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KESTREL500's Photo KESTREL500 Posts: 1,173
3/5/11 9:48 P

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Nice bike congratulations! I have a Madone 6.2 that I like but I know a few people who love their Rubys! Bet you can't wait to get it. Just remember when it comes in they need to fit you on the bike. Any parts that you are not comfortable with...handlebar width...stem etc should be swapped out for the correct ones. Even after you ride for a bit the shop should still be able to swap out parts as long as they are still like new. My shop swapped out handlebars that I felt were a tad too wide about a month after I bought the bike. No additional charge...with what the bike cost I should hope so!

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DDOORN's Photo DDOORN Posts: 23,573
3/5/11 7:23 P

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Oooh! A Specialized Ruby! Sweet choice! Course I've got a Specialized Tricross so I might be just a tad partial... :-)

You're gonna LOVE getting out on your Ruby!

Don

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HEATHERLAMB's Photo HEATHERLAMB Posts: 1,702
3/5/11 6:02 P

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Hi All...just to update you, I ordered a Specialized Ruby road bike today!!! Thank you all for your terrific advice. When it all came down to it, getting a great LBS to work with made a huge difference! I felt much better working with the LBS that sold specialized than I did with the Trek shops...I can't wait until it arrives!!! :)

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WONGERCHI's Photo WONGERCHI Posts: 3,889
3/1/11 9:25 A

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GIANT_STEPS:
With the advent of threadless stems in a whole host of rise/drop angles I would say that when it comes to stems you can get whatever stem you like. We no longer exist in the age when all your could get was a -17 threaded stem.

I would say that the reason why the 56 and the 58 felt different to you wasn't because of the differing top-tube stem combo. I don't believe that changes the handling of the bike - what DOES affect bike handling is front-centre, trail and wheelbase. So you can't really compare a 58 and a 56 simply by changing stem length without making sure that all those other variables are the same.

HEATHERLAMB:
So why not just get the Roubaix and be done with it? Of the 2 I would get the Specialized. But the Roubaix geometry is a very nice match FOR ME.

In God we trust, all others bring data.
- W. Edwards Demings

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.
-P.Z. Pearce

Specificity, specificity, specificity.
-Andy Coggan

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
- Frank Kotsonis


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DANIELBS80's Photo DANIELBS80 SparkPoints: (316)
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3/1/11 8:45 A

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Maybe you can have the other bike store order the ruby? I think the Trek would provide better performance but the Ruby may be a little more comfy for long distances, however you maybe be able to adjust the Trek to be just as comfy a different seat and/or seat post and what-not. It looks like there is a bit of a difference in price between the two bikes. You're prolly pretty serious about biking if you're gonna spend that much. If so, I'd just get the Trek and you can always spend a bit more on swaping some things out for better fit. Somtimes you can even have the LBS do it for you at no additional cost from what I've heard.

Edited by: DANIELBS80 at: 3/1/2011 (08:53)
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HEATHERLAMB's Photo HEATHERLAMB Posts: 1,702
3/1/11 8:14 A

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Hello friends...thank you all for the fantastic suggestions and advise! I think I've finally narrowed my search down to two bikes:

Specialized Ruby
Trek Madone 4.7

I've found a great LBS that carries the Specialized...I really liked how the salesperson took the time to really set me up right on the bike. He really knew his bikes & inventory and had lots of great advise for me. The Specialized Roubaix (the men's version of the Ruby) was comfortable and responsive. The Madone was a nice ride too. Going to try and test them out again this weekend.

Being as tall as I am, I've ridden very few WSD bikes...very few stores carry them in in a 56". I have ridden the comparable bikes in mens sizes, and the reach was too far on most of them. Despite the fact that I could replace the stem, I think just getting the bike with the shorter top tube will be the best option for me.

However...this poses a dilemma for me. I've been able to have an LBS order a 56" Madone for me to test ride...however, obtaining a Specialized Ruby in a 56" will require me to put money down. I was really excited about riding the Roubaix, and the salesperson said if I liked the Roubaix, I would LOVE the Ruby. I'm not sure how comfortable I am putting money down on a bike without actually riding it! But the LBS doesn't want to order a bike and then not have it sell, leaving the potential for it to sit in the store. Any thoughts on this???

