Newbie needs advice on first road bike purchase

Newbie needs advice on first road bike purchase

Post by drj2.. » Sun, 02 Aug 1998 04:00:00


I am looking into buying a starter road bike, preferbly used, to race
in triathlons.

1. What dimensions should I check to be sure the bike fits correctly?

2. What should I know about components (i.e. crank length, brand
name...) ?

3. Is steel a good economical alternative to more expensive materials?

4. Any other tips on buying a used bicycle?

Thanks,
dave

 
 
 

Newbie needs advice on first road bike purchase

Post by AxelJe » Mon, 03 Aug 1998 04:00:00

Dave,

For the first two...

Quote:
>1. What dimensions should I check to be sure the bike fits correctly?

>2. What should I know about components (i.e. crank length, brand
>name...) ?

You should probably go shopping.  Go to a couple of reputable bike shops, let
them know you're doing some comparison shopping, and ask questions!  They'll
help you find a good fit on a bike, and they can tell you about the various
components.  Short of that, read some of the bicycling magazines, especially if
they've got a "buyers guide" issue (although usually those are published early
in the spring).

If you do go to a bike shop, do keep an open mind toward actually buying one
there.  First of all, the chances of you finding *exactly* what you want on the
used market -- with correct sizing and components -- isn't great for road
bikes, since those are the least popular bikes on the general market.  Also, if
you're getting serious about biking/tris, it's good to develop a relationship
with a bike shop.  Many will give you free or reduced-price tune-ups on bikes
that you buy there, which is significant, because your bike will take a
pounding in training and races.  Also, if the guys at the shop get to know you,
they might give you better deals when you buy accessories.  I bought a great
bike at a little shop, and whenever I go back there, I routinely get 10%-20%
discounts on stuff...

Quote:
>3. Is steel a good economical alternative to more expensive materials?

Steel's pretty much the ONLY economical alternative.  Although there's some
overlap, generally the lower-priced aluminum bikes cost as much as the
higher-priced steel bikes.

If you are trying to buy used, do some research into the various properties of
metal vs. aluminum vs. carbon fiber, etc.  You don't want to buy a metal bike
that's old enough to be in danger of cracking, rusting, whatever.

If this is a bike you want to be using for several years in competition, think
of this as an investment, and don't necessarily go bargain-ba***t.  Unless
you plan on constantly upgrading, a $700 bike that lasts you 10 years is a
better deal than a $300 bike that lasts 2 or 3 years.

Just my two cents... have fun!

Jeff Axelrod
Los Angeles, CA