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  1. #1
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    Is this a good deal?

    I am on the lookout for a road bike and I have these two options in front of me. I want to spend only around $1200-$1400 at most now, but want to get a decent bike.

    After doing a lot of calling round REI stores in 30 mile radius I found that one store has 2012 stock remaining of Cannondale Synapse 6 Carbon. I was originally wanting a Synapse 5, but since my budget is lower, I was going to go for an Aluminum Felt Z85 at another store which they will sell it to me for 10% off MSRP. There was some confusion if the Felt was 2012 or 2013, but the shop says it is 2013 listed incorrectly on sale for 10% discount, but they will still honor the price since I am repeat customer. I am thinking this is a good deal for a 2013 Felt Z85, but then I found this Synapse which looks even better deal.

    So, my options:

    1. 2012 Cannondale Synapse 6 $1330 (not sure this is SRAM Apex or Shimano tiagra, 2013 is listed as Tiagra, while 2012 shows up as SRAM Apex).

    2. 2013 Felt Z85 $1214 (Shimano 105)

    I am thinking Cannondale is a great deal since original MSRP is close to $1800 on 2012. So I am getting close to $500 off and full carbon frame for this price. I can always upgrade to 105 or Ultegra, with the money I am already saving plus a bit more, and still come out better than spending $2500 for full carbon with ultegra now.

    Which one is a better deal? Is is too good to be true. Anyone has experience with 2012 Synapse 6 Carbon? Is it SRAM Apex, and if so it is comparable to Tiagra or 105?

    What about Felt Z85, $1214 for 2013 sounds good deal, but I am wondering if the shop is pulling one on me, since it is hard to figure out 2012 from 2013. I hope not.

  2. #2
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Looks like the 2012 Cannondale is Apex which IMHO isn't worth crap. I had Apex on my 2010 Specialized Tarmac. The Apex is one thing I DID NOT like about the bike.

    Get the Z85. I replaced the Specialized with a 2011 Felt Z4 (see below). Love it. And 105 is much better than Apex.

    Now excuse me while I go fix some for the upcoming entertainment.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---
    2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 "Racing Edition"--The bike shop owner said it's toast. R.I.P.

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  3. #3
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Winner:

    2. 2013 Felt Z85 $1214 (Shimano 105)

    35,000 miles on my Felt F-85 105
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  4. #4
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    I went to the store and checked out the bike, it turned out to be a no deal as the 58 cm frame on the Synapse is too large for me, I am too stretched out. Otherwise I loved the bike, how it feels on the road, the ride quality and comfort, and the responsiveness when I drop down on the bars.

    REI has only 3 bikes in 56 cm frame left in the whole country, and closest is in Atlanta which is very far from me, they said for a $180 fee they could box it and ship it out here. It didn't sound practical. Besides there are light scratches on the crank arm on the 2012 I tested and the white tapes look a bit soiled. Must have gone out for many test rides. Chances are the bike from Atlanta could have similar issues.

    The Felt is good value for money, I could get it and 10% off MSRP on 2013 makes it even more sweeter deal. But, having been on the Synapse carbon put me in a twist all over again. I really like the Synapse. It is very smooth, almost glides over the road, and at the same time generates enough power when needed. SRAM shifting is not all that great, but I guess it is a matter of getting used to it.

    Anyhow, I could get 2013 Synapse 5 with 105 for $2099 online at REI. They will ship it to store where they will build it. For the full price I could get a brand new bike out of the box.

    I am again back to my original problem of whether to spend $2K or stay in the $1k range. I guess what is $1K additional after all, in the long run, many rides on the Synapse will more than pay for it I guess.

  5. #5
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Not sure why you're fixated on REI, unless you're a frequent customer and take advantage of their rebate program. REI tends to sell at the high end pricewise. I wouldn't ever buy parts or accessories there - way too high... So, my thought is that there are better deals out there at other bike shops. You'll need to ride more bikes and stop obsessing about frames and components. Much of it doesnt' really matter anyway. Find a bike that fits you, that you can afford reasonably, and that comes from a shop where they treat you right.

    Those would be my $0.02.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    Not sure why you're fixated on REI, unless you're a frequent customer and take advantage of their rebate program. REI tends to sell at the high end pricewise. I wouldn't ever buy parts or accessories there - way too high... So, my thought is that there are better deals out there at other bike shops. You'll need to ride more bikes and stop obsessing about frames and components. Much of it doesnt' really matter anyway. Find a bike that fits you, that you can afford reasonably, and that comes from a shop where they treat you right.

    Those would be my $0.02.
    Phil's right on the money, IMO. The great thing about bikes is that while brands differ, the commonality of materials and components makes comparisons easier to do, which helps determine the value you're getting. You need to spec out the components you want and find the bike that comes closest to meeting those within your budget. Until you start talking about high-end models, there's not enough difference between various manufacturers to really stress over as long as you have the component mix that you want.

