I am just getting into road biking again. My old bike is very old, so I'm just going to leave that set up on my indoor trainer. Being a stay-at-home mom with 2 very little boys, I don't have much time to shop for a bike. I am thinking about just going with this http://www.rei.com/product/807241 I can get 20% off. Haven't test ridden it. Would you say go for it, or visit a local bike shop and get personal assistance? I wanted to find something a little cheaper, but I am giving myself a budget of $1000.
Well, what kind of riding do you want to do? Training for something? Or just ride around the neighborhood with the kids? This bike is a good starter road bike. Not really for riding around with the kids. That you will want a hybrid bike. Good luck
I would recommend a Jamis for under 1000. Its a good dependable bike for the price-American made too. The bike shop in Tucker has them. Bikeways of Tucker? not sureof the name... but talk to Buddy the owner. A good egg.
It has decent components (Shimano 105 shifters and derailleurs, tiagra for the rest), but it's a little heavy. I'd figure out what size you need, try REI and Performance (if there is one nearby), but also consider bikesdirect.com. Local shops will be much more expensive, but will offer a follow up tune up and more person to person service. NOT always better service, but different service.
If you need help with bike fit, I'm blogging about it cause I worked my way through it recently when I bought a new bike, but it's very much a work in progress...What Size Bike Do I Need
A lot of people have very strong opinions about what bike is best -- I am not one of those. To me, proper fit is by far the most important factor, followed by at least reasonable quality components. Getting hung up bike weight is kinda silly for most of us (at least speaking for those who, like me, are packing at least 10 lbs more body fat than we should!) -- obviously lighter is generally better, but a few grams won't make any difference unless you are an elite athle
Of course, if you were thinking of hauling those boys around in a trailer, you might rather go with a hybrid.
Whatever you decide, enjoy!
Personally, I admire that REI is trying to get people on bikes. But would I purchase a Novara road bike? The short answer is no. Why, you ask? For starters, it is probably one of the least comfortable bikes that I've ridden, and I've test ridden a lot of bikes. Also, every Novara that I've ridden feels like I'm riding a heavy log (in other words, I don't think they feel all that nimble or quick). Although REI offers bike maintenance, they don't offer fit services.
I am a big fan of shopping at a local bike shop where (a) they will spend time allowing you to test ride different models, (b) offer professional fit services (should you need them), and (c) know how to service the bike. You may spend more up front, but you will have something that you are happy with. Also, if you can find time, shop around and try different bikes - each one has minor differences in fit that you will probably notice. Although weight can be a factor as well, most bikes in your price range will be similar. I agree with BSheidler: fit is the most important factor. So if you can find a sitter or bring a friend to watch your children while you test ride, you are more likely to find something that you'll really enjoy riding.
I'm with Brian.
Test ride a few bikes. Make sure you consider that a bike might not feel spot on the first time you ride it. For example, if you have not been on a bike and have not done a push up since junior high, why would we expect our triceps and shoulder muscles to feel great after the first ride. Go to a shop with a good reputation in the area and ask if they perhaps have a previous year model on sale. As mentioned, the fit is the key.
REI is a great store but if you want the most for your money try www.bikesdirect.com they have all styles of bikes at great prices. I bought a Road bike for $1400. with ulterga and FSA componets and if I had gone to REI a bought a bike with what it has it would have cost me $3400.00 plus tax. There was no tax and no shipping charges and it arrived in less than a week. With the money I saved I was able to fit it out with a cateye computer water bottles and racks, pumps and up graded the seat.
I would not decide to buy that bike until I had visited a local bike shop. You can get a good road bike for less than $1000. The big plus at a local shop is personal service after the sale. Hard to get that with mail order and it is priceless as the saying goes.
My first road bike (1992) cost $329. It is a Raleigh Technium and I rode it for many thousands of miles. It was used on my first century, my first overnight bike camping, my first bike festival. You do not have to spend thousands to get a good quality fun bike to ride. Just stay away from mass marketers.
My young son was a regular on the back of my mountain bike in the neighborhood and at a festival. Slept a lot back there but now is a dedicated roadie and sometime mountain biker working part time in a local bike shop while in school.
I have seen Specialized, Jamis, Schwinn, GT and others in the bike shop for less than a thousand. If it is a year or two old you may save even more and still get a quality bike. They don't change that much from year to year and unless you are racing, componentry lasts a long long time. The old Shimano Exage 300 components still give good service on my old Raleigh although I've replaced the rear derailleur.
Good luck with your decision. Ride with your boys as they grow.