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Road Cycling ďIt is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 04-27-12, 08:21 PM   #1
KT043
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How much bike does a newbie need?

Hi all, I am ready to make the jump from old 90s MTB to a real drop bar roadie. I want to buy new since I am not a fan of the eBay/Craigslist stuff. I'd rather know it's coming from my local bike shop without any hidden surprises. I'd also count on the LBS for service, etc. I want a bike for fitness and casual weekend rides of 20-30 miles. I have no desire to race or awaken my "inner Lance". Are the entry level Trek or Specialized models worth considering? I am talking the $500 - $700 range of the 1.1 or 1.2 Trek for example. Is the 1 series frame worthy of maybe upgrading the components later if I choose or should I wait until the end of summer when I might have enough to look at $1000 to $1200 range? If this is all new to me, will I even know that my bike is junk or will I just be happy to be faster than my mountain bike? When they say "better" components, does that mean lighter? smoother? more durable? more delicate? If I am not racing, does that really matter? Any thoughts?
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Old 04-27-12, 08:33 PM   #2
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I'd set my sights, at minimum, on the Trek 1.2 to get a carbon fork. If you wait until the end of the summer, or early fall, as the 2013 models start to show up in shops, you can probably buy a lot more bike for your $1200 than you can right now, as shops start cutting prices on their leftover 2012 inventory to help move it. For example, you might be able to get a better grande aluminum frame and either Apex or 105 components later in the year, whereas for $1200 now you'll get a lower grade frame and Tiagra components.

But, the entry level bikes aren't junk. The Trek 1.1, 1.2, and 1.5 have the same frame, as do the three lowest priced Allez.
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Old 04-27-12, 08:41 PM   #3
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how about the performance bike famous maker AL-2?

my friend has one and seems like a solid bike. carbon fork, 105 components. it was on sale for 750$ at some point.
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Old 04-27-12, 08:52 PM   #4
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Buying used can be really good, but if you're not comfortable with that, don't be afraid of entry-level bikes in your price range. As the previous post said, often the components change but the frame stays the same as you move up. And even low-end components work pretty well these days.
I think (others disagree) that we think too much about weight. Ten pounds matter, but 10 ounces don't. Be sure the bike fits, and learn a little about gearing. Many entry- level bikes are geared almost like racers, too high for casual riders.
The truth is that you can do 20 miles on any bike, and if you're riding solely for fitness, it doesn't matter if you have to work a little harder. OTOH, riding a nice bike is more pleasant than riding a sled, and someday you might want to go 50 miles. I've never been sorry when I went one step up from what I really needed.
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Old 04-27-12, 08:58 PM   #5
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I've always liked road bikes that can take fatter tires (say at least a 28c to 32c). Tire size makes a difference in how comfortable a bike is and how well it handles rough roads. If I were looking for a new road bike, I'd take a long long at a cross bike. They are really fun road bikes.
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Old 04-27-12, 09:53 PM   #6
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if you got a McLaren Venge you'd be solid
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Old 04-27-12, 09:59 PM   #7
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if you got a McLaren Venge you'd be solid
What a dumb recommendation. That's way to much bike for a beginner.












He'd be fine with an SuperSix Evo Ultimate.
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Old 04-27-12, 11:16 PM   #8
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What a dumb recommendation. That's way to much bike for a beginner.
Well, yes, maybe with Di2 but I think Ultegra i2 would be perfect. Now scoot! vite vite!
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Old 04-27-12, 11:32 PM   #9
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I have to say, spending $1000-$1200 gets you 2-3X the bike for $700-$800. If you can afford it now, just make the jump to an aluminum Shimano 105 or SRAM Apex bike. It will probably also have a frame worth further upgrades.

For the price ranges we're talking about I'd recommend: Specialized Allez &, Cannondale CAAD 8 & Synapse, and Felt F series. If it has to stay under $1k, look close at the Felt F85. The components on it are the same on $2k carbon bikes.

Don't fall into spending extra for a Trek. You'd only be trying the 1 series, which doesn't have a frame that compares to the ones I mentioned above.

