Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Time To Put Her Down

Confession: I have a piece of sh*t bike. It’s literally falling apart underneath my broken hip.

It’s a Specialized Allez. Or a Specialized “GO” as we francophones like to say. It’s red. I put it on layaway at a small bike store in Richmond, Virginia (Agees) about 18 years ago. I paid $50/month until it was mine. I think the total cost of the bike was $400. A huge sum when you make only $1,000 per month at your menial desk job. Not that I had a menial desk job or anything.

Here she is on the trainer. I gave her a good workout this morning, and she’s hurting:

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I rode the crap out of that bike. 50 mile rides on the weekends. 24 miles round trip to work every day. Century races. 500 miles across Colorado during the famous Ride the Rockies race one summer. More times up and down Lookout Mountain than I can count. Two triathlons.

(Circa 1995. Tent city, Durango, CO. Ride the Rockies):

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We’ve been through a lot together. That bike seat knows things about my lady parts that would make anyone blush. She’s put up with my never ending farts. We’ve covered thousands of miles, seen some great sites from the back roads of Virginia to the beaches of North Carolina to the peaks of Colorado.

(2009, Camp Dick. Yes I said “dick”. No I did not ride down this trail):

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(Circa 1995, Ride the Rockies):

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Sadly, it’s time for Red to be put down. I’ll lube her up one last time with WD40, then take her in the back yard with my shotgun. I’ll just tell the kids she went to the farm when they ask where she is. Kind of like my parents did when my dog Duncan disappeared when I was six. But, that’s another blog post.

(Circa 1992, riding Richmond to the Outer Banks):

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I’ve just signed up for the Boulder 70.3 Half Ironman on August 8. No way Red can take me to the finish line. No way can she hold up through hundreds of miles of training.

I need a new bike. There, I said it.

Problem is, since I started running a couple of years back, I’ve been out of the cycling world almost completely. I have no clue where to start. I know you can spend as much on a new bike as on a new car. I’m not interested in doing that. But, I do want something durable and triathlon friendly. If your last name is Trek or Cannondale and you’d like to donate a bike to me, let me know.

I know lots of you are triathletes and cyclists. What’s your best advice? I’d prefer to not spend more than $1,000. Can you get a decent bike for that?

Looking for input,

SUAR

55 comments:

  1. I have no bike advice, but RIP Red. It sounds like she treated you very well.

    And now, because of you, I'm reading RIP like "rip a fart." Cemeteries just got a whole lot funnier.

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  2. I just bought a Trek and I like it. It wasn't that expensive but it is a starter bike.

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  3. I believe mine was more than $1000 if you plan on doing some tri's invest in the moola. The bike you buy can make a huge difference. :)

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  4. I bought a Specialized Dolce a few years ago and have no complaints...it was about $1500.

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  5. Don't be going and looking at bike porn (and there's a lot of it out there) before making a decision. All that will do is fill your head with unrealistic images and expectations. Better to go shopping for a bike person, and a shop you trust, one that has treated your buddies well, AND THEN talk about price and bike selection, and bike fit, ect.

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  6. I'm sure she thought that all those farts were just warm hugs. May she RIP.

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  7. how sad......poor red may she RIP i got a trek 1.5 for a little less than $1000, good starter bike that i plan to use for tris over the next year or two before upgrading to a real tri bike.

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  8. I thought your bike was just vintage.

    I like it! I think you should have someone fix that puppy up. Then you CAN have a super cool vintage bike. Why not?

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  9. What a nice tribute to Red! Love the flashback photos/stories. No advice here, but good luck with your missing to finding a new ride. And exciting news on the 70.3!

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  10. I have no advice, unfortunately. I just came to brag - about the new Trek that is sitting under my Christmas tree at home! :) Yes, the tree is still up. No, the bike hasn't been out on the road yet - I have no helmet and I am an absolute klutz on a bike, so no helmet = no riding. But it is a 13" frame and it totally fits my 4'11" one!!!

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  11. Tell your hubby to loosen up those pursestrings and get something you deserve, I'm talking $1200, easy.

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  12. The 2011 Felt F95 can be purchased for $799.00 or less, gets great reviews and Felt is a great product

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  13. You sure some bike-freak at the bike store can't patch that baby up? She's too cute to put down!

    All my tri-doing buddies told me not to go cheap (I also wanted to spend less than $1000) because I'd regret it. Of course, I have WAY less bike experience than you so I don't even know if I'm going to like riding that much. So I bought a Giant Avail for around $750 and plan to do my first duathlon this coming summer.

