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Old 01-23-14, 09:30 PM   #1
barrykai
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Analysis Paralysis (Much Easier to NOT Make a Decision)

I'm struggling to find the pefect bike. I know the perfect bike doesn't exist and that there is always compromises but I can't seem to pull the trigger. I'm 52 and my goal is to ride a century so I've at least narrowed it down to a endurance road bike. I'm am on a budget but can afford up to 2K or so but don't want to. Biggest benefit that carbon has to offer for me is smoothing out the ride, however, I should be able to get a smooth ride on an aluminum bike if it has 28 inch tires and a carbon fork. I assume that 28's on a carbon road bike would be even better but I haven't seen one of those. I thought I found the perfect bike which is the 2014 Fuji Sportif Alloy which has Shimano 105 components, 28 inch tires and disc brakes to boot. Also it appears, based on a bike fitting, that the geometry on this bike should fit me like a glove but the test ride will be the ultimate confirmation. I have this idea that this will be my do-all swiss army bike whether doing a century or commuting to work , however, I am strictly road riding with groups and doing rallys at the moment and it may stay that way but I like having options. My dilemma is that there is also a 2013 Fuji Gran Fondo 2.3 carbon for the same price. It is Tiagra components and standard brakes but still, its carbon. Basically the functionality of the brakes and components would be the same, especially for the way I'm currently riding. My questions are:

Am I crazy for considering low tech aluminum over carbon?

Which of these bike would have better resale?

Currently riding a Fuji Absolute 3.0 alloy flat bar fitness bike. How much would my average speed increase?

Is there an endurance bike I could mail order instead?

I originally thought that the 2014 Synapse Disc 105 was going to be the one I would get but the seat setback is limited to 20mm (I need around 30). The seatpost is 25.4mm and there is practically no aftermarket at this time to fit it. Also there is an issue with riders with large feet hitting the disc assembly.
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Old 01-23-14, 09:41 PM   #2
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I'm only going to comment on two (actually 2.5) of your points. First I would base a buying decision on resale value. Bikes are not like vehicles where there's a big difference. Plus if you like a bike, keep it. It's going to have more value to you as a backup or another ride than what you get from a resale.

Second, the lower headtube and dropped bar position makes you much more aero than a flat bar fitness bike. As far as speed, I used to commute 27 miles one way on both a mountain bike with narrow slicks and a road bike. The difference was 4 mph. You won't notice that much because your Fuji is much closer to a road bike than my mountain but you will notice it.

Last (for the 0.5 point), your feet won't hit the disc riding if that's what you are worried about. Toe overlap might allow your foot to touch the tire when turning at slow speed. But the disc is actually inside the wheel (spokes) near the hub.
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Old 01-23-14, 10:05 PM   #3
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Do you have a bicycle shop that will allow you extended test rides? If so, go on test rides and, rather than getting the perfect bike, get the one that leaves a smile on your face. Then it's just a matter of getting a seat that will be comfy for long rides, and getting the right tires for all the types of riding you'll be doing on your century.
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Old 01-23-14, 10:39 PM   #4
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It's the rear disc assembly that is the issue with heel strikes on the Synapse.

Yes, the LBS will give me extended rides on both bikes.
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Old 01-23-14, 10:47 PM   #5
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I agree about not even thinking about resale. More bikes is better. One bike needs some care? Unexpected flat tire? Just grab another one. Or trade wheelsets around, etc. I like to keep one bike set up as a rain bike with fenders and mud flaps.

I much prefer carbon for long rides. I've ridden my '99 Trek carbon bike on 250 mile days with 23c tires pumped to 140 lbs. and was completely comfortable all the way.

Your mention of wanting 28" tires is a bit confusing. If you mean 28mm tires, I don't think 28mm tires are at all necessary or even desirable on a carbon single. We ride our steel tandem on 25mm tires, 290 lb. rider weight, and are very comfortable.

If you're looking for value, it's very hard to beat Performance bikes when they are on sale. Take a look at these:
http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...400315__400315
http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...400315__400315

For long distance riding, a full road bike style like these is much to be preferred. It's not only faster, it's much more comfortable on a long ride.
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Old 01-24-14, 12:04 AM   #6
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On a budget, maybe look for steel? I would go steel over Al any day, if carbon is not an option.

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Old 01-24-14, 01:46 AM   #7
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Im a carbon proponent here. Neither aluminum nor steel are going to give you the same ride, stiff for power transfer and vibration absorbtion.

