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  1. #1
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    Poll: Top 5 Bike Manufacturers?

    Hello everybody,
    I'm new to road cycling and was wondering what people's general sense of quality was as far as bike brands. This is assuming money is not a factor. I recently went to a bike shop and without knowing anything thought the bikes from Opera and Pinarello looked the best, until the guy told me how much they cost Just wondering where they and others stack up to the likes of Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, Merckxx, etc. List your top 5s! THANKS!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Monument Man's Avatar
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    do you mean orbea? ok looks like you meant opera. i should check up on those.
    Last edited by Monument Man; 07-26-05 at 10:06 PM.

  3. #3
    MWW
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    Affordable top 5
    1. Giant
    2. Cannondale
    3. Trek
    4. Specialized
    5. Fuji

  4. #4
    Senior Member 55/Rad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monument Man
    do you mean orbea?
    No, I'm sure he meant Opera.

    http://www.operabike.com/home.php?lang=e

    55/Rad

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 55/Rad
    No, I'm sure he meant Opera.

    http://www.operabike.com/home.php?lang=e

    55/Rad
    Opera is a subdivision of Pinarello, right?
    '02 Bianchi XL Boron (Training/Crit Bike)-'06 Specialized Stumpjumper (MTB)
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  6. #6
    blithering idiot jhota's Avatar
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    depends on use and price point. some companies are better at certain things than others.

    plus, warranty and customer service has to be figured in somewhere.

    the company that makes the "best" $5000 bike probably isn't the same one as makes the "best" $600 bike.

    every price-point is a trade-off between materials, workmanship and components. after you hit a certain point (probably the $2500 range or so), any reputable mfg's bike will be as good a quality as any other's. whether it will be suitable to the rider is a completely different question...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWW
    Affordable top 5
    1. Giant
    2. Cannondale
    3. Trek
    4. Specialized
    5. Fuji
    I think Cannondale, Trek, and Specialized gets very expensive when you got top end. You can pay $3500 for top of the line Orbea or $5000 for top of the line Trek or Cannondale. Specialized isn't much better.
    '02 Bianchi XL Boron (Training/Crit Bike)-'06 Specialized Stumpjumper (MTB)
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  8. #8
    Senior Member 55/Rad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRLski
    Opera is a subdivision of Pinarello, right?
    There is a definite connection between the two but to what degree, I'm not sure.

    55/Rad

  9. #9
    Cannondale Shill hmai18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 55/Rad
    There is a definite connection between the two but to what degree, I'm not sure.

    55/Rad

    From CyclingNews

    "Pinarello looks after two ProTour teams, Valverde's Iles Balears-Caisse d'Epargne with Opera, and the Fassa Bortolo team with the bikes that bear the family name. "Opera is not a second brand for us, but a high performance bike that enables us to do something different that we can do with Pinarello," said Pinarello. "We have Opera models in carbon fibre, titanium, hydroformed aluminium and steel, and all the models are inspired by and named after a great Italian artist."

    Not sure if that cleared things up with the Pinarello/Opera divide or made the divide even more muddy.

    Train smarter; ride harder; get faster; buy lighter (but not neccessarily in that order)
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    55/rad is correct. I did mean Opera. They are some beautiful bikes. I also have seen the Orbea's too and they come with some crazy colors, designs.

    As for the pricing, the feeling I'd gotten is similar to what's being said. It seems like after a certain price, they are all pretty well made and use the same caliber components (Dura Ace, etc.).

    What does everyone think about FELT? They seem to have some nice bikes and great prices for the caliber of compenents they give you. I was eyeing the F70 or F60 models with Shimano 105s. Thanks.

  11. #11
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    This forum is totally full of bike envy and gearaholics, but don't let them make a decision for you.

    The one true answer is this: the best bike is the one that fits you the best. I'd worry much less about the name on the downtube than how you feel riding it. Try bikes (in your price range) from all the big manufacturers, and buy the one that calls to you.

    - Warren

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasmodul
    What does everyone think about FELT? They seem to have some nice bikes and great prices for the caliber of compenents they give you. I was eyeing the F70 or F60 models with Shimano 105s. Thanks.
    Felt makes great bikes, and, if they fit you and you like them, you should get one. Don't be so concerned with the components -- consider the frame quality, fit, and ride first. The frame and wheels are what make a bike feel good (or bad). The components are just tacked on, and can always be upgraded later.

