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Road Cycling ďIt 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.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 11-24-17, 02:10 PM
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New to Road Bikes

Hi guys. I am new to Road Bikes. A few years ago I had a Cannondale trail SL 29er mountain bike but now am in a more rural area and have sold the mountain bike and want to get a road bike. I am not looking for anything racey in geometry. I have a few bike shops in my area and the one carries Trek and Salsa the other carries Giant and Specialized. I got my Cannondale from the trek dealer they just decided to not carry Cannondale anymore. So that being said I do like them as a shop.

However the Giant Contend 3 fits my budget and looks like a nice bike. I am going to go look at it this week. I am also looking at the Trek Domane AL 2 as well but it is a little bit more expensive. I was just curious out of those two bikes which do you think would be the better entry level road bike?

I did do a search and didn't seem to find much about these two in terms of comparison so sorry if I missed it and this is a duplicate thread. Also thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 11-24-17, 02:24 PM
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Also to add to it most riding would be on paved roads and trails but there may be the occasional hardpack trail here and there.
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Old 11-24-17, 04:51 PM
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I am a Defy/Contend fan ... for no good reason.

I checked them out when shopping for an endurance-geo bike. Good value, IMO.
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Old 01-01-18, 09:05 PM
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So I still haven't decided which way I am going to go. But I did notice the Giant Contend 3 had an alloy fork compared to the Domane having carbon blades with an alloy steerer. I have also noticed the new specialized Allez which is said to have a more relaxed geometry. The plus side to that bike is it is a full carbon fork. So now I guess I'm more confused. I would love to step up to the next level in the product lines but I just don't think it's going to be in the budget. Is there a huge difference between the new claris 2000 and the sora 3000?
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Old 01-01-18, 10:09 PM
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Giant represents great value for the money. They have well designed bikes that do what they are intended to do and do it well. That being said, nothing wrong with the Contend 3 but i would opt for the Contend 2. The quality of the Sora stuff will be a bit nicer and it has a much better crankset. You also get the carbon fork which is a nice upgrade.

I work at a Giant dealership, if you are local I'd encourage you to come by. Might be able to work a deal as a Bike Forums member .
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Old 01-01-18, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by lsberrios1
Giant represents great value for the money. They have well designed bikes that do what they are intended to do and do it well. That being said, nothing wrong with the Contend 3 but i would opt for the Contend 2. The quality of the Sora stuff will be a bit nicer and it has a much better crankset. You also get the carbon fork which is a nice upgrade.

I work at a Giant dealership, if you are local I'd encourage you to come by. Might be able to work a deal as a Bike Forums member .
Hmm I live in north eastern PA not sure where you are located? If local I would come by to check them out. I would love to go for the Contend 1 for the sora and carbon fork if I go Giant but idk if it will be in the budget. That's why I'm also looking into the Trek and Specialized.
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Old 01-01-18, 11:22 PM
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Cliff Notes version at the end.

Thoughts: Claris will work but as far as I have heard Sora (which is based on the old Tiagra) is a big step up. You won't be kept from riding because Claris isn't good enough (except it might slip out of adjustment more often) but you will definitely appreciate the better system.

Also, the CF fork blades will add just that little extra comfort and compliance .... a few percentage points, but worth paying for.

I look at a bike as an investment and amortize the costs. If I have to wait another couple weeks (or months) to get the bike and cut back expenses for a couple weeks, i can do that.

If I pay $300 more for a bike, it's a dollar a day for a year. if I ride that bike for five years (after which time you will probably upgrade and keep this one as a spare) then you are talking about about 15 cents per day--or if you ride three times a week, fifty cents per week. (All figures approximate---sorry, I was educated in America.)

Figure where you can save $2 per month, or what you would pay $2 per month for .... two cans of Coke, a piece of pizza? Now consider spending four hours on a Saturday rolling down the roadway on a smooth, silent bicycle, which changes gears flawlessly even under load when you suddenly realize you didn't downshift enough for that climb. Think about getting off the bike and feeling fatigued, but not sore.

And there is no reason you couldn't ride the same bike for a decade or more. My Raleigh was five years old when I bought it at a yard sale 30 years ago, and I still ride it and like it. The cost per mile there is so small I'd need a microscope to see it.

I have to be honest, some of the money people spend on exotic stuff is either only worthwhile for an eighth of a percent of the riding population, or only worthwhile for the joy of owning a specific brand.

