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Buying first road bike: Help me bikeforums.net, you're my only hope

Old 11-22-16, 10:50 PM
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nuclear_biker
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Buying first road bike: Help me bikeforums.net, you're my only hope

In 2015, I rebuilt a Trek 720 ('91) into a commuter/fitness bike. I'm now looking to get into longer rides and casual endurance racing so I'm looking to buy my first roadbike. The 720 is okay for short rides but frankly I don't find the geometry super comfy past maybe 1 hour. So now I'm looking at buying my first roadbike. Looking to spend $2k or less (or a few hundred over if justified).

I have a few friends with BD bikes, and I was pretty surprised to see they offered a Di2 bike for only $2000, the Motobecane Le Champion CF Di2. I didn't a bit of research online and it seems to get mostly positive reviews but not a whole lot of info on how it holds up and not a whole lot of reviews in general (that I saw). I had a chance to ride a (way out of my price range) Di2 bike and my god was I sold (I can't remember if it was Dura-Ace or Ultegra Di2). I have done some research into BD and know about all the potential downsides (no LBS support, no fitting, some assembly required, not amazing warranty, etc) so I'm not really interested in that.

But then I got to thinking to myself: $2k is a lot to spend on a bike I can't find a lot of info on, and while Di2 would be great, would my money be better spent on a bike with a better frame and normal Ultegra mech? I'm mostly nervous about buying a CF bike without a lot of info on how it holds up.

TL;DR: I'm looking for anybody with info on the Motobecane Le Champion CF (specifically with regards to how the frame holds up) and with BD CF bikes. Additionally looking for recommendations on whether this is a good way to go or if I should research other bikes in the $1k-$2k range.
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Old 11-22-16, 11:03 PM
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Luckily, we are NOT your only hope.

There are lots of great bikes out there for $2k, but if you're sold on DI2, I don't think there are many store-sold brands that sell CF+DI2 at that price point.

If your experience is limited to your old 720 and your friend's DI2 bike, go to your LBS and ride a road bike near $2k and see what you think. Maybe the DI2 is essential to your aspirations, or maybe a modern mechanical drive train is, for you, almost as sweet.

More generally, going to do some test rides will probably be more educational the the cacophony of answers you'll get here (although sadly, you can't test ride a BD bike, I don't think). If you ask people here about the "durability" of CF, you are going to get the full gamut of answers, from "I've ridden the same carbon bike 15,000 miles/year for 12 years with no problems" to "crabon asplodes"
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Old 11-23-16, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Luckily, we are NOT your only hope.

There are lots of great bikes out there for $2k, but if you're sold on DI2, I don't think there are many store-sold brands that sell CF+DI2 at that price point.

If your experience is limited to your old 720 and your friend's DI2 bike, go to your LBS and ride a road bike near $2k and see what you think. Maybe the DI2 is essential to your aspirations, or maybe a modern mechanical drive train is, for you, almost as sweet.

More generally, going to do some test rides will probably be more educational the the cacophony of answers you'll get here (although sadly, you can't test ride a BD bike, I don't think). If you ask people here about the "durability" of CF, you are going to get the full gamut of answers, from "I've ridden the same carbon bike 15,000 miles/year for 12 years with no problems" to "crabon asplodes"
WHAT...

Seriously, excellent advice. I would add, look at/ride bikes $500-800 over budget. This time of year there can be some really good sales, especially if you consider online purchases.
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Old 11-23-16, 05:56 AM
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I don't have any advice on CF, my price point put me on Aluminum with 105. I will say that whatever premium (I got a good deal, I think) I paid to the LBS is totally worth it. I got the initial fitting and 2 minor adjustments after that and every time I stop in they throw the bike up on the stand and give it a once over, making sure everything is adjusted perfectly. Lots of "free" advice as well.

It's one of the few purchases I've made lately where I feel 100% satisfied with both the product and the service.
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Old 11-23-16, 07:29 AM
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For a 1st road bike, I would want store support. Not likely to get Di2 at that price point though. Also, I read once that on of the BD Di2 bikes was 1st gen, and finding new parts and support for it would be tricky. Not sure if it's the one you're looking at though.
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Old 11-23-16, 08:41 AM
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I'd opt to go with a good frame first, then upgrade the group later. Competitive Cyclist and R&A Cycles have some pretty good deals around that budget right now.
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Old 11-23-16, 08:59 AM
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I would agree with others who've said that for 2K you won't get Di2 from your LBS, perhaps second hand, and perhaps 10-sp 6770, or possibly 7970 Di2, but still 10-sp, and used.