    - Warren

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    Thanks for the suggestion. This coming weekend I am doing just that. Going to Santa Cruz, CA (huge bike town) and going to a few big shops to try all kinds. Hopefully they will let me test ride them. Haven't bought a bike since the 80s so I don't know what the rules are.

    Oh, one other thing. Is there a general rule of thumb on what different frame geometries translate into? I've noticed some are extremely triangular, where as others are sloped down at the top more. How does that affect ride? Thanks

  14. #14
    Senior Member 50mph's Avatar
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    Felt offers incredible value for any budget. I just bought my first one, the value is literally unparrelled on my F-55. I challenge anybody to find a better deal. Test rides are the only way to find the right bike for you though.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasmodul
    Thanks for the suggestion. This coming weekend I am doing just that. Going to Santa Cruz, CA (huge bike town) and going to a few big shops to try all kinds. Hopefully they will let me test ride them. Haven't bought a bike since the 80s so I don't know what the rules are.

    Oh, one other thing. Is there a general rule of thumb on what different frame geometries translate into? I've noticed some are extremely triangular, where as others are sloped down at the top more. How does that affect ride? Thanks
    Ahh Santa Cruz, home of my Kestrel Evoke
    A California ordinance states that a $500 fine will be given to anyone who detonates a nuclear device within city limits.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Matt Gaunt's Avatar
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    This forum is totally full of bike envy and gearaholics, but don't let them make a decision for you.

    The one true answer is this: the best bike is the one that fits you the best. I'd worry much less about the name on the downtube than how you feel riding it. Try bikes (in your price range) from all the big manufacturers, and buy the one that calls to you.

    - Warren
    Absolutely. My frame is made by Kinesis. Not the quickest name to slip off the tongue is it? But they do in-house frame design for Trek and I think Giant (not sure on that though). So I have a custom frame from Trek for bottom dollar and top quality materials are used. Do I care it doesn't say Trek on the downtube? No - I'm glad! Much less common and a perfect fit. Suits me fine.
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  17. #17
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    1. specialized
    2. giant
    3. trek
    4. colnago
    5. cervelo
    that's my list

  18. #18
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    There are at least a hundred companies in the world that SELL bikes. But, "five" is getting rather close to the number that actually design and build their own bikes "in-house". (Referring to those companies that sell hundreds of thousands of bikes each year, not to those that build and sell dozens of bikes).

    In the USA, the only companies that design and build high quality bikes in large quantities are Trek and Cannondale. Those little American flag decals on Schwinns and Specialized bikes mean "After being built in Asia, this bike was shipped to America".

    The UK magazine "Cycling Plus" tries to sleauth out precisely where "big name" European bikes are really made. Often, behind that Italian name is a Chinese bike.

    Why mention this? The thread title used the word "manufacturers". More and more, bike companies are simply in the decal business. They manufacturer less and less each year, and some manufacture only their catalogs.

  19. #19
    RC2
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    Quote Originally Posted by 55/Rad
    There is a definite connection between the two ...
    Connection = italians who don't think bike tubes should be straight? Beautiful bikes they may be...but I'm still waiting for the goofy loopy fork/stay idea to start growing on me...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRLski
    Opera is a subdivision of Pinarello, right?
    A division of Pinarello.

    A sub-division has houses in it

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    There are at least a hundred companies in the world that SELL bikes. But, "five" is getting rather close to the number that actually design and build their own bikes "in-house". (Referring to those companies that sell hundreds of thousands of bikes each year, not to those that build and sell dozens of bikes).

    In the USA, the only companies that design and build high quality bikes in large quantities are Trek and Cannondale. Those little American flag decals on Schwinns and Specialized bikes mean "After being built in Asia, this bike was shipped to America".

    The UK magazine "Cycling Plus" tries to sleauth out precisely where "big name" European bikes are really made. Often, behind that Italian name is a Chinese bike.

    Why mention this? The thread title used the word "manufacturers". More and more, bike companies are simply in the decal business. They manufacturer less and less each year, and some manufacture only their catalogs.
    Bingo!

  22. #22
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    My Official Top 5 Independant Small Builders -

    Aluminium - Kavik Bicycles
    Carbon - Parlee, and probably Crumpton in the very near future
    Titanium - Kish Bicycles
    Steel Progressive - Anvil Bicycles (No longer building unfortunately. now concentrating on jigs)
    Steel Traditional - Very hard choice.....Dave Bohm, Richard Sachs, Albert Eisentraut, Nasagawa.....so many to chose from.

