***General Cycling Thread***

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wxman1

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Jul 2, 2008
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As others have said go to a good local shop and ride some....if they have anything to ride or sell you. I have a Trek 7.4 I bought a couple of years ago and I love it. It is now in what they call the Fx series. Had a friend try and get one last week and was told they won't have any new bikes in until August.
 

moores2

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Nov 9, 2018
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I live in DSM and looking at getting into riding as well. I know someone already mentioned Kyle's Bikes in Ankeny. Any other good local places you recommend around here who can educate and help me find a quality bike?
Bike Iowa in Pella has some really good people. They know their stuff and are not pushy at all. Will give you the information you want.
 

Al_4_State

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You can get a lot of mileage (literally and figuratively) out of a used bike. I would start there.

Absolutely get to know your local bike shop. I'm pretty good friends with the guys who run the closest one to me (in Cresco), and they do good work, quickly, and I'm never down for long. As someone who tends to be hard on ****, this is a big asset. Plus, it's always fun to stop in for happy hour.

Buy the riding gear. It doesn't have to be fancy, but you will be so much more comfortable and enjoy riding so much more with a pair of bibs and either some dry fit shirts or bike jerseys. It's not the most flattering gear for a man of my build (6'1" 220-230 depending on time of year), but you will straight up enjoy what you're doing more. It's not about fashion or making a statement.

I would get pedals that allow for both clipping in and regular shoes. It's not what a racer would use, but it allows you to work up the confidence to try them, or allow you to use the road bike for getting around town.

If you dig it, more bikes will come. I've gotten to the point where 90% of the year (basically if it's warmer than 10 degrees), I will commute around town with my bike instead of a car. I have a fat bike that I use primarily for winter or gravel riding, and I've also gotten mildly obsessed with mountain biking, and have a decent mountain bike as well. I wouldn't bother with mountain biking if you don't have ample opportunity within a 30-40 mile window, however, and IIRC you're in NW IA and probably don't have that close.

Good luck, and hope it works out. Cycling (in many forms) has become my favorite source of exercise and a huge part of my social life. A lot of my friends ride, and we do a Thursday night ride on the Prairie Farmer trail all summer long. Lots of weekend rides in places like the Root River Trail in SE Minnesota, Trout Run in Decorah, or Wapsi-Great Western Line on the Mitchell/Howard County borders. It's a great way to combine a workout, have a few cold ones, and spend time with friends and family.
 
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Tre4ISU

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Dec 30, 2008
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Estherville
Thanks for all the help guys. I was always going to be going to one of the local shops just because of how much I don't know about bikes. Right now I'd say I'm leaning toward Trek and looking at the Checkpoint and Domane but I'm willing to be talked into the Emonda as a bike that I won't need to upgrade if I get real deep into riding. It seems like really good value. I haven't completely ruled out a hybrid to get started but if I do that, It'll almost certainly be something pretty cheap that I keep and then buy a road bike next year.
 

Tre4ISU

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Dec 30, 2008
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You can get a lot of mileage (literally and figuratively) out of a used bike. I would start there.

Absolutely get to know your local bike shop. I'm pretty good friends with the guys who run the closest one to me (in Cresco), and they do good work, quickly, and I'm never down for long. As someone who tends to be hard on ****, this is a big asset. Plus, it's always fun to stop in for happy hour.

Buy the riding gear. It doesn't have to be fancy, but you will be so much more comfortable and enjoy riding so much more with a pair of bibs and either some dry fit shirts or bike jerseys. It's not the most flattering gear for a man of my build (6'1" 220-230 depending on time of year), but you will straight up enjoy what you're doing more. It's not about fashion or making a statement.

I would get pedals that allow for both clipping in and regular shoes. It's not what a racer would use, but it allows you to work up the confidence to try them, or allow you to use the road bike for getting around town.

If you dig it, more bikes will come. I've gotten to the point where 90% of the year (basically if it's warmer than 10 degrees), I will commute around town with my bike instead of a car. I have a fat bike that I use primarily for winter or gravel riding, and I've also gotten mildly obsessed with mountain biking, and have a decent mountain bike as well. I wouldn't bother with mountain biking if you don't have ample opportunity within a 30-40 window, however, and IIRC you're in NW IA and probably don't have that close.

Good luck, and hope it works out. Cycling (in many forms) has become my favorite source of exercise and a huge part of my social life. A lot of my friends ride, and we do a Thursday night ride on the Prairie Farmer trail all summer long. Lots of weekend rides in places like the Root River Trail in SE Minnesota, Trout Run in Decorah, or Wapsi-Great Western Line on the Mitchell/Howard County borders. It's a great way to combine a workout, have a few cold ones, and spend time with friends and family.
I actually do have some terrain a minute from my house. It's not a lot but you could get a ride or two a week out of it if you loved mountain biking. I like going fast so once I get rolling on roads and the trail system, my guess it's it's going to be hard to get me off of those.

