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I can't believe I'm doing this...

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Old 01-28-12, 12:28 PM
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no1mad 
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I can't believe I'm doing this...

but I'm thinking of ordering something from BD with drop bars even

Mind you, the last time I rode anything with drops was an old 'Flying O' store brand 10 (2x5) speed some 25+ years ago.

As far as budget goes, it sucks when shopping for a roadie (~$600). The local CL is chock full of people asking full retail for BSOs, the wrong size. or just too much. One LBS does carry KHS and they've got two models that are at the upper limit- Flite 220 and 223.

That being said, and though I'm typically a staunch supporter of buying from the LBS, the price points that BD offers are quite alluring.

Frame material isn't a huge concern, nor what kind of shifter, or component level a bike is spec'd with. What I need help with are picking the brakes- I want something that has actual stopping power and not just a gradual reduction in speed.

And the geometry has to be less aggressive and more upright. Before I got my bike back in '08, the Opthamologist cleared me to ride*- so long as it wasn't on a drop bar. Mind you, I believe the TdF was airing back then, so he may have assumed that all road bikes have such aggressive geometries. And my wife was present in the room when he made this statement . So I'd have to get his blessing before I can get hers.

So, if you were in the market for an entry level roadie after riding around on a slightly too large, but still rideable Kona Smoke for the last couple of years, what would catch your eye- keeping in mind that the brakes have to offer real stopping power?

*FWIW, I have glaucoma and was pronounced legally blind. It was my idea to start riding again as a means to try and avoid Type 2 Diabetes (my mom has it) and he readily agreed.
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Old 01-28-12, 12:53 PM
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I'm not sure I can recommend a specific bike at your price point, but I have come to the conclusion that cyclocross bikes are the best thing going among road bikes. The geometry is more relaxed than most road bikes and they tend to be very versatile. They do mostly have cantilever brakes at your price point, which are plenty strong but can be tricky to set up right to reach their full potential. A lot of cross bikes seem to have very similar geometries, so I would look at some others locally to find what fits and then compare geometry tables to see if your potential BD bike will work for you.

I bought a Fantom CXX from BD a few weeks ago, and I'm happy with the bike and buying experience. The geometry is exactly like the Surly Cross Check (at least in my 56 cm size - didn't compare for other sizes).
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Old 01-28-12, 01:00 PM
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I fully admit I'm a bike snob, but even I'm starting to come around to BD. I love their Century Team titanium. If only they delivered outside the U.S.
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Old 01-28-12, 01:05 PM
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I would go with the KHS, especially since it has been so long since you have ridden drop bars (assuming your local shop is a good one) You will be able to have them fit you and they usually offer a pretty good package as far as free tune ups and adjustments go. The components on the bike all should handle general commuting and road riding duty well.

I would stay away from them though if you ever have the desire to go offroad or tour. In that case I would say look at cross bikes although canti's are a pain compared to sidepull brakes
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Old 01-28-12, 02:36 PM
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Well, that KHS shop is also the same place that I bought my Kona from. The fit assessment consisted of eyeballing the stand over, which I know feel wasn't enough...

One model has caught my eye- the Liberty CXD. Just kind of leery of that carbon fork- it could get damaged in transit. Then I'd have start the RMA process, send it back, and await for another (hoping it doesn't suffer the same fate).
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Old 01-28-12, 09:16 PM
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There are several BD bikes that are popular. BD gets respect these days. Search is your friend. Perhaps the Road Forum would be more helpful.
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Old 01-28-12, 09:35 PM
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My only concern with a BD bike would be lack of support. If you can fix everything on your BD bike... great.... but an LBS bike is a little more expensive, but the support you get is invaluable.
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Old 01-28-12, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Well, that KHS shop is also the same place that I bought my Kona from. The fit assessment consisted of eyeballing the stand over, which I know feel wasn't enough...