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2/25/11 11:43 A

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Better brands of bikes design women's bikes from the frame up to fit the archetypical woman. These bikes have a shorter top tube, different angles, sometimes different tube choices since they may assume that women will be lighter and/or less powerful than men.

You can only do so much with components. When I sold bikes one of our best selling items was a 35mm stem we found. It was steel but the shortest one we could find and the only way we could get some of our female customers reasonably comfortable. I've seen women even turn their stem around to get the bars closer (don't' do this! it horks up the handling of your bike). For some women there simply was no top tube short enough. All that said we had female customers with short legs and long torsos for whom a WSD bike would be all wrong. Before smaller brake levers were available we used to modify standard levers to get them closer to the handlebar for women who had trouble reaching them. We did the best we could with what we had but sometimes it wasn't enough.

I think what you are getting at is that bikes have to fit the individual rather than the gender. This is absolutely true. WSD does address some of the areas that some hard-to-fit women face when looking for a bike.

Different length top tubes and stems indeed do change the handling of a bike. I ride one bike with a 55.5cm top tube paired with a 12cm stem and another with a 58cm top tube paired with a 10cm stem. It is actually quite a different feel. I know some custom frame builders who aim for a 9cm stem for all their customers and others that believe the stem length should be a specific percentage of the combined top tube+stem length. In any case, you can't accommodate the wide range of body types with different stems.

WONGERCHI's Photo WONGERCHI Posts: 3,889
2/25/11 9:14 A

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GIANT_STEPS:
You can account for all the morphological differences between women and men simply by changing handlebars, stems and seatpost height. It's not like going from a 110mm to a 80-90mm stem is going to change handling all that much.

Why have a different frame? I would contend that if someone can't fit on a stock "Brand X" frame, then it's because Brand X's geometry doesn't work for them. In which case, "Brand Y" would fit them better.

In God we trust, all others bring data.
- W. Edwards Demings

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.
-P.Z. Pearce

Specificity, specificity, specificity.
-Andy Coggan

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
- Frank Kotsonis


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KESTREL500's Photo KESTREL500 Posts: 1,173
2/24/11 7:04 P

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okay so I guess I should chime in....I am one of those women who never felt comfortable on a "unisex" (this usually means 'men's' regardless of what product one is trying to sell except for hair salons...then it means 'women's') bike. I bought into the hype and bought a "women's specific design Terry and then rode it across the country with less pain than I felt in a 50 mile bike ride on any other bike. Jump forward 10 years, I am now in the market for another bike, even though the Terry is just fine still I need the tax deduction (Well that's how I justify it), I decided to buy a Trek Madone "WSD" ...come to find out they no longer sell WSD Madone's but they make a H3 frame which is the same as the WSD design frame. Apparently there were men who felt more comfortable on this frame but didn't want to buy a "women's" bike. So I bought it and asked for narrower handlebars and a bit shorter stem. It fits perfectly and I can't wait to ride it more, well as soon as it stops snowing and it warms up to above freezing.

So my take on this...I really don't care what they call them but I am glad they make them.

Edited by: KESTREL500 at: 2/24/2011 (19:04)
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2/24/11 2:01 P

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WONGERCHI: There is also no such thing as "womens specific" geometry. That's a marketing gimmick, true and true.

"Womens Specific Design" makes assumptions that aren't necessarily correct. That women are shorter on than men, that they have narrower shoulders,smaller hands and proportionally longer legs and shorter torsos than men. Women for whom these assumptions are correct often have never felt comfortable on unisex bikes and really like WSD bikes. Most of my female customers fit unisex frames just fine but some that were hard to fit on unisex frames benefited from WSD.



