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Old 04-26-07, 11:23 PM   #1
Stringrazor
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The Hunt Continues

So, my hunt for a bike to get me back into riding continues. I rode 7 more bikes today. Just when I think I've found something I like, I ride something else and think I like it better. Here's what I tried:

Kona Dew Deluxe
Kona PHD
Giant Cypress SL

I asked the guy at this shop about steel frames. He weighs about 250 like I do and said steel flexes too much for our weight (true?). Probably didn't have one in my size. I wasn't very impressed by these three bikes. They were ok but just didn't connect for me. This shop was run by kids. They were helpful and informative but I definitely felt out of place.

At the next shop I rode:

Trek 7.3FX
Specialized Comp

I liked both of these bikes. The 7.3FX was extremely comfortable and pretty inexpensive. The Sirrurs comp was great too. I was very tempted to buy but I wanted to compare it was the Trek Pilot and he didn't have any. I like this shop a lot. I'd ridden a Trek 7200 here a few days back. It's small but very close by and the owner, Doug, is probably a bit older than me. He even sent me to another bigger shop where he used to work to try what he didn't have in stock. Told me he cut me a better deal if I found something I liked. He sells both Trek & Specialized which are on my short list and can get anything I want in a few days. I think I've at least found my LBS.

So, onto the big shop Doug recommended for a demo where they unfortunately didn't have the two bikes (Trek 7.6 & Pilot 1.2) I was interested in. The rep told me that the pilot is very similar in geometry to the Specialized Roubaix. He had me try a full composite $2k Roubaix that was my size. Naturally, I liked it though things would have probably been easier if I didn't. The 10-spd back cassette was a pleasure to shift through. With my hands on the brake levers it was just as comfortable as a flat handle bike. Of course, $2k is more tha twice my proposed budget but the base model for $1.3k Roubaix rode just as nicely. Oh, the rep said I should think about NOT getting the pilot because it's only a 9-spd cassette and is "old technology" (yeah, he was probably in is early 20's). Should 9 vs 10 spd really be a concern for me? At least this LBS was on a hill and I got to see how the Roubaix felt for climbing (I live on a hillside and any riding from home base will require a climb to start out or a climb back home).

I had previously ridden:

Trek
Specialized Expedition Elete
Specialized Sirrus

The Sirrus was the top contender. Until today. Stilll want to ride a Trek Pilot 1.2. That may be the ticket.
Man, this ain't easy!
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Old 04-26-07, 11:38 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Stringrazor
Oh, the rep said I should think about NOT getting the pilot because it's only a 9-spd cassette and is "old technology" (yeah, he was probably in is early 20's).
Cough, cough! This is bogus. Even I know that.
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Old 04-26-07, 11:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Stringrazor

I asked the guy at this shop about steel frames. He weighs about 250 like I do and said steel flexes too much for our weight (true?). !
Find a new bike shop!
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Old 04-26-07, 11:50 PM   #4
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I'd call another store,there are plenty of Trek dealers. The questions ,though maybe misguided aren't unreasonable. Give him patr of the imfo. if you'd rather. Start off by asking 9 vs. 10 speed questions.The best answers often come out of general questions. I've even gotten cufused on drivetrains on bikes that I own myself... so...? Many bikes will have some flex at your weight. Steel's generally less apt to but....I'd rather not fill your head with those notions at this point. Aluminum's fine,no doubt that LBSs have a wider selection in aluminum.You have your sights set-on some decent bikes.
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Old 04-27-07, 12:18 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by CrossChain
Find a new bike shop!
At the point he said that, I pretty much knew that was the wrong LBS for me.


Anybody familiar with the Trek Pilot 1.2? It was obvious the rep who was trying to sell me on the Roubaix wasn't going to be getting a Pilot in anytime soon. Think I'll get on the horn tomorrow and see if anyone has a 54cm Pilot to demo.
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Old 04-27-07, 05:20 AM   #6
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Shop for the shop first, then find out what kind of bikes they can get for you..........

In case you haven't noticed, shops you don't want to do business with announce themselves loudly.
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Old 04-27-07, 05:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringrazor
A
Anybody familiar with the Trek Pilot 1.2? It was obvious the rep who was trying to sell me on the Roubaix wasn't going to be getting a Pilot in anytime soon. Think I'll get on the horn tomorrow and see if anyone has a 54cm Pilot to demo.
I know 2 people who have them and are very happy with them.
A Sequoia Elite would be a closer equivalent to the Pilot 1.2 than a Roubaix.
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Old 04-27-07, 05:39 AM   #8
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Shop for the shop first, then find out what kind of bikes they can get for you..........
In case you haven't noticed, shops you don't want to do business with announce themselves loudly.
YES. Best advice so far. A good shop will get you into the right bike. You can't ride every model, and at some point they all have a common denominator.