But some stuff really is worthwhile. I'd say CF fork blades are worth the cost. I'd say Sora over Claris also. I'd say, try some saddles if the stock one isn't perfect. Play with your riding position. Get shoes that really fit if you go clipless, or are really stiff if you don't.

You don't need to pay big bucks for name-brand stuff to get quality---I have an $11 Vader saddle which is as good as anything I have ever owned. I have a few $15 stems because I have tried different lengths and angles on different bikes. I have a few CF and aluminum spacers that I have collected or purchased---really cheap on EBay---so I can raise or lower my stem and bars easily without having to cut my steerer.

A well-fitting pair of shorts or bibs goes on this list----I don't own much name-brand stuff and what i do have was all bought as returned merchandise off Nashbar--but $25 or $35 for a $70 Pearl Izumi or some similar bib is well worth it when you plan to be sitting on a bike saddle for a while. I have some good Nashbar-brand stuff too .... but if whatever I buy isn't snug but not tight, if the chamois bunches up ... if my unique body and that particular garment don't work well together---I send it right back. After a couple hours in the saddle, the right gear makes a difference.

Cliff Notes: Be sure not to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Sometimes spending just a little more can make a big difference. Don't look at the purchase price, think about how much fun you are buying for how many years. A bike is an investment.
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Old 01-02-18, 11:03 AM
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Although Iím one of those that likes and spends for exotics, I couldnít agree with the above post more. Maelochs really hit the nail on the head (as he/she regularly does).

When I was constantly on a budget but wanted to be comfortable I followed the exact advice given. For me though shifting and contact points were my primary focus along with a good bike fit. So comfortable bibs, gloves, saddle, bar tape. Certainly didnít have to be name brand or expensive and the joy is that there is literally so much out there that deals are abundant albeit it takes time to sort through the quagmire.

Good luck and enjoy. FWIW, my Trek Domane was probably the most comfortable frame Iíve ever had and until moving to CA I lived in rural VA not far from you. The bike was awesome on both paved and hardback dirt/gravel roads.
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Old 01-02-18, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by robbyville
Although Iím one of those that likes and spends for exotics, I couldnít agree with the above post more. Maelochs really hit the nail on the head (as he/she regularly does).

When I was constantly on a budget but wanted to be comfortable I followed the exact advice given. For me though shifting and contact points were my primary focus along with a good bike fit. So comfortable bibs, gloves, saddle, bar tape. Certainly didnít have to be name brand or expensive and the joy is that there is literally so much out there that deals are abundant albeit it takes time to sort through the quagmire.

Good luck and enjoy. FWIW, my Trek Domane was probably the most comfortable frame Iíve ever had and until moving to CA I lived in rural VA not far from you. The bike was awesome on both paved and hardback dirt/gravel roads.
Which Domane did you have? The ones I am looking at don't have the ISO speed decoupler in the rear so it's a more entry level frame. I really like the Trek dealer in my area and the Domane AL3 seems to be a nice bike but not sure if it is better than the Giant Contend 1 at the same price or if the Specialized Allez Sport is even nicer for $100 more having a full carbon fork. I think I'm going to stretch the budget to the $850 mark as I got $550 over the holidays towards a bike and I don't want to spend a ridiculous amount as I want to make sure I am going to truly enjoy cycling and stick with it.
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Old 01-02-18, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by alarsen77
Which Domane did you have? The ones I am looking at don't have the ISO speed decoupler in the rear so it's a more entry level frame. I really like the Trek dealer in my area and the Domane AL3 seems to be a nice bike but not sure if it is better than the Giant Contend 1 at the same price or if the Specialized Allez Sport is even nicer for $100 more having a full carbon fork. I think I'm going to stretch the budget to the $850 mark as I got $550 over the holidays towards a bike and I don't want to spend a ridiculous amount as I want to make sure I am going to truly enjoy cycling and stick with it.
Well to be fair, mine is a 5 series full carbon with decoupler from 2013. But truly itís been the geometry and fit that has suited me so well. It really got me back into cycling and exploring rural roads. Iím sure that all the big manufacturers stand by their products but Trek has really been exceptional when I had a bottom bracket challenge (3 years after purchase) and they rushed it back to the factory to re-face the shell and turned it around in less than 2 weeks.

I believe that a good fit is paramount, are you able to demo ride at your lbs?
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Old 01-02-18, 11:31 AM
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Here's what I'm seeing from the websites:

$635-Contend with Claris and AL. Fork.

$750-Allez or Domane with Claris and Carbon fork.

$880-Contend with Sora and carbon fork.

