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  1. #1
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    Advice on bike purchase

    I'm new to cycling (in my second year after a twenty some year layoff) and it's been great. I've built a bike and now I'm on my second used road bike. It's time to buy a new bike. My LBS is pushing Trek and Opus - especially Opus. I now ride a used Opus Allegro. I was looking at Fuji - based on Bicycling magazine buyers guide they are stiff and light. My LBS didn't have much good to say - not durable he said and didn't recommend at all. I've got about $2,500 to 3,000 to spend for next spring, so doing my homework over next 2-3 months. Apparently I can save a few dollars by placing an order in September. Anyone riding a Fuji and how do you like it? It is fair to request my LBS order in a Fuji so I can try it? They normally don't carry that line of bikes.

    I'm looking for something with a stiff frame...I'm 5'9", 190lbs and hopefully dropping. I plan to ride about 3,000km per year and the roads are a bit rough in spots. There are a number a challenging hills - challenging for me and I think a compact crank is best. No racing but I do train hard and our club rides are mostly friendly races. Any advice on best brands in the $2,500 to $3,000 range?

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkennedype
    I'm looking for something with a stiff frame...I'm 5'9", 190lbs and hopefully dropping. I plan to ride about 3,000km per year and the roads are a bit rough in spots. There are a number a challenging hills - challenging for me and I think a compact crank is best. No racing but I do train hard and our club rides are mostly friendly races. Any advice on best brands in the $2,500 to $3,000 range?

    Thanks,
    "Any advice on best brands in the $2,500 to $3,000 range?"

    Whoo whee! That's a lotta money! Are you SURE you NEED to spend that kinda money to
    do recreational riding??

    Since you may "want" to spend that kinda money why not consider a "Rivendell Atlantis" that
    you can custom order "just for you"? If I was to "invest" that kinda money in a bike I could
    better justify the dollars for a Rivendell anyday. The quality is so good that it may be the
    last bike you buy which, over time, will be the cheapest bike you'll ever own.

    Rivendell Atlantis......A drool machine if there ever was one.

    http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/htm...tisframes.html
    Last edited by Nightshade; 07-04-06 at 01:02 PM.

  3. #3
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkennedype
    I'm looking for something with a stiff frame...I'm 5'9", 190lbs and hopefully dropping. I plan to ride about 3,000km per year and the roads are a bit rough in spots. There are a number a challenging hills - challenging for me and I think a compact crank is best. No racing but I do train hard and our club rides are mostly friendly races. Any advice on best brands in the $2,500 to $3,000 range?

    Thanks,

    Interesting question. Monday I went to 2 LBS's and reviewed my options. About the same height but a bit heavier. I'm looking for something more friendly to an older body. Al is getting harsh and I'm adding miles as much as I can. Basically there are only 2 frames to consider for your mileage: CF and Ti. You're a bunch lighter so I think you will be safe with any CF frame. It just depends on how much you will be packing on your rides. Before you buy, test ride the bike and check for lateral stability at speeds. If you have no problem, you're ok, if it flexes too much. Your choices are Guru and Ti frames. Guru will beef up their CF frames for heavier riders.

    Since you have hills and are not racing, why bother with a compact crank vs a triple. You are really putting a lot of unneeded strain on your legs by not getting a lower chainring. The weight of an extra ring is not much and well worth not having leg problems.

    I don't know your location so don't have an idea of brands in your area. Biggest decision is are you going to be doing touring. It sounds like you like speed. If don't need touring setup, you should be fine as long as your rim will take 700x25 or 700x28 tires. Most bikes should be able to handle this. I confirmed that zipp's will handle 700x28 tires, even though they are designed for 700x23.

    Your budget seems reasonable for the ride you want. If you really want speed, look at the Tri type of bikes. Top names there are Guru, Felt, Cervelo, Quintana Roo and Litespeed.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  4. #4
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    I ride a Fuji, and I love it. My wife adores hers.

    Excellent value for the money.

    I'll second the opinion of "that much money for a rec bike?!" You could spend $1,000 and get a FANTASTIC recreational bike. That kind of money screams "I'm serious about racing."

    Of course, it sounds like you have a rec bike already. Is this a racer?

    Fuji was the last Japanese manufacturer to move production to Thailand. The initial "dating" period was rough, and thusly the initial bikes out of the new factory were not of great quality...not the traditional quality that Fuji had been producing previously.

    It is my opinion that Fuji compares very nicely to any off the shelf Trek/Giant/Specialized, but will cost a little bit less, because they haven't quite recovered the rep from that historical setback yet.

    If you start talking more "custom" type stuff...that that point you may even be talking beyond Fuji, Trek, or Specialized. Maybe even Giant.

    Cervelo, Felt, Litespeed, Orbea in your CF space-age racers. (Which I do NOT agree with for recreational riding.)

    Rivendell is a good manufacturer if you're looking for a "quirky" and unique piece. Certainly not a racer, but something you know is one of a kind, and a bit of a work of art. And maybe not for rec riding, if you will fret about your custom tailored art piece everywhere you go.
    Good night...and good luck

  5. #5
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    Get a classic Peugeot (PX-10 or better) or Motobecane frame and fit it out with phil wood hubs/bb. Then have it hacked (sandsmachine.com) A carbon seatpost will give it a modern look. leather headset wrap. Brooks saddle. Get a second front wheel with a Dyno Hub.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
    2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
    1996 Birdy, Recommend.
    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

  6. #6
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    $2500 - $3000 is a fair bit of money to be spending in your second year. If you've got that to spend, great.

    My advice is to test ride the bikes that you can easily get locally. If a shop is willing to order something in for you to try, great, but if not, it's better to buy a bike you can ride ahead of time.

