Moving this over to a new thread...

Thanks, sitz!  I am open to any and all advice, and will start with the site you linked below.  The bike I rented in Florida was a Giant (don't remember the model, but was told it retails for about $700)...size was "medium" which the shop owner said is 54/55.  Road great from a tech standpoint, but from a fit standpoint it did feel "short" on the top tube length (like I wanted my hands father out in front of me) and maybe just a tad small on the height (handlebars felt "narrow" as well, see below). 

"Light, durable, inexpensive - pick 2"

Charity rides aside, I ride alone most of the time and don't have plans to start racing any time soon, so my (rather sizable) gut tells me that durable and inexpensive is what I am looking for.  Definition of "inexpensive" is probably subjective, but should I assume under $1500 falls into the inexpensive bucket for sake of discussion?

Question - do drop bars come in varying widths?  As a mountain biker at heart who has been riding a "fitness bike" (essentially a road bike frame with mtn bike handlebars) for the last 2 years, the drop bars on the bike I rented felt narrow to me, as in hands too close together.  Could just be something that I just need to adjust to, but wasn't sure if I should be looking at handlebar width as something that changes depending on make/model/preference?



sitzmark said:

Probably should split off into separate thread to keep things organized, but best place to start is trying to nail down a frame size.  Competitive Cyclist Calculator is a reasonable way to start ... not a guarantee, but gets most people in the ballpark.  3 fit types.

From there you can decide to walk into a retail shop, shop online, or hunt craigslist/eBay.  Be aware not all manufacturers measure frame sizes the same way.  Top tube length will (probably) be the most important dimension.  (Just make sure you can stand over the top tube without ... well, you know.)

Light, durable, inexpensive - pick 2.  Can talk specific objectives, strategies, and bikes offline or dedicated thread.

Zen Master said:

...

So, I'm in the market for a new road bike, where should I start? Want to keep it close to a grand without going over if possible.

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Bars come in several different widths.

Did the stand-over height of your Florida bike seem to fit, or was your seat post extended way out of the frame (like my bike!)?
If a 54 or 55cm frame fits your stand over height, the frame may be the right "fit" and you can make adjustments to seat position, stem length, and handlebars to achieve a better fit.

Durable and inexpensive...you're already well on your way to finding the right type of bike!

Calculator will lead you to a range of dimensions for the following diagram:

You can make 10-40mm (1cm-4cm) adjustments for top tube length with different cockpit components (stems, bars, saddles and seatpost setback/forward).  Stem length can change steering leverage dynamics slightly.  Moving forward/back/ stretched out on the bike with cockpit components can change handling characteristics because affects weighting of front rear - like playing with binding mount points.  So lots to consider.

As a general statement, Felt, Giant, and Scott have made a dedicated play for value in the "entry" bike market.  Entry being the $1,000 - $1,500 range (a couple of years ago).  New offerings usually jump ~ $200 per season, but depends what component manufacturers do with pricing.  If Shimano or Sram implement a big price jump for levers, cranks, gears, brakes, then bike vendors have to down grade component level or find other places (saddle, bars, seatpost, wheels, tires, etc) to cut cost to stay in the "entry" segment.  Each cycle company usually finds some creative ways to shave expense because they primarily choose from  Shimano or Sram for drive trains.  Campagnolo has historically been the $$$ component company, but they are now marketing lower priced systems to gain a share of the upper-entry market.

As an example of a value/value play, something like a 2 year old Felt "garage queen" might get you a CF bike for the investment you're targeting.  Around $1,500 (or less) for a $2,100 bike.  Felt Z4's (full CF) were very highly reviewed by the cycling media and owners.  The Z3 was basically the same bike with next level up drive train + $1,000.  Thats generally how it works ... add a grand or so for next level components on same frame.  Wheels will be a bit heavy and non aero in that price range, but frame and components are solid.  Wheels upgradeable later if you desire.

This will most likely be a many-post discussion.  Lots of personal preferences and theories.

I will sell you Bull but he wont be cheap.

