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Thread: Newbie bike question

  1. #1

    Default Newbie bike question

    I picked up a used road bike to try commuting to work about four miles away. I bought used for $100, made in the 80's, gears and the ride aren't real smooth. Tires a little wobbly, etc. I picked up just to see if I would like doing it and if it would work. I've really enjoyed it so far and now thinking about an upgrade.

    If I moved up to the $500-$800 range in a used bike, would it significantly improve my ride? What should I look for in a bike? The main issue is the ride home is mostly hill and I'm tired late in the day and it would would be a lot better to have a bike that could make that trip with a little less effort.

    How much does the size of frame matter? I'm 6'3 and the frame is 23" and I feel like it might be a little too small. Also, I assume the pedal length is fixed. Are there bikes that have a wider circular motion? I feel like I could have a lot more power if I had a longer range of motion and probably help with my knees (a little sore) also, but I've never noticed any variation on that in bikes.

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    I'll get back to this later today if others don't cover it first.
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  3. #3
    Major disappointment The_Tick's Avatar
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    I just dropped $2k on a new road bike for the wife. She loves it. She can do a 10 mile ride now in the same amount of time that the 5 mile ride used to take.

    Go get fit for a bike, your world will change. (According to her. I'm still fat and am abstaining from this little venture.)

  4. #4
    One man.....one pie Moliere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    I picked up a used road bike to try commuting to work about four miles away. I bought used for $100, made in the 80's, gears and the ride aren't real smooth. Tires a little wobbly, etc. I picked up just to see if I would like doing it and if it would work. I've really enjoyed it so far and now thinking about an upgrade.

    If I moved up to the $500-$800 range in a used bike, would it significantly improve my ride? What should I look for in a bike? The main issue is the ride home is mostly hill and I'm tired late in the day and it would would be a lot better to have a bike that could make that trip with a little less effort.

    How much does the size of frame matter? I'm 6'3 and the frame is 23" and I feel like it might be a little too small. Also, I assume the pedal length is fixed. Are there bikes that have a wider circular motion? I feel like I could have a lot more power if I had a longer range of motion and probably help with my knees (a little sore) also, but I've never noticed any variation on that in bikes.
    I'm certainly no expert, but you'll be hard pressed to find anything new in that price range. You could probably find a decent (and much newer) used bike in that price range. At that price point you are looking at an aluminum frame and entry level components, which is fine if you'll just use it for commuting a couple miles a day. Your ride would improve quite a bit and the enjoyment factor would also go up. With the hills, it's more a matter have having the right gears and not so much the length of the pedals (which is mostly standard but I think you can get different lengths if you want to pay for it but I'm not sure how much it would help). Any standard road bike will have the gears necessary for riding hills in the city. Just learn to use the gears better and you shouldn't need different pedals or anything else.

    Frame size is very important for comfort. I'm 5' 9" and use a 54cm frame although I've also owned a 56cm frame which also fit. You can probably find some online tutorials to show you how to fit the bike to you or you could pay a local bike shop to do it for you.
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  5. #5

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    Is there anything more to fitting than the frame size?

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    One man.....one pie Moliere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    Is there anything more to fitting than the frame size?
    Frame size is the biggest thing. Probably the next is the length of the handlebar stem since they come in fixed lengths, but that is generally cheap to swap out. The seat post and seat are usually universally adjustable.
    "Discipleship is not a spectator sport. We cannot expect to experience the blessing of faith by standing inactive on the sidelines any more than we can experience the benefits of health by sitting on a sofa watching sporting events on television and giving advice to the athletes. And yet for some, “spectator discipleship” is a preferred if not primary way of worshipping." -Pres. Uchtdorf

  7. #7
    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    I picked up a used road bike to try commuting to work about four miles away. I bought used for $100, made in the 80's, gears and the ride aren't real smooth. Tires a little wobbly, etc. I picked up just to see if I would like doing it and if it would work. I've really enjoyed it so far and now thinking about an upgrade.

    If I moved up to the $500-$800 range in a used bike, would it significantly improve my ride? What should I look for in a bike? The main issue is the ride home is mostly hill and I'm tired late in the day and it would would be a lot better to have a bike that could make that trip with a little less effort.

