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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am a complete road bike beginner and I need good advice to help me buy a a decent entry level road bike.
I was initially looking at hybrids, but I am training for a triathlon and I was told that a hybrid was not a good option for racing.

I would like something that is comfortable, stable and has potential for decent speed. Unfortunately, my budget is pretty limited as I am a college student. I am tempted to get something used off Craig's list but I just don't know enough to get something that would be a proper fit.

I'm planning on going to a LBS to look around. But before I do, I would really appreciate some guidance as to where to start. What brand makes an affordable, decent, entry level road bike? What are the most important things I should be looking for when I go shopping?
I would really appreciate any advice and/or direction that you can give me.
Thank you in advance! :)
 

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^^^^^^^^^^^^
I've been looking at that bike, I really want it, but alas I have not the funds :( Specialized makes fantastic bikes though. I'd say it was a good pick.
 

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Specialized is a good way to go they make excellent aluminum frames. A road bike is a better choice then a tri bike if you are just getting started because they are more stable and versatile. You can always add aerobars. Your right about a hybrid, they are not what you want. Just remember, you need to also budget for, a helmut, shoes, pedals, h2O bottles and cages, shorts gloves and a jersey. Yikes it is not cheap to get started. Talk to your LBS and see what kind of a deal you can get if you purchase everything from them. Being a good regular customer in a LBS can be very helpful. They can give you all kinds of advice and support. They might have used gear on hand to help you save a little money. The most expensive items you'll need are the shoes and pedals. Both of which can be purchased online but the shoe thing is tricky because of fit. Also beware of online deep discounts, they are often cheap for a reason. Again talk to your shop tell them your budget and see what they can do for you. Have fun and let us know how things work out.
 

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The Trek Lexa and the Cannondale Synapse Alloy 7 would both be good options also.
Agreed, Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, Giant, are all good choices. They all have different frame geometries so some may fit you better then others. And of course it all depends on what your LBS has to offer. Please let us know how things work out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you so much everyone for all the great advice! I plan on going to the LBS in my area this weekend. I cannot wait to find THE ONE! I'm so excited! I will let you know how it goes....
I was just wondering about on your opinion on women specific bikes. Do they really make a difference? Are they really much better fo women than a regular or non-gender specific bike? or is it just a marketing scheme?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
^^^^^^^^^^^^
I've been looking at that bike, I really want it, but alas I have not the funds :( Specialized makes fantastic bikes though. I'd say it was a good pick.
I was able to find a 2011 model at my LBS for a close out sale at $840. I can't wait to try it out to see if it's a good fit. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Specialized is a good way to go they make excellent aluminum frames. A road bike is a better choice then a tri bike if you are just getting started because they are more stable and versatile. You can always add aerobars. Your right about a hybrid, they are not what you want. Just remember, you need to also budget for, a helmut, shoes, pedals, h2O bottles and cages, shorts gloves and a jersey. Yikes it is not cheap to get started. Talk to your LBS and see what kind of a deal you can get if you purchase everything from them. Being a good regular customer in a LBS can be very helpful. They can give you all kinds of advice and support. They might have used gear on hand to help you save a little money. The most expensive items you'll need are the shoes and pedals. Both of which can be purchased online but the shoe thing is tricky because of fit. Also beware of online deep discounts, they are often cheap for a reason. Again talk to your shop tell them your budget and see what they can do for you. Have fun and let us know how things work out.
You're so right Noel. I have to also account for all the extra accesories that are necessary to get started, and I'm sure everything will add up very quickly. I really hope I'll be able to find a good deal. I'm going to start pretty basic and get the essentials for training. Hopefully, after I save a little I can upgrade to aerobars.
 

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If you really want to scrimp and save, you can skip out on the jerseys and just wear running tops and stuff like that. You loose the back pocket so if that's an issue for you beware, but other than that they're mostly the same! :D My advice is completely opposite when it comes to shorts unfortunately. General rule of thumb is, the more money, the better. Of course there probably are exceptions to this rule, but I haven't found them yet :/
 

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You're so right Noel. I have to also account for all the extra accesories that are necessary to get started, and I'm sure everything will add up very quickly. I really hope I'll be able to find a good deal. I'm going to start pretty basic and get the essentials for training. Hopefully, after I save a little I can upgrade to aerobars.
Some LBS will offer you a discount on accessories when you buy a bike. It's worth asking. Also, don't skimp on padded riding shorts. You will quickly see why we wear them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you for the suggestions Dubgirl & Poolie!
Unfortunately, I experienced first hand the real reason why it is so worth buying the expensive padded bottoms. I went to Spin training with my triathlon team (Team IN Training for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) this last Tuesday night, and I am still suffering from the aftermath. :(
I've been spinning for almost a year now and I have NEVER experienced so much irritation & discomfort. (I guess we did too many speed runs in the saddle) Needless to say...a good pair of padded riding shorts is at the very top of my "must get" list right now.
 

