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Bike opinions

Old 01-23-19, 01:19 AM
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Bike opinions

Ok. I’m sure this has been answered in some way before. But I was looking at some bikes and would love to hear people’s preference and why.

trek Emonda ALR 5 (aluminum with 105 components)
specialized tarmac sport (FACT 9r Carbon with 105)
Cannondale Synapse (Carbon with 105)
cannonball caad 12 ( aluminum with 105)

id say I’m intermediate rider. 3 times a week about 50 miles. Do a few 75 mile group rides a year. Thanks in advance for all your help.
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Old 01-23-19, 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Skibop08
Ok. I’m sure this has been answered in some way before. But I was looking at some bikes and would love to hear people’s preference and why.

trek Emonda ALR 5 (aluminum with 105 components)
specialized tarmac sport (FACT 9r Carbon with 105)
Cannondale Synapse (Carbon with 105)
cannonball caad 12 ( aluminum with 105)

id say I’m intermediate rider. 3 times a week about 50 miles. Do a few 75 mile group rides a year. Thanks in advance for all your help.
if you already ride a lot and are enjoying cycling I out of personal experience would recommend getting the best carbon frame you can afford in your budget/comfortable spending. Don’t worry about the group set as you can upgrade later. Also in all honesty anything above 105 is just weight savings.
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Old 01-23-19, 01:56 AM
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This is what I wasn’t sure of. Is “lower end carbon” such as the tarmac better than a high end aluminum such as caad
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Old 01-23-19, 02:01 AM
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Not to add to the confusion, but if you're considering two aluminum bikes (Trek Emonda ALR5 and Cannondale CAAD12) you might also consider the Cannondale Synapse Alloy 105. I've been riding an earlier iteration on that bike for ten years and still feel no great need to replace it.

Between the Synapse Carbon 105, the Synapse Alloy 105, and the CAAD12 105, the differences are: The CAAD12 has more aggressive geometry and a stiffer ride. It's not an endurance bike, though I'm sure people regularly do great distances on it. Between the Synapse Carbon and the Synapse Alloy, the Carbon will absorb the road a little better, while the Alloy will be a little stiffer and probably has bosses on the seatstays for a rack. If it doesn't, that's something that has changed over the years from when I got mine. At any rate, the carbon will be a softer ride, the aluminum will be stiffer (but still pretty forgiving compared to a race bike). Geometries are fairly similar. And even the Alloy version still has SAVE micro-vibration absorbing technology and a carbon fork. Neither of those three are bad choices. In fact they're all excellent choices. It just kind of comes down to what you want; an endurance bike with the characteristics of carbon fiber, one with the characteristics of aluminum alloy, or a racer with the characteristics of aluminum alloy.

As for Cannondale vs Trek vs Specialized, look carefully at what components you get, what gearing you get, and most importantly, how each bike feels when you ride it. All of the ones mentioned are "105" components. So that makes the comparison fairly easy if you can just get on each one and ride. I wouldn't get too hung up on the brand. The only reason I have two Cannondales is because I'm familiar enough with their lineup to know what I'm getting. But had I taken the time to familiarize myself with Specialized's lineup or Trek's, then when I was looking for a second bike I would have known which one from those other manufacturers met my needs to the same degree as the Cannondale one I ended up picking up.
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Old 01-23-19, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Skibop08
This is what I wasn’t sure of. Is “lower end carbon” such as the tarmac better than a high end aluminum such as caad
Highly debatable. Depends how 'low end carbon' you go. Truthfully, it will matter very little in performance difference out on the road.

I own carbon and a new 2018 Specialized Allez...but mine is all custom with carbon handlebar, seatpost and with Campy group and wheelset.
It is an outstanding bike with virtually no performance difference between any high end carbon bike I own. It may give up a couple of hundred grams in weight is all. Performance is about the same. I have done high speed runs on all of them.

Here is a review. Btw, I laugh every time I see it. The reviewer has to be 6'6" on a size 56. A foot of seat post...lol:
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Old 01-23-19, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Skibop08
I was looking at some bikes and would love to hear people’s preference and why.
Between the options you listed- whichever bike feels the best to me would be my preference. Fit is most important
After that, it would come down to aesthetics. Which bike do i like the look of more? Pride of ownership and the desire to want to ride on a specific bike can be a powerful motivator or demotivator.

All those bikes are perfectly well made and have perfectly serviceable components.


What I wouldnt base my decision on is which bike shop I like the most. Any shop will service any brand so If your favorite shop doesnt sell the bike that fits you the best, just buy the bike and have it serviced at your favorite shop while still buying whatever else from there.
For what its worth, I wouldnt get the Trek or Specialized because I am not inspired by either of those brands. At all. They are the Ford and Chevy of bikes and the tech that has been introduced by those and Giant over the last handful of years is all just...meh. Its all to find ways to make an inherently uncomfortable frame less uncomfortable while being able to sell based on 'advancements'. I would rather just get a frame that is comfortable to begin with, but that would mean something that isnt absurdly stiff.