    How much does the size of frame matter? I'm 6'3 and the frame is 23" and I feel like it might be a little too small. Also, I assume the pedal length is fixed. Are there bikes that have a wider circular motion? I feel like I could have a lot more power if I had a longer range of motion and probably help with my knees (a little sore) also, but I've never noticed any variation on that in bikes.
    A few thoughts:

    --frame size is the key. But frames are not all equal. when you say a 54cm frame, for example, you are talking the distance between the top of the seat tube and the center point of the bottom bracket. Unless you';re not, as some frame makers measure differently. But all other frame dimensions can affect fit and ride. Top tube length can vary, chain stay length varies, etc. This all matters to fit and comfort. Not to mention ride (a touring frame, for example, is much longer than a crit frame, and so the handling is much different [truck vs sports cars] as is the response on the road). In gnereal, however, you need to fit it by inseam/leg length against the seat post length.

    --crank arm length can baolutely be changed and can make a big difference to how your knees feel. When you say pedals, you reall mean crank arm, btw. Part of a high end fit is to assess the length of your thighs and to make sure your crank arm isnt too long or too short, so you are getting a good straight power stroke. If you are lalready feeling like the cranks arent right, and if the frame is the right general size, it might be worth considering a change.

    --Make sure your seat is the right height. Most knee problems come from people having their seats too low and/or from using to high of a gear. You need the seat high enough and you need to make sure you are spinning when you ride and not grinding. Grinding on a low seat will make your knees sore. I usually pedal at about 90-100 rpm. thats a little higher than you might feel comfortable with (you do not want to bounce on the bike) so maybe shoot for 80-85.

    --making a bike go up a hill easily is all about weight; yours and the bike's. Putting yours aside right now, the lighter the bike the easier it is to go up. But, not all weight is equal. Rotating mass is much more impactful on climbing. IOW, make sure you have well tuned wheels and a good drive train. The best upgrade on your bike to improve speed and climbing and the feeling of speed is to upgrade your wheel set. But on a less expensive used bike you wont get great wheels, so I suggest you get the bike, get it tuned and then, if you stick with it, think about a better bike or a new wheel set later on.

    --Don't be afraid of aluminum frames. Most of my bikes are aluminum. I like it. strong, light and durable.

    Remeber, YMMV. Others will hopefully chime in, too. Enjoy!
    PLesa excuse the tpyos.

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    Members Only Dwight Schr-ute's Avatar
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    Creekster has it covered. Maybe the only value I have to offer is being tall too at 6'6". My preference is to get a bit of a smaller frame and make up for it in the seat post and stem. I use a mountain bike seat post because I needed the extra length.


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  9. #9

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    OK, so last year I rode the used $100 road bike. I liked it enough to upgrade this year. I bought a used Giant Roam 1 (hybrid bike). I love it. I ride back and forth to the office, about four miles, most days. And then I also have been going on longer rides for fun. Lately, I've been exploring the canyon. And that's really opened my eyes to how awesome this can be. But now I see the options for mountain biking, and I really want to get into that. I want to hit some of these trails up the canyon or against the side of the mountain that my current bike can't do.

    My question: should I configure my current bike to do both road and mountain stuff? Or should I leave my current bike configuration and pick up a mountain bike?

    My current bike comes with 40c tire, and has range of 32 to 45, I believe. I put on road style tires: 32c Shwalbe Marathon. My logic was that I wanted to configure my bike for speed on the road, and I didn't know I'd be interested in dirt roads. My bike also has front suspension, but I'm not sure how good it is. It has a "speed lock" which I understand is better to lock and turn off the suspension if you're doing commute on roads, which I usually set.

    When I tried taking my bike on a road I wanted to try, it spun in the dirt and rock and couldn't go anywhere. And I think the tires were slipping too much to have good enough foundation for balance.

    If I put on thicker tires with better tread, would I get the desired effect for the dirt/gravel/rocky trails? Or are there other variables that will slow me down?

