Author Topic: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?  (Read 5054 times)

bender

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Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« on: August 08, 2016, 02:35:05 PM »
I've got an older entry level hybrid bike: http://www.bicyclebluebook.com/SearchListingDetail.aspx?id=11149&make=750&model=54546.

I regularly bike with the family which this bike is perfect for (leisurely, mostly paved flat paths, but some packed gravel roads). 

Recently I've been doing a lot more biking on my own - all on paved roads.  I average about 12MPH now on my hybrid for 10-15 mile rides.  Hills can be steep and long where I ride and I chug up them at 6-7MPH, then fly down at 30-35MPH.  I don't enjoy the hills as they tend to wipe me out.  Also it might be fun to be able to up my speed and endurance and be able to do some 25 mile rides with similar effort.  So I started thinking a road bike may be a good idea.

I plan to keep my existing bike as it's older and not worth much cash.  Also I don't think a road bike will be as good for the family biking.  I'm not crazy about owning 2 bikes, as I like to keep it simple where possible.  I'm debating if a road bike will be worth it.

My local shop has a swap coming up soon.  I don't know a ton about bikes, but I know the frame size I'm looking for and a few basics about components from chatting with people.  So far I think these features would be good for me:

Aluminum Frame
Carbon Fork
Tiagra or 105 groupset
2012 or newer - something in very good shape

I tried a couple of new models at the bike shop and they were nice.  The road bikes I tried are much lighter as compared to my hybrid, I guess that will help with hills, speed and endurance?

Should I get a road bike? 

If so - any help with what to look for in a swap would be great.  I'm looking to optimize features and price - not looking for a fancy racing bike.
What features to look for?  See above for my starting guesses.  I'm a little concerned about riding on tires with no tread as there's sometimes sand/dirt in the road - maybe not a big deal?
How to evaluate condition (Smooth shifting, parts with minimal wiggle?)
What should it cost?  (New models I tried ran around $1500 - seems too spendy)

Looking for any and all advice - thanks!



Cyaphas

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2016, 03:13:06 PM »
A good classic road bike should run around $150-300 on craigslist. I'd recommend heading to your LBS and just start riding their used stock, try everything. I wound up buying from a LBS with a lot of used stock. I've been very happy with my Fuji. It's a steel fork, steel frame (Chromoly,) tube shifter with a super gear for hard hills (I installed it.)  It was made in 1994. I did look at some higher priced bikes at the time, but I couldn't justify the cost if I failed to really pick up this hobby. Well, I'm glad I purchased what I did and I've stuck with the hobby. I'm still considering upgrading but I don't feel too much in a hurry to do so.

Just remember, you're not trying to win any races. Buy something that isn't going to break and is going to last.

Make sure you're comfortable with the shifters you wind up with.

In winter/wet climates, I'd make sure you have disc brakes.

As for tires, I'm a big guy I went with 28c. I've been really happy with them. Always carry a spare tube and some tools for a quick flat fix.

I've added a rear rack and an additional bottle holder. I fight the heat and carry a lot of water with me to do so when I ride.

For pedals, I stayed with classic pedals. It's saved me a few times having use of me feet instead of locked into egg beaters. Again, I'm not trying to win any races.

Compression shorts; they've saved me a lot of pain in the nether regions. They shouldn't cost more than $15 for a ok pair and they're worth every penny.

Mirrors; I thought there'd be some great one out there, I haven't been able to find one. I've found most to be more trouble than to just check my blind spots manually.

Gloves; I use a pair of mechanics with half the fingers cut out, they work great.

Helmet; the hotter the climate the more holes you want in it. The cooler the climate the less holes you want in it.

Tech; I like my cateye 9. It was a pretty simple setup and it's nice to keep track of mileage and speeds. I'm considering a cellphone mount due to my recent infatuation with Pokemon Go. I keep telling myself thats a terible idea.

Fenders; I tried to install a pair on my bike, it didn't go well. I haven't had to ride in any rain yet and am somewhat dreading it. I can definitely see them being extremely useful.



johnny847

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2016, 04:39:01 PM »
Most people don't like hearing this, but honestly, you're generally going to get more out of training to perform better, not through buying a better (which generally means lighter) bike.

Think about it this way. How much does your bike weigh? Probably in the 30 pound ballpark right?

