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Newbie, bike recommendation needed?

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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

Newbie, bike recommendation needed?

Old 10-12-19, 09:59 AM
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dc2042
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Newbie, bike recommendation needed?

I am new to road cycling but I do feel I will progress quickly. I am an avid hiker/backpacker of 500+ miles yearly, so my endurance level and ability to climb will adapt quickly I think. I would be open to spending 1k-2k, don't want to go overboard, but want something that is reasonably high performance that can grow with me, but again I am a beginner. I look forward to any recommendations from experts.
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Old 10-13-19, 04:50 AM
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Do you have preference for either steel, aluminum or carbon fiber for your frame? They all sort of have different strengths. Will you be doing longer rides mostly, eg 100 miles, or is this more for distances less than 40-50 miles?
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Old 10-13-19, 06:33 AM
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1. Welcome!
2. What kind of distances are you looking at riding? 20 miles at a time? 50? 100mi (centuries)? Longer rides = higher need for a comfortable frame and geometry.
3. Do you know how much elevation the routes you plan on riding have? This determines if light weight is more important or aero.
4. Do you ever plan on racing? Conversely, would you more likely consider touring - putting racks on the bike and going out for long distances over multiple days? Splits out the broadest categories of "road bikes" into different segments
5. Do you plan on sticking strictly to pavement, or would hardpack dirt, gravel, or light singletrack be up your alley with this bike? Same as above
6. How much inclement weather riding do you plan on? Could determine if disc brakes and fenders are desirable or not.

Someone who wants a snappy race bike and never plans on riding more than 30-50 mi at a time could be well matched with a stiff aluminium frame and low race geometry, others might be better suited with more upright and compliant carbon bike. At the other end of the spectrum, there are bikes that are built tougher, with multiple rack mounts that are designed to go cross country.
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Old 10-13-19, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
Do you have preference for either steel, aluminum or carbon fiber for your frame? They all sort of have different strengths. Will you be doing longer rides mostly, eg 100 miles, or is this more for distances less than 40-50 miles?
I am looking for comfort as much as possible and I've learned that I may want to avoid aluminum. I will be starting off with 20 mile rides roughly, but definitely working my way of to 40-50, and 100 for sure.
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Old 10-13-19, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by aliasfox View Post
1. Welcome!
2. What kind of distances are you looking at riding? 20 miles at a time? 50? 100mi (centuries)? Longer rides = higher need for a comfortable frame and geometry.
3. Do you know how much elevation the routes you plan on riding have? This determines if light weight is more important or aero.
4. Do you ever plan on racing? Conversely, would you more likely consider touring - putting racks on the bike and going out for long distances over multiple days? Splits out the broadest categories of "road bikes" into different segments
5. Do you plan on sticking strictly to pavement, or would hardpack dirt, gravel, or light singletrack be up your alley with this bike? Same as above
6. How much inclement weather riding do you plan on? Could determine if disc brakes and fenders are desirable or not.

Someone who wants a snappy race bike and never plans on riding more than 30-50 mi at a time could be well matched with a stiff aluminium frame and low race geometry, others might be better suited with more upright and compliant carbon bike. At the other end of the spectrum, there are bikes that are built tougher, with multiple rack mounts that are designed to go cross country.
Great questions, thank you. Here are the answers...

1. you are exactly correct, starting off with 20-miles, then working my way up to centuries.
2. I live in South Orange County, CA, and it is quite "hilly" so I will be experiencing good EG (elevation gain). I could easily experience 1000-2000 EG over 30-40 miles.
3. Racing is unlikely at this point, touring is definitely likely given I like backpacking and have a lot of lightweight gear .
4. I'd prefer to stick to pavement mostly, and would like a bike made for that. When selecting a bike that can handle hard-packed dirt, does this typically add weight? That is a concern
5. In So Cal, we rarely get rain any more, so inclement weather not an issue.

Thanks again, I do appreciate your responses and help!
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Old 10-13-19, 07:47 AM
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Do a little research and make a list of things that are important to you.

1. As mentioned above, decide what type of riding you will do. Fast, racing, long distance, flat, hills, touring, (bike packing?) Find a style of bike that fits your riding style.

As an example looking at just one manufacturer, let's say Specialized, and only road bikes, you have- Venge (Aero disc brake for going fast on flatter terrain)
Tarmac (lighter designed with geometry for climbing, typically rim brake but not always)
Roubaix (Designed for a slightly more relaxed fit over bumpier terrain, often disc brake so it can fit a wider tire, all day rider)

This is just road bikes and each of the larger manufacturers will follow a similar lineup of bikes.

You could also look at gravel bikes for a wider selection of road choices in your rides. (Think backwoods fire roads, gravel..etc) They can come close to a road bike but you will lose the very high end of performance for flexibility. It tends to be a slightly different geometry as well to better handle the bike in off road conditions.

2. Most Important - Once you decide on a style of bike, figure out what frame size you need. It is so important to make sure you have a bike that properly fits you. Dont be tempted into a slightly larger frame because the bike was 1/2 off the price. Competitive Cyclist has a decent bike fit calculator to get you started - Bike Fit Calculator

3. Components - Disc or Rim Brake is a big one, is either important to you? You may be able to get a little more bike going with rim brake these days.