    Top Five Mainstream Scum Suckers -

    1) Time
    2) Cervelo
    3) Casati (Current Italian love affair, but this could wear off next week.)

    Can't think of any more. Casati probably should be in the top group, and they offer custom which ain't exactly, well, production.
    Have you earned your stripes? <<click here / Questions about custom frames? Chat me! - warwickg71 (AIM/iChat) ThylacineCycles (Skype)

  23. #23
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    There are at least a hundred companies in the world that SELL bikes. But, "five" is getting rather close to the number that actually design and build their own bikes "in-house". (Referring to those companies that sell hundreds of thousands of bikes each year, not to those that build and sell dozens of bikes).

    In the USA, the only companies that design and build high quality bikes in large quantities are Trek and Cannondale. Those little American flag decals on Schwinns and Specialized bikes mean "After being built in Asia, this bike was shipped to America".

    The UK magazine "Cycling Plus" tries to sleauth out precisely where "big name" European bikes are really made. Often, behind that Italian name is a Chinese bike.

    Why mention this? The thread title used the word "manufacturers". More and more, bike companies are simply in the decal business. They manufacturer less and less each year, and some manufacture only their catalogs.
    This is a very narrow parochial view, Alan. What you are assuming is that there is some quantifyable difference between telling someone inhouse how to make something, as opposed to telling someone in the shop across the road how to make something. In fact, all you're doing is making gross assumptions about quality control, as if someone who outsources manufacturing is throwing caution to the wind and doesn't care about the end product.

    This is of course utterly ridiculous. It puts manufacturing on some pedistal like it's some black art that needs to be reveered. The cold hard reality for anyone that has anything to do with design and manufacturing, is that there are many, many facilities that have the ability to manufacture exactly to specification. It's not magic. It's a matter of quality design and quality control.

    What's a heck of a lot more scarce is quality design.

    Example - Do you honestly think that say if Apple Computers bought out all their suppliers and therefore owned the machines making their components that the quality would improve? Did you see Specializeds quality slip when a large chunk of it was purchased by Merida?

    A reverence for manufacturing is cute in a 1950's kind of way, but it really has no emphasis in a post-modern world where design is king.
    Have you earned your stripes? <<click here / Questions about custom frames? Chat me! - warwickg71 (AIM/iChat) ThylacineCycles (Skype)

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    This is a very narrow parochial view, Alan. What you are assuming is that there is some quantifyable difference between telling someone inhouse how to make something, as opposed to telling someone in the shop across the road how to make something. In fact, all you're doing is making gross assumptions about quality control, as if someone who outsources manufacturing is throwing caution to the wind and doesn't care about the end product.

    This is of course utterly ridiculous. It puts manufacturing on some pedistal like it's some black art that needs to be reveered. The cold hard reality for anyone that has anything to do with design and manufacturing, is that there are many, many facilities that have the ability to manufacture exactly to specification. It's not magic. It's a matter of quality design and quality control.

    What's a heck of a lot more scarce is quality design.

    Example - Do you honestly think that say if Apple Computers bought out all their suppliers and therefore owned the machines making their components that the quality would improve? Did you see Specializeds quality slip when a large chunk of it was purchased by Merida?

    A reverence for manufacturing is cute in a 1950's kind of way, but it really has no emphasis in a post-modern world where design is king.
    well - no, to pretty much all of this.

    If the manufacturing is done in a contract plant, as most of it is. Then the completed frameset is brought to a facility for application of decals - the company applying applying the decals is not a manufacturer - it is a marketing company.

    Most bicycle companies of any size now-a-days are not Mfgrs. they are marketing companies and that is what Alan was saying.

    You can buy the same bike with 9 different names on it. It is getting to the point where having a bike from a Mfr. will mean getting custom.

    Not a parochial view at all, a realistic one.

    Not just in the bike biz, in most biz's these days.

  25. #25
    acciaio is real Wurm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RC2
    Connection = italians who don't think bike tubes should be straight? Beautiful bikes they may be...but I'm still waiting for the goofy loopy fork/stay idea to start growing on me...
    D. Pegoretti says he won't build ya a bike with "compact" geom - you'll get traditional TT's only from him. Sounds good to me.

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