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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-22-12, 10:11 PM   #1
Trevor M.
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Entry level - Felt, Cannondale or Giant?

Hi everyone, another new guy here from Maine. I'm in the market for a road bike around $1000, primarily for group rides and sprint tri's. I'm 6'4", 230 lbs, muscular build. I'm looking at entry level bikes: Felt F85/ Cannondale Synapse 7/ Giant Defy 3.
Do folks have any advice for me about those options? Any other options I should consider at that price point? Thanks!
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Old 05-22-12, 10:13 PM   #2
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Entry level - Felt, Cannondale or Giant?

Hi everyone, another new guy here from Maine. I'm in the market for a road bike around $1000, primarily for group rides and sprint tri's. I'm 6'4", 230 lbs, muscular build. I'm looking at entry level bikes: Felt F85/ Cannondale Synapse 7/ Giant Defy 3.
Do folks have any advice for me about those options? Any other options I should consider at that price point? Thanks!
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Old 05-22-12, 10:30 PM   #3
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A Cannondale CAAD10 or CAAD9 would be more suited to what you are going to be using the bike for compared to the Synapse, the Synapse is more of a comfort bike compared to the aggressive CAAD10 and 9.

Of course I might be biased since I have a CAAD9....BTW it's an awesome bike, and I got it for $850 new.


And don't start multiple threads about the same topic....
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Old 05-22-12, 10:35 PM   #4
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I bought my Cannondale CAAD10 with all Shimano Ultegra components for $1200. I think it's more aggressive geometry as compared to the Synapse or Defy, but it's one of the better aluminum frames you can get and comes loaded with an Ultegra group. I really think they are a great deal. If $1000 isn't a hard limit for you, it might be something to consider. Plus there is like a 200 page thread in the road forum devoted to the awesomeness of CAAD!
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Old 05-22-12, 10:36 PM   #5
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I am biased since I work in a shop that sells Felt, and I own one. Compared to (some) other brands Felt seems to offer a bit more for the price than it's direct competitor. They are a very popular line for us. They did cut some corners on certain parts to keep the price down. The wheels (CXP22) are a bit heavy but with a good truing they seem to hold up well, and that is a plus. The crank is an FSA, and stands to be improved upon. Great to start with, and easy to change when the first major bearing overhaul is needed. The Microshift brifters are not bad, and coupled with the 105 RD works nicely. The only issue that I see with the drivetrain is that the rear cassette is an 11-25, and even when coupled with a compact crank doesn't offer much for a bailout gear for the unseasoned cyclists it commonly sells to. The seat is a torture device, and should be changed unless you happen to have very narrow sit bones.

I really cannot comment on the other brands, as I am not nearly as familar with them. I have owned both of the other brands in the past, and was quite happy with the Giant I owned. The Cannondale that everyone seems to talk about is the CAAD series, IDK about the Synapse.
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Old 05-22-12, 10:53 PM   #6
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I think the Felt Z series is more comparable to those other two you listed, as well as a Trek H2 frame and a Specialized Secteur.
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Old 05-22-12, 11:43 PM   #7
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I think the Felt Z series is more comparable to those other two you listed, as well as a Trek H2 frame and a Specialized Secteur.
Agree. Felt's F-series bikes have aggressive race-oriented geometry while the Z-series bikes (ex: Z85) have a more relaxed geometry.

This first thing for the OP to do is figure out which sort of bike he wants. In the "race" category, you've got the Felt F85, Cannondale CAAD10, Specialized Allez, and similar. For a slightly more relaxed "endurance" geometry look to the Felt Z85, Cannondale Synapse, Specialized Secteur, Giant Defy, etc.
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Old 05-23-12, 05:10 AM   #8
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All things otherwise being equal, I'd prefer a frame made in Taiwan to one made in the PRC.
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Old 05-23-12, 05:43 AM   #9
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Agree. Felt's F-series bikes have aggressive race-oriented geometry while the Z-series bikes (ex: Z85) have a more relaxed geometry.

This first thing for the OP to do is figure out which sort of bike he wants. In the "race" category, you've got the Felt F85, Cannondale CAAD10, Specialized Allez, and similar. For a slightly more relaxed "endurance" geometry look to the Felt Z85, Cannondale Synapse, Specialized Secteur, Giant Defy, etc.
Thanks. I'd prefer a race bike, but budget is tight so needs to be right around $1,000, and most of the entry level bikes with the more aggressive geometry are $1300+, so it's looking like the Felt F85 might be the best bang for the buck.
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Old 05-23-12, 07:06 AM   #10
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Felt, Cdald and Giant all make excellent bikes.

The Synapse and Defy are "endurance" bikes, which means they're (in theory) a little more relaxed and a little more comfortable. The Felt equivalent is the "Z" series.

The F85 is a more standard road bike, which will (again, in theory) have a little bit harsher ride. An equivalent is the CAAD series.

In terms of performance, they'll pretty much be the same. I'd give 'em a few test rides, find the one that rides the way you like and fits.
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Old 05-23-12, 07:30 AM   #11
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Welcome To Bike Forums, Trevor!

Get a Jamis Quest and Live....
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Old 05-23-12, 07:38 AM   #12
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Buy a new bike from the most friendly bike shop in your area.

They will be a great help with questions, adjustments, and warranty problems when you have them.

