Giant OCR1 Road Bike

January 26, 2006 at 6:05 pm (Cycling)

Since I was 11 years old, I have been riding the same bike. It is neither a road bike, nor a mountain bike. It is what people in the bike industry call a hybrid. Hybrids are usually used by kids, college students, and less serious cyclists to get around town without worrying about tires popping. Every now and then they are used for longer exercise-oriented rides, but they are generally uncomfortable and heavy for the long haul up hills, etc.

I learned the “heavy” lesson the hard way when I tried to keep up with my boyfriend on his nice road bike. I was on my 18 speed, now reduced to four speeds that work, huffing and puffing up hill. I live in Berkeley, so we were not at much altitude. I was not out of shape either. I was simply riding a crapier, heavier bike. I love riding, but 25 miles on a bike that didn’t fit and didn’t work, was pretty horrible.

So…I splurged last week and bought myself a Giant OCR1 road bike. I know very little about bikes, but I have learned quite a bit the past few weeks on my hunt for the perfect bike. The first thing I learned is that the nicest bike in the world would be horrible to ride if it didn’t fit. The most important thing about a bike is that it fits properly. The only way to find this out is try them all on and get second, third, and fourth opinions.

After the fit is perfect, the frame and components begin to matter. Frames come in three different types of metal: steel, aluminum, and carbon-fiber. Some are combinations of the two. Carbon fiber is the lightest, most shock-resistant, and naturally the most expensive. The other two kinds work fine as well. My bike has an aluminum frame with a carbon-fiber seat post and fork. I previously was under the assumption that a fork was a utensil that one might use to eat a salad or pasta dish. In the cycling world, a fork is the piece on both ends that attaches the frame of the bike to the wheel.

I have also learned the difference between a tire and a wheel. I used both interchangeably until my stepdad explained the difference. The wheel is the metal part that hold the tire which is the rubber part. I was shocked to find out that a pair of nice wheels, but not high-end wheels, cost upwards of $700. That was nearly the price of my bike.

The shifters and brakes can also make a huge difference on the price and quality of the bike. I have low to mid-range components. My gears shift easily and my brakes work great, so I’m not too worried about it. What I really love is that the bike fits, I can ride around town, get up hills, shift my gears, and pass the cars that are stuck in traffic. Biking is my new favorite mode of transportation.

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