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2/24/11 11:35 A

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I should also say another reason not to fret over your purchase is because you have to start somewhere! My first road bike purchase was a carbon Orbea Onix Dama. Everything on it was totally vanilla. Cheap components, cheap wheels, and the fit was so-so (the top tube was too short so I had a 12cm stem that put all the weight on my hands!). But that bike taught me so much about road cycling! My husband couldn't stand that bike (he's a perfectionist) so I (reluctantly) agreed to sell it. I took a bit of a loss, but I when we built a new bike to my exact measurements, I couldn't believe the difference!! Would I have known the first time? No way! I needed the experience first. So when you get your bike, ride it and then maybe next year you will want to get new wheels, handlebars, etc. But start "vanilla" now, and add/subtract as needed.

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2/24/11 11:17 A

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Once you decide on a bike and start riding it, make sure to go back to the LBS with any pains that you are having and see what they can do to adjust your bike and your equipment more properly. Something as small as having your cleats in the wrong spot on your foot can cause knee pain after 2-3 hours in the saddle.
In my opinion only, I would consider spending a bit more for a forgiving frame material, such as carbon, light steel, or titanium, only because aluminum is a bit stiffer. That may help you get off the line quicker, but long hours in the saddle can result in getting beat up by aluminum. I have bikes of all three materials in similar geometries (one carbon is a bit racier) and I can tell very easily that the aluminum frame is harder on my joints. Of course, adding a carbon fork will help ease the vibration. (I have a cheap steel frame with a carbon fork as a commuter, and it will work fine on any ride less than 6 hours long. The bike frame is a Soma Smoothie ES; I had my LBS order it and build it for me)

Just a bit of advice, don't fret too much over your bike purchase. Ride it for a season and if you don't like it, post it on ebay or TeamEstrogen. Once you get fitted and have more experience with road bikes, you will find a plethora of great bikes and components on-line cheap. All my bikes are builds to my exact specifications with high-end components, thousands of dollars cheaper than new. That's part of the fun of it, road bikes are like Mr. potato heads, you can mix and match to get exactly what you want!
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JHOLLNAGEL Posts: 1,768
2/23/11 4:27 P

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Check with the bike shops you are looking at and see if any of them sponsors a group ride? Ask if you can take the bike you are looking to get on the group ride, thus a ride longer than 15 mins. I know ours did and at the time I rode a Trek Madone 5.9 and felt it was too stiff for me. I'm sure two years i may feel differently. Also, I was scared you know what of laying it down so i was not as overly aggressive if it were your own bike. The other bike shop i went to had a bike trail behind it and it stretched for over 25 miles in either direction. all they wanted was my driver's license and i could ride for as long as i wanted. I took the rides over the same course and like Wonger said .... you will know when it is the right bike. Alum w/carbon fork and stays will feel like you are on a fully carbon bike. Any components of 105 or higher will feel the same to a beginner .... a pro would be able to discern a difference though?

Just keep test riding and asking questions. When you start tweaking the fit give it about 300-500 miles on the change before you go and tweak again.

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SWEETCYCLINHAMS's Photo SWEETCYCLINHAMS Posts: 1,247
2/21/11 10:42 A

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Wonger is right. I would most definitely go with a better aluminum frame over a cheaper carbon. In fact, I am looking at possibly getting an aluminum frame for things like riding in wet\inclement conditions, especially when I do benefit rides - the last thing I want to do is go down on my Trek. I was figuring about $2,000 for "something" and your price range is inline with what little research I've done. I think you will be quite happy with whatever you choose.

I'd say go for it! The only problem with aluminum is, over time, the metal and or weld point(s) might develop fatigue so you want to keep an eye out for that. But we're talking many, many years of riding. My old Bianchi Squadra had 16 years on it and was still going strong. Just treat it right and it should last you a lifetime.

Ride safe!

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WONGERCHI's Photo WONGERCHI Posts: 3,889
2/21/11 10:15 A

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Don't believe in bike brand recommendations myself. I have a stable of bikes that I would only recommend to ME as they are the right bikes for me.