    I also suggest that you ride a carbon bike or two. They can help a fair bit with some of the roughness you're running into.
    Eric

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    199x Lemond Tourmalet, Yellow with fenders (Beast)

    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
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  7. #7
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    There's lots of advice here, most of it bad. Generally, bikes in a similar price range from major manufacturers are pretty close in quality. At what you plan to spend, you can't buy a bad bike. You =can= buy a bike that doesn't fit or doesn't suit your intended use. So, don't worry so much about the name on the downtube.

    This isn't to say that all brands are the same, just that the quality level at a particular price point is the same. Different manufacturers have different focuses on frame materials, geometry and style. Find what works best for you.

    Also, don't get hung up on component group differences. Don't fret if your favorite frame has an Ultegra rear derailleur while your second favorite has Dura Ace for the same money. Maybe that difference in cost went into a more expensive frame.

    Figure out your priorities. Comfort? Performance? Distance? Reliability? That'll go a long way to deciding what you want. For your budget you can go with anything from custom steel to mid level titanium or carbon. Also, don't let high end Shimano bits distract you from a crappy wheelset. I'd rather have really good wheels and a 105 drivetrain than D/A with generic wheels.

    Spend some time on fit. It doesn't matter how nice a bike is if the fit doesn't work for you. If you're happy with the fit on your current bike, use that as a starting point for comparison. If not, figure out what doesn't work and see if that can be improved on a different bike. Considering the amount you're willing to spend, your LBS should be willing to spend a lot of time with you dialing in a perfect fit.

    So, to the question of whether you should get your LBS to order a Fuji, it's probably not necessary. They're fine bikes but you may be even more happy with what he regularly sells. If none of his regular stock works, THEN agitate for the Fuji.

    Now, since you seem to be concerned about road roughness, wider tires will go a lot further than any exotic frame materials. So, you want to check the available tire clearances of any bike you consider. Unfortunately, most road bikes are now made with scandalously poor tire clearances these days. If you can find something that can handle it, a 28mm tire is a great compromise between weight, performance and cushion.

    Finally, don't let anyone tell you what you "should" ride based on their personal ideas of style or what your "level" as a rider might be. It's your budget and your ride.

  8. #8
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    I wouldn't get hung up on a single brand, especially over a review. At that price range, you've got a huge amount of choices. You can go all-carbon or aluminum with carbon seat/chainstays and carbon fork. For the rough roads, get yourself some good wheels. They make the biggest difference for the money. In your price range, full Ultegra is to be expected or the Campagnolo equivalent, Centaur.

    Trek 2000 series, Trek Pilots, Orbea Onix, Orbea Lobular, Lemond Tourmalet(or if you want something different, the Sarthe or Croix de Fer- be part of the "steel is real" crowd), Specialized Tarmac or Allez, Giant TCR, Bianchi 928, Cannondale Synapse Carbon, Klein Reve X, etc. The list goes on and on.

    Steel won't be quite as stiff as aluminum. Depending on the construction, some carbon frames are stiffer than others. You said you want light and stiff but those are relative terms. To me, all of the above bikes will be light and stiff, maybe too stiff. You said you've got rough roads; a stiff frame will beat you to death. Stiffness most important for acceleration; something done often in crits and on the track.

    If I had that kind of money to spend on a bike I'd be like a kid let loose in a candy store. Test ride as many bikes as possible for as long as the shop will let you. Make sure they fit you reasonably well on the bike before you ride it. I'd bring my own pedals and be wearing cycling shorts.

    I have a compact and really like it. FSA Gossamer 50-34. You can also get it with different rings: 52, 50, 48, 46T large rings and 34, 36, 38T small rings(gap no larger than 16T). This allows you to get the right crank set and cassette combination for your terrain and cadence and eliminate awkward shifts.

  9. #9
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Also, by Sept the new models will be known, so this year's will drop in price. There might be a good opportunity here for you. Check out roadbikereview for a few other opinions on bikes. Note these are just guidelines, they rarely have knowledgeable reviewers and most reviews are completed so soon after bike purchase the honeymoon effect destroys the value of the review.

    Unless you are strong, I would not recommend a compact crank. If you have hills, or gasp, mountains, your knees will love a triple. Just be sure to get a low small ring.

    Finally, I would recommend against SPD pedals. Get pedals and shoes that can handle 3 point and then you can change pedals or shoes later without spending as much.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    Unless you are strong, I would not recommend a compact crank. If you have hills, or gasp, mountains, your knees will love a triple. Just be sure to get a low small ring.
    How low? I just replaced my 42 w/ 39, and am wondering about replacing my 30 w/ a 28 or 26.

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg
    How low? I just replaced my 42 w/ 39, and am wondering about replacing my 30 w/ a 28 or 26.
    As low as you want. I have a touring bike with a mountain bike crank that is set up with a 46/34/22 (I could go as low a 20) on it. With an 11-34 rear cassette that's a range of around 112 gear inches to 17 gear inches. My mountain bikes are set up a little lower in gears - around 100 gi to 16 gi.

    There are caveats with the derailers but it's not hard to do for the most part.
    Stuart Black
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  12. #12
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Cycco rides steeper hills/mtns than I do. I only go down to 25gi currently. I'm thinking of getting lower than a 28t ring for the low. It just depends on how strong you are and whether you want to push or spin. I've been trying to force myself to stay in the middle chainring as much as possible, but it's too hard. I can't ride on a 42x27 without dropping cadence too much. I thought about changing the 42 when I changed the low and high rings, but didn't. My mistake. I was looking too much at duplicate gears then and not the range of gears on low/medium/high.

    28 for a low replacing 30 does not buy you much. Go lower.
    Hi 'o Silver away

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