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  1. #1
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    Newby Clyde: Best bike around $1500?

    I've been looking at bikes and lurking on this forum for a while. Want to buy a roadbike. I haven't found any good bikes used locally in a good size for me. I'm 6'2, and about 215lbs. Not in fantastic shape, but I have run a marathon this summer. I'm a bout a 8 min pace runner.

    I do have a mountain bike I bought from bikes direct. I know they have "issues" with image on here. I'm mechanically inclined and wrench on my bike, so I don't really need LBS support. Anyway I'm not a shill, but just giving an background. The bike I've been riding is a 29er and I ride it in the mountains and also commute a day or two a week with some 35mm road tires. I also have a 70's Windsor lugged steel frame that I completely rebuilt with flat bars. It's fun, and pretty nice looking, but not very efficient and with old suntour parts it's kinda limited unless I really want to go for a total drive train upgrade.

    I'd also like to do more weekend road biking. I do not plan to race. Just ride for fun and possibly commute on the road bike. I'd like to do some distance rides like LOTAJA with friends.

    Here's the options I've been kicking around. I'd love to have any opinions from people who've ridden any of these bikes or do or don't like something about them.

    Litespeed M1 ($1449 plus $100 shipping) http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...RODUCT.ID=9479

    Cavalo w/ SRAM Force ($1450 plus ? shipping) http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...5_10000_202949

    Motobecane Le Champ CF ($1599 shipped) comes in either SRAM Rival or Ultegra for that price http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cf_ltd_xi.htm

    Or a Motobecane Ti bike ($1599) http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...heat_rival.htm


    I'm really at a bit of a loss as to what direction I should be going. In the 61cm size, they all have basically the same geometry. I'd really love to hear any opinions of any of the bikes if you've ridden them or if one would be better than another for a heavy rider.

    Thanks, jbtute

  2. #2
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    Also, if you have any other bikes in that price range you'd suggest, please do so. The only other one I've looked at is the Canondale Synapse at REI, but it seems to be a bit less bike for the privilege of REI service. The REI bike shop near me (millcreek UT) left a bad taste in my mouth after I stopped by once on a bike ride to get a quick repair done and the shop salesman was a total dick about looking at an older bike. The mechanic was very nice though. It appears that they don't want to work on anything they didn't sell. Apparently my money is no good? Anyway, I'm not inclined to pay extra to support them.

    Oh, I should also add I live on a hill and basically all my riding will be in hills or mountains if that makes a big difference in what type of bike I should consider.
    Last edited by jbtute; 06-07-11 at 12:29 PM.

  3. #3
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    I'm 6'2" 34" inseam and the LBS's are directing me towards a 58cm size.

  4. #4
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    FWIW I think we're probably both right on the edge of the smaller and larger sized bikes. (At least according to the suggested sizing charts). I'm a bit over 6'2" and I have somewhat longer arms and legs. My inseam is closer to 36" Also I think I'd prefer a bit more upright seating position, which a larger bike will offer.

    Also some bikes measure distance from crank to top of the top tube, while all of these listed above measure to the seat clamp. In a more "traditional" sizing or whatever you might call it, they are about 59cm.

    I'm not set on a particular size though. Just want a comfortable ride.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bbeck's Avatar
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    After several years of riding mine and realizing I bought the wrong bike if it were me and I was in the market for a Clyde worthy road bike to commute on or ride distance I would buy this http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/touring/520/520#Trek 520.

    I am a bit heavier than you and have a friend again a bit heavier than you. He decided to buy a road bike and we went to the shop I purchased mine from. After my issues the owner recommended this bike for him and he hasn’t looked back. It isn’t the zippy racer and is comparable to a Surly LHT but for distance and commuting it is way comfortable. He purchased a B17 for it but the rest is stock.

    Good luck in your search.
    Brandon Gallatin, Tn.
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  6. #6
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    I am about your size and just purchased by first real road bike (Bianchi Vigorelli - 61cm). Since you already have a few other bikes it sounds like to me you want a real road bike so I would go that route. Your current size shouldn't limit you at all with regards to frames. IMO finding a good LBS that can really help you pick out the right bike is the most important thing. Get out and ride different bikes and types of frames to see what you like and let them help you make a decision...

    EB

  7. #7
    Senior Member exile's Avatar
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    With any bike, test ride as many as you can. Its about fit and feel. I'd go to a bunch of LBS and see what they have and go for a couple of rides. Test ride sizes +/- 2 on what they fit you on.

    Don't worry to much about parts, accessories, or "bike prestige". Get something that you enjoy riding and you are comfortable on.

