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Completely new to biking. Need some suggestions for road bike that I can buy from nearby retail store or online. Can someone suggest some decent models for 10 to 25 mile rides. Don't want to spend more than $500 on the first bike. Open to second hand as well. I just don't know how to start. My height is 5.11 - what size would be best. So many options out there.

  • We can't tell you what you will find comfortable. So you need to get a leg over some and compare. Either a bike shop, or ask around your friends and coworkers for a brief test ride on their bikes. – Criggie Jul 6 at 3:51
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Actual buying advice is not allowed in stackexchange. I suggest you go to a local bicycle store (NOT a car spares store or grocery that just happens to have some bicycle-shaped objects), and get their advice.

They'll probably guide you towards something that they sell, but at this price range, that's not bad, Anything they sell will be better quality than something Wallyworld puts out, and they'll know how to service it well (we hope). They'll also be able to advise on bike type and size also.

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  • Thanks! I would have gone to a bike store during normal times. Just not feeling safe right now. I think I will figure out frame size. Lot of calculators online. Which are few good brands for road bikes under $500? – user50525 Jul 5 at 18:33
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    @user50525 all the mainstream bike brands you find in local bike stores make competitive bikes at any price point – Argenti Apparatus Jul 5 at 20:09
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The geometry varies between bikes, so what would be fine in one brand may be too big or small in another. It is important to try it out for comfort. I would recommend getting a second hand bike if you can try it out.

I am also 5'11" and male. When I wanted to get back into cycling I bought a cheap, second hand bike. 5 years later, I am still riding it! I went with a 19" Marin hybrid, but there are plenty of other makes that would have been equally good. My wife did the same and bought a cheap Specialized hybrid. Trek are also very good. Many manufacturers sell cheaper bikes in a range, so don't be too fussy.

My tips are:

  • Get a frame you feel good on. I like an upright ride. If it doesn't feel quite right, choose a different bike.
  • Check the wheels are true, and the bottom bracket doesn't have play. Look at the derailleur hanger to see if it is parallel to the wheel. Make sure both gears shift smoothly and easily, especially when riding uphill.
  • Hybrids or road bikes are fine for the distances you want to go. Even a light mountain bike would be no problem. Hybrids are good for going off-road occasionally, whereas a road bike doesn't have the suspension, and would get easily twisted.
  • Go for aluminium frames. They are cheap, light and easy to maintain
  • Go for better quality components, e.g. Alivio or Deore rather than Altus or Tourney gear shifters.
  • Don't bother with suspension forks or disc brakes. They add cost without much benefit at your price point. Manufacturers often try to increase perceived value by adding stuff, rather than going for better quality components. Disc brakes are harder to maintain yourself.
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