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Hi, I need some urgent advice!! I want to buy my 16yr old son a surprise bike for Christmas, I have established his frame size is 56", so thats not a problem.

He is a keen all round athlete, and will be using the bike for fitness mainly. As we live in Devon, (there are lots of hills!) I have been advised to go for triple gears.

At the moment I seem to be looking at a Trek 1000 or a Specialized Allez, my budget is about £400/450, has anyone an opinion on these bikes or a better suggestion? I had looked at the Giant SCR 2, but its only double.

He currently owns a mountain bike which he has outgrown!

Many thanks to anyone who can sort me out!!!

PS Any opinion about 18 or 27 gears?


  • Just a few thoughts as they appeared while reading your message:

    - Sounds like a tall 16 year old for him to require a 56cm frame, you sure about that sizing? It's tricky, because he may still be growing, and so you don't want to buy a bike he'll outgrow in a few months, but you also don't want a bike that is a little too big right now and may be uncomfortable or unsafe for him to ride

    - Are you sure about getting him a road bike? You say he's just outgrown his old mountain bike, but is he ready to go to a road bike? I guess it depends on what kind of mountain bike he had, what he used it for, and what he wants to do in the future. If he's likely to want to do more road riding, then a road bike is right for him. If he wants to go off-road or take in rougher terrain, then a mountain bike is better.

    - Although, you could always go right down the middle and get him a hybrid bike (like the Specialized Sirrus - http://www.evanscycles.com/product.jsp?style=70093 - or Ridgeback Element - http://www.evanscycles.com/product.jsp?style=71019 ) which gives him the lightness of a road bike with the more upright, perhaps more comfortable, sitting position of a mountain bike, as well as the the better-in-the-wet-and-mud braking power of a mountain bike.

    - triple front chain ring (triple gears) can be good for very hilly terrain, so probably good to stick with that, which means you're probably going for 27 gears and not 18 (or 24 gears not 16, or 30 gears and not 20 - it depends on the size of the rear gears or the rear cassette)

    - The Trek 1000 and Specialized Allez are both very good bikes, as is the Ridgeback Genesis Day 5 - they are all virtually indistinguishable from each other and will probably just be down to which one you think he'll like the look of best, or which one comes with some extra freebies thrown in by the bike shop you buy it from
  • AnneAnne Posts: 5
    Thanks for that, he's 5' 8" now & growing very quickly! His brothers are both over 6'. When I took him into a bike shop a few months ago they reckoned he's be OK on a large frame, so I'm guessing 56", or should I be looking at a 54"?

    PS Yes, he definately wants a road bike!
  • BoycieBoycie Posts: 189

    I'm no expert on bike fitting by I think rpopper has a good point. I'm just under 6' and have a medium size frame and I know people up to 6'2'' who still ride a medium, so I'd double check. It's a big mistake if you get it wrong.

  • chischis Posts: 94
    Hi Anne

    Some good points raised here. A good idea is to visit your local bike shop and have a chat to them - if you have an independent shop rather than say Halfords you will get some good advice about sizing and options re:gears.

    My experience, living in a hilly part of South Yorkshire is that a triple ring is not always necessary and that with the right sort of cassette (rear cogs) on the back wheel a double is more than adequate. More often than not the smallest of ring of a triple will be left unused but it is a matter of individual taste. You will get a decent bike for your budget rest assured.

    Good luck.

  • AnneAnne Posts: 5
    Hi Chris

    Thanks for your info, if you think double would be OK, would 16 be enough? Reason is I have just seen a bike on ebay that fits the bill, but only 16!!

    Hopeless at all of this!

  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Hey Anne,

    dont get too nervous about this stuff. You still have a month, lots of things can happen. Don't fall in the trap of getting hurried into a buy on ebay. Stick to this forum and you'll get a lot of usefull info, better to be sure then buying a bike that doesn't fit or isn't right for your son on ebay.

    Relax and learn usefull things about bikes and see where you go from there. btw, there will still be bikeson ebay and so within two weeks, maybe better ones
  • chischis Posts: 94

    Mmm buying on e-bay in my experience is fine as long as you know the product that you want inside out. Not sure I would advise it in this case - a good honest bike shop where you have some real comeback in the event of problems and to whom you could build a relationship with for future servicing etc might be better.

    16 gears instead of 18 might reduce the range you could get in the cassette - again the experienced bike shop will be the best to ask. They are usually genuine guys who admittedly want to sell bikes but are usually honest with you.

  • AnneAnne Posts: 5
    Chris, thanks for that, I shall go & seek out a good bike shop tomorrow & have a chat! I suppose I was going the ebay route because I thought I'd get a better bike for my budget!

  • I'll echo that sentiment about eBay - it is not usually the best route to go unless you know bikes inside and out (or want to learn them inside and out really, really quickly). If you go to a good bike shop (and, again, I'll second the advice not to go to a Halfords) and get some friendly, helpful advice, then at least you have somewhere to go back to if you encounter problems or changes of heart in the future - not so with eBay, generally. You can get a better bike for your budget on eBay (I'm a big fan, bought my last three bikes on there and got some storming bargains - but I've been buying, fixing and playing with bikes for about 30 years). If you have a good, patient friend who is willing to help (I sometimes get a vicarious thrill helping friends and family seek out fantastic bargains and don't mind spending a few hours helping someone find that gorgeous Specialized Allez that's just right for them on eBay), then go for it. Also, you have to have a good "eBay sensibility" to be able to tell when something sounds too good to be true (it could be a hoax/scam/stolen merchandise?) or when something just doesn't feel right. And, it's also good to know when to walk away and not keep bidding on something just because it seems to be the perfect bike and you don't want to lose it, and fear you may not find it ever again.

    The number of gears a bike has is calculated by counting the rings of gears on the rear cassette (the thing with all the teeth and the chain wrapped around it at the centre of the rear wheel) and multiplying it by the number of rings of gears on the front (the thing with all the teeth and the chain wrapped around it in the centre of the place where the pedals are, also called the crankset or front chainrings). These days, most rear cassettes have 8, 9 or 10 gears, and the front chainrings are going to be double or triple. So, you can quickly get an idea that if someone is selling a 16-speed bike, it's gotta be 8 gears on the back and 2 on the front (or a double). An 18-speed is likely to be 9 x 2 (probably not 6 x 3, because they haven't made 6-speeds on the rear in a long time, unless you're looking at a bike from the 90's on eBay). And so on.
  • If they're not doing it already, a lot of shops will be selling 2007 models cheap pretty soon, as the 2008 ranges come in. It'd be worth asking around in your local bike shops, could save you £££. (you might want to innocently enquire when the 2008 models come in rather than asked when you can get stuff cheap...)
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Anne do not go to ebay - false economy. Go to a local bike shop of good repute. Where do the members of your local cycling club go? Find out go there ask the man and he'll dvise you. Personally I'd advise you to get a large frame caad 5 Cannondale (excellent frame and worth upgrading), but talk is cheap and Cannondales are expensive - go see the man aat the bike shop and he'll help you. You may need to be wary of the silly woman attitude that some old school Local Bike Shops have.
  • AnneAnne Posts: 5
    Thank you all so much for your sound advice, I did indeed go to a local bike shop & bought a demo specialized allez! Hopefully I have made the right choice, but I am sure the bike shop will sort us out after Christmas if not!

    I do hope you all have a great Christmas & thanks again.

    Best wishes

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