I am about 200lbs 5'6 woman, 47yrs. Attached a screenshot of my last bike ride. It was mostly flat road, 2 lane country/ city bike paths (included was a 30 min layover where I grabbed a Snickers because I could feel I needed (energy?). I like to ride but this was my longest bike ride ever attempted and included a 5km detour (where I took a wrong turn and became lost). That's the background.

I like to ride my bike I have now is a Specialized (Hard Rock) 19yrs old where last year I switched the mtn bike tires out for street just to make the bike lighter. I love riding long distances and hate going to the gym. I am a stay at home mom so the only other exercise I get is from the TV to the Kitchen and back. My intention is to start riding regularly. I see these people out on my bike rides and they are riding Canondales etc. and are whizzing past me. I can't help thinking maybe if I had a better / lighter bike, I could get around more easier. Surely technology has changed in 19 yrs? My husband says he won't shell out the money for a racing bike because he thinks it's overkill however I take this as he doesn't think I'm serious. My intention is to get fit and I am anal about comparing my speed records against myself ie.. I intend to make my laps in shorter time.

I want a good bike not a cheap bike one that will last me a long time that I can take on long rides. I should add the area I am in now is Scandinavia (Denmark) and no there are no bike lanes where I'm riding they are two lane roads. Looking to spend between $500 area.

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    But the Hard Rock is a good work out bike. Yes you would go faster on many bikes but it would not mean a better workout. Make your laps faster on that bike. – paparazzo May 10 '15 at 20:05
  • I just feel that getting on the bike will motivate me to ride and I am convinced a faster, lighter NEW bike will do it, even if its psychologically if you follow. – Vicky Scott Laursen May 11 '15 at 15:44
  • But you said "I love riding long distances" and now you are saying you need a new bike to be motivated. You just want a new bike. Your current bike is a valid exercise bike and $500 won't buy you a much nicer bike. – paparazzo May 11 '15 at 16:05
  • To answer your update - what bike should you get is so opinion based and subjective, and as such the question is a bit outside of the way this site is meant to work. The answers we've given are our best shot at helping. We don't know if you are going to comfortable on a full race bike, or whatever. We can see that you are determined and competitive. But then you say you don't want to ride more that 30km. Matt has explained in one way, and I have explained in another way, why a new bike will not help much. cont ... – andy256 May 12 '15 at 9:25
  • ... So I do encourage you to go to a LBS to try out some bikes and see what will work for you. We can't do better than that across the internet :-) – andy256 May 12 '15 at 9:27

First - a lot has changed in 19 years, but not much. Some bikes are lighter, faster (and a lot more expensive) than 20 years ago. The difference between your Hardrock and a new one today is small enough not to matter for most people most of the time.

I am with @Blam this - if just wanting to get fit its arguable a heavy slow bike is better - its certainly cheaper than upgrading.

If comparing against yourself is the goal, any bike will do.

If comparing against others, one thing is more satisfying than passing some random cashed up middle aged exec wannabe on a $10000 super bike on your 20yo Hardrock - seeing their face as you do it.

If racing against others and winning is your goal, you need a new bike. If keeping up with a group is a problem to the extend you do not enjoy it, a new bike would be a wise investment.

Valid reasons for a new bike is if the Hardrock is a poor fit and/or you are uncomfortable riding it. If the Hardrock is worn out (many 19yo bikes have less miles than many 19day old bikes, so age is not a good guide) it may be better to replace it than spend money fixing it.

Another valid reason is if, having put down hard earned money - against your husbands wishes, it makes you feel bad about not using it and motivates you to keep riding where you would have stopped riding had you not upgraded (i.e. it gives you the will power to keep riding).

One good reason not to replace it just yet - wait till you have a few more miles under your belt, and have established a pattern of use. At the moment you are getting into it. You may find you like single trail MTB riding, or get into 100km road rides. In a few months you will know how you are using your bike not how you plan to use it.

By not changing the bike, you don't have to ask 100 questions (What kind of bike, what brand, how much to spend.....) that have no correct answer.