Question - do drop bars come in varying widths?  As a mountain biker at heart who has been riding a "fitness bike" (road bike frame, mtn bike handlebars) for the last 2 years, the drop bars on the bike I rented felt narrow to me, as in hands too close together.  Could just be something that I just need to adjust to, but wasn't sure if I should be looking at handlebar width as something that changes depending on make/model/preference?

Yes.  Generally 38-46cm ctc (center to center).  Also a plethora of reach and drop designs too.  Lots of personalization with stem lengths, stem degree rise/drop, and handle bar designs.

Thank you!  Lots to consider. Appreciate the input, I will have questions. :-)

I bought a lower level Felt road bike about 5 years ago - got year before model on sale ($900 or so I think). I know nothing about it except it has carbon forks and has served me very well. I did get handle bars changed out bc after fitting, the shop said I needed it (after a couple years of riding it lol). Never even heard of Felt before I bought it, but really love it. It's light, but if weight was a huge consideration, I can work on lightening my arse a few pounds, you could pay big bucks to lose a few pounds on a bike :)

I gave you my tips…and I will say it here…spend at least $1500…for the way your ride you will need it….and we will be logging miles together so I look forward to chasing you on a real road bike…..all about the right shop & service & warranty IMO.  And if doesn't work out, Wheeler will give you Bull for free.

Zen Master said:

Thank you!  Lots to consider. Appreciate the input, I will have questions. :-)

Unless you really want to I wouldn't suggest spending a ton of cash on your first road bike.  1k-1-5k max. I ended up with a Specialized Allez. Not the top of the line model, not bottom either.  Expensive bikes are expensive because they are loaded with components that you probably don't need/want.  Lighter isn't always better, sometimes durable is better.  You can always drop a few pounds off of your body. Fixing broken "race light components" is cruddy. 

Get a decent frame that is comfortable to you. You can always upgrade some parts on it down the road.

Spend extra money on a nice saddle and comfy shorts.

 

I bought a road bike primarily to use in the spring or when it rains and I have to stay off the trails.  I originally had a great time on the road bike,  I think because it was so different from mtn biking. However after a few seasons I got bored with it and road biking in MA is literally risking your life every time you hit the road. I still use the road bike, but I certainly enjoy the trails way more.  I had almost decided to spend a lot of money on a road bike, and I am glad I did not. My $1k-1.5K  road bike suits me fine, works fine, and I can keep up with a lot of people who ride bikes that cost 3x more.  Since I didin't blow the cash on a fancy road bike I used the money to buy a fat bike, which I might like riding more than my other 2 bikes :)

If after a few years of road riding you may fall in love with it ( or not)  and you can always upgrade to the sexy new stuff.

Find something with a big engine that is very loud.  Get a small beanie helmet and a leather vest and chaps and ride like the wind.  

So many deaths in my area of road bikers - it's very frightening.  Two lane roads with box trucks and 18 wheelers on tight roads are normal.  Unless I was on road by 6:30am on weekends, I wouldn't go.  Last summer I left my road bike in Bethel and only biked up there.  Have mountain bike trails off my 'hood in MA, so now have a Mt. bike and do my biking in there.  Mt. biking is a totally different workout - love it...and can be done in half the time lol. 

RightCoastRider said:


 However after a few seasons I got bored with it and road biking in MA is literally risking your life every time you hit the road. I still use the road bike, but I certainly enjoy the trails way more.  If after a few years of road riding you may fall in love with it ( or not)  and you can always upgrade to the sexy new stuff.

Thanks.  I started road biking 3 years ago for fitness reasons after being big into mtn biking and doing races (at the recreational level) for most of the 90s while living at Sugarloaf (came in second to last in my Widowmaker Challenge, the only guy I beat was so hungover he puked at least 5 times...I did improve my results after that, which wasn't too hard to do). The first year of my biking  "comeback" I road my mtn bike on the road. That was fun ;-).  For the last two years I've been on hand-me-down fitness bike. So now that I know I'm hooked, I'm ready to buy but still have a budget that I need to manage. Appreciate all the advice here and offline, doing my due diligence and will pull the trigger in the coming weeks.