One model has caught my eye- the Liberty CXD. Just kind of leery of that carbon fork- it could get damaged in transit. Then I'd have start the RMA process, send it back, and await for another (hoping it doesn't suffer the same fate).
They certainly should have done more than eyeball stand over, there is a lot more to fit than that. Did they not even watch you riding around on it? Did you ever mention anything about it feeling slightly too large? How has after the sale service been? Also are there any other shops in town worth a damn?
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Old 01-28-12, 10:57 PM
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it sounds like you might be interested in a touring frame, basically a road bike with a slightly relaxed geometry. Check out the difference between a long haul trucker and a cross check for a good example of the difference.

I have read about several other people picking out the windsor tourist from BD and being pretty happy.

As for the brakes, it's all relative. Since you are coming from a bike with side pulls cantis are never going to feel quite as firm
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Old 01-29-12, 12:21 AM
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As far as the brakes go, road calipers are much better than cantilevers. Even cheesy road calipers are better than good cantis. But, road calipers limit your tire width--in most cases to 28mm, depending on the frame and fork. If you're going for 32 or wider, cantis are the only game in town, unless you go the long buck and get discs.

No matter what you get for brakes, the first thing to do is remove the stock brake pads and throw them away. Replace them with Kool-Stops--black for fair weather bikes, salmon for the wet. Don't mess with the bi-color.

As for road caliper brakes, bear in mind that they're easily upgraded. YellowBike came with cheesy calipers. They were a bit on the spongy side and lacked good modulation. But they stopped just fine. It was a tactile matter. I used them for a couple of years without complaint.

When I wanted to add fenders, I needed to replace them. I used Shimano R650s. What a huge difference at about $70 for the pair. Blue Steel came with Ultegra 6500 brakes and they are very nice as well. When I built up Jeeves I used Ultegra 6700 at about $125 for the pair. Those are better still. The lever feel is postive--no sponginess--and modulation is excellent.

It's my understanding from this article, that unlike Shimano, SRAM brakes have the same stopping power and lever feel throughout the line, with Apex (about $45) comparing favorably to Red (about $230) in every way except weight. I can't say from personal experience, but I trust the source.
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Old 02-02-12, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Frame material isn't a huge concern, nor what kind of shifter, or component level a bike is spec'd with. What I need help with are picking the brakes- I want something that has actual stopping power and not just a gradual reduction in speed.

And the geometry has to be less aggressive and more upright. Before I got my bike back in '08, the Opthamologist cleared me to ride*- so long as it wasn't on a drop bar. Mind you, I believe the TdF was airing back then, so he may have assumed that all road bikes have such aggressive geometries. And my wife was present in the room when he made this statement . So I'd have to get his blessing before I can get hers.
Modern dual pivot brakes provide more stopping power than you need. What makes for good braking is good brake pads. I recommend kool stop salmon pads, not pink, salmon. I like continental type . The cheap ubiquitious black rubber pads are not very good at stopping especially in wet weather.

I think a touring bike would be what you are looking for. Not just for the geometry but for other reason such as tire clearance and rack and fender eyelets.

If you really want braking power ride a fixed gear bike with hand brakes. Another advantage is that fixies give you a feel for the road the a freewheel bike can't which might be an advantage for you.

If it were me I'd look for an old touring frame and convert it to a fixie. No freewheel bike can compare to a the stopping power a fixie with a hand brake can give you. That said I've never had a bike with disc brakes so perhaps that is a route to try.
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Old 02-02-12, 08:09 AM
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I've got regular caliper brakes (Ultegra) and cantis (Shimano R550 and Tektro CR720) on my bikes. They all work great. The main advantage to cantis is being able to accommodate larger tires. However, I disagree with those claiming that cantis have less stopping power. That may be true if they have crappy pads or are set up improperly. However, my cantis both have KoolStop pads and were set up great by my mechanic, and they stop better than my caliper brakes, particularly in the rain. The pads on cantis have a larger surface area than caliper brakes, so they should stop better. If you lock down on my canti brakes, you could literally lift the rear wheel and go over the handlebars.
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Old 02-02-12, 08:39 AM
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Canti haters never make sense to me. I'm perectly happy with dual pivot though. Even dual pivot front and single pivot rear is a nice setup IMO.

Some Uber brake fanatics like to go disc CX for commuting. I can see the appeal especially if many wet rides are undertaken.