  7. #7
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    REI is one store where they sell Cannondale bikes, and I am interested because that is one bike I have narrowed down based on the test rides I have taken. But, I have found another store not too far where they sell the same. They also sell other brands like Cervelo, and Pinarello. So I am going to check them out. As for budget, I have a range with min / max price. The main thing is I don't want to buy too low and then think I should have spend a bit more. One major factor is Carbon vs. Alum, and for components 105 or Ultegra. I can get different combinations with these two materials / group set, with price ranging from $1200 (minimum) to $2500 (maximum). Question really for me is whether to spend max, min, or in between for the best value for me. I guess I will test ride a few more bikes and see where it ends up.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by theoddone View Post
    REI is one store where they sell Cannondale bikes, and I am interested because that is one bike I have narrowed down based on the test rides I have taken. But, I have found another store not too far where they sell the same. They also sell other brands like Cervelo, and Pinarello. So I am going to check them out. As for budget, I have a range with min / max price. The main thing is I don't want to buy too low and then think I should have spend a bit more. One major factor is Carbon vs. Alum, and for components 105 or Ultegra. I can get different combinations with these two materials / group set, with price ranging from $1200 (minimum) to $2500 (maximum). Question really for me is whether to spend max, min, or in between for the best value for me. I guess I will test ride a few more bikes and see where it ends up.
    With respect to your budget, while you can get a carbon bike for that price potentially, it's not going to be one with a good component set. You'd be better off getting a nice aluminum bike, which is definitely possible in that price range, than a budget carbon bike because you'll notice a nicer component set in all circumstances. Ultegra is a better groupset, since you have less "flex" under a harder load. There are also more gearing possibilities, but you probably won't notice this unless you're racing. Likewise, Ultegra is lighter, but again the difference isn't going to be something you'll notice. What you will notice with Ultegra is the fact that there's more precision and less wear over time.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafzali View Post
    With respect to your budget, while you can get a carbon bike for that price potentially, it's not going to be one with a good component set. You'd be better off getting a nice aluminum bike, which is definitely possible in that price range, than a budget carbon bike because you'll notice a nicer component set in all circumstances. Ultegra is a better groupset, since you have less "flex" under a harder load. There are also more gearing possibilities, but you probably won't notice this unless you're racing. Likewise, Ultegra is lighter, but again the difference isn't going to be something you'll notice. What you will notice with Ultegra is the fact that there's more precision and less wear over time.
    The price is quoted is for full carbon with Ultegra group set. Trek Domane 4.5, Madone 4.5, and Giant Defy Composite 1 are all in the $2500 price range. They are all full carbon with Ultegra. I tested a Synapse Carbon 5 and a Cervelo R3 at a new LBS today. The Synapse 5 is all 105 and I like the ride. While the Cervelo is a different type of bike, more expensive, however not for my type of riding. They also have Cannondale SuperSix 105 and CAAD 105. But those are more aggressive geometry I think, so I am sticking to Synapse. I might test ride those two as well. All three C'Dale bikes are full carbon with 105 and they can be bought for around $1900.

    As for Alum, I can get it with 105 for around $1200, I am not sure paying up for Alum with Ultegra is worth it? If the Alum price is close to $1800 then am I not better sticking to full Carbon with 105, as there is no huge difference between 105 and Ultegra. The lighter weight of carbon will more than make up for slightly heavier 105. Besides I can always upgrade to Ultegra later, but the frame is more important, right?

  10. #10
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theoddone View Post
    The price is quoted is for full carbon with Ultegra group set. Trek Domane 4.5, Madone 4.5, and Giant Defy Composite 1 are all in the $2500 price range. They are all full carbon with Ultegra. I tested a Synapse Carbon 5 and a Cervelo R3 at a new LBS today. The Synapse 5 is all 105 and I like the ride. While the Cervelo is a different type of bike, more expensive, however not for my type of riding. They also have Cannondale SuperSix 105 and CAAD 105. But those are more aggressive geometry I think, so I am sticking to Synapse. I might test ride those two as well. All three C'Dale bikes are full carbon with 105 and they can be bought for around $1900.

    As for Alum, I can get it with 105 for around $1200, I am not sure paying up for Alum with Ultegra is worth it? If the Alum price is close to $1800 then am I not better sticking to full Carbon with 105, as there is no huge difference between 105 and Ultegra. The lighter weight of carbon will more than make up for slightly heavier 105. Besides I can always upgrade to Ultegra later, but the frame is more important, right?
    With all due respect, I think that you're making this much too complicated - and - you're focused on the wrong things, as reflected in your last post (above).

    If you are not a very experienced, competitive road rider, you will not notice any of this for the first few years of riding. Actually, it's a waste of your attention. May I suggest a set of prioritized criteria for you?

