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  1. #1
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    Considering a new bike, help me choose

    So I've decided to get a new bike this spring and need some expert advice. I'm soon to be 57 and am in pretty good shape. I did a lot of riding in the 80's and 90's, mostly fast club rides and century rides. I just started riding again last spring, after a 10 year or so hiatus, and am having a blast. I currently ride my 1987 Cannondale SR500 105. I love this bike and probably have put close to 50,000 miles on it. I bought my older son a Trek 1.5 for his birthday last year and I couldn't believe how smooth and comfortable it rides.

    Most of my rides will be with one or both of my boys (19 and 22), so I have my work cut out for me. I don't want them waiting on the old man too much. I'll also do club rides and would like to complete a couple of centuries, my goal is sub 6 hours. I have a lot of lower back pain and because of this I spend most of my time in the drops.

    As a concession to age I've been looking at carbon frame bikes with a relaxed geometry. These bikes are fairly expensive (for me) and want to make sure my money is well spent. I don't want to start a flame war, or have this thread be a primer on carbon vs. aluminum, but I just want some assurance that carbon frames are as durable and trouble free as my aluminum frame Cannondale has been.

    So I've been looking at these bikes, mostly carbon bikes with the newer Ultegra groups, the outlier is a Bianchi with the Veloce group. I don't want to spend too much over $3k. When the weather gets nicer here in the northeast I'll be in heaven test riding these bikes. For now help me with my list and tell me what you think of my choices so far.

    Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra http://www.cannondale.com/can/catalo.../category/916/

    Bianchi Intenso Veloce http://www.bianchiusa.com/bikes/road...eloce-compact/

    Trek Domane 4.7 http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ne_4_7_compact


    Specialized Roubaix SL4 Comp http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...-compact#specs

    I don't know much about the Veloce group on the Bianchi, but that bike just looks pretty. I'd also consider these same carbon bikes with the 105 group as it seems you get a lot of bang for your buck with it. I just don't want my new bike to have older tech on it. This will probably be the last bike I'll purchase. I'm not thin skinned so tell me what you really think!

    Tom

  2. #2
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    I looked over the Domane and it is a fine bike. The Roubaix also has a dedicated following. I don't know anything about the others. I doubt you'd go wrong with any of them.

    You'll have about twelve people tell you to get the bike that fits, but you probably realize that anyway.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, thanks for the reply. I rode a buddy's 2013 Synapse, carbon frame with the 105 group. We traded bikes for a 25 mile ride. He couldn't wait to trade back, said my bike was very harsh. I guess since I've put so many miles on my bike I just don't feel it. Any of the bikes on my list are more than I need or deserve. Of course fit will be the most important part of the equation. Now that I've decided to pull the trigger I can't wait to start test riding.

    Tom

  4. #4
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    You should also check out the Cervelo R3 with 11-speed Ultegra. I test rode one with 10-speed Shimano 105, and it rode very smoothly on rough pavement, but had the performance of my old road bike. It's a bit more expensive than your budget goal, but a very comfortable bike that doesn't sacrifice on performance. I test rode a Synapse at my LBS, and found it a bit too soft and slow handling for my liking. Unless you ride on extremely rough roads, you don't need that sort of bike. BTW, the new Ultegra 6800 brakes that are part of the 11-speed gruppo are fantastic.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  5. #5
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    Ride a Caad 10...

  6. #6
    USMC Veteran qcpmsame's Avatar
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    All of the bicycles you mentioned are good, well made rides. At your price level you will have a very good equipment selection available from all of the manufacturers. For me it would come down to the LBS for each of the makes and how well they work with you in choosing which to buy and especially the one that fits you best. Of the bicycles you mentioned the Synapse and Roubaix are my personal favorites, but the Domane is no slouch, either. Find the LBS that works best with you and get the one which fits you properly and that the dealer will do a proper fitting as a part of your purchase. An LBS that will stay with you for all the things that come with serious cycling is a definite asset. All three offer an endurance (or comfort) type of ride in their geometry and construction/design, and they are able to do fast riding as well.

    You certainly seem to be knowledgeable about ridng and about bicycles so doing the foot work and test rides should not be a difficult task for you. Just take your time and ride each you want to try out as much as possible, don't rule out other manufacturers, say Giant, Cervelo, as said, and others in your area. As a hard core CAAD 10 addict I will offer that each of the models you mention are available in aluminum frame offerings that are well rated in the tests I have read and by friends that ride them now. At your price point ot would be hard to go wrong if you do the research and spend some time to make the decision. Please keep us informed on your choice.

