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Good road bike?

  1. Jun 20, 2007 #1
    What do you people think of this bike?

    http://www.bikes.com.au/p/289268/2007-diamondback-criterium.html

    Would you call it an entry level bike? What is the difference between entry level and non entry level road bikes? Is the only difference in speed? What type of bikes do climbers ride (i.e Armstrong)? Are they merely lighter?

    I don't know much about bikes other than I want a road bike because I have ridden road and mountain bikes before but enjoy a road bike much more. I also much prefer endurance sports. This one caught my eye because of its price and price reduction.

    What accessories would you recommend? A mud guard is a must I have found but people usually don't put it on their road bikes. Lights would also be a must for night riding. How important are shoes that fit onto the pedals? What about tights? Does wearing an overall make you warmer on cold winter nights?
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2007
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  3. Jun 20, 2007 #2

    Chi Meson

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    I can't see the link (my server "can't find it." What a lame server!)

    Entry-level road bikes differ first in frame construction. The expensive bikes will be lighter and "more responsive" but the latter will only matter when you are descending a steep hill at 80 km/h. The major difference will be in the components (shifters, bearings, wheelsets, brakes, etc). A decent set of components will do for the beginner (Shimano 105 e.g.). At the beginning, the cheaper components will work just as well, but they will wear down and get sloppy more quickly.

    Road bikes are not intended to have mud flaps or lights attached. Instead get a good rain outfit, and a detachable/rechargeable 20+ watt light system with a helmet mount. There's nothing better than a light that shines where you are looking.

    Tights are not required, but if you decide to ride 30+ km on any given day, you will want bike specific clothes; the salt from drying sweat becomes like sandpaper.
     
  4. Jun 20, 2007 #3
    Does the link work now?

    A big problem is in the winter, it is very cold and especially when the wind blows on you. Would wearing overalls help in this regard?

    I guess the biggest problem with the mud guard is that it will slow you down too much?
     
  5. Jun 20, 2007 #4
    A good gore-tex jacket along with a few layers should keep you reasonably warm in cold weather riding.

    Mud guards/fenders won't result in any appreciable loss of speed. the reason you generally don't find them on road bikes is the un-coolness factor. They just look bad on a road bike.
     
  6. Jun 20, 2007 #5

    Chi Meson

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    Yes, I see it. It looks like a decent "starter" bike. The main components (Shimano "sora") are beneath the "105" components, so this is not up to the level of a "serious amature" . If you find yourself riding up to 1000 km per year, you will notice the difference in performance that the better gruppos give you. The link does not specify much about the wheels: an aftermarket wheelset would be your first major upgrade if you want better performance.

    Mud guards do not work well on road bikes because they are not designed to take them. The threaded grommits for fastening the guards are not there. Special clamps and adapters can be bought, but it always involves a creative struggle to get them to work. There is a rear mud guard that attaches to the seat post, that would be your best option, but do not even consider a front guard.
     
  7. Jun 20, 2007 #6

    JasonRox

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    The most important you need to do is look at the frame design and such. The next bike up might be $500 more, but still have the same frame but different components. Therefore, you're better off buying the cheaper one and change the components to your taste.

    The dumbest thing I ever see is people saying that they bought a "serious" mountain bike meanwhile it's the same frame design as the cheap one.

    I bought a nice mountain bike once for a $1000. The frame was really nice, but the components were ****. This is the way to go though. After riding the biking for two years and only changing the handle bars, I sold it for $500. Why? Simply because of the frame. Crappy frames have absolutely no re-sale value.
     
  8. Jun 20, 2007 #7

    JasonRox

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    I hate to burst your bubble, but if you're thinking about putting those accessories on a road bike, you shouldn't get one. Sounds like a road designed mountain bike would better suit the purpose.
     
  9. Jun 20, 2007 #8

    chroot

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    The bike is.... "decent." I honestly would not buy it. DiamondBack is not a respected name in road cycling, and most of the components on that bike are either known to be of poor quality, or are no-name (which usually implies poor quality). The Sora group basically sucks. Also, the weight is not listed, but I doubt it's very light. Also, this bike is a "compact double," meaning it has only two chainrings ("gears") in front, and thus provides fewer choices of gears than other bicycles with three chainrings. Particularly, it has fewer low gears. If you plan on doing a lot of hill-climbing, you might find this frustrating. Also, compact doubles require more careful alignment of their derailers, which might mean that you'll be spending more time fiddling with it to make it shift well. This is particularly true for cheaper component groups like Sora, which tend to need frequent adjustments.

