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Total Noob - Buying a new Bike !

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Total Noob - Buying a new Bike !

Old 06-19-17, 06:04 AM
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Total Noob - Buying a new Bike !

All

New to this forum and have been lurking around for a few days now and after reading many posts decided to post my own question. Please please help.

I want to take up biking as an alternative fitness activity to running (10K Runs) or sports ( tennis). I had bought my first bike when I was 14 , rode the hell out of it sold it after 3 years and I was done. 20 years later I have decided to take up this sport again and now when I went to my LBS the myraid of options just left me confused. I tried the following bikes :-

Trek FX2 - Performance Hybrid
Giant Roam 3 - Dual Sport ( They now have Disc brakes in Bikes !!!!! )
Bianchi Via Nirone Claris ( My first Road Bike ever)
GMC Denali 700cc ( Walmart :-) )
Others - Dont remember the names.

I plan to ride it two to three times a week for an hour each. Now with so many options out there I am not sure which one is right for me. I live in FL and I plan to majorly ride in trails. After a little more control I would want to start riding on the road and do long stretches. I love going fast but i also want a smooth ride. My LBS is offering me the Via Nirone for $600 as its a 2016 model. All other race bikes are ~ $750 with taxes. I had initially setup a budget of $400 but I think there is not much option out there at that price range . I am willing to double my budget as I will be keeping this bike for the next 5 years. Any help is appreciated.

-Nik
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Old 06-19-17, 07:34 AM
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Based on your plan of trails which transition to road riding, I would say you have 2 options-

- Buy something cheap to start. ride it and figure out what you like and dislike. Buy something better once you are ready to put on a lot of miles and you also know what you want.

- Buy a drop bar road bike now since its what I would want for longer road rides.


You may be new to the sport, but ill still suggest the following as a legitimate option(though many will cry its crazy to suggest)-
Go to raleighuse.com/partner
Create a new account using the corporate code CYCLE4TAW
Look at all the endurance road bikes available in your general size.

The sizing for recreational endurance road bikes is typically segmented into 2-3” height variance per frame size and you will get a frame that most likely fits you. If you border 2 frame sizes, get smaller if you have a shorter than average torso and get a larger if you have a taller than average torso.
The stem of any bike can be changed to make it longer/shorter and angle up more if needed and this will help dial in fit. Its no different with bike shop bikes than online- whats stock in the store is a general fit and should be adjusted.

The corporate discount is real, shipping is actually free, the bikes are very well finished, and most are 90% built with just the wheel(s) and handlebars needing to be attached. Sometimes a brake pad needs to be attached too.
You could take the bike to a shop and pay em $50-100 to assemble. It’s a totally normal thing that most shops ive seen have pricing for(bike build).

Point of all this is- the bikes you get for the money are typically a good bit better than what you can buy in a shop. Many shops will fit you to a bike, and many consider adjusting the saddle height to be fitting you to a bike. Meaning- bike shop guidance is inconsistent and often times leaves you wanting better. No reason to pay more for that personalized ‘service’.

https://www.raleighusa.com/merit-770 this is $570 total with the discount. Carbon fork, Sora shifting, good disc brake model, and available in sizes to fit 5’7 – 6’1

https://www.raleighusa.com/clubman-alloy 1521 this is $660 with the discount. Carbon fork, Sora shifting, good disc brake model, and available in sizes to fit 5’7 – 6’

If you are going to go for entry level Claris shifting(like the Bianchi you mention), then the Raleigh Merit 1 is $450.