Compare that to how much you weigh. No idea how much you weigh, but I'm just going to pick 150 lbs (please don't take offense. I don't even know if you're a man or a woman).

So you + your bike would weigh 180 lbs. Let's say you found a bike that was 10 lbs lighter. That's only a 5.555% difference in total weight vs a significant dollar cost. And of course, this difference is even smaller if you're heavier.

Of course, a better bike isn't just about weight. There's also aerodynamics and tire width at play, among other things. But most of the time you get far more mileage out of training more than buying better gear.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2016, 11:22:31 PM »
I agree with johnny. But a bike with better geometry, especially one that suits your body shape and size can make all the difference in performance. Sustained speed, endurance, resistance to discomfort/pain/cramping. Though the wheels on your pictured hybrid bike do look sufficiently narrow to minimize substantial rolling resistance. IMHO, money spent on bikes (that get ridden) is money well spent. My mountain and road bikes perform two completely different jobs, and I actually wish I had a cyclocross to boot.


Tester

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2016, 01:23:31 AM »
I agree that mostly it is muscles over metal at least for me.
But I would like a cyclocross.
I rode a borrowed one 3-4 years ago and I could go 30 km/h on flat easy.
Now I have a hybrid and I have to struggle to do that.
Besides the 4 years difference I am also not regularly playing basketball anymore, but now I am riding my bike to work every other day.
More, I don't get it how others are passing me like I am sitting. They are mostly my age, look a little better fit and have road bikes.
I think the geometry allows you to push harder on a road/cyclocross bike than on a hybrid ( I might be wrong though).
In the end, make sure you will use it if you buy it.
I bought a hybrid one year ago and now I got fenders, a rack and a pannier as I know I am riding it enough...

honeybbq

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2016, 09:33:32 AM »
I think you would benefit from a light frame and upgraded shifters. I don't think there's anything 'wrong' with having multiple bikes. I contemplate getting a third.... but that's another story.

I have a hybrid for trails/kid hauling/etc.

I have a road bike for racing and commuting.

If you live in a hilly area, you will definitely appreciate the upgrade in terms of weight and better shifting system - Shimano 105's or Tiagra should be fine. I wouldn't worry about the tires. Cheap and easy to replace. Look for cracks in the fork or any obvious damage to the derailleur, etc. A bike may not shift smoothly because it needs a tune up and an adjustment/lube (cost ~$75 or get a manual and DIY). Most important is to get a frame size that fits, and then get a bike fit for comfort.

And yes, it's about the engine, but if you can save 10lbs (20lbs vs 30lbs) on a bike weight, you're going to be going a LOT faster and it will be more enjoyable to ride.


Rubic

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2016, 09:45:23 AM »
You can justify getting yourself a road bike.  If it enhances your enjoyment of riding, you'll ride more.  Have fun and keep the rubber side on the road!

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2016, 10:13:56 AM »
You want to go further with less effort, right?

- How is your current riding position set up on your bike?  There's a ton of cheap stuff that you can do to improve your aerodynamics that will make almost as big a difference as getting a new bike:
  * Saddle should be higher than your bars . . . so try lowering your bars.  If you have riser bars, try swapping them out for flat bars that will let you get lower.
  * Many hybrid bikes come with ridiculously wide bars by default.  Try making your bars a little narrower by cutting a bit amount off the ends with a hacksaw.  (This gets your arms closer together so you scoop less wind). 
  * Get some clip on aero bars.
  * Wear skin tight clothing.  Anything that flaps slows you down.  A cycling jersey and shorts shouldn't fit like a t-shirt and cargos, they should be almost painted on.
  * Shave your legs (and arms).
  * Get some bar ends.  They can be used to give you a more forward position on the bike, which gets you lower and is more aerodynamic.  They also give you an extra hand position.
- Remove all excess weight from the bike.  Get rid of fenders, racks, your kickstand, etc.  It might only be a small fraction of the total system weight, but a couple lbs difference can certainly be felt on a climb.
- What kind of pedals do you have?  Switching to clipless will let you go further with less effort, and makes climbing easier.
- Tires!
  * Skinny tires are typically lighter, and lighter tires make climbing easier.  Moving to a 25 or 28mm tire will be noticeably lighter than running a 32 or a 35.
  * Smooth tires (no knobbies, or as little as possible tread) will roll much easier on smooth road.  You can actually find independent rolling resistance measurements for a lot of tires online these days.
  * Make sure that you always pump your tires up to the correct pressure before a ride.  If you don't know what tire to pump your tires to:  http://www.dorkypantsr.us/bike-tire-pressure-calculator.html



Don't get me wrong, I love having a road bike.  But if you haven't already tried most of the above, you're not getting the full speed potential out of your current bike.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 10:15:41 AM by GuitarStv »

Cycling Stache

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2016, 10:19:14 AM »
  * Shave your legs (and arms).

