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Old 01-07-07, 12:05 AM   #1
ClanLee
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Cross Post from the Road Forums

I don't know if this was allowed, but I wanted to post this on SoCal forums. I have been lurking for some time and decided it was time to ask for opinions. Since I'm located in Glendale area, I wanted to post here as well.

I have been mountain biking for the past year and have loved it. Technically, I only started biking in April '06 and have ridden a little over 600 miles since then. I really enjoy mountain biking but have begun using my bike (2006 Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc) to commute to work in addition to riding it on trails. As I began to commute, my interest in road bikes developed. I want to put some serious miles on the weekends and look more into fitness.

To be honest, I have been lusting after road bikes for the past few months and I just received the "thumbs up" from the wife to get my bike. I have spent many a late night researching which components I should get, how much money I will have to invest, etc.

So I went to my LBS today and talked to them about the bikes I was interested in... Specialized Tarmac Comp, Specialized Roubaix Comp and the Trek 5000. All are similar in price and components. The person I spoke to stated that he favored the Specialized bikes due to the fact that the bottom brackets were very stiff (compared to the Trek 5000) while the rest of the frame is complaint. This was something I didn't even know anything about! I wonder if there is anything else I need to look out for!

So, my question is this... if you were in my position, which bike would you buy and why?

1. I would use this bike to commute 26 miles round trip, twice a week.
2. I live on a hill so whenever I finished a ride, I would need to ride up this hill (10% grade for about a mile)
3. I would be mostly a weekend rider, I might be able to steal out of the house once a week for a night ride.

Thanks for your opinions!

Also, I had them weigh the Specialized Roubaix Comp and it came out to just under 20 lbs (54 cm), is that a good weight? My Rockhopper is 28 lbs for the 17 in frame. I never felt the weight of the bike become a factor until I began to commute and had to ride up my hill to go home.
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Old 01-07-07, 12:08 AM   #2
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Have you test ridden any of these??? if not I'd start there and see what YOU like....
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Old 01-07-07, 12:08 AM   #3
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Hi ClanLee...welcome! For starters, anyone can post in here. We are not exclusive or "clicky" although I'm sure we may appear that way from time to time since so many of us have met and ridden with one another. But anyone is welcome here. Also, you ARE a so-caler anyway if you live in Glendale!
I'm not offering any advice on the bike as others here can do better than I can. But I will offer you congrats on considering a road bike. Nothing in the world like it!
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Old 01-07-07, 12:15 AM   #4
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Does the sales person sell Specialized AND Trek? OF course a shop that sells Specialized is going to prefer Specialized and the Trek dealer is going to prefer Trek!
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Old 01-07-07, 12:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz
Does the sales person sell Specialized AND Trek? OF course a shop that sells Specialized is going to prefer Specialized and the Trek dealer is going to prefer Trek!

Yeah it seems there are alot of "concept" type stores these days that the majority of the bikes they carry are a specific brand.....
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Old 01-07-07, 12:18 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Neccros
Have you test ridden any of these??? if not I'd start there and see what YOU like....
They only had the Roubaix in my size. I didn't get too much time on the bike, but it felt comfortable. I need to schedule a time when they have the other bikes in stock for a test ride.
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Old 01-07-07, 12:20 AM   #7
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You'll probably like the Roubaix Comp, assuming it fit, the most since it comes with a compact crank.
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Old 01-07-07, 12:21 AM   #8
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Id try and ride it more.... some shops have demos you can rent and the money will go towards a purchase of a bike usually.... Might wanna consider that
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Old 01-07-07, 12:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merider1
Hi ClanLee...welcome! For starters, anyone can post in here. We are not exclusive or "clicky" although I'm sure we may appear that way from time to time since so many of us have met and ridden with one another. But anyone is welcome here. Also, you ARE a so-caler anyway if you live in Glendale!
I'm not offering any advice on the bike as others here can do better than I can. But I will offer you congrats on considering a road bike. Nothing in the world like it!
Thanks merider1! What I meant about "if this was ok", I was thinking about cross posting the same message in different forums. But thank you for your considerate thought. As I said, I have been lurking on this board for months and after reading so many of the posts, it seems like I know everyone... even though you don't know me!
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Old 01-07-07, 12:24 AM   #10
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There are so many things to look out for, that it's really not worth looking out for them for a first time road bike. You've got good options there, test drive them and pick the one you like best. Make sure to get a good tough hill in during the test ride.

If you really get into it, you'll find you prefer riding the bike in and you may (or may not) find things you don't like about the bike, and if you do, you may want to upgrade. When I was regularly commuting, I put in the amount of money I saved in gas into the bike upgrade fund. For me that was about $50/month.

