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A couple possible options

Old 08-30-17, 07:23 PM
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A couple possible options

Thinking about a new road bike.

Assuming you're not intimately familiar with my situation, I just started riding this July. Bought a new Raleigh Venture 4.0 - a "comfort hybrid". I feel like I am past it. Dug out my 35+ year old Ross Gran Tour II and decided that what I really want is a modern road bike, but still with the ability to ride on the occasional few miles of "dirt road".

I've been doing a lot of surfing etc and found that an LBS has a couple of options that appeal to me. I haven't talked to them yet, but it appears neither are on site, but available from the factory.

The Raleigh Roker Sport is a full carbon leftover '16 bike, and heavily discounted. It appeals to me because it's light, full carbon, has larger tires and a 1:1 low gear (I live in hilly Vermont).

However, the Raleigh Merit 3 has a 105 groupset (instead of Tiagra) and is $400 less and not even 2# heavier with an aluminum frame and only carbon fork. Low gear is a 1.0625:1 low gear, which is just about doable for me right now, and I anticipate it being "within capability" in my reasonable future.

I feel like the Roker Sport is more in line with my type of riding, but why does it have Tiagra instead of 105? If it had 105 it would be just about a slam dunk.

I can read specs all day long, but I feel like there are some fundamentals that I have no clue about. Why does the $2500 list price bike have a Tiagra groupset while the $1400 list bike has a 105?

I will add that I need a pretty large frame, and there seems to be very little excess inventory of bikes in my size, hence my initial resignment to just ordering a new one next spring.

Any thoughts appreciated.
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Old 08-31-17, 06:20 AM
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Frame construction method can make a difference in the prices. Just saying a frame is carbon fiber does not make to a good or great frame, there are some poorly made frames out that get sold a bargain basement prices, and bikes get built by those looking to turn a quick buck using those cheap frames. The manufacturer of the bike may get a bigger bulk purchase discount on their component groups, wheels and other finishing bits and pieces, or it might be just a sell off at a loss. Lots of things determine how these guys price their bikes at all levels.

Tiagra is a good, solid performing group of components, and so is 105. The 5800 105 is an 11 speed, it closely mimics the Ultegra 6800, which closely mimics Dura Ace. See the trend here? Tiagra is the beneficiary of Shimano's trickle down technology way of doing business and it is nice shifting, reliable stuff just a few grams heavier and you'll notice some slightly clunkier shifting when compared to the higher level components.

Your need for large size frame is going to make a difference, as you already know and stated, fewer of the extremes at both ends get made due to fewer customers looking for them. To answer you last question in short, probably a higher level of foramen the $2500.00 bike along with some better quality finish bits like the saddle, seat post, stem bars, and especially the wheel set. Allis conjecture on my part with out actually seeing these bikes you are looking at. Oh, welcome to cycling and to the forums, sounds like you are hooked, welcome to the asylum.

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Old 08-31-17, 07:22 AM
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Any chance you could ride them first? You say you need a pretty large frame, but do you know what the actual numbers are that fit you?
Gearing can be a cheap fix if all you need is a different cassette but if the top tube is too long or the bars are too low it's a problem.
If your old Ross fits you well you can use it to compare geometries.
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Old 08-31-17, 08:27 AM
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There's noting wrong with Tiagra ... the quality has improved a lot over the years. That said, the big difference between the two is that the Tiagra is 10 speed, and 105 and up is 11 speed, and therefore incompatible. My guess is that is why the bike is heavily discounted.

Another issue are the wheels. That is another place bike mfgs try to cut corners. And wheels make a big difference in how much a bike weighs and how it rides. Check out the wheel spec.

Big John is right too ... I'd try to ride them and see. There are Al frames out there that ride pretty darn good. And that Al bike is a lot less expensive than the carbon bike is.

They both look terrific, though. Very nice.
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Old 08-31-17, 11:26 AM
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Thanks for the feedback.