I am of the opinion that for a 1st bike, you should get as much bike as you feel comfortable spending and no more. This is because if you like the sport to the point of riding a few times per week, there is a good chance you will want to either upgrade or add to the fleet. Spending enough to have fun now but not so much that it keeps you from buying again if you want in the future makes sense to me.
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Old 06-19-17, 07:35 AM
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Go used from your local Craigslist.
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Old 06-19-17, 08:30 AM
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I bike that fits and feels right is most important. When I got back into cycling, I went to Performance bikes because they were close and had a good selection of hybrids in my price range ($400-600). I test rode 6 bikes, then returned the next week and re-rode my favorite 3. I had a sales guy who was no pressure, very chill, and only gave his opinion if I pushed him. I was surprised by the one I bought, since it was the least sexy of the choices, but I felt very competent on it. It spoke to me, which I couldn't have know unless I'd given it a few test rides. Later, when I moved on to road bikes, I went to 3 different shops and test road a bunch. I now know enough to go buy cool used bikes from Craigslist for a fraction of the money they're worth, but I didn't have that knowledge until I'd ridden for a while. So a good, no-pressure bike shop can be worth the extra money you'll pay.

Probably the second most important thing after initial fit is how well the bike is assembled and adjusted. You can get decent Walmart bikes if you're careful, but they'll need to be completely disassembled and put back together correctly, which again takes some experience. The suggestion above to get a bike online and then pay the bike shop to assemble it is a good suggestion, though you won't have the chance to test ride. I helped a friend buy an online bike, and helped her assemble it. I know others who have done the same, with good success. OTOH, some people just want to ride, and the bike shop provides a valuable service for them. Plus the bike shop should help (somewhat) with getting your fit dialed in, and give you some tuneups.

I love looking at used bikes, but Craigslist is a swamp of overpriced junk, misrepresented bikes, poorly maintained bikes, and lots of bargains that sadly are the wrong size or type of bike. But mixed in there (if you live in a decent sized city) may be the perfect bike for you, at a fraction of the cost of new. The trick is figuring that out without a fair amount of experience.

Of the bikes you've listed, and the riding you've described, I'd personally stay above from a suspension fork, and get a hybrid that can take fairly wide tires. If you want to ride Florida trails, and quickly transition to roads, and you think you might really dig having drop bars (I love 'em, many more hand positions - a flat bar gets very tiring on longer rides), you might look for a used Cyclocross bike or gravel bike that can take wide (32mm at least) tires. If you want fenders and racks, look at touring bikes, which usually also take wider tires. Such bikes would handle both FL trails and roads with relative ease. However, don't get too hung up on finding a bike that will serve all your potential needs 5 years from now. Focus on what works for you now, and you can sell this bike later when your needs evolve.

Then get a floor pump, a helmet, a patch kit, a CO2 kit, and you're ready to ride.
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Old 06-19-17, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Based on your plan of trails which transition to road riding, I would say you have 2 options-

- Buy something cheap to start. ride it and figure out what you like and dislike. Buy something better once you are ready to put on a lot of miles and you also know what you want.

- Buy a drop bar road bike now since its what I would want for longer road rides.


You may be new to the sport, but ill still suggest the following as a legitimate option(though many will cry its crazy to suggest)-
Go to raleighuse.com/partner
Create a new account using the corporate code CYCLE4TAW
Look at all the endurance road bikes available in your general size.

The sizing for recreational endurance road bikes is typically segmented into 2-3” height variance per frame size and you will get a frame that most likely fits you. If you border 2 frame sizes, get smaller if you have a shorter than average torso and get a larger if you have a taller than average torso.
The stem of any bike can be changed to make it longer/shorter and angle up more if needed and this will help dial in fit. Its no different with bike shop bikes than online- whats stock in the store is a general fit and should be adjusted.

The corporate discount is real, shipping is actually free, the bikes are very well finished, and most are 90% built with just the wheel(s) and handlebars needing to be attached. Sometimes a brake pad needs to be attached too.
You could take the bike to a shop and pay em $50-100 to assemble. It’s a totally normal thing that most shops ive seen have pricing for(bike build).

Point of all this is- the bikes you get for the money are typically a good bit better than what you can buy in a shop. Many shops will fit you to a bike, and many consider adjusting the saddle height to be fitting you to a bike. Meaning- bike shop guidance is inconsistent and often times leaves you wanting better. No reason to pay more for that personalized ‘service’.

..............


If you are going to go for entry level Claris shifting(like the Bianchi you mention), then the Raleigh Merit 1 is $450.

