Bicycle feedback needed.....

Discussion in 'Sports' started by rhys, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. rhys

    rhys Long timer

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    5' 1", 57 year old, fat guy here....

    Been riding the recumbent stationary bike (thirty minutes interval training 3 times a week, thirty minutes steady in the "fat burning" zone 3 times a week). I've also been training with dumbbells ("push/pull") 4 times a week. And walking in my designated target/fat-burning zone for fifty minutes 5 nights a week.......

    (still eating what I damn well please though.....)

    I hear that riding a stationary bike nowhere resembles the benefits (fat burning) of riding an actual bicycle out in the real world. So I see this sexy two tone green bike with fenders, headlamp, tail-amp, disc brakes, luggage rack, leather saddle, and matching leather grips on the curved flat black handlebars..... for sale at REI. Last year when I first saw it, the bike was fetching a thousand bucks (!!?!), this last week (today may have been the last day of the sale) the price was reduced to $449.oo

    And then I go to a couple bicycle stores today to look at "Hybrids", "Hybrid/Comfy", and "Townies"..... I saw bikes with actual suspension, bikes with 21 speeds, and bikes with 8 speeds. I don't know what I'm looking at, I don't know what I want. All I know is that I wanna benefit from riding a bicycle at a steady pace for exercise, grow comfortable with having to sit on a saddle, feel challenged, maintain an interest in riding, and get a bike good enough to grow into
    ---- without having to spend the big bucks,
    I don't know enough to buy used..... besides, it's gonna be difficult to find something that will kinda fit my short arms, challenged inseam, and height. And who can't fall in love with a brand new shiny bike?!?

    Brand names to look for? (brand names to avoid?)
    Features to demand?
    Suspension or not?
    Looks good & is a quality product?

    Can anybody help me to sort this all out???
    #1
  2. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    The bicyclistas will check in here momentarily, but my advice is to simply buy it. Then go somewhere with it. Every day. That's a vastly superior plan than the soul-killing strategy of exercise without motion through space.
    #2
  3. cornercarver

    cornercarver Long timer

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    I'm a bit of a bike nerd, but I've learned that it's pretty difficult to recommend even a type of bike to someone without knowing a good bit about them if they don't know much about their own riding preferences. Best advice is to buy a bike you can afford and ride it until you know what you like doing. Then consider going shopping again. Hybrids and town bikes are comfy for beginner riders who don't put on many miles, but most folks who ride a lot quickly tire of having all of their weight on their ass. Not only is a well-fit road bike actually more comfortable (once your ass is used to the experience, anyway), but pedaling efficiency is higher on a road bike, too. But this being advrider, there's a high likelihood that you may be the type who would really enjoy riding offroad, which could mean mountain bike or cyclocross bike, too.

    basically, spend a couple hundred on a used bicycle of almost any type, and get at least 500-1000 miles under your belt, then revisit the question.
    #3
  4. Hay Ewe

    Hay Ewe Just a Wannabe

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    yep, pretty much do this, and keep / get your head in the right place to see it through.

    at least you have made a start

    Hay Ewe
    #4
  5. Askel

    Askel Perma-n00b

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    Da UP, eh.

    Buy your dream bike, the one that makes you get out and ride when you look at it.

    You may very well buy the *wrong* bike, but at least you'll figure out what you like.

    Just buy from a good bike shop staffed by people you like to deal with. If the bicycle bug takes hold, you'll be spending a lot of time and money there. :D

    Oh, and I'm not a fan of used bikes unless you know exactly what you want for what price in what condition. There's a pretty big market for used bikes in my area, but most of the deals are crap. All the really good deals get made between friends before anything shows up on craigslist or whatever.
    #5
  6. rmi03

    rmi03 Daily Motorcycle User

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    My totally biased opinion is that a good front suspension mountain bike is the BEST overall fitness, commuting, and fun machine. Granted, I actually love riding trails, but now have a dedicated hardtail mountain bike (only front suspension) that I ride on the road and for my fitness/exercise rides.

    Mountain bikes are comfortable, maneuverable, durable, and versatile. With skinny tires they go fast. With knobbies they tackle dirt. With a rack and pannier they tour/commute. You can ride them with spandex for fitness sprints around the neighborhood or you can ride them with at your local beach and campground. Plus, actual mountain biking is addictive! Exercise? Yeah, but when you are having so much fun you don't even think about the exercise part. Road bikes.....meh....riding in a straight line is fun when you go REALLY fast, but kind of boring otherwise (YMMV).

    For MANY years I only had one bike and it was a simple hardtail mountain bike. They're like the KLRs of the bicycle world.

