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Another annoying newbie

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Alei, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. Alei

    Alei Cruising

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    Hi folks

    Am new to the world of cycling. So new...that I've not yet bought a bike but am looking to buy one really soon. Have quickly learnt that they're not cheap and somewhat akward to mount.
    Will have lots of of annoying amateur questions. You've been warned!

    The plan is to buy a bike (decent road bike), learn and get used to riding a proper road bike (as opposed to a mamachari) and then enter in some triathlons I've got in mind for the year. I've got the swims and run legs ok, but am not much of a cyclist. My real love lies in open water swimming. Have done a couple of aquathlons, but now want to master the bike.

    Have been in Japan a while (7-8 years so far). Lived in Sapporo, Fukushima, Niseko and Tokyo and have enjoyed eating my way through the country thus far.

    Hopefully you can steer me in the right direction for all the questions I have coming.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. StuInTokyo

    StuInTokyo Maximum Pace

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    Welcome Alei!

    I guess the first question is you budget, and how tall you are, so we can have an idea of frame size.

  3. Alei

    Alei Cruising

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    I'm quite short...about 158cm or so.

    I've gone into a couple of bike stores to kind of suss out frame size, and I think 44 is good for me. 47 was too big. I maybe could even go smaller than 44. (I don't really know what the size numbers mean...something to do with the frame...is it inches??? I just found out size through trying on bikes).

    As for budget, would love to spend less than 100,000yen (ideally 60,000-80,000 yen if second hand), but from what I've seen, I think I need to spend about 140,000-160,000yen which is gonna hurt, but I am trying to see a bike purchase as an "investment". Would rather pay more for one now and have it last a really long time, than buy an 80,000yen bike and then again another bike again down the track. I'm looking for a bike with durability. I don't plan on being a hardcore cyclist.

    My starting point for a bike purchase are the following specs ( advice given to me from a pro tri friend).
    - minimum of Shimano 105 components.

    - probably looking price-wise at aluminium....but carbon would be nice (but expensive). The lighter the better. I need to lug this thing around for tri races and I ain't that tall and strong.

    - my friend told me to get a triple front ring or a 12-28 cassette on the back. Say what? This was like a foreign language to me. Triple front ring I've discovered are harder to find. Most bikes are double or compact. My understanding is compact is essentially a triple front ring??? The cassette refers to the "teeth" of the chain thingy at the back of the bike. But most bikes I've seen only go up to about 25 of those teeth. 26 if I'm lucky. The reason why my friend advised me to go one of those is because I can't for the life of me "tatchigoki" (stand and pedal). I have to be seated. I can't even stand and pedal on a stationary bike! So apparently, this will allow me to be seated on climbs. Is a compact or double the way to go then and have a 12-25 cassette at the back?

    So far, I've found trying to get on a road bike really awkward. They're not very female-friendly to get on, with that bar thingy up higher than regular female pushbikes. You have to mount from the back of the bike. And the handlebar are sooo much lower. They're lower than the seat level (really different to regular push bike). And what's with the curly handlebars? I also need the gears to be in a good position on the handle bar. Some are underneath and some are on top (depending on bike model).

    - How many gears does a regular road bike have/should have? Does a 10-speed bike mean that there are 10 gear levels? (Stupid question it may seem. Please don't judge).

  4. Yamabushi

    Yamabushi Maximum Pace

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    Of course, please continue to ask your questions here, but if you are really hungry for knowledge more quickly, here is a great resource for all things bicycle: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/ It's a great resource for both noobs and seasoned vets alike!
  5. GSAstuto

    GSAstuto Maximum Pace

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    If you are serious about making the jump into competitive cycling (including tri) , then you'll need to adapt to the equipment - not the other way around. Modern road bikes work because they've evolved to most efficient and best at getting you from point A to point B the fastest. Other bikes are built for other purposes - like grocery shopping, etc.

    There are many entry level roadbikes that are suitable for smaller riders. And 'Tri' fits tend to be a bit taller than a 'Road' fit - so, at 158cm, up to a 46 will probably be fine. Smaller than that requires using 650c wheels - and there are makers that produce such bikes especially for Tri (like Quintana Roo - http://www.quintanarootri.com/_bike.asp?content=FIT-Kilo-2012) and many others.

