Buying a Bike

Buying a BikeMy vintage 1970’s Apollo MKIII, with panniers and all, still manages to get me where I am trying to go. Each Spring, however, I think that it is time that I should be out looking for a replacement steed. It isn’t hard for me to find a bike that I like. Then I look a the price tag and grimace. It seems that I have no problem spotting the most expensive ones. They always seem to be right there at the front of the store in my size and colour!

Note: above photo is me in yellow on a damp day on the Tarpon Springs Rail Trail in Florida. If you click on the photo, you will be taken to a list of the various cycling blog entries from my 2011 cycling trip in Florida.

This Spring, I’m not only looking for a possible replacement bike for myself but also looking at a replacement bike for one, maybe two of my sons. Dad volunteers  to do the research :-).

Amazing how the bike manufacturers have differentiated bikes over the years since I had my first CCM bike. Now there is the racing bike, the touring bike, the commuting bike, the triathalon bike, the Mountain bike, the Hybrid touring bike, the hybrid mountain bike, the Cyclocross, etc.  For those my age, from the days when tires were described in inches, there is the new movement towards the 29 inch tire. I say ‘new’ movement with tongue-in-cheek because, in this day and age, any “new” technology or idea is really old if it has been around more than five or so years and the 29 inch wheels has been around more than 5 years! Heck, it was only a couple of years ago that I learned from the Kunstadt support vehicle during the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour that the 700 tubes could be used in my Apollo’s 27 * 1 -1/4 inch tires.

What does all of this mean. Well, if I go to one store, I can see plenty of Trek and Canondale bikes; in another store the Giant brand is predominate; in another there is the Devinci (I’m almost moved to buy myself a Devinci Caribou 2 touring model but not quite yet :-)) or the Rocky Mountain brands. Since there is a 1995 Rocky Mountain Hammer in our garage already, it wouldn’t be hard to decide on another Rocky Mountain brand bike in the family. But, I had better check out some more brands. Best not to jump to conclusions too quickly.  Hate to make a decision before all the good riding weather has come and gone!!! Another store, another collection, another selection. How about a nice red Specialized model or, if that is a bit too flashy, how about a nice Brodie in plain white or black or maybe an old favourite brand like a Raleigh with a store-brand paint job?

Things definitely seemed easier when each brand came in a lot fewer price points. Now it seems that a multiplication demon has been at work with five or more price-points for each model. Oh, so you would like the light weight carbon fiber fork on your bike. Not a problem at you price point, if you don’t mind that all of the other components are entry level at best. Campagnolo, Shimano, Dura-Ace and SRAM haven’t been left out of the differentiation process. They, too, have many,many different models/styles of each of the components so trying to get a direct comparison from one model or brand of bike to the next is next to impossible.

As my travels from store to store has continued, I haven’t bumped into any Motobecanes yet, but, as I finished off tonight’s quest at Dinardos in Bells Corners, I found out that they don’t handle any of the aforementioned brands but instead have Opus, Felt and numerous other brands in their selection. More choices! More reviews to read! Decisions! Decisions!

Who knows what brands I might look at tomorrow. So much fun!!! Now, will that be a steel, aluminum or a carbon frame to compliment that form-fitting saddle? My mind spins. No I don’t think training wheels will be necessary. Not yet anyway! 🙂 But thanks for asking!




About Ron

Ron has long had an interest in photography and traveling and, in recent years, has had more time to devote to both activities. Long a Pentax user, Ron switched to Nikon gear when he went digital. The advent of the digital SLR camera, and the ease of the internet blogging process, has provided a venue for sharing his photography and travel experience at the local, national and international level. More about Ron
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1 Response to Buying a Bike

  1. William Hay says:

    Hi Ron, I enjoyed the blog. I chose a Trek Navigator as my last bike and really enjoyed it for the city. Never did a long distance on it. Just commuted an hour a day for a couple of months before I damaged my knee, something typical for my age range according to the sportsmed folk. The adjustment of pedals and height is critical. I just assumed I could bicycle across Europe as I did when I was 20. I also ignored the pain in the knee, something one shouldn’t do over 40. Subsequently I had calcification in a medial ligamentous structure. It was a year almost before I was able to hike in the woods losing a whole hunting season due to my pig headedness.
    I still have pain in the rain and it alwasy rains here. I haven’t got back to biking since but now I can. I tried a stationary bicycle and it was fine again. The message is be careful with injuries and best to go slowly whatever the bike.
    I work with an Ironman doc whose bicycle is more expensive than my Harley Davidson so I know the price range is extraordinary.
    I’ll be glad to hear what you finally get. I’m always impressed at the amount of research you put into your major shopping. I checked out only two of our major bike only stores before I got the Trek. The last bike I had before that was the Mongoose. 15 years ago I cycled 40 miles a day when I lived outside Chilliwack at Slesse Park 20 miles outside town, commuting several days a week for months. That was a great mountain bike but a Peugeot like my European bike would have been better for travelling the paved road. Good luck on your adventure. You do alot more cycling than I can these days for an older guy. Loved the picture of you in yellow. With my ponch I couldn’t fit such a ‘fitted’ jacket.

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