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  1. #1
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    I Need Advice On My First Road Bike

    Iím new to the forums and need some advice on choosing a road bike. I weight about 300 lbs right now with the goal of getting down to 250lbs by next spring or summer. Sometime next spring I want to buy my first road bike but have been having a tough time trying to figure out which bike to buy. Right now Iím trying to decide between aÖ
    Trek 1.2
    Jamis Ventura Comp
    Cannondale CAAD9-7
    Specialized Allez

    I need some advice on choosing a good first road bike. I like the trek brand but Iíve heard great things about jamis, cannondale, and specialized. I need a frame that will hold up well if I weighed around 250lbs. I donít want to get a road till Iím at least 250-275lbs. right now Iíve been riding a Mongoose MTB and itís served me well over the past year but its way to heavy and to be honest I want something light weight and fast since I do most of my riding on local streets. If you can give me some advice I would greatly appreciate it.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bbeck's Avatar
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    im 6' 330# and just bought a 08 Specialized Sequoia Elite and love it. i really like the Allez and went to the LBS to buy one until i seen the Sequoia it has a second set of brake levers on top. good luck on your decision go ride em and see which one you cant live with out.
    Brandon Gallatin, Tn.
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  3. #3
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    Personally I would stay away from the Trek. The 1.2 doesn't even have full Sora components and seems way overpriced to me. I traded mine in for a CAAD9 6 after 2 weeks. I'm ~270lbs and really like the C'dale so far. I've had it for about 3-4 weeks and have put probably close to 300 miles one it.

    EDIT: I should also mention that the Bottom Bracket on the Trek developed an annoying sqeak after about a week and the whole thing just looked and felt cheap in comparison to the C'dale.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jgjulio's Avatar
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    +1 on the Specialized Sequoia. I also just got mine and I love it. The extra brake handles on the hoods of the handlebar are really nice to have.
    Go take a look at this bike and ride it.
    I am 5'11" and 300lbs now (on my way down).
    Julio (me)
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  5. #5
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    The Jamis is pretty good bang for the buck, if you can ride it give it a try. I personally also went with a CAAD 9 7, because the bike felt good and I fell in love with the style. Also read that it is the best aluminum frame on the market.

  6. #6
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    I own the Jamis brand and have a great LBS that carries the Jamis. Good luck on your purchase.
    2007 Jamis Ventura Comp
    2006 Jamis Explorer 2.0
    2000 Specialized Hardrock (bought used)
    Swim, Bike, Run and sounds like fun

  7. #7
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    You Sequoia owners actually like the "suicide brakes on the handlebars near the stem? Anyway, the Sequoia is a great bike, but so is the Allez and the C'Dale. Jamis is so underrated it's sad. It is an incredible bike but I rarely see them in bike shops. Not to hate on the Trek, but they are overrated- unless it's the only one that fits you comfortably.

  8. #8
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terbennett View Post
    You Sequoia owners actually like the "suicide brakes on the handlebars near the stem? Anyway, the Sequoia is a great bike, but so is the Allez and the C'Dale. Jamis is so underrated it's sad. It is an incredible bike but I rarely see them in bike shops. Not to hate on the Trek, but they are overrated- unless it's the only one that fits you comfortably.
    The secondary brake levers shouldn't be likened to the "suicide" levers of old. The new style "Interrupter" levers are amazingly functional and provide great stopping power. They are quite popular in competitive cyclocross.

    I'm one of the CAD 9 supporters and believe that the frame is just about the best thing going for aluminum frames these days. they are well built, economical (relative term here) and sturdy. All this and a favorite for budget racers as well.

    Specialized Allies is a great choice. I have no experience with the Sequoia, but have heard nothing but positive reviews from actual owners.

    +1 on the under rated Jamis line. I do not understand why this builder does not get more attention. It's near impossible to find an LBS in my area that sells them and they are an excellent value.

  9. #9
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    Thank you guys for answering my post. After reading some of the responses on the Specialized Sequoia I did some research on it to familiarize myself with the model. The Allez was the only Specialized bike I was looking at but now it looks like Sequoia might be a better buy if I were to go with the Specialized brand. I donít think Iím going with the Trek after some of the comments but to be honest I havenít even going to my LBS for a fitting yet. I still want to wait till Iím closer to 250-275lbs. Plus my wife wonít let me get a new bike until I reach that weight loss goal. I do have some questions though about the Sequoia since you guy got me thinking about itÖ
    1) I like the more upright handle bar brakes closer to the stem for city riding which I do often; but as someone pointed out earlier, how is the stopping power if I get into trouble?
    2) How often do you guys use the brakes on top?
    3) How aerodynamic is this bike compared to the Allez in your opinions? I still want to go fast if I get into a strong head wind. I live In Oklahoma and the wind sucks here so Iím concerned that I wonít be able to handle the wind as well with the Sequoia over the Allez
    4) I know Cannondale is a great brand but is it that much better over the Specialized brand in terms of components and frame? I'm concerned with the frame most of all becuase of my weight. I need something that will hold up too my weight
    5) Which components are better? Cannondale or Specialized?
    I really appreciate all your opinions and taking time to answer my questions. Iím so glad I found this forum.

