New bike: what is key, what’s silly?

raleighnut

Guru
Location
On 3 Wheels
I didn’t look at steel because I assume these are lower end bikes and there is a difference in quality of the components (I had an inexpensive steel bike along the way).
:rofl: Try googling Reynolds 953 bicycles but make sure you're sitting down first, even 853 and 725 frames are over £1,000 but 953 'Maraging' Stainless is Ti Reynolds top steel tubeset.
 

John_S

Über Member
Hi Chuckschreiner,

Further to your message above my apologies for suggesting something over budget! On the subject of the NAHBS if you do go I hope that you have a great time looking at bikes even if you don't buy one when you're there. On the subject of not knowing exactly what to order from a custom perspective if you did ever want to go that route one day if budget allowed hopefully there would be frame builders out there willing to listen to your riding style and wishes for a bike and be able to work with you to recommend something that would work for you.

Back to bikes and one option that I'd consider (and they've been mentioned by DP in a previous message) is a bike from All City Cycles:-

https://allcitycycles.com/bikes

They've recently released an endurance model, the Zig Zag, and the Shimano 105 spec build is $2,699 and the Ultegra build is $3,999

https://bikerumor.com/2019/08/06/all-city-zig-zag/
https://allcitycycles.com/blog/all_city_introduces_the_zig_zag_you_ready_for_this
https://road.cc/content/tech-news/265325-all-citys-new-zig-zag-road-bike-mixes-old-new
https://advntr.cc/all-city-zig-zag-disc-road-bike/
https://theradavist.com/2019/08/all-city-cycles-zig-zag-disc-road/


As for some alternative options Soma Fabrications make some nice looking frames and I think that they are from California and so maybe there would be local bike shops to you who might build up Soma Fab bikes from the frame for you so that you could pick what components you want (such as Vickster has suggested with for example considering Sram components if that's what works for you).

https://www.somafab.com

If you're also considering doing some riding including some off road trails or even just some badly paved roads (such as we get a lot of here in the UK but maybe your roads are much better) then a bike such as the Chumba Terlingua could be one to be considered. I'm not exactly sure of the price of a built bike but depending on the hold it might come in at around your budget. One website that I read listed prices as Frame only $1450, Frame with Enve CX 100×12 Thru Axle Carbon Fork $1999 and Custom Builds ranging from $3195:-:-

https://www.chumbausa.com/terlingua-700c-650bplus-steel
https://www.cxmagazine.com/chumba-terlingua-steel-cross-gravel-bike-review-usa-made

Also I see that people have already mentioned bikes made by Surly which would be another good option to consider.

Good luck with your search and with finding the right bike for you!

John
 

John_S

Über Member
Hi again,

Also if you were to consider a bike from a British company there are two lovely looking bikes from a company called Fairlight ( https://fairlightcycles.com ) and given what I've read about owners of Fairlight bikes who are from all over the world I'm assuming that they ship to the USA. If their bikes appealed to you I'm sure that you could contact them to ask and confirm.

Here's a review of the Fairlight Strael:-
https://road.cc/content/review/240016-fairlight-cycles-strael-20

And a review of the Failright Secan:-
https://road.cc/content/review/248008-fairlight-cycles-secan

Fairlight Cycles ( https://fairlightcycles.com )
Depending on your priorities either one of the Fairlight bikes could work for you? Also their bikes are available as a frameset only as well as complete bikes. I might be doing them a massive disservice with this overly simplistic (and potentially inaccurate) summary of their bikes range but roughly you have the Faran which could be described as a tough, versatile bike capable of touring as well as much more (but the Faran is currently unavailable). There is the Strael which is I suppose what sometimes gets described these days as an "all road" Bike (whatever that means to people) but if you need an example of that bikes capabilities it has been ridden to victory by James Hayden in two editions of the Transcontinental across Europe unsupported race. Then there is the Secan which is capable of off road gravel riding as well which includes being able to take wider tyres that the Strael and 650b wheels if you want.

One reason that I've mentioned this bike is you've mentioned comfort being important and unlike many other companies Fairlight make it easier and more likely that you'll be able to get a frame which fits you.

For me personally, and this is probably why my next bike will a Fairlight, one of the biggest appeals of their bikes is the fact that they provide two different sized versions of each frame offering both a regular and a tall version. Now although I've been cycling for a long time I've not had many bikes in that time and so I didn't know lots about bike fit and geometries when I bought one of my bikes. Despite the bike shop recommending the size to me I've never got on with it and discomfort problems are exacerbated the longer the ride.

