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  1. #1
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Ordered cheapies for myself and my bro-in-law...

    So, my bro-in-law and I are doing a 100km Gran Fondo (the Healing Cycle) in a bit over 6 weeks. He has a beat-to-**** old MTB that doesn't fit him, and I have a Jamis Sputnik with 48x16 gearing and bullhorns. We did back-to-back centuries on this inappropriate hardware last summer, but want something better suited to the task for the GF this summer.

    We each have our own reasons for being stingy about this purchase, and I tried pretty persistently to find us some decent entry-level road bikes for $500 each, but came up empty. eBay, Craigslist, and Kijiji were hunted, bike show was attended, LBS's were visited, and frustrations rose. When people are giving folks a hard time about ordering a bike online they tend to act like you can walk into any good LBS and they'll have a 2-year-old bike in good condition that they took on trade-in - a bike that would have been $1000 new but that you can snap up for $500 because the latest & greatest released since has killed its price.

    This has not been my experience.

    It's not like I scoured every corner of every shop in Toronto, but I did hunt around quite a bit and my criteria were:

    1) STI or similar integrated brake/shifters.
    2) Carbon fork.
    3) $500 pricetag.

    I looked a bit into going vintage & upgrading stuff, and also looked at getting a hybrid and swapping bars & brakes/shifters, and checked out a few used bikes, and it's not like there are no other options out there, but I just kept thinking about how I could get something brand new from BD that has what I want for less money and less hassle. So that's what I've done.

    I ordered a Windsor Wellington 3.0 for myself (it was priced at $399 for a few weeks - wish I had bitten the bullet and ordered it before it jumped to $429 and got advertised as being on sale!), and a Dawes Lightning 1000 for him (it doesn't have a carbon fork but does have an adjustable steering stem which is important for him because he's a freak with short torso and very long limbs and we want more flexibility in fitting the bike to him).

    Even factoring in the exhange rate, the cost of renting a car and driving it to Buffalo, taxes & import duties, and the additional UPS charge to have it sent to a UPS store, it should come in just barely over my $500/bike target.

    This isn't exactly the way I wanted to go, but it's the only option to get a new entry-level bike at this price point, so this is what I'm doing. Despite feeling kind of forced into it, I admit that I am VERY EXCITED ABOUT GETTING MY NEW BIKE!!! And also excited to see how my bro-in-law likes his new machine too. I don't know if it's because you get your first bike as a kid and it's such a huge deal then that it's still so exciting as an adult, but there's really nothing like getting a nice shiny new bike.

    I'll update this thread with impressions once I actually have the bikes. I will not respond to the anticipated "You're killing your LBS" responses or the accusations of being a shill for BD.

    Take it easy,
    Phil.

  2. #2
    Que CERA, CERA jefferee's Avatar
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    Yeah, I've been surfing local CL and Kijiji for a couple of months looking for a decent road machine myself. Just about anything with STI seems awfully, awfully close to the original list price. I think it's actually easier to find a decent deal on a TT/Tri bike than on a proper road machine.

    There have been some halfway tempting looking deals down toward the GTA, actually, but more around the $1k mark. I'm not really willing to drive that far to look at a bike in any case.
    Quote Originally Posted by MajorMantra View Post
    Cycling (taken to the typical roadie extreme) causes you to cough up your own soul as every fibre of your worthless being sings in choral agony. Once you embrace the pain everything is dandy.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jefferee View Post
    There have been some halfway tempting looking deals down toward the GTA, actually, but more around the $1k mark. I'm not really willing to drive that far to look at a bike in any case.
    The used bikes I saw, I was glad I didn't drive an hour to go check 'em out. Like I said above, they weren't bad, but I just couldn't justify spending more for something used, kinda beat up, and without STI for what I could get from BD.

    I'm easy to fit, so I feel OK about ordering a bike I never sat on. I have some consternation about how my bro-in-law will do with his bike, but in our price range it's either this route or a Canadian Tire bike...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    I took the afternoon off and went to Buffalo to pick up the bikes today. They're assembled now (about 20-30 mins each), and we'll dial in the fit and do a shakedown ride on Sat.

    I'm pretty pleased with the bikes themselves so far, everything looks and feels OK. I'll update once we've done a bit of riding on them.

    One thing I will say that was a MAJOR piss-off was the fact that I never received a proper receipt. I got an email with a transaction ID, but it didn't have my name or the price of the bike on it. So I expected that the bikes would ship with bills of lading or similar paperwork which would include the receipt I need to get it across the border. NOPE!

    OK, it's still only a bit past 4:30, I'll call BD and ask them to email me something, I can print it out here at the UPS store and be on my way. NOPE! Phone went right to vmail and the vmail greeting actually says to not bother leaving a message, they don't check 'em. WTF?!?

    So I went to their website, added the same 2 bikes to an online shopping cart, and printed out the page that showed the bike descriptions and the cost, crossed my fingers, and headed for a date with Canada Customs. They took care of everything and I was through in 3 mins, but I've never been so nervous at a border crossing in my life.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Today we fit the bikes and went for a little 15k test ride. Adjusted the fit along the way, tuned my rear derailleur and his front, and gave him a chance to get used to being on a road bike.

