better. It does matter. You can go fast on a battered bike and you can go fast on a carbon frame bike, but for the same amount of fitness and watts produced, the carbon bike will go faster and you will feel much better. Especially as to start climbing hills it will make a huge deal of difference. It will save you more time, that means riding more miles in the same amount of time.

You can also get a good quality Aluminum bike that will do the job, but only if you cannot spend $2K upwards for a carbon bike. It is an investment that will pay for itself, so unless you really can't afford it then I would recommend spending minimum $2k and getting the carbon frame.
Another good option to consider would be a flat bar "road bike." Some people call this a hybrid, but you can get some fairly nice, lightweight and well equipped flat bar road bikes for 2k or less. Depending on OP's comfort level and desire to "fit in" (or not) the flat bars can be a nice gateway drug to full on roadie territory.

I'd also agree that spending more gets you more. It's actually easier to work on current spec, "high end" bikes than it is on POS old stuff. Generally there is actually a little less maintenance involved (in some ways), replacement parts are easier to find (in the event you need to), they feel better/smoother/lighter, they look sexier, etc. Could go on and on.

https://www.canyon.com/en-us/hybrid-cit ... /1973.html

Something like that checks a lot of boxes.
livesoft
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by livesoft »

Elysium wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 10:52 amTouche. And I am waiting for OP to accept Livesoft recommendation to get the cheapest old bike you can find from yard sale :D
Well, if you review my posts in this thread, I did not recommend that the OP buy the cheapest old bike they could find from a yard sale (but I have done that in other threads). On the contrary, I mentioned two bikes with even better components than the Shimano 105 stuff mentioned by others. One of them weighs less than 18 lbs which is respectable while not CF. My next bike might be a CF frame, but who knows? I am not in the market right now to buy another bike.

What's your take on a Clydesdale riding a carbon-fiber frame bike? Still OK? We don't know the OP's body weight, so I'll just say asking for a friend.
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Chip
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Chip »

Elysium wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 10:42 am There are huge benefits from riding in groups (in normal times), you improve 1-2 miles per hour in average speed from drafting...
Your advice to the OP seems extremely colored by your own view of cycling. How about stepping back into the OP's shoes? I've done plenty of group riding and I understand the social benefits and the group safety benefits on back roads. But the only benefit I see to drafting is that you think you're more fit than you actually are. I've done plenty of it and do some now. But don't kid yourself; your odds of crashing go up dramatically with close drafting. And that extra speed makes nearly any crash more severe. Ask my friend who bumped my back wheel when trying to draft at 22 mph. He broke his shoulder, collarbone and the orbit around one eye, permanently losing most of his vision in that eye. Yes, he was wearing a helmet.

The other thing is that my experience with large biking groups is that they tend to be stupid about traffic. Traffic laws are often ignored. In large groups they tend to string out together in a long uninterrupted pace line, leaving following cars with no opportunity to pass safely. Yes, I know bikes have just as much right to the road as cars do, but making drivers homicidal isn't the safest thing in the world.
I ride 100-150 miles per week in summer months, between June and August
Hundreds = more than one. So if you ride 2000 miles in Jun-Aug, when do you get in the rest of your 5000?

I have nothing against carbon frames, other than the expense and potential undiagnosed damage in an accident. My wife has one. And it's a lot easier to load/unload than mine. :)
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Elysium »

livesoft wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:04 am What's your take on a Clydesdale riding a carbon-fiber frame bike? Still OK? We don't know the OP's body weight, so I'll just say asking for a friend.
That's a tough one. I think in Steel or Titanium fits better, although I have seen some big guys riding Carbon frames in our club. They also stand the thrashing it takes over cobble stones in races such as Paris Roubaix, but I guess pros don't have to worry if the bikes get thrashed after a race.

Here is a good site with reviews for components and such, this guy does a lot of testing around in different conditions and one of his partners who he refers to as the 'moose' fits the profile you are asking. I trust his recommendations because he isn't trying to sell anything or associated with anyone.
Last edited by Elysium on Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by livesoft »

Elysium wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:40 am... one of his partners who he refers to as the 'moose' fits the profile you are asking.
Moose apparently only weighs 200 lbs, so pretty light compared to what I was thinking. My friend is ripping spoke nipples right out of the rims on cobblestone sections and breaking spokes on less bumpy sections.
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Elysium
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Elysium »

