Author Topic: Bike buying advice  (Read 495 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline chefjnelson03

Bike buying advice
« on: July 21, 2020, 12:11:12 am »
Hello all,

So looking at a specialized diverged. 56' frame. im 5'11 and 215lbs.

So questions are, is this a good bike for touring? its at 1600 dollars so slightly more then i want to pay but am willing to if I should. Can not really go above that price tho.

I want a bike i can ride everyday and take on longer day rides but also when i become consumed with spontaneity  or boredome take it all the way across the US if i feel like it.(been mulling this idea over for awhile as I get in shape since covid has upended a lot of my life.)

Not many other options around here, been to a lot of bike stores and most have barely anything available.The guys on this store have more expensive options but have said this is prob the best option for me for price range and flexible usage ideas.

Thoughts and advice as I have very little bike knowledge. Thanks in advance.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Bike buying advice
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2020, 12:25:28 am »
Welcome to the ACA Forums!

I am not overly familiar with the Diverge especially since you do not indicate specifically which one but I am assuming the Base since @ $1450 MSRP, that is the closest without going over your budget. 

Regardless, my answer would be the same.  Consider buying used for your first bike.  You can frequently find a very good bike at 50% off since it is used.  Usually, the bikes is in very good condition.  At most, it needs new cables, tires, seat, and bar wrap. 

For long-distance touring, you ideally want a bike made specifically for touring.  A gravel bike comes somewhat close but not quite.  You need a bunch of mounts for the 3 water bottles, front and rear rack, fenders, etc.  The bike's geometry is more laid back so it is comfortable after hours and hours in the saddle.  A good touring bike can be a nice everyday bike but it probably is not best for the faster club rides.

There are other somewhat recent posts regarding decent less-expensive touring bikes.  Check them out. 

Tailwinds, John





Offline Inge

Re: Bike buying advice
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2020, 03:02:19 am »
I think I would lean towards Surley (Ogre, Long Haul Trucker, Disc Trucker), Kona (Sutra), Salsa (Fargo) for your intended use. I think they are in the same price range. Have you worked out whether you want a drop bar bike or eg Jones H bar/ Surley Moloko bars. I have both types of bars Salsa woodchippers on my gravel (custom built to specs of the Salsa Fargo) - now indoors bike and Jones H bar on my Santos 3+ touring rig. For touring I would not want to go back to drop bars. Out of the above I would go for the Ogre with Surley bars or Jones H bars for it would make a, in my opinion, fantastic dayride bike as well as a brilliant touring bike.

Do not know what width tyre fit in the Specialised but I would go for a bike that takes at least 2" width/ 50mm tyres preferably wider ones. I ride on my daytrips currently with 70mm tyres (27.5") and love it - gives brilliant comfort and is not slower than narrower tyres. yes, when accelerating it takes a bit more time then on a racing bike but once rolling it rides even lighter.

Absolutely agree with John on "For long-distance touring, you ideally want a bike made specifically for touring.  A gravel bike comes somewhat close but not quite.  You need a bunch of mounts for the 3 water bottles, front and rear rack, fenders, etc.  The bike's geometry is more laid back so it is comfortable after hours and hours in the saddle.  A good touring bike can be a nice everyday bike but it probably is not best for the faster club rides."

Hope the above gives you some more food for thought. Since you say that there is not much around you I would drive to somewhere where they have more and different bikes from where you are at.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Bike buying advice
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2020, 09:56:01 am »
The Diverge is a nice bike.  It's on my list to look at seriously, if only a bike shop would stock my size and open so I can take a test ride.  From what I've seen (too small for me to ride, though), it looks like it could be a great choice for bad road surfaces (or dirt or gravel, not that there's too much around here -- except for road construction!).  It may suffice for your needs, or maybe not.

First, when you "become consumed with spontaneity  or boredome take it all the way across the US," how are you going to do it?  If you're going to throw a change of clothes and some rain gear in a small bag, and plan on sleeping in motels or B&Bs, the Diverge will probably be a great choice.

Second, what route are you going to take?  Are you going to seek out steep and scenic mountain roads?  If you're fresh and lightly loaded, you can probably ride the Diverge up reasonably graded roads.