That scat for 1200 at performance is pretty decent so long as they have your size.

As far as 28mm tires, you can change them out yourself assuming there is available clearance. I would not base my decision on that alone. I ride 23's, had 25's but I personally prefer the skinny low resistance feel and dont think I gave up any real comfort at all.

I send people to Bikes Direct often to check out their options. I ride a Kestrel although I did not buy it from BD, nor do I work for them or receive any kickbacks. I just think there are good deals to be had on decent bikes. like these.

$1100
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...sprint_xiv.htm

$1200
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...sprint_xii.htm

$1300
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._road_xiii.htm

$1400
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...rtalpro_xi.htm

$1500
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...-elite-xiv.htm

$1650
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...road-bikes.htm

Yes BD will substitute fsa or tektro parts to keep the price down, and you will need to do some minor assembly. some have reported that they needed to have their wheels retensioned or bring it in to have the gearing adjusted but that doesnt change my opinion any.

The $1650 bike is closest to my ride but I think the $1100 moto is a bargin.
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Old 01-24-14, 06:01 AM   #8
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First off you're right there is no perfect bike. Unless you're the kind that actually carries and uses a swiss army knife I'd forget that concept. If you stick with riding centuries and commuting you will end up with at least two bikes.

Personally I like buying used bikes. I look for lightly or barely used bikes that people bought on a whim, a couple of years back, and rarely rode. Resale value should be what you paid for it less actual wear and tear. The caveats are it takes time and you need to know your fit/size. It also it helps if you can do your own maintenance and/or modifications. A quality full-carbon bike like, or better, than what you're looking at can be had for less than $1000. A quality commuter for $400 or less.

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Old 01-24-14, 06:10 AM   #9
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On a budget, maybe look for steel? I would go steel over Al any day, if carbon is not an option.

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FWIW I rode nothing but steel until around 2004 when I bought a TI LeMond. Eventually sold it to a friend when my gf bought me an AL w/CF front and rear Masi for a birthday present. I had always avoided AL thanks to it's reputation for harsh ride. However, my Masi is really comfortable and weighs 17 lbs w/o pedals. I no longer have problems with AL as long as the forks and rear triangle are CF.
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Old 01-24-14, 06:31 AM   #10
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The latest aluminum tube construction with the interior profiles being shaped through hydro forming techniques and the resulting compliance has brought aluminum frames in to the comfort realm. Engineering in some resilience for vibration absorption makes them much less buzzy and overly stiff when so designed. The Synapse and Specialized aluminum Roubaix series are very compliant and their geometry is aimed at the endurance rider. They offer the advantages that a drop bar bike has with the slightly higher head tube and angles that give you a good, stable yet lower vibration prone than the racing oriented frames.

My CAAD 10 is not overly stiff and I don't hesitate to ride it over long distances. My set up is oriented towards the endurance with the bar height and stem length as well as using 700X25 width tires. A 700X28 in some brands is also possible. The Synapse, Roubaix, Domane and others will readily accept a 700X28 tire and even fenders if you want for wet winter riding. You can find CF frames at your price point but these are the lower end as far as their lay up in the finer matting and the resins used so they aren't as compliant or even as stiff in some cases, as the more expensive highly engineered CF frames. Steel and titanium are both viable options with several bikes in your price range, do not rule them out.

If you use BD to order a bike, or any of the on line dealers, be prepared to do some assembly, as said above, and possibly use an LBS to assemble and tune things. If you are skilled or are willing to follow a manual or video there is the possibility of doing all the set up your self. It is not difficult, even tensioning wheels can be dome with some patience and the right tools for the job. Some in bicycling do not like the idea of BD or the other on line services, that is your own personal call. I choose to use my LBS to buy and have the bike fitted properly even though I can work on the entire bike myself. the biggest draw back for on line buying is knowing how the particular model fits you and fitting it to your needs and build and fitness as well as its intended purpose.

Best of luck in making the decision, sorry for the length of my reply. Please keep us posted on the process and what you eventually decide to buy.

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Old 01-24-14, 07:26 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by barrykai View Post
It's the rear disc assembly that is the issue with heel strikes on the Synapse.
Ok, I understand. From what I read it's not a problem for most people if you use cycling specific shoes and don't have a lot of excess foot movement. But it looks like a poor design that is rushed
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Old 01-24-14, 07:43 AM   #12
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Fit First...