    A good entry level Tri bike won't set you back more than $1500.00 Or shouldn't. And you can probably find a used one for about half or 2/3 that.
  6. ikedawilliams

    ikedawilliams Speeding Up

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    This has 105 where you need it. Another 10% off for a limited time if you know someone with a platnium discount. Compact cranks are sometimes referred to as modern day tripples. The sight has cheaper, good value, bikes too. Add another 10,000 or so for shipping. http://www.wiggle.co.uk/boardman-team/
  7. GSAstuto

    GSAstuto Maximum Pace

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    Nice - but their 'XS' is too big for someone at 158cm / woman, looking for a Tri fit. I'd be more inclined towards this .. http://www.wiggle.co.uk/raleigh-airlite-100-2011/ Then upgrade appropriately.

  8. zenbiker

    zenbiker Maximum Pace

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    @158 xs seems ok?

    Height (cm's) Inside Leg Frame Size
    155 - 163 69 - 74cm XS-50
    163 - 170 71 - 76cm SM-51.5
    170 - 178 74 - 81cm MD-53
    178 - 183 79 - 86cm LG-55.5
    183 84cm XL-57
    For more information, please refer to our Bike Size Guide Page. If you have any futher questions on bike sizing, please contact our specialist cycle advisors at sales@wiggle.co.uk.
  9. Akage38

    Akage38 Cruising

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    I found this as well when I first started riding my road bike, in fact embarassingly when I was being waved off by the bike shop I had literally just bought it from I almost fell over trying to set off because the front of the bike was so light compared to what I was used to, and like you said the mounting felt awkward. After a couple of rides I started to get used to it though, and now I am miles more confident cycling on my road bike than I am on my old mama-chari because it is so much easier to control and set off on. The lowness of the handlebars took some getting used to because I found it a bit harder to breathe in a slightly more bent over position, but I notice that less now than I used to. I also found the bent over position resulted in the nose of the seat putting uncomfortable pressure in, ahem, more sensitive regions, :eek: though I only recently invested in padded shorts which I imagine will make a difference. At some point I may also invest in a different saddle with kinder geometry (somewhere in a different thread someone was generally recommending a Brooks - though I don't know if that will remedy the problem or not)

    As for sizing, I sort of touched on this in my other reply but it may also depend on the bike - for the woman-specific Specialized Dolce road bike series (which I ride) a 48 is recommended for people 155-160cm tall (like me and you), and the 48 fits me well although the seat height needed to be lowered slightly. Lots of bike shops around Tokyo arrange trial rides for people to try out bikes, so you could always look into one of these if you have any doubts about which size would be best, although the problem I guess is that even the perfect fit might feel uncomfortable at first if you're not used to riding a road bike. I'm no expert but I gather fit is quite important for comfort and efficiency of riding the bike, so it may be worth finding a shop willing to let you try out frame sizes against seat adjustments and hopefully the staff will be able to advise you on which they think is better for your own personal proportions. If you are going to buy the bike new and intend it to be an investment, I think it is well worth taking the time to make sure what you get is exactly right. :bike:
  10. GSAstuto

    GSAstuto Maximum Pace

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    48 is as big as I would go for anyone around 160cm. Any more than that, and especially with women, you simply cannot get a proper upper body fit. Mainly I'm refering to the stack and reach as the primary mounting points. So for example - the Dolce in a 48 has a EFF of 506mm. Whereas the Boardman XS stretches it out to 525mm As a cross reference - I'm about 175cm tall with longish arms and rarely ride anything with a top tube longer than 530cm! Going to the 46 Dolce - and the geometry becomes wonky. It will be a lousy handling bike with 76 ST and 70 HT. Very stiff in the steering. Why Specialized doesn't build their forks propertionally to deal with this, I don't know - but your 48 is 'correct' - and if you can get a good fit with the 75mm stem - then you're close to the sweet spot.

    If you want a better fit, then you need a smaller - proportional - frame. And only way to get that is by using 650c (or smaller) wheelset.

