First "real" bike

knodel

Warming-Up
Jul 19, 2011
6
0
0
Shizuoka
#1
G'day everyone,

I'm new here and very happy to find out about this community.

I'm looking to get a new bike since all I've been riding is a mama chari for 2 years. I regularly ride it pretty far since I enjoy exploring Japan on bike and have never really thought about getting a new bike since it can easily cater for all my needs here.

However, I've been thinking of doing a bit more long distance riding. I live in Shizuoka and have been thinking of going to Kyoto via Mie. I ride my mamachari a lot on strawberry road (rt 150) to get to shimizu, but I think riding a chari to Kyoto may be a little difficult for me (not to mention getting it back on a shinkansen or disposing it). I've read the Tokyo to Kyoto blogs on this site and think I could probably manage it from Shizuoka. So now I'm looking at getting an appropriate bike to assist me.

So far through reading various threads here I've come to the following needs.

Budget: cheap, I think 70,000円 is probably my upper limit.

Frame size: I've never had a proper bike so I'm not so sure about this. I am about 180cm(5"11) so maybe a 52-55cm frame?

I want something that is low maintenance which puts single speed in my mind, but I've never ridden it and I'm not sure how I'd cope over long distance with it. So I guess if you can convince me to get one (perhaps a schwinn cutter) then I will go for it since they are probably cheaper anyway.

Would something like this be overkill?
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/bh-bikes-zaphire-68-2011/

All my LBS are kind of expensive since I live pretty far out of Tokyo, but other things that I have had in mind are:
- Giant defy
- Schwinn fastback

It starts to get expensive there, I would be willing to get second hand, I would even prefer it since it would be cheaper. The cheaper the better for me, but I've never constructed a bike so I'm not sure I could get all the parts separately. I've checked Yahoo auctions and all that but am not sure exactly what I need for parts. I'm sure it would be a good experience for me to construct a bike from scratch (besides the wheels obviously). Sorry for the essay, but I've been scouring this site for great info, and its led me to post all that dribble. Thanks for reading!
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,517
644
133
Kanazawa
#4
As an example of someone not taking the off-the-wiggle-shelf route:

https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=2668

Stu is extremely handy with tools tho, and also has the follow-thru to get a project done.

I'm not trying to sway you, and that thread may only (and reasonably) reinforce your choice to order via wiggle. Just offering it to clarify the alternatives.
 

knodel

Warming-Up
Jul 19, 2011
6
0
0
Shizuoka
#5
Actually JDD, I would rather buy local and try out a product, however my budget can stretch further if I order off the internet it seems. Due to my location if I were to purchase from a bricks and mortar store in Tokyo, I would have to add a little bit to the costs to go there and check it out (to be honest probably only 10,000).

I totally missed that post by stu, I will read through it now. I would honesty much rather go down that route as I would learn much more about the mechanics of a bike.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#6
Not bad! I wonder why they have put a Microshift FD and Tiagra RD? Does that mean they are using Microshift brifters? Which ones? Overall the specs / price on this bike are very good. If you do a DIY in Japan, you'd probably hit closer to 90,000 yen assuming you will buy the majority of parts new. For example:

1) NOS Frame - 15,000 yen
2) WH-R501 Wheels - 10,000 yen
3) Used Brakes - 3500 yen
4) Mostly used cockpit - 5000 yen
5) Chainset Tiagra / Sora - 8000 yen
6) Microshift Group (FD,RD,Brifters) - 15,000 yen
7) Other bits and pieces - 5000 yen
8) Tires and Tubes - 5000 yen

Total - 66,500 yen (by scraping and searching the used shops you could probably cut about 10,000 yen - but it would be a bit challenging)

Size wise - at 180cm you will feel most comfortable with a 55-56cm effective top tube. Seat tube height is more or less immaterial. On the BH - 'M' might feel a bit small - however if you plan to train more aggressively it will be fit better and better. The 'L' size would fit fine and feel a little less cramped to begin with - especially with a shorter stem.
 

knodel

Warming-Up
Jul 19, 2011
6
0
0
Shizuoka
#7
Thanks for all your replies. This is a really great site for advice.

So I'm not getting in over my head with this bike?

I'm just hoping that I will be able to maintain this bike without too much trouble.