I am of the opinion that for a 1st bike, you should get as much bike as you feel comfortable spending and no more. This is because if you like the sport to the point of riding a few times per week, there is a good chance you will want to either upgrade or add to the fleet. Spending enough to have fun now but not so much that it keeps you from buying again if you want in the future makes sense to me.

Thanks a lot for your reply, I will take a look at these links !
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Old 06-19-17, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevindale
I bike that fits and feels right is most important. When I got back into cycling, I went to Performance bikes because they were close and had a good selection of hybrids in my price range ($400-600). I test rode 6 bikes, then returned the next week and re-rode my favorite 3. I had a sales guy who was no pressure, very chill, and only gave his opinion if I pushed him. I was surprised by the one I bought, since it was the least sexy of the choices, but I felt very competent on it. It spoke to me, which I couldn't have know unless I'd given it a few test rides. Later, when I moved on to road bikes, I went to 3 different shops and test road a bunch. I now know enough to go buy cool used bikes from Craigslist for a fraction of the money they're worth, but I didn't have that knowledge until I'd ridden for a while. So a good, no-pressure bike shop can be worth the extra money you'll pay.

Probably the second most important thing after initial fit is how well the bike is assembled and adjusted. You can get decent Walmart bikes if you're careful, but they'll need to be completely disassembled and put back together correctly, which again takes some experience. The suggestion above to get a bike online and then pay the bike shop to assemble it is a good suggestion, though you won't have the chance to test ride. I helped a friend buy an online bike, and helped her assemble it. I know others who have done the same, with good success. OTOH, some people just want to ride, and the bike shop provides a valuable service for them. Plus the bike shop should help (somewhat) with getting your fit dialed in, and give you some tuneups.

I love looking at used bikes, but Craigslist is a swamp of overpriced junk, misrepresented bikes, poorly maintained bikes, and lots of bargains that sadly are the wrong size or type of bike. But mixed in there (if you live in a decent sized city) may be the perfect bike for you, at a fraction of the cost of new. The trick is figuring that out without a fair amount of experience.

Of the bikes you've listed, and the riding you've described, I'd personally stay above from a suspension fork, and get a hybrid that can take fairly wide tires. If you want to ride Florida trails, and quickly transition to roads, and you think you might really dig having drop bars (I love 'em, many more hand positions - a flat bar gets very tiring on longer rides), you might look for a used Cyclocross bike or gravel bike that can take wide (32mm at least) tires. If you want fenders and racks, look at touring bikes, which usually also take wider tires. Such bikes would handle both FL trails and roads with relative ease. However, don't get too hung up on finding a bike that will serve all your potential needs 5 years from now. Focus on what works for you now, and you can sell this bike later when your needs evolve.

Then get a floor pump, a helmet, a patch kit, a CO2 kit, and you're ready to ride.
Agreed . The problem with craigslist buying for a beginner like me would be lack of knowledge about the Product. I will not be able to judge the condition of the Bike by just looking at it. I thus want to go for a new bike till I learn more about maintaining bikes on my own !

I will take a look at cyclocross bikes as well. Thank you for the suggestion.
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Old 06-19-17, 12:48 PM
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How long are you planning to ride? One hour? Two? Four or five? Obviously if you'd have to build up to the 4-5 hour rides, but being a fit runner it ought not take too long for you to progress to that. If you are intending to ride for a long time then I'd suggest the drop bar road bike.

Claris is 8-speed, and for your budget it should be fine, but you might be able to get something with 9-speed Sora with another brand. You kind of pay a premium for the Bianchi name. If you are willing to double budge you have a lot more option, possibly getting with Tiagra 10-speed. This is not to say that Claris or Sora are inadequate, but with Tiagra bike you get a lighter groupset, maybe better wheels, and more gears.