Good luck and have fun with the process!
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Old 01-23-19, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Skibop08
Ok. I’m sure this has been answered in some way before. But I was looking at some bikes and would love to hear people’s preference and why.

trek Emonda ALR 5 (aluminum with 105 components)
specialized tarmac sport (FACT 9r Carbon with 105)
Cannondale Synapse (Carbon with 105)
cannonball caad 12 ( aluminum with 105)

id say I’m intermediate rider. 3 times a week about 50 miles. Do a few 75 mile group rides a year. Thanks in advance for all your help.
buy a recumbent and start really enjoying ur rides....
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Old 01-23-19, 04:55 PM
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I owned and would recommend a Specialized Allez. Good alrounder, although I really tried to get used to STI shifters, could not, so I decided to sell it.

Every bike you are looking at is a major 'brand', which carries an approximate 25% price premium over a similarly equipped lesser-known brand. Somebody has to support their massive advertising budgets, and the care and feeding of World Tour level teams. Which would be you.

And when you go in that next group ride, you'll have the comfort of having a dozen other riders on the same bike brand as you. Or you should consider lesser known value brands such as KHS, Fuji, Opus, Garneau, etc.

If you are considering racing or stepping up to fast group rides, do not consider discs or fat-tire (>25mm) bikes. Too much of a performance handicap. At least that's the way it is on my groups rides; the disc-equipped bikes predictably get shelled off of the back within 30 miles or so.
Good luck!
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Old 01-23-19, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Skibop08
This is what I wasn’t sure of. Is “lower end carbon” such as the tarmac better than a high end aluminum such as caad
This is a great question, not one I really know if there is good answer to to be honest. Lots of people regard the Cannondale CAAD as one of the best mid-range bikes out there. It is an extremely well-designed, well-built and refined bike. Definitely as good as some low-end carbon bikes, if not better.

Originally Posted by daoswald
Not to add to the confusion, but if you're considering two aluminum bikes (Trek Emonda ALR5 and Cannondale CAAD12) you might also consider the Cannondale Synapse Alloy 105. I've been riding an earlier iteration on that bike for ten years and still feel no great need to replace it.

Between the Synapse Carbon 105, the Synapse Alloy 105, and the CAAD12 105, the differences are: The CAAD12 has more aggressive geometry and a stiffer ride. It's not an endurance bike, though I'm sure people regularly do great distances on it. Between the Synapse Carbon and the Synapse Alloy, the Carbon will absorb the road a little better, while the Alloy will be a little stiffer and probably has bosses on the seatstays for a rack. If it doesn't, that's something that has changed over the years from when I got mine. At any rate, the carbon will be a softer ride, the aluminum will be stiffer (but still pretty forgiving compared to a race bike). Geometries are fairly similar. And even the Alloy version still has SAVE micro-vibration absorbing technology and a carbon fork. Neither of those three are bad choices. In fact they're all excellent choices. It just kind of comes down to what you want; an endurance bike with the characteristics of carbon fiber, one with the characteristics of aluminum alloy, or a racer with the characteristics of aluminum alloy.

As for Cannondale vs Trek vs Specialized, look carefully at what components you get, what gearing you get, and most importantly, how each bike feels when you ride it. All of the ones mentioned are "105" components. So that makes the comparison fairly easy if you can just get on each one and ride. I wouldn't get too hung up on the brand. The only reason I have two Cannondales is because I'm familiar enough with their lineup to know what I'm getting. But had I taken the time to familiarize myself with Specialized's lineup or Trek's, then when I was looking for a second bike I would have known which one from those other manufacturers met my needs to the same degree as the Cannondale one I ended up picking up.
This guy did a good job of explaining! Listen to his advice. I'd say to sum up: a bike is more than just the frame material. The geometry matters a lot. You might enjoy a certain aluminum bike more than a certain carbon bike, because the geometry fits you / your riding style better. You might enjoy the Carbon Synapse more than the Alloy CAAD, not because of the material, but because of the geometry is more relaxed/ endurance.

All things being equal in terms of geometry (like on the Synapse), I would personally go for the carbon version if you can afford it. I think most people would consider that the "better" bike, aka lighter and a bit more comfortable. If you don't really care about weight, and just want a good entry level road bike, you can save yourself some money and go with the alloy. Both would be great bikes.
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Old 01-24-19, 01:19 AM
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This is all great info that is much appreciated. Keep it coming. And if anyone has any other suggestions on bikes not listed I am all ears. Looking to spend under 2k
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Old 01-24-19, 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer
I owned and would recommend a Specialized Allez. Good alrounder, although I really tried to get used to STI shifters, could not, so I decided to sell it.