    Further, if I did change out the tires, would I mess up the ride on the road that I like right now with my commute?

    I assume people that are really into this sport would have two bikes, but I seem to already maybe have the bike I need, possibly, if I just swapped out the tires.

  10. #10

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    Get a mountain bike.

  11. #11

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    What do you think of these two?

    https://www.ksl.com/classifieds/listing/44870441
    $400
    Fuji Nevada 1.1

    https://www.ksl.com/classifieds/listing/43323505
    $300
    2003 Specialized StumpJumper Pro M4 Mountain Bike

  12. #12

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    The Stumpjumper is a lot of cash for a fourteen year old bike. Not as familiar with the Fuji. Can you find out what component group it has?

    Do you have a specific reason you are looking at hardtails?

  13. #13

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    I think this would be better than that old Stumpjumper if you want a cheap hardtail: https://www.ksl.com/classifieds/listing/44924223

    If it were me I'd up my budget a little bit and get something like this: https://www.ksl.com/classifieds/listing/44922774

    That's a medium frame but it might fit you. I actually own a Rocky Mountain Slayer that's similar to it.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaka View Post
    The Stumpjumper is a lot of cash for a fourteen year old bike. Not as familiar with the Fuji. Can you find out what component group it has?

    Do you have a specific reason you are looking at hardtails?
    No, I don't know much anything yet. I was looking at bikes in the 300-600ish range for my first purchase, and I like the large frame on my current bike, so I was filtering on that, and those were the two best I could find so far. I did read up a little on hardtail vs full suspension, and I think I would lean towards hardtail, just because it's probably good enough, and I'll still be riding it a lot on the road, ie to get to the trails.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    No, I don't know much anything yet. I was looking at bikes in the 300-600ish range for my first purchase, and I like the large frame on my current bike, so I was filtering on that, and those were the two best I could find so far. I did read up a little on hardtail vs full suspension, and I think I would lean towards hardtail, just because it's probably good enough, and I'll still be riding it a lot on the road, ie to get to the trails.
    I'm a fatty these days but when I was into it I made the transition from hardtail to full suspension. Let's put it this way....I'll never go back. The rear shock on my bike has a lever that will almost lock it out for climbing. It's really the best of both worlds. For the record I've started riding again but mostly in the concrete jungle. I split time between my road bike and my Rocky Mountain.

  16. #16

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    Here's a Slayer which is what I have. So makes coming down the mountain so much fun. https://www.ksl.com/classifieds/listing/44401004

  17. #17

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    Cool, thanks.

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    Senior Member BrutusBuckeye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    No, I don't know much anything yet. I was looking at bikes in the 300-600ish range for my first purchase, and I like the large frame on my current bike, so I was filtering on that, and those were the two best I could find so far. I did read up a little on hardtail vs full suspension, and I think I would lean towards hardtail, just because it's probably good enough, and I'll still be riding it a lot on the road, ie to get to the trails.
    If you're looking at large frames, I presume you are around 6' tall. If so, I would stay away from the 26 inch wheels. Find a good solid bike with 27.5 or 29 inch wheels, especially if you're leaning toward a hardtail.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrutusBuckeye View Post
    If you're looking at large frames, I presume you are around 6' tall. If so, I would stay away from the 26 inch wheels. Find a good solid bike with 27.5 or 29 inch wheels, especially if you're leaning toward a hardtail.
    I'm 6'3. 6'2 by the Santos eyeball test. My current bike is the 700 size. When i attempted it on a bumpy dirt trail, my feeling was that smaller tire would be helpful to control. But maybe it was more the suspension/tire grip that was the issue.

  20. #20
    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    I'm 6'3. 6'2 by the Santos eyeball test. My current bike is the 700 size. When i attempted it on a bumpy dirt trail, my feeling was that smaller tire would be helpful to control. But maybe it was more the suspension/tire grip that was the issue.
    I think you would be happy with the 29" wheel.
    PLesa excuse the tpyos.