If your riding is less than two hours or you have issues with back/neck, then perhaps a more upright bike like the FX or DS would be better suited, though the front suspension on the DS is really rather superfluous for paved roads.
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Old 06-19-17, 12:49 PM
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Used bike off of CL is too overwhelming for a beginner to think about...unless you have someone who is knowledgeable to assist in the vetting process.
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Old 06-19-17, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006
How long are you planning to ride? One hour? Two? Four or five? Obviously if you'd have to build up to the 4-5 hour rides, but being a fit runner it ought not take too long for you to progress to that. If you are intending to ride for a long time then I'd suggest the drop bar road bike.

Claris is 8-speed, and for your budget it should be fine, but you might be able to get something with 9-speed Sora with another brand. You kind of pay a premium for the Bianchi name. If you are willing to double budge you have a lot more option, possibly getting with Tiagra 10-speed. This is not to say that Claris or Sora are inadequate, but with Tiagra bike you get a lighter groupset, maybe better wheels, and more gears.

If your riding is less than two hours or you have issues with back/neck, then perhaps a more upright bike like the FX or DS would be better suited, though the front suspension on the DS is really rather superfluous for paved roads.
Please suggest some bikes with Tiagra 10-speed.

Last edited by illusion01; 06-19-17 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 06-19-17, 07:15 PM
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Might be able to find some NOS Giant TCR 1 or Defy for less than 1K.

Or something like this:
Ribble 7005 Sportive - Alloy Womens Bikes - Ribble Cycles

Ribble 2016 Ultralite Tiagra 4700 Clearance - 2016 Clearance Bikes - Ribble Cycles

Sora-equipped bikes are much more readily available. But there you go.
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Old 06-19-17, 09:17 PM
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Grab the Bianchi at the bike shop.

You're maybe spending a hundred more than if you tried to go online etc., but the relationship with the shop (if it's at all a halfway decent shop) will pay off not only in terms of adjustments to the bike in the next few years, but in creating an environment for yourself where you're more likely to ride more etc.

Worth it.

You don't need fancier Tiagra stuff at this point. I ride old 8 speed Sora on a fairly serious shop ride. My fitness and technique is my limiting factor, not my gear. A good road bike is a good road bike.

Also, that nice relaxed geometry on the Via Nirone's headtube/fork means a less fatiguing more forgiving ride. You'll eat up miles and spend comfortable time in the saddle. No need for anything racier. Work up to centuries on that rig and get to know the folks at your shop!

Last edited by Standalone; 06-19-17 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 06-19-17, 10:45 PM
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May I suggest finding and establishing a relationship with a good local bike shop (LBS) is key. Not only will a good LBS help find a good bike in your budget that fits, they will also help you with the maintenance side of things. IMHO, as a beginner, brand name is secondary to finding a good bike that fits you well with support from a LBS if and when you need it. A good LBS will understand that a repeat customer is the best customer.

Unless you know what to look for I would suggest against the used market. Nothing will turn you off cycling more than a bike that rides like a ball and chain after 10 minutes. With a proper bike that 1 hour ride will soon enough extend to hours and hours. Cycling will be something you'll enjoy for the rest of your life.
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Old 06-20-17, 10:27 AM
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Get the Bianchi. If you are going to ride on the road in FL, you'll have to be extremely cautious. More bicyclists die on FL roads than any other state. This is a very good introductory read.

https://bicyclesafe.com/
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Old 06-20-17, 12:23 PM
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Any but department store bike

These are a wide array of choices. That is good you are open to many. They all have different strengths and weaknesses. Road bikes are great for effortless distances on smoother roads but limit your control abilty to explore take detours around bs you come across. Have to be a more careful for road imperfections and debris. Also it limits your heads up abilty which is pretty helpful in hightraffic areas. If you do decide road bike make sure you are comfortable with the geometry even after you've been pedaling for a while.(the ride home is usually harder) Most people go straight for the hybrid fo their first for good reason. My first was the trek fx 35mm wide tires. After a couple years and pretty much as soon as I started riding in road I was looking for something bit more aero. The cross bikes are a great compromise I'd suggest looking at these. I have a giant anyroad it can be very upright like hybrid or bring handle bars as far down as possible making more of an upright road bike does it all and has drop bars. Lots of room for wider tires in autumn when the road is covered in tree stuff.
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Old 06-20-17, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by illusion01
Please suggest some bikes with Tiagra 10-speed.
IMO, 10 speed Tiagra is sort of a neither here nor there. Let me explain. On the one hand, you have your budget road bikes that retail for $600 to $1,000 (less on sale). These are fine starter bikes, that will last you a good, long time, and you can even upgrade wheels, tires, brakes on a bike like this to extend its usefullness as you get more into the sport. And, these bikes are inexpensive to maintain as wear items like chains, cassettes, etc are inexpensive, even downright cheap to replace. finally, current 8 and 9 speed are compatible with older Shimano 8 and 9 speed components.

