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  1. #1
    Member SemperFiV12's Avatar
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    Taking a leap of faith - Searching for first road bike

    Well everyone, being a SoCal resident all my life an automobile was embedded into my life. It was only recently my life in NorCal has convinced me of an alternative lifestyle - biking. Car is sold and I am in the market for a road bike.

    I will be using the bike for commuting as well as getting son exercise. Not too interested in racing, just something that would not bother me for longer rides (guesstimating 50-60 mile rides).

    I truly feel like with a few months of training I can begin to rely completely on a road bike for commutes, exercise, transport and leisure.

    Obviously this is a radical change and I am only at step one - getting a bike! I have tried many bikes so far and in general I tend to like Specialized and Cannondale. My price range would be under $2,000 and I would prefer to purchase a "new" bike. I have been told Carbon framed bikes would fit my need of long rides, but full carbon framed bikes cost a lot!

    So far my choices are:

    -Cannondale Supersix 5 105
    -Cannondale Synapse Carbon 6 Apex
    -Cannondale Caad 10 5 105

    A little help with pros and cons? Also any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thx.
    -V12

  2. #2
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    Welcome To Bike Forums, SemperFiV12!

    I live here in NorCal. I don't really think that having a carbon framed bike as your main trusty steed for both commuting and leisurely exercise, would be such a good idea. You have to think about the utility aspect, as well as the short errand aspect, of your bicycle possession.

    You might want to go to the grocery store to do your weekly shopping. Perhaps you may just want to pick up a gallon of milk or orange juice. I mean what would you do? ...Perhaps you'd just like to go to the library or the movies. What would you do? At some point you're going to need a rack with panniers. You also have to consider the fact that you're also going to have to park and lock your bike up in some very questionable places. I would never jeopardize damaging or losing my bike under those circumstances. That would just be plain irresponsible.

    Therefore, I guess what I'm really saying here, is that you need a well-equipped commuter/utility beater bike first, before any of those beautiful Cannondales.

    If you're a NorCal resident, I would suggest that you join the Bike Kitchen, a bicycle co-op, in San Francisco. You might be lucky enough to find just the right frame to build upon, right there at the co-op. Alternatively, you can purchase a frame online. You can then build and customize your beater commuter/utility bike, right there on the premises. They'll have many of your beater components right there, at the Bike Kitchen.

    I don't know anything about your budget, but if it were me. I'd wait for an old 80's styled chromoly steel mountain bike. I'd have it powdercoat painted matte black and throw some wide tires on it. I'd also equip it with fenders, rack, and panniers. That would be my main go-to steed for everyday riding.

    I would then purchase my illustrious road bike. My recreational road racing bike....

    Good Luck, my friend!

    PS.

    You'll find that your mass transit options can get very old, very fast. It's expensive, heavily laden with crowds, and comotion. It can become quite hectic! In the interest of your own personal health and sanity, use the mass transit option sparingly. Always try to rely upon cycling as much as possible.
    Last edited by SlimRider; 06-10-12 at 01:39 AM.

  3. #3
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    Alot of decent bikes out there in the $2k range, even full carbon. Of your choices, the C' dale super 6 w/ 105 would be my choice.
    Good Luck

  4. #4
    ka maté ka maté ka ora pdedes's Avatar
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    By the time you're experienced enough to get something germane out of a test ride, you won't need a test ride.

  5. #5
    Ghost Ryding 24/7 Ghost Ryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    Welcome To Bike Forums, SemperFiV12!

    I live here in NorCal. I don't really think that having a carbon framed bike as your main trusty steed for both commuting and leisurely exercise, would be such a good idea. You have to think about the utility aspect, as well as the short errand aspect, of your bicycle possession.

    You might want to go to the grocery store to do your weekly shopping. Perhaps you may just want to pick up a gallon of milk or orange juice. I mean what would you do? ...Perhaps you'd just like to go to the library or the movies. What would you do? At some point you're going to need a rack with panniers. You also have to consider the fact that you're also going to have to park and lock your bike up in some very questionable places. I would never jeopardize damaging or losing my bike under those circumstances. That would just be plain irresponsible.

    Therefore, I guess what I'm really saying here, is that you need a well-equipped commuter/utility beater bike first, before any of those beautiful Cannondales.

    If you're a NorCal resident, I would suggest that you join the Bike Kitchen, a bicycle co-op, in San Francisco. You might be lucky enough to find just the right frame to build upon, right there at the co-op. Alternatively, you can purchase a frame online. You can then build and customize your beater commuter/utility bike, right there on the premises. They'll have many of your beater components right there, at the Bike Kitchen.

    I don't know anything about your budget, but if it were me. I'd wait for an old 80's styled chromoly steel mountain bike. I'd have it powdercoat painted matte black and throw some wide tires on it. I'd also equip it with fenders, rack, and panniers. That would be my main go to steed for everyday riding.