$950ish-Allez or Domane with Sora and carbon fork.


Given the above, I would get the contend 1. SORA and carbon fork make it the best value IMO...UNLESS you ride all 3 and one of the other bikes just rides all better.

I got a Sora level bike with a Carbon fork 2 yrs ago for $830, and even though it wa the older version of Sora, I think I made the right decision to spend $200 extra and get the carbon fork and slightly better components all around.
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Old 01-02-18, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by 12strings
Here's what I'm seeing from the websites:

$635-Contend with Claris and AL. Fork.

$750-Allez or Domane with Claris and Carbon fork.

$880-Contend with Sora and carbon fork.

$950ish-Allez or Domane with Sora and carbon fork.


Given the above, I would get the contend 1. SORA and carbon fork make it the best value IMO...UNLESS you ride all 3 and one of the other bikes just rides all better.

I got a Sora level bike with a Carbon fork 2 yrs ago for $830, and even though it wa the older version of Sora, I think I made the right decision to spend $200 extra and get the carbon fork and slightly better components all around.
Now the other thing about the Domane at this price level is the head tube isn't tapered like the rest of them. I also believe the Allez is the only one with a full carbon fork as the others have carbon blades and an alloy steerer. I have to go check out the Giant shop in my area. I really like the Trek dealer in my area and they are super close. But I have to go give the Giant dealer a try and they carry Specialized too I believe.
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Old 01-02-18, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by alarsen77
Now the other thing about the Domane at this price level is the head tube isn't tapered like the rest of them. I also believe the Allez is the only one with a full carbon fork as the others have carbon blades and an alloy steerer. I have to go check out the Giant shop in my area. I really like the Trek dealer in my area and they are super close. But I have to go give the Giant dealer a try and they carry Specialized too I believe.
I also see the Giant comes with factory Tubeless tires not sure if that is a good or bad thing?
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Old 01-02-18, 01:55 PM
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Are they actually tubeless or are they tubeless ready wheels (TLR) that come stock with regular tires and tubes? I've seen plenty of TLR ready wheels on stock bikes but never any that had tubeless tires factory installed?

Either way, I'm a huge TL fan, especially on rural roads. I started with a set that I bought for the Alpine Loop Fondo out of Harrisonburg VA, claim to fame being over 12,000 feet of climbing and over 10 miles of dirt roads with switchbacks. Proper graveyard of tubes on that ride. I never flatted and love the comfort of the tubeless since you can run them at much lower pressures. I'd say I ride my tubeless wheels about 75% of the time vs. my other wheels.

If you get a bike with TLR wheels, in my mind it's a bonus, especially at that price point. Once you wear out the first set of tires you can choose to set them up tubeless or simply continue with regular tires. Tubeless naysayers will push how much harder the tires are to get on the rim, etc. but it's really not much of a problem (other than one set I just put on). Plus if you do flat you can simply put a tube in for roadside repair.
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Old 01-02-18, 02:21 PM
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Have you considered ebay?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2017-BMC-Gr...wAAOSwYlRZJIqH

$899 for a as good as new $2,000 bike. 11spd Tiagra , light carbon frame & carbon fork.
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Old 01-03-18, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by robbyville
Are they actually tubeless or are they tubeless ready wheels (TLR) that come stock with regular tires and tubes? I've seen plenty of TLR ready wheels on stock bikes but never any that had tubeless tires factory installed?

Either way, I'm a huge TL fan, especially on rural roads. I started with a set that I bought for the Alpine Loop Fondo out of Harrisonburg VA, claim to fame being over 12,000 feet of climbing and over 10 miles of dirt roads with switchbacks. Proper graveyard of tubes on that ride. I never flatted and love the comfort of the tubeless since you can run them at much lower pressures. I'd say I ride my tubeless wheels about 75% of the time vs. my other wheels.

If you get a bike with TLR wheels, in my mind it's a bonus, especially at that price point. Once you wear out the first set of tires you can choose to set them up tubeless or simply continue with regular tires. Tubeless naysayers will push how much harder the tires are to get on the rim, etc. but it's really not much of a problem (other than one set I just put on). Plus if you do flat you can simply put a tube in for roadside repair.
Yes they are definitely Tubless it lists them that way on Giants website.
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Old 01-03-18, 11:23 AM
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So I am going to decide between the Giant Contend 1 and the Specialized Allez Sport. I know the Giant has tubeless tires and a full sora groupset including the sora crankset. I see the Specialized brags that it's fork is a full monocoque carbon fork very much like it's s works forks so not sure if that is really any better and it also has a praxis Alba 2d crankset. Again not sure if that is any better than the sora crankset and then I really can't tell which bike has the better wheelset. I know I have to go try them out which I am going to do but just trying to figure out if these few differences are worth extra from Specialized or just stay with Giant?