RightCoastRider said:

Unless you really want to I wouldn't suggest spending a ton of cash on your first road bike.  1k-1-5k max. I ended up with a Specialized Allez. Not the top of the line model, not bottom either.  Expensive bikes are expensive because they are loaded with components that you probably don't need/want.  Lighter isn't always better, sometimes durable is better.  You can always drop a few pounds off of your body. Fixing broken "race light components" is cruddy. 

Get a decent frame that is comfortable to you. You can always upgrade some parts on it down the road.

Spend extra money on a nice saddle and comfy shorts.

 

I bought a road bike primarily to use in the spring or when it rains and I have to stay off the trails.  I originally had a great time on the road bike,  I think because it was so different from mtn biking. However after a few seasons I got bored with it and road biking in MA is literally risking your life every time you hit the road. I still use the road bike, but I certainly enjoy the trails way more.  I had almost decided to spend a lot of money on a road bike, and I am glad I did not. My $1k-1.5K  road bike suits me fine, works fine, and I can keep up with a lot of people who ride bikes that cost 3x more.  Since I didin't blow the cash on a fancy road bike I used the money to buy a fat bike, which I might like riding more than my other 2 bikes :)

If after a few years of road riding you may fall in love with it ( or not)  and you can always upgrade to the sexy new stuff.

Been there.  Did the exact same thing - with a couple of key mods.  I made a quick acquisition of  NOS high precision hubs and had wheels built around them.  The NOS Suntour MTB hubs were identical to the company's Superbe Pro road/track hubs, but had a grease fitting to push out off-road garbage that might enter the bearings in the wet.  Even compared to what I'm riding today, those are darn smooth rolling hubs.

After year one, I bought a high-end NOS bike from a shop in CA and sold off all the components I didn't want (everything) and rebuilt it with hand picked stuff I did want.  Once I had a good feel for the bike, I demoed different wheelsets to see what difference they made, keeping everything else the same.  Definite differences to be had ... for a price.

Not that $1,500 is a magic number, but MB's suggestion helps reduce the need to find deep discounts or shop pre-owned to pull "key features" together.

Shimano 105 /Sram Rival level components is a goal to shoot for.  Durable and precise.  Might have to swap in a non-matched crank or brake calipers, but levers, derailleurs, and cassette will sync smoothly.  A non-group crank and calipers may cost you a few hundred extra grams and some brake feel, but can be easily swapped out at a later date. 

Carbon isn't always better than alu.  Some entry level carbon can ride "dead", not very lively.  Higher level drive train components on a $1k bike often leads to frame/cockpit  or wheel compromises.  The Cannonade alu CAAD 10 105 is a nice package at $1,600 or so retail.  Excellent frame and decent hubs.  The Specialized Roubaix SL4 Double is in the same retail price range, but is all carbon.  Wheel/hub and driveline compromises (fit and finish, rolling surface precision,weight, materials, etc.) make room for the more costly frameset.  Not suggesting either one - just picking two good  “entry level” product offerings for comparison.

There are so many ways to package up a final product that you’re really into another price strata when frame, components, and wheelsets all start playing first string.  Little things you notice after doing a lot of riding, but nothing that  prevents you from doing what you want with the bike.

Have fun shopping!  See ya on the road!!



Zen Master said:

Thanks.  I started road biking 3 years ago for fitness reasons after being big into mtn biking and doing races (at the recreational level) for most of the 90s while living at Sugarloaf (came in second to last in my Widowmaker Challenge, the only guy I beat was so hungover he puked at least 5 times...I did improve my results after that, which wasn't too hard to do). The first year of my biking  "comeback" I road my mtn bike on the road. That was fun ;-).  For the last two years I've been on hand-me-down fitness bike. So now that I know I'm hooked, I'm ready to buy but still have a budget that I need to manage. Appreciate all the advice here and offline, doing my due diligence and will pull the trigger in the coming weeks.

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