    I would then purchase my illustrious road bike. My recreational and racing road bike....

    Good Luck, my friend!

    PS.

    You'll find that your mass transit options can get very old, very fast. It's expensive, heavily laden with crowds, and comotion. It can become quite hectic! In the interest of your own personal health and sanity, use the mass transit option sparingly. Always try to rely upon cycling as much as possible.
    Even though I'm not from Norcal...
    +1
    Giant Defy Dura Ace : Rip/Hammer-Specialized Allez Ultegra/105 : Recovery/Spinner-Specialized Allez Red : Trainer-Kona Major(Rad) Jake : Down & Dirty

  6. #6
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    CAAD 10 105 or synapse alloy 105, carbon is unnecessary IMO

    Both are great bikes but you'll probably find one of them more comfortable, go with that one

  7. #7
    Senior Member dstrong's Avatar
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    If you sold your car, will this bike be your only method of transportation? How far is your commute? What part of NorCal are you in...conditions/terrain can vary quite widely.

    2014 Specialized RoubaixOOOOOO 2003 Interloc ImpalaOOOOOO 2007 ParkPre Image C6 (RIP)


  8. #8
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    Are panniers not doable on a road bike? I Just bought a GT series 3 road bike and I'm looking to maybe put something on to help with carrying things back and forth to the gym.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Sport oriented road bikes have short chainstays. So you are more likely to have heel interference with the panniers.
    You also need rack eyelets on the frame, and racing frames don't have them. You can get 'p-clips' and bolt the rack to them, but they're not as good as bolting the rack to the frame.

    There are solutions like racks that bolt to the seat post.

    When I used to commute by bike and go to the gym I just used a backpack.

  10. #10
    KingoftheMountain wannabe Savagewolf's Avatar
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    I'd stay away from a carbon bike for your purposes. That's not to say they are bad. I love mine. However, for a more utility purpose like you intend to use it for I would suggest a metal framed bike.

    Here are a couple ideas :
    -http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...roraelite.html

    -http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...d_1_series/2_1

    -http://www.cannondale.com/2012/bikes...e-road/synapse

  11. #11
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    I recommend not one, but two bikes. You want one that you can put fenders and panniers on so that you can go shopping. This should NOT be a $2k bike as it will get stolen for sure. Perhaps a hybrid of some kind would work well. For commuting and recreational riding or having a safe bike storage location a nice road bike. Carbon fiber is nice, but yes, it is expensive with brand name carbon fiber bikes starting at $2k (Trek 3.1). Joining a co-op will help save you $$ in the long run.

    I applaud your no-car attitude. Plenty of my co-workers live in SF and have no car AND no bike. Good luck!
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

  12. #12
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    With Uber cab, why would you need a bike in SF?

  13. #13
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    Hey there V12!

    Something like this would make a great commuter/utility beater frame:

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/bik/3055219510.html

    It would be up to you to upgrade it, customize it, or accessorize it, as you see fit!
    Last edited by SlimRider; 06-10-12 at 01:36 PM.

  14. #14
    Bridge Burner RollCNY's Avatar
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    I would say the two bike method, or do this bike:

    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...36_-1___202613

    Steel frame, mount a rear rack, pclip fenders, or something like race blade fenders. Ditch them when its dry. Buy good tires and lose the knobbies. Then buy a work stand (or a trainer) so you can work on the bike, and spend $200 in tools, especially the bike specific stuff (chain whip, cassette tool, BB wrench, cone wrenches if they apply to your wheels). If you depend on a bike as your sole transport, you can't depend on a co-op or bike shop to be open when you need them to be.

    So then stash the balance of cash, and if you survive riding for a year (or a couple months, depending on your patience), buy that nice carbon bike. $2k is a great sweet spot for buying a bike, be it aluminum with stepped up components or something of a stripped down carbon. And if you've learned to use your own tools, build your own and have a ball.

  15. #15
    Senior Member fstshrk's Avatar
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    For what you want to with your bike, I think a Jamis Aurora or any other touring bike would be a much better choice. I think a couple people on this thread suggested the same thing already. I have a Jamis Aurora and a Specialized Roubaix SL2. I ride the Aurora for commuting and running errands. I ride the Roubaix on the weekends. When it comes to utility, steel rules :-)

  16. #16
    Bridge Burner RollCNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fstshrk View Post
    When it comes to utility, steel rules :-)
    Also, when it comes to measurement, steel rules.

  17. #17
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    If you gotta go Cannondale or Specialized, I vote the CAAD10 or the Allez. When I lock up bikes with a u-lock, I cringe less when I bang an aluminum frame with the lock. I still cringe if there is an impact with either type frame, but somewhat less so with the aluminum... It's probably also less of a financial hit when the bike gets stolen.

