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Looking for first bike

Old 08-16-17, 07:53 PM
  #1  
cyclonoob
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Looking for first bike

I've kind of been bitten by the cycling bug after my friend lent me his road bike and we went out for a nice 20 mile ride. I'm looking for a decent entry level bike that won't exactly break the bank, but at the same time I can be fine with for a few years.

I come from an engineering, automotive and motorcycle racing background and understand my ways around materials and builds, but have yet to obviously experience them.

With the research I've been doing and what I've been told, it looks like it'll either be something like a Specialized, Trek, or Giant due to their engineering and history. I particularly like that Giant does seem like the only BIG company out there that engineers and builds their bikes under their own roof in Taiwan. A Trek Emonda or Madone would also be nice because of their made in USA claim, but it is far too much bike and too expensive for me at the moment (maybe one of these days). As much as I would like one, an Italian bike is being ruled out just due to lack of dealer support around me and cost.

One friend did mention that KTM builds bikes, which kind of piqued my interest a little bit. I'm not the most crazy about their motorcycles (I own 3 Ducatis), but based on some of the information I've read about and have been told from reps, they're made in Austria next door to the motorcycles with their own proprietary carbon. Only thing with them it seem is they're relatively new to the US market and no one I've talked to (except their reps) have any real riding experience with them. Does anyone here have any one and/or experience with them?
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Old 08-16-17, 08:05 PM
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For a good bike that won't break the bank, you might want to look at Fuji. They've been around a while and offer good bang for the buck. My first modern-day road bike was an entry-level Fuji. It just rolled over 29,000 miles this week. The Fuji now shares duty with a Cannondale, also a good choice.
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Old 08-16-17, 08:09 PM
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There are lots to choose from if you want an entry level bike. A few pieces of information are needed for a more informed response. What country are you in, better yet which city? How much are you going to cycle? How much do you want to spend? What's your fitness level? Drop bar or flat bar?

Never heard of KTM bicycles so I can't help you there. Don't rule out Trek or Specialized. They may not have their own factories, in fact most companies don't, but they test the heck out of their products. There is a reason they are part of the big three.

When I think bikes start getting really good is after spending about a $1000.

So with a little more information maybe someone can suggest something.
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Old 08-16-17, 08:49 PM
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I'll check out Fuji's line up, thanks!

I'm in the US, more specifically Los Angeles, California. Not sure how much I'm looking at cycling yet, would like to make a habit out of it, so we'll see, but of what I've ridden last weekend (mostly flat with a small climb), it was a lot of fun. My budget so far is max of $3K, but would like to keep it under that as much as possible. No flat bar, hybrids, mountain, track/fixed, time trail, triathlon, etc, I'm looking at specifically road bikes with drop bars I guess you can say for "racing" use, even though I'm not remotely close to racing, just something I ran ride on the road to get fast & keep up with friends, and climb as much as possible with. I guess an endurance/gran fondo and even a CX bike would fit my needs.

I've been looking at carbon frames since they're so common (and light!) on most bikes, and don't seem as expensive as I thought looking around more. As a child I remember steel and aluminum being the material of choice, but it seems like the former is either for very custom and specific needs (though looks so nice), and the latter can be rather stiff and you're unable to repair the frame if something happens....

Trek and Specialized are definitely on my list. History and heritage has quite a bit of meaning to me because of my background and interest in motorsports, and I really do like the fact that the Madone and Emonda are built in the US (but too much bike for me at the moment). Speaking of motorsport background, do more bike companies do these collaborations with auto manufacturers? Colnago/Ferrari, Specialized/McLaren, Lotus, Caterham, etc.... Would be nice if Honda built something with their motorcycle background, and Toyota with their knowledge of materials. Though it seems many, if not all these collaborations are super limited bikes for collectors, and are very expensive.
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Old 08-17-17, 04:14 AM
  #5  
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Just go looking at lots and lots of bikes. You'll get confused but eventually, that confusion will fade and you'll find yourself going to the same section of any shop you walk in to - THAT's when you start narrowing things down. Whatever you do, buy from your heart, not your head because if you don't love it, you won't ride it. The only caveat to that is not to spend too much because the chances are, in twelve months, you'll want something different - even if that's just a better version of the same, you'll be fitter and more flexible so the fit will be different.
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Old 08-17-17, 04:15 AM
  #6  
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Giant Defy, Cannondale Synapse, Fuji Gran Fondo ....
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Old 08-17-17, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclonoob View Post
Speaking of motorsport background, do more bike companies do these collaborations with auto manufacturers? Colnago/Ferrari, Specialized/McLaren, Lotus, Caterham, etc.... Would be nice if Honda built something with their motorcycle background, and Toyota with their knowledge of materials. Though it seems many, if not all these collaborations are super limited bikes for collectors, and are very expensive.
You know what you get when motorsports companies make bikes? Overpriced crap they outsourced and then slapped their logos on. $2550 for an Alivo equipped MTB with a low level shock:
Ferrari MTB 26" wheel carbon fibre bike