    I've fit quite a few smaller riders this year in the 155 - 160 range. And they all fit quite nicely on a bike with a top tube of about 500mm. Seat tube height is immaterial - but will generally fall into the 46-48mm depending how its measured. And basic geometry using 'standard' forks of 75 - 76 degree ST and 71-72 degree HT.
  11. Alei

    Alei Cruising

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    Thanks everyone for your help so far.

    That wriggle website is pretty awesome. I checked out all the swimming gear. Will need to put the credit card away in a safe far away place.

    As for bikes, I need to be able to try before I buy, so I don't think my first bike purchase will be from that website.

    I think I am best trying on bikes for size in stores to ensure a good fit. It sounds like anywhere between a 44-48 will probably be the ideal size. I need the seat to be kinda low because I have short legs!

    So far the Dolce series (from what I've read, thanks to Jess) seems ideal and specialised for women.
    I think I've just got to go out there and try them out.
    The only other decent bike I've looked at and liked (but at the pricier scale end) were the Bianchi Impulso and Sempre series. There's a Bianchi store in Marunouchi (near where I work) that I went and checked out. http://www.cycleurope.co.jp/bianchi/bikes/road/index.html

    Thanks for all your help and responsiveness so far. Having all this support is making me feel excited about buying a bike.
  12. joewein

    joewein Maximum Pace

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    From what I heard most bike shops here don't let you take bikes for a test ride, sitting on one inside a store is about the best chance you get at trying them :(
  13. Sikochi

    Sikochi Maximum Pace

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    Yes, definitely a newb ;) No-one`s mentioned yet, but there is a difference between tri-bikes and road bikes. Basically, tri bikes rotate your position around the bottom bracket, most noticeably creating a steeper seat tube angle. Reasons being,
    1) the steeper seat tube makes it easier to run off the bike
    2) rotating the position forward gives you a lower front end, hence, more aero position.

    Hence, if you are buying the bike to do tris with the occasional cycling, then get a tri-bike - the run will have more effect on your placing than the bike leg.
    If you are buying the bike to cycle, with the occasional tri, then get a road bike and some clip-on tri-bars.

    Tri cycling is all about aerodynamics so given your size, you will need a 650 wheel bike (like GSAstuto mentioned) to get a good position, otherwise you won`t be able to get the front end low enough. With tri bikes, pretty much all manufacturers use the stack/reach figures (again GSAstuto mentioned this). This means, that if you get a proper tri fitting, the fitter will give you your stack/reach figures and you can then buy any bike (sight unseen) that matches these figures and know it will fit. However, tri bike position will take some getting used to, so you need a bike that you can adjust as you learn to adapt.

    Basically the Quintano Roos GSAstuto mentioned are a good try (I have an old 650 wheel QR aluminium tri-bike in the UK I love) or Cervelo P1 might be able to come under budget (is/has been discontinued, so you should get discount). Depending on how serious you are, you might also need to budget for some aero wheels, but these can always be upgraded later, should you decide tri is your thing. Gearing shouldn`t be an issue for a tri, as most bike legs are fairly tame, profile wise.

    Best place to ask all this is on Slowtwitch. They have a special women`s section, so any search of that forum will give you loads of info to go off.
  14. Alei

    Alei Cruising

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    I realise road bikes and tri bikes are different. That being said, I'm still after a road bike. Over the long term, I think I will get more use out of a road bike.
    I want to ride mostly for fitness, leisure and the odd tri race. I'm looking more to "participate" in tri races rather than "compete", especially as a bike neophyte. If I decide to go serious with tri races later on, I can always get the clip on aero bars later.

    In the last 24 hours I've been to 10 bike stores!

    So after sussing out heaps of bikes, I may end up ordering online after all. This is mostly because a lot of stores don't sell my size in the models I want, in stock. Some will take up to a month to order. I've checked online and other stores around Japan (not in Tokyo area though) have what I want in stock.

    So my next silly question is, if I order online and have the bike delivered -- is it wishful thinking of me to think that the bike will be delivered as assembled? Or am I going to have to put the bike together myself???
    Is that easier or harder than putting toether Ikea furniture?