Family and friends are what I have gotten me interested. My fiances family rides quite a bit and then once friends starting getting into it I decided maybe that's a pretty decent hobby.
 

Al_4_State

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Thanks for all the help guys. I was always going to be going to one of the local shops just because of how much I don't know about bikes. Right now I'd say I'm leaning toward Trek and looking at the Checkpoint and Domane but I'm willing to be talked into the Emonda as a bike that I won't need to upgrade if I get real deep into riding. It seems like really good value. I haven't completely ruled out a hybrid to get started but if I do that, It'll almost certainly be something pretty cheap that I keep and then buy a road bike next year.
Hybrids definitely have their place. I started out on a hybrid that I had in high school and barely rode then.

After getting a road bike, I modified it some to make it my gravel bike/grocery getter. It was eventually stolen by carneys (I'm completely serious) and my fat bike has somewhat replaced it's spot in the line up.

But like you said, you'll be out of it in a year if you take to the sport.
 

Al_4_State

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I actually do have some terrain a minute from my house. It's not a lot but you could get a ride or two a week out of it if you loved mountain biking. I like going fast so once I get rolling on roads and the trail system, my guess it's it's going to be hard to get me off of those.

Family and friends are what I have gotten me interested. My fiances family rides quite a bit and then once friends starting getting into it I decided maybe that's a pretty decent hobby.
Mountain biking is a different beast altogether - it demands total mental focus to avoid eating ****. The paved trails are the best for just flying, IMO. You can really let yourself go mentally and not be on edge all the time.

Until you almost run over a rattlesnake and nearly get bit in the process, of course.
 

Tri4Cy

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I've never ridden gravel, but man there are some things that jump out at me as not being so great. Maybe not as much road traffic, but when a vehicle goes bye aren't you eating dust? Also, it would terrify me going on a hill knowing that whatever vehicle on the other side of the hill that may be coming can't see me. Some people drive like maniacs on gravel roads and they are not as wide as paved roads.
Those are legit concerns. I've ridden a lot of road through the years and personally, I feel more comfortable on gravel. I actually LOVE gravel riding. My road bike probably hasn't left my trainer in a long time. There are crazy drivers out there but they are few and far between. I always stay FAR right when cresting a hill for that reason. Other than that, farm dogs are the biggest issue. Great motivators for some sprints though!

At the end of the day, the 1 ******* about ever other to every 3 rides is MUCH less stressful to me than all the traffic on trails. I've also shifted much of my racing focus to gravel as I enjoy it that much more. It fits more of my "adventure" spirit. Plus you can get some really amazing views and great hill workouts.
 

Cydkar

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Apr 12, 2006
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Thanks for all the help guys. I was always going to be going to one of the local shops just because of how much I don't know about bikes. Right now I'd say I'm leaning toward Trek and looking at the Checkpoint and Domane but I'm willing to be talked into the Emonda as a bike that I won't need to upgrade if I get real deep into riding. It seems like really good value. I haven't completely ruled out a hybrid to get started but if I do that, It'll almost certainly be something pretty cheap that I keep and then buy a road bike next year.
I would look into seeing how big of tires you can fit in any of your selections. If you will ever ride on gravel you will want the opportunity to put a larger tire. The Emonda may not provide that opportunity although I haven't looked at those for awhile. Definitley get disc brakes for tire size flexibility but every frame/fork combo has it's limitations. I'm not talking about huge tires either. Just at least 32c for light gravel or lime trails.

All 3 bikes you listed are great. The Checkpoint has more flexibility (gravel/road/tire sizes) but is the heaviest. Don't obsess over weight unless you will be climbing a bunch of hills. The Emonda was developed for climbing. It's quite light.
 

Gunnerclone

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Jul 16, 2010
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I am just getting into it as well. I recently purchased a Motobecane gravel bike. It is good for roads, gravel, and fairly smooth trails. You won't be using it to jump logs or anything like that but it is great for what I am looking to do. It was cheaper than your price range ($600).
I did buy it just before COVID started up. So I have had to rely on my own "expertise" on assembly and adjustments. I would like to take it to a bike shop for a tune up so they can dial it in but the wait is currently weeks long.
Which Motobacon model did you go with? I love bikesdirect. Frames are meaningless, it’s all about the components, seat, and tires.
 

NorthCyd

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Aug 22, 2011
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Other than that, farm dogs are the biggest issue. Great motivators for some sprints though!

