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Find an entry-level road bike..$500

Old 04-26-18, 07:37 AM
  #1  
Bernard Hinault
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Find an entry-level road bike..$500

Hi,
I live in Saint Paul/Minneapolis and I ride to my work during the spring/summer. The roads for the bikes are very nice. I expect to ride 1000 miles per/year. My job is 10 miles from my house. I want to buy an entry level road complete bike with aluminum frame around $500. I would like a lightweight bike that last at least 3 years. Icurrently ride a specialized hybrid bike from the 90’s (50lbs).
I made a list:

1 tier:

Nashbar AL1 Sora: Shimano Sora carbon fork $499
Giant content 3: Shimano Claris, carbon fork $635

2 tier:

Tomasso Forcella: Shimano Claris, carbon fork $699
Giordono 2.0: Shimano Sora carbon fork $599

3 tier:

Vilano forza 3.0: Shimano Sora carbon fork $438
Motobecane mirage: Shimano Sora (just rear) carbon fork $499

Which one do you prefer for my situation? have another one in mind?

Thanks.

Last edited by Bernard Hinault; 04-26-18 at 09:49 AM. Reason: amount of miles wrong
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Old 04-26-18, 08:04 AM
  #2  
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Pretty much all bikes from mainstream bike brands are made by 1 of about 4 manufacturers in the world. Two of these factories are Giant and Merida then there's Kinesis/Trek (depending on whether its high or low end Trek) and Dorel. The majority of bike parts are actually made by Kalloy. It doesn't really matter about brand anymore these days... It's a sticker on a frame. But, out of those I would buy the Giant. You can upgrade the groupset later, you can't upgrade the frame later.

The frame is what everything else hangs off. You're not going to get a lot of bike for less than $700 but the Giant is the most reputable brand out of that list. Giant is the biggest bike manufacturer in the world followed by Merida, it's not by luck that they're there either. The move of bike manufacturing to the East has seen a significant increase in quality over the years. Giant makes a lot of good bikes even if these are all 6061 grade aluminum bikes (SL grade) I would choose the Giant. I would not trust the quality of a carbon fork on a $500 bike.

For $700 though I would be considering secondhand bikes where you can get a better deal. To give you an idea, my 2007 Trek 1500 is an SLR grade alloy bike, the same as a CAAD or an Aluminum TCR it has an integrated headset and carbon fork. You can get a bike like this for sometimes much less than $500 and for not much more if you get bored you can put an expensive groupset on it and have yourself a bike people walk out of a store paying $2000+ for.

Last edited by 1500SLR; 04-26-18 at 09:01 AM. Reason: edit for fact check.
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Old 04-26-18, 08:25 AM
  #3  
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I mostly agree with @1500SLR. except ... i woudln't worry about the carbon fork.

I have a CF fork on my sub-$500 Dawes and it has held up fine for thousands of miles.

CF forks are a mature industry ... 50 years or so of experimentation, people know what workks.

I would go for the Contend .... I have heard and read that the Contend frame is better at the price point than some of the competition (but it has been a couple years since I did the research ... so ... )

Also, just from that old research and scanning ads, it seems Giant offers as much as its competitors at a slightly lower price, or better value/dollar.

On another hand I have a lot of respect for Nashbar bikes in terms of value/dollar. I haven't looked at that one but .... for the amount of riding you are talking about i would Strongly consider saving the money and giving up the decal.

Nashbar has probably the same frame as most of the others, Sora is a little better than Claris, it is unlikely you are going to really test the bike with the type of riding you describe .... and the $150 or so you save can go into a rack, bottle cages, and lights.
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Old 04-26-18, 08:41 AM
  #4  
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I know you are asking about new, but if you go downtown to One On One on Washington Ave, they have an entire basement full of used bikes, often including nice road bikes that you can get cheap. Ask them, they might have exactly the kind of bike you're looking for. For $500 I'd imagine you could get a lot nicer used bike than what you'd get new.
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Old 04-26-18, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by 1500SLR View Post
Pretty much all bikes from mainstream bike brands are made in 1 of about 4 factories in the world. Two of these factories are Giant and Merida then there's Trek and Dorel.
The gist of that statement is true: There are a handful of companies that make a significant percentage of the world's new bikes. It's more than four factories, though, and more than four companies.

According to the L.A. Times, Giant alone has nine factories in Taiwan, China, and Europe. Kinesis is another major manufacturer that makes a whole lotta bikes for a whole lotta brands: Trek, Jamis, Diamondback, Raleigh, Haro, Santa Cruz, and BikesDirect, just to name a few. Fairly, Martec, Hodaka, Advanced International Multitech, Sunrise, and Ideal are a few other companies with their own production facilities who manufacture bikes for various brands.
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Old 04-26-18, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
The gist of that statement is true: There are a handful of companies that make a significant percentage of the world's new bikes. It's more than four factories, though, and more than four companies.