I'm jealous as I'm not comfortable commuting from where I live now.
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Old 01-07-07, 12:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz
Does the sales person sell Specialized AND Trek? OF course a shop that sells Specialized is going to prefer Specialized and the Trek dealer is going to prefer Trek!
Yes, the lbs sells both Specialized and Trek bikes. Although, when I was looking at mountain bikes (I bought it at the same shop), I was initially looking at the Trek 4500 and the sales person sold me the Rockhopper instead! What does that tell you!
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Old 01-07-07, 12:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltman
You'll probably like the Roubaix Comp, assuming it fit, the most since it comes with a compact crank.
After reading the thread about the different cranks, I asked about switching out the crank on the Tramac if I decided on that bike. They said that it wouldn't be a problem to switch it from the standard to the compact.
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Old 01-07-07, 12:30 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neccros
Id try and ride it more.... some shops have demos you can rent and the money will go towards a purchase of a bike usually.... Might wanna consider that
Thanks for the idea. I will ask if they have demos to ride. When I did ask about test rides, they only offered to let me ride it around the block... which wasn't sufficient.
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Old 01-07-07, 12:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClanLee
Thanks for the idea. I will ask if they have demos to ride. When I did ask about test rides, they only offered to let me ride it around the block... which wasn't sufficient.

Yeah renting one will get you the saddle time it takes to get the bike setup to your liking and to see how it really feels over a longer period of time...
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Old 01-07-07, 12:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClanLee
Yes, the lbs sells both Specialized and Trek bikes. Although, when I was looking at mountain bikes (I bought it at the same shop), I was initially looking at the Trek 4500 and the sales person sold me the Rockhopper instead! What does that tell you!
Tells me that you are wasting time here cause you are going to buy the Specialized at the suggestion of the salesperson.
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Old 01-07-07, 12:37 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by ronjon10
There are so many things to look out for, that it's really not worth looking out for them for a first time road bike. You've got good options there, test drive them and pick the one you like best. Make sure to get a good tough hill in during the test ride.

If you really get into it, you'll find you prefer riding the bike in and you may (or may not) find things you don't like about the bike, and if you do, you may want to upgrade. When I was regularly commuting, I put in the amount of money I saved in gas into the bike upgrade fund. For me that was about $50/month.

I'm jealous as I'm not comfortable commuting from where I live now.
Thanks for the advice. I will try to get as much information about the bikes and hope to get good feedback from this board to make a sound decision.

I never thought about how much I was saving by commuting. I just realized that instead of every 1.5 weeks for gas, it would be every 3 weeks that I would need to fill up!
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Old 01-07-07, 02:12 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClanLee
Also, I had them weigh the Specialized Roubaix Comp and it came out to just under 20 lbs (54 cm), is that a good weight? My Rockhopper is 28 lbs for the 17 in frame. I never felt the weight of the bike become a factor until I began to commute and had to ride up my hill to go home.
Your fat tires are probably more of an issue for speed than the 8 lb you think you have to much of. But if it makes you feel better, my road bike weighs 24 lb and I'm fine with that, so 20 is good. Oh, and I used to race nationally on a 26 lb bike.
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Old 01-07-07, 02:18 AM   #18
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10% is very steep....I'd be looking for a Suzuki or Yamaha!
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Old 01-07-07, 02:30 AM   #19
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Your fat tires are probably more of an issue for speed than the 8 lb you think you have to much of.
The suspension also has a negative effect on speed. But, a hardtail MTB or full suspension bike with the lockout on and slick tires gives you most of the efficiency of a road bike.

The road bike will still have a few advantages: drop bars, tigher gear spacing, higher gearing, and lighter weight.
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Old 01-07-07, 08:28 AM   #20
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Clan you didn't mention and maybe I missed this, do any of the bike you are reviewing come with a triple crank? Are you considering a triple?

I know guys have this "thing" about doubles (or compact doubles), but listening to how you plan on using the bike and considering your background is mountain biking (which is by background as well), I would strongly consider getting a machine with a triple.

In addition, sizing on a road bike is so much more important than a mountain bike. Any shop should size you to the particular bike you plan on buying (each bike is different). This doesn't just mean standover room, it means top tube, crank distance, many different measurements.

Also do you plan on carrying stuff, such as a change of clothing on the bike? You might want to look for one with brazons or which can support a clip on seat rack. If so, stay away from a carbon seat post.

Materials are also important. Aluminum on a mountain bike is OK because of the suspension, but it may not be what you want on a road bike. I strongly suggest a nice steel bike but realize others will suggest carbon or Ti. Also do you know what stiff means? Stiff may not be something you want on a bike that you plan on comuting with and doing weekend rides. Stiff is good for Club bikes - those you use to do fast, hard 30 - 40 milers. Flexible is better with computer and weekend rides.