Every bike you are looking at is a major 'brand', which carries an approximate 25% price premium over a similarly equipped lesser-known brand. Somebody has to support their massive advertising budgets, and the care and feeding of World Tour level teams. Which would be you.

And when you go in that next group ride, you'll have the comfort of having a dozen other riders on the same bike brand as you. Or you should consider lesser known value brands such as KHS, Fuji, Opus, Garneau, etc.

If you are considering racing or stepping up to fast group rides, do not consider discs or fat-tire (>25mm) bikes. Too much of a performance handicap. At least that's the way it is on my groups rides; the disc-equipped bikes predictably get shelled off of the back within 30 miles or so.
Good luck!

A lot of the research I read said the allez had a really aggressive geometry. Is this true?
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Old 01-24-19, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Skibop08
A lot of the research I read said the allez had a really aggressive geometry. Is this true?
Which Allez? The Allez Sprint has a slightly steeper seat tube angle and the headtube is shorter (increasing the reach and reducing the stack), so it's designed for a more forward/aggressive/whatever position. I wouldn't call the regular non-sprint Allez very aggressive, though.

Of course, how aggressive a bike ends up depends substantially on how you actually fit and ride it.
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Old 01-24-19, 02:28 AM
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I would take a look at the second hand markets. You’d be surprised at the deals on bikes that are pretty recent and priced 1/2 of retail
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Old 01-24-19, 02:35 AM
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I had the Allez Comp, so not aggressive. The bar was set up 1" lower than the saddle, which is the highest relative bar position I have on any of my bikes.
I once rode a bike in which the bar was actually higher than the saddle; scary unstable handling, particularly at warp speeds.Anyway, the Allez Comp was about the best overall Alu bike I've ridden. Mind you, I have multiple road bikes in each of steel, alu, titanium and carbon, and I cannot tell the difference between them. They sound different, and the steel bikes are definitely heavier than carbon, but in the end, ride quality is all about tires, saddle and bars. In insignificant amount of vertical compliance in a frame is dwarfed by tire deflection. By orders of magnitude.
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Old 01-24-19, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer
I had the Allez Comp, so not aggressive. The bar was set up 1" lower than the saddle, which is the highest relative bar position I have on any of my bikes.
I once rode a bike in which the bar was actually higher than the saddle; scary unstable handling, particularly at warp speeds.Anyway, the Allez Comp was about the best overall Alu bike I've ridden. Mind you, I have multiple road bikes in each of steel, alu, titanium and carbon, and I cannot tell the difference between them. They sound different, and the steel bikes are definitely heavier than carbon, but in the end, ride quality is all about tires, saddle and bars. In insignificant amount of vertical compliance in a frame is dwarfed by tire deflection. By orders of magnitude.
Really an insightful post. Biggest difference between a good quality Al bike and carbon bike is the 'sound'. Of course both Al and carbon bikes can be throughout the spectrum of softer to stiffer.
My new Allez Elite which again I have heavily modded...pretty much just the frame is used...rides pretty close to my 2012 Roubaix. My new Cervelo is stiffer. Stiffness has its place but it also has a cost. Some days I want to drive the Porsche and other days I want to be on the BMW is the best way to put it.

Lets compare two Al bikes because the question was asked...is the Allez aggressive. HT responded, depends which Allez. Btw, I enjoy HT's posts because he is a very smart bike guy. He is right. The Allez Sprint is a pure crit bike. Upright seatpost, short wheelbase, upright and short headtube. More aggressive than a Tarmac and even raced in the pro ranks....Al ain't holding it back. The new Elite redesigned for 2018 is a completely different bike. It really is very close to Roubaix geometry which btw, I love for this old racer's body. But the redesign is so much more. They got the compliance and stiffness right. It doesn't rattle your teeth but it is about as fast as any other bike I own. It handles a bit quicker than a Roubaix. They dropped the seat stays to be more aero and give more compliance due to a longer effective seatpost. The internal cable routing is pure genius...best I have seen in the industry. It has rack and fender eyelets. Cherry on top? English threaded BB. BSA baby FTW. To me and why I own it for light touring duty but it doesn't hold me back for keeping up with average roadies...its the best Al bike on the market period by virtue of its design.

Truthfully, the relatively inexpensive new Allez...if you are a racer get the Sprint, if a good recreational rider, get the Elite, it is 'all' the bike you need with the groupset and components of your choosing. Sure you can put an expensive aero wheelset on it too because you save so much money on the bike. The frame doesn't weigh that much over 1000g which is pretty much the gold standard for carbon frames and the fork of the Allez is light and all carbon. Brilliant Specialized. Well done.
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Old 01-24-19, 07:46 AM
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At less than 2k you can either get a low quality carbon frame or a high quality alloy frame. I've ridden both, I don't find much difference, and many of the fastest guys in my area (cat 1 racers) are happy with Allez Sprints (alloy). Realistically, with your budget, and you're wanting to buy new, I'd probably go with the Émonda ALR 5 Disc.