If you have a Performance Bike in town they have a couple of road bikes in your price range.
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Old 02-02-12, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
My only concern with a BD bike would be lack of support. If you can fix everything on your BD bike... great.... but an LBS bike is a little more expensive, but the support you get is invaluable.
I wonder if you have done any price comparisons? In poking around, BD costs less than half of what I would pay for a similar bike with a similar component group at an LBS - if I could find the bike at an LBS.

Foe example, here's an aluminum cyclecross bike with a complete SRAM Rival component group and Mavic Aksium wheels for $995. You may have some very good LBS's around, I don't have any around that will match that - with the same component group and wheels - for anything like $995.

If you have LBS around you that will sell that bike for "a little more", I am envious. What kind of price does your LBS have on an similar cycle cross bike with the same component group and wheels?

I hope this question doesn't seem hostile or combative - I really want to support my local LBS, but I can't find the bike I want at all in a local LBS, and if any of them could order it for me - most say they can't - it would likely be twice as expensive. Here's what $1500 will buy me in a road bike at BD:
  1. Lugged steel frame (Reynolds 725)
  2. Shimano ultegra components
  3. Mavic Kysrium Elite wheels

http://bikesdirect.com/products/moto...premio_pro.htm

Can you find an LBS that offers a bike with those characteristics for < $2000?

If there is such a beast, I would snap it up!

BTW, I am not being sarcastic - please let me know if you know of a bike I am likely to be able to get at an LBS within $500 of the BD bike.

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Old 02-02-12, 02:12 PM
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@mikepwagner- Since you are considering BD, how about used/consignment from my LBS? Dunno what size you need, but they have a couple of Airbornes that have been on their back floor for a year now. Here's the link to the touring rig that has a Ti frame, carbon fork, Ultegra, and a Brooks. Use their nav controls to look at the other one. I can't afford any of them
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Old 02-02-12, 03:00 PM
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I have a similar question, so I hope you don't mind me jumping in on your thread, no1mad.

I'm looking to buy an N+1 for commuting and getting around town. Because I'm not into racing or anything absolutely serious, I was considering the Trek 1.1, as I own a 7.3 right now, and used to have a 1.2.

Then I realized that coming up with the scratch for the Trek ($583 + tax) would be pretty difficult. The 1.1 is exclusively Shimano 2300 and an alumnim fork. Then I saw the Windsor Wellington 3.0 (carbon fork/2200/Sora) and Motobecane Mirage Sport (steel fork/2200) for $399.

Will I forever hate my life if I decide to go with either BD bike? My OTD price for the Trek will be $640, while the BDs will be $399 - that's pretty signficant. I was going to post this in the 41, but Lord knows they'd have a field day over there.
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Old 02-02-12, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
@mikepwagner- Since you are considering BD, how about used/consignment from my LBS? Dunno what size you need, but they have a couple of Airbornes that have been on their back floor for a year now. Here's the link to the touring rig that has a Ti frame, carbon fork, Ultegra, and a Brooks. Use their nav controls to look at the other one. I can't afford any of them
If I was looking for a used Ti/carbon fork bike, those might be a good deal.

But I think that Bikes Direct is in Dallas, which is only about 30 miles or so farther from Raleigh than Tulsa, OK. Not sure what kind of "local" service I would get.
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Old 02-02-12, 03:47 PM
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I have a Fantom CX (bar-end shifters, rack and fenders added later). Wonderful bike for the $$.

I also have a serious thing for the Kilo WT5, Kilo WT, and Fantom Cross Uno.

Also note that Nashbar is having a screaming sale on their own branded bikes right now.
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Old 02-02-12, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mikepwagner View Post
Can you find an LBS that offers a bike with those characteristics for < $2000?
But... hate to remind you of this... the cost of a bike goes beyond the initial price. For example, a good LBS will do adjustments. Give you advice. Will have tubes if you need some in a hurry. If you blow out a bottom bracket, they can fix it pretty quick. Then, there's the idea of supporting your local community.

I mean, if you are up to doing all those repairs, I would consider going with BD. But if you are going to need support...

As a commuter, you must realize that having a bike is a tremendous value, even if your initial costs are a bit more. If you figure out your cost per month, it's often worth spending a little extra money to have a little extra convenience.
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