On the other end of the scale, you have your enthusiast level 11 speed gear that retails for $1,700 and up, sometimes way up. And, all 11 speed systems are compatible with each other, so you can mix and match 11 speed 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace shifters and derailleurs.

10 speed Tiagra is sort of in the middle. Not all that much cheaper than 105, but usually significantly more than budget 9 speed Sora bikes. For example, the Giant Defy Advanced 3 which has Tiagra 10 speed retails for $1,650, which is more than double the cost of a venerable Contend 1 with Sora, and 4 times what OP originally budgeted for. Trek Domane S4 retails for almost $1,800. You can get 11 speed 105 bikes for that kind of money if you shop around. And, 10 speed Tiagra is not compatible with older 105 and Ultegra 10 speed stuff.

It may be that in the future, Shimano will rectify this compatibility issue by upgrading Sora to 10 speed, and making Claris 9 speed. But for now, current Tiagra is kind of its own thing. Just something to consider.

But if you are on a budget, IMO today's 8 and 9 speed road bikes are very good indeed, or at least good enough for what you want to do for at least a number of years.

Last edited by MRT2; 06-20-17 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 06-20-17, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2
IMO, 10 speed Tiagra is sort of a neither here nor there. Let me explain.
I see what you're getting at. I had a hard time find bikes from the big manufacturers that have 4700. I think the fact that it stands alone, i.e. not compatible with other 10-speeds, makes it the ugly step sister of the family, which is why, I think, that you don't find it on many bikes. It's a shame, really, because it's a nice looking set, and probably better overall than the previous 5700 or 6700.

Originally Posted by MRT2
Giant Defy Advanced 3 which has Tiagra 10 speed retails for $1,650, which is more than double the cost of a venerable Contend 1 with Sora, and 4 times what OP originally budgeted for. Trek Domane S4 retails for almost $1,800. You can get 11 speed 105 bikes for that kind of money if you shop around.
It's not just the gruppo; you're getting a carbon frame with the Defy Advanced and Domane S4.

Originally Posted by MRT2
But if you are on a budget, IMO today's 8 and 9 speed road bikes are very good indeed, or at least good enough for what you want to do for at least a number of years.
Agreed.
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Old 06-20-17, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006
I see what you're getting at. I had a hard time find bikes from the big manufacturers that have 4700. I think the fact that it stands alone, i.e. not compatible with other 10-speeds, makes it the ugly step sister of the family, which is why, I think, that you don't find it on many bikes. It's a shame, really, because it's a nice looking set, and probably better overall than the previous 5700 or 6700.



It's not just the gruppo; you're getting a carbon frame with the Defy Advanced and Domane S4.



Agreed.
Well, yes. But OP started out looking for something around $400, and is now north of $1,600. And once in that territory, 11 speed isn't that far off.
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Old 06-21-17, 10:22 AM
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Definitely either going to have to go used, Internet bike or flat bar for 400$ budget. And road riding in florida with the wind i imagine drop bars would be very helpful.
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Old 06-24-17, 05:30 AM
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Thank you all for contributing to this thread. I bought the Raleigh Merit 2 . I hope I made a good decision as I don't see many Raleigh bikes around where I live. All of them are either Trek, Cannondale or Giant's.
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Old 06-24-17, 06:00 AM
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Very nice bike. Enjoy your new ride.
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Old 06-24-17, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by illusion01
Thank you all for contributing to this thread. I bought the Raleigh Merit 2 . I hope I made a good decision as I don't see many Raleigh bikes around where I live. All of them are either Trek, Cannondale or Giant's.
Two things at play here.