You've talked about setback, but isn't that very frame and size dependent? My experience is that a proper fit trumps any frame material, component choice, or other consideration, AFTER you have also chosen the proper wheel and tire combination.

I have five road type bikes. Any one of them would be good for an all-day ride because they fit correctly for their style of bike. I can choose one on a particular day and know that it'll be comfortable and will perform well. The rest is up to the motor, it's will, and it's attitude...
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Old 01-24-14, 10:51 AM   #13
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I’ve only one thing to add to the discussion. Carbon, steel, titanium, and aluminum can all be built into a bike that is comfortable, efficient (stiff where it needs to be). So, asking what material may not be as important as asking what are the characteristics I want in the ride and handling and where can I get that with my allotted budget?
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Old 01-24-14, 11:55 AM   #14
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The cost of stuff with The 105 group keeps moving Up.
often to bring the price, down some will be a bump up the price levels,
on select , visible parts ..

and some a bit lower to keep the bottom line reasonable ..

as someone working in Bike shops from time to time ..over 30 years ..



the refrain to the song 'first pick the bike shop, for service, then pick the bike , in that shop'

now, so many brands so few Manufacturers making so many of them ..
It's how the Business model has changed ...



CAD designs, and the parts pick by a Product manager, are as easy to send as this Post.

the brand is Import, Distribution and Marketing .. the shop is service at and after the sale.

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Old 01-24-14, 11:56 AM   #15
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Don't know where the OP is, but if there's a Performance brick-and-mortar store anywhere near, the bike would be shipped to the store where they will do the final fit. All one really needs is the frame size.
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Old 01-24-14, 02:46 PM   #16
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Test ride all the bikes you can and see what feels best for you.

For me, a carbon bike felt more comfortable with less road vibrations then any other frame material. All other materials were gauged against carbon. I rode one aluminum bike that rode extremely harsh, and rode another that was almost as smooth as carbon. That's almost, still not on par. Then I rode some steel bikes and thought they rode close to carbon and was very impressed. Although steel is not in vogue these days, the material still is a viable option for road bikes.

As for 28mm tires... tried them out for one winter, thought they felt slow and not really better then the ride of 25mm. Of course this will largely be impacted by the bike. Now running 25mm tires exclusively.

You don't have to spend 2k to find a comfortable bike to ride centuries. The cool factor will definitely come into play when you and others start comparing bikes though. But who cares, nobody really puts to much stock in what you ride, it's all about the engine and what you can do on the bike.

For me, starting out in 2011, I elected to buy a $700 steel bike with Shimano 105 and Mavic 36 spoke wheels and still can't see any reason to upgrade to a different bike. I rode a couple centuries last year, the bike never let me down, the only concern was the engine.

all the best in your search...
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Old 01-24-14, 03:33 PM   #17
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OP - +1 to NOS88's comments about frame materials. I've got one carbon bike, one steel, and two aluminum, and centuries on any of them are no problem. My team's training rides are in the 100 mile ballpark, and I usually ride my race bike on them - an aluminum frame Specialized Allez.

I'd stick with 700x25s on tires due to the wider availability, and the increased probability that they'll fit a road frame. I'm actually currently running 28s on the Allez, because I have them and they fit, but I'll race on 25s so the wheels fit my other bikes as well...don't have anything against 28s.

I wouldn't get wrapped around the axles about saddle setback. 30mm is unusual; my guess is that it's due to your current frame's geometry, or you were fit incorrectly, or your frame is too small. Setback can change with saddles and/or frame geometry. I recently switched saddles on one of my bikes, and had to go from a zero setback to a 20mm setback seatpost to maintain the same fit.

Whichever you choose, best of luck with it!
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Old 01-24-14, 04:23 PM   #18
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30 mm setback on a seat post is long. Typical is 25mm. Perhaps you need a slacker seat tube angle. That is what I did to get the setback needed...ended up building my own frame! Now that is a perfect bike!
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Old 01-24-14, 05:37 PM   #19
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I would consider steel if I could find one with endurance geometry.

Catonec and Carbonfiber, thanks for the links. The Kestral RT-1000 interests me since it has the endurance geometry I'm looking for. The one in the link is a 2012 and really like the paint. The Scattante CFR-LE also interests me (except for the name). It would be nice if they would list the stack and reach in their geometry!

Been looking extensively for a used bike. Used carbon concerns me a bit. Should I be worried about that?