According to the L.A. Times, Giant alone has nine factories in Taiwan, China, and Europe. Kinesis is another major manufacturer that makes a whole lotta bikes for a whole lotta brands: Trek, Jamis, Diamondback, Raleigh, Haro, Santa Cruz, and BikesDirect, just to name a few. Fairly, Martec, Hodaka, Advanced International Multitech, Sunrise, and Ideal are a few other companies with their own production facilities who manufacture bikes for various brands.
Thanks.
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Old 04-26-18, 09:35 AM
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Riding 10 miles from home to work for a total of 300 miles per year is only 15 rides. For that relatively low volume of riding, any of the bikes you listed would probably get the job done.

Unfortunately, $500 is a pretty low budget for a new road bike. But, as @bcpriess mentioned, $500 should get you a pretty nice used road bike. Given the budget limitations I would probably go that route.
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Old 04-26-18, 10:21 AM
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Thanks for your advice. I did not expect so many answers in few hours. I prefer to buy a new bike because it’s would be a birthday present. I edited my post to 1000 miles instead of 300 miles, I made a mistake with my final calculation. The Giant seems indeed the best so far. In 3 or 4 years I will be ready to buy a carbon bike at $1500 to $2000, but right now I am just interested to buy my first basic road bike.

Thanks.
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Old 04-26-18, 10:43 AM
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My brother has a prior version of the Nashbar AL1. Has had it a few years and has several thousand miles on it.

If I were spending my money, of all the bikes you listed I'd go with that. With Sora you get 9 speed instead of 8 w Claris (i think?). I've seen a few Nashbar bikes in person and they have nice finish and fine frames. I don't know anything about those wheels, but if you have them trued / retensioned after some riding they should be fine for a long time. you'd have some money left over to buy accessories over choosing the Giant.

My recommendation assumes you're competent to assemble the bike and check it for any issues. It's not rocket science, but if you have zero experience or mechanical ability it's probably better left to a shop. In which case I'd recommend buying from your local shop instead of Nashbar.
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Old 04-26-18, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by 1500SLR View Post
For $700 though I would be considering secondhand bikes where you can get a better deal. To give you an idea, my 2007 Trek 1500 is an SLR grade alloy bike, the same as a CAAD or an Aluminum TCR it has an integrated headset and carbon fork. You can get a bike like this for sometimes much less than $500 and for not much more if you get bored you can put an expensive groupset on it and have yourself a bike people walk out of a store paying $2000+ for.
+1

Some examples of used bikes in NYC Craigslist I saw were: Centurion Dave Scott Ironman ($380), Schwinn Super Sport ($385), Trek 460 ($385), Bianchi Volpe ($399), Trek 470 ($400), Lotus 600 ($400), etc. If you don't mind bikes that are a little older like these, then you could clean it up and upgrade the wheels and still probably come at or a little over the $500 price point.

Edit: You have a nice market in Minneapolis/St Paul (middle of page 3 onwards): https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/s...&sort=pricedsc

Last edited by ptempel; 04-26-18 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 04-26-18, 12:30 PM
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At that price point? Pick the one that fist best or simply looks coolest, if you are mail ordering. They will all suit you just fine. They will all be more or less the same.
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Old 04-26-18, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Bernard Hinault View Post
Motobecane mirage: Shimano Sora (just rear) carbon fork $499
I have a Sora level Mirage from a few years ago. The main drawback for me is that 28mm tires are the biggest it will fit. I'd prefer fatter tires for commuting.
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Old 04-27-18, 12:52 PM
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You can build up a carbon frame, with tiagra for around 500-600 dollars. Look it up!
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Old 04-27-18, 01:15 PM
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Apart from a decent Craigslist bike, I mocha try Giantís Contend line. As I recall a Claris equipped model is at the $600 mark, with the bonus of an actual test ride.
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Old 04-27-18, 07:15 PM
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I'd second...or third the Contend as well. Giant is excellent value for the money.
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Old 04-28-18, 09:18 AM
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My wife bought a Raleigh Merit and is a fan. Works fine. So does my 88 Bianchi Strava (an entry level road bike of the time)
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Old 04-29-18, 08:41 PM
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80s early 90s road bikes under 200 will get the job done just fine . get one thats restored with sti shifters all the bikes you listed are just trash with new logos . there is really no such thing as entry level its a silly way to describe a bike that meant to maximize profits for a company ..but if you must choose from the list the tomaso bikes get high marks . id just go cheap used up grade the parts that suck or are to out of date . get new tires like gp4000 ii . cycling style clothes .
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