  • Good answer, as usual! They take a while to write, don't they! – andy256 May 11 '15 at 1:07
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    Another valid reason is she wants a new bike. I know that one works for me. ;-) – Carey Gregory May 11 '15 at 5:03
  • @mattnz Wow you gave a lengthy response and you didn't have to. I appreciate everything you wrote absolutely! It makes me feel bad perhaps my original post was too convoluted. So after reading your post I need to add that I do not want a mtn bike, yes I am doing this for exercise, I am riding on paved road and have it in my head I want a new bike. I will be spending my husbands hard earned money (ex bought the first bike ;) and have been riding now for two years and feel I want to upgrade. HardRock- good fit been using it for 19 yrs just not everyday.I just felt i should include my background. – Vicky Scott Laursen May 11 '15 at 15:50
  • @Vicky: The response helps others with a similar problem. Its easy to find reasons to buy a new bike, but many of those are not really valid. Based on your comment here, it sounds like you are ready for that upgrade. Look at used bike - $500 is a sideways step from the Hardrock and won;t gain much. – mattnz May 11 '15 at 20:12
  • Hi Andy! Thank you SO much for all the input wow this really is an amazing group. To address some of your comments:-I will try to find a riding buddy what a good idea-Will check out Strava!-extend the distance you ride by about 10% nah 30km is my max goal in one go. -Will look at my LBS if they have any 2nd hand bikes -Yep Endomondo.. another friend is using Runtastic idk.. -Im encouraged tremendously to hear that 20km is decent. -Just wearing Nike shoes at the moment w my original Giro helmet.-I won't be caught in the middle of nowhere and not how to change a flat. Thats a priority of mine. – Vicky Scott Laursen May 11 '15 at 21:01

If you are determined to get a new bike then look for a used one so that you get the best bike for the buck. Your local bike shop is the first place to check out. And read answers to other questions about getting a new bike (I added links even though you said you'd read lots). Also consider upgrades, such as cycling shoes and "clipless" pedals.

But my advice is to find a riding buddy. The graphs show that most of the time you're riding at 20kph+, which is not bad. Riding with someone else can help push you along, rather than take a break. And if you are chatting to a buddy the km's go without you noticing. You can also learn from someone else, and they can help with the inevitable flat tire. And finally, riding with a buddy is safer, for men and women.

How to find a buddy? All over the world there are cycling clubs. Many of course are into racing. But many are into regular social rides and touring. Try Googling for clubs in your area, or just try http://cycling.isport.com/cycling-clubs/dk/. Clubs often are happy for you to come on a few rides as a guest.

Another way to go is to use a different cycling App. I'm guessing you use Endomondo. Strava is another cycling App that shows how your ride compares with previous rides and other people's. You can use it to find other cycling routes, and it can tell you the turns to make. As a woman you should be careful with the privacy settings. There is also a paid feature where you can compare with people of your age, gender, and weight. A different way to use Strava is to contact a person whose riding is similar to yours, to see if they are interested in a ride together.

You mentioned your goals. You should be able to extend the distance you ride by about 10% each week. There are plenty of questions about that here too. Make sure you drink regularly, and avoid those sugar hits. If weight loss is a goal you can check out questions here on that also.

Summary Don't rush out for a new bike (show that hubby that you're serious). Keep building up the km's, if possible with someone else.

  • Hi Andy! Thank you SO much for all the input wow this really is an amazing group. To address some of your comments: -Used Canondales cost up to 18,00 kronenr i looked. -I will try to find a riding buddy what a good idea -Will look at my LBS if they have any 2nd hand bikes -Yep Endomondo.. another friend is using Runtastic idk.. -Im encouraged tremendously to hear that 20km is decent. – Vicky Scott Laursen May 11 '15 at 20:54
  • "dont rush out for a new bike" i believe i wrote my bike is 19 yrs old in my OP :) – Vicky Scott Laursen May 11 '15 at 21:03
  • Glad to be of help. My favorite bike is my 30 year old steel road bike. If it ain't broke ... . Do be aware that chains, clusters and tires wear out and will need to be replaced from time to time. Your LBS can help there. – andy256 May 11 '15 at 22:19

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