    You can commute on any bike. Just some are better then others as far as versatility. Just like riding distances, some bikes will be better than others based on speed, comfort, and/or efficiency.

    If your plan is riding distances you have entry to mid level road bikes, touring bikes, Sports-Touring bikes, and Cyclocross bikes.
    lil brown bat wrote:
    Wow, aren't other people stupid? It's a good thing that we're so smart. Yay us.

  8. #8
    Senior Member redvespablur's Avatar
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    Go Carbon. I like the Immortal Ice with the Ultegra Cranks vice the FSA cranks. I love my steel Marinoni but even at 250 I long for the carbon

  9. #9
    fishologist cohophysh's Avatar
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    Felt, kestrel, and Trek are good road bikes
    We cannot solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created them. A.E.

    1990 Diamond Back MTB
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  10. #10
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    So the Cavalo frames are the hardest to find any information at all on. Upon comparison of pictures, it appears as though they are Fuji SL frames. (Like the SL 1.0 not the SL-1 which is a different bike). I called Nashbar last night and asked for technical product assistance. The fellow I spoke with told me that they had a confidentiality agreement so he couldn't disclose who was making them, but it was a well known frame factory in Taiwan. He also said it's a stiff frame and it was hi modulus carbon, but didn't know much other than that about the actual carbon being used. He also said the frame was about 980 grams, but didn't specify what size, so I assume that's a small? No frame replacement program and bare frames are not offered, but they have a 100% guarantee on any item they sell so he said you could send it back if you're not happy with it although I doubt they'd replace a frame damaged in a crash.

    Frames are identical on all levels of the Cavalo carbon bikes, so you could buy the cheapest bike at $1200 for a frame or buy a new frame elsewhere.

    The Motobecanes have a replacement programe. AND they are known for having great customer service. It seems litespeed has less than favorable customer service. Not sure about nashbar.

  11. #11
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    UPDATE, The Cavalo bikes are gone. Looks like liquidation sale at Nashbar means what it says. So those options are out of the picture. Too bad as the prices were excellent. Maybe there were problems with the frames?

  12. #12
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    I've never seen Cavalo anyplace but Nashbar, which leads me to think it's a house brand they outsource from a generic frame factory, like Performace does with their Scattante line. Probably no better or worse than any others like that, whether Tommaso, Fezzari, any of BD's brands, or even Neuvation, though at least John Nugent offers a little more transparent picture of his business model on the Neuvation website than the others typically do.
    Last edited by CraigB; 06-20-11 at 11:30 AM.
    Craig in Indy

  13. #13
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cohophysh View Post
    Felt, kestrel, and Trek are good road bikes
    Agree! Can't address Felt, but from everything I hear, they are good bikes. I purchase a Trek Madone 4.5 in 60cm size about a year and a half ago. It is a 2010 model. Just about two months ago, I purchased a Kestrel RT800-SL from Bikes Direct in size 59cm. Over the past year and a half, I've wavered between 215 and 205 lbs. My inseam is 34", (slack inseam size). Both bikes have the same top tube length. I felt I was over-reaching on the Trek, which was solved by installing the next size shorter stem and felt cramped on the Kestrel, which was solved by installing the next size larger stem. Both bikes are great. The Trek is set up with a triple crank and I use it as my "riding in the hills" bike. The Kestrel is what I use when I want to go fast.

    As far as your size/weight ... just about anything out there will work fine for you. I'm running 16/20 spoke count on the Kestrel without any issue. I was concerned about if those wheels would handle my weight, but no problems so far. Then again, I don't jump off curbs either and try to avoid all or most of the potholes in the roads.

    The thing you need to remember about the BD bikes is that unless you are very good at wrenching your own bike, plan on taking it to a local LBS for a check-over/adjustment/fit. I was concerned about a LBS working on a internet purchased bike, but just said it was a gift. They didn't seem to care all that much. From what I hear, service is a higher profit center for a shop than the margin they make on selling bikes themselves. If so, that makes sense that they would work on just about everything.
    Deut 6:5

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  14. #14
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbtute View Post
    ...they had a confidentiality agreement so he couldn't disclose who was making them, but it was a well known frame factory in Taiwan...
    Pretty much 94.78% of carbon frames being manufactured today come out of a very small handful of factories in Taiwan. (That was a made up statistic, but pretty much all frames come out of a couple factories. The higher end Trek Madone is still made in Wisconsin, and I'm sure there there are a few other. At your price point, they are Taiwanese, (which is neither "good" or "bad"). The only thing I'd stay away from is stuff out of mainland China. Give them a few years, and they will be decent frames too.)
    Deut 6:5

    ---

    "Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia'".
    - Vizzini during his "battle of wits" with the Man in Black

  15. #15
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    Ended up going for the Bikes Direct Ti w/ Rival. Should be here Monday.