  18. #18
    Member SemperFiV12's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for the thoughtful and helpful reply SlimRider. I totally understand you point. I have found a beater bike to commute and handle the small tasks (especially in sketchy areas).

    But the question remains, after having a beater bike, which of the above mentioned models would be the best pick for recreation and exercise. I am looking to go on long rides, canyon rides, harsh rides... I am only partial to a dull carbon frame since the people I talk to swear by it for rides over 15 miles. And I would definitely like to go way above 15 miles trips.

    I am actually most interested in just having day rides, where I can just pick a destination 40+ or so miles away and make a day out of riding and reaching the destination then heading back. Any thoughts? Any reccommendations? Any preference between the mentioned models?

  19. #19
    Member vaara's Avatar
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    FWIW, about a year ago I bought a slightly used Specialized Secteur (the aluminum version of a Roubaix) on Craigslist, and have been very happy with it -- though admittedly I don't have much of a basis for comparison, since it's my first road bike in pretty much ever. It's definitely not built for speed, but that doesn't sound like a major concern for you.

    And welcome to NorCal.
    2010 Specialized Secteur
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  20. #20
    Member SemperFiV12's Avatar
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    It will be my main mode of trransport in NorCal for the time being (until I return back to SoCal, where I would share a family vehicle if need be). But I would use buses, BART, and my bike for all my transport.

  21. #21
    Member SemperFiV12's Avatar
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    TO ALL... I sorted out the beater bike! So I would be going for the two bike approach... So between the 3 models mentioned above in the OP, which would be your pick for recreational and exercising purposes. My intentions for this road bike would be to ride for hours on end, day rdes, canyon rides, group rides. Miles would very from fast & furious rides to burn some calories to long and steady 30-40+ mile rides (to begin with and increase my endurance).

    -Cannondale Supersix 5 105
    -Cannondale Synapse Carbon 6 Apex
    -Cannondale Caad 10 5 105

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    Get the best you can afford, then be prepared to spend that much on all the other crap you will need, upgrades, etc.

    They will all suit your purposes more than ample.

  23. #23
    Animated Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SemperFiV12 View Post
    TO ALL... I sorted out the beater bike! So I would be going for the two bike approach... So between the 3 models mentioned above in the OP, which would be your pick for recreational and exercising purposes. My intentions for this road bike would be to ride for hours on end, day rdes, canyon rides, group rides. Miles would very from fast & furious rides to burn some calories to long and steady 30-40+ mile rides (to begin with and increase my endurance).

    -Cannondale Supersix 5 105
    -Cannondale Synapse Carbon 6 Apex
    -Cannondale Caad 10 5 105
    Why Cannondale only? I do not disrespect the brand but why?
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    If I gotta look up words, it's not worth my time.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    Welcome To Bike Forums, SemperFiV12!

    I live here in NorCal. I don't really think that having a carbon framed bike as your main trusty steed for both commuting and leisurely exercise, would be such a good idea. You have to think about the utility aspect, as well as the short errand aspect, of your bicycle possession.

    You might want to go to the grocery store to do your weekly shopping. Perhaps you may just want to pick up a gallon of milk or orange juice. I mean what would you do? ...Perhaps you'd just like to go to the library or the movies. What would you do? At some point you're going to need a rack with panniers. You also have to consider the fact that you're also going to have to park and lock your bike up in some very questionable places. I would never jeopardize damaging or losing my bike under those circumstances. That would just be plain irresponsible.

    Therefore, I guess what I'm really saying here, is that you need a well-equipped commuter/utility beater bike first, before any of those beautiful Cannondales.

    If you're a NorCal resident, I would suggest that you join the Bike Kitchen, a bicycle co-op, in San Francisco. You might be lucky enough to find just the right frame to build upon, right there at the co-op. Alternatively, you can purchase a frame online. You can then build and customize your beater commuter/utility bike, right there on the premises. They'll have many of your beater components right there, at the Bike Kitchen.

    I don't know anything about your budget, but if it were me. I'd wait for an old 80's styled chromoly steel mountain bike. I'd have it powdercoat painted matte black and throw some wide tires on it. I'd also equip it with fenders, rack, and panniers. That would be my main go-to steed for everyday riding.

    I would then purchase my illustrious road bike. My recreational road racing bike....

    Good Luck, my friend!

    PS.

    You'll find that your mass transit options can get very old, very fast. It's expensive, heavily laden with crowds, and comotion. It can become quite hectic! In the interest of your own personal health and sanity, use the mass transit option sparingly. Always try to rely upon cycling as much as possible.
    +1. Racing bike cannot serve well for all purposes that OP mentions. Beater is the right approach.

  25. #25
    Member SemperFiV12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Why Cannondale only? I do not disrespect the brand but why?

    They felt the mostcomfortable to me when I went for test rides.

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