    Ultimately, if I order online I'm going to have to lug all the parts to an LBS and have them put it together for me? How much would I be looking at to have a bike assembled? In addition to not being mechanically-minded, I don't have any tools.
  15. kiwisimon

    kiwisimon Maximum Pace

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    I would order online::: but:::: before you pull the trigger on your credit card, run your intended purchase by the guys on here and wait for input. They have a ton of knowledge that can point you in the right direction and maybe even stop you wasting some hard earned money. As far as assembly I'm sure the friendly lads will be able to guide YOU through the process for a few cans of their favorite ale. Better if you get told how to do it rather than just put it in someone else's hands, you'll learn a lot and it'll save you trouble next time. Have you got yourself measured up yet? Pretty hard to know what size you want without inseam, torso, arm and cubit measurements, esp as you don't have a current ride to compare it to. Scour secondhand ads as well. just your size maybe http://page4.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/d130218289
  16. StuInTokyo

    StuInTokyo Maximum Pace

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    Completely agree with Simon on this one, the members here have helped me out several times with purchases.

    Get yourself measured, money VERY well spent. I had it done at Y's in Shinjuku for just 1000 yen, worth every yen!

    That bike on auction, if it stays cheap would be great!
  17. StuInTokyo

    StuInTokyo Maximum Pace

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    Oh yeah, where in Tokyo are you? I'm in Shinjuku and have a workshop and various tools etc, and would be happy to help YOU put your bike together, it is not rocket science.

  18. Alei

    Alei Cruising

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    Alright, here goes.

    I am planning to buy online here:
    80,000yen for last year's model. Free delivery. (Awesome website I might add. Some great bargains!)
    30,000yen extra if I want this year's model.
    I'd have to buy pedals separately, but no big deal.

    So I'm leaning towards the Felt ZW75 (women's model) and I'd order the 450mm size (which is classed as Small size, and not the petite size). http://www.feltbicycles.com/USA/2012/Fit-Woman/ZW-Series/ZW95-21045.aspx

    I tried sitting on some bikes in-store:
    I really liked the Anchor ra6 equipe. Tried 430mm. Good fit. Maybe a tad small.
    Also tried out the trek 2.1. 470mm. Tad too big for my liking.
    Tried out a Bianchi Impulso 460mm and another bike that was 450mm.
    One of the bike stores told me 450mm was probably the best bet. There I was served by another female of the same height and she had me get on her personal bike.
    Haven't been able to check out the Specialized bikes yet. Not so many had the women's series in stock.

    So for my height (158cm), I think between 430-470mm is fine. So I think I will go with 450mm rather than 460mm.
    The Felt ZW is more female-friendly in proportions as well.

    What are your thoughts on a proper fitting?
    Most bike stores I went to weren't inclined to fit me unless I wanted to actually proceed with an order with a view to purchase soon thereafter.

    This guy runs an English-speaking fitting service. Seems pricey though? Is that the norm. A tad inconvenient to get to as well.
    Anyone had experience with him?
  19. Alei

    Alei Cruising

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    @ StuinTokyo.
    I was just at Y's Shinjuku today. They were kinda busy and nobody seemed available to help.
    They do fittings for 1000yen?! I might go back there tomorrow then.

    Wow, I'd appreciate any and all offers to help me put my bike together. Thank you, Stu.
    I'm right near Shinjuku, so that's convenient. I'm one stop away on the Chuo line!
    It would be great if I could get a few bike tutorials in some basic mechanics. It would be great for me to learn how to do this for myself, especially if I plan on traveling to tri races.
    eg bike assembly, removing wheels for a rinko, fixing a flat etc.
    Am happy to pay for your time and services in either beer or yen (bonus for it to be in English too).
  20. StuInTokyo

    StuInTokyo Maximum Pace

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    Looks like a nice bike!

    That fitting guy, I think some here have used him, I bet they will chime in. I'd suggest that a trip to see him might be in order, down the road, but for now, just a basic fit would do to get you in the ball park, so to speak.

    Are you in Shinjuku at all? The Y's road in BYGs B1 does a basic fit for 1000 yen, if you go on say a tuesday morning, you can usually just walk right in and have the fit done, no waiting, wear the clothes you wear on a bike (if you have any) and the shoes you would use on the bike, again if you have any, otherwise the stuff you run in would most likely be OK. Takes about 30 minutes. Well worth the money.


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