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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 11-05-17, 07:15 AM   #1
voyager1
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Specialized Allez vs Sequoia vs Trek Emonda vs Trek 520

So I am still on the hunt for a new road bike (first time buyer). I am not interested in racing but riding long and far... centuries and such.

My LBS recommended a Specialized Allez as a first bike, but I am eyeing the Sequoia since that seems more of a long ride bike from what I gather on the website. The other LBS carries Trek and recommended an Emonda that was a close out, but looking at the website at Trek it seems the 520 would be more what I am looking for.

Thoughts anyone? Am I right or am I over thinking this?
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Old 11-05-17, 07:27 AM   #2
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Iím excited for your new interest in road bikes! 3 years ago when I bought my road bike they didnít have the new sequoia out.. I love the Allez, itís professionally fit and rides like a dream. I have wide specialized armadillo tires on it and they bike is fun. Iíve bike packed with it multiple times too.. however since Iím not into going fast either. I believe I should have went with the sequoia for the added benefits of rack mounts and clearances.
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Old 11-05-17, 04:19 PM   #3
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Do you want to ride fast, or are you more interested in carrying racks, bags ect?
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Old 11-05-17, 05:10 PM   #4
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Do you want to ride fast, or are you more interested in carrying racks, bags ect?
I have absolutely no interest in being fast. No interested in racing. I would like a bike that I can be on most of day and not completely hurt all over.
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Old 11-05-17, 05:35 PM   #5
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I have absolutely no interest in being fast. No interested in racing. I would like a bike that I can be on most of day and not completely hurt all over.
The brand of bike and model really don't have much to do with that. Your physiology does. That being said the Sequoia sounds like what you are looking for, but for comfort do some research. I cant stress that enough. Really find you cycling inseam, wingspan, upper body to lower ratio and determine what that means.
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Old 11-05-17, 07:33 PM   #6
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A bike which fits you best is the best bike for long distance riding.

That said, purpose should also be taken into account. The Sequoia is quite a "specialized" bike, in that it's designed and equipped particularly for bikepacking on gravel roads, except that the chainrings are too large for that purpose, at least for the gravel roads around here which tend to be quite steep. Bikes designed for even light touring will have stiffer frames and forks and thus tend to be heavier and ride harder when unloaded than an ordinary road bike.

The Allez is probably the best entry-level road bike on the market. It's designed for riding in comfort on paved roads, with no compromise toward touring, though it will take wide enough tires to make it a decent gravel bike also. One could ride a century on this puppy right out of the box.
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Old 11-06-17, 02:54 AM   #7
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I nearly bought the Sequoia... then found my Oppy which is more traditional (looks like an 80s bike would be if built today).
The Sequoia is a bit on the weird side in looks, with them wide tyres, with those bars, that strange tape, etc.
However, I spoke to someone who owned one and was doing longer rides and had just fitted a dyno hub for the purpose. He wouldn't sell it either, I asked.
Apparently those tyres roll and ride very well.
Those bars look weird but I felt instantly at home when I sat on one (couldn't ride it, it had just been sold).
Tape and saddles can be changed.
I think it's worth looking at, but you might climb aboard and hate it.


I owned a Trek 520 about ten years ago. That was before they downgraded the components on it. It was a genuine touring bike but nice to ride for all that. My main complaint was Trek'd dressed it up with racing bits apart from the wheels. I wound up selling it but maybe it'd do the job for me now. You'd have to have a long, hard look at it.

Carbonfibreboy stressed bike fit. That's crucial. My 520 was sold to me and then fitted by a professional fitter... who was a racing bloke and had absolutely no concept of what I needed. This was probably the biggest reason I wasted all that money on the 520 and I do wonder, with all I've learned in the last ten years, if I'd like it now if I still had it.

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Old 11-06-17, 07:50 AM   #8
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I have been shopping for a new bike for my wife who has similar requirements and have spent a lot of time online and in bike shops over the last few months.

Here's the breakdown on the best values going for entry level bikes right now at MSRP. You may be able to find better clearance deals at the LBS, but you'll have to get lucky.
Enter your measurements into the fit calculator so you know what size to buy. There are plenty of resources available on the internet for you to figure out how to assemble and fit the bike, or you can take it to a shop and pay them to do it.

