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life is a barrel o'fun
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
She's engaged to a guy who has some high-end titanium thing that he got on sale- you know, more bike than he needs. Since they've been together, she feels they've become too "sedentary" and would like to get her own bike so they can ride together.

I wouldn't even know where to begin road-bike wise. My LBS will do right by her, but thought I'd bounce the concept off my fellow betties first, since it's a small shop w/o a whole lotta selection.

She's about 5'6", 120-130#s or so, and a newbie who just wants to ride around the city for some exercise. Personally, I think she oughta stick with a hybrid or upright, but she'll want to smoke her fiancee just to keep him in line, knowing her ;)

As a workaholic, she has the money to spend, but knows it's not practical to get TOO much bike for her purposes. Sooo what would fit the following criteria:

1) Sturdy road bike (not too anal)
2) Entry-level w/ room to grow
3) Certain amount of snob appeal (not Ti but not Wal-Mart either)
4) Women's specific?
5) Toe clip friendly (don't think she'll need or want clipless)
 

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Am I getting too bulky?
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If there's a Performance bike shop near you, and they have any '03 Jamis bikes left, they are selling them for about 40% off at clearance.
 

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Christine said:
As a workaholic, she has the money to spend, but knows it's not practical to get TOO much bike for her purposes. Sooo what would fit the following criteria:

1) Sturdy road bike (not too anal)
2) Entry-level w/ room to grow
3) Certain amount of snob appeal (not Ti but not Wal-Mart either)
4) Women's specific?
5) Toe clip friendly (don't think she'll need or want clipless)
My first adult bike was a road bike I got in spring 2000. I had no idea what I was looking for...

I got a new road bike in Jan '04, and here's what I learned from the search:

FRAME
The frame makes a difference.
Carbon fiber (e.g., Trek)
Pros: light-weight; forgiving and comfortable, providing very good vibration damping: the carbon fiber will soak up a bump in the road, allowing road shock to be absorbed into the material, and not transferred to the rider (to a small degree, that is).
Cons: durability? can you repair a carbon frame?, not as responsive as other materials when it comes to power transfer (like when you want to surge or charge up a hill)

Aluminum (e.g., Cannondale, Specialized)
Pros: light-weight; durable; it responds to the power the rider puts into the pedal stroke (good frame for sprinting and climbing).
Cons: a long bumpy ride is not as comfortable as on a carbon frame.

Titanium (e.g., Serotta, Litespeed, Merlin)
Pros: light-weight; responsive, durable, good vibration damping
Cons: expensive, hard to repair.

Steel (e.g., Serotta, LeMond)
Pros: responsive, durable, easier to repair than almost any other kind of frame.
Cons: heavier, but not by much; a long bumpy ride is not as comfortable as on a carbon frame

So, you ask yourself which is more important to you: COMFORT, COMPETITION or COST?

FORKS
Most good road bikes these days will have a carbon fork, which helps absorb shock in the road.

COMPONENTS
The bike's components are extremely important too.
Shimano's components from best to least are: Dura Ace, Ultegra, 105 and finally Deore. Ultegra is good; Dura ace is for racers or people who have too much money.
Campagnolo's top if the line is Record, Chorus, then Centaur.

DOUBLE ot TRIPPLE
This refers to the crank arm and how many chain rings there are up front. She should get a tripple to start out with.

PEDALS
Most good road bikes come without pedals. If by "toe clips" you mean cages, then ask at the shop about good flat pedals. If you mean clips, and I HIGHLY recommend clips over toe cages (believe it or not, they are safer than cages), then it's really a personal preference. Shimano are quite popular and what I use. People swear by egg beaters or speed plays.

BIKE FIT
This is the most important thing to keep in mind. The bike needs to fit in three places: torso: top tube length and lateral seat position, leg: seat to bottom of the crankarm stroke, and arms:stem length and rise. Find a bike shop that can do a proper fitting.

WOMEN'S SPECIFIC
There's something to be said for designing a frame around a woman's body. We have longer and legs and shorter torsos, generally. Some people say it's hype, but I bought into it... and I'm not sorry.

WHEELS
For some smaller bikes, you have smaller wheels. Instead of 700 x23c, you get 650 x20c. In practical terms, it's just a smaller wheel. Why? So that when you make a sharp turn your foot doesn't hit the tire. I didn't want to have different wheel size from the rest of the pack. I like 700c, even if my foot does hit the wheel on those rare slow tight turns.

WHAT I GOT
I got the 2004 Cannondale Fem. R1000 Tripple, black with pink flames, Ultegra components, Shimano pedals, Terry saddle. I LOVE it. It climbs like a dream and sprints like a cheetah. Long rides (over 50 miles) are not a problem.

Yes, a lot of information, hopefully not too much. I was really thankful for all the info and advice I got when I did my search 8 months ago.
 

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I built this up for my wife from a some components I took from a Lemond, but the Supergo Scattantee bikes are a great deal for the money. You can get them from $699.
 

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Homegrown
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I agree with sunnyracegirl on the bike choice! I upgraded to a Cannondale R2000 with Ultegra components this year (from a Rocky Mountain), and I LOVE the feel and the ride! For the money, this is one of the best road bikes on the market, and will likely serve your sister pretty well.

I'm not sure about the women's specific fit - I'm too tall for it to matter on most bikes :) , so I just buy a regular men's frame for all of my bikes. I have a lot of friends who are smaller, however, who think that the women's specific geometry is much better for them.

Good luck to your sister!

SheFly
 

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life is a barrel o'fun
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
ooooh aaaah

Thank you, I've emailed her all this info (and pics!) so far. I'm guessing she would want to spend under $1,000 although somewhat higher than that wouldn't stop her.

For myself someday, I'd love to get a long-distance touring road bike- can these be loaded up with panniers and such? Can these bikes have a dual purpose? I can't imagine why not.
 

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a thought...

Christine,

I'm fairly new to the riding thing so what I have to offer is limited but here goes...

I was introduced to the whole mtb thing about two years ago and to my surprise I loved it! So much so that I decided to get a "real" mtb. Hurray! That's when the rain started. No joke...crazy amounts of rain for two seasons. So what does one do? Try a road bike.

My bf is a typical bike snob so I asked for his help in finding something that would be fun but not over the top. We scored an amazing deal on a Specialized (2003 model) which doesn't exactly fall into the practical category, but I have to admit I'm really glad I decided to move forward with the purchase. It's fun, fun, fun!

Here's the bike:
http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=5857&JServSessionIdroot=wb3b2v8lro.j27008

And here are some reviews:
http://www.roadbikereview.com/2003+Road+Bike/Specialized+Bicycle/PRD_138996_4338crx.aspx

Good luck to the sis!
Chika
 

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Homegrown
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Christine said:
For myself someday, I'd love to get a long-distance touring road bike- can these be loaded up with panniers and such? Can these bikes have a dual purpose? I can't imagine why not.
I checked with my bike expert on this over the weekend. The geometry of a road bike is different than a touring bike. Also, many of the parts on a road bike are not designed to carry the weight of panniers and whatnot (for example, I have a very light wheelset designed for road riding/racing).

If you are looking to do real touring (multi-day with panniers/packs), a dedicated touring bike is recommended. These are also slightly less expensive than road bikes....
 
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