However, the general advice that you have been given here is good. Ride as many bikes as you can, from as many shops as you can. Educate yourself about bike fit (yes, you can shorten reach with a shorter stem) but more importantly ride, ride, ride. Sounds cheesy but you will know the right bike for you.

In terms of components - if you're looking Shimano/SRAM then anything from 105 or Apex and up is enough to race on. If the components are installed properly then you won't be able to tell the difference from one to another - I can't tell the difference between DA or 105 (or Red/RIval) when I'm riding them.

In terms of frames, your price point puts you on the border between high-end alu and low end carbon. I'd go alu anyday - you get more bike for your money and if anyone tells you that alu is "more harsh" than carbon then you know they're lying. Tires (and tire pressures) play much more of a role in smoothing out road buzz than any differences in frame material.

There is also no such thing as "womens specific" geometry. That's a marketing gimmick, true and true.

In God we trust, all others bring data.
- W. Edwards Demings

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.
-P.Z. Pearce

Specificity, specificity, specificity.
-Andy Coggan

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
- Frank Kotsonis


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CAROLYN1ALASKA's Photo CAROLYN1ALASKA Posts: 10,930
2/20/11 5:35 P

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Our bike shop has rentals which could really help you make the decision.

If you're not sure about getting a triple crank, I have tried both and am currently riding a double even though I'm 62 and overweight and Anchorage is plenty hilly. (Our neighborhood road to return to my house has an average 9% grade and spikes up to 16% in one section.)
I did compromise and buy a compact double crank set which has lower gearing than a typical double. The advantage I found with my double is that the chain never fell off and I didn't have the same problems with shifting adjustments that I had when I had my triple.
TRY OUT LOTS OF DIFFERENT BIKES! There are lots of great road bikes out there and I'm sure you'll find one that you adore. It will sure make your triathlon times on the bike leg a lot faster! It did for me...


Edited by: CAROLYN1ALASKA at: 2/20/2011 (17:36)
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HEATHERLAMB's Photo HEATHERLAMB Posts: 1,702
2/20/11 5:08 P

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Hi All!!!

Thank you for all of the terrific suggestions!!! I've been having fun trying out roadbikes this weekend. I've been to 4 different LBS, and it certainly has been an interesting experience. I've learned a ton.

I'm finding that my tall stature (5'10") is slightly difficult to fit on a women's specific roadbike...most only go to 54cm and I've been fitted for a 56cm. On the flip side, I have a shorter torso than men my height, and so it's a bit of a stretch for me to grip the hoods. On some models, my arms are completely stretched out. Most LBS are saying that they can swap out for a shorter stem and that should take care of the problem.

Here's what I've ridden so far:
2011 Trek 2.3
2011 Trek 1.5 (didn't like this one)
2011 Giant Defy 1 (both carbon & aluminum frames)
2010 Cannondale Synapse
2010 Fuji SL-1
2010 Schwinn Paramount Series 7

Component-wise...these are all pretty similar....mostly along the lines of Shimano 105. I could tell the difference in the components between the two Treks, but other than that it's becoming harder to really distinguish one ride from another. The full carbon bikes (Fuji and Defy) were smooth...I did actually notice the slightly smoother ride on the carbon Defy after I rode the aluminum Defy. They are also all within a generally similar price range ($1700 avg).

And especially since these bikes aren't 100% fit to me yet, how am I to know which one is "the one"???? :-P

Renting is a good idea...one of the LBS mentioned that option to me today. I may have to investigate that one further.

Thanks all for the feedback!

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2/20/11 12:26 P

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You have received a lot of good advice so far.

You can't tell in 10 minutes if a bike will still be comfortable in 2 hours.
But you can probably get a good idea right away if it won't.

Getting properly fitted at a good bike shop will take a lot of the guesswork out of the equation.

I have one other suggestion...
Do any of the local bike shops near you have rentals?
It's something you will probably have to ask about.
I didn't know my local shop did rentals until I saw someone renting a Cervelo for a Triathlon the next day.
Maybe you can rent something before you buy... or just rent for your occasional Triathlon.

Tom

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The treadmill is NOT!