    We're both happy with the purchase.

    Despite the stresses at the border (which would be easily avoided with a bit of planning) I feel like this purchase was well worth it. Between the two of us, my bro-in-law and I saved close to $1000 compared with what we would have paid for comparable bikes around here. No decent pics yet, but my wife and I are doing a trip Sun and returning Mon - about 60 miles each day. We'll shoot some photos then and I'll post some pics of my bike at least.

  6. #6
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    Congratulations on the new bikes! BD certainly has its' drawbacks, but price isn't one of them. If you're comfortable with basic wrenching and their policies on payment, shipping, customer service and returns - they are a great place to score a new bike.

    Heck, some folks buy BD machines and strip 'em for the parts.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    The assembly of each bike took about 20 mins and was basically as-advertised on the YouTube vids from their site. The wheels on 1 bike did need truing, the other was fine. Both needed some adjustment of the derailleurs. It was stuff I would have been pissed off about if I bought from a LBS, but that I was happy to take care of in order to save the money and more importantly get a nice new bike that I simply would not have bought otherwise because the LBS price on entry-level roadbikes is something I just can't justify right now.

  8. #8
    Run What 'Ya Brung bonechilling's Avatar
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    Not to rain on your parade (who am I kidding, I LOVE to rain on parades), but I've built a few of these and they are almost without exception the worst bikes I've ever seen.
    Quote Originally Posted by doofo View Post
    the main cause of fit problems is riding your bike

    you should have just stopped riding so you could focus on color coordination

  9. #9
    South Carolina Ed
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
    Not to rain on your parade (who am I kidding, I LOVE to rain on parades), but I've built a few of these and they are almost without exception the worst bikes I've ever seen.
    You must not get out much. Check out a few big box stores. The BD bikes are fine for what one pays. No doubt the OP knows what he's doing and the bikes he bought have many thousands of miles left in them:-)
    Last edited by sced; 05-22-10 at 10:06 PM.

  10. #10
    Auburn Fan jasonball's Avatar
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    look forward to how you felt on the rides this weekend. I also just purchase my first road bike. trek 1.2 but. I was really looking at BD for about a month trying to figure if I should buy there or lbs. I went lbs just becuase I'm clueless at this point with road bikes or bikes in general. firgure the free maintance and the warranties thru the lbs were woth my money. instead of having to pay them per visit down the the road with a bike i didn't purchase there. congrat on the new bike

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
    Not to rain on your parade (who am I kidding, I LOVE to rain on parades), but I've built a few of these and they are almost without exception the worst bikes I've ever seen.
    I've dealt with a few BD bikes, too. Same stuff your local LBS gets - Just without the TLC of local hands applied. If a guy knows how to wrench, they can be a good deal.

    You must work for a bike shop or something...

  12. #12
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonball View Post
    look forward to how you felt on the rides this weekend. I also just purchase my first road bike. trek 1.2 but. I was really looking at BD for about a month trying to figure if I should buy there or lbs. I went lbs just becuase I'm clueless at this point with road bikes or bikes in general. firgure the free maintance and the warranties thru the lbs were woth my money. instead of having to pay them per visit down the the road with a bike i didn't purchase there. congrat on the new bike
    My wife has a 1.2 - it's a very nice bike and she loves it, and I'm a bit jealous of it. The Wellington 3.0 I bought is similar in spec, but maybe half a notch below (2200 series instead of Sora). Both bikes have STI shifters, aluminum frame, and carbon forks, so I think that the comparison with the 1.2 on the BD website is warranted - the components are slightly lower spec, but the welds are nicer and the tubing does have an interesting & kind of cool cross-section compared to the pure vanilla style of the 1.2.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
    Not to rain on your parade (who am I kidding, I LOVE to rain on parades), but I've built a few of these and they are almost without exception the worst bikes I've ever seen.
    If you go into a LBS with $500 and come out with an entry-level road bike, I can almost guarantee that you'll have something worse than what that money gets you from BD.

    I am NOT anti-LBS and when I've helped friends pick out bikes I've taken them around to the good LBS's in town and hooked them up there. In this case, though, BD and its attendant risks made sense to me and so far I'll tentatively say that it's paid off. I may change my tune sometime between now and my arrival back home on Mon afternoon.

    My bro-in-law is in love with his bike, but he has less to compare it to.

  14. #14
    SLO-1 Yaniel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
    Not to rain on your parade (who am I kidding, I LOVE to rain on parades), but I've built a few of these and they are almost without exception the worst bikes I've ever seen.
    Not to rain on your parade but this is complete and utter nonsense

  15. #15
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    OK gang, just got in - it feels good to be home again. 95k per day x2 days, I feel I'm in a good position to give an accurate early impression.

    The bike is fine. It performed just dandy. The LBS-purchased Trek 1.2 my wife was riding developed an annoying squeak in the front wheel (bike had ~200km on it before starting this trip), the cheap BD-purchased Windsor Wellington developed no such issues. Brakes & shifters stayed in adjustment and worked fine, frame geometry is as described & pictured on the site.

