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Thread: Where to start?

  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Smile Where to start?

    First off, this is an awesome forum! I joined recently and the community here seems great.

    I recently got into biking as a form of cross training for rowing (I'm in the northeast US so the biking season is much longer and it generally complements my schedule and training).

    I have a really old road bike, a circa 1980 steel schwinn that has gotten about 400mi in the last 2 months and is currently on its last leg. It weighs over 35lbs, has massive drive-train issues (you can hear me coming from 200ft), and I have to run the tires around 60psi (instead of the rated 90) to avoid broken glass flats when I ride to the boathouse (~5mi but being late sucks, use your imagination).

    To replace it I'm looking at a Diamondback overdrive sport 29er. I was wondering what your thoughts are on this as a nice intro bike. I would get a road bike but the streets are horrible and I want to go off road a bit more. I can beat up on most of the local cyclists (even in my not-a-decent-cyclist-yet state) with the schwinn and a walmart mongoose would be a huge improvement so I really don't care too much about weight.

    I was also wondering, at my height I should be riding a 24" frame but nobody makes them. I don't feel like 6'4" is that much above average (maybe just an artifact of hanging out with rowers...). How much does the 2" gap (overdrive is max 22") matter?

  2. #2
    Just Ride
    Reputation: Cormac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by 3mpach3r View Post
    How much does the 2" gap (overdrive is max 22") matter?
    doesn't matter much I don't think. The excess can be made up with a seat post adjustment. Just make sure the bike fits well. Visit your LBS before shopping wal-mart. They have 2011 models on sale now and I'm sure you can find a good fitting entry level bike for under $500 that will hold up better than a wally world special. You might even find a 2010 laying around. You'll have to blow the dust and cob webs off it though.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Not knowing anything about your proportions or anything like that, 6'4" would generally be a size XL for a mountain bike. That would generally be about a 22" seat tube. You said you don't care about weight (and that is a good attitude when you're starting out), so visit your local bike shop and find something that's comfortable. A 29er mountain bike sounds like a good compromise for what you'll be doing, but don't rule out a "regular" 26in wheeled bike either. I personally think DiamondBacks are generally a pretty solid value. A DiamondBack Topanga was my first real mountain bike way back in the day. I logged literally thousands of happy miles on that bike with basically no maintenance. At that point I didn't know any better. I just pedaled.

    At any rate, go test ride and stuff and see what's comfortable. Don't worry about components or anything like that. For entry level bikes, there will not be any major difference in component quality between manufacturers. Giant, Specialized, Trek, DiamondBack, etc. etc. are all good bikes. That's why fit is so much more important. Good luck!

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    You must test ride the different size bikes, you may be used to compensating for things that are too small for you but the difference between somethign that accomadates and something that fits like a glove makes a big difference.

    You've got to try the different sizes before you buy. Nobody's explanation on an internet forum is going to explain the difference to you and you will always wonder. Try them all and make up your own mind.

  5. #5
    Ride More, Work Less
    Reputation: heyyall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    And it probably goes without saying--trying is more than a lap around the parking lot. It may take a good 10 mins to really feel the size out.

    As for glass on the road, you could get a second, lower end wheel set and put puncture resistant tires on them. These tires are not the best for general riding, but they tend to be nearly bullet proof.

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Where will you be keeping it? How much of a problem is crime in your area? In otherwise very safe places, it can be surprisingly hard to keep a bike that's worth anything.

    By all means, if you want to try mountain biking, do it. It's a lot of fun. But the problem with your Schwinn sounds like it's a lot to do with the mechanic. Some better tires ($30 each) and a new chain (a little under $20) may be all you need. If you've been riding it with a crapped out drivetrain for a while, you might also need a new freewheel ($20 again) and maybe even some chain rings (about $20 each) to bring it back to functioning well. On the one hand, it's a lot of money to bolt onto a 1980-era Schwinn, and it may not be worth it. You should definitely figure out how much is damaged before you spend too much on it. But on the other hand, it's cheaper than a new mountain bike, and if don't have a safe place to keep your mountain bike and you're somewhere where that means you won't get to keep it at all, you may have to do it anyway.

    Check out parktool.com and sheldonbrown.com for repair information. With older bikes with chewed drivetrains, I always start by having a look at the condition of the chain.

    Chain Maintenance

    The Diamondback Overdrive specifically is the closest they come to making a bike for me. I haven't got saddle time on one, but I don't think there's anything wrong with them. As with all things, you get what you pay for.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    I aggree with Cormac, look for 2011/2010 specials at bike shops. I just bought a 2011 Mongoose for 30% off. I prefer mountain bikes on the road because they are just so comfy They are slower and you will get passes by other riders but being abe to ride all the offroad you like makes up for it.

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