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Old 01-26-11, 10:34 AM   #1
Garilia
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Pondering a road bike

I'm probably a few months from pulling the trigger on a road bike purchase. I'm considering all options, including something like a cyclocross or a touring bike.

It seems that a cyclocross might be a fairly acceptable all-purpose road bike. I know they usually run 32's as tires, can they run skinnier?

Any feedback is appreciated.
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Old 01-26-11, 10:52 AM   #2
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CX bikes can be good all 'rounders, or they can be purpose-built racing machines. The description is all-encompassing, which makes generalizations difficult.

Mine's an all 'rounder. It fits tires to 38mm with full fenders. Others only 32 or so.

I run 28mm road tires in the three seasons, switching to 34mm CX tires for off-road excursions, and 35/38mm studded snow tires for winter. I could run skinner in the three seasons, but it's my primary commuter and I prefer the 28s on it. I have three other bikes for 25mm.
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Old 01-26-11, 11:07 AM   #3
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If using solely on the road- then get a road bike.

Problem is the choice within your Budget. Most manufacturers will use one frame and hang varying degrees of components on it and vary the price accordingly. Take the Giant OCR (A well known bike to most here but has been superceded by the Defy) - you have versions 1-2 3 and 4. 4 will be basic and 3 would be better. 2 and 1 are where you start getting the good components. So you get the same frame-just at different quality and cost.

So first road bike- what do you "Need"? First of all you will have a budget and that will be the Main limiting factor unless you are flush and can go top knotch straight away. I only went road 4 years ago after 16 years of MTB's and I put my restriction on what was going to be the minimum that would work so I started with the OCR3. Sora Drivetrain and a weight of around 20lbs. Other components were suitable for use but just a bit on the heavy side.

If I were starting now- with the knowledge I now have- I would say 105 drivetrain- weight of 18lbs or less and GOOD wheels as the minimum- but that would have cost me a fair amount more than I wanted to pay 4 years ago.

Manufacturer- Basically any of the good names but what is your Local Bike Shop like? Have you found one that suits you yet? Once you have the LBS you will probably go with what they sell so don't worry about make of bike yet.

So a few questions for you to answer for yourself but what Budget are you thinking of? What type of riding will your roads and MUP's give you and what do you want to do in the future?
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Old 01-26-11, 11:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Garilia View Post
I know they usually run 32's as tires, can they run skinnier?
I have a Kona Jake CX bike that I put 700x35 Conti Speed Kings on in the winter months. In the summer I swap the tires and put on 700x25 Vittoria Rubino Pro.
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Old 01-26-11, 11:52 AM   #5
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I lump drop-bar bikes into four groups: Road Racing, Cyclocross, Sports/Touring and Loaded Touring. I look at the size of tire the bike will accept and the type of brakes installed and the length of the wheelbase.

Road Bikes have short reach caliper brakes and are usually limited to 700x25 sized tires and have a short wheelbase. Think Salsa Podio: http://salsacycles.com/bikes/podio/

Cyclocross bikes have Cantilever brakes and can accept fat tires from 700c35 or larger. Some Cyclocross bikes now have disc brakes. Think Salsa Chili Con Crosso: http://salsacycles.com/bikes/chili_con_crosso/

Sports/Touring bikes have long reach caliper brakes and can accept fatter tires, up to 700x32. Think Salsa Casseroll: http://salsacycles.com/bikes/casseroll/

Heavy touring bikes are like sports touring bikes, except that the wheelbase is longer and the bike is outfitted to easily accept front and rear racks. Heavy Touring bikes often have cantilever brakes. Think Surly Long Haul Trucker: http://www.surlybikes.com/bikes/long...cker_complete/

I have a Road Racing bike, a Cyclocross bike and a Sports/Touring bike. If I had to use just one bike for all kinds of riding, it would be the Cyclocross bike.

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Old 01-26-11, 12:15 PM   #6
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I love my Gunnar Sport.

http://gunnarbikes.com/site/bikes/sport/

It does most everything. Group rides, commuting, lite touring.

When I got it, I wasn't really shopping for a bike. I had gone in
to have some work done, and the Sport had gone on sale with a
less expensive gruppo. I tried it, and it put a smile on my face.
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Old 01-26-11, 12:54 PM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback so far.
Some more clarification based on some of the comments:

Last summer I decided I wanted to get back on a bike, I flirted with a hybrid purchase, but based on a lot of feedback from this forum, decided I should think along the lines of owning at least two bikes, a mountain bike and a road bike. So about 4 months ago I purchased a Motobecane Fantom29 hardtail from BikesDirect. I'm very happy with the purchase of that bike.

Now, as I ponder a road bike I'm thinking of what I would usually use it for. I would have to work up to being able to do a Century, but I'd like to have that as an option some day. I doubt I'd do any major overnight type touring, but I could see myself using it for some minor grocery runs and needing the ability to run it with some panniers. So it would mostly be for recreational road riding, with some mixed use thrown in. So as I was reading some of the other forums on this board, the CX idea started to take shape.

