New bike: what is key, what’s silly?

Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
Hi all, new to this forum and new to bicycling (sort of - I bought a nice bike 15 years ago that always hurt to ride). So what I learned from that experience is pay careful attention to fitting and buy from someone who cares enough to help you choose fit wisely. Which rules out used...

I am 67 and my goal is to ride mainly on paved pretty flat bike paths (some hills as I get stronger) - I want to ride 2-3-4 hrs a day, 3 days a week and build my stamina. I am already in decent shape. I will start riding with a friend and a group of older folk once I get my bike legs back.

My budget is decent - maybe $3500 with extras (pedals, shoes). But less would be ok too. But I am pretty committed and am not afraid of spending this amount if that’s what it takes..

Which brings me to my question: what is worth the money and what’s not? Carbon vs metal frame? Disc vs rim brakes? Group set? Wheels/tires - I don’t even know what the trade offs are but I know wheels can get very expensive. Where do you not compromise, and what’s not worth the extra bucks?

Thanks..
 

ozboz

Über Member
Location
Richmond ,Surrey
Look at a Surly , made in USA
 

YukonBoy

The Monch
Location
Inside my skull
What is key is that your bike is comfortable and that you look forward to riding it. If it's not putting a smile on your face , it's the wrong bike. Get as long a test ride as possible and don't buy the first bike you try.

Another point that is key is that you don't always know what you want when you get your first bike after a while. So perhaps don't go overboard on spending to start, and save some for when you know what it is you want.

Third don't restrict yourself to diamond frame road bikes. Consider if a recumbent style bike will better suit your needs, there are a few recumbent manufacturers out your way.
 

raleighnut

Guru
Location
On 3 Wheels
You don't mention which 'style' of bike you want, flatbar or drops. $3,500 will just about get you into a decent Steel frame territory but a handbuilt frame would probably cost twice that once you'd fitted decent components. Off the peg bikes to look at would be Surly, Ridgeback and I think Dawes still make decent Steel frames.
 

Sharky

Veteran
Location
Kent
Curious, what was wrong with your old bike that it hurt so much? I've never known any of my bikes to hurt as such. Have had uncomfortable positions, but a few tweaks of the saddle and handle bar positions soon sorted out the comfort issues.

And can I suggest that mileage wise, start with much shorter targets to begin with. At 69 my main diet is a 1 hour ride 2 or 3 times a week and from this baseline, can easily stretch to a 50 mile run occasionally and sub 29 minute 10's in our evening time trials.

Happy Cycling
 
Location
London
Are you looking for flat or drop bars OP?

Also, is it fair to assume from your original post that you aren't looking for an electric bike or a racing bike?
 
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Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
Thanks, all. The issue of original bike is I need to be more upright. 2 whiplash car accidents decades ago... and the bike I have has ‘too aggressive’ a geometry (evidently) and is also too large (54 cm - I am 5’6”) so I slide forward on the seat which is set as far forward as can go.

As to which kind of handlebar, my initial thought was flat bar (since current bike has drop down) but I also think more hand positions are good and I like the way gripping the hoods feels. I think the solution is a smaller frame with a different geometry where I will sit more upright (even with drop downs) ands with a well-chosen saddle.

Oh, no ebike, no recumbent, no racing bike. I think the category is maybe ‘endurance’ bike although this is a pretty vague thing.

My question is more about what price point do you start really hitting diminishing returns and what kinds of things really make for a bike you can sit on for a while. Is carbon worth the price? Are better components worth it? Etc? For the committed rider (not a racer) where does that line begin where ‘better’ is more about style points than tangible riding benefit?

I know this is wholly subjective and depends on budget. I’d like to hear people’s opinions on this..
 
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Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
PS: why I am asking ... I am an avid golfer and went thru a phase where I bought the latest and greatest only to find that more basic (nad much cheaper) clubs were the best for me.

Of course all that trial and error taught me a lot about golf gear so my taste became quite clear to me. I want to try to avoid a similar process with bikes. I already had one pretty expensive misstep and want to try to avoid a second.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
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Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
Something like the Trek Domane would probably fit the bill, the endurance range. Starts around $1000 for an aluminium frame ... And up you go with carbon frame and the components you want

There are a bunch of Trek dealers in the LA area

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/store-finder/

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/domane/

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/road-bikes/performance-road-bikes/domane/c/B221/
@vickster The Domane is definitely on my short list. What is hard for me to understand is how much better a $3600 model is over a $2800 model over a $2200 one. I don’t know that a brief test ride will answer this...
 

vickster

Legendary Member
@vickster The Domane is definitely on my short list. What is hard for me to understand is how much better a $3600 model is over a $2800 model over a $2200 one. I don’t know that a brief test ride will answer this...
It like comes down to the components...the frame set will be the same (other than the colour) be it aluminium or carbon

If you want a good groupset that won't break the bank, Shimano Tiagra or 105 or SRAM Rival are bang on. Tiagra is 10 speed but in the real world it makes littlest difference

The more you pay, you'll shave a few ounces off the weight of the bike. Makes diddly difference whether it's 8kg or 9kg ultimately. Disc brakes can be better in the wet in traffic, but in sunny LA I wouldn't bother. Adds cost and some weight to the bike

This is loads of bike for $2000 :okay: if you can find in your size (52cm presumably)
https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/road-bikes/performance-road-bikes/domane/domane-sl/domane-sl-5/p/24223/?colorCode=gold_greydark
 
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Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
Personally I would not compromise on having a low enough bottom gear and a saddle that suits me. For me personally these are key to being comfortable and thus enjoying my riding.

After comfort for me it's practicality. I like to have a bit of extra gear and food with me on my rides so I have a rack, and I ride in all weathers so I use mudguards. But these are just things that enable me to enjoy riding.

Enjoyment is the thing. Your keys for enjoyment may be different to mine.
 

DP

Chasse patate
Location
Netherlands
Hi Chuck - looks like you're from California in which case I'd look up your local bike builder and go have a chat with them.

The US bike building scene is much more varied than Europe which is still very race bike focussed. It sounds like you might be looking for more of a French style porteur bike which is exactly what a lot of US makers are up to.

If I had your money and given what you say, I'd be looking at starting with something like a Velo Orange Polyvalent frame or something from All City. Paul Components from Chico are a nice touch to any bike.

Do you ride with a group? Check out Boyz on the Hoods in SF for some next level advice!
 
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