  21. #21
    Senior Member BrutusBuckeye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    I'm 6'3. 6'2 by the Santos eyeball test. My current bike is the 700 size. When i attempted it on a bumpy dirt trail, my feeling was that smaller tire would be helpful to control. But maybe it was more the suspension/tire grip that was the issue.
    The tires could very well be a huge factor. The 29 inch wheels give you larger contact patch, which should therefore lead to better grip and control. The downside to this is that the bigger wheels aren't quite as maneuverable as the smaller wheels and they weigh more. Here is an article that might help a little. Giant published an interesting article that I couldn't find that showed why 27.5 is better than 29 because you get more upside with less of the downside.
    When things are at their darkest, it's a brave man that can kick back and party. --Tuck Pendleton

  22. #22

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    I'm wanting to explore these kinds of roads along the bench and in the canyon.



  23. #23

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    Any other input on hardtail or suspension? Or simply swap out thicker, grippier tires on my current bike?

  24. #24
    Senior Member BrutusBuckeye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    Any other input on hardtail or suspension? Or simply swap out thicker, grippier tires on my current bike?
    Might be worth trying some different tires on your current bike to see how they work. You just might avoid spending a few hundred dollars for a separate bike. As for hardtail vs. full suspension, I think a hardtail would do just fine on that type of trail. I have ridden a full suspension for the last 15+ years and I am seriously considering going back to a hardtail. One reason is cost since a full suspension costs a significant amount more. Another reason is that I am not an aggressive rider and I don't charge down hills all that fast, so I don't think I would miss the rear suspension much.
    When things are at their darkest, it's a brave man that can kick back and party. --Tuck Pendleton

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    I'm 6'3. 6'2 by the Santos eyeball test. My current bike is the 700 size. When i attempted it on a bumpy dirt trail, my feeling was that smaller tire would be helpful to control. But maybe it was more the suspension/tire grip that was the issue.
    Actually, Jay Santos is the one person that Jay Santos cannot perform the Santos eyeball test since the Santos eyeball test involves Jay Santos standing next to the subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Student View Post
    Actually, Jay Santos is the one person that Jay Santos cannot perform the Santos eyeball test since the Santos eyeball test involves Jay Santos standing next to the subject.
    Mirror.

  27. #27
    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    I haven't done that much mountain biking. I have used both a hard tail and full suspension. I find the hard tail is much more versatile and generally I am happier using it. OTOH, I love to bomb down hill as fast as I can and there is nothing like a full suspension for that. If I had to pick one or the other, I would likely go with hard tail for its versatility.

    As to the wheels, recall that b29" wheels are the same size as 700 road bike wheels, albeit the rims are usually a different width. But if you are rolling a hybrid now, its possible your tires might fit both.

    Speaking of your hybrid, if it is a decent frame, you might want to try switching out the tires and see how that works. You really cant go too far wrong and might save some money and garage storage space.
    PLesa excuse the tpyos.

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    Senior Member Eddie's Avatar
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    The only issue with switching out tires is that you will need to expect reduced performance on the road.

    But if you're only riding those 4 miles to work and back, maybe that isn't such a bad trade off. A tire with more traction is probably going to be a little louder on pavement (no big deal) and not roll quite as well - so you'll have to work just a little harder and won't be able to coast as much. But let's be honest...we're talking about 4 miles, right?

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie View Post
    The only issue with switching out tires is that you will need to expect reduced performance on the road.

    But if you're only riding those 4 miles to work and back, maybe that isn't such a bad trade off. A tire with more traction is probably going to be a little louder on pavement (no big deal) and not roll quite as well - so you'll have to work just a little harder and won't be able to coast as much. But let's be honest...we're talking about 4 miles, right?
    Well, that's the thing. I've really been enjoying riding the bike, taking two hour rides or so, and up until now it's been all on the road. And I want to continue to be able to enjoy that. So if it would hurt the road experience appreciably, then I'd probably rather pick up a second bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    Well, that's the thing. I've really been enjoying riding the bike, taking two hour rides or so, and up until now it's been all on the road. And I want to continue to be able to enjoy that. So if it would hurt the road experience appreciably, then I'd probably rather pick up a second bike.
    You can never go wrong with a second, third or fourth bike.
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