Female cyclist back after 20 years, looking at bikes, need help!

thistler

Veteran
Hi, I am new here - I'm a 46 yr old woman who used to race a lot in the late 80's, early 90's. Gave it up when I got married and had kids....now I want my life back!! I have been out of the loop for such a long time.

I currently have a Trek Navigator that I use around town and for shortish rides in the country but have been considering getting another road bike and getting back into shape for a while now.

I haven't a clue where to start - I used to have a Cannondale road bike with Shimano stuff....I spent a load of money on my gear back then but I was young, stupid and had no responsibilities. Things are certainly different now, can anyone give me an idea of what kind of money I'd need to spend to get a decent bike? I'd rather buy used if possible.....I certainly don't need the best, but would like fairly decent quality....

I am nearly 5'9" with long legs, my road bikes have always been 58cm.

Thanks for any help/advice! :wacko:
 

MacB

Lover of things that come in 3's
hi Thistler, I'd start with using this online site re sizing as geometry has altered a bit:-

http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za/CCY?PAGE=FIT_CALCULATOR_INTRO&INTRO_LINK=NOREDIR

needs two for the measurements but gives you a nice table of options to work from. This will allow you to aim for the right size frame and give you a basic position you can then tweak.

As for bikes themselves it really comes down to planned useage, budget and personal preference. Sounds like you already have a bike for pootling ans shopping/pub etc. So something more weekend/long ride orientated may be applicable. You need to make some sort of list of your preferences re:-

frame material, max/min tyre size, racks, guards, gearing, budget

These factors would narrow things down and then you can make a shortlist to test ride.
 
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thistler

thistler

Veteran
Thanks - I'll have to sit down and do those measurements! As for the other stuff - oh dear! I am happy with an aluminium frame, that's what my old bike was 20 some years ago.

I'm thinking at the moment I'd not be able to spend much more than £450 ish, can you even get a decent used bike for that? I have no clue....
 

ian turner

Veteran
Location
Leicestershire
Another couple of months and you'll be able to buy a new bike for that as the new models come out and clearance prices kick in for last years models.
 

MacB

Lover of things that come in 3's
Budget is a key area, I spent £70 on my first bike at the end of 2008(brand new!!!). Then the bug bit and that bike is long gone, I have 3 others, one bought complete and 2 built up from frames. Basically a dedicated commuting bike, a weekend bike and a run around(all 3 can handle commuting duties, ie rack and panniers, if need be). The cheapest worked out to about £700, I've stopped adding up all the extra costs on kit and my endless messing with handlebars and controls. But my most expensive bike was the commuter, I justified this due to the savings made by not driving, it was a lengthy commute. I still have plans to buy a really fancy bike but am determined not to make the plunge until I've stopped all my tinkering. But I recognise that it will be indulgence rather than necessity.

You need to work out how much, and what type, of use a bike will get. It's tough to do this in advance hence why I'd recommend starting cheaper and playing it by ear a bit. I do almost everything by bike now, shopping, socialising, work, so this allows for a more generous cycling budget. I'm on my 4th tank of petrol since December 2008(previously a tank a week) and most of that has been ferrying around my 3 sons.

Building up a bike isn't cheap unless you really know what you're doing, mechanically and buying cheap/secondhand. Buying a complete new bike for £300-400 will get you something good enough to buy you the time to work out what you really want/need. Ians suggestion of a 2009 model cheap is very good, there are some big savings. If you have a Decathlon anywhere near you their own range is highly respected at the budget end.
 
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thistler

thistler

Veteran
Thank you kindly for the help! There isn't a Decathalon near me, but I see they have an online shop - are there any of the budget models that are particularly recommended? I will also check into the 2009 sales.... I think the idea of buying something just to get started again on is a good one.