For 2K and new, I'd probably look for a carbon frame with 5800's or possibly 6800 mechanical.
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Old 11-23-16, 09:27 AM
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What size are you? We have a few bikes with ultegra di2 and carbon for just over $2000. More like $2400. They are specialized / scott.
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Old 11-23-16, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by nuclear_biker View Post
In 2015, I rebuilt a Trek 720 ('91) into a commuter/fitness bike. I'm now looking to get into longer rides and casual endurance racing so I'm looking to buy my first roadbike. The 720 is okay for short rides but frankly I don't find the geometry super comfy past maybe 1 hour. So now I'm looking at buying my first roadbike. Looking to spend $2k or less (or a few hundred over if justified).

I have a few friends with BD bikes, and I was pretty surprised to see they offered a Di2 bike for only $2000, the Motobecane Le Champion CF Di2. I didn't a bit of research online and it seems to get mostly positive reviews but not a whole lot of info on how it holds up and not a whole lot of reviews in general (that I saw). I had a chance to ride a (way out of my price range) Di2 bike and my god was I sold (I can't remember if it was Dura-Ace or Ultegra Di2). I have done some research into BD and know about all the potential downsides (no LBS support, no fitting, some assembly required, not amazing warranty, etc) so I'm not really interested in that.

But then I got to thinking to myself: $2k is a lot to spend on a bike I can't find a lot of info on, and while Di2 would be great, would my money be better spent on a bike with a better frame and normal Ultegra mech? I'm mostly nervous about buying a CF bike without a lot of info on how it holds up.

TL;DR: I'm looking for anybody with info on the Motobecane Le Champion CF (specifically with regards to how the frame holds up) and with BD CF bikes. Additionally looking for recommendations on whether this is a good way to go or if I should research other bikes in the $1k-$2k range.




$2k is plenty for a beginner bike. I would just get a CF with 105 group or an Aluminum with 105/Ultegra.


Don't over research your new bike. For a starter, bike is not that important. Instead, invest time in your own fitness and a good bike fit. Get a new bike, get a proper bike fit (so you don't hurt yourself), ride A LOT of it, and lose some weight. After 2-4k miles, you'll know much better at the time what you really want, endurance, racing, climbing... As your core strength and fitness for road cycling improves, you'll able to take advantage of a more aggressive (aero) bike fit and ride more efficiently.
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Old 11-23-16, 09:58 AM
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What about the BD Motobecane Ti bikes? Less worry than CF...for those who would worry about it. Not me, but some folks. Anyway the Ti frame is very well reviewed. Does it come with Di2? Price?
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Old 11-23-16, 10:14 AM
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Just got this on my daily email: Planet X EC130 Shimano Ultegra 6800 Aero Road Bike (Special Build) | Planet X
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Old 11-23-16, 10:15 AM
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That bike has 6870 Di2, great gear. Your probably going to want a shop to set it up.

Last edited by FeltF2Tarmac; 11-23-16 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 11-23-16, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Luckily, we are NOT your only hope.

There are lots of great bikes out there for $2k, but if you're sold on DI2, I don't think there are many store-sold brands that sell CF+DI2 at that price point.

If your experience is limited to your old 720 and your friend's DI2 bike, go to your LBS and ride a road bike near $2k and see what you think. Maybe the DI2 is essential to your aspirations, or maybe a modern mechanical drive train is, for you, almost as sweet.

More generally, going to do some test rides will probably be more educational the the cacophony of answers you'll get here (although sadly, you can't test ride a BD bike, I don't think). If you ask people here about the "durability" of CF, you are going to get the full gamut of answers, from "I've ridden the same carbon bike 15,000 miles/year for 12 years with no problems" to "crabon asplodes"
Thanks, great reply! I mostly worry not about CF in general since it's more or less proven/it's limitations known, but about this one in particular (since I can't find much info from people who have them). I think it's smart to try other road bikes (Ultegra mechanical for comparison especially). Sadly (or not) the LBS is more or less a Trek shop (but carries a few others/can order others). I always feel like they push Trek/Bontrager fairly hard.

A few people also mentioned LBS support. Other than the initial fitting (which most will do for a fee), it won't help me much (unless I go with a chain) as I will be moving around a bit for the next few years.

Originally Posted by San Pedro View Post
For a 1st road bike, I would want store support. Not likely to get Di2 at that price point though. Also, I read once that on of the BD Di2 bikes was 1st gen, and finding new parts and support for it would be tricky. Not sure if it's the one you're looking at though.
According to BD website, it is the ST-6870 shifters/derailleurs. I can't quite tell but that seems to be current generation. Please correct me if I'm wrong, it's kinda hard to tell.

