First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
seanf999
Posts: 3
Joined: 21 Feb 2020, 12:45am

First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby seanf999 » 21 Feb 2020, 12:53am

Hello!

First time poster here!

I'm looking to get into cycling.
I'm 22, and I'm from Ireland.

I've been doing a bit of running and swimming recently but I've always wanted to cycle.. I had a mountain bike for awhile but sold it.

I've up to say £700 to spend (maybe more, ideally less) on my first bike.

What size should I be looking at?
I'm 169cm with an inseam of around 29 inches.

Should I just go down to my local bike shop ( know the owner well), and buy what he's selling?
Should I be looking for something used/second hand?
What should I be looking to spend?
Any recommendations for bikes? Even - 'look for 'x' brand used, they're decent.

I won't be commuting, I want to cycle for fitness, I live in the countryside, roads are meh..
Some hilly bits (nothing too major), and flat for the most part.
So I think I'm looking for a race bike.

Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!

hamster
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Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Re: First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby hamster » 21 Feb 2020, 8:13am

I'm not sure a racing bike is exactly the right thing. They are wonderful on a sunny day. Now think to November, the roads are wet and there might be the odd shower. You fancy a ride of 60 miles (say 3-4 hours). Will you go out?
On a full-on race bike you will be soaked in an hour. Get a road bike with space for mudguards and you will stay warm and dry.

But some kind of road bike is exactly right - but you don't have to buy the cycling equivalent of a Lamborghini.
There are plenty of these go-anywhere / do anything bikes: they are called gravel, audax or sportive bikes. The steering is a bit less twitchy and they can take a wide variety of tyres. Wider tyres are more comfortable for long distances especially over indifferent surfaces. The more relaxed handling allows to to take a little luggage (say a change of clothes and a toothbrush) for an overnight stay and you can make a trip of it.

Pure race bikes are designed to get from A to B in the minimum time. The riding position is very aerodynamic but people find it tough, especially at first. People ride them becasue they are fast but the compromise is away from comfort. Anyone racing who is not in pain (overall) won't do well. I'm not saying it will be uncomfortable per se, just that the compromise between speed and comfort is slightly towards speed.

And yes, I own a race bike, plus a few others. It's not my choice in winter apart from dry days!

There are plenty of secondhand race bikes in your price range, largely because people get disappointed. As a result there are some stunning bargains if you want to scratch that itch.

Marcus Aurelius
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Re: First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 21 Feb 2020, 8:17am


eileithyia
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Re: First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby eileithyia » 21 Feb 2020, 8:51am

Luckily you did add what type of cycling.

No you don't need a 'race bike' but something that will cope with roads and hills.

I endorse the Decathlon route.... you can get a lot of bang for buck with a new bike this way. This is often the way I advise new riders to go. Yes you can get a decent(ish) bike secondhand, but as with anything you do not know if you are buying something that has unseen damage, ie been in some sort of a crash that might cause a future frame failure..

Things to consider; Will you need lights? Can they be fitted.
What about a bag to carry essentials, small or larger.. you may need to remove / add clothes whilst cycling depending on weather conditions. Also essential repair kit.

Mudguards, can they be fitted...... quite essential in the weather we have currently been having. They won't stop you getting wet from the stuff falling from the sky but will help prevent the detritous from the roads spraying up your back... something to consider if you are likely to be sitting in cafes..... your muddy wet b*m on seats might not be appreciated by other users.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

Brucey
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Re: First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby Brucey » 21 Feb 2020, 8:52am

Bikes are not microwave ovens; they all need a certain amount of fettling to keep them in good working order, and if a new bike is bought remotely -which can seem like a good way of saving money- it will need to be set up, and later maintained. Most cyclists end up doing a lot of this work themselves but when you are starting out it is a bit of a learning curve, and quite small errors in setup can result in all kinds of problems.

So depending on your aptitude, experience and enthusiasm for things mechanical there is probably a strong argument for using your local bike shop (LBS). If they sell you a new bike they will be likely to make a half-reasonable job of setting it up and servicing it for you too.

You can buy used and it is often possible to get a bargain this way, but it can equally well be a baptism of fire for the uninitiated.

As far as what kind of bike to buy then by all means look in the LBS and see what might suit you. There are lots of bikes out there which would fit your brief, and although they might have different names on the down tube, that is not the most important thing when it comes to performance and comfort.

