New bike: what is key, what’s silly?

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Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
@vickster i had seen this ad... seems like 2019 sl5 are not so common in the stores I have visited... but agree that’s a great deal if I could find one that fit. I think it was this ad for last year model that really got me thinking, what price point is sensible. The latest and greatest of anything is often just a slight improvement over last year (if any improvement at all)

I think I’ll call around when I get back to LA and see if I can find a 52....

@Dogtrousers good call on the low gear. I have ambitions of some hill riding and one of the things I don’t like about my current bike is it’s lowest gear isn’t as low as I often wish.

I have read a lot about saddles and seems like it can take some experimenting together it right.

How big a deal is the next level of components? When does the best make sense vs what’s good enough for someone who’s not pushing the bikes limits (except if I want to shift and brake reliably in hills)

Thx guys
 
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Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
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!
@DP I am indeed in Los Angeles. I am joining a group when I get back home (walking the Camino de Santiago right now, back in 10 days). One of my good friends is a senior triathlete (world class at age 78!) and I will join his group of seniors once I get my bike legs back.

How does bike building work? I read it’s more expensive but I had also thought it might make some sense... sort of get best frame and rebuild it every few years.

PS: I have sure seen a lot of people riding the Camino. There have been places through woods on gravel paths/roads that I would have loved to have ridden - but also some serious long hill climbs that would have killed me!
 

Grant Fondo

Riding backwards into the future
Location
Cheshire
@DP I am indeed in Los Angeles. I am joining a group when I get back home (walking the Camino de Santiago right now, back in 10 days). One of my good friends is a senior triathlete (world class at age 78!) and I will join his group of seniors once I get my bike legs back.

How does bike building work? I read it’s more expensive but I had also thought it might make some sense... sort of get best frame and rebuild it every few years.

PS: I have sure seen a lot of people riding the Camino. There have been places through woods on gravel paths/roads that I would have loved to have ridden - but also some serious long hill climbs that would have killed me!
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/diverge-sport/p/171325?color=264789-171325 Got the 2019 model and not using my endurance bike anymore, really comfy and light would totally recommend.
Enjoy the walk, oh and you are right some of the climbs in the Picos de Europa are killers, but what about the views?
 
Location
London
Quick thoughts chuck, if you aren't a speed merchant or ready to join the ebike fraternity.

I wouldn't spend anything like your allowed budget initially.

At UK prices I reckon you could get a decent flat bar nippy steel bike for £500 to £1,000 with bits as good as you need.

Save the rest of your cash.

If you get into this cycling lark you will soon be spending a lot of it on accessories, clothing, tools etc etc.

And can always get another bike later.

Do you get more for more money with high priced components?

Not in my view if you are a general cyclist (which can still involve serious distances).

With high priced components you are often paying for snob value, weight savings which matter not a jot, very possibly more faff.

At the risk of being thought a luddite I would also try not to go above 9 speed, though that might well direct you towards second hand, which is trickier if you are a newbie.

And spend some dollars on one of the best things to come out of the states - the Park Book of Bicycle maintenance - even if you have no desire to save money by working on your own bikes - by working on your own bikes you will develop a feel for bikes - and maybe also be privy to the heaven-sent insight that there is a lot of crap talked about bikes, particularly at the high end.
 
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Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
@Blue Hills thx for the book recommendation- I had already decided to build a maintenance rack and that I was going to learn to work on my own bike. So Park Book of Bicycle Maintenance is where I’ll start.

I would buy used but I just don’t think I know enough to do it well. But my instincts are along the lines you suggest - that at a price point below what I am willing to spend I’ll hit the point of diminishing returns.

However, I do think I want a bike that has pretty low gearing.
 
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vickster

Legendary Member
@Blue Hills thx for the book recommendation- I had already decided to build a maintenance rack and that I was going to learn to work on my own bike. So Park Book of Bicycle Maintenance is where I’ll start.

I would buy used but I just don’t think I know enough to do it well. But my instincts are along the lines you suggest - that at a price point below what I am willing to spend I would but the point of diminishing returns.

However, I do think I want a bike that has pretty low gearing.
A triple or a 50-34 chainring with an 11-32 or 11-34 cassette will get you up hills and is a pretty common combination these days.

If your plan is to ride with a group of road cyclists on road bikes, then I'd personally get a roadbike not a heavyish flatbar hybrid type bike...but you certainly don't need to spend $3500 on one
 
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Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
@vickster I had to spend some time a few days ago looking at how to read and understand gear ratios, so now I understand your suggestion (eg, what all those numbers mean!) and think you’re right on target to what I’m thinking about doing.

Yeah I am def thinking drop bars but with modestly aggressive geometry. Thanks again.

Off to walk. Rain in the forecast.That should be interesting...
 
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vickster

Legendary Member
:cycle:
@vickster I had to spend some time a few days ago looking at how to read and understand gear ratios, so now I understand your suggestion (eg, what all those numbers mean!) and think you’re right on target to what I’m thinking about doing.

Yeah I am def thinking drop bars but with modestly aggressive geometry. Thanks again.

Off to walk. Rain in the forecast.That should be interesting...
Just take an umbrella :okay:
 
Location
London
@vickster
Yeah I am def thinking drop bars but with modestly aggressive geometry. Thanks again.
Can't help but wonder chuck whether you are in two minds about drops - maybe accounts for me getting a bit confused upthread and thinking that you were after flats.