Buying local, a good shop will fit you right.
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Old 04-28-12, 01:08 AM   #10
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I dont think junk bikes really exist anymore if you buy from a proper bike shop and not a department store. You should spend what you can comfortably afford and leave enough in the kitty to change the seat if you dont like the one it comes with and maybe down the line if you ride a lot get some clip in pedals and shoes.

Look for features you like such as how the shift levers work - whether you prefer to use your thumb of you prefer to do it all with the brake lever for example. Buy a bike you think looks good, sounds silly but you want something you can be proud of

Then ride the wheels off it

having said that, if you can spend 1000+ it would probably be worth it
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Old 04-28-12, 02:33 AM   #11
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i would say try and go for at least a 2 series if you go trek. or try and go at least $1k plus if you go other brands. you get a lot more bike for less money.

at the same time though, i have heard a story of a guy who had a trek 1.1 and was just crushing souls on a group ride. so its all in the rider and what you think you will want. basically if you get the 1 series it can last you, but if you're the type of person who likes having more than they need for some room to grow, you wont be disappointed if you spend a lil more.
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Old 04-28-12, 03:40 AM   #12
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I agree with the above posts, a 1200 bike will be much better than a 800 ride (makes sense). the $1200 probably wont need any upgrades right away where as the 800 may. Id also suggest alum frame, carbon fork. Id say the shifters are going to be the most important item NOT to skimp on, 105 would be great but tiagra will suffice, stay away from sora. Wheels also help maximize your purchasing power, get the best available package bundled with the bike, you'll save cash (do alittle research beforehand). deraileurs are easy to replace and not so expensive. all cranks will work fine just the expensive ones are lighter.
You will be amazed at how much smoother, faster, and nimble you will feel compared to a fat tire mtb. Most shops will have a few left overs from last year so you can bargain with them, your doing them a favor by clearing out old inventory.
Shops will also be able to swap some items for you at little to no cost such as saddles and stems. if they wont accommodate you, go elsewhere and let them know why your walking out the door, they will stop you. you are the boss!
And lastly make sure you leave yourself some cash because you will probably need a few extras like pedals/shoes, a helmet, padded shorts, water bottles/cages, seat bag, lock, rear blinky light....
good luck and dont let them push you around.

Pretty aggressive I know. Im really not a prick.
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Old 04-28-12, 03:45 AM   #13
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Trek makes great bikes. Even their lower end models are decent bikes. Much better than any department store bike. From what I've read here, though, the Shimano 2300 components (on the Trek 1.1) don't get good reviews. The Trek 1.2 has much better components. If you could find a 2011 Trek 1.2, it might fit into your $500-700 price range. If you have a Performance bike or REI near you, it might be worth a look. Those stores have bikes without the bike brand names, but still have Shimano components. These bikes are often cheaper than the offerings from Trek, et all. Fuji, Novara and Scattante have offerings similar to the Trek 1.2.

I do think that you could get a really nice bike from CL in that price range. But you don't get someone to help you with sizing, etc. I'm not sure I would buy a high end bike from a stranger on CL, but for your price range, you can probably find a 3 year old bike in good condition.
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Old 04-28-12, 05:35 AM   #14
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I would give some serious thought to buying used at that budget. If you go full roadie, almost immediately you'll probably want to upgrade to spd pedals and shoes, which will be an extra $150-200 You're looking at another $200 or so to outfit yourself with a few modestly priced jerseys and shorts. Then you may find want to upgrade the saddle, and maybe your helmet, bike computer, etc. all of these are small comforts that make road biking enjoyable.