    I wanted a 54cm but they had only 53 and 56. I've ridden a 56 before and found it OK and the conventional wisdom is that a larger frame is more comfortable for longer rides, so I went with the 56. After this ride I know I'll want to swap in a shorter steering stem, but that's just a matter of dialing in fit. I mention it because at a good LBS, I would have been able to sit on both bikes & decide with a bit more confidence, and I probably could have swapped the stem for free. Still, I feel I made the right choice and I feel that it's well worth it.

    I'll update once my bro-in-law and I have both put more miles on our bikes.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Today we did the ride that we really got the bikes for - a 100k road event. Both bikes performed great, and were just what we needed. We added almost 6 kph to our average speed vs. other rides we've done on the old MTB + fixie. Expectations were significantly exceeded.

    There was a volunteer doing tuneup stuff in the bike parking area, and he went over the brakes on my bro-in-law's bike, then claimed that it needs new cables & housings because of the way that the brakes supposedly don't snap back. Maybe. But it's not gonna happen.

    We did both find that there were some gear combinations where the rear derailleur would hunt a bit - so they do both need some more fine-tuning. Even so, a very worthwhile investment and we had a wonderful time.

  17. #17
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    The brake not snapping back to place usually indicates friction in the cable or possibly the lever itself. It's quite an annoying problem to fix. It could also be the brakes itself, which can be tested releasing the cable from the brakes.

    Sounds like you guys had fun though. Making the step from a road bike to mountain bike is fun. However I sometimes miss my mountain bike with slicks to get around campus. There's just some things you can do on a mountain bike that you can't on a road bike.

  18. #18
    Lost AngryScientist's Avatar
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    good stuff. i'm sure your knees are thanking you for making the leap to a geared bicycle. BD bikes are great if you know what you're getting into, which it sounds like you did. cheers and keep putting miles on her.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptle View Post
    The brake not snapping back to place usually indicates friction in the cable or possibly the lever itself. It's quite an annoying problem to fix. It could also be the brakes itself, which can be tested releasing the cable from the brakes.
    Honestly I have no idea what the guy was talking about - you squeeze the lever and the brakes are applied, you release the lever and the brakes release. Could it be faster/snappier? Possibly, I don't know. Are the brakes dragging after being released? Absolutely not. Is it an issue that needs sorting out on this bike? Depends on the owner. For him or for me it's a total non-issue.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryScientist View Post
    good stuff. i'm sure your knees are thanking you for making the leap to a geared bicycle. BD bikes are great if you know what you're getting into, which it sounds like you did. cheers and keep putting miles on her.
    With the gearing on my fixie now I could have done that 100k with no problem, but the time would have been much, much worse.

    I'm still debating which bike to take on my forthcoming 8 day, 720k waterfront trail ride. I'm really torn.

  21. #21
    . Namenda's Avatar
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    When I saw the title of this thread, I thought you were throwing a bachelor's party. Oh well, bikes are fun, too.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Namenda View Post
    When I saw the title of this thread, I thought you were throwing a bachelor's party. Oh well, bikes are fun, too.
    Bikes are more fun than the clap.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syscrush View Post
    I'm still debating which bike to take on my forthcoming 8 day, 720k waterfront trail ride. I'm really torn.
    I ended up taking Wally (the Wellington 3.0) instead of my beloved Nicky (my Sputnik).

    As with the other updates, the bike just worked. No issues whatsoever, just cheap, reliable transportation that's not toooooooo embarassing to be on. I did swap to a shorter stem which sorted out the last of the fitment issues, and I did a bit of fine-tuning on the wheel truing so that I could bring the brake clearance in a bit.

    I did notice that there was a bit of cracking on the sidewalls of the tires, so I'll be replacing them with a set of Conti Gatorskins (hate the looks, like the traction, love the toughness). When I bought my Sputnik as a leftover bike, it had the same issue, although my wife's leftover 1.2 didn't. I don't know how common this is or how severe a problem it is, but I'd rather replace 'em now and not worry about it.

    So, I figure I saved about $500 on the purchase price going the BD route, and have spent $20 on a shorter stem, and will be spending about another $100 on tires - which is an upgrade vs. what was on there before and what the reference bike (a Trek 1.2) ships with. Replacing the tires early (only 1000km on 'em) does bite into the savings of this bike, but not enough to swing the balance of the cost equation.

    I just realized I still haven't posted any pics - I'll get some on here eventually. The big problem is that most of the pics of my bike have me in there somewhere looking like a f'n goof - and it seems a bit stupid to take careful bike porn shots of this cheapie.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    I purchased a windsor wellington 2.0 about 2 years ago from bd. I know nothing about bike mechanics so that was an issue for me as far as putting it together and adjusting everything. I got mine for $270 shipped, only problems ever have been a loose bottom bracket that the lbs tightened for free and issues with the cheapo front d. Could never get it adjusted just right, even the shops couldnt so i just have it adjusted for the middle and big rings up front, never needed the small ring. Would never buy another triple. 2500 miles on it and I am very pleased.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Updated with current stupidity...

    I can't stop daydreaming about updating to a Campy Centaur carbon groupset lately. I'm looking forward to when that insanity passes.

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