I'm riding a bike i got from the tip. it is an old steel bike. It goes fine, and i've had no troubles with it. i have a route around a lake i like to ride, 20k's. i'd like to begin riding either longer, more often, or both. These new bikes look great, and are very light. Should i care? would it make any noticeable difference? Also, what about the cicyle clothes i see everyone wearing. Are they showing off, or is there an actual advantage?


9 Responses to is it worth buying a new bicycle?

  1. tgypoi says:

    As long as the bike doesn't cause you pain when you ride it, keep it until it falls apart.

    Lighter bikes are good, as it doesn't take quite so much work to ride them, but a heavier bike is better excercise. If you want to go offroad, I would recommend something with lots of gears, so you can tackle more terrain without over-exerting yourself.

    For the most part fancy cycle clothes are just for showing off. The aerodynamics are better of you have tight fitting clothes, but as a casual cyclist you shouldn't be going fast enough for that to matter. As long as you wear something that is comfortable, and not loose enough to get caught in the chain, you shouldn't have any worries.

  2. Glenn B says:

    It sounds like you are ready to upgrade. Yes a newer bike will make a difference if in good condition. They are generally faster and require less effort. If you are regularly doing 20km on a dump bike you have a solid base to work from. It opens a whole world of opportunities to you.
    You will be able to ride distances you would have thought impossible. If you get carried away you could even line up for the Paris Brest Paris a 1200 km event (in less than 90 hours)
    Many people at your level start commuting (up to 30 km each way is common) and eventually wind up rarely using a car.
    The clip-in shoes/pedals are best clothing accessory you can buy. It makes a dramatic increase in the amount of power you can put into the bike. If you go for recessed cleats you won't have to walk like a duck. Toe straps are a cheaper alternative and do a similar job. But many a rider has come down after a quick stop
    If you regularly ride for an hour or more you will learn to love the pants (knicks) they keep everything in the right place and have padding. It took me a while to summon the courage to wear them in public, but I wouldn't go back now. I still regularly ride in a t-shirt. The jerseys aren't that much help. Except for the pockets.
    A lot of people spend way too much on their bikes. Losing a couple of kilos will make you go as fast as spending thousands of dollars Climbing hills will wipe out a newer rider before they get to benefit from any aerodynamic advantages. A good bike does need to be very expensive at all. There are many sitting in garages all over the world that would have less than 100 km on them. If you do a lot of distance it is not hard to justify upgrading components as they wear out.
    There is a very large Bling culture associated with cycling. A few stuck up trendies too. I'm not saying that you won't go quicker on the lastest and greatest. Just that spending many thousands will not make that much difference at this early stage. If you don't get caught up in the crap it is a very enjoyable obsession.

    Not knowing how lucky you have been in your dump pickup it is hard to gauge just how much improvement you will get. My guess is substantial. If you can find someone about your size to give you a short ride my guess is that you will be convince within 500 metres.
    While cycling is mostly about the rider a good bike is also an important ingedient.

  3. moblet says:

    When you're a beginner it doesn't matter what you ride. As you get stronger, and start to appreciate how a bike handles, you may then find a better bike more satisfying and fun to ride, and as you do more distance, you'll find a better bike is better value because its components last longer.

    Better frames waste less of your energy in flexing, which is more significant than saving the couple of kilos in weight, and handle more positively through a combination of geometry and stiffness. These characteristics can also make them less comfortable and more demanding to ride. I'd suggest moving slowly up the ranks, and to consider buying a second hand bike next (which you'll be able to sell for about what you paid for it).

    I wear the clothes (without advertising all over them) for the following reasons:
    ~ Lycra is better protection than cotton if you take a slide on the road.
    ~ Cycling shorts almost completely eliminate chafing, they are padded (only matters after an hour), they don't get caught on the seat when I stop/start (most of my riding's in the city), they don't parachute in the wind, and they last much longer than regular shorts/trousers would.
    ~ Cycling tops offer the best temperature control (windproof with a long front zipper), don't get soaked in the rain, and have pockets at the back.
    ~ Cycling shoes have stiff soles which protect my feet from strain injury (I learned that the hard way), and also increase power transfer. Attaching your foot to the pedal is safer, allows you to relax your legs, and improves your pedalling. Clipless pedals are more comfortable on long (>2hr) rides and easier to disengage than old-fashioned clips.