Chip wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:08 am Your advice to the OP seems extremely colored by your own view of cycling. How about stepping back into the OP's shoes?
I already said my views are based on my own experience and progression, although I did listen to what OP said about riding 20+ miles on single rides with clip on pedals, that to me indicates they could progress up to next level. Anyhow, I have nothing more to debate on this unless we hear back from OP. Perhaps they don't want to do any of this. I am just sharing what I learned through trial and error.
Chip wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:08 am I've done plenty of group riding and I understand the social benefits and the group safety benefits on back roads. But the only benefit I see to drafting is that you think you're more fit than you actually are. I've done plenty of it and do some now. But don't kid yourself; your odds of crashing go up dramatically with close drafting. And that extra speed makes nearly any crash more severe. Ask my friend who bumped my back wheel when trying to draft at 22 mph. He broke his shoulder, collarbone and the orbit around one eye, permanently losing most of his vision in that eye. Yes, he was wearing a helmet.
Nothing to disagree there. We accept the risks involved with activities we are engaged in. Some people do rock climbing, there are risks there too. I think WCI here is one of them, and he's a pretty smart ER doctor.
Chip wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:08 am The other thing is that my experience with large biking groups is that they tend to be stupid about traffic. Traffic laws are often ignored. In large groups they tend to string out together in a long uninterrupted pace line, leaving following cars with no opportunity to pass safely. Yes, I know bikes have just as much right to the road as cars do, but making drivers homicidal isn't the safest thing in the world.
Now you are coloring your views onto group riding. The groups I ride with tend to be very focused on safety, we manage whole season with very minimal injuries, if anyone is out of line they are admonished quickly by one of the ride leads, and in fact repeat offenders in our club will not be allowed to ride in groups. Our riders also know each other fairly well and that means you know fairly well the wheel you are on to, how they will behave in different situations, we use hand signals, calling out, and every possible safety measures. This will not eliminate the issues completely as you said, but will reduce the chances. As in investing, no guarantees once you are out on the open road.
Chip wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:08 am Hundreds = more than one. So if you ride 2000 miles in Jun-Aug, when do you get in the rest of your 5000?
I ride throughout the year, more in summer months, except when there is ice/snow and below freezing, will ride in winter too. Miles average out. My goal is 4k to 5k, sometimes you only get over 4k a year, it all depends. Without groups it will not be possible for me to ride that much. This year for instance I am riding solo and may barely get to 3k, at 1.5k so far.
Shaka
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Shaka »

Here's my perspective as a former Pro/1/2 category racer; this is the advice I give to any of my friends who are considering getting into road cycling. This is generic advice, so apply to your situation where it seems helpful.

The cost of road bikes have a huge range, from $100 Walmart bikes to over $10,000 racing bikes. Choosing effectively requires you to consider a few things.

If you are entirely new to cycling and you don't have an unlimited budget, start on the low end (e.g. under $500 or $1000). Use that for several years while you learn the ins and out of road cycling, if you like it, and want to do it long term. If you really like it and start riding 4+ days/week, or doing longer rides, or joining established group rides, or riding a larger volume of miles per week, or just have extra money, these are signs you could consider upgrading to something nicer and more expensive.

Just like car manufacturers have different price ranges for different categories of vehicles, it's good to understand some of the main things that put bikes into different categories. The easiest way to determine what "tier" a bike might fit into is to look at the tier of components on the bike (e.g. brakes, shifters, front chainring and cranks, cassette, chain, derailleur). While there are multiple manufacturers of bike components, Shimano is one of the most popular in the US. Their tiers of bike components are as follows:
Claris/Sora: super low cost
Tiagra: Lowest I'd recommend for any "cyclist" (absolute lowest I would recco to the OP)
105: Low-end racing components / low-budget cycling enthusiast
Ultegra: Mid-end racing components / mid-budget cycling enthusiast
Dura-ace: High-end racing components / high-budget cycling enthusiast

If my friends are looking for a low-cost bike I usually recommend finding something used from a local cyclist with at least a 105 component group. If the bike has 105 or higher you usually don't have to worry about the rest of the bike (e.g. frame) assuming it's a name brand. Buying used can often save you 40%-70% off. I got my $6K bike for $2K from a teammate who has lots of disposable income and upgrades every few years. The only downside from purchasing used is that many people don't have the knowledge to understand if the bike is the right size for them or assess if it's been maintained properly.

Of course, one great benefit of purchasing new from your local bike shop is they can help you find the right size bike (i.e. the correct frame size for your height). If you ride a lot a great-fitting bike is extremely important. If you purchase new and want to keep cost down, look for shops that carry bikes with the Tiagra or 105 group sets. Keep an eye out for sales, particularly of last year's models. If you can find a new name-brand bike on sale with a 105 groupset for under $1000 you are doing well. You might be able to find a bike with Tiagra for $500.