Or you could buy the $32k Lamborghini, made by BMC: https://www.citylab.com/design/2013/...-bicycle/4954/

Lotus did make a track bike, but they're kinda a one-off oddball company anyhow.
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Old 08-17-17, 07:20 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
You know what you get when motorsports companies make bikes? Overpriced crap they outsourced and then slapped their logos on. $2550 for an Alivo equipped MTB with a low level shock:
Ferrari MTB 26" wheel carbon fibre bike

Or you could buy the $32k Lamborghini, made by BMC: https://www.citylab.com/design/2013/...-bicycle/4954/

Lotus did make a track bike, but they're kinda a one-off oddball company anyhow.
You don't even need to look at motorsports companies. Colnago did a fixed gear bike some years ago. The steel frame was unbranded. The components were unbranded. It was a piece of over priced marketing ****e. That's when I turned to Hillbrick, an Aussie, hand crafted firm, which delivered a quality bike for less money.
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Old 08-21-17, 11:32 PM
  #9  
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Thanks everyone!

Doing more reading and research led me to now believe that the motorsport/cycling connection is really more or less a marketing ploy, with very little of any benefits. The Campagnolo and Ferrari connection seems like one of the real ones, but then again, current Ferrari with whomever is making their bikes look like absolute garbage.

This also led to me to do more reading on who makes KTMs bikes as I was going through all their promotional materials and realized the only pictures they have of "manufacturing" is of assembling, there's nothing I can find of any carbon layups, wedling or brazing of any kind. As I said earlier, the rep (from the California office) told me their "bikes are made 100% in Austria" with the added "not like Taiwan like all the other manufacturers" making it sound like that's bad (it seems like Taiwan has been build for so long, they tend to be the best for mass production). As an engineer who works with carbon fiber and structures, I asked who supplies their "ADK high-end carbon" and was just given the answer it was "premium European carbon fiber" and I just left it at that because I smelled something bad...

Well, after last week, I now know it's all BS with this article I found, but cannot link due to my low post count.

I don't know if the rep is being misled and lied to by marketing, or is just doing the lying himself to make a quick sale, but it is so incredibly disappointing to find out that I was being lied to directly by them. If you don't feel like reading the article, their carbon supplier is Toray (who I've worked with for years and years), and the bikes are made in Asia (where in Asia???)........... I guess history and heritage don't really work for KTM. This all comes at a suprise to me because the Specialized Tarmac I looked at over the weekend had this really nice and proud sticker saying it was "engineered in California" followed by "built in Taiwan" and defintely not trying to hide that fact. I even saw a super expensive Pinarello Dogma with Toray being literally clear coated decal into the frame.

Speaking of which, I'm currently looking at a Specialzed Tarmac SL4 Comp, or a Giant TCR Advanced Pro. Both are way more bike than I need at the moment, but I'm sure will grow into over the coming months. Any other suggestions and opinions are welcome.