Some things you might want to think about;

Tyre size; traditionally 'road bikes' (racing bikes) have used 23-25mm wide tyres in competition. However some models come with clearances which are large enough for 28 or even 32mm tyres and there are light, fast tyres in these sizes too. This makes for a more versatile machine which can be set up to better suit bad roads.

Mudguard clearances; even if you don't plan to ride in the rain you will often be riding on wet/muddy roads and mudguards are a practical addition to any machine that is not being used in actual competition. However the space needed for full mudguards is space that could be used for tyres, so for example some bikes have room for 28mm tyres without mudguards but only 25mm tyres when mudguards are fitted, and that is if the frame has mudguard eyes fitted (not all do, if they have sporting pretensions). There are various workarounds if you have no eyes but you do have clearances. You can always fit various clip-on mudguards to any bike but they are far less effective as mudguards; both rider and machine tend to suffer.

Frame size will vary with frame design and manufacturer. With a so-called 'compact' frame design I'd imagine that you ought to be looking at S or M sized frames depending on the manufacturer's sizing.

Probably after a few years you will work out that whatever you first bought may not suit you so well as something else might; tastes change with experience.

If you are able to say what your LBS offers, it may be possible to say what the strengths and weaknesses of those bikes are, and whether they are likely to suit you or not.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

David9694
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Re: First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby David9694 » 21 Feb 2020, 9:14am

Great decision!

a few people also make it, but some rush out with some ill-advised / exotic purchase that then becomes shed clutter three months later. The Triban isn’t a bad pick - a good set of gears, takes mudguards, you get a lot of bang for your buck with them generally and an aluminium frame makes your money go further than full carbon. I’m not a disc brake fan. Tyres on new bikes don’t tend to be the best - saddles, handlebar tape are other items manufacturers often compromise on too - hopefully you’ve got a birthday coming up?

You’ll need to work out where and when you’re going to cycle - those meh roads? You’ll develop a handful of local loops from your home. What local cycling groups have you got around you? Start doing some basic work on your core muscles. Keep on with the swimming for sure.

When I got back into cycling in my 40s, an 11 mile one hour ride on flat roads would put me on the sofa for the rest of the day. So while you want to stretch yourself, like all things build up slowly and don’t give yourself the grotty experience of having nothing left in the tank miles from home and with dark, cold or rain closing in. There’s a good reason why group rides start at 9 am. I used to try to stay close to bus and train routes and carry a cafe lock, just in case I clapped-out, an insurance I never used. You may get saddle sore to begin with and there are preventative creams for that. Don’t be tempted by padded saddles - the trick with hands and backside is to keep lateral movement to a minimum.

If things go well, this first bike could become your second bike in due course - most people have a winter bike and a “best” bike.

Assume some £££ leeway for some accessories - like cycle clothing. My wife thinks my padded pants are the worst, but you’ll need these to keep out the cold, a “base layer” top, suitable for the season, and your pick of shorts, 3/4 length or full length tights, and a couple of jerseys or gilets to layer up. Don’t try to ride for more than an hour in jeans, trainers and a t shirt. Ordinary clothing flaps, chafes and will give you a chill when it gets clammy. +Helmet, gloves, glasses.

It’s miserable being cold, but also bear in mind on a chilly morning that you’ll warm up. Look after your extremities in the cold - e.g. over-socks for your feet, a buff around your neck. There’s a long whaleback ridge near me that I often cross and it’s always a couple of degrees colder on the far side.

A GPS ‘phone will do a lot of the time and distance tracking for you with minimal outlay - get a backup battery for it. ViewRanger is a favourite app of mine as it will help you plan, navigate and track if you buy your local mapping and it doesn’t rely on always having a signal. There’s lots of advice out there about specific training regimes and drills if you’re that way inclined.

As I’ve improved, I’ve been raising my saddle - it’s as though my legs have got longer. Buying from a shop might be good for you as they’ll help you get set up with the right size of bike -around 22” for you, I would think. You don’t want a set-up that’s too long for you, or that is making you bend too low to reach the brake hoods - sitting on the bike and putting your hands on the handlebars should be a natural act for you, not too much of a stretch.

You’ll also want some cycling shoes and mostly it’s clipless pedals - try to start with dual-sided SPD pedals: Shimano M324 is a favourite of mine while you get used to the bike. Unclipping will take a bit of practice and most of us have gone over sideways at some point.

