RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

Reply To: need to upgrade bike

SSC1, March 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Ok – it went through.  Don’t know what happened before.

I have had real good luck finding used bicycles in superior condition from craigslist.  I’ve seen good bikes up on eBay, but they seem to go for more than those on craigslist.

I’ve been riding road bikes since I was a kid.  Back in the 70s, if you didn’t have access to a car always, a 10 speed bike was nearly as good (well, not for some things….LOL).  Lots of changes since then……..mountain bikes, hybrids, just to name a few.  My wife upgraded from her 1962 Raleigh 1 speed to a mountain bike a few years back (1995), and now that we are getting ready to give Ragbrai a shot, she let me convince her to look at road bikes.  We ended up with a Specialized Ruby – and she has become used to the more horizontal ride with the standard road bike feel.  The fact is, because shifters are now incorporated into the brake levers, the problems with riding road bikes from early on (how did we ever manage with the old Schwinn Varsity or Trek 420 levers on the downtube???) are now pretty much gone.  Because of materials, multitudes of geometry sizes to fit literally every person, and the availability to be fitted by a pro – you will have great cruising success on a road bike.  That would be my suggestion before considering a hybrid or something similar. 

Having said that – please – you hybrid folks – they work fine.  I’m just responding to the question.  I hear that someone did all of Ragbrai on a unicycle a few years back – so I guess you can ride just about anything.

The biggest issue is to be sure that the bike fits you.  I purchased a Bianci Imola (2005) bike a couple weeks back, had it fitted to me, and it turns out to be a better size for me than my 2006 LeMond Tourlamet.  The bike shop that sold me the LeMond didn’t bother to take time to be sure it was the perfect size – they were more interested in selling a bike.  The standover height was all they checked.  The bike was 1 size too small.  Luckily – my son fits it, and he needed a bike for Ragbrai – so I gave him the LeMond and I’ll take the Bianchi.  The Bianchi retailed for $1400 new in 2005, all Shimano 105 components – and it is in mint condition.  It has a Flight Deck computer, clipless pedals, and came with brand new Specialized bike shoes that were used twice.  Total cost was $475 – a steal.  Craigslist – looked every day until I found something.

My younger brother, who is going to ride with us, purchased a 2002 LeMond Zurich for the parts to add to the LeMond Sarthe frame he purchased a year ago.  The frame was $75 and the Zurich was $less than $500…..total cost for a $1600-1900 bike was less than $600.

There are advantages to purchasing from a local store – you get support and you get tuneups.  However, you’ll save a lot of money buying used.  Just be sure to be careful and have the bike checked out carefully.  If it is the correct size, be sized on it and have it worked over by a pro technician until it is not only road worthy, it is in primo shape for riding Ragbrai.

Good luck!
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