Last edited by cyclonoob; 08-21-17 at 11:37 PM. Reason: Asia, not Taiwanese made
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Old 08-22-17, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclonoob View Post
I don't know if the rep is being misled and lied to by marketing, or is just doing the lying himself to make a quick sale, but it is so incredibly disappointing to find out that I was being lied to directly by them. If you don't feel like reading the article, their carbon supplier is Toray (who I've worked with for years and years), and the bikes are made in Asia (where in Asia???)........... I guess history and heritage don't really work for KTM. This all comes at a suprise to me because the Specialized Tarmac I looked at over the weekend had this really nice and proud sticker saying it was "engineered in California" followed by "built in Taiwan" and defintely not trying to hide that fact. I even saw a super expensive Pinarello Dogma with Toray being literally clear coated decal into the frame.
Meh, Shinola in Detroit got nabbed like that a while back, on their watches. Sure, they were "made" here, but with imported components because they simply aren't available in America. I take anything referring to "Engineered/Assembled/Crafted/etc" in Location X with a grain of salt.

It is partly why I also don't get caught up in trying to buy something with too tight of a criteria. If the frame is made out of a material I want and apperas to be well made, I don't really care if it comes from Taiwan, Austria, or Wisconsin. The utility of the item is far more important than its peerage, especially on bikes that don't break the bank.
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Old 08-22-17, 08:25 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by cyclonoob View Post
Speaking of which, I'm currently looking at a Specialzed Tarmac SL4 Comp, or a Giant TCR Advanced Pro. Both are way more bike than I need at the moment, but I'm sure will grow into over the coming months. Any other suggestions and opinions are welcome.
June was my 30th anniversary of road cycling and an SL4 Comp and TCR Advanced Pro are way more bike than I need. If you spend $2000 less you'll still be just as fast (or slow), and as a newbie it won't be as embarrassing when you get dropped by an old guy on a 35 year old steel bike. For your first bike I would look at an entry level aluminum one. If you buy a bike from Performance Bike, they have a very generous one year return/exchange policy. One member posted that he rode a bike for an entire year, then took it back and they actually gave him a refund.

When you're brand new with barely an hour of riding time you don't really know what you'll like. Or even if you'll stay in the sport. The first time you hit a 30mph headwind when you still have 40 miles to go can be a rude awakening. After a few thousand miles you'll start to decide if you really want a carbon bike or if you need $1000 wheels, ect. You might decide you'd rather have an endurance bike. And when you try to resell a bike you bought for $3500 you'll find out you'll probably lose some serious cash.
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Old 08-22-17, 08:33 AM
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What brands does your favorite bile shop carry? 1st pick the shop, for its service.
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Old 08-22-17, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
What brands does your favorite bile shop carry? 1st pick the shop, for its service.
Yeah, but it can be hard to know how good of service a shop gives you until you have actually bought something there!
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Old 08-22-17, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclonoob View Post
Any other suggestions and opinions are welcome.
Other suggestions-

- buy something above entry level, ride it a bunch, then upgrade once you know what you like/dont like about the current bike.
This can help you sort out geometry, components, frame material, etc. Do you need Ultegra components or will 105 be make you happy moving forward? Do you need full carbon frame and fork, or will a quality formed aluminum frame with carbon fork be plenty of quality?
The noticable difference between $1200 bikes and $2000+ higher cost bikes can often be significantly minimized with a quality wheelset.

- find a shop you like a lot and work with them. This will help immediately narrow the selection for you, which can be a good thing, and help you find a place that will be a place of reference as you buy more stuff.

- buy online and assemble it yourself with possible once over at a local shop for peace of mind. Raleigh, Diamondback, Canyon, REI, Performance, and Nashbar all have offerings online and often times for significantly less than shop prices.
These bikes come 85% assembled and what assembly is needed is typically just attaching bolts and tightening everything. Sometimes wheels come with hubs that are too tight and a shop will correct this in minutes for a nominal price if you cant.
Raleigh(and diamondback) has a corporate discount code. https://www.raleighusa.com/customer/account/ and the code is CYCLE4PERK (has to be typed and is caps).
this is $1260 and would get you started so you can learn what you want thru experience. https://www.raleighusa.com/clubman-carbon-2485
or this for $750. 105 drivetrain. https://www.raleighusa.com/merit-6625
And here at $1500 is an excellent high quality steel frame with carbon fork and high level Ultegra drivetrain at 20#. https://www.raleighusa.com/grand-vitesse-2431



I personally find value in initially buying based on value, experiencing it and deciding what I like/dislike, then selling that and buying based on knowing what I want. It may end up that I dont want what I thought I would want before I had experience.
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