    (1) Budget - Determine what you are willing to spend, taking into consideration all of your financial goals and obligations, the priority that bicycling takes relative to those, and allowing for budget for other sundry items that you'll need to ride your bike comfortably and safely (blinkie lights, helmet, gloves, shoes?, pedals? frame pump, floor pump, whatever). Don't set a range, set a number and stick to it.

    (2) Comfort and Fit - Find the bike (within that hard number) that fits comfortably, can be adjusted to within your precise needs, and has the ride qualities for which you're looking.

    (3) Bike Shop - Make certain that you want a long term relationship with these guys/gals. Did they fit you correctly? Do they correct minor problems without hesitation? Are they listening to your priorities or "pushing inventory"? Use discernment. Would you want to return to them for service and advice? Is their location pracitical for bringing your bike there?

    I list budget as #1 because of how you've written the series of posts in this thread. I would suggest that you narrow down what you can afford and what's appropriate. What would your mentor, father, or financial advisor say? Stick to that figure. The differences between the bikes aren't that significant at your experience level and for our purposes. Really, they're not.

    But #2 is what really matters in the end. Get the fit and function right. The rest will take care of itself. Carbon, aluminum, Apex, 105...none of that matters. Get what is comfortable for you. It's a bicycle, not an interview suit. PG

  11. #11
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theoddone View Post
    Question really for me is whether to spend max, min, or in between for the best value for me.
    Get the best bike you can afford. Period.
    Craig in Indy

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by theoddone View Post
    The price is quoted is for full carbon with Ultegra group set. Trek Domane 4.5, Madone 4.5, and Giant Defy Composite 1 are all in the $2500 price range. They are all full carbon with Ultegra. I tested a Synapse Carbon 5 and a Cervelo R3 at a new LBS today. The Synapse 5 is all 105 and I like the ride. While the Cervelo is a different type of bike, more expensive, however not for my type of riding. They also have Cannondale SuperSix 105 and CAAD 105. But those are more aggressive geometry I think, so I am sticking to Synapse. I might test ride those two as well. All three C'Dale bikes are full carbon with 105 and they can be bought for around $1900.

    As for Alum, I can get it with 105 for around $1200, I am not sure paying up for Alum with Ultegra is worth it? If the Alum price is close to $1800 then am I not better sticking to full Carbon with 105, as there is no huge difference between 105 and Ultegra. The lighter weight of carbon will more than make up for slightly heavier 105. Besides I can always upgrade to Ultegra later, but the frame is more important, right?
    The Giant Defy Composite 1 is not the same type of frame as the TCR, which is their standard full carbon frame. It does get very good reviews in Bicycling magazine and other venues, though. I would go with Ultegra over 105. I've had both, ride Ultegra now and do notice a crisper shifting with it -- but that's just me.

  13. #13
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    Listen to Phil G. on this one. Relax, exhale and take your time finding the right ride. Now that you know what REI has, check out the other shops. bk
    Last edited by bkaapcke; 09-29-12 at 04:58 PM.

  14. #14
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    I bought Cannondale Synapse 5 Carbon with 105 from a nice Bike Shop, not REI. They have three stores in varying distances in my area, with full fit service with bike purchase and all the usual maintenance options. Paid $1995 for a new 2013. 5% off from MSRP. There were other bikes on deeper discounts. I liked the Synapse best, it rides like a dream. Went out for a 20 mile ride this morning and felt so good. Its a whole different type of riding compared to the Hybrid I was riding.

  15. #15
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    There is not much difference between Ally and C.F. bikes within a price range. C.F. and you get a frame that is supposedly better. Ally and you will get better components. If you are talking Aluminium at a cheap price then it "May" not be a good frame. And C.F. frames can vary so much in ride quality that it can be like chalk and cheese.

    But How do they ride?

    Last Year I tested a lot of bikes for my N+1. Couple really stood out and that was a Colnago and a Pinarello UNO. Bit pricy for Aluminium frames but they did stand out--Within my price range. Cut the story short and went for the Pinarello FP UNO and have not regretted it. Pricewise it was the same as I could have got a Trek-Cannondale-Giant-Specialised in C.F.with lower components but in my eyes rode better and was not that much more expensive. It still sounds expensive for an Aluminium framed bike with Tiagra components but 2012 Tiagra is up to the standard of the older 105/Ultegra mix I have on the other bikes so no no problems but you can definitely tell where the money went in this bike. It is the frame. Well designed and made aluminium frames work and work well. Just a pity that everyone thinks that bikes have to be C.F. to be worth contemplating as that is the wrong way to look at it.

    The Pinarello was bought within similar restraints to you in that cost has come into it. As such I went for the bike I would be happy with. It rode well- had components that would stand up to my use and would not need upgrades in the very near future. They will wait till parts break or wear out.

    So get out and check out the Pinarello's- Colnago's- Cervello's etc. and see how they ride. Not saying they will suit everyone but they definitely make good bikes- even at the price you are looking at.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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