Again thank you for all your advice. Much appreciated
 
May 23, 2011
11
0
11
Shinjuku, Tokyo
#8
Hey,
I wouldn't sway you away from the bike you linked over to a single speed as you mentioned, if i had the money I would probably buy that BH bike over a cheap fixed for touring Japan.
I ride/bought a fixed here in Japan for 23,000 yen off yahoo and it has been perfect for me. my reasons were more out of maintenance ease and transportation ease. also, i have plenty of geared bikes waiting for me at home.
i rode to Kyoto last month on it, so i would say that is definitely do-able:
wrote about it here: https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/blog.php?b=92
and climbed takao-san as well as the 'easy' green line that the tokyo cycle group did on sunday last week without too much difficulty.

so: my thoughts: buy the geared! but riding fixed adds an extra little (sometimes) fun challenge> AND...I have yet to experience a single maintenance issue (knock on wood) and i ride about 300-500km a week. so i will definitely stick by maintenance ease when it comes to single speed bikes.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#9
You'd get no contradictions from me, for sure! BTW - where were you on our 'easy ride' last weekend? Would be nice to have a few more fixed to join up on some common paced rides :) There is nothing in Japan (and probably anywhere) that cannot be comfortably ridden on a fixed gear - albeit at somewhat different pacing than geared bike.

so: my thoughts: buy the geared! but riding fixed adds an extra little (sometimes) fun challenge> AND...I have yet to experience a single maintenance issue (knock on wood) and i ride about 300-500km a week. so i will definitely stick by maintenance ease when it comes to single speed bikes.
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,181
76
68
Kochi
#10
Budget: cheap, I think 70,000円 is probably my upper limit.

Would something like this be overkill?
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/bh-bikes-zaphire-68-2011/
Sorry to burst your bubble, but don`t forget that Wiggle has a delivery charge for bikes (12,000 - 13,000 Yen) so that would put the BH above your budget, though otherwise it does seem very good value. I`ve mentioned before on some other threads, but it is worth checking out Sports Authority (or maybe Sports Depot) as they often have discounts on, and have seen Giant Defy`s for around 67,000 (I think). If you are not in a rush for the bike, then I would just wait for sale time - especially with the heat at the moment putting a limit on what you can do. Remember, new 2012 models will soon be starting to appear (Sep?) so shops will have to shift stock to make space for them and big stores like Sports Authority with limited space for each section are a prime candidate. As for my 2 Yen, I would always go for the geared.
 

knodel

Warming-Up
Jul 19, 2011
6
0
0
Shizuoka
#11
Thanks tamara.augsten I actually already read about your ride and that's what was making me think of going single speed. Nice writeup.

Sikochi, Yeah I knew about the shipping and possibly taxes too, but there seems to be a pretty big gap in quality between 50,000 and 80,000yen. I don't mind going over a little bit but i'd rather hit the sweetspot in terms of quality price then be just under and regret it later. I tend to buy things nowadays that I hope will last longer than me(which I suppose is why I'm attracted to single speed because of the simplicity of the movement).

Thanks for all the advice, I hope you are all safe from this typhoon. I can hear the PA weather warnings now.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#12
BTW - if you get a singlespeed bike with 135mm rear spacing then you can always pop in a Shimano Alfine (or other internal gear hub) for more variety. The Sturmey Archer internal hubs can be fitted to a 'standard' track bike with 120mm OLD and they also have a special fixed gear version of the 3 speed. So, in fact, there are alot of choices and variations available to people who prefer to ride WITHOUT deraillers.
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,181
76
68
Kochi
#13
BTW - if you get a singlespeed bike with 135mm rear spacing then you can always pop in a Shimano Alfine (or other internal gear hub) for more variety. The Sturmey Archer internal hubs can be fitted to a 'standard' track bike with 120mm OLD and they also have a special fixed gear version of the 3 speed. So, in fact, there are alot of choices and variations available to people who prefer to ride WITHOUT deraillers.
Agreed, which is why I wrote geared and not `with derailleurs"
 

knodel

Warming-Up
Jul 19, 2011
6
0
0
Shizuoka
#15
A lot of this talk is going over my head:D

GAstuto, you mentioned earlier that an M size frame may suit me better in the long run if I train aggressively. What do you mean by that?

I've been trying to educate myself on frame geometry but its difficult to imagine since I'm used to riding a chari which obviously has a very upright seating position.

By stem do you mean, the head tube length?
So a smaller frame would result in me having a more upright position(besides when i use drops)?

edit:

Sheesh maybe I am spending too much on this bike. I have to take into account accessories and pedals etc...it could push the price up to about 85,000.

Would most of you agree that the Tiagra groupset is the minimum I should invest in? Perhaps I should be looking at second hand.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#16
Maybe I can answer that question.