As many on this thread have mentioned, a professional bike fit is worth the cost, particularly if you are doing more than several 20+ mile rides per week. It will save your knees, back, and just make the experience more comfortable/enjoyable. Many hours of the same repetitive motion with an incorrect position can be dangerous.

If you get addicted to this great sport and want to pursue it long term or just have extra money to spend, consider upgrading to a bike outfitted with Ultegra or Dura-ace. These bikes will generally be in the $2K - $10K range new.
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by 2pedals »

There is nothing wrong with a bike that is a bit heavy, they make for good training and can be very durable if built right. If you want to go on longer rides it takes time to work up to it. At first the longer rides will feel uncomfortable but you will get used to it as your conditioning changes. Ride comfort means different things to different folks. I am a 220lb 60 year old biker and I like the feel of a solid steel bike. Wider tires and lower pressure can help make your ride smoother. A saddle that fits, padded shorts and padded gloves help. I don't like drop bars, they create back pain for me on long rides. In general I have found that comfort and performance are incompatible. I just let those performance cyclists pass by me. I know their minds they are more than happy to do so.

Your Diamondback bike at 1k miles is lightly used. What makes your longer rides uncomfortable? if you want something different I get it, but make sure it fits you well. A reputable local bike store should be able to help you.
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Elysium »

livesoft wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:46 am Moose apparently only weighs 200 lbs, so pretty light compared to what I was thinking. My friend is ripping spoke nipples right out of the rims on cobblestone sections and breaking spokes on less bumpy sections.
Ummm.. perhaps something with tractor tires then for your friend :wink:
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Buy local from a good shop

Post by Bogle7 »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:30 pmGo to a good bike shop. Ask them to explain what you get for how much money.
+1

The ideal month to buy is October (according to my LBS owner).
a. Cooler weather has discouraged new bike purchases.
b. It is not yet XMAS buying season.
c. The new year's models will be arriving in a few months.
d. Business is slower so you get more attention.

Also, remember that the ideal number of bikes to own is n+1.

P.S.
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:30 pm I built my own custom bike in 1974 with a custom Colin Laing frame and all Campy components. Not much better could be purchased at that time. Probably a few grand in parts today.
I built my bike in 1974 with an Italian-made Columbus tubing frame and all Campagnolo Nuovo Record components. Fiamme red/gold label rims with light sewup tires.
$1200 USD.
That is $6000 in today's dollars.
I still own this bike and still ride it. But, with clincher tires.
Last edited by Bogle7 on Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
sschoe2
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by sschoe2 »

Is there a local bike club/group? They could really help you and steer you in the right direction.
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by sschoe2 »

The last bike I bought was a Motobecane carbon road bike with Ultegra 6700 from Bikesdirect.com but I already knew my size and do my own mechanics. I have been very pleased with it. I bought it in 2010 and put over 20k miles on it replacing or upgrading parts as needed. New chain and tires yearly, been through a few wheels, 3 cranksets, saddles, cable sets etc. Carbon is plenty durable and you can often have it repaired if it cracks or just replace the frame (again I do my own mechanics).
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by cyclist »

Alas, no one can tell you which bike will be right for you. No one.

There's really no substitute for doing multiple long-ish test rides on a variety of bike. Here in the DC area that's simply not possible now because of inventory issues, but maybe things will improve by the time the OP is ready to buy. Or maybe a llttle later.

I haven't noticed any discussion of the OP's particular physical needs. The original post mentioned discomfort, but I haven't noticed anything about the nature of that discomfort. A young rider and a retiree are likely to have different amounts of neck flexibility; a traditional drop-bar road bike with a comparatively low handlebar position would likely be most aerodynamic, but if the OP has relatively less neck flexibility they're likely to be a lot more comfortable with the more upright stance of a good touring or gravel bike... and likely get a lot more miles in. Or perhaps their discomfort is related to seat/shorts issues and could be mitigated right now with a different seat. Or maybe they have knee issues that could be related to cleat position or other fit or training issues.

I've twice had the experience of going into a shop to buy a specific kind of bike only to discover that I just didn't like the way I felt while riding it. Fortunately, each time I found something else that suited me better.

I'll never be a racer, but I've commuted, shared modest recreational group rides, and pedaled across the US with camping gear. I think it's well worth taking the time to find out the best kind of bike for you (instead of the kind of bike that the folks you get advice from tend to like.)

Heck, if you liked what I liked best you'd probably wind up on a recumbent.

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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by fourniks »

livesoft wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:46 am
Elysium wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:40 am... one of his partners who he refers to as the 'moose' fits the profile you are asking.
Moose apparently only weighs 200 lbs, so pretty light compared to what I was thinking. My friend is ripping spoke nipples right out of the rims on cobblestone sections and breaking spokes on less bumpy sections.
I just rode with my cousin's son this morning. Former Ivy League tight end and weighs about 240. He has just gotten into cycling and rides a BH Ultralight EVO - carbon fiber frame and he loves it.