I'm getting my wife the women's version of the DB century 1 because she thinks touring and randonneuring bikes are a little to niche for a first entry level bike, and I agree.
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Old 11-06-17, 08:15 AM   #9
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just because you don't want to race doesn't mean you shouldn't get a bicycle with racing geometry. I assume you are going for longer, unburdened rides, and that's what a performance bike is made to do.
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Old 11-06-17, 09:57 AM   #10
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The Trek 520 is the oddball suggestion, as it's a full blown touring bike, or what passes for one these days.

Possibly the biggest advantage is it has a triple and I'm a fan of triples, although the Sequoia's gear range is pretty decent as a double. 520 will be heavier, but there's not many more all round advantages over the Sequoia, which is a nice package.
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Old 11-06-17, 10:26 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
A bike which fits you best is the best bike for long distance riding.

That said, purpose should also be taken into account. The Sequoia is quite a "specialized" bike, in that it's designed and equipped particularly for bikepacking on gravel roads, except that the chainrings are too large for that purpose, at least for the gravel roads around here which tend to be quite steep. Bikes designed for even light touring will have stiffer frames and forks and thus tend to be heavier and ride harder when unloaded than an ordinary road bike.

The Allez is probably the best entry-level road bike on the market. It's designed for riding in comfort on paved roads, with no compromise toward touring, though it will take wide enough tires to make it a decent gravel bike also. One could ride a century on this puppy right out of the box.
I couldn't disagree more. My ladyfriend bought a Sequia Elite in August and since then, we have ridden nearly 1,200 miles, including a 215k brevet and numerous metrics. Light touring bicyes were once quite popular, and were really only road bikes with more gear range. You simply cannot convince me that a 24 pound bicycle is a boat anchor or not good for century rides. And an Allez is not going to take anyone on any ride that remotely resembles "touring" without significant compromises.

I agree with you that an Allez can be ridden in a century right out of the box, because this year's Allez features more relaxed geometry than previous years, and so it at least offers enough tire clearance for all day comfort. If the OP's use is what he says, it probably is a better fit. But don't count the Sequoia out just yet.

To the OP, I would avoid looking at true heaving touring bikes like the Trek 520 and similar; they are designed to carry loads day in and day out and are a compromise you probably don't really want to make. If you want the tire clearance for wide tires, and by wide I mean 40mm+, then the Sequoia is for you. The Sequoia Elite that my ladyfriend is riding has great low range gears for climbing (32x36) and 42mm 700c tires. It feels light and fast, and the hydraulic brakes are excellent. It really is a great "all rounder" for when the road turn to gravel or are really beat up. Adventure/light touring bicycles also have the capability of carrying some luggage if you need the space to carry things on your rides. When we ride long distances, we generally carry all of our food and clothing on the bike and only stop to refill water bottles or get our brevet card signed. For this, the Sequoia might not look like a traditional randonneuring or endurance road bike, but it sure is an excellent substitute. Once her tires wear out and she installs more road oriented ones, I suspect the bike will be even better for her.

If 100 miles on actual roads that aren't really beat up are what you desire, then something more "road" oriented is probably more your speed. There are many, many endurance road bicycles on the market now and you will need to ride as many of them as you can to see what you like. 30+mm tire clearance should still be a prerequisite for comfort.

If I could have only one bike to ride long distances (200+ miles) on the road that came from a major bike company, it would be some flavor of the Specialized Sequoia. If a century was the cutoff, I'd buy an endurance road bicycle.
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Old 11-06-17, 01:30 PM   #12
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I think you should look at the Specialized Diverge instead of the Sequoia.

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When we ride long distances, we generally carry all of our food and clothing on the bike and only stop to refill water bottles or get our brevet card signed.
I do this as well, buying food on the road is very expensive. My long distance riding started with the off-brand equivalent of the Allez, it worked fine but I'm much happier on a bike designed with features more useful for longer rides in varied terrain and weather.
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Old 11-06-17, 09:36 PM   #13
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I couldn't disagree more. My ladyfriend bought a Sequia Elite in August and since then, we have ridden nearly 1,200 miles, including a 215k brevet and numerous metrics. Light touring bicyes were once quite popular, and were really only road bikes with more gear range. You simply cannot convince me that a 24 pound bicycle is a boat anchor or not good for century rides. And an Allez is not going to take anyone on any ride that remotely resembles "touring" without significant compromises.