So visit all the bike shops in your area.

You will know which one you feel at home with.
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Old 05-23-12, 07:46 AM   #13
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Buy a new bike from the most friendly bike shop in your area.

They will be a great help with questions, adjustments, and warranty problems when you have them.

So visit all the bike shops in your area.

You will know which one you feel at home with.
This correct. All the bikes you listed and excellent first choise bikes. Also make sure the bike looks cool.
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Old 05-23-12, 08:13 AM   #14
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I bought a defy 3 a few years ago as my first road bike. At the time I was about your size. It is a comfortable bike that you can do a lot of miles on. I did numerous metrics on it and a few centuries. I didn't like the 2200 level components and upgraded them to ultegra. Nicer shifting, no thumb shifters. No issues at all with the bike or the wheels. They have been bullet proof.

Since that time I have built a new bike. I still own the defy and ride it with my GF and on slower rides. My only real complaint with it is that it simply doesn't climb that well. Bouncing between it and my newer bike, I feel like I'm dragging an anvil behind me with the Giant.

Flat roads, downhills, small hills--excellent bike. Long and/or steep uphills--not a fun bike to be on.

Most people seem to hate it, but I absolutely love the saddle that came on that bike. It's like sitting in a lazy boy.
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Old 05-23-12, 08:25 AM   #15
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Thanks. I'd prefer a race bike, but budget is tight so needs to be right around $1,000, and most of the entry level bikes with the more aggressive geometry are $1300+, so it's looking like the Felt F85 might be the best bang for the buck.
the GT line has a entry level bikes with more aggressive geometry. The microshift one you can scoop up a last year version between $550-$600

I really like the Defy (giants) line, it was one smooth riding bike.
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Old 05-23-12, 10:02 AM   #16
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Get the Felt!*

* - Disclaimer, I own a F75 and think it is awesome. Of course, it fits me like a glove before a fitting so that might have something to do with it. So if you can get the F75, do. The ride is almost as good as s**, almost.
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Old 05-23-12, 10:08 AM   #17
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I have 35,000 miles on a Felt F-85....get one and ride.

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Old 05-23-12, 10:29 AM   #18
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I'm building up my first road bike too, I found a great deal on a Giant Defy frameset.
I've tested out the TCR & love it, it wasn't in my price range so I went for the Defy.
I feel the Defy is a great way to get a feel for the road.
When I decide to upgrade, it will most likely be a Carbon TCR or something similar.

I'm strong on my CX bikes, so this is going to make my cycling even better.
Good luck finding the bike that fits you the best!
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Old 05-23-12, 11:06 AM   #19
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Ok, understand budget...truly I do, but if you could wait and get into the 1300-1400 dollar range you will get close to all 105 components and the long term cost has the potential to be better, your rarely go wrong with better components and 105 is a sweet spot in price/quality.

other than that just looking it seems the giant defy3 has overall a bit better set of components and less of a mix.
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Old 05-23-12, 11:09 AM   #20
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Buy local for service after the sale.. Pick the Dealer first. then the bike.
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Old 05-23-12, 11:31 AM   #21
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Just as a note - I joined my local triathlon club, and for $35 a year, I get 10% off bikes and 20% off accessories at a LBS (that is otherwise awesome anyway).

You might want to look into that - I saved $70 on Friday on a Giant Defy 5, not to mention what I saved on the other stuff I bought (floor pump, water bottle holders, etc).

Finding a deal like that might change the level of bike you can look at.
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Old 05-23-12, 11:38 AM   #22
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Just as a note - I joined my local triathlon club, and for $35 a year, I get 10% off bikes and 20% off accessories at a LBS (that is otherwise awesome anyway).

You might want to look into that - I saved $70 on Friday on a Giant Defy 5, not to mention what I saved on the other stuff I bought (floor pump, water bottle holders, etc).

Finding a deal like that might change the level of bike you can look at.
When we join our local club we get deals like that too, @ $50 a year you can't go wrong.
I usually get it back in savings on my 1st visit.
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Old 05-23-12, 01:46 PM   #23
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Asking a bunch of cyclists which one is like asking truck guys.....Chevy, Ford or Dodge. There are strong opinions here. Ride them all if you can and you'll know. You sound like you will be an aggresive rider, so on that alone....my vote is the Felt. The 105s and the geometry are the reason.

I know everyone loves to sing praises for the LBS (local bike shops), but be careful. Some are out for the $$ and are very smooth sales people. Talk to some local cyclists in the groups that you plan to ride with. They will be more than happy to tell you which shops to avoid.

I bought my bike on line because niether of the two LBS had any inventory (and one had a snippy clerk). If they had to order it.......so could I. I hate stores with no inventory. If you order on line, you lose the LBS service. If your new, the service is worth it.

Good Luck & welcome
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Old 05-23-12, 01:51 PM   #24
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The only issue that I see with the drivetrain is that the rear cassette is an 11-25, and even when coupled with a compact crank doesn't offer much for a bailout gear for the unseasoned cyclists it commonly sells to.
What is a bailout gear?
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Old 05-23-12, 02:03 PM   #25
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What is a bailout gear?
Similar to a granny gear, it is short enough to get you up a wall if needed and you won't blow up. I have a triple and use the smallest chainring as a bailout/towing the kids gear. It is to short to really be useful for anything else.
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