I've since come to realise that for my body shape and style of riding (primarily everyday type riding with commuting, getting to shops and then occaisional longer rides including audax) I'm not personally a fan of a long stretched out 'race' riding position with a stem slammed low on a short top tube because I personally find it uncomfortable.

Fairlight have a principle called Fit Form Function ( https://fairlightcycles.com/why-fairlight/fit-function-form/?v=79cba1185463 ) but basically what the Fit part of it means is that they offer both a regular and tall version of each of their frames meaning that their bikes will provide a good fit to a greater number of people. The following video does a far better explanation of the idea than I ever could:-

View: https://vimeo.com/180866780


And you don't have to be an expert in order to figure out which frame size and version (regular or tall) is correct for you because all you do is select the model of bike that you want from the Fairlight website and then you can enter both your height and inside leg measurement and it will recommend which frame is best for you.

The reason that I've recommended their bikes is because for me personally rather than the particular specs of a bike including the groupset, finishing kit etc., or discount percentage available (which I know are also important considerations for everyone) the most important thing for me with a bike (which I've discovered over time) is the fit and geometry of a bike as well as the functionaility in terms of will it do what you want of it without being a hassle. For example is it easy to fit mudguards and racks to, does it take the tyre widths that I want to use etc..

I'm not quite sure how the price works out once you've converted to US Dollars but I thought that perhaps roughly say a 105 build might come in within budget and I think that the USD is currently strong versus the pound and so that might help you?

I hope that you find the right bike for you!

John

p.s. your walk sounds amazing and I hope that the last days of your walk go well!
 

Grant Fondo

Riding backwards into the future
Location
Cheshire
I think the way I’ve seen bikes sold in L.A. is the more expensive the frame, the more expensive the rest of the bike. So partly I will be limited by what stores carry.

But looking at aluminum vs carbon, big dip in price and the weight is close. I didn’t look at steel because I assume these are lower end bikes and there is a difference in quality of the components (I had an inexpensive steel bike along the way).

But it seems to me that a good aluminum frame will be great value - IF I can find a bike that meets the key fit criteria, including wider tires.

I take your point about consumables and changing these over time. I also know I want the system to work well under stress. So I don’t know what’s solid and what’s ‘exotica.’

The other thing you mention that really strikes me is weight savings gets expensive when the delta in bike weight is less than a kg overall. My body weight will fluctuate that much (up and down) depending on how much bread I eat ! So light is good but lightest isn’t worth it to me.

PS: only one more day on our 7 day Camino walk. Today was 23 km. It is so much fun to do this with my wife. We are both tired, our feet are tired, but we will be sad when the walk ends. Walking thru rolling hills of varying kinds of forests is simply wonderful.
Have you got to Santiago de Compostela yet? What a beautiful church. Anyhow with your budget go carbon, but more importantly check out the world class architecture!
 

SkipdiverJohn

Über Member
Location
London
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.
I'm sure you lost a lot of money along the way, too. Buying fancy stuff new, finding it wasn't as great as you expected, then selling it on secondhand at a large loss. Followed by buying more new stuff to see if you liked that better instead. Then repeating the same thing over and over.

If you are new to something, and not absolutely sure what gear will suit you best, it makes a lot more sense to either buy new at the lower priced end of the spectrum, or to buy fancier, more expensive stuff, secondhand not new.
Be realistic; you are not a young, super-fit racer, for whom the last degree of performance matters. You are an older bloke who just needs something comfortable that rides nicely for some recreation and exercise. You do not need to spend thousands on some carbon job fitted with high end parts with an ounce of weight shaved off here and there. All you need is a basic but decent quality bike that fits you size-wise and has comfortable geometry. You should be able to do that new for only a few hundred pounds (in the UK) and for relatively peanuts if you buy a used bike not a new one.
 
Location
London
Chuck, you said upthread

## will ride mainly on a long beach bike trail

Can you tell us what this is? Have any pics of such a thing?
Differences in language obviously. But to my brit ears it doesn't sound like the sort of thing you"d be wanting a full on drop bar aggressive carbon machine for. And I'd be inclined to leave the mankini at home.
 
OP
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Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
Last day of our 112 km Camino, will arrive tonight, will drag our celebrating, sore butts in around 3 or 4 pm. 16 km up and down what looks like steep hills.

Thanks all for your thoughts - will read and chew on tonight as my weary feet celebrate like a 21 yr old that the walking is done!
 
OP
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Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
Chuck, you said upthread

## will ride mainly on a long beach bike trail

Can you tell us what this is? Have any pics of such a thing?
Differences in language obviously. But to my brit ears it doesn't sound like the sort of thing you"d be wanting a full on drop bar aggressive carbon machine for. And I'd be inclined to leave the mankini at home.
@Blue Hills I really appreciate your questions.