I will probably order it online, but maybe not. I'm willing to spend around $1,000. Possibly a little more, but I would have to wait longer to save more.
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Old 01-26-11, 01:29 PM   #8
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Before you order on line ask your LBS what they can do for $1000 ... 2010 model, for example ... that way you'll get some good advice and some backup if everything isn't as you expected. They may not be so accommodating when you bring in your on-line special when a problem develops ... it will ...
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Old 01-26-11, 01:33 PM   #9
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Well, in shopping around for the mtb, I visited about 7 different LBS' and wasn't impressed by any of them. On the other hand, what made me go with an online purchase in the first place was having a personal friend (Larry) who is soon to be a retired firefighter, who used to help run his dad's bike shop. His dad was the first Trek dealer in the state of Florida. Larry has built bikes from the frameup and not only has an expert knowledge of bike repair, he has an excellent bike workshop. He has also dabbled in doing bodywork on bike frames.

So while I appreciate the feedback about LBS' I'd rather focus on the relative merits and demerits of different bikes, brands (Trek, Giant, Salsa, Gunnar, Fuji, Cannondale, Motobecane, etc.); components (Shimano Sora, 105, Ultegra or SRAM Apex, Rival, Force, Red); styles (road, touring, CX).

I've heard from more than one person that within the Shimano line you probably want 105 or better. I doubt I can afford Dura-Ace.

I am open to frame suggestions, I'd love to stick with steel if possible, but will consider aluminum with carbon forks. I don't think I want all carbon, and titanium is like Dura-ace, too rich for my blood.

However, I am open to visiting some of the LBS' and seeing what's around and thanks for that reminder.

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Old 01-26-11, 01:47 PM   #10
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First go to Racer's Edge in Boca and get fit by John. It sounds stupid, but you will get the geometry for the "perfect bike" for you for your needs. From that you can shop first by geometry which will narrow the field a whole lot.

For $1,000 you're looking at an alu frame carbon fork, and tiagra level, give or take. I would recommend saving a bit more and going for at least 105/Rival level, Ultegra/Force is better durability wise.

For my $, I kinda wish I had gone with a CX bike since I only planned to buy one. However, I don't regret the bike I did get. And I just use my son's Trek MTB when I go off road.

Since you already have the 29'er, get the right bike for the job. Get a road bike, the best value you can afford. Road biking is all about speed and distance. Neither one is very attainable on a cheap road bike, IMHO.

If you are going "on line," Look at Tommaso, Nuvation, Giant Nerd, and BD.
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Old 01-26-11, 01:47 PM   #11
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Of course ... it should be a LBS you like ...
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Old 01-26-11, 02:03 PM   #12
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For about a grand on BD

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...e/sprint_x.htm

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._pro_rival.htm

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Old 01-26-11, 02:09 PM   #13
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For a grand I don't think you will find any new bikes with Rival or 105 components. Based on your comments an aluminum with carbon fork cross bike would be a good fit. I have a Trek XO1 cross bike that I race with and also use as my "bad weather bike. I don't switch to road bike tires, I just take a wheel set with 23mm tires from my road bike and put them on the cross bike. A cross bike will have an easier geometry than a road bike, be more durable in the long run and offer some flexibility on where you take the bike. The down side vs. a road bike is lack of quick handling, greater weight and aerodynamics, which are not important if you don't race.
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Old 01-26-11, 02:41 PM   #14
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Agree with Allegheny That a grand is a bit too short for 105. At least normally but "Most" Dealers can get hold of last years bikes still with an appreciable discount. I would rather go with a bike I can check out before I buy. Especially one that has a "Name" behind it. I ride Giants and The defy range could suit you (Change the Brand and model to any other Manufacturer) The 105 is a bit above your price but last years models and negotiations can take place.

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/....1/7307/44047/

you have the 29er for any rough trails you want to ride so no need for a CX bike unless you are really wanting one. If they are going to be used offroad then fine but for road use Allegheny has said it all. And It will not quite have the "Performance" of a road bike on the road.

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/....2/7315/44078/

I know you may have Mate that can mechanic and build up an online bike for you- but Rather than get a bikes direct bike I would start haggling at the LBS. With 7 of them around you can always strike one off against another for that better price.
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Old 01-26-11, 02:56 PM   #15
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can they run skinnier?
, sure , but you would run a 19 wide rim with a 23 tire ,
not a 25 wide rim.
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Old 01-26-11, 03:09 PM   #16
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Timely topic (for me) ... I'm mulling over the same decision. Made the jump last year (from mtb [with slicks mostly, on-road]) to Specialized Sirrus (flat-bar road [sport/touring, really]). Now thinking on switching to a drop-bar bike, having got used to "skinny tires" and liking the 700c/lightness/quick handling for longer rides.
I'm still afraid of drop-bars a little (osteoarthritis issues in spine, hands, and shoulders) but want to give it a go.