Carbon Fiber isn't for everyone - it can still be stiff, especially in the bottom bracket area, but that also generally leads to a great climbing bike. This shouldn't be an issue if it's just going to be ridden on paths or mostly flat terrain and the weight savings will still be a bonus.

I went from a carbon fiber 17 pound Orbea (23C tires max) to an almost 20-pound 853 steel Raleigh with 28C tires. The latter is more comfortable. Is it the steel, the tires or slightly longer chain stays? The Raleigh is no climber, that's for sure.
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by hexagon »

fourniks wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:49 pm
livesoft wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:46 am
Elysium wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:40 am... one of his partners who he refers to as the 'moose' fits the profile you are asking.
Moose apparently only weighs 200 lbs, so pretty light compared to what I was thinking. My friend is ripping spoke nipples right out of the rims on cobblestone sections and breaking spokes on less bumpy sections.
I just rode with my cousin's son this morning. Former Ivy League tight end and weighs about 240. He has just gotten into cycling and rides a BH Ultralight EVO - carbon fiber frame and he loves it.

Carbon Fiber isn't for everyone - it can still be stiff, especially in the bottom bracket area, but that also generally leads to a great climbing bike. This shouldn't be an issue if it's just going to be ridden on paths or mostly flat terrain and the weight savings will still be a bonus.

I went from a carbon fiber 17 pound Orbea (23C tires max) to an almost 20-pound 853 steel Raleigh with 28C tires. The latter is more comfortable. Is it the steel, the tires or slightly longer chain stays? The Raleigh is no climber, that's for sure.
Mostly the tires, for sure.
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by framus »

...and then there's this. Just ride. https://www.rivbike.com
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by carorun »

Thanks for the advice everyone.

I saw some advice to ask a bike shop for recs. IME, that’s like asking a car dealer what I should buy. I’ve found them to be condescending and always trying to up sell me into something I don’t need.

I have what is considered an entry level flat bar road bike now, and am looking to upgrade to the next tier. From some basic research, it looks like $1-2k is a good amount to spend; however, I want to make sure I’m truly getting a better bike vs paying more for something newer. I looked up my bike today and it’s 27lbs. From a few recent searches, it looks like most bikes in my price range are 18-20 lbs. And yes, I could lose some body fat, but a lighter newer bike would improve my bike experience for sure.

The discomfort is in my back and neck. I wear padded shorts on long rides and have adjusted my seat, but with a flat bar it’s hard to get into an aerodynamic posture. I now understand the utility of drop bars.

Not sure I see group rides in my future but I am putting 40-60 miles per week on my bike lately. I’m a 30 something woman and from what I’ve seen and researched around me, most biking groups are made up of middle aged men. Nothing wrong with that, but not exactly how I want to spend my weekend mornings. I like catching up on podcasts and enjoying the scenery on my rides.

With this info in mind, any brands or models I should focus on?
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Elysium »

carorun wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 10:25 pm I’m a 30 something woman and from what I’ve seen and researched around me, most biking groups are made up of middle aged men.
I don't know anything about cycling scene where you live, but where I live we have plenty of women riders in our group, heck we have women lead riders, some even raced in the past, some of them can kick my rear end in a group. Our club even have women only rides, age wise we have women riders from 20s all the way up to 60s, so on, you get the idea. As for specific Bike, I still think you should get the best bike you can afford. $1k-$2k will buy you plenty of bike given that information. You can still get a carbon frame for upper end of that range with 105 group sets, and in the ladies frame if you prefer. All major brands such as Specialized, Trek, Cannondale, Scott, etc will have right frames and group sets available in that range.
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Shaka »

carorun wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 10:25 pm I like catching up on podcasts and enjoying the scenery on my rides.
Just some friendly advice for your safety: Not sure how or where you are listening to podcasts on your ride, but as someone who has had multiple acquaintances lose their lives or suffer very serious injuries, please consider not wearing in-ear headphones if you are riding on the road. The road is dangerous enough without reducing awareness. I've been seriously hit by an inattentive SUV driver and the vigilance I developed after that has helped keep me safe since. If you are riding on safer routes, I hear bone-conduction headphones may allow external environmental noise and are thus a bit safer, but have never tried them myself.
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by fourniks »

carorun wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 10:25 pm Thanks for the advice everyone.

I saw some advice to ask a bike shop for recs. IME, that’s like asking a car dealer what I should buy. I’ve found them to be condescending and always trying to up sell me into something I don’t need.