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  14. Rest in peace, Red. Sorry I have no bike advice. I've never been a big fan of biking. I've spent the money, had them balanced, sized and lubed but after about 3.5 miles, they all hurt my hooha. I can't seem to find a seat that can put up with what I'm likely to put it through.

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  15. Sabrina..clearly u just need to get the hooha removed. All in the name of biking.

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  16. Red's saddle must have had some odor to it b/c there was no space for the air to pass through. When you get your new bike make sure the saddle has some venting to it and this way your competition will be smelling it and not you.

    Onto the bike price....looking at $1200 to $1500. You can get a good bike for that price for sure.

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  17. No clue about good bikes unless you want one with a baby seat on back like mine. You could put one of those portable potties in it. Could be handy.

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  18. I have a Trek that I bought for $650 and my friend has one that she bought for $800ish. Granted they are are first road bikes so we have no idea what we are talking about but we think they are good bikes.

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  19. I don't know THAT much but I got my bike (a Trek, but not a tri bike) used and it was less than $1000. It has all the components my husband said I needed and was in GREAT condition. Seems like there are a lot of good deals out there if you know what you are looking for (size and component wise). Good luck!

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  20. Not a bit of knowledge about bikes for you, but I am in awe that you BIKED all the way from Richmond to OBX! We make that drive several times a year, and I feel like it takes a bajillion hours to drive!

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  21. I agree with Bruther, a lot of entry level road bikes can be $1000 or less. I got a SCOTT bike for that and the Felts are nice. Have fun looking!
    LC

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  22. You have a challenge ahead of you! They can very quickly run much more than $1,000. My advice, if you really want that kind of price, is to go get fitted at a good shop. Then see if you can find any good bike swaps in the area (I'm sure there are plenty there) and see what's available used.

    Oh, and my old saddle was peed on more times than I can count!

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  23. I have a specialized dolce elite and love it! I think I spent about $1200.

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  24. Wow that bike has been through a Lot!! I'm impressed :) Also, you seriously rode from Richmond to the Outer Banks?! Ultracycler here...

    You can definitely get a good deal for $1,000! Check Craig's List (if you're okay with Used) Every day, there are tons of bike postings, especially around here!

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  25. I bought a Scott road bike over the summer. It was definitely a step up from the 150.00 Wal-fart bike I had been using.

    I love the Scott. I hope to ride it into oblivion too!

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  26. I did a three sprint tris and a half last year (a very hilly one) using a steel cross bike and I am planning on buying a carbon bike soon (next year: the full ironman is calling my name). So far, I've found tri-specific bikes to be a lot more expensive than their equivalent road bikes and a lot harder to fit. So you could save some $$$ that way.

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  27. Go to a local bike show....on the last day just before closing...with cash. :)

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  28. Awwwwww... poor Red.

    Now you need an Allez Vite. I have no real bike advice. My only bike is a "mountain" bike that I got in 1989. I think that was the year of the first mountain bike... lol.

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  29. Last year I bought a specialized Dolce (wait for a sale, I only paid $650, at bicycle village) I like my bike it's great even on very long rides. One thing to think about is how into tris you are going to get, if you plan to continue or do a full ironman than think about a tt or tri bike. I hope to do a full in 2012 and will want to upgrade my bike.

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  30. I just got my Scott Speedster for a steal at $699 and love it. While not a pricey tri bike, it's plenty fast and the components are quality for the $$$. A hottie at the bike shop told me the other day that my bike was "sick"...I think that sums it up!

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  31. Looks like sweet Red has served you well. I am no help with new bikes as I'm a neophyte and A bike-o-phobe. Hoping to change that this year though.

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  32. wow youve had your bike a long time! :)

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  33. Hey, are you sure those pics were back in the '90's cuz you haven't aged a bit.

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  34. I bought used last year...a Kona ZING...loved the name..it pops....roll off your tongue...Zinnnnngggggg. Look..there's Shawn just zinging along. Cool eh?

    Hate to tell ya SUAR, a $1000 ain't going far...look 2nd hand and you will be happier.

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  35. Yeah for the Richmond plug. My husband is a devout fan of Rowlett's over Agee's, but both stores have survived in these tough times. Hope you get some good advice, as the whole sharing the road with cars terrifies me.

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  36. I've got the specialized Dolce also, picked up at Bicycle Village at one of their sales that will be coming up soon. I think just under 800. I like it however kind of wish I had upgraded just a bit. But it will get me through the next year or so (including the Boulder series) and then will see...maybe a new bike will be in order.

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  37. I really love my Felt bike....

    Anyway - Trek is a good product, but its' problem is that for what you get, you overpay. You can find better componentry (primarily shifters and derailers) on Cannondales or Felts.