If I was really feeling carbon and generally wasn't against spending slightly more I'd probably go with Canyon's Endurance CF SL Disc 7.0.

IMO, I wouldn't worry to much about the frame material at that price point, I'd prioritize Disc brakes and at least a 105 groupset. After these, the wheels are going to make a huge difference, you could always consider working with your local bike store, getting the frame you want (after testing a few different types of bikes) and having them build up the right components and best wheelset for the price. Custom building usually comes in around $200 and you'd really be able to get something unique.
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Old 01-24-19, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Skibop08
This is what I wasn’t sure of. Is “lower end carbon” such as the tarmac better than a high end aluminum such as caad
That is a value judgement to a large degree. I had a Trek 1500 aluminum bike. I upgraded to a Tarmac CF bike and was slower on the Tarmac.
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Old 01-24-19, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard
That is a value judgement to a large degree. I had a Trek 1500 aluminum bike. I upgraded to a Tarmac CF bike and was slower on the Tarmac.
Any idea why you were slower on the Tarmac?...one of the most famous race bikes on the planet? I presume your fit is different is the only reason. Thoughts?
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Old 01-24-19, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard
That is a value judgement to a large degree. I had a Trek 1500 aluminum bike. I upgraded to a Tarmac CF bike and was slower on the Tarmac.
Hey, you are faster downhill with a heavier Al bike O.o
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Old 01-24-19, 12:11 PM
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Only the Trek line of bikes is represented here.. one of the staff has a Domane, in the aluminum frame model..

the decoupling elastomer at the junction of seat tube top tube and seat stays is a light saddle suspension

Not offered on the Emonda or Madone see Trek



LBS sells more MTB, bring surrounded by Woods.





...
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Old 01-24-19, 01:11 PM
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I have an ALR5 and like it. Also room for a 30mm tyre which I have on it as I use it on a bit of gravel.
The stock wheels are heavy bit that is to be expected at that price point.
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Old 01-24-19, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life
Any idea why you were slower on the Tarmac?...one of the most famous race bikes on the planet? I presume your fit is different is the only reason. Thoughts?
Here's the way it went down, and I suppose there is something I overlooked in making the comparison as objective as possible. I am a recreational/sport rider, not a racer. When I first got the Tarmac, I kept the Trek. I went on a 15 or so mile ride on the Tarmac, and I felt a little slower. Looking at my speedo, I was about a MPH slower than I was accustomed to going. This was on a route that I rode very regularly and I knew what my comfort zone, no wind speed was. I figured I just needed to get cozy with the new bike. I stayed slower though. On a calm day I got back on the Trek and did about a one mile loop with no stops through the neighborhood. A few times over the course of the loop I looked at my speedo and noted my speed. At the end of the loop I noted my lap time. I got back on the Tarmac and did the same thing. I was about 1 MPH slower. I did it several times back to back that day and then again on a few more occasions. Each time I was about an MPH slower on the Tarmac. The total distance was consistent from bike to bike. I checked the distance against another bike and motorcycle trip odometer. They were all the same.

I have no idea why I was slower on the Tarmac, but I was.
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Old 01-24-19, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard
Here's the way it went down, and I suppose there is something I overlooked in making the comparison as objective as possible. I am a recreational/sport rider, not a racer. When I first got the Tarmac, I kept the Trek. I went on a 15 or so mile ride on the Tarmac, and I felt a little slower. Looking at my speedo, I was about a MPH slower than I was accustomed to going. This was on a route that I rode very regularly and I knew what my comfort zone, no wind speed was. I figured I just needed to get cozy with the new bike. I stayed slower though. On a calm day I got back on the Trek and did about a one mile loop with no stops through the neighborhood. A few times over the course of the loop I looked at my speedo and noted my speed. At the end of the loop I noted my lap time. I got back on the Tarmac and did the same thing. I was about 1 MPH slower. I did it several times back to back that day and then again on a few more occasions. Each time I was about an MPH slower on the Tarmac. The total distance was consistent from bike to bike. I checked the distance against another bike and motorcycle trip odometer. They were all the same.

I have no idea why I was slower on the Tarmac, but I was.
I get the feeling it may be a worse fit on the Tarmac, fit and comfort absolutly contribute to speed.
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Old 01-24-19, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by firebird854
I get the feeling it may be a worse fit on the Tarmac, fit and comfort absolutly contribute to speed.
I have a hunch that's what it was. I did have the bike fitted for me when I bought it.
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