Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'm So Dizzy, My Head is Spinning.....

With my apologies to whoever sang that song in the 70's......

Katydid and I went bike shopping today, and I'm more confused than ever.

I know some things I want on my bike, but there are so many choices to make that it is completely baffling. And of the definite things I want on my bike, some people try to talk me out of those very things.

My main requirement is that it have a triple, or three chain rings. That provides an additional set of gears on the low end, mainly for climbing. Or for really slow people like me.

The very first guy we talked to said he was going to try to talk me out of a triple and into a compact. I said the last guy who sold me a bike talked me into a compact, and I was going to hunt him down and kill him.

He wisely said then, "I want you to have a triple."

What brand? The two I'm trying to decide between are Cannondale and Trek. Both have women-specific designs, which I like very much. I've had a Trek and loved it. I've had a Cannondale and loved it. The last bike I had was a Giant, only because it came in yellow and it was something the guy could get. (Not every bike store carries every brand .... evidently you have to be ALLOWED to sell certain kinds.....) More on the color issue later.

Then there is the decision between carbon fiber and an aluminum frame. Many people swear by carbon because it's lighter. I'm all about lighter in my bike, since I'm not having much luck making MYSELF lighter. Personally, I blame it on the lack of a triple. One salesman will swear by carbon, and the next will be an aluminum devotee. Sigh.

Then of course there is the matter of size. As one cute little salesman said today, very diplomatically, "Since you're not very tall......." How sweet of him. I had no idea that I would require a 47-48 cm bike. Who knew?

And there is the matter of test riding. Out of all the bikes we looked at today, I got to sit on one of them. These bikes aren't typically in stock, so you basically wind up buying something out of a catalog. Or off the internet. I could have stayed home this morning.

It may seem silly, but color is also important. It's not like buying a car, where you decide on the model and they have it in a gazillion different colors, one of them bound to strike your fancy.

Oh no.

Each model of bike comes in AT MOST two colors, some of them only one. Where do you compromise? If the model you really want comes in a butt-ugly color (like grey with teal accents), do you go with a different model to get the right color?

That sort of feels like going shopping for a BMW convertible and settling for a Toyota Camry because it comes in the right color.

The price ranges are enormous too, so that doesn't help a lot. We looked at bikes everywhere from $849 to $4200 today.

To top it all off, most of those bicycle shop folks talk way over my head about gear ratios, components, and lots of terms I can't even remember. I hate feeling stupid, so I just nod a lot. One of them asked me what my rear cassette looks like on my current bike, and I almost told him he was getting a little personal. I'm doing good just to know what a derailleur is.

I'm having dinner with my buddy Rozmo this week, and she is much more knowledgeable than I am. Perhaps she can help answer my questions, or at least tell me what questions to ask.

I remember when the most difficult decision to make about a bicycle was whether it had a basket or not.....


Anonymous said...

or a banana seat!

Anonymous said...


Maggie said...

This just sounds so hard......Good luck. Maybe one of your BRAG buddies could give helpful suggestions?