    If I were you, I would look into some of the major road bike manufacturers, like Giant, Trek, Specialized, etc. Each manufacturer is going to have one or two bikes under $700, and they'll all be a much better purchase in the long run. If this is your first road bike, I also advise that you buy it from a local bike shop in your area -- fit is incredibly incredibly incredibly important for road cycling. I cannot stress this enough: you need to buy a bike which fits you, or you're just wasting your money. If you decide to do rides in excess of 10-20 miles, a poorly-fit bike can seriously injure you, or at least make for a miserable experience. I mean it. The truth is that not every bike will fit you, even expensive ones. You need to try a number of them out and find which ones are best for your body. Literally, try 6-10 different road bikes before deciding to purchase one. Do not buy a road bike without getting some kind of fitting from your shop. If you purchase at a local bike shop, you will get free servicing and fit adjustments. If you're new to the mechanics of bicycles, this is entirely worth it. If you don't want to pay a big mark-up at your local bike shop, look for sales, ask for a discount, or get involved in a cycling club in your area. Many shops offer steep discounts to local cycling club members.

    Now... for accessories and clothing. You probably won't need any fenders ("mud guards") on a road bike, because road bikes are really not meant for riding in the rain. The tires are very skinny, there is no tread, the contact patch is very small, and they can be very dangerous on wet pavement. They also tend to accumulate a lot more particulate debris when they're wet, which means far more flat tires. If you insist on riding your road bike in the rain, you should look into tires meant for the purpose.

    Lighting, on the other hand, is a very normal accessory for a road bike. You can buy cheap lights that simply clip onto your handlebars, and they're good for perhaps 10 mph or so. If you intend on going faster at night, you'll need a substantially better light. I tend to keep 20 mph or so on flat ground, often hit 40 mph on descents, and have gone through numerous lights. The only light that has pleased me so far is a $400 HID model that's about as bright as a car headlamp. Do not try a fast descent with a clip-on AA-powered headlight. Trust me, don't even try it.

    "Clipless pedals," which lock with cleats on the bottom of special shoes, are not quite required, but are such a luxury that almost everyone eventually gets them. If you're doing serious hill-climbing, one slip of your foot on normal platform pedals can result in serious injury. Also, clipless pedals give you a 10-20% boost in your effective power delivery, and allow you to use all of your leg muscles, rather than just your quads. Over time, this will lead to less likelihood of injuries like knee pain, which often are caused by an imbalance in various muscle groups. Because clipless pedals immobilize your foot, they do require some care in adjustments. Be careful not to ride very hard on them until you're absolutely sure they're in the right place for your pedal stroke.

    Clothing varies tremendously by season. Here's a list of all of the clothing that I wear in various ranges of temperatures:

    70+ degrees F: cycling shorts, full-zip short-sleeve jersey, ankle socks, half-finger gloves, helmet.

    60-70 degrees F: cycling shorts, short-sleeve jersey, arm warmers, leg warmers in my seat bag, ankle socks, half-finger gloves, helmet.

    50-60 degrees F: cycling shorts with tights over them, or cycling shorts with leg warmers, short-sleeve jersey with arm warmers, wind jacket, wool socks, shoe toe covers, full-finger gloves, helmet.

    30-50 degrees F: cycling shorts with tights, long-sleeve jersey with optional microfleece layer, wind jacket, wool socks, shoe toe covers, microfleece skull cap, full-finger gloves with liners, helmet, helmet cover.

    I rarely have any opportunity to ride in temperatures below 30F, so I can't speak on that. I'd certainly just continue to layer, however.

    Hope this helps, and happy riding!

    - Warren
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2007
  10. Jun 20, 2007 #9
    Frame material makes a world of difference. I switched from a cheap bike (simliar to the one you showed) made of aluminum to one of all carbon fiber. The carbon eliminates a significant amount of road vibration. You really can feel the difference instantly.

    But for now, a basic bike should be good enough for you. I had my basic first road bike for about 4-5 years with Sora components. Warren is correct, Sora sucks.

    If you can afford it, get a road bike that goes for around $1500. You will have ultegra parts, (probably not a carbon frame, but carbon forks), and a much better overall bike.

    LoL.....no, no, no...... You dont put mud fenders on a road bike.

    The main difference in price of the bikes is the quality and technology in the materials and shifters. Quite simply put, you get what you pay for!


    I would NOT recomend buying a good frame with cheap parts and upgrading the parts on the frame. If I were to buy all the parts on my bike one by one, it would cost me far more than what I paid for the entire bike.

    If you want a good cheap bike, look at scattante bikes.

    www.performancebike.com

    Heres one:

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop...ategory_ID=3040&CFID=6405402&CFTOKEN=30397864

    As for the three ring main gear, Id say no! Sorry, you dont need that low of a gear unless your going up a 30 degree sloping mountain. Its completely useless.

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/profile.cfm?SKU=21967&subcategory_ID=3040

    I would say for less than $1000, expect to buy a not-so-good bike component wise. But thats ok, because your starting out and wont notice the difference yet anyways.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2007
  11. Jun 20, 2007 #10

    chroot

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    Well, perhaps we'll just have to disagree, Cyrus, but out here in CA we have major hills -- both length and elevation gain -- and my granny sings all the time. I'm much more of a spinner than a grunter, though, when it comes to hill-climbing. If I can't keep a decent cadence I'm toast. I would be miserable on a double.