And as everyone suggests, ride the bike. Period. Feel how it performs on the road. Bring and wear a heavy Camelbak. And ride around he parking lot 15 times in order to get some seat time ont he bike. That will give you some idea of your compute.

I know you already have an idea of what bike you want but may I suggest:

Lemond Sarthe

Frame: True Temper OX Platinum Steel
Fork: Bontrager Carbon
Wheels: Bontrager Race
Group: Shimano 105/Ultegra (can easily be upgraded)

or

Lemond Poprad Disc

Frame: True Temper OX Platinum cross disc
Fork: Bontrager Switchblade Elite Carbon
Wheels: Bontrager Select disc
Group: Shimano 105

Or the Jamis Eclipse or Quest or the Supernova.

Or even cooler - go custom like Landshark or DeSalvo!!!


Have fun shopping!!!

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Old 01-07-07, 10:02 AM   #21
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They are all good bikes, get what fits best and is most comfortable for you to ride.
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Old 01-07-07, 10:05 AM   #22
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Maybe my opinion will be in the minority, but one of things I would do personally, I'd buy a low cost (not CHEAP) bike with the basic features you're looking for (based on all the previous advice). Then, in a year or so, once you're used to more frequent & longer road rides, you'll know better what you like, what kind of riding you're doing the most and you upgrade to a pricier version tailored to that kind of riding.

For a newer rider, I don't know that the differences between a basic bike and a higher-end bike will be that noticeable - but they will be when you have some good miles under your belt and decide to upgrade. It took me a couple years to realize I preferred the long, long rides and mountain climbs, which is when I upgraded.
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Old 01-07-07, 10:37 AM   #23
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As I was reading through this I thought, "ClanLee is probably more confused now than he was before." As you can see, there are many opinions out there and they are differ based on everyones' personal experiences. Remember, that they are just opinions.

I personally think that aluminum bikes are perfectly fine for So Cal riding where we typically don't have the bad road conditions of other states with different weather issues. Also, stiff bikes are not just for 30-40 club rides. I have a Specialized Allez Pro (Aluminmum) that I have used to log 750+ months and never wished that I had a steel or less stiff bike (nor carbon nor Ti). I've used it for centuries, Mt. Baldy climbs, triathlons, and even trips to the grocery store.

The Double/Compact/Triple debate has valid arguments on all sides and it all comes down to your abilities and preferences. Are you OK with turning 39x25 up the hill to your house? Hopefully you can keep at least a 70 cadence. With your MB background, my guess is you will be fine. Compacts and Triples are about the same in gear ranges. I have a triple on my roadie (because it came with one) and a standard double on my tri bike.

Ride the bikes, choose the one that fits you the best. If they all fit well, choose the color you like best because you will ride it more and will be less likely to bail on your commute and take the car.

Don't be surprised if 6 months from now you start looking for your next bike...it's almost unavoidable. Good luck and keep us posted. Join us for a ride when you can!
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Old 01-07-07, 10:40 AM   #24
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As I was reading through this I thought, "ClanLee is probably more confused now than he was before." As you can see, there are many opinions out there and they are differ based on everyones' personal experiences. Remember, that they are just opinions.

I personally think that aluminum bikes are perfectly fine for So Cal riding where we typically don't have the bad road conditions of other states with different weather issues. Also, stiff bikes are not just for 30-40 club rides. I have a Specialized Allez Pro (Aluminmum) that I have used to log 750+ months and never wished that I had a steel or less stiff bike (nor carbon nor Ti). I've used it for centuries, Mt. Baldy climbs, triathlons, and even trips to the grocery store.

The Double/Compact/Triple debate has valid arguments on all sides and it all comes down to your abilities and preferences. Are you OK with turning 39x25 up the hill to your house? Hopefully you can keep at least a 70 cadence. With your MB background, my guess is you will be fine. Compacts and Triples are about the same in gear ranges. I have a triple on my roadie (because it came with one) and a standard double on my tri bike.

Ride the bikes, choose the one that fits you the best. If they all fit well, choose the color you like best because you will ride it more and will be less likely to bail on your commute and take the car.

Don't be surprised if 6 months from now you start looking for your next bike...it's almost unavoidable. Good luck and keep us posted. Join us for a ride when you can!
Well said. Especially the next bike part.
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Old 01-07-07, 10:49 AM   #25
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Well said. Especially the next bike part.
Thanks...actually it got me thinking. Maybe I'll hit some shops today. That Soloist Carbon has been calling my name for a while...then again, I should probably drop some more lbs first.
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