I have what is considered an entry level flat bar road bike now, and am looking to upgrade to the next tier. From some basic research, it looks like $1-2k is a good amount to spend; however, I want to make sure I’m truly getting a better bike vs paying more for something newer. I looked up my bike today and it’s 27lbs. From a few recent searches, it looks like most bikes in my price range are 18-20 lbs. And yes, I could lose some body fat, but a lighter newer bike would improve my bike experience for sure.

The discomfort is in my back and neck. I wear padded shorts on long rides and have adjusted my seat, but with a flat bar it’s hard to get into an aerodynamic posture. I now understand the utility of drop bars.

Not sure I see group rides in my future but I am putting 40-60 miles per week on my bike lately. I’m a 30 something woman and from what I’ve seen and researched around me, most biking groups are made up of middle aged men. Nothing wrong with that, but not exactly how I want to spend my weekend mornings. I like catching up on podcasts and enjoying the scenery on my rides.

With this info in mind, any brands or models I should focus on?
I would bet that women are the fastest growing segment of bicycle owner/buyer. I see lots of women around here on group rides. With that being said, some of the major manufacturers make bikes/frame models that have gemoetries specifically geared to women. Trek's WSD line comes to mind. Also check out Giant - you get a lot of bang for your buck with Giant (so I've heard).

However, any reputable bike shop should be able to fit you to any new bike. Sometimes longer/shorter stems or setback seat posts are required.

With the kind of mileage you are doing, I would recommend at least a Shimano 105 level derailleur (front and rear with the goal of Ultegra). Sram is the other component maker - I'm not really familiar with their different "levels" of shifters. I won't go into the details, but bike manufacturers do a lot of things to get to certain price points. Some may spec a cheaper wheel set to give you a "full" 105 or Ultegra component package, or may spec an off-brand brake set. None of these should be major deal killers as you can always upgrade components later.

Expect to see aluminum frames at the lower end of your 1-2k price range. Aluminum has come a long way and not nearly as stiff and uncomfortable of a frame material as is was 20 years ago.
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Andyrunner »

Been riding serious for a few years after I kept having running issues. Lots of good advice here but I'll tell you my story and input.

I have a bikesdirect Motobecane cyclocross bike, its aluminum, good for riding, I recommend aluminum for what your doing. Tiagra components, spent about $800 4 years ago, just passed 5k miles. Its great, but honestly the money I spent to dial it in right on fit and basic upgrades (brakes were garbage), I should of just gone to a bike shop and got a name brand. As far as Tiagra components, I think they are just fine, sure 105 is lighter one more gear, but you'll get by with Tiagra fine if price is an issue.

If I were you I would look at something like a Salsa Journeyman. Basically a more relaxed road bike with a bit wider tires. Issue is there is a big shortage of bikes right now. Demand is through the roof and supply from overseas is an issue.
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by cyclist »

If back and neck discomfort is an issue with your flat-bar bike now, then you’re definitely going to want to do an extended test ride before you buy a drop handlebar road bike - think about the ergonomics of the neck position when you’re down in the drops and looking at the road ahead of you.

FWIW, recumbent bikes are funny-looking and tend to be heavy and hard to find, but recumbent bike riders don’t complain about back, neck, butt, or wrist pain. Just sayin.

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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by livesoft »

cyclist wrote: Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:13 am If back and neck discomfort is an issue with your flat-bar bike now, then you’re definitely going to want to do an extended test ride before you buy a drop handlebar road bike - think about the ergonomics of the neck position when you’re down in the drops and looking at the road ahead of you.
Most of the respondents to this thread know that drop bars allow for multiple hand placements which is a major reason to prefer them over flat bars in the first place. Except for a commuter bike, I have always had drop bars, but my hands spend the least amount of time "down in the drops" though I am constantly moving them among different positions on the bars while riding.

See also: https://blog.bikefit.com/adjusting-hand ... e-fitting/ I do see a lot of people riding bikes with their drop handlebars adjusted in a way that I could never use myself, so either their body mechanics are completely different than mine or they never had the handlebars adjusted perfectly in the first place. Years ago, when I bought my De Rosa the entire bike was fit to my body in an extended session riding on rollers. Even today when I get on that bike it fits so comfortably that I feel like I just had a massage.
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by Chip »

livesoft wrote: Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:28 am Even today when I get on that bike it fits so comfortably that I feel like I just had a massage.
I had a massage like that once.... :P
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Re: Bike upgrade recs?

Post by livesoft »

Chip wrote: Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:20 amI had a massage like that once.... :P
Now that is funny! Thanks!
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