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Looking to get my first road bike

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Looking to get my first road bike

Old 06-29-15, 11:09 PM
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Abysal
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Looking to get my first road bike

Hey guys, I'm looking to get my first road bike. I'm planning on checking out the fit and test riding the following: Trek 1.5, a Giant Defy 3, and a 2010 Novara Strada from REI.

The 2010 Novara Strada is from a friend at work who's willing to sell it to me since he doesn't ride it much anymore. I haven't seen the Novara Strada yet but it sounds compelling since it has the shimano 105 group set that I've read a lot of good things on. It also has a FSA triple crank 50/39/30 & 105 12-25 cassette which would seem to provide plenty of gearing compared to the Trek 1.5 and Giant Defy 3. It's an AL 6061 frame on 700x25 tires.

He hasn't made a direct dollar amount offer for how much his willing to sell it for yet, we'll figure that out when I check it out and test ride it, hopefully next week. In the mean time I'm trying to figure out what similar used bikes go for. Would anywhere from $500 to $600 be a reasonable offer?

Now, the compelling thing about the Trek and Giant are their frame warranties. I'm not sure what the warranty is from REI, and I bet it could get complicated since I wouldn't be the original owner in case I ever had an issue.

Also some background on me; I'm coming from mainly riding mtb xc, with gearing in either triple 22/32/44 x 11-34, or more recently 32 single x 10-42 (SRAM 1x11 setup on a trek fuel). I ride about 50 miles per week, and have been increasing to 70 - 80 miles in recent weeks. These longer rides have been on paved trails. The motivation is I'd like to cover the same distance or more in less time, and maybe also join up with a group to challenge my self more. I also want to loose weight and get a bit more fit. I'm a fairly heavy guy - currently at 260 down from 277 - and 5'11'. A few months ago I made a decision to see how far I can go by eating better and riding more.

I'm hoping to get some advice and feedback on what to look for in my first road bike. Thanks!
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Old 06-30-15, 05:52 AM
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Congratulations on making the decision to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

The Giant is a nice bike, but for around the same price, I'd take the Trek with the 10-sp Tiagra. You can't go wrong with this. It's a decent entry level bike and will serve you well for the next few years.

The used bike from your friend is compelling only if the price is good. I'd say $400, or less, is reasonable. The 10-sp 105 on the Strada is likely the same as the Tiagra on the Trek, so don't be thinking you're really getting an upgraded group. But most importantly, your buddy has only one size, and if that's not your size, then the discussion is moot. Should you decide to buy this one you'd save a fair bit of money for accessories and clothing--shorts, jersey, shoes, helmet, computer, lights, etc. These things can add up very quickly.

The other thing is the triple. One of mines has a 3x9 Tiagra drivetrain on it. I never, and I mean never, use the granny ring on it. If you live in a hilly area, you might appreciate having it.

I'd go with the Trek, and get yourself fitted with the right size.

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Old 06-30-15, 07:28 AM
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Of the three bikes you've listed, I'd go with the Trek. What mcours2006 said about the 105 is right on, not much difference if any from new Tiagra. Your friends bike will only work if it's the right size for you. On a long ride, a poorly fitted bike will cause you pain other than just your wallet. One thing about the Novara. If at all possible, weigh it then get a weight on the Trek. I would not be surprised to find the Trek weighs less.
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Old 06-30-15, 07:30 AM
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Go for Novara Strada if it Fits.
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Old 06-30-15, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Go for Novara Strada if it Fits.
I'd agree with this. You'll probably want to upgrade in a year or two, no matter which one you pick. So choosing the one that costs the least is the way to go.

But make sure that it fits and is in good working order. Did your coworker say why he was selling it? Is he upgrading?

GH
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Old 06-30-15, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Abysal View Post
Hey guys, I'm looking to get my first road bike. I'm planning on checking out the fit and test riding the following: Trek 1.5, a Giant Defy 3, and a 2010 Novara Strada from REI.

The 2010 Novara Strada is from a friend at work who's willing to sell it to me since he doesn't ride it much anymore. I haven't seen the Novara Strada yet but it sounds compelling since it has the shimano 105 group set that I've read a lot of good things on. It also has a FSA triple crank 50/39/30 & 105 12-25 cassette which would seem to provide plenty of gearing compared to the Trek 1.5 and Giant Defy 3. It's an AL 6061 frame on 700x25 tires.

He hasn't made a direct dollar amount offer for how much his willing to sell it for yet, we'll figure that out when I check it out and test ride it, hopefully next week. In the mean time I'm trying to figure out what similar used bikes go for. Would anywhere from $500 to $600 be a reasonable offer?

Now, the compelling thing about the Trek and Giant are their frame warranties. I'm not sure what the warranty is from REI, and I bet it could get complicated since I wouldn't be the original owner in case I ever had an issue.

