I don’t know if this happens to you but it has happened to me now at least a ½ dozen times, this morning being the most recent occurrence, and that is being asked to give advice to someone as to what bike they should purchase. This question challenges me on a couple of fronts. First off, I am not a very opinionated individual. When my wife asks me “which pair of shoes go best with this outfit”, I almost always default to the “I like them both” position. This is not because I’m non-committal, but because I really like them both and don’t have a strong opinion about which one looks the best. Perhaps that’s a poor example, but hopefully you get my point. Secondly, and by far the greater challenge is, I feel I simply don’t know, I just got into the sport myself a year and half ago. What’s more, when it comes to bike purchases, I become near paralyzed due to my lack of cycling savvy. For instance, it took me approximately 4 weeks to purchase one tire because I couldn’t decide which one to get (more on this in a later post), so how could I possibly tell someone how to make a purchase of a much greater scale in terms of significance and expense. Just because I wear a pair of tights and have a picture of my bike as wallpaper on my computer does not make me an expert on bicycle shopping … or does it?
Okay, so I might not be comfortable entering into a debate over which component group performs better, the SRAM Force or Shimano Dura Ace, but I do know a thing or two about what it’s like to purchase an entry-level bike. I know what I like about my bike when I’m on it and I know what I’ve had to add to make it better. When it comes to purchasing, I have experience, I have hindsight. So with this morning’s question, “What bike should I get?”, I took the challenge head on and combined my experience, my limited knowledge, on-line reviews, and manufacturer specs to give my best non-expert opinion. How do you think I did?
Background: Rider is female and currently has some sort of hybrid (don’t know the brand, nor do I think she does). Price range is $700-900.
Her LBS Options: Casters of Warwick
My Suggestions: Trek’s 1.2 Triple WSD or ’10 Specialized Dolce Sport Triple
- I suggested a triple crank vs. a compact to give her more gearing options for the local terrain. It’s what I have and I like it.
- I suggested that if she could get into a Shimano 105 component group (Specialized) go for it, but it’s not critical for someone starting out (my opinion)
- Good pricing
- Reputable manufacturers
BTW, being as thorough as I could be about my recommendation gave me a chance to learn some more things about bikes myself, which just happens to be one of my personal goals for 2011. I want to make a concerted effort in knowing what I’m riding and increase my gear-head knowledge as it were.