The downsides are mostly gearing and load carrying.  In the Appalachians, and the Ozarks to an extent, I made good use of a 20 gear inch low -- and walked a fair bit when it was too steep for that.  The DIverge gives up two low gears compared to my touring bike 20 gear inch.  As it's been said, what you don't have in your legs you'll need to have in your gears.  I'll add that gets worse when you're tired from a long day's ride or fatigued from many consecutive days of riding.

For load carrying, I've used the traditional two racks and four panniers setup.  That would be difficult with the Diverge.  If you're going to be packing a sleeping bag, cooking gear, food, tent, on top of the minimum cool weather clothes, rain gear, and water, you'll either have to assemble a bikepacking setup, with ultralight gear and funky packs; or put everything into two enormous rear panniers which will affect your weight balance; or perhaps pull a trailer with the load.  All of those are possible, but I don't have experience with any of the alternatives.

Offline El_Chupacabra

Re: Bike buying advice
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2020, 10:06:55 am »


Hello all,

So looking at a specialized diverged. 56' frame. im 5'11 and 215lbs.

I want a bike i can ride everyday and take on longer day rides but also when i become consumed with spontaneity  or boredome take it all the way across the US if i feel like it.(been mulling this idea over for awhile as I get in shape since covid has upended a lot of my life.)

Thoughts and advice as I have very little bike knowledge. Thanks in advance.

Edited a little for the points that stood out to me -

1) That's probably the right frame size.  I'm 6'0" and I'm usually on a 56cm frame. There's still some guesswork in buying without trying, but if that's what you have to do...

2) Have you done any touring of any kind? E.G., carrying loads, and/or riding day after day, and/or, camping + riding.  Or are long bike trips more of an aspirational goal?

IMHO the elements that make a bike fun to ride unloaded are different from what makes for a good loaded touring bike.  You can use a dedicated touring bike as an unloaded "regular" road bike, but it may feel heavy, dead, slow, etc.  They do make for good, durable commuter bikes though, if that's more what your daily rides would be.

3) "Little bike knowledge" = tech knowledge, or are you new to riding overall?

I agree with the suggestion that a used bike can be the best way to go - but you'll need to be able to assess condition and quality. If you don't have the background for this, do you have a friend close by who can look at potential purchases for you or with you?

Offline chefjnelson03

Re: Bike buying advice
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2020, 06:44:11 pm »
Hi Again,

Firstly thanks for all the input and now to add more types
and I am back with more bike types that I have looked at. a trek checkpoint alr5 or slr 5. a niner rlt or a lynsky gr pro. priced from cheapest to oh man i doubt i can afford a 4k bike.

A big hurdle now is finding a bike in the greater columbus area that fits my needs and I can actually get my hands on. the pandemic has apparently made for very slim pickings.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Bike buying advice
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2020, 06:47:32 pm »
I thought you could not go above $1600.  Again, buy a used decent bike.

Offline chefjnelson03

Re: Bike buying advice
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2020, 07:01:17 pm »
I did not want to. but pickings are slim, and if I can spend more now and the bike will last and do all the things I want i was thinking of spending a bit more. Only used I could find close to what I am looking for in the area was a bianca volpe. but the frame is 61cm. So i have serious doubts that it would fit me very well for longer rides. jus found a store that carries kona and surley so will take the drive out there tomorrow I think.

Offline Inge

Re: Bike buying advice
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2020, 03:10:29 am »
Good to read that you are expanding your horizon. Curious to read you thoughts on Kona and Surley. make sure that you try the bikes you like with dropbars and Surley/ Jones H bar.

If you are not that strong in the legs department do not go for a 29er but for a 27.5" instead - makes the rolling easier. As well as check what the lowest gear ratio is and have the shop change it to lower - get eg a mtb chain ring *(front/ rear setup) on the bike. You better lose some top end speed but gain low end "speed". So get the lowest inch ratio possible - is my advice use eg Bicycle Gear Calculator http://bikecalculator.com/ to work out what gears you need (I have Rohloff with 42 front and 22 in the rear).

Also keep in mind that different tyres cause a different feel in a bike so if test-riding make sure you have the same tyres on the bikes.

If possible bring loaded bags and put them on the bike to find out how it handles when loaded.

Good luck today!