I like some of the break-downs of 'type' here: in my case, looking at the 2011 Specialized Tricross or Secteur, or Giant Defy, at 105/Apex level. The Tricross isn't really a 'cyclocross bike' at all, I think ... rather more a 'light/medium touring bike'; the Secteur/Defy both slightly relaxed-geometry 'road sport' bikes ... which way to go? Decisions, decisions ... !
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Old 01-26-11, 03:14 PM   #17
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, sure , but you would run a 19 wide rim with a 23 tire ,
not a 25 wide rim.
Several of the CX bikes run Mavic Aksiums with 32 tyres---The same wheels I run with 23's

A lot is said about matching Rim width with tyre width but "SO FAR"- I have never found any problems. And finding the rim width on some of the wheels around is a problem- unless you physically measure it yourself.
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Old 01-26-11, 03:18 PM   #18
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I keep hearing how for a grand you'll be at the 105 level, but the Moto Sprint has Ultegra 6700 components.

Allegheny Jet's comment: "A cross bike will have an easier geometry than a road bike, be more durable in the long run and offer some flexibility on where you take the bike. The down side vs. a road bike is lack of quick handling, greater weight and aerodynamics, which are not important if you don't race." Is quite possibly the best synopsis I've heard of the different styles. Relaxed geometry and durability are a plus for CX, flexibility isn't such a big deal as I have the hardtail. Better handling, less weight, and aerodynamics are a plus the other way
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Old 01-26-11, 03:20 PM   #19
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I really have a hard time paying full MSRP for a bike when I never have for a car. When I was shopping around a few months ago, none of the shops were willing to haggle, they were just trying to get me to buy whatever they had on the floor whether it was a good fit or not.

I will have to visit the Racer's Edge in Boca that Bob mentioned.
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Old 01-26-11, 03:25 PM   #20
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Nothing wrong with Tiagra or Apex components. Choosing between a CX bike or a sports/touring bike (as per Barrettscv's definitions above) is the decision point as I understand your question. I would lean toward sport/touring as optimum due to the lower bottom bracket, but the CX bike would not be a bad choice.
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Old 01-26-11, 03:40 PM   #21
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Granted, I only skimmed the responses. But how many different styles of road bike have you ridden recently? Until you know what a sports/touring bike, or a loaded touring bike, or a cross bike, or a road racing style bike feels like, you'll be just guessing. When I first got back into cycling I decided to get a loaded touring bike, because I reasoned it would be just fine given I was never going to race. I rode it for about six months before I tried a a road racing style frame. Fifteen minutes on that bike change my mind rather quickly. It's like the difference between driving a fully loaded mini-van or a an Audi A8. They are just worlds apart.
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Old 01-26-11, 03:48 PM   #22
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That's a good point NOS88, I should look into what I can rent and give them a decent run. The test drive around the parking lot isn't enough to get a real feel for a bike.
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Old 01-26-11, 03:56 PM   #23
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I really have a hard time paying full MSRP for a bike when I never have for a car.
Surprisingly, it's been a better than you might expect period for bike shops over the last couple of years, so it should be no further surprise that bike shops won't haggle much. Last year there was a period of up to three months when the most popular models had sold out even from the manufacturers.

However, you'll still get a bargain if you're prepared to take a 2010 model; probably aluminium frame, carbon forks and, probably, 9-speed 105. And yes, I can spell aluminium ;-)
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Old 01-26-11, 04:57 PM   #24
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I'll put in a vote for the Moto Sprint. Ultegra 6700 brifters are nice, and they will last a lot longer that tiagra if you pile on miles. The bikes a little heavy, but it will ride very smooth. I'm only concerned about the geometry. It may be too aggressive for you. I think you will be better served with a more relaxed geo. That's why I recommend a pro fit first. 100 mi is a long way to be uncomfortable.

My wife for the Cafe Sprint, a flat bar version of the bike w/o carbon seat stays. I love riding it for little local jaunts. Very smooth riding. It's just not set up for me for long rides.
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Old 01-26-11, 08:25 PM   #25
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Surprisingly, it's been a better than you might expect period for bike shops over the last couple of years, so it should be no further surprise that bike shops won't haggle much. Last year there was a period of up to three months when the most popular models had sold out even from the manufacturers.

However, you'll still get a bargain if you're prepared to take a 2010 model; probably aluminium frame, carbon forks and, probably, 9-speed 105. And yes, I can spell aluminium ;-)
Getting discounts around 10% below MSRP on 2011 models is not uncommon, especially this time of year. If you can find a 2010 model in your size of a bike you really like, you can do much better.

When was the last year 105 was 9 speed? 2005?
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