I used to do all my own work, had a great stand and tool kit too, but have long since forgotten all knowledge of what I was doing. Now I'm happy if I can change a tube without pinching it... :rofl:

Thanks mcshroom - I'll look into that!!! Is that Specialized Allez 16 a decent bike?
 

ian turner

Veteran
Location
Leicestershire
The allez/secteurs and Giant Defy tend to be the more common suggestions for cheaper first time road bikes (cheap in the context of "you'll regret not spending £1500" thinking). Depends on whether you think you need a triple or compact gear set. I'm the same age as you and in need of weight loss and find paper bags a challenging location to escape from wet or otherwise so went for a triple though It may have been a false assumption on my part.
My worry with buying from ebay is that the cycling community may be indirectly responsible for encouraging the market for stolen bikes.
 

MacB

Lover of things that come in 3's
I've not shopped at Decathlon so don't have specific recommendations, was just aware that people are surprised by the 'bang for your buck' they get. I also don't have a 'road' bike, mine all accomodate bigger wheels, full mudguards and racks. Two of them are hub gears, a 3 and 9 speed and the other is a triple. So you can tell I lean towards comfort and utility over speed, none of the bikes are super lightweights either. Even my ideas around dream bikes still include clearance for big tyres, though I'm leaning towards disc brakes now. But I have zero expectations of ever racing or time trialling. I do lean towards the minimalist in other ways, less gears are good where feasible. For example, my commuter would be single speed or fixed if I was building it again. But that sort of thing depends on the local terrain you'd need to ride.

A lot of folks will say that the correct amount of bikes is n+1, as in always one more than you have. Whereas I think 3 or 4 is ideal if you commute as well as social/training rides:-

bike 1 - commuter - aim for robust and practical, what that entails will be personal preference covering unbreakable tanks to featherweight speed machines - my commuter cost me £1500 but weighs in at 33lbs unladen

bike 2 - general - can be left outside shops and pubs without breaking your heart when it's nicked - can also stand in for commuter in case of mechanicals - I'd aim to have parts interchangeable with commuter as well

bike 3 - a little something for the weekend, could be anything

bike 4 - if you're into serious offroading that the other bikes can't handle then a MTB of some sort

You can still cover all this with one bike but it would probably mean some sort of compromise. If you're not commuting, and you already have a runaround, then the decisions get easier.
 
Which Cannondale did you have, it'll give us an idea of what you were used to, though that's not necessarily an indication of what will suit you now?
 

PpPete

Guru
Location
Chandler's Ford
If looking at Allez/Secteur/Defy I'd add in Trek 1.1/1.2/1.5 as possibilities.
Recommended to me on another thread. They certainly look like good value allround.
 

HaloJ

Rabid cycle nut
Location
Watford
porkypete said:
If looking at Allez/Secteur/Defy I'd add in Trek 1.1/1.2/1.5 as possibilities.
Recommended to me on another thread. They certainly look like good value allround.

Upgraded to a road bike earlier in the year after returning 20 years and regretting not getting a "racer" in the first place. Specialized Secteur/Specialized Tricross/Trek Pilot 2/Trek 1.1, 1.2, 1.5 was my pretty much my shortlist. I eventually went with the Secteur for it's lower stand over height compared to the top tube length and the fact that it's apparently built more for comfort/endurance.

My targetted use was a light/fast commuter/leisure bike.

Bought a detachable seatpost rack. My only issue with the secteur is the need to put 23mm tyres on to get enough clearance to get mudguards on it.
 
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thistler

thistler

Veteran
Thanks again. I can't remember which Cannondale I had, my boyfriend at the time was a bike mechanic and put Shimano Dura-ace stuff on it...I remember the pedals were Time....

Our local cycle shop carries Trek and their prices are quite competitive, and are the ones who organize the local rides, so I will take a good look at the 1.1s. They have really good customer service so I suppose it would make the most sense to buy something from them.
 
If the LBS is good there advice will be invaluable. I'd look carefully at ride position and not go on what you used to ride. I went for over a decade without a roadbike and when I came back to get one I found that the position I preferred now was different to previously. I also found that modern combined brake/gear shifters and 10 speed blocks, transformed the way I ride.
 

e-rider

crappy member
Location
South West
with that budget (450) it's going to be a very basic machine but probably similar or better than what you were using 20 years ago - I'd say £1200 would be the minimum spend for a decent new road bike (carbon frame - shimano 105 groupset)

If you want more Dura-Ace expect to pay £2500
 
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