  16. #16
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    I'd build up something with this frame: http://www.amazon.com/Origin-CX700-C...8791262&sr=1-1
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

  17. #17
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbtute View Post
    Ended up going for the Bikes Direct Ti w/ Rival. Should be here Monday.
    Awesome! The Ti frame should serve you well and Rival is a pretty good grouppo, slotting in between 105 and Ultegra. Well done. Betcha you're getting excited.
    Deut 6:5

    ---

    "Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia'".
    - Vizzini during his "battle of wits" with the Man in Black

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by volosong View Post
    Awesome! The Ti frame should serve you well and Rival is a pretty good grouppo, slotting in between 105 and Ultegra. Well done. Betcha you're getting excited.
    I am excited. Shipping got bumped a day. Tracking is now for a Tuesday delivery. I'm really interested to see how it compares to my current 29er commuter with 38mm slicks. My commute is longer than it used to be at 11 miles each way, so I'm interested to see if I knock off a few minutes from my usual time. Now I'm taking around 45 minutes.
    - I actually broke a chain on it last week. I have some good hills and I shifted under power and one link gave out. It was a KMC Z99 27spd chain. I removed the bad links and got it back together to limp home. I stopped at REI and had it measured. It was stretched to about the max limit of the normal range in less than 1k miles. This might be a good chain to avoid for clydes? I switched to a SRAM (I think 951). Hopefully it lasts a bit longer.

    I'm hoping the ti is dampened enough for a comfortable ride.

    I've never had clipless pedals before so this is a first. The bike comes with 105 pedals, so I suppose I'll go with those for now.

  19. #19
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    So I've ordered the bike. It was promptly shipped. Now I'm having a hard time getting UPS to let me have it. I work 7a-6p most days. The package was first attempted delivered yesterday during the day - I'm not home. I called to see if we could figure out some way to get it to me. They will not leave it without signature - OK by me, - probably too much insurance to risk it being stolen. They will allow me to pick up at the airport warehouse between 8a and 6p. Can't do it - I'm at work. They will attempt deliver 3 times - all of which are when I'm not home, wait 5 days which ends up the 5th of July and send it back to the shipper.

    I asked for a seemingly simple option: there's a UPS store about 1/2 mile from my house. Seems easy enough that they could drop it off there. I can go in and pick it up and sign for it because they are open longer hours. Nope. Can't do it. That would be too convenient. The post office can. IIRC Fedex also can. But not UPS.

    So the only option I had was to pay an extra shipping charge to have it delivered to a guy I know who has today off so it doesn't end up going back to shipper.

    Its so frustrating that it would be so damn easy to drop it at the UPS store down the street and they could save the time to drive to my house. They'll be going to the UPS store anyway. And I can just grab it there on my way home

  20. #20
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    So UPS was a nightmare.

    I thought I had it worked out. UPS never delivered to my friend who was home despite the email confirming delivery... ok, now I'm unhappy, what can I do? Only other option was to try to deliver to my work.

    I call customer service wed. night, they tell me I may only make one attempt to change address and they will not try to deliver anywhere else. I go round and round with them explaining that UPS had agreed in writing to deliver to the alternate address on wed and I had paid extra to have that done. Fortunately I had an email confirming this as they continually attempted to tell me that they could not deliver a new address the next day (it's down the street from me - would be on the same route). After 20 minutes of argument a manager finally agrees to send to a third address and proceeds to assure me they can deliver it to my work on thursday for the third attempt.

    So I don't trust them to deliver. Our daily UPS deliver shows up... no bike. I call UPS "yes it's on the truck for delivery". 5pm rolls around... no bike. Tracking online shows nothing btw. I call UPS again,
    it is held for a change of address.
    Why was it held?
    Because you requested a change and it has to be shipped to another distribution center.
    There's only one distribution center in northern Utah.
    You're right, but it's in transit to the center.
    That makes no sense, it was there last night, there's only one center, how can it be in transit? Are you just out driving around for fresh air?
    This goes on for 15 minutes or so and finally UPS admits they put it on the wrong truck. At this point I'm angry and tired of dealing with this. UPS says they will try to deliver on Friday - no luck as I'm out of town. That's the whole problem I explain and UPS has botched delivery twice now. I want the package.

