Advice Needed for Beginner

NewbieKate Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Road beginners
I would really like to get into road cycling and am looking for some advice. I've only ever had a mountain bike, so what should I look for in a road bike? Is a sportive bike better for a beginner? Also would I need to go for a women's frame or are some male bikes suitable for women?


  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Buy from a bike shop that offers a proper fitting service, and buy the bike that fits you best. You'll often get better advice from a shop that sells several different brands. No reason to restrict yourself to womens specific bikes; it's usually possible to get a comfortable fit on any appropriately sized frame by swapping saddles, stems and bars.

    If you're anywhere near Epic Cycles in Ludlow I can recommend them for friendly impartial advice, fitting, test rides, coffee and magazines.

    But set yourself a budget before you enter their Aladdin's cave!
  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    All depends on your budget. If you can throw money at it you're bound to get a good bike, if money is a bit more tight you need to do your research more.
  • Southgate
    Southgate Posts: 246
    I think it all depends on what sort of cycling you plan on doing. If you are going to be doing sportives and maybe Sunday club rides, then a 'sportive' bike with more relaxed geometry would be a good buy. You will sacrifice a little speed, but gain a fair bit in comfort.

    If you intend to race, then you should buy a more aggressive and lighter 'racing' bike where you can get down low on the drops. You will however sacrifice some comfort for speed.

    I own two road bikes; an Orbea Orca Sli2 mainly for racing, and a Specialized Roubaix for winter training / sportives / social rides / commuting etc. There isn't a great deal between them until you put the hammer down or corner at speed.

    It's hard to offer advice without knowing more about you, but in general I would say that most riders I see on 'racing' bikes, a) don't actually race, b) don't go any faster than they would on a 'sportive' bike, and c) don't use the drops.

    Lots of riders like to look 'pro'. But ultimately, the only 'right' decision is the one that feels right to you, and usually that's down to a mixture of your self-image, the image of the bike, price, and practicalities.
    Superstition begins with pinning race number 13 upside down and it ends with the brutal slaughter of Mamils at the cake stop.
  • kajjal
    kajjal Posts: 3,380
    Let us know your budget and the type of riding you want to do e.g. Racing, more relaxed riding etc. I came to road biking from mountain biking and set my road bike up to a more upright relaxed position rather than head down racing position. It is comfortable for long or short rides while being faster than a mountain bike.

    We live on the edge of the countryside and are quite a few female road bikers on road bikes out and about. They seem a lot more relaxed than the male riders, which may be the benefit of less testosterone :)
  • VmanF3
    VmanF3 Posts: 240
    Buy a cheap as chips bike, btwin for 300 quid or so, ride it for a season the decide whether you're in it for the long haul or not, if so, buy a bike that you know you want and that you personally recognise as being a great fit and a joy to ride, then keep the cheap one for winter or going to the pub. If not in it for the duration, either keep cheap bike as your roadie or flog it....

    All too often people new to sports/hobbies get a little 'fad-tastic', get totally consumed only to buy the wrong thing or worse lose interest once they have purchased the object of their desires....

    Better than throwing a grand plus away. Not saying that's the case with you, but I wished I'd taken that advice a few anyone?!
    Big Red, Blue, Pete, Bill & Doug
  • crankycrank
    crankycrank Posts: 1,830
    I like VmanF3's advice. ^^^ I would also strongly recommend riding as many different bikes as you can. A great bike isn't great if you don't feel comfortable on it. You may be surprised to find that you just love the feel of some and hate others. Also moving to a road bike may take several thousand miles to build your road cycling strengths and your riding position may change in the process. Women's bikes are generally designed for bodies that are longer leg and shorter torso's than mens and sometimes have shorter reach brake and shifter controls for smaller hands. Many women find men's bikes that fit them very well so it depends on your proportions more than anything.
  • napoleond
    napoleond Posts: 5,992
    I personally don't get this 'sportive' and 'race' bike business. I race, do long rides and commute in the same position :?
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  • jaxf
    jaxf Posts: 109
    I think that one of the things you will experience most at the outset is the difference in feel between the upright position on MTB and the down in the drops sensation of a road bike, so probably worth borrowing a bike until you get over that difference, and so can better decide what feels comfortable to you.
    I think I am the only woman who has responded; I have both womens and mens bikes. The thing that matters for me and my comfort is that the geometry fits, so as Keef66 said, worth going to an LBS to get measured up. And I completely agree with setting an all in budget before you start. My latest bike started with a budget of 2/3 what it wound up as .... I just want what I want ;-)
    The things that have helped me feel comfortable on long rides - extra shims so the reach to brakes and gears is lessened, a well fitting saddle, flipping the stem.
    I guess I have no opinion on sportive bike as a beginner bike, just what feels comfortable and fits the budget.

    What I would recommend is joining a bike club so you get to ride with people who know local, safe, enjoyable routes.

    I really hope you enjoy road as much as I do.
  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    Going from a hybrid with flat bars I struggled at first to get used to the drops. Mostly because initially the stem was too long, so the bars were too far away, so I kind of over reacted and got a shorter but much more upright stem which made it ok for a while, but gradually started wanting a lower position so went back to a slighter shorter version of the original stem, and then ended up flipping that over to get even lower.

    I'm thinking of possibly removing spacers to go even lower but probably want a bit fit first.