My point is that you $500 on the used market will get you a 5 yr old bike with 105/tiagra, aluminum frame, and carbon fork. Spend the rest on gear and upgrading your bike to suit your needs. If you absolutely love it, then save your pennies and upgrade next season if you find you've outgrown the bike.
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Old 04-28-12, 05:54 AM   #15
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If you care what others think of your bike, keep saving. If not, go ride a few in your budget and buy the one you like the most. I highly doubt you would even be able to tell which bike is better without looking at the price tag.
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Old 04-28-12, 06:15 AM   #16
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My advice is to go up a model or two from entry level. The first couple of steps up will give you more reliable, better performing components with moderate weight savings for just a few $100 more. Jumping the next step from enthusiast level to high end is more about weight and finish than reliability. Some parts are actually less durable for the sake of using lightweight alloys and less material.

Think about where you want to be in a couple of years. If you plan to be a serious enthusiast who wants to ride frequently for a lifetime, skip the Sora level components and start out with 105 or higher. Talk to riders who have been doing what you aspire to do and see what they recommend. Find out what they have upgraded and what they wish they had bought in the first place. In general, buying a lower level bike with the intention of "upgrading" later is no cost savings in the long run. On the flip side, it doesn't pay to buy a Ferrari when what you really need is a reliable sedan or SUV.
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Old 04-28-12, 07:18 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by IcySmooth52 View Post
I have to say, spending $1000-$1200 gets you 2-3X the bike for $700-$800. If you can afford it now, just make the jump to an aluminum Shimano 105 or SRAM Apex bike. It will probably also have a frame worth further upgrades.

For the price ranges we're talking about I'd recommend: Specialized Allez &, Cannondale CAAD 8 & Synapse, and Felt F series. If it has to stay under $1k, look close at the Felt F85. The components on it are the same on $2k carbon bikes.

Don't fall into spending extra for a Trek. You'd only be trying the 1 series, which doesn't have a frame that compares to the ones I mentioned above.

Buying local, a good shop will fit you right.
You have to buy the Allez Apex mid-comp to get the E5 frame, at least in 2012 models. The Elite downwards have the A1 frame which is comparable to the Trek 1 series frame. However, I think the Allez Elite from 2011, with a 9 speed Tiagra group, still was made on the E5 frame. He might be able to find one of them for under a grand.

And in point of fact, at least in the shops around me, comparing apples to apples, Trek is priced lower than Specialized.

However, CAADs are priced below both. For $1000-$1200, I'd certainly go with CAAD.
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Old 04-28-12, 07:23 AM   #18
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As far as components go, there is absolutely nothing wrong with 2300, Sora, and Tiagra. The only negative with 2300 and Sora is that you can't reach the thumb shifter from the drops. Today's Tiagra is 10 speed, and likely better than 105 was just a few years ago.
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Old 04-28-12, 07:27 AM   #19
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Cannondale CAAD 10. Awesome bike, infinately upgradeable if you desire, and a solid frame for riding and racing.
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Old 04-28-12, 07:38 AM   #20
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Welcome To Bike Forums, KT043!

My advice to you, would be to look for a used 80's chromoly steel road bike, that's in fair to good condition. Join a bicycle co-op, so that you can learn basic bicycle mechanics. Upgrade your newly acquired road bike right there, under the watchful eyes of veteran bicycle mechanics.

You might even have the desire to disassemble your bike and have it powder-coated by a professional paint company first. After the upgrade, your bike will both look and perform like a brand new bicycle. When you're done, you most likely would've spent considerably less than seven hundred dollars.

Estimated costs:

Bike - $150

Powdercoating - $100

Upgrades - $150

Bicycle Mechanics Education (Co-op membership fee) - $50

Total = $450

Last edited by SlimRider; 04-28-12 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 04-28-12, 07:50 AM   #21
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Welcome To Bike Forums, KT043!

My advice to you, would be to look for a used 80's chromoly steel road bike, that's in fair to good condition. Join a bicycle co-op, so that you can learn basic bicycle mechanics. Upgrade your newly acquired road bike right there, under the watchful eyes of veteran bicycle mechanics.

You might even have the desire to disassemble your bike and have it powder-coated by a professional paint company first. After the upgrade, your bike will both look and perform like a brand new bicycle. When you're done, you most likely would've spent considerably less than seven hundred dollars.