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

    "We can't control that we have Parkinson's, but we can control how we live with Parkinson's" Davis Phinney

  7. #7
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    You say you have lower back pain and will therefore spend a lot of time in the drops? Most people think a more upright position is better for their lower back issues. I'm just wondering if riding in the drops is actually more comfortable for you. FWIW your '87 AL frame is nothing like current AL frames. I only say this because if you are limiting frame choice because of your experience with an almost 30 yr. old frame you should re-think it. My Masi ('06) is 7005 AL and has CF fork, seat stays and chain stays. It is IMO quite comfortable and handles really well. AL is also a hell of a lot cheaper than CF. If you were to find a good AL frame you could take the money you saved and upgrade components/wheels. I am currently researching for a new bike and am thinking of the new steel or AL as opposed to paying the price for CF. This is not to knock CF but just to say the options are greater than I think you think.
    Last edited by bruce19; 02-15-14 at 09:48 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    In my research I found this information useful...http://www.brightspoke.com/c/underst...materials.html

    I found this statement interesting...

    "Like aluminum, carbon fiber bike frames are corrosion resistant, but they require a bit more tender loving care than a steel or aluminum frame. Although carbon is strong and stiff, a deep scratch or hard bump can compromise the structural integrity of a carbon frame, making it prone to catastrophic failure."

    I found this to be a very interesting discussion about the actual effect of weight difference between the "new" steel and CF. It helped me decide on steel for my nest bike.

    http://www.smartcycles.com/bike_weight.htm
    Last edited by bruce19; 02-15-14 at 10:03 AM.

  9. #9
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
    My Masi ('06) is 7005 AL and has CF fork, seat stays and chain stays. It is IMO quite comfortable and handles really well.
    I also have a ten year old road bike built around a MONOC frameset with full carbon fork and aluminum main frame tubes with carbon stays. I recently bought a new bike built on a Matrix full CF frameset, and it's noticeably smoother riding and more comfortable on rough roads, while still being stiff and responsive. The prices in CF frames has come down a lot and I think they are now worth buying for the added comfort they provide.
    Last edited by TejanoTrackie; 02-15-14 at 10:11 AM.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  10. #10
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Simple, buy the one you fall in love with!

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


    Specialized Crosstrail Sport - '08
    Nishiki Sport - misappropriated from my youngest son (circa 1984)
    Marin Stinson - misappropriated by my youngest grandson - '01
    "The Beast" - 1990 Schwinn Airdyne (in the basement for winter torture)

  11. #11
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tpcorr View Post
    Any of the bikes on my list are more than I need or deserve. Of course fit will be the most important part of the equation. Now that I've decided to pull the trigger I can't wait to start test riding.

    Tom
    NOOOOO!

    You deserve any bike you can afford.

    If your children are going hungry at night because you blew your last few pennies on a Domane, that's one thing.

    Live is too short to feel guilty about riding a lovely bike.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Domane with the seat tube isolation suspension would make the century rides a bit more comfy..

    You eyeing the Carbon, or Aluminum framed version OK ?

    the elastomer softens the usually stiff aluminum characteristic, and the Al version costs less.

  13. #13
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Simple, buy the one you fall in love with!
    Basically this is what I've always done. After all the thinking and scientific research of course.

  14. #14
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    NOOOOO!

    You deserve any bike you can afford.

    If your children are going hungry at night because you blew your last few pennies on a Domane, that's one thing.

    Live is too short to feel guilty about riding a lovely bike.
    +1

  15. #15
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    I do not know from personal experience but by repute, the Domane does in fact ride nice.

  16. #16
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    This is one of the steel frames I am looking at.....http://www.torelli.com/frames/mondon...a-leggero.html

    OTOH this is not too shoddy.....http://www.torelli.com/frames/torell...ontefalco.html

    Now to find money.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
    You say you have lower back pain and will therefore spend a lot of time in the drops? Most people think a more upright position is better for their lower back issues. I'm just wondering if riding in the drops is actually more comfortable for you. FWIW your '87 AL frame is nothing like current AL frames. I only say this because if you are limiting frame choice because of your experience with an almost 30 yr. old frame you should re-think it. My Masi ('06) is 7005 AL and has CF fork, seat stays and chain stays. It is IMO quite comfortable and handles really well. AL is also a hell of a lot cheaper than CF. If you were to find a good AL frame you could take the money you saved and upgrade components/wheels. I am currently researching for a new bike and am thinking of the new steel or AL as opposed to paying the price for CF. This is not to knock CF but just to say the options are greater than I think you think.
    Bruce, lots of good points here. I am more comfortable in the drops, no doubt about it. When I spend too much time on the flats my back starts to bark. When I go to the drops I feel better, no pain, just feel like I'm stretching it. As a matter of fact, one concern I have about the Synapse, Domane, and the Roubaix is the higher head tube. I wonder if this will put me in too upright a position and cause me back pain.

    The reason I'm limiting my choices to carbon frames are just for the increased comfort these frames seem to provide. From experience on my son's Trek 1.5, which is aluminum with a carbon fork, I know how much more comfortable these new frames are.