You talk about previous issues with a low down position and then talk about - as many apologists for drops do - spending a lot of time on the hoods. You can have just as many hand positions on flats fitted with bar ends - and there are different designs of bar ends - one of my bike has rather relaxed ski-slope bar ends for touring, at least two others have more aggressive bar ends. I spend most of my time when cruising on the bar ends and they put your wrists in the same non-twisted position as the hoods on drops.

Bar ends are also very good for climbing.

Flat bar bikes aren't necessarily slow or heavy as may be implied upthread.

I used to have (now disassembled in the garage) one of these fine american bikes.

Dale silk warrior cannondale

and that was so not slow I very rarely got it into top gear.

I was thinking of that type of bike - when I rode that it was called a "fast city bike" - god knows what the industry calls it these days.

I used to rather like the look of the Bianchi Camaleonte which was a similar sort of concept, though is I think ally, as was my dale.

Another advantage of flat bars, particularly if you don't go for the more, er, advanced stuff, is the relative lack of compatibility issues if you start swapping bits/doing your own bike fettling.,

Be wary of getting sucked into the industry's attempts to draw you into bike stuff which has clever built-in obsolescence features.

I know what you mean about not feeling confident as a beginner buying secondhand - do you know anyone your end who can help?

The reason I suggested secondhand (and there are some secondhand bikes that have been nowhere much in ten years) is that like a fair few on here I prefer the older bikes that are a bit behind (I would say ahead) of the tech curve.

It was implied that upthread that maybe you might be riding with speedy racers and so need to "keep up" in several ways. I don't know what type of folks these are.

Another thought - if you do get into cycling you might find that you want to integrate it into your life with errand running etc - in which case a bike that can take racks, proper guards, and carry a bit of weight might be an idea.

I think you have to be careful about the risk of being tempted into something sold on lightness - I fear from the other things you have said you might find such a thing uncomfortable.
 
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Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
@Blue Hills I started this process thinking flat bars, but then several people have suggested drop downs and to be sure, I like the hand position of a hood that really molds to my hand and with arms externally rotated so the hands (back of the knuckles) are almost vertical.But I doubt I will ride down low often at all...so it is more about getting the overall setup just right - which really means I need to ride several bikes and pay close attention, plus get good input from someone who really is trying to figure out what makes sense for me, my age, goals and body.

What I’ve learned from golf is expensive doesn’t always equal best for me - except sometimes it does. Learning how to find great clubs for me took effort, and I bought and sold a lot of clubs along the way. So I am trying to lessen the learning curve with bikes.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
If you like comfy hoods and especially if you have smaller hands, try out a bike with Sram Rival or Force (normal, non hydraulic). They’re a perfect shape imo. Avoid the cheaper hydraulic Shimano though, bulky and oh so fugly on what should be a good looking bike!!
 
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Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
@Blue Hills i had time to re-read your thoughtful post. One thing is I doubt I will do errands often on my bike. SoCal traffic is just too intense to take on. I will ride mainly on a long beach bike trail. The guys I will ride with - I don’t know how fast they will ride - my buddy is an athlete but also a mellow guy and he said ‘any speed’ will be fine. But I will do some hill riding - at least that’s the plan.

One thing your input (plus @vickster) has made me realize is after the geometry (overall fit) and the saddle, the comfort of the handlebar is next priority, then gear ratios. This gives me some focus.

Day 4 of camino in the books. My legs are whipped!
 
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Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
If you like comfy hoods and especially if you have smaller hands, try out a bike with Sram Rival or Force (normal, non hydraulic). They’re a perfect shape imo. Avoid the cheaper hydraulic Shimano though, bulky and oh so fugly on what should be a good looking bike!!
@vickster your post brings my question right into focus. So I look up sram (never heard of this company or only vaguely) and here’s an alternative to shimano. Let’s assume you’re on target and these hoods are great fit. And I don’t know what they might add to price but I’ll guess $200.

So let’s assume a fixed, real budget. If you spend here, where do you cut? Where’s the money best spent?

PS: with golf I learned to build, tweak my own clubs. I intend to do this with bikes. Not sure how this plays into things except I keep reading about obsolescence but am not sure what happens - certain types of components go out of fashion and can’t be replaced?
 

vickster

Legendary Member
@vickster your post brings my question right into focus. So I look up sram (never heard of this company or only vaguely) and here’s an alternative to shimano. Let’s assume you’re on target and these hoods are great fit. And I don’t know what they might add to price but I’ll guess $200.

So let’s assume a fixed, real budget. If you spend here, where do you cut? Where’s the money best spent?

PS: with golf I learned to build, tweak my own clubs. I intend to do this with bikes. Not sure how this plays into things except I keep reading about obsolescence but am not sure what happens - certain types of components go out of fashion and can’t be replaced?
Personally I don’t really care about wheels as long as they have enough spokes. Deep rims for example are to my eyes an abomination!

Shimano hoods are uncomfortable for me and I can’t brake confidently. All my bikes with gears have Sram. 3 have been built for me. Didn’t add anything to cost. It’s a US company so I’d be surprised if it adds to the build

This only goes for road bike brifters. Not flat bar controls
 
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