Originally Posted by hsuehhwa View Post
$2k is plenty for a beginner bike. I would just get a CF with 105 group or an Aluminum with 105/Ultegra.


Don't over research your new bike. For a starter, bike is not that important. Instead, invest time in your own fitness and a good bike fit. Get a new bike, get a proper bike fit (so you don't hurt yourself), ride A LOT of it, and lose some weight. After 2-4k miles, you'll know much better at the time what you really want, endurance, racing, climbing... As your core strength and fitness for road cycling improves, you'll able to take advantage of a more aggressive (aero) bike fit and ride more efficiently.
Since 2015 I've already done a good bit of this. I've lost 60 some lbs, started lifting, running, biking (obviously) and a little swimming (pool time is hard to get for me). I'm a bit limited in my ride length by 1. free time (which I am getting more of now) 2. comfort of my bike. I'm also certain that endurance is the way I want to go at this point.

Over research is also my middle name. Good or bad its just the way I am .

Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
What about the BD Motobecane Ti bikes? Less worry than CF...for those who would worry about it. Not me, but some folks. Anyway the Ti frame is very well reviewed. Does it come with Di2? Price?
Not DI2 but the SRAM Red equivalent (eTap?). Bit pricier though.
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Old 11-23-16, 10:52 AM
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That Di2 bike is 6870 and it's definitely a great group. If you want a Di2 bike that is as good a price you will find. I can't comment on the frame but I would ride it. I have seen some BD Motobecanes and I think for the price it's a good deal. I would have a bike shop set it up and ride the help out of it. In the past the Di2 bikes from there were first gen. but those are long gone. Entry carbon but not bad.
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Old 11-23-16, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by nuclear_biker View Post
TL;DR: I'm looking for anybody with info on the Motobecane Le Champion CF (specifically with regards to how the frame holds up) and with BD CF bikes. Additionally looking for recommendations on whether this is a good way to go or if I should research other bikes in the $1k-$2k range.
Remember that buying a BD bike doesn't mean you aren't allowed to take it in to a shop, ever. You can still have a shop assemble it, tune it, fit it, whatever, you'd just have to pay a bit for it whereas a new buy from an LBS would probably have most of those services included.

Other than the initial fitting, most of the work on a modern bike is really easy to do yourself (and a fitting is also easy if you have an idea of your ideal position), so if you're comfortable tinkering and have the tools I don't see why it's an advantage to get an annual free tuneup or whatever from a shop.

I have friends with BD carbon bikes and none have had any issues. They're excellent for the price you pay, and you'd get a warranty from Motobecane that isn't much different than a "big brand" warranty, other than the need to ship it to have it inspected before repairs rather than taking it in to a dealer.

YMMV. My brother started riding on a BD Motobecane aluminum road bike almost 8 years ago and it's still going strong.
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Old 11-23-16, 10:57 AM
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The good thing about BD is you usually get a full group as named, not just the derailleurs and levers. In other words the brakes and crank aren't substituted with lower end stuff like for many LBS brand name offerings. That is a big plus. I am pretty sure you will like the specification of the bike when you look over all the details.
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Old 11-23-16, 11:02 AM
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[QUOTE=nuclear_biker;19209533]

Over research is also my middle name. ...

QUOTE]


Likewise


I was only saying it based my personal experience. You'll never know what you'll develop into until you start riding, A LOT. Saddle time is irreplaceable. There's no better way to train your seat bone.


I've had a CF ultegra di2 for 16k miles and ~1 mil ft elevation. I've only replaced bar tapes, cables, chains, brake pads... All the major components are still original.
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Old 11-23-16, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by nuclear_biker View Post
Not DI2 but the SRAM Red equivalent (eTap?). Bit pricier though.
Deal of the century! $3,200! Hard to beat.
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Old 11-23-16, 11:09 AM
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@nuclear_biker, I wouldn't get stuck on top line components like Di2. There are plenty of other lower cost groups that will do the job and then some. For example, I'm still using Campy Chorus 10spd on one bike and Ultegra 9spd on the other and they are more than good enough for the task. Also, you *really need to know* what virtual top tube length you want if you purchase online. The BD bikes are a good value, but I've noticed that some don't have a 56cm to 57cm top tube length that I like. So I'd have to rule them out on that alone. Same goes for the Chinese open mould framesets (Worskwell, Dengfu, Hongfu, etc). If you don't know your frame size well enough, then I'd recommend to go to a LBS with good fitter. Then he/she can help to steer you in the right direction. Its going to be over $100 for a good fitting but would be money well spent. Also most LBS would allow you to put some of that money into a new bike if you purchased from them. Have fun in your quest and test ride the hell out of as many makes and models as you can!
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Old 11-23-16, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ptempel View Post
@nuclear_biker, I wouldn't get stuck on top line components like Di2.
Getting caught up in the minutiae of hobbies is half the fun! After riding lower end mountain bike mech, I really don't think I want to settle for less than Ultegra. I'm not looking to have to upgrade again a few years down the road.

Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
The good thing about BD is you usually get a full group as named, not just the derailleurs and levers.
This pisses me off big time. I hate looking at all the bikes and they have crappy Bontrager cranks on them. I'm sure they are fine but it really fires up my OCD.

So, one other thing I've considered is building up a bike. I put a bunch of the components into a cart at competitive cyclist (just picked a store that had them in stock, maybe you can do better by shopping around) and it came to $1k just for the Di2 setup and transmission etc. I really don't think you can get a frame, fork, and wheelset and still come close to the budget on that BD bike.

So at this point, nobody has really been able to shake my belief in the frame on this bike, esp the frame. So at this point I think I'll spring for it. BD has a 30 day period so worst case I pay the school of hard knock fee to ship it back.
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Old 11-23-16, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by nuclear_biker View Post
Getting caught up in the minutiae of hobbies is half the fun! After riding lower end mountain bike mech, I really don't think I want to settle for less than Ultegra. I'm not looking to have to upgrade again a few years down the road.



This pisses me off big time. I hate looking at all the bikes and they have crappy Bontrager cranks on them. I'm sure they are fine but it really fires up my OCD.

So, one other thing I've considered is building up a bike. I put a bunch of the components into a cart at competitive cyclist (just picked a store that had them in stock, maybe you can do better by shopping around) and it came to $1k just for the Di2 setup and transmission etc. I really don't think you can get a frame, fork, and wheelset and still come close to the budget on that BD bike.

So at this point, nobody has really been able to shake my belief in the frame on this bike, esp the frame. So at this point I think I'll spring for it. BD has a 30 day period so worst case I pay the school of hard knock fee to ship it back.
You will be fine. Yes, building up from parts can be expensive if you aren't interested in used frame, lightly used parts, building your own wheels, spending long weeks searching eBay for deals, etc. The BD carbon is a sweet bike. Just be careful you understand the geometry chart and what size you need. Most BD bikes quote the actual seat tube size not the seat tube size that would result from a horizontal top tube. So the seat tubes will look small at first glance. Just go by top tube. Get that right and you are golden.
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Old 11-23-16, 09:47 PM
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I would have liked to get Ultegra, but the wife shot down my hopes of spending the extra cash required. I'm very happy with 105. It is a big improvement from Tiagra 4600. Giant has good deals on bikes, and they're TCR line has the groupset cranks and brakes.

If you plan to take a BD bike to an LBS remember to factor that into over costs. You could also consider UK online retailers. Wiggle has some nice sales on Edy Merckx bikes, but it seems like they're moving them because sizes are running out. This is a great priced example: wiggle.com | Eddy Merckx Sallanches 64 (Ultegra - 2016) Road Bike | Road Bikes - Race
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Old 12-13-16, 08:58 PM
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So, I got the bike and figured I should follow up. So far I'm very happy with it. I replaced the seat (too narrow) and the bars (too wide) and the stem (too low for my tight hamstrings) but those are mostly fit issues. Got my LBS to do the fit and couldn't be happier in that regard. Bike seems solid, a tiny bit heavy (for CF) but I ended up getting the second largest frame which never helps, and it's plenty light for my use. Hopefully I can post a 1000 mile review next year. Thanks again to everybody here!
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Old 12-13-16, 09:08 PM
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Well cool. Pics?
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Old 12-19-16, 09:29 AM
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nuclear_biker
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Originally Posted by shafter View Post
Well cool. Pics?




First picture shows original bar (I have ordered a new bar but am away for the holidays so I'll install that in January) with new seat and stem. Second picture is original bar and stem. The satellite shifter was added by me.

I will say, CF rides better than I could have imagined. I hear people talk about it but it's just the best. Paint job is really the only 'bad' thing about the bike, and also the tacky logos (especially the La Champion and high modulus carbon on the fork), but really can't complain for the price.
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