Steel flexes too much?

9 speed is old technology?

Again, find a GOOD LBS with someone who has been around a few years and is a bit older, or at least someone who understands a 50+'r. Then get their advice on an appropriate bike.

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Old 04-27-07, 05:49 AM   #9
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9 speed is old technology?
I still have bikes with five-speed freewheels. And I ride them all the time. Now, if I could only figure out a way to last as long as a Phil Wood hub.
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Old 04-27-07, 06:03 AM   #10
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I was going to jump in on the 9 speed being old technology comment, which has almost been beaten into the ground... who am I to buc a trend?

All indications are it is slightly more prone to wear due to narrower chains etc. Of course 9 speed is supposed to wear a bit quicker than 8 speed too (before that, I think the same chain width has been used since 5 speed)

Asw for the steel versus aluminum... there are flexy frames made out of every material... a flexy steel frame will be flexy, and a stiff steel frame won't be.

Also, age and riding style of the salesperson will influence a suggestion. For a casual rider, I don't think there is a frame with enough flex to be an issue other than real high end bikes that won't take well to a heavy person. Unless your intent is to sprint or climb hard, you will probably never notice you are riding a frame that a hard rider would think was flexy.

I would add a vote to find the right shop, and then work with them. They'll be able to get you an appropriate bike, and the little differences you feel between one brand and another on a short ride may or may not be significant... if they are significant any good shop is likely to be able to get you close enough that a different stem or other bolt on component could get you into the groove. When you find the right shop tell them which test ride you enjoyed most, and why.
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Old 04-27-07, 06:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringrazor
Anybody familiar with the Trek Pilot 1.2? It was obvious the rep who was trying to sell me on the Roubaix wasn't going to be getting a Pilot in anytime soon. Think I'll get on the horn tomorrow and see if anyone has a 54cm Pilot to demo.
I ride a 2 year old Trek 1200c. It's basically the same bike. It was replaced by the Pilot 1.2. I have almost 2000 miles on it and have no complaints or problems. I have done rides of 50 miles and it's pretty comfortable. The only thing I have changed was to add clipless pedals. I still ride with the stock saddle. When the tires wear out I will probably replace the 28s with 25s, maybe.

If I was to upgrade, I would not hesitate to look seriously at the Pilot 2.1, I like them that much.
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Old 04-27-07, 08:22 AM   #12
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If you want to look at steel frame bikes that are a great value check out what Jamis has to offer.
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Old 04-27-07, 10:24 AM   #13
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If you want to look at steel frame bikes that are a great value check out what Jamis has to offer.
Ironically, laughing boy specifically mentioned Jamis models as being unsuitable for weighty types.

As for the "old technology" line from the other LBS rep, it seemed fairly obvious at the time he was trying to sell me what he had on the floor which was a great bike but not the one I was looking for. Not knowing the gear that much I just nodded but my thinking has been pretty much confirmed here.

Thanks for the comments. As for the LBS, like I said in my post I think I've found the one I want to work with. He sells both brands that have models I've liked, Trek & Specialized, and probably a few more. He's 50+ (maybe 60+). The shop is very small but very close to my house - 3 miles maybe. He's definitely a soft-sell type. He'll order whatever I decide on and his quoted prices have been as good or better than any other LBS I've been to.

Now, just gotta find a 54cm Pilot to demo....
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Old 04-27-07, 11:28 AM   #14
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I ride a Pilot 2.1 with a triple crank that is two years old. I picked it for the price point and frame comfort geometry. I turned the stem over which moves the handle bars in a more upright position and bought clipless pedals. I have thousands of miles on it and one crash. I am happy with this bike and would consider another Pilot in the future.

I did have an issue with the rear wheel that came with the bike. It was a Bontrager Select. After some 18 months of riding I found cracks in the rim around some spokes, rear wheel only. (I am 185lbs.) Bontrager replaced the rear wheel at no cost. I will not use these wheels again and they now hang in my garage. I got Mavic OPs 32 spoke front and rear with Ultegra 6600 hubs and a new cassette 12-27, bullet proof-great setup.