To be clear, this doesn't make you go faster.  It allows you to ride with people who go faster.  Those people care about such things.

As a buddy in my race group once told me, never get behind someone with hair on his legs at a critical point in the ride.  It's generally good advice!

Marvel2017

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2016, 10:25:09 AM »
I will say that a carbon fiber road bike is VERY nice to ride if you're looking for performance. I bought a FELT Z series (has a more upright geometry than their more dedicated road "F" series)...and to me the CF bike felt very stiff (great for power transmission) and handles shock great, very light. I had not ridden bike in a few years and bought this bike for an upcoming charity race, did a 15 mile one day, a 20 mile about a week later, then the 60 mile race a week after that and I contribute being able to do the mileage with such little training sessions to the CF. I'll never have a steel or AL road bike again. Around city bike is a different but for road bike it's CF for me.

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2016, 11:01:13 AM »
  * Shave your legs (and arms).

To be clear, this doesn't make you go faster.  It allows you to ride with people who go faster.  Those people care about such things.

As a buddy in my race group once told me, never get behind someone with hair on his legs at a critical point in the ride.  It's generally good advice!

Testing would disagree with you.  Shaving does actually measurably reduce drag . . . which means you go further with less effort:
Legs - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZnrE17Jg3I
Arms - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_C8K9x47q0

gggggg

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2016, 11:32:36 AM »
As a former roadie, I would look at a cyclocross bike, or one of the newer gravel bikes. I think they are more versatile than a pure road bike.

Cycling Stache

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2016, 11:40:17 AM »
  * Shave your legs (and arms).

To be clear, this doesn't make you go faster.  It allows you to ride with people who go faster.  Those people care about such things.

As a buddy in my race group once told me, never get behind someone with hair on his legs at a critical point in the ride.  It's generally good advice!

Testing would disagree with you.  Shaving does actually measurably reduce drag . . . which means you go further with less effort:
Legs - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZnrE17Jg3I
Arms - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_C8K9x47q0

Okay, this was REALLY surprising.  I have to admit, I'm a little skeptical by the claimed time savings, but now at least there's an official reason to do it!

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2016, 12:37:51 PM »
  * Shave your legs (and arms).

To be clear, this doesn't make you go faster.  It allows you to ride with people who go faster.  Those people care about such things.

As a buddy in my race group once told me, never get behind someone with hair on his legs at a critical point in the ride.  It's generally good advice!

Testing would disagree with you.  Shaving does actually measurably reduce drag . . . which means you go further with less effort:
Legs - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZnrE17Jg3I
Arms - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_C8K9x47q0

Okay, this was REALLY surprising.  I have to admit, I'm a little skeptical by the claimed time savings, but now at least there's an official reason to do it!

My suspicion is that if you shaved only the front of your legs and arms but left the backs hairy it would be slightly faster still . . . more break points for the slipstream to detach.  Sadly I've got no data to back up this theory as my wife has refused to continue sleeping with me if I were to implement it.

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2016, 01:43:11 PM »
Thanks for all the responses.  I will look into improving my current ride - both the bike and the rider.  Not sure I'm ready to shave my legs yet though!  I currently ride fully upright, and my bike has regular pedals, so there's a lot of room for improvement.

If I find a good deal at the swap I may go for it too - I think I'd enjoy the added performance and it may open up a wider range.

No kickstand though?  I often ride out to watch my kids sports practices - do you just lay the bike on the ground?

I didn't mention it earlier, but it's a good idea to ensure that your saddle on your bike is at the right height so that you're pedalling in the strongest position.  An easy check to do is get someone to hold the bike for you (or brace yourself against a wall), put your heels on the pedals, and then pedal backwards.  Your heel should just be coming off the pedals at the bottom of the rotation if your saddle is in the right spot.  If your heel stays on easily, your saddle is too low and you will generate more power by raising it.

