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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

It's been a long time since I've been biking, but would like to take it up again.
Would be "very lite" biking, as am now in my 70's.

Have been looking at all the various styles, and it seems it's more complicated than buying a new car.

Anyway, would be doing most of my riding in a nature refuge, and it has both paved roads, and gravel roads; perhaps a 50-50 % mix.

My limit would be about $ 400.

I have a quite old steel Fuji now, and it seems to weigh a ton, although I doubt that it is really over 35 pounds or so. Anyway, I have a really rough time man handling it into the back of my car.

What should I look at ?

With the 50-50 mix between paved and gravel that I will be going on,
do I want a Mountain Bike ? If so, how hard are these to pedal, with their knobby tires on asphalt paved roads. Are they heavier than Road bikes, in general ?

With my being not able to lift the Fuji problem, should I consider the graphite types ? Are these avail. for my $ 400 limit ?

Is an Aluminum frame any lighter than the steel bikes ?

Is it a Comfort or a Hybrid style I should be looking at ?

Any thoughts would be most appreciated.

Much thanks,
Bob
 

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Welcome Bob Many of us, including myself, found our way back to cycling for one reason or another after a long lay off. Your questions are part of the learning process, and you are smart to ask them. There is a wide range of expertise here, from people that know every nook and cranny of a bike, to people that ride 200 + miles a week every week.

IF the only problem with the Fuji is getting it into the back of the car, then a good option might be to purchase a car carrier first. Honestly it probably isn't your only problem, but I thought I would throw it out as an option to consider at least to get started. IF its physically picking it up at all, a car carrier will not fix that problem. But if you can lift it maybe a foot or two and don't have to wrestle it into the back seat, would that work?

Let me try to explain a bit about the differences. First of all a mountain bike is designed to be an off road bike. Some have suspensions, which can cushion the impact of rough trails, some just have a front suspension and the rear of the bike is solid, hence you will hear them referred to as hard tails. The hard tail is more efficient in pedaling, but the suspension takes the rough terrain better. Some say that suspension helps with rough roads and trails. I really never noticed that much of a difference on a road between the suspension and non suspension but that's me.

The mountain bike is also more of a bent over position that many do not find comfortable. Its a position to maximize handling on rough terrain, but it may take some time to get used to. Some just don't like it and that's ok.

The generic of tires. Usually the wider the tire and a lower the max air pressure works better in the dirt. That wide knobby tire grabs the ground well for better traction and lower air pressure there is preferred. On the road those big knobby tires make an awful racket, and the lower air pressure adds rolling resistance. I don't know that it makes it harder to pedal per sey, but it does make you slower for the same effort.

Road tires tend to have skinny tires that sink into the dirt, but they can take a much higher air pressure (something like 100-120 psi or so) and on pavement rolling resistance is reduced.

That being said if you get a mountain bike, there are tires that you can get for it that are more for the road, that would fit any bike with a 26 inch wheel. Different tires will improve a mountain bike's performance on the road, but it won't make it a road bike. I have a 26 inch 1 1/4 inch wide slick tire with a 100 psi limit on a bike that would work on a mountain bike. Still won't make it a road bike.

Road bikes are subjected to different stresses and don't need to be as strong in many places as a mountain bike that could be air born a great deal. You don't tend to see many people jumping on road bikes, at least not for long grin. They are usually lighter, and on the roads faster. They also require that bent over position, though its a different one from a mountain bike. Wheels are usually just a bit bigger 700c vs 26 inches for most mountain bikes (though some love a 29 inch wheel on a mountain bike called a 2 9 er)

Now for the tricker ones, that try to do more than one thing fairly well.

The Hybrid is a road bike at heart that will take a few trails. It typically uses 700c wheels and tires that are good for the road, but the big difference is the seating position is far more upright. It won't be as fast as a road bike, but many will be much more comfortable on it. A little wider tire and you can ride some trails, but its heart is a road bike.

The comfort bike usually uses 26 inch wheels like a mountain bike, but its seating position is far more upright. For this bike comfort is the primary goal. The wheels give you a few more wider tire choices if you wanted to take it on dirt, but its not going to handle the really tough terrain like a mountain bike. It also won't be as fast as a hybrid on the road, but many think the comfort is worth the compromise. Most newer bikes in your price range are aluminum now and they are so much lighter than the steel you already own. Nothing wrong with steel (I have a steel bike) but most of the time its heavier.

Now here is the best advise I can give you. Don't buy a bike at a department store. Find a local bike store and go in and tell them what you told us. See what they have and what they suggest. Just like car dealers most good local bike shops (you see it here referred to as LBS) will let you take them for a test ride to see how it fits you. Fit is important. Odds are after you ride a few you will know the one you want. If you have other questions let us know.
 