I agree with you that an Allez can be ridden in a century right out of the box, because this year's Allez features more relaxed geometry than previous years, and so it at least offers enough tire clearance for all day comfort. If the OP's use is what he says, it probably is a better fit. But don't count the Sequoia out just yet.

To the OP, I would avoid looking at true heaving touring bikes like the Trek 520 and similar; they are designed to carry loads day in and day out and are a compromise you probably don't really want to make. If you want the tire clearance for wide tires, and by wide I mean 40mm+, then the Sequoia is for you. The Sequoia Elite that my ladyfriend is riding has great low range gears for climbing (32x36) and 42mm 700c tires. It feels light and fast, and the hydraulic brakes are excellent. It really is a great "all rounder" for when the road turn to gravel or are really beat up. Adventure/light touring bicycles also have the capability of carrying some luggage if you need the space to carry things on your rides. When we ride long distances, we generally carry all of our food and clothing on the bike and only stop to refill water bottles or get our brevet card signed. For this, the Sequoia might not look like a traditional randonneuring or endurance road bike, but it sure is an excellent substitute. Once her tires wear out and she installs more road oriented ones, I suspect the bike will be even better for her.

If 100 miles on actual roads that aren't really beat up are what you desire, then something more "road" oriented is probably more your speed. There are many, many endurance road bicycles on the market now and you will need to ride as many of them as you can to see what you like. 30+mm tire clearance should still be a prerequisite for comfort.

If I could have only one bike to ride long distances (200+ miles) on the road that came from a major bike company, it would be some flavor of the Specialized Sequoia. If a century was the cutoff, I'd buy an endurance road bicycle.
I've done all my long rides, doubles, 400k and the like on my '99 carbon Trek, same frame Lance won his first tour on, full on race bike, except with a triple! When I rode only my single bikes, I put ~5000 miles/year on that puppy for many years. IMO and the opinion of many randonneurs, there's nothing like a Roubaix capable bike with appropriate gearing. They're smooth, have excellent handling, and go where they're pointed. They're just plain fun. Unfortunately the real thing, like a Cervelo R2, is a little more money than the OP probably wants to spend. Then something like the Allez becomes an option.

BTW, a good frame is comfortable enough to run 23mm at 140 lbs., like I used to do. I still run 23s on that bike, but now at 80 & 100 lbs. Big fat tires are all the rage now, but if a frame needs fat tires, it lacks compliance. Performance is a big deal on long rides, the longer the ride is in miles, the bigger deal it becomes. There's also responsiveness: when one pushes harder on the pedals, one wants the bike to go faster. That's where the joy is.

As you point out, if touring is an objective, then a completely different bike is called for, but it doesn't sound like that's what the OP's interest is.

OTOH, when I lived in Fairbanks and most roads were gravel, a modern gravel bike running Compass tires would have been great, a Norco Search (great bike), or a Specialized Diverge, something like that. If riding in the rain is going to be important, look for fender mounts, like on the Diverge.
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Old 11-06-17, 09:38 PM   #14
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I've done all my long rides, doubles, 400k and the like on my '99 carbon Trek, same frame Lance won his first tour on, full on race bike, except with a triple! When I rode only my single bikes, I put ~5000 miles/year on that puppy for many years. IMO and the opinion of many randonneurs, there's nothing like a Roubaix capable bike with appropriate gearing. They're smooth, have excellent handling, and go where they're pointed. They're just plain fun. Unfortunately the real thing, like a Cervelo R2, is a little more money than the OP probably wants to spend. Then something like the Allez becomes an option.

BTW, a good frame is comfortable enough to run 23mm at 140 lbs., like I used to do. I still run 23s on that bike, but now at 80 & 100 lbs. Big fat tires are all the rage now, but if a frame needs fat tires, it lacks compliance. Performance is a big deal on long rides, the longer the ride is in miles, the bigger deal it becomes. There's also responsiveness: when one pushes harder on the pedals, one wants the bike to go faster. That's where the joy is.