  10. #10
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    Don't worry about aerodynamics too much. The higher bars on the Sequoia will make it more comfortable to actually use the drops. You can always tuck in lower if you want to (think chin to the stem). The components are all the same - Shimano, just different price points. Wheel strength is going to involve a little bit of luck with machine built wheels- some people have problems and some don't. The interuptor brake levers have as much stopping power as the regular levers. I used them as the only levers on one bike for over a year. The frame will be fine don't worry.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  11. #11
    Senior Member Hammer02's Avatar
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    The bike isn't going to make you fast. You're a 275 pound brick sitting on top of whichever bike you pick....the lightweight might provide a slight..and I mean SLIGHT advantage to those who are always pointed uphill but your average rider is never going to feel the difference between a 15lb bike and a 19lb bike.

    I personally don't care for the top levers myself but to each their own. I would test ride both models you are interested in and the right bike will become clear to you. Too many people shop for the right bike online or in magazines.....go ride it. You will know if it's the one. Easy as that.

    Don't sweat the weight, the specs etc. Get a decent bike that is equipped with say 105 or better and you will be in good shape.

    PS>....the only real concern you have is to make sure you get a roadbike that has a sturdy set of wheels. The rest is not that different from one bike to the next.

    Solid wheels and a seat that fits your ass and you are good to go.

    My 2 cents.

  12. #12
    Senior Member lutz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammer02 View Post
    Solid wheels and a seat that fits your ass and you are good to go.
    Many good bikes out there; good fit and sturdy wheels are important. Ask if the dealer agrees to a wheel upgrade deal (replacing the stock wheels with Deep Vees for example).

  13. #13
    Senior Member jgjulio's Avatar
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    I am one of the happy Sequoia owners. I use the top brake levers a lot. Since I am riding most of the time with my hands on the hoods of the handle bar the top levers are very handy.

    As for the wind it is much easier for me to travel into the wind on my Sequoia compared to my Trek 7200 (hybrid).
    Julio (me)
    2011 Specialized Roubaix Elite
    2009 Specialized Sequoia Elite
    2009 Trek 7.3 (Red)

    Patricia (wife)
    2009 Specialized Sequoia Elite; 2008 Fuji Absolute 2.0

  14. #14
    Senior Member bbeck's Avatar
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    tell your wife you could reach that weight goal a little easier if ya had a new Specialized between your leggs as for the interupter brakes they have just as much power to me as the lever brakes. i have rode mountain bikes most of my life so i felt more comfortable having the upper brakes but if you are used to riding in the drops then it makes no difference. good luck.
    Brandon Gallatin, Tn.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammer02 View Post
    Don't sweat the weight, the specs etc. Get a decent bike that is equipped with say 105 or better and you will be in good shape.
    At entry level you'll be fine with Tiagra components. Put a few thousand miles on your bike, reach your weight goals and if you choose to upgrade you'll exactly how and why.

    Good luck!

  16. #16
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Also, since you are buying a new bike, the bigger issue is buying from a dealer that will support/help you. You are paying for this relationship, but some dealers do not realize it. Otherwise, you might as well by used and save some coin.

    All of your choices are good solid bike brands.

    +1 Tiagra components are a nice step up from Sora.

    Upper brakes are nice if you are used to riding a mountain bike. Otherwise, not too important..