Im 188cm tall but ride a 54 -56cm frame depending on geometry. Although I do ride with a 130cm - 140cm stem and raked seatpost and saddle slammed back.

The smaller frame is going to be lighter and stiffer giving you better climbing and acceleration and training aggressively will develope the back, neck and shoulder muscles that are put under a lot more strain due to the more aero crunch postion on the bike.

However you're 180cm and a 55-56 frame is actually going to be on the large size in my opinion.
 
#17
I've had two friends quite happy with their Defy bikes. Both of them tall guys in Japan. It's an entry level bike but you can put a rack on it and get a lifetime of thousands of miles out of it, if you want.
The components aren't stunning but compared to what you're used to it will be fast and light. I wouldn't recommend it as anything other than an entry level bike but some people really like the extra brakes to transition to road riding.

As for the budget, the bike you will ride is the bike you should buy. Buying a cheap bike that you dont love and ride is not money saved.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#18
This pretty much says it all. At the same time there is nothing wrong with buying a cheap bike and riding the crap out of it. I rode my $25 Panasonic mulletto for a year until I finally broke it. I promised myself I would not buy a <new> bike until I earned it by riding more than 500km a month consistently. When I did, I just built my own 'dream bike', which I ride daily.

Fit and quality is not going to be much of an issue these days. The cycling technology is such that pretty much anything you buy (or spend) over $500 will be totally awesome compared to ANYTHING built 10yrs ago. So - you should focus more on HOW you want to ride. Racing? Commuting? Rindo hopping? Touring?

FE is correct - for modern compact sizes, your frame size should be on the smaller side, probably in the 52-53 range. For 'classic' sizing you would be a 55-56 (ST C-C).

For components. Anything that Shimano makes will work fine. When you get into the Tiagra range, you get crisper shifting, HG technology, 10 speed cassette, firmer brakes, etc. But, don't let the Sora scare you off. Many builders use the lower cost Sora with higher quality frame to give you a more upgradeable platform. As an example - I'm building full carbon bikes for students that cost in the 100,000 yen range. The frameset is found on bikes many times that cost, yet by carefully choosing lower cost, yet decent components, a really great bike can be provided. And, later, when the rider really becomes competitive, they can easily upgrade specific components to put them into the podium zone.

If you are a DIY type person and have decent mechanical abilities, then just snag one of the NOS frames from Yahoo and start at it. If not, then start with Yahoo for a used bike. If you don't find something there - then go down to Y's Akasaka cause in the basement they have all their large sizes - and some are very very well priced.

The most important part of any bike is the engine. That's you.

As for the budget, the bike you will ride is the bike you should buy. Buying a cheap bike that you dont love and ride is not money saved.
 

knodel

Warming-Up
Jul 19, 2011
6
0
0
Shizuoka
#19
Thanks again for all your replies.

I've learnt a lot in the last couple of days and have really been thinking about frame geometry and the needs for my biking.

In essence, I commute everyday, but not enough to own a competition ready bike. I've been thinking that perhaps a touring/commuting bike may be more appropriate for me. So I've been looking up a lot of bikes and have settled on a few choices. Firstly was the trek portland, but its way over my budget. I think a Jamis aurora(http://www.jamisbike.jp/aurora.html) is the bike I want. I might head to Tokyo on the weekend to see if I can track one down for under retail(there are a few on rakuten for ~80,000)

Me and my gf do too much grocery shopping on our bikes with baskets. I'd be selfish if I rode a rode bike every few days making her carry everything in her chari basket. :eek:uch:

That aurora has tiagra components, a nice 520 frame, some fenders for keeping my clothes clean and I can install a rack for panniers. I'll be looking at the 53 cm frame i think.

Thanks again for educating me, hopefully i'll be able to ride with you guys one day.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,517
644
133
Kanazawa
#20
knoodle... ;)

Great choice! Pick up a good rack and the next step will be some pans (bags/panniers) so you can carry the groceries. I'm not going to try to find it, but someone here once posted a video of what they had carried home on a bike from Costco.

I was kind of hesitant to say in the face of the other advice, above, but since you like (or are at least used to) a more upright position, and--now that you're going for a touring design--my suggestion would be to get a larg-ish frame. As long as you're comfortable with stand over and a longer top tube (reach, which can be adjusted some with a shorter stem), I'd offer that you might be happier with a frame on the bigger end of your size range, rather than smaller.

Good luck finding a Jamis!

John D.