I doubt I'd be able to ride either of them ahead, as I don't think the LBS would order them unless I paid at least a non-refundable deposit (which I understand), especially since they would be a size not likely to move very easily.

Especially after riding the 10-speed a bit I am appreciating having more gears, so I get get the "right" one. I realize that the 105 only has one more cog, but that could make the spread more even. For instance, on my Venture, 1-2 and 2-3, as well as 6-7 and 7-8 feel like a big jump (where sometimes you have to choose between spinning out or working harder than you'd like to keep the RPM up), whereas the middle gears are a nice gradient. I don't know what the actual tooth numbers are for either one, but I suppose I could try and find/figure it out.

I don't know for sure what size would fit me well. My current Raleigh is an "XL", and IIRC the old Ross is a 24". But my understanding is that basic frame dimensions don't tell the whole story, and that some "larger" frames can feel similar to ones labeled as "smaller". For instance, if I understand correctly, both the Ross and Venture I have measure the same, but the Ross feels much bigger, and more like it's the right size. I don't know the best way to go about trying to get one fitted. I probably need to go to the shop in person and see what advice they have. I was just hoping to get some general thoughts before doing so (which I got, so thanks!).
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Old 08-31-17, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by FlamsteadHill
..........what I really want is a modern road bike, but still with the ability to ride on the occasional few miles of "dirt road".
occasional few miles of "dirt road" as part of the same ride? If so, how "occasional"?

Pick and configure you bike for what you ride the most. If you only occasionally ride in dirt, You can either keep and modify another bike appropriately for that occasional ride. Or simply have two wheel sets and quickly swap out normal road tires for up to whatever the max width is your frame will take. If you are good at changing tires, you don't even need the extra wheel set unless you get super narrow rims.
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Old 08-31-17, 12:09 PM
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Have you considered the Trek Domane ALR 4 ?


It's got slightly more relaxed/upright geomentry, and has the Tiagra groupset.
Which you may or may not be interested in.


I've been looking all over for a 2017 in a 58cm size, and cannot find one.
One of the LBS here has a 2017 58 cm Trek Domane ALR4 in it's rental fleet, and I plan to rent it for a day this fall, to see how I like it. The shop tells me it's been lightly rented (because of it's size), but they don't want to sell it.


Don't know if renting is an option for you. I also may have to end up going with a 2018 in the spring.


Good luck with your decision.
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Old 08-31-17, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by FlamsteadHill

I don't know for sure what size would fit me well. My current Raleigh is an "XL", and IIRC the old Ross is a 24". But my understanding is that basic frame dimensions don't tell the whole story, and that some "larger" frames can feel similar to ones labeled as "smaller". For instance, if I understand correctly, both the Ross and Venture I have measure the same, but the Ross feels much bigger, and more like it's the right size. I don't know the best way to go about trying to get one fitted.
I looked at geometry charts and tried to figure what I liked about a current bike and compare to the numbers of one I am considering. It doesn't matter what size they call it, what matters is the actual dimensions of the thing.
I have or have had frames of 62, 63, 64, and 65. The "65" fits better than the 63 because the top tube is shorter.


I know from riding I like the steer tube to be uncut, or 300mm, with the stem at the top with no spacers under it.
Seat tube angles figure into it, but you can slide the seat back and forth and I use a zero-offset post to get a little further forward.
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Old 08-31-17, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
occasional few miles of "dirt road" as part of the same ride? If so, how "occasional"?
Part of same ride. Maybe 1x week. Usually would be 2-3 miles. I'd say never more than 5.