One is simple majority market position: The biggest companies sell the most bikes so everyone knows their names so that's where people shop for bikes which makes them the biggest companies.

The other thing is cachet. Some bikes and bike stores don't have the "right" reputation. Buy a Giant, no one will say anything---you're fine.

Buy a Bianchi, and most people have never heard of it but the "cool kids" will think your bike is cool (they might not like you but they will covet your bike.)

Buy a bike with the same frame as the Giant, made in the same factory by Giant and sold to a smaller manufacturer, with the same parts as the giant sourced from the same suppliers ... and if it's the wrong decal on the down tube, you are Not cool, and nobody likes you.

It is Exactly the same bike except for the paint and the decal... and the fact that you saves $200-$300 ... You make the call.

I have a bunch of bikes ... not many name-brand bikes ... but I generally don't look down to read the decal while I am riding.

Your Raleigh ,,,

tapered head tube, stronger and lighter ...

square-taper BB; the old standard, not quite as good as the latest but indestructible and really easy to work on and a ton of low-cost replacements and plenty of cranksets to fit it for unlimited gear choices. Have this on half my bikes and really like it. it's been around forever because it works.

Claris drivetrain: I have it on one of my Cannondales. Works fine. With a double front like you have, easy to keep adjusted.

50-34x11-32 gearing--as fast as you are ever likely to want to pedal and pretty excellent climbing abilities

Discs--personal choice. I have mech discs, hydraulic discs, and rim brakes on various bikes. They all stop the bikes. In any kind of moisture the discs are probably superior.

The Spyre Cs are supposed to be as good as mech discs get. I have them on my Fuji. Zero complaints about ease of set up or performance so far.

I have J-Tech (basically generic Taiwan hubs) on my Dawes. No issues despite some abuse. Weinmnan makes good rims, have one on my Cannondale tourer ... Weinmann has been in business forever for a reason.

What really caught my eye was the weight. 24 lbs or so for that bike is pretty good. it’s no lightweight but it isn’t a heavyweight either. It is decently light ... it will never slow you down or be an issue in any way.

Some bargain bikes weigh a few pounds more because the frames are overbuilt (under-engineered) and the components are all cheap.

For the money you got a great bike.

I’d say it is comparable to my Dawes in almost every way and that bike has provided thousands of miles of joy and still has decades of life left in it.
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Old 06-24-17, 08:05 AM
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Whatever you imagine your needs are and how you'll be using your bike, they will be different in a year's time. Just enjoy the bike you've bought and, as you do more riding and learn more stuff, try to work out what you'd like different in the next one. Don't resist the urge to buy something different, it's almost impossible to make the right choice up front. On the other hand, many people have made the right choice from the start. For others, the first bike was wonderful but they found they wanted a stable mate for different riding.

Just take the bike you've bought and ride the wheels off it, that's the only way you'll ever get a real answer for what you need next... because you WILL want another bike, it's a law of nature.
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Old 06-24-17, 08:15 AM
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Best advice-----------------------go to a real bike shop with the amount of money you are willing to spend, and get the best bike they are willing to sell you for that money. Dont be lured into blowing more for a "much better" bike.
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Old 06-24-17, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent
Dont be lured into blowing more for a "much better" bike.
Why should he be any different to the rest of us
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Old 06-24-17, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by illusion01
Thank you all for contributing to this thread. I bought the Raleigh Merit 2 . I hope I made a good decision as I don't see many Raleigh bikes around where I live. All of them are either Trek, Cannondale or Giant's.
I think you did fine. Maybe you don't win parking lot bragging rights, but the same is true for any entry level road bike. For what you want to do, that bike should serve you well. Since you are in super flat Florida, you might never need to use the lower gears. 8 speed Claris works really well and I doubt it will wear out anytime soon.
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