Fired Up Again About Cycling!

Hey, guys! I was watching the “HP International Women’s Challenge” yesterday, winding itself around the beautiful scenery of the Intermoutain West. It’s billed as the toughest Women’s roadrace in the world.Well, it re-kindled the 'ole childlike spirit to hit the open road! My problem is that I haven’t had a new bike since my parents bought me a new Schwinn WAY back in the day! So I need your help.

I CERTAINLY don’t need a $20,000, aero-dynamic, Titanium bike, but I would like something that is “state of the art”, reliable, with a reputable manufacturer (like Schwinn was when I was a kid). It should be tough, but good for just cruising around the neighborhood and MAYBE a perodic SHORT race or two. I welcome any and all reccommendations! THANKS!

Hey Mufasa, welcome back to cycling!! Although my expertise lies mainly in BMX, I do know which companies make great bikes, such as Specialized, Schwinn, Trek (Gary Fisher), Diamondback, etc. Most companies make both high- and low-end bikes, for a variety of riding disciplines. If you can give me more information, such as specific riding style and budget, I can recommend some models. Moreso, what’s your height? A lot of times you’ll find its personal preference in geometry moreso than what a bike looks like, etc. Size is important, as is the the components a bike comes with, but components can always be upgraded.

I love my Cannondale 1000 aero. It’s fast and tough, light, but still soaks up the road vibration well. The sticker was 1799.00, without pedals, helmet, and cycle computer. You can go to Colorado Cyclist and order a lot of gear on line. I got my bike at a shop in Hamburg, Pa. Go to a good shop with a budget in mind. They should be able to get you a good setup. I have both a road and mt. bike(a trek 6000). The trek was about 600.00. It’s a great bike for off road. Reliable, but inexpensive. The cannondale is about as good as it gets without spending 4-5K. Hope this helps.

Dude if you want that spirit rekindled, check out OLN everyday for the big one, Le Tour, live and replays. It’s been an awesome race so far this year and we may even see two Americans on the podium with Bobby Julich riding back on form.

About bikes, I’m not gonna take up too much forum space with this, but you need to decide exactly what you want to do with your bike. If you really may want to do some road races or tris in the future, you are going to have to spend at least $1000.00. Good manufacturers are going to be Trek, Cannondale and Specialized for the most part. They all stand behind their products and have pretty good customer service. Probably the best value on the market is the Cannondale R600, but it’s gonna be more than $1000. Unfortunately with the technological advances of the past decade, there is no such thing as a cheap good road bike. You either get the department store Huffy for $150 or go up to the good retail brands for $1000 up. If you don’t want to do road races, there are a lot more options in the mountain bike market. Again, I would probably stay with those manufacturers, there are a few others and if you find something you’re intersted in you can post with my name and I’ll tell you what I think. Having raced for 10 years and worked in bike retail while in grad school, I should be able to give an informed opinion.

Thanks, guys! Growth: I’m 5’10" (“average guy”); I would like to spend probably NO MORE than $2-3,000 (even though if a good bike can be had for less than a thousand, great). Riding style? I need some help with that one. Novice/Leisure; non-competitive except with myself; in other words, there will be times when I’ll look at my riding for its fitness benefits,and will really want to “push it”. However, I doubt that I’ll be involved in any formal races, at least not now. Some off road biking (will that maybe require two different bikes?)along trails. Is that what you mean by syle? I can give you more infomation if not.

Mufasa, yes … that’s what I meant by style. If you want to do some off-road riding, you cannot use a road bike for that. However, if your off-road riding is simply light trails like fire roads, you can probably get away with a hybrid bike … which is sort of in between a road bike and mountain bike … has thin knobbied tires that are good for both street and trail. However, you can also get separate sets of tires: one “slick” set for the street and one knobbied set for off-roading. I’m off to bed now, but I’ll put together a list of some good models for you to check out.

Mufasa, I e-mailed a few of the product managers I know in the biz at Redline, Specialized, Trek, and Mongoose. I’ll forward you their comments about a bike. But check out a bike shop … see what they’ve got. Chances are, you won’t go to wrong with a name brand like the above mentioned, or Schwinn or Diamondback.

Mufasa … got some feedback from Redline Bicycles: “Tell your buddy to buy a REDLINE – we have the Conquest (yellow/black machine) for around $800… awesome bike for the bucks. I just got one myself and have been riding it to work now that the weather is perfect. Or, if he wants to go real deluxe, the CONQUEST PRO is totally decked out with a top Shimano groupo, and is waaaaay cool looking–with a glossy, pearl blue paint scheme. For exact specs-- check out the Redline Bicycles web site.” Check out the cyclocross models.

Check out the bikes on I think they are the best value. I own an
Enduro, but I’m into mountain biking, but they make excellent road bikes as well.

Mufasa – You asked a good question when you mentioned your preferred riding. You asked if occassional off-roading would necessitate a second bike. Given the price range you originally quoted, you can defintely get two bikes of good quality for $3000. You might even be able to get a price break at a local bike shop by getting both at the same time. If you’re locked into one bike (and you’re not going to be doing aggressive off-roading), however, I’d have to go with the idea of a cyclo-cross bike. Basically a road bike with cantilever brakes and tire clearance for decent size knobbie tires. What you will most likely find, is that you’re going to enjoy one type of riding more than the other (road vs. off-road), so I’d go with the two-bike option, then upgrade the one that you feel more inclined toward. BTW, I saw some excellent Cannondales at Costco the other day – their aero model – for only $1299. Would probably hold up pretty well under some one of greater-than-pure-cyclist build.

PaulB, you got that right … Specialized makes great bikes. I’m waiting to hear back from them on their specific recommendations for Mufasa … in other cycling news … Schwinn/GT filed Chapter 11 yesterday. Looks like Huffy is going to buy them for $60 million.

I wrote an extensive reply yesterday that, for some reason never made it up, but in essence it echoes Brider’s sentiments. If you can part with $2-3 k, you can get a competent road bike and a competent mountain bike. A hybrid doesn’t do either very well, and will likely not be sturdy enough for an average lifter.

Another point I made was that you should look into oversized aluminum (Cannondale, Specialized or Klein). You said that you were 5’10’’ I belive, but if you weigh more than 175 lb, that is considered heavy for a cyclist. On top of that you will likely have relatively powerful legs. I have set several of my BIG buddies up with Cannondales and Kleins and there have been no incidences or complaints. Cannondales in particular have a very beefy bottom bracket which results in excellent power transfer. From Cannondale I would not go with less than a CAAD 3 frame or an M4 from Specialized. They are both good values and you should be able to get a Shimano 105 or ultegra equipped model for $12-1400.

Mountain bikes on the other hand provide many more options. I would still stick with one of the big 4 (Specialized, Trek, CAnnondale, GT), but you should be able to get a competent MTN bike with suspension for $800.

This way you have the option of pushing the envelope on and off road. You also leave yourself the option of doing some races down the road. Cyclocross is a blast, but cyclocross races are few and far between. You are much more likely to be able to find a low key mountain bike race or find a local club road race or group ride.