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Or a better seat! I suffered with TB (tired butt) for years until I bought "the seat". See a picture of it on the Trek in my profile. Designed by a NASA scientist, it is hard to get used to, not for everyone, and perfect for me. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you all!

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to check in with you and let you know that I ended up getting the 2011 Specialized Dolce Sport Compact. It's the step up model with the Shimano Tiagra derrailer. It's really light considering it's not a carbon. Good looking, Red & black colors and I'm absolutely in love with it! I've been riding for it for a couple of months now & I absolutely love it! I ended up getting a good deal on it too! $840 plus all the accessories (helmet,pedals, water cages) and I was able to keep it under a grand, so it was right within budget. :thumbsup: Thank you so much for all of your advice, it was really helpful & greatly appreciated! :)

I finally got enough practice with it to get me ready for the 40K part of my first triathlon! I'm heading over to the St. Anthony's olympic Triathlon next Sunday 4/29 in Tampa, Florida. I am super excited & nervous too of course. It's my very first Tri and I'm doing it to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
If you guys want to check out my Triathlon adventures & the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma society, please visit my website:
http://pages.teamintraining.org/wch/anttry12/marcela

You guys rock!

xo,

~Marcela~


P.S: The pic below is after a brick training session: 26 mile bike ride followed by a 6 mile run :)
 

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For your budget, I have seen Specialized and Jamis road bikes at my local shops that would totally work for you (I have seen the Allez for a flat $800). Most shops also sell used bikes that have been refurbed. You could likely find a good bike this way and stay under budget so long as you don't mind a few scratches. Bike shops reduce previous year models buy the hundred of $$s to make room for the new models if you don't mind the wait. If at all possible, find a Demo Day at a bike shop and ride everything you can to narrow what fits for you. This is how I can to begin my own love affair with the Enduro. I ride with a local club and some of the women ride a female-specific frame and some don't. Essentially what makes a frame right for you is how it feels under you. A good bike shop will measure you and make sure the bike and your body are congruent. I don't deal in Craigslist as frankly, the people who use Craigslist in my region are creepy.

Your new bike should come with pedals. Yes they'll be cheap and plastic but they'll work for now. So don't feel like you need to drop another hundo on pedals right away. The pedal debate is always raging and you can jump into it later if you want. You also don't NEED bike shorts. Yes they make a long ride much more confortable but after a week of riding your bum will adapt, I promise. Anyone who says you NEED a jersey is also lying to you. Whatever you wear to the gym will suffice for now. You can pick up a bottle and cage for under $10. Don't skimp on the helmet though :)

I have a pair of egg-beaters I don't use. Once you buy your bicycle if you would like my used pedals I would be happy to mail them to you. The cleat is well (cleats are replaceable)used but the pedal bodies are still in great shape. Then all you'd need is the shoe. Since I don't use them, I would be more than happy to help get you started free of charge.

Don't let anyone tell you what you NEED to ride. The only required equipment is a bike that works and a desire to ride it.
 

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Two skinny J's
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Hi everyone!

I just wanted to check in with you and let you know that I ended up getting the 2011 Specialized Dolce Sport Compact. It's the step up model with the Shimano Tiagra derrailer. It's really light considering it's not a carbon. Good looking, Red & black colors and I'm absolutely in love with it! I've been riding for it for a couple of months now & I absolutely love it! I ended up getting a good deal on it too! $840 plus all the accessories (helmet,pedals, water cages) and I was able to keep it under a grand, so it was right within budget. :thumbsup: Thank you so much for all of your advice, it was really helpful & greatly appreciated! :)

I finally got enough practice with it to get me ready for the 40K part of my first triathlon! I'm heading over to the St. Anthony's olympic Triathlon next Sunday 4/29 in Tampa, Florida. I am super excited & nervous too of course. It's my very first Tri and I'm doing it to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
If you guys want to check out my Triathlon adventures & the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma society, please visit my website:
http://pages.teamintraining.org/wch/anttry12/marcela

You guys rock!

xo,

~Marcela~


P.S: The pic below is after a brick training session: 26 mile bike ride followed by a 6 mile run :)
Very cool! Be sure to check and let us know how the tri goes!
 

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Nice bike. The Dolce is basically the aluminum version of of my Roubaix... which I love. You'll get many great miles and smiles from that bike. Congrats! And good luck on the Tri!
 
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