Just an FYI, if you're not used to riding in an aggressive position, you are likely to find it quite uncomfortable on a road bike initially.

You don't need a kickstand.  Just lean your bike against any upright object.  Fence, post, bench, wall, etc.  When you lock your bike up the lock will help hold your bike upright.

It takes a while to get used to clipless pedals.  You'll fall at least once at slow speed.

Tester

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2016, 01:46:37 PM »
Reading all the above, especially the ones about aerodynamics I am feeling better.
I ride quite upright, fenders on bike, with jeans and t-shirts on, backpack, sometimes with a normal jacket half open (for this I can really feel the resistance), normal pedals.
So I am not as concerned anymore about the big difference in speed, although I am sure not all comes from aerodynamics :).
The whole idea for me was to get to work in a reasonable amount of time, without having to shower or change clothes.
And it does the trick, it takes me 30 minutes for almost 5 miles. The bus takes me the same time...

I will try to get better clothes for when I am doing longer rides during the weekends, but I won't shave my legs as I don't ride enough (yet).
If the hair will slow me down for 100 miles rides then I will look into it :).
My longest ride was 40 miles in the rain - I hope to get a better weather for my next one.

bender

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2016, 09:08:30 AM »
I didn't mention it earlier, but it's a good idea to ensure that your saddle on your bike is at the right height so that you're pedalling in the strongest position.  An easy check to do is get someone to hold the bike for you (or brace yourself against a wall), put your heels on the pedals, and then pedal backwards.  Your heel should just be coming off the pedals at the bottom of the rotation if your saddle is in the right spot.  If your heel stays on easily, your saddle is too low and you will generate more power by raising it.

Just an FYI, if you're not used to riding in an aggressive position, you are likely to find it quite uncomfortable on a road bike initially.

You don't need a kickstand.  Just lean your bike against any upright object.  Fence, post, bench, wall, etc.  When you lock your bike up the lock will help hold your bike upright.

It takes a while to get used to clipless pedals.  You'll fall at least once at slow speed.

Wow - thanks for this advice - I never paid much attention to my seat and was riding like I'm sitting in a chair!  I rose my seat up about 3 inches and it pushed me into a more forward position at the same time.  I did a 10 mile ride and it was significantly faster.  The hills that killed me before were a bit easier.


GuitarStv

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2016, 09:46:28 AM »
I didn't mention it earlier, but it's a good idea to ensure that your saddle on your bike is at the right height so that you're pedalling in the strongest position.  An easy check to do is get someone to hold the bike for you (or brace yourself against a wall), put your heels on the pedals, and then pedal backwards.  Your heel should just be coming off the pedals at the bottom of the rotation if your saddle is in the right spot.  If your heel stays on easily, your saddle is too low and you will generate more power by raising it.

Just an FYI, if you're not used to riding in an aggressive position, you are likely to find it quite uncomfortable on a road bike initially.

You don't need a kickstand.  Just lean your bike against any upright object.  Fence, post, bench, wall, etc.  When you lock your bike up the lock will help hold your bike upright.

It takes a while to get used to clipless pedals.  You'll fall at least once at slow speed.

Wow - thanks for this advice - I never paid much attention to my seat and was riding like I'm sitting in a chair!  I rose my seat up about 3 inches and it pushed me into a more forward position at the same time.  I did a 10 mile ride and it was significantly faster.  The hills that killed me before were a bit easier.

Yeah, right saddle height makes a really big difference.  Everybody gets a bike as a kid and has parents terrified of them falling and getting hurt.  The parents then set the saddle way too low, so that the kid can always easily put both feet on the ground to stabilize . . . but the result is that you get used to how this feels and then when you start cycling as an adult you intuitively use the same setup.

:P

honeybbq

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2016, 11:04:23 AM »
I'd leave the kickstand on for practicality purposes. Usually only racers take every possible item off their bikes to reduce weight and drag.

bender

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2016, 09:18:14 AM »
Did a quick 8 mile ride this morning and averaged 14MPH.  Felt pretty good, but I still want the road bike for some reason though!

