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Notes from entry-level test rides...

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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

Notes from entry-level test rides...

Old 08-28-15, 12:25 PM
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12strings
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Bikes: 2015 Jamis Quest Comp

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Notes from entry-level test rides...

I'm excited to go pick up my new Jamis Quest Comp (steel) tomorrow, and once I get it in and tested out, I will post a review in the next few weeks...

...but I thought I'd includes some notes from my summer of test rides, which may be helpful for others looking at bikes in the 700-1000 range. I'll list the Bike, MSRP (not shop prices), and +/- of each.

Cannondale Synapse Sora - $1030
+Felt comfortable and lively, I can see why the synapse redesign is getting attention.
+Sora shifted well
-List price is more than other Sora-equipped bikes...not sure if actual selling price would be similar or not.

Cannondale Synapse Tiagra Disk - $1300
**(probably my worst test-ride experience, but I can easily blame this on very poor set-up, but I'll tell you the truth):
-Shifting the front seemed clunky and worse than the Sora.
-the Mechanical disk brakes on this bike were adjusted very poorly, such as to make the bike unsafe...hardly any braking power, so it wasn't really a fair test.
-Over-all, nothing there to motivate spending more money than the Sora level

Jamis Ventura (Aluminum) Comp (sora) - $899
+Very nice overall, I might have ended up with either this, or the Specialized Secteur if I hadn't gone with the Quest.
+Lively acceleration, comfortable ride, smooth shifting Sora 2x9
+Carbon fork (this really put it ahead of the lower level Ventura with aluminum fork/Claris)
-Not really a complaint, as the bike was very comfortable, but I just felt the Quest was more comfortable with the steel
+Sora-level bike that is not much more than comparable Claris models, especially at the actual selling price (which I won't divulge here).

Masi CX (cross bike) - $899
+Larger tires and steel frame & fork make for a rugged, versatile bike for commuting, light touring, or occasional off-roading
+Also rode pretty smooth on pavement.
-heavier than most others I rode.
-Cantilever brakes...

Specialized Allez (Claris) - $770
+Perfectly fine for an entry level bike, shifting was fine with claris
-The one I rode was too small, as they didnt' have my size.
+Good price for a proven frame design, especially now that the 2016 models have a carbon fork)
(By comprison, the Cannondale Synapse Claris is $920, the CAAD Claris is $870)

Specialized Secteur (claris) - $ not sure, 800-900.
+Probably my favorite of the Aluminum bikes I rode.
+Comfortable, but also felt fast
+Claris shifted well
+Saddle was noticably comfy
-nothing to speak of, just not steel,
+Clearance for 28mm tires.
-Discontinued, replaced by the more expensive, disk-equipped diverge.
+Discontinued, so might be able to find them for a bargain.

SUMMARY:
1. Were I looking for an entry level racing, or fast-riding-only bike with speed as my main goal, but not wanting the total bent-over geometry, I would likely get a Specialized Secteur...If you want one, check out your specialized shops, because they have been discontinued. (I had some comfort and versatility goals that led me toward the steel quest, as well as tire clearance goals).

2. Shimano Claris, for me as a relative newbie, functions really well, and is predictable, when it is set up correctly. For someone starting out, it's great that the total STI package is now at this price point. The Masi bike I rode was an older model with the thumb-buttons, and those are just a pain. Stepping up to Sora doesn't necessarily get you much better shifting preformance, it only gets you one more gear...BUT, as there were with me looking at different levels of the Jamis Quest,..stepping up may also gain you other upgrades on the bike that DO make it worth it: For the Quest, that meant getting higher quality steel frame, carbon fork, better wheels, better handlebars.

3. I did not ride any trek bikes...everybody has trek bikes, so I didn't want one.
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