    Having said all this, cycling is a lifestyle for me, and reliability of equipment over thousands of kilometres is an important consideration. I ride reasonably good bikes and equipment but I get my money's worth out of them.

    There's no need for you to rush into any purchases. You're enjoying it, you're committed, and that matters more than anything you can buy. You shouldn't care about what everyone else is riding, but keep an eye out for things that will make it more fun for you.

  4. bikernoj says:

    Get a new bike and new clothing. Newer technology makes the bikes so much more efficient and comfortable, and bike clothing is made for a purpose.

  5. Roberto says:

    Usually, it depends on how good is your current bike. If everything works, and you like it, fine. If you're planing on buying a new one, and it's a nice bike, you will find that suspension technology has improved a lot over the years, geometry will be slightly different.

    Also, it depends on how often you want to ride. If you do ride often, a good new bike is a good investment, and will probably make it easier.

    Good full suspension bikes will make long travels easier, you won't end up as tired.

    About cycle clothes, they're not show offs. It's not the aerodinamics that's matter in the decision, but other more practical stuff.

    While cycling jerseys might be more expensive than a cotton t-shirt, the fabric they use helps in sweating, they have some pouches in the back to keep some tools (which is great if you don't use a backpack), and are cut to help hiding the plumber crack.

    Lycras are good for some riders, they keep everything tight and have a padded chamois that helps in the long rides. Also, there are some shorts that have lycras inside.

    Gloves are good, and help with hand numbness.

    Shoes with clipless are great, just wear out ones that fit properly.

    Socks are also light and and sort of short wich prevents them to tangle on the chainrings.

    so, yep, there are advantages.

  6. adam c says:

    yes i buy a new one evey year

  7. b4_999 says:

    Cycling shorts eliminate the seam that most pants have in their crotch. That seam can get ground into your body until you're not happy being on a bike and that's not the way to be on a bike. You will wind up with uncomfortable times on a bike do to physical stresses and if you can eliminate even one source of soreness you will thank me later.

  8. Budd the lensman says:

    The steel bike you got may be as heavy as a TANK----I suggest you get something way lighter with high-end drivetrains and equipped with tough components---intended for abuses and long rides ( these FREERIDE type of bikes can withstand the pounding!) The difference is you'll feel MOTIVATED---such bikes go FASTER than a steel rig ( frame materials such as scandium, titanium are recommended) Some bikers are poseurs who buy expensive Ellsworths, Titus rigs but got no clue of the FUN of hammering wearing signature schtick while the COOL dude with the simple KHS, Trek hardtails with the bargain gear can leap tall cliffs in a single bound can qualify for a shot in the Red Bull rampage ( with a dual suspended KILLER bike ) and tons of GUTS----give him credit for just being an underdog----its how you ROCK that counts! Keep riding amigo!

  9. ZepOne says:

    As a buddy of mine put it, it is worth getting a new bike if it gets you out more. You will like see a noticeable advantage by getting a decent aluminum road bike. Although, high quality steel bikes are nothing to squawk at. Steel can soak up the road shock a bit better than aluminum, saving your bum and hands.

    Yes - Get some clothes. It's not for show. It's for function. Tight clothes chafe less and are more aerodynamic. They materials take the moisture off your skin to reduce chafing and improve cooling. Also, most cycling clothes are built with neat little things like pockets on the rear of a jersey or a chamois pad in the crotch of the shorts - again to manage moisture and chafing and the extra cushion doesn't hurt. All this can add up to greatly improved comfort and performance, especially if you start to increase your mileage.

    Good luck.

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