On any new bike, various bolts will come loose in the first few weeks, and your cables will stretch so be prepared for all that. This includes the bolts in your shoes that hold the cleats - if clipping/ unclipping isn’t snappy, loose bolts are a likely cause.

You’ll need some kind of bag for your spares (SKS saddlebags are a favourite of mine). Your basic kit will include a pump, puncture kit, multi tool, two spare inner tubes, model maker’s pliers, and in your pocket an extra water resistant layer to put on. Decathlon carry a selection of all this - how near Belfast are you? Don’t forget some fluids and something to eat. Are you sure that village stores is open on a Sunday (probably not where you are, right?)

You’ll want some items for home - wet lube, dry lube, track pump, Muc Off cleaner, work stand, a collection of standard and bike specific tools that will grow - so that’s The next couple of Christmas lists sorted.

good luck!!

mikeymo
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Re: First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby mikeymo » 21 Feb 2020, 9:54am

seanf999 wrote:I won't be commuting, I want to cycle for fitness, I live in the countryside, roads are meh..
Some hilly bits (nothing too major), and flat for the most part.
So I think I'm looking for a race bike.

Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!


If you're cycling for fitness that doesn't necessarily mean you need a "race" bike.

The crudest comparison is to weight training, which doesn't always involve lifting very light weights lots of times. Sometimes it involves lifting very heavy weights a very small number of times. So if you're cycling up a hill on an old heavy bike, you're actually doing more work than if you're on some feather light carbon fibre thing.

I've got a heavy "touring" bike, made heavier by puncture proof tyres, a rack on the back and so on. But depending how fast I (try) to go and what hills I aim at, I can still get my heart rate well up into the 90% of MHR "zone". On a particularly steep hill the other day I saw my HR was up at 182. Which is high, considering I'm 61.

A touring bike (or something a bit like it) will have some advantages:

1. You'll be able to fit mudguards, which you'll really appreciate in the rain. Particularly if you have some sort of training schedule you want to stick to.

2. You'll be able to fit a rack, so although you say you won't commute, being able to cart stuff can sometimes be very useful, and can certainly be part of any fitness routine. You've more chance of incorporating cycling into daily life with something like a tourer.

3. I like the geometry of touring bikes. They are longer, with a slightly lower centre of gravity. Comfortable, like an old Volvo (which I've also had).

4. Touring bikes tend not to look "flash", whereas some sporty bikes might be more of a thief magnet.

5. Your maximum top speed might be slightly lower on a tourer vs a racing bike. So perhaps safer?

Although I refer to a "tourer" that doesn't mean that you have to actually go "touring". I suppose it could refer to any sort of bike that isn't specifically aimed at road racing. Or as others have said, "audax", "gravel" etc. But I'd certainly look for the ability to fit mudguards and a rack (at least on the back). In the UK a "tourer" usually has drop handlebars, which I personally prefer now, due to the variety of hand positions you can adopt.

Of course if you think you might join a cycling club that might affect your buying decision. A friend of mine is often ride leader for a local club and I see the ride reports he posts. I'm pretty sure that however fit I was I wouldn't keep up on group rides. Seems to me a heavy bike like mine is always going to be slower, for the same effort.

Just my thoughts.
Last edited by mikeymo on 21 Feb 2020, 5:21pm, edited 1 time in total.

simonhill
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Re: First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby simonhill » 21 Feb 2020, 2:28pm

I bet by 'race bike" he meant a road bike. It's a common assumption that anything with drops is a race bike.

mikeymo
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Re: First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby mikeymo » 21 Feb 2020, 2:39pm

simonhill wrote:I bet by 'race bike" he meant a road bike. It's a common assumption that anything with drops is a race bike.


Yes, you may well be right.

Mine's a "touring" bike. I'm pretty sure cycling to the Co-op doesn't count as a "tour".
Last edited by mikeymo on 21 Feb 2020, 2:47pm, edited 1 time in total.

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NUKe
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Re: First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby NUKe » 21 Feb 2020, 2:43pm

seanf999 wrote:Hello!

First time poster here!

I'm looking to get into cycling.
I'm 22, and I'm from Ireland.

I've been doing a bit of running and swimming recently but I've always wanted to cycle.. I had a mountain bike for awhile but sold it.

I've up to say £700 to spend (maybe more, ideally less) on my first bike.