  17. #17
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snuboy360 View Post
    Thank you guys for answering my post. After reading some of the responses on the Specialized Sequoia I did some research on it to familiarize myself with the model. The Allez was the only Specialized bike I was looking at but now it looks like Sequoia might be a better buy if I were to go with the Specialized brand. I donít think Iím going with the Trek after some of the comments but to be honest I havenít even going to my LBS for a fitting yet. I still want to wait till Iím closer to 250-275lbs. Plus my wife wonít let me get a new bike until I reach that weight loss goal. I do have some questions though about the Sequoia since you guy got me thinking about itÖ
    1) I like the more upright handle bar brakes closer to the stem for city riding which I do often; but as someone pointed out earlier, how is the stopping power if I get into trouble?
    2) How often do you guys use the brakes on top?
    3) How aerodynamic is this bike compared to the Allez in your opinions? I still want to go fast if I get into a strong head wind. I live In Oklahoma and the wind sucks here so Iím concerned that I wonít be able to handle the wind as well with the Sequoia over the Allez
    4) I know Cannondale is a great brand but is it that much better over the Specialized brand in terms of components and frame? I'm concerned with the frame most of all becuase of my weight. I need something that will hold up too my weight
    5) Which components are better? Cannondale or Specialized?
    I really appreciate all your opinions and taking time to answer my questions. Iím so glad I found this forum.
    Another very satisfied Sequoia rider here! There is good wisdom in the previous posts but, riskng redundancy, I will offer up an opinoin or two. I would not think there would be a big difference between road bikes in wind resistance, given your size/weight... but there's a significant difference between road bikes and hybrids. Being slightly more upright the Sequoia may be a little slower than the Allez, but that is caused by the very thing that makes it comfortable, and you can adjust your stem downward as you become a better rider. It is amazing what a big difference a small breeze can make, even with a road bike. A headwind will slow you down no matter what you ride... you just gear down and push along. But when I turn for home (always ride into the wind going out) it is an absolute blast to ride my Sequoia downwind in even the slightest of breezes! I do not use the upper brakes too much anymore but it is nice to have them there and they work just fine. As to components, all the manufacturers use pretty much the same stuff, and Tiagra or better will do just fine for a long time.

    IMO, do not wait to lose weight first. Buy a bike and start riding! The benefits are amazing!

    There is a time to resign oneself
    to old age and infirmity. You first.
    My Cycling Blogspot

  18. #18
    Junior Member CyclChyk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billydonn View Post
    IMO, do not wait to lose weight first. Buy a bike and start riding! The benefits are amazing!
    I second this advise. Loving the bike you ride is a huge motivator to just get out there and ride, at least it is with me. (But I would also never tell my hubby no to something that meant so much to him - not that he would listen to me anyway. )

    Plus I am not so sure that the bike you decide on now before you lose the weight will be the bike you want once you actually do lose the weight. Learning my preferred style of riding and the specifics of bicycle components made me change my idea of the perfect bike, and I ended up selling the Giant OCR that I had bought initially, and getting a Bianchi that I ride now.

    Just MHO

  19. #19
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    Thanks again for all the great advice. The more I research the Sequoia the more interested I become with it. I would love to get the bike right now and I think that I might be able to swing it with my wife if I found a good deal or begged my wife. The Mongoose MTB I have now isnít all that bad; itís just a really heavy bike. Plus the tires are huge and provide too much rolling resistance on the streets.
    My biggest worry with getting bike at my weight now is that it wonít hold up over time. Most bike manuals and manufacture websites have posted that the maximum weight for a road bike or Condition 1 bike is 275lbs with a luggage weight of 10 extra pounds. Iím afraid that Iíll hit a pot hole or crash the thing and crack the frame. I know that if I hit something at the least Iíll pop a tire or damage the rim; but if I crack the frame well there goes $800 dollars. To be honest Iíve never paid more than $250 for a bike before so this is a huge investment for in my mind and especially in the mind of my better half. I figure that I might be able to persuade her closer to Christmas time especially if Iím closer to at least 275lbs and found a good deal at my LBS. I know that even at 250lbs that fear is always going to be there that if Iím not careful with this thing I can crack the frame or damage this thing beyond repair.
    When I was teenager I was riding my friendís new road bike and ran into a fence damaging the frame. That also brings to mind the time five years ago when I ran my Huffy MTB into a chain link fence while riding at night. That time the bike came out just fine but I ended up with 12 external and 5 internal stitches on my face. Not a good experience at all but never stopped me from riding again. Itís not that I would just go out there tear this thing up and not be careful with it; itís just that I have bad luck with bikes Oh well accidents happen.
    I figure that a steel frame might be better for the long haul but I would rather trade longevity for a lighter and faster frame. I guess my next question is this, have any of you guys cracked an aluminum frame before?

  20. #20
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Not a Sequoia owner, but I installed interrupter levers on my Cannondale. Properly installed, they do NOT effect braking power. Very nice to have as you have brakes from any hand position. They do cause problems if you want aero bars. They are functionally ages ahead of those gawd awful suicide levers of the '70s.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Hammer02's Avatar
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    I bought my 5900SL when I was 290.

    It's a carbon SUPERLIGHT frame....no issues and I rode the piss out of it.

    I told you already.....strong wheels and a good seat. Ride each bike...the answer will be clear.

