Recommendation For a Road Bike

I am interested in taking up road bicycling. I do not have a bike and

want a recommendation for a good bike to purchase. Couple of things

to consider:

1) I am a beginner, although I am in fairly good shape. I want a bike

I can grow into.

2) I plan to compete in races

3) I am a woman, 5'9.

4) I have a bad knee and don't want the biking to exacerbate it. I

had reconstrucitve surgery (ACL) about 10 years ago.

5) Ideally, I wouldn't spend more than $800 — would like to spend a

LOT less — but am flexible if it's going to make a big difference in

the quality of the bike.



4 thoughts on “Recommendation For a Road Bike

  1. Hi kimt,

    As an enthusiastic cyclist I hope I can find a range of suitable bikes

    which would give you a good start in an interest which is great fun

    AND good for you!

    Cycling can put extra strain on the knees and unfortunately there are

    no bicycles which have been designed specifically to reduce pressure

    to the knees. However, by selecting a bicycle with a wide range of

    gears, you can choose a lower gear than is absolutely necessary. This

    means that although you will have to pedal faster for a given speed,

    the force on your knees will be reduced. The use of an elastic

    support bandage whilst cycling may also help to prevent exacerbation

    of your knee injury.

    In general, gone are the days when medium sized men and women required

    differently shaped bicycle frames, and most bikes manufactured now are

    aimed at a unisex market. The only component which I would recommend

    changing dependent upon an individual's sex is the saddle. However

    this would probably be an addition to be made after purchase of a

    complete bike.

    Bicycle manufacturers tend to release updated models every year, and

    then reduce the price of the previous year's bikes. Therefore, large

    financial savings can be made with little difference in performance by

    specifically looking at 2001 models; a fact which I have used in my

    suggestions.

    For a each year's models, the specification level of the components

    attached to the bicycle frame will vary little for a fixed price band

    – it tends to be the quality of the frame itself which separates a

    good buy from a bad one. The best way to select a bicycle is by

    using the experience of others and referring to bicycle reviews.

    Useful resources can be found at:

    Road Bike Review

    http://www.roadbikereview.com/

    Bike Reviews

    http://www.bikereviews.com/_roadbikes/visreviews.htm

    A forum posting at http://www.epinions.com/content_1557504132 gives a

    guide to buying 'your first road bike'.

    Bearing in mind the suggestion in this posting, it would be a wise

    idea to find a local bicycle retailer where you can try various

    differently sized frames for comfort. Ultimately however, purchasing

    a bicycle online will probably give you much better value for money,

    and having decided upon a good frame size I would suggest that you

    should then look at the following bicycles.

    Looking specifically at the price range of <$800, these bicycles get

    very good reviews:

    Schwinn Bicycle Company 2000 Super Sport : MSRP: $ 719.95

    http://www.roadbikereview.com/Road,Bike/Schwinn,Bicycle,Company,2000,Super,Sport/PRD_23610_1610crx.aspx

    Bianchi USA Inc. 2001 Brava : MSRP: $ 669.00

    http://www.roadbikereview.com/Road,Bike/Bianchi,USA,Inc.,2001,Brava/PRD_54952_1610crx.aspx

    Fuji America 2000 Finest : MSRP: $ 649.99

    http://www.roadbikereview.com/Road,Bike/Fuji,America,2000,Finest/PRD_22934_1610crx.aspx

    KHS Inc. 2000 Flite 300 : MSRP: $ 599.00

    http://www.roadbikereview.com/Road,Bike/KHS,Inc.,2000,Flite,300/PRD_23073_1610crx.aspx

    Diamondback 1999 Interval : MSRP: $ 479.99

    http://www.roadbikereview.com/Road,Bike/Diamondback,1999,Interval/PRD_18444_1610crx.aspx

    Having read what satisfied customers have to say about these bicycles,

    I would not hesistate in recommending any of the above to you. The

    choice of bike is very much down to the individual in the end, so your

    final choice should be made on which you personally like the most.

    Search terms used:

    road bike reviews

    ://www.google.co.uk/search?q=road+bike+reviews&hl=en&btnG=Google+Search&meta=

    road bicycle review

    ://www.google.co.uk/search?q=road+bicycle+review&hl=en&btnG=Google+Search&meta=

    I hope that this answer is useful to you in making your decision of

    which road bicycle to buy. If you would like any further

    clarification of my answer, please do not hesitate to ask.

    Happy cycling!

    mcfly-ga

  2. I guess I still don't know what I would be buying on.

    –What are the key things to think about when buying a bike? (frame,

    components, etc)

    –What are the tradeoffs in components/prices and what do I need as a

    beginner and beyond?

  3. Hi Kimt,

    Hopefully I can add to my answer satisfactorily with this

    clarification.

    I would definitely recommend that as a beginner you should purchase

    the bicycle as a complete package and concentrate on getting a high

    quality frame which you are comfortable riding.

    In the price range you describe, the frame will generally be

    manufactured from either steel or aluminium tubing. Aluminium gives a

    lighter frame and hence faster acceleration, but also results in a

    harsher less comfortable ride. If you decide to buy a bicycle for

    much less than $600 then a steel frame would probably be a better

    choice because cheaper aluminium frames tend to be almost as heavy as

    their steel counterparts at the same price.

    In the $600 to $800 price bracket however aluminium frames start to

    have performance benefits. For this case I would suggest that you

    should try lifting the bike and try to judge the difference in weight

    against the reduction in riding comfort. It's a matter of personal

    preference but I would tend to opt for the aluminium frame in the

    higher price category for the following reasons. You will definitely

    notice the weight difference, a harsh ride is not necessarily

    noticeable on smooth roads, and finally, when racing, an aluminium

    frame will make you look like less of a 'newbie' which would reduce

    any negative feelings from the elitists mentioned by raptor-ga.

    The componentry on your bicycle is of lesser immediate importance than

    the frame because parts will gradually wear out and a natural

    improvement will result as you replace them. As a rule you should

    make sure that a majority of the components are made by the top two

    manufacturers, Shimano and Campagnolo. However, a few 'in house'

    parts produced by the bicycle manufacturer are to be expected with

    less expensive bikes; do not let this discourage you from buying a

    bike you are comfortable riding. Componentry prices increase with

    reduced weight and increased performance so it may be worth while

    investing in more expensive parts later, but for starting cycling I

    would suggest that entry level parts from Shimano and Campagnolo do

    the job well enough.

    Whether to choose a two or three ring crank (the cogs on the same axle

    as the pedals) is a choice which would normally be resolved by your

    intended use of the bike. For racing, a two ring crank is generally

    preferred. This results in reduced weight but also a smaller range of

    gear ratios. Bearing in mind your knee injury, it might be wiser to

    choose a bicycle with a three ring crank which will allow you to use a

    lower gear than normal even for steep climbs.

    In conclusion, it very important to find a bike which you personally

    are comfortable riding. The only way to do this is by visiting a

    retailer in your area and trying out a range of bicycles. Any

    reputable dealer will be pleased to let you try bikes and will be able

    to provide a frame size which suits you best. Beyond this, try to get

    the lightest frame within your price range which does not give an

    excessively harsh ride, and check that the componentry is

    predominantly Shimano or Campagnolo.

    As stated in my initial answer, reading the reviews of others is a

    very good way to select a bicycle which works well as a package. I

    would maintain that referring to websites such as Road Bike Review (

    http://www.roadbikereview.com/ ) is one of the most effective ways to

    find unbiased opinions of your potential purchases.

    I hope that this covers the extra information you required,

    mcfly-ga

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