    Freedomrider, I am definitely going to try out the CAAD 10. Do you think, coming from the bike I have now, the CAAD 10 will provide comfort close to the Synapse?

    Tom

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Simple, buy the one you fall in love with!
    That's the plan Wanderer!

    Tom

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Domane with the seat tube isolation suspension would make the century rides a bit more comfy..

    You eyeing the Carbon, or Aluminum framed version OK ?

    the elastomer softens the usually stiff aluminum characteristic, and the Al version costs less.
    I was looking at the carbon, but from the posts here I am going to give some aluminum frames a go.

    Tom

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    NOOOOO!

    You deserve any bike you can afford.

    If your children are going hungry at night because you blew your last few pennies on a Domane, that's one thing.


    Live is too short to feel guilty about riding a lovely bike.
    Thanks Dudelsack, you're right of course. Life is too short to not live it all the way. Kids well provided for, retirement funded, lol.

    Tom

  21. #21
    Senior Member koolerb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
    In my research I found this information useful...http://www.brightspoke.com/c/underst...materials.html

    I found this statement interesting...

    "Like aluminum, carbon fiber bike frames are corrosion resistant, but they require a bit more tender loving care than a steel or aluminum frame. Although carbon is strong and stiff, a deep scratch or hard bump can compromise the structural integrity of a carbon frame, making it prone to catastrophic failure."

    I found this to be a very interesting discussion about the actual effect of weight difference between the "new" steel and CF. It helped me decide on steel for my nest bike.

    http://www.smartcycles.com/bike_weight.htm
    I don't think the main advantage in CF is weight, it's stiffness. They are lighter, but I've always thought of the weight advantage as secondary.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
    In my research I found this information useful...http://www.brightspoke.com/c/underst...materials.html

    I found this statement interesting...

    "Like aluminum, carbon fiber bike frames are corrosion resistant, but they require a bit more tender loving care than a steel or aluminum frame. Although carbon is strong and stiff, a deep scratch or hard bump can compromise the structural integrity of a carbon frame, making it prone to catastrophic failure."

    I found this to be a very interesting discussion about the actual effect of weight difference between the "new" steel and CF. It helped me decide on steel for my nest bike.

    http://www.smartcycles.com/bike_weight.htm
    Bruce, that's the kind of thing that has me a little worried about carbon.

    Tom

  23. #23
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tpcorr View Post
    Bruce, lots of good points here. I am more comfortable in the drops, no doubt about it. When I spend too much time on the flats my back starts to bark. When I go to the drops I feel better, no pain, just feel like I'm stretching it.
    Tom
    The reason I asked about this is because many years ago I had a similar experience. I was basically immobile thanks to sciatic nerve pain. Compressed nerves and all that. I went to a chiropractor who made me whole again. When I asked if I could continue riding my motorcycle in the leaned over sport bike position he said that position was actually better for my back. Last year at age 67 I did a 1,000 mi. day on my Ducati. Guess he was right.

    As for your bike frame choice, riding these bikes, if possible, will tell you more than stats and articles IMO. Good luck. Also FWIW the Dura Ace that came on my Masi in '06 is not as smooth as the 105 that came on my Raleigh cross bike last year. It just keeps getting better.

  24. #24
    tsl
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    You're using the wrong organ make your decision.

    Just as choosing a wife by listening to your gonads is the best way to make a wrong decision, turning bike buying into an intellectual exercise is the best way to make the wrong decision there.

    Riding a bike is not an intellectual exercise, but a physical one. Deciding between bikes should also be.

    Look, the four bikes you listed are so similar they might be identical.
    • They're all similarly equipped. The differing details between them are meaningless.
    • Their geometry is similar.
    • Their pricing is similar.
    • Their intended market segment is identical, and your intended use if firmly in the center of that segment.
    • Any one will give you the same bragging rights.
    • Not a one will make you unhappy.


    But, one of them will speak to you on a different level and intensity than the others. When one speaks to you as a lover, that's the one to buy.

    The way you listen is to ride the bike. Again, riding a bike is a physcal exercise, so the purcahse of one should also be a physical exercise, not an intellectual one.

    Take your brain out, give it wash, and hang it up home to dry, then take your body on a test ride. Ride each one. Go back and ride them again if need be. But I guarantee, one will speak to you.

    And it won't do so from a specification sheet or an internet forum.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    You're using the wrong organ make your decision.

    Just as choosing a wife by listening to your gonads is the best way to make a wrong decision, turning bike buying into an intellectual exercise is the best way to make the wrong decision there.

    Riding a bike is not an intellectual exercise, but a physical one. Deciding between bikes should also be.
    Hey tsl, thanks for the response, it made me smile. Of course you're right, and in the spring when I'm ready to pull the trigger I fully intend to spend lots of glorious time riding these bikes and sorting out my questions on a physical as opposed to academic basis. The purpose of this post is to pick the brains of those with more knowledge than I have.

    Tom

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