Cannondale e-mailed me today and said that the bike was designed around clipless pedals and that someone with a large heeled sneaker would possibly hit that area. Also said there may be an aftermarket seat with more than 20mm setback but they don't sell one. I need as much setback as possible since the Specialized Secteur I was fitted on was positioned all the way back and still wasn't far enough.

The Fuji bikes mentioned are indeed at Performance Bikes. I was out there today and was told that since they sell Kestral bikes that they could get me a RT-1000 mentioned above. Surprising since its not listed on their website.

I'm partial to 28mm tires only if I were to get an aluminum frame to help soak up the road noise.

Ti bike is what I really want but then I'd like a Porsche too.

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Old 01-24-14, 07:58 PM   #20
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Don't totally discount being able to afford a Ti bicycle, there are some new models that are in your range. Lynskey has one and I know that there is a Motobecane Ti model at BD, too. One with either Tiagra or 105 components would still be just below, 2000 I believe. Check the various websites to see what is available, if you want a modern component steel bicycle look at the UK based Madison branded bicycles. They have models for endurance (they call them Sportitve frames,) as well as racing and commuter set ups.

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Old 01-24-14, 08:30 PM   #21
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My first several centuries and first 200k were on Worksman Industrial Cruiser. Moral: It's not that hard to find a bike you can ride a 100 miles on.

Get a bike that's fun to ride. If you don't know one derailleur from another, you've got no clue if the "better" one is worth $5 extra or $500 extra or what. So at some point, you've gotta pick something and go with it and it might as well be fun.

Don't be surprised if you have to get a new saddle for longer rides- you'll find out when you start riding longer.
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Old 01-24-14, 10:58 PM   #22
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My rt9, as you can see the 2010 rt/sl is slightly different than the 1000. I was impressed by the shape of the tubes and how they all blend together. The ride is excellent as is the workmanship. I ve included some close up pics for you.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 107.jpg (47.8 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg 105.jpg (50.5 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg 106.jpg (48.0 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg SAM_0049.jpg (94.5 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg SAM_0138.jpg (98.3 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg small kestrel.jpg (48.6 KB, 10 views)
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Old 01-25-14, 02:25 AM   #23
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I need as much setback as possible since the Specialized Secteur I was fitted on was positioned all the way back and still wasn't far enough.
This doesn't sound right. Setback is to get your knees over pedal spindle (KOPS), or close to it. If you need a really long setback, you actually need a longer top tube (a larger bike). Don't get hung up on setback, just buy the right bike that fits you best. My guess is the Secteur should have been a bigger frame, but that's only a guess.

Here's a link to my current bike, nothing fancy, but it rides great and suits my needs.
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._legacy_xi.htm
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Old 01-25-14, 07:47 AM   #24
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This doesn't sound right. Setback is to get your knees over pedal spindle (KOPS), or close to it. If you need a really long setback, you actually need a longer top tube (a larger bike). Don't get hung up on setback, just buy the right bike that fits you best. My guess is the Secteur should have been a bigger frame, but that's only a guess.

Here's a link to my current bike, nothing fancy, but it rides great and suits my needs.
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._legacy_xi.htm
You are correct when you say the setback is to get your knees over the pedal spindle. You don't use seat setback to achieve the correct reach. If I went to a larger frame I would then have a KOPS AND a reach problem. I've got long femurs that require a long setback.

Great looking bike!
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Old 01-25-14, 07:49 AM   #25
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I used to be set on what bikes I wanted--535mm top tube- at least 105 groupset- medium quality wheels at less than 1700 grammes and a total bike weight of below 18 lbs. But they started to go out of my price range and yes I do have a bike that cost me $5,000. But things improve and the Tiagra 10 spd groupset is pretty good nowadays. Wheels have improved a bit but I still pay for quality wheels over stock ones. That 18lbs limit has gone to 20lbs now but still like lighter. But material and "Quality" C.F. or Aluminium are the ones to go for. Never had a steel bike as that was a "Dying" material when I got into bikes 25 years ago.

But I have 3 bikes for road. A Stock Pinarello UNO FP---A Giant TCR C frame and fork that was built up using a mix of 105 and Ultegra parts and handbuilt wheels---and an Aluminium Boreas Ignis (No longer made) with the Ultegra/ 105 mix and Ultegra wheels. They will all do 100 miles with ease but the main reason for that is that they fit me perfectly.

I use the Pinnie for general rides but come a longer ride and it will be Boreas unless it is hilly where I will use the TCR as it has a triple fitted.

But which is my favourite bike? Any of them.-They each have their own use and characteristics but I ride them all.
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