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SARACYCLE's Photo SARACYCLE Posts: 329
2/20/11 11:54 A

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Heather,
These cyclists have great recommendations. I'm going to encourage you to be fitted at your local cycle shop. That was the best thing I did, before getting my road bike. I must admit, my friend had one, and I ended up getting the Trek Pilot 2.1 like hers, as I used it and it fit really well. With really short legs, there are not a lot of options for 43cm. I had to change out the handlebars as the ones that came were too small. The bike has well over 4,000 miles on her and is wonderful. If you've been browsing through Bike magazines and looking, you may have in mind what you want. My sister-in-law does triathlons with a Trek Madone. So a road bike works for starting out in that event. Enjoy shopping and let us know what you got!

Edited by: SARACYCLE at: 2/20/2011 (11:55)
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SWEETCYCLINHAMS's Photo SWEETCYCLINHAMS Posts: 1,247
2/20/11 10:47 A

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Hi, Heather.

To answer your questions:
I ride a 2010 Trek 6.9 Madone Project One. I chose Trek because:
1. Trek offers a lifetime warranty on their carbon frames
2. The frame I got (OCLV2) was about 37% more rigid than previous iterations (I was replacing a 2007 Trek Madone 5.9 SL that was totaled out when I was struck by a motorist)
3. Their Bontrager rims have a 5 year warranty against failure
4. In the unbelievably unlikely chance I ever decide to sell my bike, Trek is a globally known name for a bike that'll truly hold it's value (if properly maintained and cared for, you can expect to get quite a reasonable selling price for your bike).

I agree with your assessment, too - how can a 15 minute test ride tell you anything about how you'll feel after 2-3 hours in the saddle? It won't. You may get an idea, but the actual impact of your investment will become much greater once you begin to really utilize it. I wound up replacing my handlebars (with 46cm Easton EC90 Aero's), the stem (with a Bontrager 7* rise, 110mm XXXLite) and the saddle with, at first, a Fizik Arione saddle, then an Aliante - both are quite nice. The saddle made probably the biggest impact in my rides, so far as posterior comfort. And the handlebars really opened up my riding position so that I felt like I could breathe better (although I rather think I should have gotten the 48's).

All in all, whatever you decide, expect to still spend some more cash after the fact. Albeit saddle, handlebars, pedals, etc., something will need replacing to better equip you for your rides. But don't fall into the trap many people do - A big price tag does NOT equal a better bike or better equipment. Yes, you most definitely pay for quality but that doesn't mean that a $10,000 bike will be, or ride, better than a $6,000 bike. It all depends on what you want to get out of your bike and what you're will to put into it to get there.

Take care and ride safe!

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2/20/11 10:36 A

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Re the pedals I got the Shimano clip ins with the cage around the clip ins because I was insecure about only having clip ins and I thought I might want to use regular shoes to bike. I got a pair of Shimano sandals with recessed clip ins. I have never worn anything else since to bike. I don't like hot feet, but then I am not a cool racing chick either :) The recessed clip ins allow you to walk normally and you can go inside stores, restaurants whatever without taking your shoes off

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KESTREL500's Photo KESTREL500 Posts: 1,173
2/20/11 10:16 A

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Unless you want to do hardcore triathlons a regular roadbike might be more comfortable than a tri bike which typically have extreme geometry that may result in less comfort. (That being said one of my bikes is a tri bike set up as a road bike and it is not uncomfortable at all)

As far as the triple is concerned, you can get a triple on practically any bike you buy and I recommend it because for the additional weight of a few ounces you might need the bailout gear sometimes and it will save on your knees on the hills.

Kerstin did the right thing by going to the bike shop and telling them what she wanted so that they can measure her and fit her. I won't be the only one saying this but FIT FIT FIT is what it is all about. Most bikes within a price range are not too different quality wise but you must have the right size, not just the frame but handlebars stem etc for your body.

Make sure the bike shop is listening to you and not setting you up for how they think you should ride or how they ride. I went bike shopping recently and, since I live in a new city I went to a shop that didn't know me. They were trying to sell me a hybrid when I was trying to buy a higher end roadbike! I guess that is what they were trying to get rid of..