    The best option would be to see if there are still any 2010 models in bike shops near you. If you can, get a carbon frame as it will definitely help you doing a half-IM (or even a full IM, if you get that far).

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  38. Shawn is right. And so is everyone else. If you just want a bike to get you through the half, you can spend less than $1000. But if you want a "good" bike that can handle your muscles and your mood swings, you need to head into the $1700-$2000 range. My advice, find a model in the $2000 range then try to catch a deal on ebay, etc.

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  39. Sad to hear that you are putting your bike down. I've been riding mine for 25+ years now (Trek 1000) and smile when I pull her out of the crawl space each and every year. Sure, she has lots of new parts but today I'm happy to say that she finds her place on my bike trainer.

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  40. You will probably be a bit happier if you can squeeze out $1200 - 1500 mostly because you've been a cyclist as opposed to a complete newbie. If you can find a bike on sale for that price range, you should be happy for a long time. It is always easy to upgrade a part here and there over time as long as you have a good base to work with. Lots of fun!

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  41. Gosh, I had no idea you'd need to spend more than $1,000 on a bike! Yikes, can I have your old one? jk.
    Good luck, I can't wait to follow your tri adventures and training!

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  42. You mean people make more than $1000/month and don't have menial desk jobs?

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  43. I don't have much bike advice to offer, but my brother is totally into biking and I was talking to him about getting one. He said that I should get a 2010 model rather than a 2011 since they are on sale now and I could save some cash.

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  44. I'm in the same boat-trying to get a good bike at a good price so Im def checking out the comments for advice....
    keep us posted!

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  45. i just signed up for my first tri in june and am thinking of taking the jump and going straight to a half ironman after that. i just have no idea what i'm doing when it comes to tris. i'm not even sure what i wear!

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  46. Now is a great time to buy a bike. My friend just nailed a Specialized full carbon ruby for $1700 - nearly $900 off the MSRP. I bought my Trek Madone at about $500 off MSRP from a local bike shop. I recommend full a full carbon frame for the half distance - it's just way more comfortable. Are you getting a road bike, or would you consider a TT bike? After this season of tris (I have aerobars on my Madone and the seatpost adjusted for the aero position), I may throw a third bike into my arsenal (I want road and TT now....so spoiled!)

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  47. bikesdirect.com

    no-name frame, great components

    I bought one from them this spring, I bought the motobecane gigi for $799, the equivalent in a brand bike (trek, specialized etc.) would have cost twice as much.

    She has only about a thousand or so miles on her from this summers riding, but so far so good! also hubby has been riding on a mens one (the "windsor knight" - $899) for 2 years now and has put probably 2+ thousand on his with no issue...

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  48. I hate to admit it, but I agree with Keith (it's a one-time thing, I'm sure).

    I still have the bike I got when 12 years old. Not only is the manufaturer no longer in business, the country it's from no longer exists!

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  49. I have a Fuji Finest RC that I really like. I added a new seat and got new tires, but other than that it was ready to go and has treated me well. I rode during my 1st 70.3 :) Good luck on your search for the perfect bike!

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  50. I got my Specialized Dolce (about $1200) in 2010 and it's been worth every penny. I'm no cycling snob and I don't know a shitton about bikes, but I do know that STI levers (I heart my Tiagras) and a nice saddle make all the difference. (I got my bike at University Bicycles on Pearl, and I had a great experience! The folks that work there were really nice!)

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  51. I agree with everyone that has mentioned going to your LBS. Just make sure they carry a brand you'd like to purchase, or if you don't care- just go to a reputable shop. Most important is fit, then you can go from there. Lovebox comfort is also a key factor so shop around for a saddle. You might go through 5 or 6 until you find crotchal bliss. Good luck on your journey and may the bike fairy(read:bike shop guy) guide you on your search.

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  52. I hate to say it, but $1,000 might be rough. I'd say hit the bike stores, see what fits, and then hit craig's list, ebay, and possibly beginnertriathlete forums? Do you know if you want a road or tri bike?

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  53. I'm getting a new bike and selling an old bike. It's a Felt S32 (fancy for good, entry level tri bike). I used it two seasons, then got a new bike and am now getting another. No need for three bikes. I'm selling it cheap - let me know if you'd like more info! thekingerys at hotmail dot com. :) I'd love to help a girl out!

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  54. You can certainly get a bike for less than $1000 -- take advantage now that the bike shops are having sales of last year's stuff to make room for the spring stock. If there's a Performance Bike near you, go there and make sure to sign up for their discount plan -- it's 20 bucks, but you get 10% back of every purchase in store credit, so the bike will pay for sign up, and you can use the credit for accessories.

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