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Now YOU want a bike too?!

Posted Apr 11 2011 4:48pm

Let me preface this with I am by no means a person who knows anything about bikes, but I wanted to relay the information I learned throughout my bike purchase experience. I have been getting some readers saying that they are looking to purchase their first road bike for races but might not want to spend as much.  I spent maybe just under $2000 for everything-agh so much money!!!  There are certainly some great bikes out there and you can get them for under $1000.  Read below about my friend who got her bike for about $1000. But before that, let’s go into why I got my bike!

REASONS WHY I SPLURGED

LIVING AT HOME

  • I was living at home.  I didn’t have monthly rent and for the past year I have been considering getting involved in triathalons.  I want to finish a half Ironman within the next two years (my original goal was this year, but I think my running goals are going to trump that) and eventually an Ironman in my lifetime!  I really wanted to get a bike!

COMPONENTS

  • I liked the Shimano Apex shifters with the double tap technology because I didn’t have to switch hand positions to switch gears (as the Shimano Sora STI components on the bike one step lower than the one I got).  I asked Aaron which position I mostly will be riding in and he said down in the handle bars.  So it made the most sense to have both shifters in the same area and easily accessible from my race position.
  • You can go with the Shimano 105, but I have been looking for some bikes for a while now and I really just wanted to get one and none of the ones with the 105 components ended up working out.  I think partially because I was stuck on the $1000 budget I had originally set when I was looking at bikes with the 105 components.  This bike fit me well and it seemed like it was time.

Sora Shifters (Image from Avanti Plus )

 

Sram Apex Shifters (Image from Road Bike Action Magazine )

CLIPLESS PEDALS

  • After talking to so many cyclists, I heard I would LOVE clipless pedals and would never go back.  They help you get more power in the up swing of the pedal.  If you want to get serious into racing these would be a good idea to invest in.

SHOES

  • The person helping me said it is better to splurge on the shoes versus the pedals.  With the better shoes, you can have better durability and quicker transition times.

HELMET

  • I got a more expensive helmet that allowed for more ventilation.  I get really irritated when my head gets hot, so I wanted to make sure I could get the wind flowing through!

BIKE FITTING

  • Bike fittings are not always free.  Unfortunately, the fitting was free at other stores I went to, but not the one that I purchased my bike to.  I got the second lowest fitting ($200).  Agh.  SO much money.  They will spend more time analyzing your flexibility and how you can fully take advantage of the bike.  I’m sure other people who have gone to get fitted said they are fine without the more expensive fitting.  I am very concerned with my shoe fit for running and knew that a bike would be no different.  I plan on learning more about the proper form and fully utilizing the information they had gotten during my fitting (they store it and I can access it whenever).

So when you go to look for a bike, what should you look think about?

EXPENSES TO CONSIDER

  1. The bike ($800-1400)
  2. Clipless Pedals (~$60)
  3. Shoes (~$100)
  4. Helmet ($30-60)
  5. Lock ($40)
  6. Lights for night riding ($30)
  7. Fitting ($80-200)
  8. Bike pump ($25)

Total Costs:  ~$1175 (“cheaper” route)

TIPS

  • TRY DIFFERENT STORES. Go to multiple stores and see what services each offers.  Back Bay Bicycle offers free tuneups for LIFE.  But they were having difficulty trying to find a bike to fit me.  I think they finally gave up on me!
  • FIND A STORE YOU LIKE.  You want to try to go with a store that you are comfortable with and feel like you can build a relationship with.  I hear from multiple people that if you build this relationship, you can get better deals.  And hey, it will be more fun!
  • BE REALISTIC. Are you looking to just have a bike for leisurely rides?  Or are you hoping the bike will last for years?  Advice I have gotten from others is that if you can afford to spend a little extra money on a better fit and more durable components, you should.  I’m hoping to use this bike for my first half Ironman, so I wanted to make sure it would last.
  • IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT THE COMPONENTS. This is somewhat hypocritical. But from one person I heard that it really is the fit of the bike.  No matter how expensive the components you have on the bike, you won’t go fast if you don’t have a bike that fits you well.
  • PRE-PURCHASE. Look into buying shoes, pedals, helmet, and some of the accessories online where you can get the cheaper.  Check the prices in the store to make sure you are getting a deal.  Also, maybe haggle a bit with the people in the store.  When you are making a big purchase, they might be able to give you a deal.  Also, I joined MassBike and by doing this you can get 10% off all accessories and some other items whenever!

MY FRIEND BOUGHT A BIKE FOR ABOUT $1000

 

 

What type of bike did you get?  How much was the bike?

My bike is a Trek 1.2. I got it on sale for about $800 I think.

What extra accessories did you have to get?

The accessories I got at the time I got my bike were helmet, bike shorts with padding (essential), gloves (not so essential), clipless pedals and shoes to go with them, a lock, a water bottle holder, and some extra tubes in case I got a flat tire. Since then, I’ve gotten a better lock (when I moved to the city and was going to park it places other than work), a floor air pump, a portable air pump, chain lube, a bike toolkit, and two new tires when I got holes in them :( Right now I’m looking into getting a trainer, which I’m really excited about because then I could ride my bike even during the winter and when the weather is bad!

What was the total expense?

I think I spent about $1050 when I initially bought my bike. Since them, I’m not sure what the total expense has been – probably a few hundred more.

What do you wish you could do differently with your bike purchase?

Hmm, I love my bike and still don’t know all that much about them, so I don’t think I’d do anything differently. Maybe I’d learn more about bikes so I wouldn’t have to rely on what the sales people were telling me. Luckily, the woman who sold me my bike worked at my company’s gym, so I trusted her and she seemed to understand exactly what I wanted and didn’t pressure me to spend more than I wanted to like some other sales people tried to do.

What advice can you give to someone going to get their first bike?

Like I said, I still don’t know that much about bikes – but I guess my advice would be to know what you’re going to use your bike for (racing, commuting, etc) and to know what the upper limit of your price range is and not get convinced to go over that. I’d also recommend trying out several different bikes, including some that are out of your price range, just so you know how they feel. Also, I didn’t learn until recently how to change a tire and how to take care of my bike (clean the chain, etc), so I would recommend learning that sooner!

 

OVERALL TIP?

It sounds like one of the most important tips my friend and I can give is do some reading on bikes first.  Learn more about everything so that you don’t depend on the salesperson as much!

I hope this was helpful!  Let me know if you get a bike and I can tell everyone how your purchase went and what you learned!

 

Other posts you might be interested in:

Bikes are like a foreign language to me (Talks about components)

My New Wheels (My bike and the accessories!)

 

Do you have some other tips?  Or disagree with mine?

I really am just learning about all of this, so please tell me more!

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