Originally Posted by Iride01
Pick and configure you bike for what you ride the most. If you only occasionally ride in dirt, You can either keep and modify another bike appropriately for that occasional ride.
I probably will keep the Venture with its 50mm tires.
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Old 08-31-17, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Longfellow02
Have you considered the Trek Domane ALR 4 ?
I haven't really considered much. I'm sure there are lots of bikes that would "fill the bill", what turned me onto these particular bikes is that they are leftovers at the end of season at what seems like a good price. I did take a look and that seems a good possibility. Especially if I could find a local leftover... There are three Trek dealers within 45 mins drive so I may call around. Thanks,
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Old 08-31-17, 08:36 PM
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How wide a tire will fit on those? With all trends and research showing that wider tires are faster on the road, more comfortable and, of course, better for gravel, I'd want to make sure I could get enough tire under me for the expected useful-to-me life of the bike. The days of 25mm or less hard-as-solid-rubber tires are firmly behind us now. Unless you're into that sort of thing, then by all means...
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Old 09-01-17, 05:46 AM
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The Roker comes with 40s and can fit up to 45s.
The Merit 3 comes with 28s and can fit up to 32s
The ALR 4 comes with 32s which is the largest that will fit.
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Old 09-01-17, 05:53 AM
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After scouting some reviews it seems like the Merit 3 is more pavement oriented whereas the Roker is more towards gravel. Since my primary use would be pavement it's looking like the Merit 3 would be more suitable. Now if I could just find one to ride.
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Old 09-01-17, 06:27 AM
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buy, ride, sell, buy, ride, buy ride

it's a process, enjoy it

just get good tires
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Old 09-01-17, 05:26 PM
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So I was near my Trek LBS this afternoon and so I stopped in.

They have a leftover 2014 Domane 4 in 58cm which seems to fit me pretty well. List was just under $2100 and they want $1525 for it. I took it for a relatively short ride (maybe half to 3/4 mile) and it felt really good. All carbon with "iso-shock", Tiagra 10sp. My only concern is that the big cog is just 30 teeth. They said the largest that would fit with the current derailleur is a 32. 32 may work, but it seems kind of a shame to swap the whole cassette for just 2 teeth. I didn't ask but apparently they don't offer a 34, and the 36 is too big. I think a 34 would be ideal for my terrain and ability.

However, looking at the current lineup, a Domane SL 5 is $2k, and it has a 105 groupset instead of Tiagra, plus is 4 years newer. Not sure exactly what other improvements (or regressions) there are, but it seems like for less than $500 more, to get a current model at list price with 105 over Tiagra is a worthy consideration. Thinking I should go back to them and present it that way and see if I can get the '14 for around $1400.

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Old 09-01-17, 05:56 PM
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I imagine the the chain wheels are 50/34 if so you likely won't have any issue with typical hills even if you had a 28 sprocket as your lowest gear. I'm not big on the Tiagra group set. The 105 5800 group set gives the most range of cassette options with 32 being the biggest. If you are a Speed demon and can pull a chain wheel bigger than 53, then Dura Ace would be what you should set your goals on. But I don't think you are quite there yet in leg strength. Few are unless you are built like Marcel Kittel. And I don't think he rides a ring bigger than that in Grand Tours.

The Domane is about to be four years old. That's way too much money. IMO, and these people here agree with me....Bicycle Blue Book

You can get a 2018 Trek Emonda ALR5 for the same price with a 105 group already on it. It's aluminum but it's light enough at 18.7 pounds.

Of course, this is my opinion with not enough knowledge of what kind of riding style you prefer and what your goals for biking are.

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Old 09-01-17, 07:31 PM
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Yes, 50/34 crankset. That is plenty for me. Downhill is for coasting/recovery IMO - I'm not racing...

I do think I'd rather have the 105/11 spd and 11-32. I've charted the ratios and it's much smoother than the Tiagra's 10 spd group, especially at the top end.

They put the Domane 4 on the scale while I was there and it was 20.1# (in 58cm size).

I haven't ridden an alu frame so I don't know what the drawbacks are, other than what people say. I wasn't planning on a carbon frame, so if I could get one at a reasonable price, that would be a plus. My goals are to ride 30-100 miles regularly, and my current long-term desire is to do the "200 on 100", a 212 mile border-to-border (Canada to Mass) ride on VT-100.