As you point out, if touring is an objective, then a completely different bike is called for, but it doesn't sound like that's what the OP's interest is.

OTOH, when I lived in Fairbanks and most roads were gravel, a modern gravel bike running Compass tires would have been great, a Norco Search (great bike), or a Specialized Diverge, something like that. If riding in the rain is going to be important, look for fender mounts, like on the Diverge.
I don't necessarily disagree with anything said here. I may actually ride my road bike on some shorter brevets next year. I just cannot fathom being on it for 20 hours though. It's not painful but I am spoiled being on my touring bike. I'm not sure what would happen if I had something between the two. My road bike is probably very similar to yours only with semi-compact geometry.

Quote:
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I think you should look at the Specialized Diverge instead of the Sequoia.


I do this as well, buying food on the road is very expensive. My long distance riding started with the off-brand equivalent of the Allez, it worked fine but I'm much happier on a bike designed with features more useful for longer rides in varied terrain and weather.
I'm riding my Surly Disc Trucker now. It is comfortable to a degree I didn't think possible before I built it, but it's heavy. I don't find the handling all that lazy (maybe I'm just bad at being able to notice?) and I can jump right off of it and onto my road bike without much fuss, but considering daylight savings is here, being on my Surly with its dynamo lighting and all weather/all road comfort is just too tempting, so the road bike normally just stays in the shop.

If I've learned anything, a true touring bike is just too heavy for distance cycling, but a lot of the attributes that make a good touring bike are really desirable on a long ride, like proper (low) gearing, wide tires, fenders, etc.

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Old 11-06-17, 10:09 PM   #15
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I don't necessarily disagree with anything said here. I may actually ride my road bike on some shorter brevets next year. I just cannot fathom being on it for 20 hours though. It's not painful but I am spoiled being on my touring bike. I'm not sure what would happen if I had something between the two. My road bike is probably very similar to yours only with semi-compact geometry.
<snip>
When climbing the 3rd or 4th pass of the day, suddenly the road bike starts making a lot of sense. That's why I said long rides in term of miles. Getting it done just keeps getting more important as the hours tick by, i.e. average speed becomes important. A slower bike is just as much leg effort but for more hours. I know people take 25 houirs on a 400, but OMG. Actually I've thought of running out the clock on a 400 just by taking a lot of breaks, photos, etc., while riding at a 15-18 hour pace. But then there's all that riding in the dark, not my favorite thing on highways, so I've never tried it.

I'll totally second you on the proper gearing, My low gear on the Trek is now 26-27. Used to be 30-25 but I've gotten weak with age.
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Old 11-06-17, 10:46 PM   #16
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While we're off on this digress, I do have something to say for the OP: Do these things matter? ABSOLUTELY. A good bicycle is a big expense, probably the third most expensive piece of property you own. Its value drops by quite a bit the minute it leaves the bike shop. Bike shops are full of "specialized" (with a small "s") bikes that are designed to extract maximum dollar from you by selling you the most specific bike you ask them to sell you. If you ask for a bike to ride over the alps when there is 5 feet of snow, they will sell you one. And if you seek to take that on a 100 mile road race, you might just find out how critical these questions are. You're asking the right questions, for sure! Get a bike that inspires you to ride and allows you to cover the distances and terrain you want to cover, efficiently, and you will LOVE it. Buy one that is "wrong" for you--and I mean so wrong that it's a far cry from what you really "wanted" for the distance/terrain you're covering, and you will not.

That said, I don't think you could go wrong with any of the choices in this thread. But you would certainly like the Trek 520 a lot more on a long tour with a lot of weight on board compared to the Allez. And if you went on a fast group ride, you'd curse that Sequoia or 520 the whole way after you got dropped so far you could no longer see the group.

Rent a few of these bikes or similar and go out on a 20 mile ride and you'll have your answer. I do agree with Carbonfiberboy, however, that average speed IS something you want to consider. Contrary to what your LBS/the bike companies would tell you, it's just not the only, or even the most important, consideration. I'm happy to spend another 2-3 hours to finish a 200k fresh enough to do another one the next day. Others want to finish it in 8 hours and spend the rest of the day drinking beer. Neither is the wrong way to be a randonneur.
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