    So... finally they have a local dispatch call. We'll have it at your local UPS store to pick up on your way home.

    Arghhhhh

  21. #21
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    As for the bike. Assembly was a breeze. 20 minutes. It was actually a quite a bit faster than my mountain bike I got two years ago. It was 90% assembled. All I had to do was put the bar on the stem, put the front wheel on, adjust the stem to straighten with the fork, and put the seat and pedals on. After that I had to "fit" the bike. I still have some tuning to go in that respect.

    Overall it rides wonderfully. I didn't ride hard. Less than an hour. Overall I'm pleased. The size seems just about right, 59cm size for 6'2" w/ 37" inseam. The larger size has no slope in top tube. It's flat, basically a traditional geometry bike. I have plenty of stand over, so it's no problem for me. Most everything looked true to spec sheet except the chain. It has what appears to be a KMC superlite rather than the sram 1051. Not a big deal, but kindof a pain. I'll probably replace with a sram as my KMC on my MTB broke after less than 1k miles, and measuring it had stretched considerably.

    Otherwise I'm very happy. It came with Shimano 105 pedals and cleats. The cleats are the yellow ones with minimal float.

    I noticed no meaningful flex in the BB. I'll have to ride more to give a full evaluation. The tubes appear round online, but they are not. They are significantly shaped in a more or less triangular cross section. Good, bad, I don't know. Welds look clean and tight. Weight on my digital scale was 18.6lbs for the 59cm with 105 pedals.

    Ill update in a week or so when I have more time on it.

  22. #22
    Senior Member CJ C's Avatar
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    congrats!!!!!

    I have learned on my short time here that "it didnt happen unless we see pics"

    i will be looking for your review too, as i am thinking of going down to a one car household and getting a light 4 season commuter bike that would be the cx version of the one you bought.

  23. #23
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    I have some pics, but not sure how to post them.

    So far I've put about 200 miles on it. Mostly commuting to and from work. It's a 24 mile RT on broken asphalt, one short gravel section where the road is torn up, through campus over some curbs, pretty much typical urban commuting, not road cruising. I cross chain it all the time, ride with big ring and biggest cassette gear, and the same way on the smaller ring. My commute is almost level from start to finish, but has about 600 vertical feet of gain and drop each way.

    Generally I'm pleased. It's no where near as smooth as my MTB, even with 35mm 90psi slicks on the MTB it's a lot smoother ride, but then again it is a MTB. I've considered trying the 35mm slicks on my road bike to see how I like it. The MTB is a 29er, so wheel size is correct. Not sure about clearance though. Anyway, it does a good job of handling broken asphalt and one 1/4 mile or so section of brick. I feel most road bumps, but they are absorbed well.

    The wheels have noticeable lateral flex, particularly in cornering. If I do a slalom type set of turns I can feel the flex pretty good. The wheels would be my first thing to upgrade.

    I notice a clicking noise on the downstroke of the right leg. I haven't figured out what it is yet. It doesn't appear to be chain rub. I feel no looseness anywhere and I don't think it's chain rub. I really can't quite explain it. It only occurs under power. I can't feel anything, just hear it. I'll spend more time when I can trying to sort out what's going on there.

    I did have the bars work loose once. I was on the hoods breaking and the bars just rotated away. I never re-torqued them... they're good to go now though.

    The only other issue I have is with the SRAM design team. Why on earth would you need a trim on the big ring, but not on the small one. Obviously the FD is very close to the big ring, therefore the arc of the chain through the gears requires much less space within the FD as compared to the small ring where the FD is significantly further away. Seems like they chose the wrong ring to add a trim adjustment. I can run all 10 gears on either trim setting with the FD and big ring, but it's very close to get the small ring to run all 10 gears silently.

    No complaints otherwise. The Ritchy Pro seat isn't too bad. Took a few miles to soften up a bit, but I have not pressure spots with it, so I think it's a keeper.

  24. #24
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    Clicking Noise: Check that your pedals are tight.

    My 105 will trim both ways. Though trimming for the big chainring takes a soft touch.

  25. #25
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    Didn't think it could be the pedal it's self. I'll check that out. I installed them so it's definitely a possibility.

    On the SRAM set up there is only trim for the big ring. What drunken engineer thought that up? Any high school geometry student could have told them which ring needs trim and which one doesn't. I can run all 10 speeds in either trim position on the big ring without rubbing.

    It's not the end of the world as I don't run the small ring and smaller 1 or 2 gears anyway, but still it makes you shake your head at SRAM's choice on this one.

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