All that said, when I told my wife about my "detour" today and asked her how she felt about me spending $1-2k on a bike she said that when I started talking about upgrading she was expecting $2k...

So now I just have to justify it to myself, and pick the bike that works best for me.
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Old 09-01-17, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
The Domane is about to be four years old. That's way too much money. IMO, and these people here agree with me....Bicycle Blue Book.
Just to make sure it's clear, the bike at the LBS would be sold as a New Bike with full lifetime factory warranty, not a used one. It's obviously been demo-d a bit but it is a "new" bike.
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Old 09-01-17, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider
buy, ride, sell, buy, ride, buy ride

it's a process, enjoy it

just get good tires
That seems like a good take on the whole thing. Now if I could just get my penny-pinching self to act on it...
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Old 09-01-17, 08:28 PM
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Price difference = carbon. Trendy so expensive (I have two carbon bikes).

As I've said in previous posts: why spend so much more for such a small weight difference. If you like the Aluminum bike go for it!
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Old 09-03-17, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by FlamsteadHill
I haven't ridden an alu frame so I don't know what the drawbacks are, other than what people say.
Carbon will allow you to build a much lighter frame than you can with aluminum. However as you saw the Domane was 20lbs. Pretty heavy for a carbon bike these days.

Ride characteristics are similar enough between the two. But I only ride steel bikes, so I'm only relating what I've read and remembered.

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Old 09-07-17, 10:36 AM
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Ok, through a fellow BF member I located a 2017 S4 that they are asking $1500 for. But it's in Maine, about a 3 hour drive. Of course, if I went to Maine I'd also visit the beach and have me a good seafood dinner while I was there, so it would be a multi-purpose drive.

The only real differences I can find between the two are the that 2017 has the 4700 versus 4600 Tiagra, and a couple components are slightly higher end, like a carbon seat post instead of alu, and an Affinity Comp saddle as opposed to Affinity 1. Oh, and the '17 has a 11-32 cogset as opposed to the 12-30 on the '14. The 34/30 combo is a bit of a concern to me (almost 25% higher gear-inches than what I'm currently riding), but I guess if I really have to I can push it up those occasional hills until I can handle it. The '17 has a 34/32 low gear which is only 7% higher than what I'm turning now, and seems a lot more feasible. My LBS says you can put a 32 cog on the '14, but from everything I've read it's not "approved", and I can't even find any cassettes for 4600 over 30 teeth.

So I called my LBS and told them the deal. They lowered the price on the '14 from $1575 (I had said $1525 but I actually couldn't remember what they had told me other than 15-something-5) to $1400.

If the Maine place was closer, it would be a no-brainer. But it's not...

And now I have to consider just going all out and ordering a 2018 SL5. Full 105 and the 500 series frameset as opposed to the 400 (which it appears they must have discontinued, since the SL5 is now their entry level carbon bike). List is $2000 but I had one shop quote me $1900.

Probably overthinking it, right?
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Old 09-07-17, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by FlamsteadHill
Probably overthinking it, right?
Maybe, or maybe you just really have not found that bike you just gotta have yet.

I'd go for the 11 speed rear over the 10 speed.
If all other things are equal, I'd go for the lighter bike.
The soon to be 4 year old bike is still too much money even with warranty. The likely hood you'll have anything occur that is covered by the warranty is pretty nil, IMO.

Don't let "bike fever" cause you to buy too soon. I might be worth waiting for the 2018 to hit the floors at the LBS's.

If 1500 to 2000 bucks is not a stretch on your budget, then don't cheap out on a bike with components that are considered lower end. Components make the bike.
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Old 09-07-17, 12:48 PM
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Is there a cure for bike fever?
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Old 09-07-17, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by FlamsteadHill
Is there a cure for bike fever?
Yes. Buy more bikes.
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