    Trek, Giant, Specialized, Jamis, Raleigh, etc, etc (all the big boys) make great mountain bikes. Buy used if possible.

    Ryan
    #6
  7. TheNedster

    TheNedster Lurkapotamus

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    Whatever bike you settle on, make sure that it fits you. If it doesn't fit, it won't be comfortable. If it's not comfortable, you're not going to ride it. Any good bike shop should be able to fit you to the bikes they carry (don't know about REI, never dealt with them). DO NOT compromise on fit.
    #7
  8. rhys

    rhys Long timer

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    Okay.... "correct fit"......
    I fear that may be problematic for me, maybe I can get some additional feedback from you folks.
    Over 25 years ago, I lived near some mountain-bike trails and the bicycle trail along the American River (Sacramento). I bought a Trek mountain bike and opted for hard & skinny tires for street use because I was relocating somewhere with no off-road trails.
    - however -
    I found myself suddenly being held over at work, had no time to ride the bike, and when I DID take it out...... the damn thing hurt my butt/scrotum/balls, and my dick was going numb far more often than I remember from years prior. I hung the bike up in the garage, and -gave it- to the surgeon who rebuilt my ear canal.
    In addition, because I decided to get a bike of the correct size for my 5' 2"ness, I ended up with a toy of a bike with small wheels that I ended up hating. So I am inclined to find a bike with a seat I can lower to get the right distance from pedal to seat, regardless of whether I can straddle over the bike and clear the cross-bar. One of the bikes I looked at had a cool piece that allowed one to change the angle/reach to the handlebars..... and given as how I have T-Rex arms, I thought that might be a cool feature, allowing me also to lower the bars to get the weight off my ass if I end up logging on the miles.

    Please give me some feedback about my line of thinking.... I'd rather listen to you guyz than to a snot-nose kid salesman looking only to make a sale.....

    Thanks in advance.
    #8
  9. Bimble

    Bimble In giro in moto

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    Pretty good advice.

    I've tried every strategy I can think of to ride on my trainer downstairs. I'd rather watch paint dry.


    Rhys, what REI bike were you looking at? I bought one of their Safaris a few years ago and have ridden it all over hell-and-gone.

    If $450 is not too much for you, buy it. Ride it.
    #9
  10. Flaco

    Flaco Zombie Holocaust

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    This.

    When you saw that bike it moved you to consider a new thing that could change your life / perspective / identity for the rest of your life. Buy that bike...it's marked down 50%...how could you go wrong?
    #10
  11. Askel

    Askel Perma-n00b

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    Da UP, eh.

    You don't have to put up with some snot nose kid. One of my regular riding buddies is your age and puts in a few hours at the local bike shop to keep his employee discount. There's all types that work at bike shops that can probably set you up with something.

    Fit is a very nebulous thing, and everybody has their pet theories. A good shop can get you started, but really- it's just a matter of figuring out what you like.

    Sounds like you definitely know what you don't like already though. From your description, it sounds like you maybe need a different saddle and some proper bike shorts. Go for lots of test rides. Ask if any shops in your area are having demo days where you can take a bike out for longer periods.

    It's kind of trial and error. Sometimes I stumble across the magic bike that I can just ride forever. Sometimes I buy a bike that looks great on paper, but just doesn't work for me. It's often hard to quantify how or why. There's a lot of variables besides just frame geometry.
    #11
  12. YakSpout

    YakSpout Obstacle Allusion

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    LOADS of good advice already in this thread. Even a poor fit can be tweaked a bit if the details aren't too far out of whack.

    Most important is to buy the bike that makes you want to ride it.

    I put my new ride away on Sunday after 30 miles and I'm a bit pissed that I'll be out of town and unable to ride it again until Thursday or Friday... THAT's the bike you want. :D

    Oh, and get proper riding shorts. $30 shorts will work for a while (and I still wear them on longer moto days), but for longer rides, I sucked it up and bought $80 shorts. They were better. Then I bought a $120 bib. It was better. Then I bought a $230 bib. It was so awesome, I bought a second one when I realized that my nether regions really appreciated the difference after 80+ mile days. I could have saved quite a bit by just buying the good stuff the first time...
    #12
  13. Gummee!

    Gummee! That's MR. Toothless

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    Hee hee. I posted up something to the effect of what you just said re: shorts a few years ago in the Bicycle Thread. :nod Unfortunately, listening to someone that's been doing this 20 years isn't usually what the noobs do. They just don't get it till they've done it. I'm trying to save em a few steps, but...