Anyone buy bikes on ebay?  A little tough to buy without riding, but deals seem decent.  Any feedback on these?  At the least it will help me gauge what to look for and price expectation at the bike swap.

I like this one, but I bet price will go up near close of auction:
2015 Cannondale Synapse Alloy Tiagra Disc Road Bike 54cm
$470+80 with 2 days to go
http://www.ebay.com/itm/291839110813?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Similar:
2014 Trek OCLV Carbon USA made road bike 54cm
Sold - $690+75
http://www.ebay.com/itm/232037720140?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Just another to compare:
Trek Pilot 1.0 Road Bike 54cm Shimano Carbon Fork - New Tires Pads
$499 Buy it Now
http://www.ebay.com/itm/232034026619?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

My current bike for comparison - bikes like above will be a huge difference?
http://www.bicyclebluebook.com/SearchListingDetail.aspx?id=11149&make=750&model=54546

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2016, 09:47:28 AM »
To give you an idea of the sort of changes you might expect, I would average about 17-18 mph on my flat bar bike on the hilly terrain around here over about three hours.  After getting my road bike I would average about 19-20 mph over the same.  There is a difference, and it'll be more fun to ride . . . but it's not an earth shattering change.

The position that you ride a road bike will be quite a change from the position that you ride the bike you've currently got.  You may well find it quite uncomfortable until you develop the core, leg, and arm strength (and the flexibility) needed to hold a good position.

Tester

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2016, 01:42:15 PM »
Wow - thanks for this advice - I never paid much attention to my seat and was riding like I'm sitting in a chair!  I rose my seat up about 3 inches and it pushed me into a more forward position at the same time.  I did a 10 mile ride and it was significantly faster.  The hills that killed me before were a bit easier.

Not to mention that having your seat too low puts a lot of strain on your knees.
My wife learned to ride a bike last year and in the beginning I set the seat low so she could get the balance part.
Then I raised it and she said it will be uncomfortable.
I told her the will get at least painful knees with it lower - after 5 minutes of riding she raised her seat :).
Which reminds me I have my seat one inch too low - I don't even fully extend my leg with my heel on the pedal.

Tester

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2016, 02:40:10 PM »
Did a quick 8 mile ride this morning and averaged 14MPH.  Felt pretty good, but I still want the road bike for some reason though!

Hmm, again, I am averaging 10-11 MPH on a 5 mile ride (mostly flat).
After I got the pannier it seemed to go up to 12 MPH - I will have to verify over 10-15 rides, two rides is not significant yet.
So I would say you are doing fine, especially if the ride has hills too.
Depending on your age of course.
If I would to 10 MPH average on flat at 25 I would be worried.
Now I am not that worried, I know I will get better with more riding.

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2016, 02:57:25 PM »
I would definitely go for the road bike if you know you are going to use it.  I have two bikes: one for riding around town, errands etc and a mid level road bike.  The road bike takes so much less effort to go the same distance. There is just no possible way I could go as far and as fast on the town bike.  Some of the hills would be impossible.  Looking at your current bike, that is a very upright position.  The suspension fork is also going to weigh you down.  Think of it this way, would you try to go for a run in work boots?

Laserjet3051

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2016, 02:21:49 PM »
Nice! I actually much prefer the aero-tuck position of road riding. Just make sure to cycle through all the different hand positions on the bar (e.g. top of the bar, top of the hoods, drops) to stave off fatigue. Higher tire pressure will further reduce rolling resistance. I'm a HUUUUGE fan of clipless pedals.

Enjoy!

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2016, 02:39:14 PM »
Thanks for the advice all!  I picked up a used Trek 1.1 road bike for $300 and I'm enjoying it.  It's a huge difference over my hybrid - once I get more comfortable with the riding position I will be able to go much further distances.

It is an entry level road bike with low end components, but it should be good enough for me to get started.  Glad I bought used instead of new, I should be able to sell this for nearly what I paid if I want to upgrade in the future.

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/road-bikes/performance-race-bikes/1-series/1-1/p/1400000-2016

Welcome to the nuthouse!

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GuitarStv

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Re: Bike swap advice - get a road bike?
« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2016, 07:37:00 AM »

Welcome to the nuthouse!

http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/

Thanks!  Wow - lots of rules - I'll try not to disappoint!

As long as you get #5 down, you're probably good.