  22. #22
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snuboy360 View Post
    Thanks again for all the great advice. The more I research the Sequoia the more interested I become with it. I would love to get the bike right now and I think that I might be able to swing it with my wife if I found a good deal or begged my wife. The Mongoose MTB I have now isn’t all that bad; it’s just a really heavy bike. Plus the tires are huge and provide too much rolling resistance on the streets.
    My biggest worry with getting bike at my weight now is that it won’t hold up over time. Most bike manuals and manufacture websites have posted that the maximum weight for a road bike or Condition 1 bike is 275lbs with a luggage weight of 10 extra pounds. I’m afraid that I’ll hit a pot hole or crash the thing and crack the frame. I know that if I hit something at the least I’ll pop a tire or damage the rim; but if I crack the frame well there goes $800 dollars. To be honest I’ve never paid more than $250 for a bike before so this is a huge investment for in my mind and especially in the mind of my better half. I figure that I might be able to persuade her closer to Christmas time especially if I’m closer to at least 275lbs and found a good deal at my LBS. I know that even at 250lbs that fear is always going to be there that if I’m not careful with this thing I can crack the frame or damage this thing beyond repair.
    When I was teenager I was riding my friend’s new road bike and ran into a fence damaging the frame. That also brings to mind the time five years ago when I ran my Huffy MTB into a chain link fence while riding at night. That time the bike came out just fine but I ended up with 12 external and 5 internal stitches on my face. Not a good experience at all but never stopped me from riding again. It’s not that I would just go out there tear this thing up and not be careful with it; it’s just that I have bad luck with bikes Oh well accidents happen.
    I figure that a steel frame might be better for the long haul but I would rather trade longevity for a lighter and faster frame. I guess my next question is this, have any of you guys cracked an aluminum frame before?
    On one of my early rides I went down to a small pothole on my Sequoia and it did not phase it at all... but did phase ME quite a bit, enough to teach me to pay attention and use my eyes. Road bikes simply do not like potholes. BUT they are not real delicate or fragile things either. I think frames have warranties too. (FYI in another post someone said that there are a lot of 08 Sequoias in the Specialized warehouses and they are on sale.)

    Hammer's advice is good above: "...strong wheels and a good seat. Ride each bike...the answer will be clear."
    Last edited by billydonn; 11-02-08 at 06:40 PM.

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  23. #23
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    I'm thinking you're confused in your wants. You say you want lite and fast, but looking at the Sequoia with extra levers? Waste of weight and when you start to ride long distance, you'll realize the cute little levers are only taking up space and an extra hand postiton that wil interfere with comfort. Plus, hybrids are not as fast as road race style bikes. You will be faster ona Cannondale than you will a Sequoia hybrid.

    Another thing, like the guy above mentioned, you are 275 lbs. The thing that wil make you fast (equal bikes) is getting into shape and losing weight along with some training. A $1500 19 lb Cannondale does not mean you will be slower than riding a 15 lb $10,000 superlite carbon fiber bike. I have a Cannondale that is just as efficient as some of the NEW bikes out eventhough it is a bit heavier. Efficiency is the key. At your weight, a stiff strong bike will be more efficient.

    Yes, I have snapped an aluminum frame. The tubes were not that large and I felt it flex when I put the pedal down. My Cannondale has much larger tubing and doesn't flex like the wet noodle small tubes. MY suggestion would be going for the Canondale since they are known for the large tube diameer at the bottom bracket area (around the pedals, area cracked inthe pictures).

    If you want speed, quit messing around with the hybrid, get into shape and ride! If you want comfort then yes, go for the hybrid but don't expect to keep up with the roadies of equal fitness levels.

    Snapped aluminum tubing. Now have alum with carbon fiber tubing, still wimpy but free replacement frame so I ride it. My Cannondale is a 98 and no flex problems at all. Pay atention to the size of the BB area when making a selection.

    I snapped this frame while riding at 220-235 lbs.

    Last edited by Mr. Beanz; 11-02-08 at 11:02 PM.

  24. #24
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    BTW, don't worry too much about components. They all work well when properly adjusted. Plus They will be replaced somewhere down the road. Rear wheel will more than likely be the first. At your weight, won't take long on any model.

    That's when you invest in a strong rear wheel. Figure that into your cycling costs. It's unavoidable.

  25. #25
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Another bike to consider would be a Surly Crosscheck.. It is a cyclocross bike but has a lot of universal appeal between road, cross and touring riders.. It is built on a steel frame which is big + for a 300 pound rider.. The bike also can use 130mm or 135mm width wheelsets which gives you a lot of options being a bigger rider.. They can found built for around 900-1200..

    http://surlybikes.com/crosscheck_comp.html

    reviews: http://www.roadbikereview.com/mfr/su...7_5670crx.aspx

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