What size should I be looking at?
I'm 169cm with an inseam of around 29 inches.

Should I just go down to my local bike shop ( know the owner well), and buy what he's selling?
Should I be looking for something used/second hand?
What should I be looking to spend?
Any recommendations for bikes? Even - 'look for 'x' brand used, they're decent.

I won't be commuting, I want to cycle for fitness, I live in the countryside, roads are meh..
Some hilly bits (nothing too major), and flat for the most part.
So I think I'm looking for a race bike.

Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Sean this first thing to do is to get something comfortable that fits, as you don't know what you want your local bike shop is a good bet for getting a good fit. You want something that is going to fire your interest, knowing Irish country roads I would not go too road orientated. What is currently being branded Gravel bike might suit,Slightly larger tyres to smooth out the bumps your size is probably Small to medium. most of the major brands trek Giant and Specialized have something within this price range, Orbea are good value brand.,
NUKe
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mikeymo
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Re: First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby mikeymo » 21 Feb 2020, 2:56pm

Yes, like others have said, try some from your local LBS. Try a few.

Even better, do you have any friends/relatives who could lend you a bike or bikes? It sometimes takes a bit longer than a 10 minute ride to work out what works. I've got a really nice Ridgeback tourer that was fine at first. It took me a while to realise it was too long for me, confirmed when I built another bike with the same frame (more or less) but the next size down.

Also work out which things you can change to make the bike "fit" you, and which you can't. The general opinion seems to be that you can make a slightly-too-small frame "bigger" (raise the saddle, longer stem) but it's harder to make a slightly-too-big frame "smaller".

Here's one discussion, for instance:

https://bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/11179/is-it-better-to-have-a-slightly-big-or-slightly-small-bike

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mjr
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Re: First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby mjr » 21 Feb 2020, 5:02pm

Some good advice above. Some bad advice IMO (incl helmets, padded pants). I think the best thing I can add is to ask yourself what you liked and disliked about the MTB you had?

I suspect going straight from a MTB to a racing-style road bike would leave you feeling stretched, twitchy and rattled by feeling all the bumps in the "meh" road surfaces. One of the modern gravel/adventure bikes with guards and slightly wider tyres might be more fun, or you could go for the older solution of a lightweight tourer. For what it's worth, I would (and did) go for the very old solution of a "light sports" (a bit misnamed IMO) aka roadster, which gets ridden much more than my road bike because it copes with local conditions better and I don't usually need the extra speed of the more aerodynamic position.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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mattsccm
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Re: First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby mattsccm » 21 Feb 2020, 6:16pm

I would start with the local shop. At least see what they have to offer even if its only advice. mall shops don't always off the best value bikes but value can be had in other ways eg back up and service so the shop may be worth while. The current trend for gravel bikes may be worth a look in that they are basically dropped bar bikes that cope with everything going. Much more versatile than a "race" bike. Ask around and approach any local groups.

rmurphy195
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Re: First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby rmurphy195 » 21 Feb 2020, 9:07pm

I echo Hamsters and Mikeymo's comments, so maybe an Audax or Touring bike which has room for mudguards would suit. If you can fit a rackfor a pannier - or have loops on the saddle for a small saddlebag - so much the better, so you can stuff waterproofs, sarnies, flasks, tools, inner tube tube etc. in something on the bike, rather than on your back, even better. And a cafe loock so you can call in at - well, cafes!

A couple of sets of bottle bosses for your water bottle would be good.

If you don't have much in the way of hills then "sports" gearing should be OK, otherwise if you can get mountain bike gearing on a drop-bar bike you might find that useful.

Bur don't forget, once you've found a bike that satisfies your head (i.e. the practicalites as per comments on this thread) then pick the bike that you like the look of - 'cos no matter how good it is practically, if you don't like the look of it you are less likely to ride it! I just love riding around on this one, its a tourer that I don't tour on, just day rides, trundling around and shopping!
BristolBath10.JPG


Good luck...
Brompton, Condor Heritage, creaky joints and thinning white (formerly grey) hair
""You know you're getting old when it's easier to ride a bike than to get on and off it" - quote from observant jogger !

Boring_Username
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Re: First timer here, what bike should I be buying?

Postby Boring_Username » 21 Feb 2020, 9:33pm

rmurphy195 wrote:I just love riding around on this one, its a tourer that I don't tour on, just day rides, trundling around and shopping!


Bristol?