First, let me first preface this with I am not the most technically savvy girl out there. I love to ride, I can change a tire, I can do minor maintenance, but I couldn’t tell you the types of brakes I have or the number of cogs on the chain ring! I ride a GIANT carbon fiber, super light road bike. The lightness factor comes in when your climbing!
What kind of bike can you get for under $1000? Remember: it must fit you properly! You will need a woman’s saddle (my preference are the Terry Saddles) which are pricey ($100-$140). You will need a quality shoe and pedal system. Pedals will “float” meaning when you are clipped in your feet should be able to move slightly from side to side. Some pedals have more float than others. Plan on budgeting $400 for the saddle, pedals, shoes, helmet and bike shorts.
Once you’ve determined what size bike you ride, then, you can start to shop around. I recommend riding 3-5 in your price range at the bike shop and really test them out. Things to think about would be the smoothness of the ride: do you feel every bump on the road or is it smooth? Can you comfortably get your hands in the drops? How does the bike shift? You should be able to reach the shifters easily when in the drops. How does it brake? What kind of riding are you planning on doing? Cross training or racing? Thinking of entering a triathlon? These are all things to think about when purchasing a new bike.
Resources I’ve found online include Road Bike Review and Bicycling Magazine. Both sources gave the Schwinn Fastback ($679) a good review for a starter road bike. I found the Bicycling Gear Review much easier to use and search based on “New Rider” or “Women” or “Recreational”. Road Bike Review only let me search by price. A few other bikes to check out would be the FELT F85 ($1099) or the GIANT OCR 2 ($900).
Regarding the Schwinn Fastback:
“One of our favorites JUST RIGHT FOR BEGINNERS: Last year, the Fastback 24 (very similar to this year’s Fastback Sport) was narrowly edged out by the Trek 1000 (below) for best entry-level road bike in our Editors’ Choice awards. With its upright geometry and confident feel, this bike is comfortable and fun for anyone just starting out. NAME RECOGNITION: Many less expensive bikes have house-brand, cost-cutting parts. But here you’ll find name-brand Truvativ cranks, Shimano shifters, derailleurs and levers, and even a Selle San Marco saddle. A LITTLE EXTRA: Derailleurs can be ripped off in a wreck, so Schwinn includes a replaceable hanger.” Taken from Bicycling Website.
On a side note: I’d start networking at the bike shop and see if they have any bulletin boards with bikes for sale. It is highly likely that there are riders in your area who have bikes in their garages that would be absolutely acceptable for an entry level road bike.
Ebay: If you’ve found what you want, Ebay can SOMETIMES be a good place to purchase a bike. Although, a lot of times the bikes sell for more than retail. Why, I don’t know. We have purchased and sold many quality cycling products on Ebay and been very happy.
Readers, if you have questions please post a comment! If I don’t know the answer, I’m sure I know people who will. Also, if you have something to add when purchasing a new bike, feel free to post a comment.