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Yesterday tired old man, Today retired old man
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The bike I would look at is a Cannondale Quick 6 I realy like the one I have, By the way I am 66. The Quickk 6 has 700x38c tires wide enough for riding a path, and a more upright rideing position, the triger shifters are not top of the line but thay just shift every time, I call it my timex bike. I have outher bikes that I like more but not for the price. Thay change these bikes every year and the new one may not be the same as my 2 year old bike but it should be close. There are a lot of brands that are simalur, but I would look at the Quick 6 then look at outhers, you may find the same type of bike in an outher brand fits you better. hope I have bin some help.
click cycles to see a photo of my Quick 6
 

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Hi Bob,

My wife and I started riding again about a year ago. I'm not seventy, but I'm getting closer. My wife bought a new Haro Heartland and I bought a Giant Sedona in October. Both bikes are delightful to ride. The Heartland feels lighter than the Sedona both are less than $400. Both have a very upright riding position and both have aluminum frames.

I have about 600 miles in my Sedona. We ride country roads and some dirt roads. I can now ride across the lawn without difficulty. My speedo ( electro thingamajig) says my average speed is about 8 miles an hour, but my fat butt doesn't really doesn't care.

BTW, Giant makes a nice quality looking folding bike that might fit your needs. I've never petted one, but it might be easier for you to load and transport. Bikes are bulky and not fun to load into a car.

Bob H.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
From OP:

Hi All,

Just wanted to say a most sincere thanks for all the great info.
Really appreciate it.

BTW: are Aluminum frames "significantly" lighter than the same size in Steel ?

are there any good Hybrid styles avail. in Graphite/Composite for
around $ 400 ?

Regards,
Bob
 

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Yes Aluminum is much lighter, but many steel bikes have a ride that many love. In my case the greatest improvement in performance would come from a lighter engine.

Carbon fiber is light weight, and very strong. It also has a few draw backs. One drawback is there is no bend in carbon fiber. With aluminum or steel, if a part is overstressed it will bend before total failure. That's your warning. Carbon fiber looks great, till it just breaks and totally fails and its usually without warning. That's not to say you would have a problem. Yet if you see something that isn't quite right, what you might just watch with steel needs an immediate trip to the bike shop.

Sometimes you see bikes that have an aluminum frame and a carbon fiber fork. CF also tends to be more expensive. Others will know makes and models far better than I, but look around for clearance sales. Never know you might find last years model marked down enough to bring it into your budget. There also may be some that would be in your price range, but others are better at that. Good luck and let us know what you get.
 

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Jay
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I heard some bad things about carbon fiber and one day when I was out for a ride I saw a Viet Nam era Cobra helicopter and it had cf rotors. I figured if our boys were flying into combat with it 40 years ago it can't be that bad. Sometime later I hit some RR tracks and went down, breaking a femur and collarbone. My cf bike was OK but for a couple of scratches. I'm not saying they can't be broken, but in my experience I think the fears may be overblown and sometimes propagated by mfr's of steel bikes.

I've never seen a composite hybrid, but I haven't been shopping for one, either.
 

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CF is used a lot in airplanes these days. When well designed and well built and used within its limits, its a great material. I also had a friend that died because of a failure on a carbon fiber prop.

Did you get those scratches looked at j3rd?? An impact that would break a leg certainly is hard enough to warrant a look by a bike wrench. That's the thing about CF. Little scratches may be all you get in the way of warning there was damage. Steel or aluminum most certainly would have bent. CF depends on its internal fibers and how they are bonded to maintain its strength. A scratch deep enough to get through a weave that a lower layer is counting on for strength, the part could be compromised.

I also know people that said "friends don't let friends fly in plastic airplanes" referring to carbon fiber. If I would get in one and go nearly 200mph, then Id have no issue getting on a CF bike and do 20. I have a cf fork on my road bike. Yet you have to look for different things. You won't get any bending though with CF. IF it fails its failed big time. Much like a race car that pukes a motor. One second its running great and taking you to the front. The to quote David Hobbs, kablamo. Smoke oil and water are coming out the tail pipe and the engine song changed to silent night. A metal bike would be more likely to be like an engine that develops a miss, then drops a cylinder, then quits all together. Not much of a surprise when it shuts off.
 

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Photosbymark, Thanks for all of the info! Being new to all this as well, found it very helpful.

Robert11, Welcome! As I mentioned, I am new as well however, if you want to check out a little bit of what ive found through some research for buying a new bike, you can look at this thread: http://www.twospoke.com/forum/f78/plz-help-me-choose-5949/

Hope that helps a little :)
 
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