Estimated costs:

Bike - $150

Powdercoating - $100

Upgrades - $150

Bicycle Mechanics Education (Co-op membership fee) - $50

Total = $450
This is definitely the best advice - though I find it's a rare bird that will take it.
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Old 04-28-12, 07:52 AM   #22
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Hi all, I am ready to make the jump from old 90s MTB to a real drop bar roadie. I want to buy new since I am not a fan of the eBay/Craigslist stuff. I'd rather know it's coming from my local bike shop without any hidden surprises. I'd also count on the LBS for service, etc. I want a bike for fitness and casual weekend rides of 20-30 miles. I have no desire to race or awaken my "inner Lance". Are the entry level Trek or Specialized models worth considering? I am talking the $500 - $700 range of the 1.1 or 1.2 Trek for example. Is the 1 series frame worthy of maybe upgrading the components later if I choose or should I wait until the end of summer when I might have enough to look at $1000 to $1200 range? If this is all new to me, will I even know that my bike is junk or will I just be happy to be faster than my mountain bike? When they say "better" components, does that mean lighter? smoother? more durable? more delicate? If I am not racing, does that really matter? Any thoughts?
New is good for a beginner. If you have an LBS you trust and like do business with them. They are a resource.

Trek and Specialized both make fine bikes. An entry level frame can last years and years if it's a good fit. Components are easy to upgrade as your budget allows or they wear out.

Does it matter? Well a nice bike that feels good under you begs to be ridden. An ill fitting bike with components that aren't working right is a chore to ride. "Better" components operate smoother and stay "setup" longer.

Good Luck.
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Old 04-28-12, 08:00 AM   #23
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This is definitely the best advice - though I find it's a rare bird that will take it.
Doesn't anybody read the OP?

And I think it's advice for a already seasoned rider with a idea about fit and mechanics and the desire to deal with a rusty old bike. Not an individual that states clearly "I want to buy new" and "I'd count on the LBS for service, etc."
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Old 04-28-12, 08:25 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
Welcome To Bike Forums, KT043!

My advice to you, would be to look for a used 80's chromoly steel road bike, that's in fair to good condition. Join a bicycle co-op, so that you can learn basic bicycle mechanics. Upgrade your newly acquired road bike right there, under the watchful eyes of veteran bicycle mechanics.

You might even have the desire to disassemble your bike and have it powder-coated by a professional paint company first. After the upgrade, your bike will both look and perform like a brand new bicycle. When you're done, you most likely would've spent considerably less than seven hundred dollars.

Estimated costs:

Bike - $150

Powdercoating - $100

Upgrades - $150

Bicycle Mechanics Education (Co-op membership fee) - $50

Total = $450
Tell us Mr. Slim how does a self-confessed new person find a good 80's crmo bike if they don't know what to look for or what a good bike is?

Your other advice is good. Find and join a co-op for the learning experience. Join a club or at least club rides.

KT,
Do a quick search to find a decent LBS in your area and buy a new or used bike from one. Stay within your budget and it will be fine. Most of us have fond memories of our first real bike but very few of us still have it. It might seem like a big deal now but if you're still riding it next year you'll then have a much better idea of what the next bike should be.
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Old 04-28-12, 08:34 AM   #25
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Doesn't anybody read the OP?

And I think it's advice for a already seasoned rider with a idea about fit and mechanics and the desire to deal with a rusty old bike. Not an individual that states clearly "I want to buy new" and "I'd count on the LBS for service, etc."
Nonsense.

What better time to learn about basic bicycle mechanics, than when a new cyclist first starts out the gate?..The OP is gonna have to know how to fix a flat and also how to inspect his bicycle. He needs to know what things are most likely to pose as mechanical problems while on the road. In order to accomplish that feat, he needs to know the basics about bicycle mechanics. After acquiring a used bicycle and upgrading it at a co-op, he'll save hundreds, or perhaps even thousands of dollars, in bicycle mechanic's bills over the extended years into the future.

Therefore, not only is this idea a more intelligent one, it's also wise and frugal. Afterall, the OP is new to the cycling world.
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