    I will agree with you on one thing though: The frame material, geometry, and construction are the most important qualities of any road bike. It has to fit you and feel good. Next in priority (IMO) are wheels. Wheels make a surprising difference in both the handling and performance (acceleration, for example) of a bike. The component group is actually the last thing to worry about, as long as it's decent-quality stuff.

    Cyrus: How much do you ride?

    - Warren
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2007
  12. Jun 20, 2007 #11
    We have hills here too, in fact, the path I typiclly ride is 9 miles of all uphill. I never once used the bottom gear, It would be painfully slow. I typically use the second ring and the middle of the back gears.

    Othewise, you will be spinning your legs at 1000PRM to go 5mph.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2007
  13. Jun 20, 2007 #12
    http://www.cctrail.org/CCT_Photo_Album.htm

    Here is the trail I usually go to. I still have not had time to take out my new Fuji Team on it yet though. :cry:

    Not so much this summer, but last two summers I would go ride probably 3-4 days a week 20 miles minimum. ~1.5 hours ride.

    The weather here is too hot in the summer. If you try and ride during the peak hours you can get heat stroke. Its very hot, and very very very humid. So you have to go early morning or in the evenings when its cooled off, but daylight left.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2007
  14. Jun 20, 2007 #13

    chroot

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    Don't be silly, Cyrus, especially on a thread started by a newbie. My bike has a 30t granny gear and a 12-25t cassette. In the lowest gear (30/25), 60 rpm cadence gives me a speed of about 6 mph. This is perfect for climbing on 8-10% grade.

    BTW, I ride about 2,500 miles a year or so. I usually ride four centuries per year, plus AIDS/LifeCycle, which is about 600 miles, and the rest is training rides or commuting. I'm lucky to live in a place where cycling is pretty much possible year-round, as long as it's not raining for days.

    - Warren
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2007
  15. Jun 20, 2007 #14
    man i hate you guys, my road bike cost 150$ and i feel like it's the best thing ever. i can't wait to have enough expendable income to buy an all carbon bike.
     
  16. Jun 20, 2007 #15
    Ewuuu, even the bikes at Toys-R-Us cost more than $150 bucks.
     
  17. Jun 20, 2007 #16
    I am mainly looking to ride for travelling purposes on the road but do like to ride it for the sake of it espcially around the Tour de France times.
     
  18. Jun 20, 2007 #17
    How much are you willing to spend, tops? If you can afford to dole out about $1200, you can get a really nice bike.
     
  19. Jun 20, 2007 #18
    The price on that site is in Australian by the way which I am sure of you have picked up.

    My previous road bike was a second hand one costed $40 Aus and had only 12 gears. So 16 would be heaven. I actually didn't have too much complaints with 12 gears. Imagine people who purposely ride fixed gear bikes? I loved that old bike although the brakes on it disintegrated. I use to own a new $500 mountain bike which had 24 gears but still prefer to ride on the cheap road bike so road is definitely for me. The thing is wouldn't it be more natural to go from $40 to the cheapest new road bike than $40 to a $1000 road bike?
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2007
  20. Jun 20, 2007 #19

    chroot

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    pivoxa15,

    Road bikes are performance-oriented machines, not intended for carrying cargo or dealing with inclement weather. That said, I ride an 18 lb road-racing bicycle to work several days a week and it's a lot of fun. On the other hand, there are many times when a more practical bicycle would be a better choice.

    If you're really looking for a transportation bike, rather than a racing bike, then perhaps you should look into the Breezer line:

    Breezer Bikes

    The Villager or Citizen may suit you well. These bicycles include fenders, racks, tires designed for wet weather, chain guards (so you won't get grease on your pants), and internal-hub gears for simple shifting and low maintenance. These bikes are also much more affordable than racing bikes, but they're somewhat heavier and slower. In short, they're very good for just hopping on and going for a ride around town.

    In contrast, riding a racing bike involves some preparation:

    - Ultralight tubes leak air, so you have to pump up the tires before every ride.
    - If you use clipless pedals, you must wear your cleated shoes. (This also effectively means no one else can ride your bike.)
    - Racing saddles are very narrow and relatively uncomfortable. Many people find cycling shorts (without seams) to be the only bearable way to ride on them.

    This means that you have to "gear up" before every ride. If you intend on using it for sporadic transportation -- going to the store to grab some snacks, for example -- you might find all that preparation very annoying.

    - Warren
     
  21. Jun 20, 2007 #20
    More gears does not mean better. I prefer a bike with less gears on it (Hence my distaste for the granny gear).

    People who ride fixed gear bikes typically go on flat tracks or circuits and keep a steady pace.

    Why would it be 'more natural' to go to a cheap new road bike? This makes no sense.

    It sounds like you are misinformed on what a road bike is if you want to put mud fenders, lots of gears, lights, and a cheap price.

    Heck, I even rip off all the reflectors on my bike to get rid of that nonsense. I want to go fast on my bike, period.

    Q: Why would you be shifting that much anyways? I'd say at most I shift my bottom gear between 3 settings, and my big gear down only when going uphill. That's what, 6 gears total?
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2007
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