Lastly, I want to point out that the 2007 Pilot 2.1 has a completely different drive train than when I bought mine. It is now a 10-speed with a mix group set of 105 & Ultegra and clipless pedals included.
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Old 04-27-07, 12:14 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Stringrazor
Thanks for the comments. As for the LBS, like I said in my post I think I've found the one I want to work with. He sells both brands that have models I've liked, Trek & Specialized, and probably a few more. He's 50+ (maybe 60+). The shop is very small but very close to my house - 3 miles maybe. He's definitely a soft-sell type. He'll order whatever I decide on and his quoted prices have been as good or better than any other LBS I've been to.
Don't wait too long if you need to order a Bike. By the end of May, or maybe before that in California, most shops won't have the ability to get more bikes due to being sold out. If you ride a popular size, they may already be gone.

Don't fall into the trap that you have to buy what they have on the floor because it's the last one either. If it doesn't fit, or you don't like it now, you won't fall in love with it later.

Good Luck!
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Old 04-27-07, 01:39 PM   #16
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"I asked the guy at this shop about steel frames. He weighs about 250 like I do and said steel flexes too much for our weight (true?)."

Is it too flexible for YOU? That's what counts!
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Old 04-27-07, 04:57 PM   #17
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I just ordered a Pilot 1.2. Unfortunately there's none in CA so it's shipping from NJ. I'll have to wait until 5/4 at the earliest. Ironically, I have to be in Pittsburg for work on 5/7. Guess I'll ride my old clunker 10-speed this week so it'll feel even better when it finally arrives!
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Old 04-27-07, 05:55 PM   #18
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I'm a big guy 6"1" 250+/- and recently bought a steel framed Jamis Coda Elite. If it is flexing under me, I am too oblivious to be able to tell it. It is comfortable though if that is a definition of flex.
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Old 04-27-07, 06:20 PM   #19
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I've been having a love affair for 15 years with my steel framed bike. My weight has varied from 190 to 230 in that time. Yes, it flexes. It flexes just the right way to take the edge off rough pavement and to spring to life when I pedal hard. Flex can be a good thing. Why do you think they have all those curved tubes, carbon stays, zerts inserts and such on the new bike frames? To make them flex like a good steel frame, that's why.
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Old 04-27-07, 06:23 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg
I've been having a love affair for 15 years with my steel framed bike. My weight has varied from 190 to 230 in that time. Yes, it flexes. It flexes just the right way to take the edge off rough pavement and to spring to life when I pedal hard. Flex can be a good thing. Why do you think they have all those curved tubes, carbon stays, zerts inserts and such on the new bike frames? To make them flex like a good steel frame, that's why.
Nice pic. But that jersey is borderline OCP, you know. Don't try tellin' us you didn't notice that the blue stripes goes with the bike. Just sayin.
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Old 04-27-07, 06:31 PM   #21
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Nice pic. But that jersey is borderline OCP, you know. Don't try tellin' us you didn't notice that the blue stripes goes with the bike. Just sayin.
I get an exemption on that jersey. It's my team jersey for my MTB racing team, Oconee Outfitters. I like to wear it when I ride to high profile locations, like that shot from the top of Brasstown Bald.
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Old 04-27-07, 08:32 PM   #22
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"Whippy" is bad, shock absorb is good. A little frame flex is allowed for in many steel frames to literally save your ass. More of us here ride Roubaix's than Tarmacs because we want something that buffers us from the absolute hardness of the road. What we don't want is for the chain stays to fishtail when we work the cranks hard. Some flex is good, and frames that don't flex try to built in its equivalent. Rivendell/Grant makes the assertion that the energy that seems to be lost in moderate frame flex is returned as the frame flexes "back". Perhaps excessive movement described by "whippy" or "noodly" is bad, but then that alive, twangy, resiliency of springing-back-a-bit-feel of steel can be good. Well, to me and BP and some others I think.
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Old 04-27-07, 10:08 PM   #23
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Even a new guy like me can tell a big difference in what it feels like to ride a bike with a steel frame vs aluminum. Maybe the description of getting some energy back is what I've been looking for in how to describe how it does feel. Anyway, I like it. The bike surely does not feel like it is whippy or about to give way or anything like that level of flex.
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Old 04-28-07, 07:47 AM   #24
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Nice pic. But that jersey is borderline OCP, you know. Don't try tellin' us you didn't notice that the blue stripes goes with the bike. Just sayin.
Nah, the bike is more sky blue and the stripes shade towards periwinkle. At best, half-OCP. And, as we all know, OCP never does anything by halves, so really it doesn't qualify as OCP at all.
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Old 04-28-07, 09:30 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Stringrazor
I just ordered a Pilot 1.2. Unfortunately there's none in CA so it's shipping from NJ. I'll have to wait until 5/4 at the earliest. Ironically, I have to be in Pittsburg for work on 5/7. Guess I'll ride my old clunker 10-speed this week so it'll feel even better when it finally arrives!
I can see another 7 day posting coming up.

Well done on the bike but sorry about the wait.
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