I don’t have pics with me of the bike path but it is about 20 miles of bikes only (and peds) along the Beach with well maintained concrete. It is essentially flat but with some ocean breeze. My ride from my home to the path is hilly but short.

The thing that gives me pause is I have the ambition to do some hill riding - at the south end of the trial there is a beautiful peninsula that is all hills - long steep inclines. My ambition in 6-12 months is to ride this - but this is not assured. It’s a tough ride for me. A goal.

But you’re right. My primary ride is flat and my primary goal is to maintain strength and endurance. 2-3-4 hrs on the bike without undue misery.

That said, light is good (within reason) Rumor is, I am not getting younger.
 
Location
London
Mm, concrete?

Doesn't sound too smooth. The odd small gaps from the laying?

The more I learn, especially with your reasonable desire to climb, the more I think quality but non flashy flat bar bike. With bar ends. No more than 10 speed. Quality wheels handbuilt to replace the original ones the bike came with. With clearance for a range of tyre widths. And rims which will take them. If it won't even take 28mm tyres forget it. Triple on the front. And sneer at folk who sneer at it.
 
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vickster

Legendary Member
@Blue Hills I really appreciate your questions.

I don’t have pics with me of the bike path but it is about 20 miles of bikes only (and peds) along the Beach with well maintained concrete. It is essentially flat but with some ocean breeze. My ride from my home to the path is hilly but short.

The thing that gives me pause is I have the ambition to do some hill riding - at the south end of the trial there is a beautiful peninsula that is all hills - long steep inclines. My ambition in 6-12 months is to ride this - but this is not assured. It’s a tough ride for me. A goal.

But you’re right. My primary ride is flat and my primary goal is to maintain strength and endurance. 2-3-4 hrs on the bike without undue misery.

That said, light is good (within reason) Rumor is, I am not getting younger.
How about spending maybe $1000 on a flat bar road type bike now and then get an something more 'roadie' as an N+1 for the hills in 6 months when you've got into your riding a bit more for a couple of $k?

eg the comp version of this is $700, triple, 32mm tyres, disc brakes
https://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/allegroseries.html

Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Fuji etc will all have something similar in their range
 
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OP
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Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
Ok, the pilgrimage is over. We are in Santiago de Compostela and indeed the cathedral is stunning. How they built such a structure in the 15th century boggles the mind. However, my most favorite chapel was a tiny one we stumbled onto this morning. Sat only maybe 15 people, from 14th century (I think). Incredible vibe ... quiet and reverent. And we (wife and I) loved walking thru the woods. Beautiful.

Hmm. A lot of ideas to digest. First of all, I really do appreciate the input. It just helps me clarify what matters to me and I have learned so much from following all the prompts and suggestions.

Interestingly, as we walked into Santiago there were two nice bike stores (alas one was closed) and I looked at road bikes with a more critical eye. I think it’s the stem as well as the seat to bar height on drop downs that really are at issue. But my experience from a flat bar bike and a drop down is I like the uprightness of the flat bar but also like how my hands fit into hoods. I had added the end bars on my flat bar bike and they helped but they aren’t integrated with the levers.

The other thing I thought is Europeans really know their bikes. I was like a kid in a toy store looking at them. Love bikes.

As to carbon, I just am thinking either steel or aluminum, done right, offers more bang for the buck. Maybe a carbon fork. But the key will be finding that bike (that fits) with, say, Shimano 105 level components. I have had shifters not work under stress where I shared the road with cars and that’s not ok.

I don’t think I trust myself to order a bike from
an on-line dealer. Somehow I ended up on canyon bikes web site and their deals look great ... but ... I just think I need a set of knowing eyes to validate fit - it’s not just butt and wrists but legs and stuff I don’t understand. Maybe I’m being too cautious...

But then again I did look for All-City bikes and there is a dealer in Los Angeles.

Also room for wider tires!

Last point. I definitely want low gearing. When I finish the beach route my experience is I am pretty tired and then have to ride pretty steep uphill grade right thru downtown of the beach city I live in with traffic. I need to be able to find a low gear that support the cadence and speed for me to retain control. And high enough to keep up with my friend and the group he invited me to ride with.

I guess I am about ready to start test riding bikes. Can only go so far on theory.

Again, thanks to all of you. I really appreciate the time and thoughtfulness to help a (relative) newbie think this through.
 
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OP
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Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
One last thing... about the cathedral de Santiago. This incredible structure was built between 1075-1211. Yow! Double yow! That is even more mind blowing. How in the world did they ever build such a sophisticated, tall, intricate structure 1000 years ago??!
 
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