My first road bike was a Cannondale which I hardly rode due to severe back and neck pain. I ended up giving it to one of my male friends and he has done triathlons with it. I went to a better bike shop told him what I needed the bike for (my 1st cross country trip) and my price range. He measured me and came up with the Terry symetry (a women's specific bike) which was within my price range and fit well. I rode that bike 4000 miles in two months that summer with very little pain (nobody rides their first cross country ride with no pain at all) I still ride that bike and I still love it 15,000+ miles later.

I then saw the Kestrel 500SCI, which is a tri bike, and fell in love with the way it looks. I bought one more as one buys a painting to admire its looks but had it very carefully set up. This meant changing out a bunch of parts but it works for me.

This past November I bought a Trek Madone 6.2. I haven't really ridden it so much because of the weather and all the snow but I did have it fit for me. Even with the fitting I felt the handlebars were a bit too wide so I brought it back and they swapped them out. This is to point out that even with a fitting you might not feel 100% comfortable on the bike and may need to go back to the bike shop and have the fit tweaked after riding it a bit. So another important thing about buying a bike is the bike shop you go to, they need to be willing to work with you. Sometimes there is no choice if there is only one bikeshop nearby though.

Good luck bike shopping!



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DDOORN's Photo DDOORN Posts: 23,573
2/20/11 10:02 A

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Work with your local bike shop. Ask lots of questions of them. Ask lots of questions here...you're on your way already...lol!

When asking questions it really helps to have a fairly clear idea of what you want to accomplish on your bike. I knew I wanted to get out on the road and cover some serious miles. My LBS shifted me toward the Specialized Tricross Double. Nothing magical or that notable about the choice...just seemed to be a versatile enough bike to serve as a commute to / from work (9 miles each way) and yet get me out for longer rides of 50-100 miles a day. There are many, MANY others around that would do the same.

Don

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2/20/11 9:47 A

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I just read that you want to do triathalons, I think there are special bikes for that, but as I said I am not an expert on this

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Perfect is the enemy of good. Voltaire, 1694-1778

Keep your eyes on the prize. Alice Wine, 1956


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KERSTIN814's Photo KERSTIN814 SparkPoints: (21,691)
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2/20/11 9:44 A

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I am certainly not an expert and I have not kept up with the new models and materials. My road bike is 10 years old. When I bought it, my boyfriend at the time was a racer. He brought me to a real bike shop where they measured me, arms, legs, etc. I told them my goals were to go far and fast. The bike I was riding was causing me awful neck and shoulder pain. With that information they found a bike that fit me much better. It is a Giant carbon frame. I am sure bikes are much better now but the bike store can help with that. One thing I noticed was that I could go far and pretty fast, but what I gave up was a triple gear and the torque or whatever you want to call it, so I had trouble with hills even when I was in my best biking shape. I told them I wanted to go far and fast, I forgot to tell them I also wanted to up hills. So unless you want to race, don't get a racing bike. The weight of a triple is worth it. Also get clip in pedals, if you are not used to them, you will learn to use them and they really help as you get power on the upstroke as well as the down stroke. emoticon

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Living well is the best revenge. George Herbert, 1593-1633

Perfect is the enemy of good. Voltaire, 1694-1778

Keep your eyes on the prize. Alice Wine, 1956


 Pounds lost: 36.7 
 
0
26.95
53.9
80.85
107.8
HEATHERLAMB's Photo HEATHERLAMB Posts: 1,702
2/20/11 9:27 A

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I'm looking into buying a road bike that I'll be using for long distance riding and triathlons. I've currently got a Trek 7.3FX,(hybrid) which has served me well for many years, but I'm now looking to take the next step and get a roadie.

I'm interested to know what kind of bike to you have? What factors helped you decide to buy your bike?

The trouble I'm having is that I can't predict how a 10-15 minute test ride will translate into how I'll feel on the bike after 2-3 hours. Any advice?

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