At the end of the day, the 1 ******* about ever other to every 3 rides is MUCH less stressful to me than all the traffic on trails. I've also shifted much of my racing focus to gravel as I enjoy it that much more. It fits more of my "adventure" spirit. Plus you can get some really amazing views and great hill workouts.
Farm dogs make sense. I had a job where I encountered a lot of farm dogs and usually they are a lot of bark and no bite, but running or biking would kick in their chase instinct. Gravel would be interesting to try but I don't think my hybrid tires have the right tread to handle it and I can't see myself making another bike purchase just to do that. I'm really more of a runner and cross train on my bikes to relieve wear and tear on my legs.
 

Tri4Cy

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Do not go used unless you plan on spending less than $600 on a bike. The warranty on a new bike is worth buying new. The warranty does not transfer to secondhand owners.

Before I got into cycling I had purchased a new Gary fisher. About a year after I started hearing a clicking sound. Come to find out there was a crack somewhere in the frame. It was replaced free of charge. Well worth it. Also, carbon frames have a lifespan. Purchasing used cannot be done lightly.
Of the six bikes I currently own...yes I have a problem (n+1 is real man) I've only purchased 1 new. And I've owned it for around 12 years now. Rebuilt it twice with new components/wheels as they have worn out. Everything else is used. Save a **** ton of money that way. Especially as you feel out what you really want from a bike.
 

Tri4Cy

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I guess I get that but how many times do you see these bikes on the road in those conditions?
You likely wouldn't see me on the "road" in those conditions. But I do love taking my fatty out on the trails in horrible winter conditions. I'll also use the fatty for winter gravel just because of the larger contact point. I've done some bush whacking type rides in the winter months where you're riding with 4-5 psi in the tires. You're moving REALLY slow but can just roll over baby head rocks without much issue. As a previous poster commented, it's kind of like that modded jeep with beadlock wheels. Drop the PSI and crawl. It really opens up the door to where you can go with a bike.
 

RyCy04

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Sep 26, 2007
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Which Motobacon model did you go with? I love bikesdirect. Frames are meaningless, it’s all about the components, seat, and tires.
I got the Gravity X3. I like it. I've only put about 200 miles on it at this point. I really want somebody who knows what the hell they are doing to get it dialed in though.
 

cycloneworld

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Mar 20, 2006
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I've been doing some paved trail biking in this quarantine (first time in years) and have really been enjoying it. But I'm doing it on a $300 off the shelf bike that I bought a couple of years ago. Can someone really dumb it down for me and explain the benefits of getting a much better bike? And for someone like me that may casually ride 10-20 miles 1-2 times per week, is it worth it?

This thread has been super interesting but WAY over my dumb, non-biking head.
 

Tri4Cy

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Farm dogs make sense. I had a job where I encountered a lot of farm dogs and usually they are a lot of bark and no bite, but running or biking would kick in their chase instinct. Gravel would be interesting to try but I don't think my hybrid tires have the right tread to handle it and I can't see myself making another bike purchase just to do that. I'm really more of a runner and cross train on my bikes to relieve wear and tear on my legs.
Depending on my legs I take two approaches. The friendly "Elf" approach where I act excited and call them closer often works as I think it stops that "chase" instinct and now they are greeting a friend. And the threshold maxing sprint. Some of those suckers are quick! Thankfully their closing angles are often poor. You can always fall back on a squirt from the water bottle too.

You can always swap out tires on the bike if that's a concern. There are all sorts of tread types for gravel. Some look like many road/touring tires, others are aggressive almost mountain bike type tread. My current and favorite setup is damn near a slick in the middle with some tread on the sidewalls for corner grip. You don't need that much traction if it's dry.
 

moores2

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Just upgraded from a Trek Hybrid this year to try to keep up with my wife who got a Salsa Vaya. I went with a used steel frame Lemond with Shimano 105 shifters. It isn't a speed bike by any means, but it is a great long distance adventure bike with slightly raised handle bars to ease the transition from a hybrid.
 

NorthCyd

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Aug 22, 2011
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I've been doing some paved trail biking in this quarantine (first time in years) and have really been enjoying it. But I'm doing it on a $300 off the shelf bike that I bought a couple of years ago. Can someone really dumb it down for me and explain the benefits of getting a much better bike? And for someone like me that may casually ride 10-20 miles 1-2 times per week, is it worth it?

This thread has been super interesting but WAY over my dumb, non-biking head.
Frame construction material, which probably doesn't matter too much for a casual rider, and components. The biggest issue with cheap components is reliability. If you are 10 miles down the trail and something breaks you're up a creek without a paddle. You can also just feel the difference with better components. Smoother shifting, better breaking, and an overall smoother ride. Most mid range bikes and up will have a carbon fiber fork for the front tire which is lighter and provides a smoother ride. You could always go to a bike shop and try out a nicer bike. If you like it more you may ride more.
 
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HardcoreClone

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Anyone have recommendations on a children's buggy/trailer I can attach to my hopefully soon new bike? I have a 15mo old, would like to take her on rides with me. Thanks for the info!