    AFA the OP goes: you're gonna end up on a 14-15" mtn bike or somewhere about a 48-49cm road bike. As you found earlier, the 24" wheeled bikes suck eggs. :nod Smallest 'full-sized' mtn bike you'll find is 12" frame. That's gonna be plenty small. :nod

    The reason yer junk went numb was prolly too high a seat. Putting pressure on spots that ain't sposed to have pressure because yer sitting in the wrong spot. Yer sposed to sit on yer sit bones, not the soft tissue 'in the middle.' :nono

    IF yer gonna go off-roading, plan on spending $800-1000. If yer just gonna ride it around, don't spend more'n about $5-600. If you want dual suspension, the starting figure for something decent is right at $1000. More is better. To a point.

    HTH

    M
    #13
  14. rhys

    rhys Long timer

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    Wow!
    Came home tonight after fitting a new PR2 to the rear wheel of my Bandit and didn't expect to find anybody responding to my thread. THANKS!

    * The wisdom behind springing for something that moves me is pretty good, thanks for the permission to do that.

    * Buying good attire..... check.

    * I feel validated for not liking the small wheels on my last bike, thanks for that.

    * And seeing the frame sizes listed helps me, and giving me permission to go outside of that helps too.

    * I tried different saddles on my last bike, went in for help to adjust my seating position, bought some chamis lined shorts, learned that "soft" doesn't work as well as folks think.... and still couldn't dial it in. That single experience turned me off to bicycles for the next 25 years.

    I hope (this time) I can find something that works for me and makes me wanna take my new bike out and ride, Ride, RIDE!

    Thanks everybody.....



    #14
  15. Gummee!

    Gummee! That's MR. Toothless

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    Saddles and tech have certainly changed in the last 25 years. :nod

    Personal opinion from a guy that's been in the bicycle business for 16 years:

    If you're JRA go ahead and get something hybrid-ish for your first bike.

    If you're planning on *riding* a flat-bar road bike would be better.

    If you're planning on riding more than about an hour at a time, get a proper road bike (assuming you're not mtn biking)

    If you're mtn biking see above except substitute the $$ figures I gave you last time.

    HTH

    M
    #15
  16. rhys

    rhys Long timer

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    A final question:
    If the purpose of my getting a new bike is to increase my heart rate into the "fat burning zone", through which to lose weight and challenge my legs (and stimulate 'balance')........ all the while enjoying myself,
    it sounds like I should favor a flat bar "road bike" over a Hybrid??
    (There are no off-road trails around here to enjoy a Mountain bike.)

    final Final:
    Is there an affordable bike rack for the car that mounts via my Camry's trailer hitch?
    #16
  17. TheNedster

    TheNedster Lurkapotamus

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    .
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  18. Cheddarhead

    Cheddarhead Been here awhile

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    One other consideration is that a bar style with looped ends will give you 3 different positions for your hands....in the drops (lower position), hands on the hoods (lightly grasping the brake housings...my favorite / most common position), and hands along the flat straight section nearer to the center post. Being able to change positions helps me to extend my riding interval / tolerance...and helps when standing on the pedals (climbing hills) or tucking in and rolling downhill (into the drops, for aerodynamics and to better control the bars) etc too.

    Bars can be changed...and a good shop will often do so as part of the set-up of your bike at the time of purchase.

    Bar Stems can also be changed...both in the angle and in the amount they protrude from where the stem rises from the steering head. This stem angle and the corresponding distance from the saddle to the various bar positions makes a huge difference in ergonomics / comfort....as your "reach" to the various hand positions will impact the angle of your spine to your hips, the amount of weight you transfer from your hips to your wrists, etc, etc, etc.

    Lots of good options for this. I have an old(er) BAT (Big A$$ Tube) rack that mouunts to a 2" receiver hitch and can handle 6 bikes...way overkill these days, but it served me very well when my kids were younger. This rack grabs bikes by their cross-beam and seat post. Others use channels to support / capture the tires. Pick one that you feel safe with / can handle safely. Nothing worse than looking in the mirror and seeing your pride and joy getting mashed by a semi after it fell from your (now broken) cheap @$$ rack....not to mention the potential liability if somebody were to get hurt in the process.
    #18
  19. rmi03

    rmi03 Daily Motorcycle User

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    No mountain trails!? Ha! I doubt that!

    Check out http://trails.mtbr.com/ to find those nearest to you. I bet there are some illegal trails that snake right through your town or backyard that you didn't even know about!

    Ryan
    #19
  20. rhys

    rhys Long timer

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    Dude..... this is Stockton California where illegals are snaking through and around our town & backyards everywhere!

    One of the reasons I want a rack for the car, is to take my bike elsewhere to ride it. We have gangs, thugs, and illegals of ALL types that'll take yer shit if you appear to be a willing victim.
    #20