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My Bike Gear

September 26, 2012

I was asked by my friend Anna at Oceannah, how I chose the bike I did.  I started a rather long reply and then decided a post would be a great way to share that info.  There might be others wondering about bikes, too!!

Here is my ride:

Trek Lexa SLX

Here is how I went about deciding…

For my first Triathlon I rode my hybrid Giant bike.  Great bike for around town, slow for a triathlon.

My first Tri and my hybrid

After my first Triathlon:

The first thing I did was ask a friend who bikes, he has 5 , what he thought.  His recommendations revolved around the drivetrain.  He liked the Shimano 105s for a good drivetrain and yet relatively inexpensive, there are also, Sram, Ultegra and numerous others, and each company has several levels each at different price points.  He then recommended several brands, Specialized, Trek, Cannondale, and there are many others.  There were also other friends that I asked about the bikes they had chosen.  It really is a personal decision!

My first test ride was at our local shop.  They are a small shop, and he put me on a Fuji, and off I went for a test ride.  I really thought I don’t know if I can do this.  I felt very stretched out and out of control.  The bike was not a WSD, women’s specific design.  If you are short, it makes a huge difference!

I then spent lots of time looking online at the different companies, it is amazing there are so many choices.  Frame; carbon, alloy, steel, drivetrain; compact(two front sprockets), triple (three front sprockets), clips or pedals, clips mean bike shoes… and the list goes on.  Oh,  and then there is price…anywhere from $1000 – $10,000.  I set my price at around $1500.

I made a list of what I was looking for: model, drivetrain, price.  I had decided to go with clips, so I knew that would be an added expense, and bike shoes would add to the cost.   We have two bike shops close and an Eastern Mountain Sports that has bikes.  I spent an afternoon visiting the three shops and riding different bikes.  I told myself I was NOT buying that afternoon!!!!  Really important for me, because I am an impulse buyer…

The first bike I tried was at Eastern Mountain Sports, a  Bianchi it was a WSD, it was amazing to actually feel comfortable on the bike.  The price was right about $1400, but I decided I wanted to buy a bike at a bike shop, not a store that had bike services.

Went to the next bike shop they had Specialized and Cannondale.  The Specialized bike that I had seen on line was the Dolche, which they had in a size that worked for me.  One of the things I learned is you will see a bike on the Web site and it will have certain components, but the one you find in the store may be different and that affects the price you find as well.

The particular Dolche I tried had the compact Sram Apex drivetrain.  The bike was super light an alloy frame, it rode very nicely, but the drivetrain was to me, clunky and at times I felt like it was going to break or the chain was going to fall off.  The price was $1800.

All the guys at the shop LOVED the Sram Apex, they did say it was a learning curve.  I asked to try a bike with the Shimano 105’s.  The bike that they had was a carbon frame Ruby, it was SWEET, but it was also $2500…but I did like the 105’s.

Next up was the Trek store.  I was interested in the Lexa line, of WSD entry level road cycles.  The top of the line is the SLX and is the one with the Shimano 105’s.  I test rode this one and loved it.  The shifting was easy and smooth.  The price was $1400.

Armed with my test drives I went home to do more research and figure out what I wanted to do.  When I was ready to buy I went back to the two stores and test rode the bikes again.  And again I did not like the Sram Apex on the Specialized.  So I went to the Trek store.  To make sure the Lexa was the bike for me,  I asked to ride one of the other Lexa series that had a different drive train, I think it was the Tiagra or the Sora, still Shimano.  This bike was less expensive around $1000.  I could feel the difference, it felt stiff and not as easy to shift and the bike itself was heavier.  I think trying the step down sealed the decision in my mind about the Lexa SLX.

I think it was really important to test ride more than once, pondering each time the features I liked and did not like.  In the end it really helped.

In my dreams I would love the Trek Madone 4.5 ($2630) or the Specialized Ruby Elite ($2500), the feature I like about the Ruby is the cables are in the frame…sleek.  The Madone has the Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, and the Ruby has the Sram Apex drivetrain.  But, like I said…in my dreams.

Clips and shoes follow.  My shoes are Bontrager( $180).  They are white and slick looking.  The first pair I purchased were on sale for $100, they had a heel pad that was glued on, it started to come unglued, we tried super glue, but, that did not work.  I took them back to the Trek store for help and got a new pair!  Gotta love the warranty !

Bontrager bike shoes

My pedals are Shimano (around $70) with compatable clips.

clips

Shimano pedals

In the end I spent around $1600.  I am very pleased!

Then there is the helmet…A MUST!!!  Which I had already.    They run anywhere from $40 – 300.  I think mine was in the $40 range.

Giro helmet

Then there are the clothes…bike shorts, tri shorts, cycling jerseys!!!  sunglasses!!!!  Oh what fun… I will save that for another post.

Still training for the Tufts Wms 10K.  Did my 6 miles on Saturday, 1 hour 17 min, not bad, average pace was just under 13 min. miles.  Tried to take it slow, hard to do sometimes.  Oh and the route I chose had a hill at mile 6…hills are my friends…

Hope you are having a great week.

Grace and Peace,

Grandma (Cindy)

 

 

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2012 3:36 pm

    Awesome! You put more seat time in to your decision, I chose the Trek Pilot 2.1 WSD several years ago and love my decision. I am not sure if they had the Lexa out yet. . . but what a beautiful ride! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing! and good luck with your training. Looking forward to my 5k, my first at that distance (I did a 3k with two knee injuries earlier this year–not a happy day).

    • September 26, 2012 4:57 pm

      Good luck with the 5 K!! I seem to be getting slower…guess it is age…

      • September 26, 2012 6:57 pm

        I know, I worry that I won’t have many years to improve my PR because once I hit 50, I imagine I’ll get slower! 😦 How does one keep getting PRs if one slows down? I guess I’ll have to change my goals, eh?

  2. September 26, 2012 4:48 pm

    I ended up with the Specialized Dolce…I find the shifting kind of clumsy, too, but I’m not sure if I’m just not doing it right, or if it’s something to do with the bike itself. It would help if I knew even a tiny bit about bikes or how to ride them!

    • September 26, 2012 4:58 pm

      I bet the folks at the bike shop could help. I do remember one guy saying to me that speed was important in shifting the Sram, faster…helps…maybe that is why I had such trouble…not fast enough!

  3. September 27, 2012 3:20 pm

    Love this post! So helpful for me 😉

  4. September 28, 2012 3:28 pm

    Great post. I have only done one Sprint Tri and I used my daughter’s mountain bike. I had fun but purchasing a bike and the expense has kept me away from signing up for any more. Maybe I can find a good bike on Craigslist someday.

  5. September 29, 2012 1:55 pm

    Cindy, this is SUPER information. I really appreciate it, even if some of it is still a wee bit over my head….I’m not a mechanical person and talk of drive trains, gears, and sprockets is a lot to absorb. I like that you tried a bunch of different bikes before buying one. I never knew there were WSD bikes. It sounds like the best thing is to get out there and try a few bikes…at least now I have a clue what to even ask for 🙂
    *anna

    • September 29, 2012 6:18 pm

      Anna it was a fun post to right! I think trying as many as possible is a great way to help decide! Good luck and keep me posted!

  6. October 10, 2012 2:38 pm

    Catching up, Cindy…great post. I admit I am flumoxed when it comes to selecting a new bike, but I know my 30 year old mountain bike isn’t going to “make it” if I decide to get back into triathlons. lol..who am I kidding, “if I decide”? Thanks for some great info…

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