I also noticed the Giant has the cabling running externally along the frame where as the Specialized is internally ran is that a big deal?

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Old 01-03-18, 12:50 PM
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I wouldn't get too hung up on the material of the steerer tube on the forks personally, same for internal cabling. Looked at both bikes on the website and have to say that the Giant really is some nice value for the dollar. I would have personally gone with the Specialized if they used better brakes (both seem to use the Tektro), plus I do like the Specialized aluminum frames and saddles, but the Giant has me due to having the tubeless wheels from the outset

Hopefully you can demo both and see which fits you better and feels more comfortable. There's only so much you can consider based on specs alone.

Make sure you update after test rides!
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Old 01-03-18, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by robbyville
I wouldn't get too hung up on the material of the steerer tube on the forks personally, same for internal cabling. Looked at both bikes on the website and have to say that the Giant really is some nice value for the dollar. I would have personally gone with the Specialized if they used better brakes (both seem to use the Tektro), plus I do like the Specialized aluminum frames and saddles, but the Giant has me due to having the tubeless wheels from the outset

Hopefully you can demo both and see which fits you better and feels more comfortable. There's only so much you can consider based on specs alone.

Make sure you update after test rides!
I will update after test rides. It will be tough to so right now as in the Northeast a lot of bike shops are low on road bike inventory so not sure when I will get to test both out.
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Old 01-03-18, 01:32 PM
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When I was shopping for a bike in that class the Defy (now the Contend) struck me as the best-looking and the most bang for the buck. And an Al steerer is not a bad thing on a comfortable bike---I don't have to worry about having too many spacers, whereas on an all-CF fork I get nervous if the steerer is too long.

The difference in weight is marginal, IMO, and the real flex absorption comes from the blades anyway.

Pretty much, at this point we all know you are going to get a good bike ... basically it is just paint scheme and decals, now.

The anticipation is killing us.
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Old 01-03-18, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
When I was shopping for a bike in that class the Defy (now the Contend) struck me as the best-looking and the most bang for the buck. And an Al steerer is not a bad thing on a comfortable bike---I don't have to worry about having too many spacers, whereas on an all-CF fork I get nervous if the steerer is too long.

The difference in weight is marginal, IMO, and the real flex absorption comes from the blades anyway.

Pretty much, at this point we all know you are going to get a good bike ... basically it is just paint scheme and decals, now.

The anticipation is killing us.
Yeah I know I will end up with a good bike. Honestly I actually like the color schemes on the Specialized more with the Giant it would be the black and orange but the Specialized I like both of the Allez Sport color schemes buy am leaning towards the dark blue and red if I go that route. I just don't know if it's worth almost $100 more?

The anticipation is killing me too haha.
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Old 01-03-18, 07:23 PM
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Hey alarsen77,
Have you spoken to a dealer for Specialized? Did they say how soon they could get a Allez because of the recall on them? I too am looking at a Domane AL2 or 3 from Trek.
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Old 01-03-18, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by voyager1
Hey alarsen77,
Have you spoken to a dealer for Specialized? Did they say how soon they could get a Allez because of the recall on them? I too am looking at a Domane AL2 or 3 from Trek.
I spoke to one the other day and they said they should be getting more stock around March. I also spoke to another today that had one in stock and they said they should have the replacement forks for them hopefully in the next month.
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Old 01-04-18, 04:26 PM
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My advice to new riders is always the same:
1. If you're uncertain if you like cycling, buy an inexpensive bike or rent a nice bike for a few days and give it a try.
2. If you're certain you like cycling and are certain you'll use the bike, stretch your budget and buy the best bike you can possibly afford. If you go cheap, you're just going to want to upgrade quickly. This gets expensive.
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Old 01-04-18, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11
My advice to new riders is always the same:
1. If you're uncertain if you like cycling, buy an inexpensive bike or rent a nice bike for a few days and give it a try.
2. If you're certain you like cycling and are certain you'll use the bike, stretch your budget and buy the best bike you can possibly afford. If you go cheap, you're just going to want to upgrade quickly. This gets expensive.
I am stretching my budget to the $800ish range to get into a Sora groupset. Unfortunately I will not be able to stretch much more than that before this riding season.
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