Also some background on me; I'm coming from mainly riding mtb xc, with gearing in either triple 22/32/44 x 11-34, or more recently 32 single x 10-42 (SRAM 1x11 setup on a trek fuel). I ride about 50 miles per week, and have been increasing to 70 - 80 miles in recent weeks. These longer rides have been on paved trails. The motivation is I'd like to cover the same distance or more in less time, and maybe also join up with a group to challenge my self more. I also want to loose weight and get a bit more fit. I'm a fairly heavy guy - currently at 260 down from 277 - and 5'11'. A few months ago I made a decision to see how far I can go by eating better and riding more.

I'm hoping to get some advice and feedback on what to look for in my first road bike. Thanks!
I ride a Trek that has the "H2" fit.

I'm not sure how agressive you want to be positioned, but their "H2" geometry makes it difficult to get low on the front end.

I have one 5mm spacer under the stem (as recommended), I flipped the stem to drop instead of rise (7 degree "blendr") and I still want lower.

My seat is as high as my legs will allow, and I am now left to experiment with stems to get the fit right.

Trek 1 series are very nice bikes, but the relaxed fit gets on my nerves.
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Old 06-30-15, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ColaJacket View Post
I'd agree with this. You'll probably want to upgrade in a year or two, no matter which one you pick. So choosing the one that costs the least is the way to go.

But make sure that it fits and is in good working order. Did your coworker say why he was selling it? Is he upgrading?

GH
He's been riding a Pinarello for at least a year, although I'm not sure which model. I'll have to ask him in more detail why he's selling the Novara, other then the obvious that he's not riding it anymore. My thinking is similar in regards to getting something less expensive, and possibly upgrading down the road if the need arises. This would also let me figure out what worked and what didn't; gearing, headset / bar setup etc, but then some of these can be remedied without changing frames.


Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
I ride a Trek that has the "H2" fit.

I'm not sure how agressive you want to be positioned, but their "H2" geometry makes it difficult to get low on the front end.

I have one 5mm spacer under the stem (as recommended), I flipped the stem to drop instead of rise (7 degree "blendr") and I still want lower.

My seat is as high as my legs will allow, and I am now left to experiment with stems to get the fit right.

Trek 1 series are very nice bikes, but the relaxed fit gets on my nerves.

The relaxed fit is one of the things I like, I think the more upright geometry may help for the transition from riding my mtb setups. Although to be honest I'm not fully qualified yet to make that statement - so I won't know for sure if the relaxed geometry is better in the long run. From experience with my higher headset / riser bar setups; they've helped eliminate much discomfort on the longer rides, I'm not sure how that translates to road bikes.

I want to check out the Trek soon, hopefully this week, and then be able to compare it to the Novara - meanwhile trying to be objective in the process, and then make the decision
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Old 06-30-15, 03:37 PM
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Any reason NOT to buy a 5-10 year old road bike as a starter? Figure I can get nice clean used one out there on Craigslist for $500-750... Is that worth spending on a Cannondale/Specialized/Trek/etc road bike of that vintage, that at one time was $1000-1500 new?

Or should I stay away? Maybe parts aren't available or bike tech has come so far now, or...?
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Old 06-30-15, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by MountainRider View Post
Any reason NOT to buy a 5-10 year old road bike as a starter? Figure I can get nice clean used one out there on Craigslist for $500-750... Is that worth spending on a Cannondale/Specialized/Trek/etc road bike of that vintage, that at one time was $1000-1500 new?

Or should I stay away? Maybe parts aren't available or bike tech has come so far now, or...?
The Novara option being discussed could potentially be around $500-ish, also I figure if the bike fits, the money would go to a friend. Otherwise I've budgeted for about $1000 for a new bike + shoes & pedals, and I already have some clothing. However being able to spend less would help in other areas of my life.
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Old 06-30-15, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by MountainRider View Post
Any reason NOT to buy a 5-10 year old road bike as a starter? Figure I can get nice clean used one out there on Craigslist for $500-750... Is that worth spending on a Cannondale/Specialized/Trek/etc road bike of that vintage, that at one time was $1000-1500 new?

Or should I stay away? Maybe parts aren't available or bike tech has come so far now, or...?

No reason to not get a used bike as a starter bike. Parts are readily available for 25 year old road bikes.

Regardless of the age of the bike, the fit is the most important thing. It's best to not spend a big chunk on your first road bike, because as surely as the sun rises, if you decide that you like road biking and want to progress, you will buy more bikes.

Dropping a big chunk on your first road bike when you haven't figured out your style of riding yet is a waste of money. Save your money for your 2nd 3rd or 4th bike.
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Old 07-16-15, 08:46 PM
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Last few weeks have been busy, and I want to thank you guys for all of your comments and recommendations, but I ended up going with a Domane 2.0 after trying out several bikes. Basically it came down to the Domane being substantially more comfortable and resonating less road vibration vs the Trek 1.5 and aluminum Madone. The Novara didn't work out either unfortunately. The bike shop also gave me a good deal on the Domane, so it wasn't substantially more than the 1.5.

So far I've done several sub 20 mile rides and one longer 40 mile ride; this bike rocks. When I got it I took off the caged pedals and put on my MTB SPDs while I waited for my road bike shoes and pedals to come in. I'm still getting used the SPD-SLs, I'm getting almost as fast in clipping in as with the MTB cleats, some times I tend to miss the top toe clip in area

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