Shimano or Campagnolo or SRAM or a mix of all 3 and more. You will often see a mix of components on a lower end bike so they can sell them for less.

A perfect example is you will almost always see a lower end cogset on a bike. (a 105 cogset on an ultegra bike) Wheels on a new bike are almost always low end for the pricing category that bike falls into.

What's important here in components is that almost everything is upgradeable. (Exception is that Disc and Rim brakes/wheels are not swappable. They are frame dependent. One you pick a braking system you are stuck with that for that frame)

You'll get a better better price on a good frame with low end components. Often times the only difference in the frames between the prices ranges in a manufacturer is just the paint on the frame. If you are mechanically inclined this could be the way to go as you can swap out parts as you go along. If you are not mechanically inclined its trips to the Local Bike Shop to get the upgrades done and in that case it's often better to spend the money up front.

Make a list and find a bike that checks all the boxes. Shopping for a bike can be almost as fun as riding it. Take trips to different bike shops and try them all out. You never know where you might end up. So many stories of people having their mind set on a bike and when they go test it, they decide on something else after trying a few out.
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Old 10-13-19, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by dc2042 View Post
I am new to road cycling but I do feel I will progress quickly. I am an avid hiker/backpacker of 500+ miles yearly, so my endurance level and ability to climb will adapt quickly I think. I would be open to spending 1k-2k, don't want to go overboard, but want something that is reasonably high performance that can grow with me, but again I am a beginner. I look forward to any recommendations from experts.
Here is a Scott bike I am settling on thus far...
SCOTT ADDICT 10
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Old 10-13-19, 02:39 PM
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Really, anything from any of the major manufacturers in that price range will be fine. Just make sure it fits, and you're comfortable on it.

Carbon will cost more than aluminum, and the ride of carbon may be a bit better, but with wider tires and lower air pressure, the advantage of carbon is lessened.

Some bikes are deemed "Endurance" bikes, which generally means a more upright riding position and longer wheelbase to make for a more comfortable ride. Common examples are the Specialized Roubaix or Cannondale Synapse. I believe Scott offers an Addict Endurance option as well.
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Old 10-13-19, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by dc2042 View Post
Great questions, thank you. Here are the answers...

1. you are exactly correct, starting off with 20-miles, then working my way up to centuries.
2. I live in South Orange County, CA, and it is quite "hilly" so I will be experiencing good EG (elevation gain). I could easily experience 1000-2000 EG over 30-40 miles.
3. Racing is unlikely at this point, touring is definitely likely given I like backpacking and have a lot of lightweight gear .
4. I'd prefer to stick to pavement mostly, and would like a bike made for that. When selecting a bike that can handle hard-packed dirt, does this typically add weight? That is a concern
5. In So Cal, we rarely get rain any more, so inclement weather not an issue.

Thanks again, I do appreciate your responses and help!
Let's start with the easy ones first.

5. No rain, which means you are unlikely to need disc brakes. They're cool and they'll stop you in more conditions (ie wet), but in the dry a good rim brake setup will be adequate. And you'll save yourself a little bit of weight.
4. A gravel bike will likely weigh more than a dedicated pavement bike due to likely heavier build on the frame, but also slightly bigger tires and heavier duty wheels. Let's stick to a dedicated road bike then.
3. Sounds like something with rack eyelets might be useful to you.
2. One thousand feet over 30 miles isn't extreme - for example, today's ride for me was a mostly flat 49.23-mile ride that Strava recorded as having 2,309 ft. Now, I'm pretty sure SoCal can be pretty hilly, so yes, let's say that there will be hills.
1. Sounds like you need a bike that's got a decent amount of comfort potential if you expect to get up to a century on it. I wouldn't discount aluminum out of hand, especially in your price range - carbon will be harder to find for under $2k.

So, given all that, I'd try to find a Jamis Quest Elite. Right in your price range, with a nice set of Shimano 105 components. Steel, so it ought to be comfortable - not super light, but really the extra 1lbs relative to an aluminum frame in your price range really shouldn't make a difference. It also has rack eyelets, if you decide you want to go touring with it. I've heard good things about the Cannondale CAAD12 frames, so that might be worth a shot, especially as the CAAD13 just came out. It will be lower and racier than something like the Jamis, and likely stiffer, but that might be what you're looking for. I think these are likely two ends of the spectrum that still satisfy most of your requirements, would be worth hearing how you like those options, as well as others such as Giant's Defy, Trek's Domane, and Specialized's Allez.
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Old 10-13-19, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by dc2042 View Post
Here is a Scott bike I am settling on thus far...
SCOTT ADDICT 10
2-3x more than your quoted budget
Scott Addict 10
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Old 10-13-19, 09:30 PM
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Since it hasn't been mentioned, you may want to consider buying used.

Like cars, bikes lose a lot of value every year. You could get a great deal on a bike that was considered quite nice just three or four years ago that spent very little time on the road. Plenty of people buy nice bikes and end up never taking to the sport. It usually takes them a while to decide to sell the bike...

Craigslist is a great place to dig around. You will, of course, need to know the size bike you need. Most people can make-it-work on at least 2 sizes of bike. Yes, one size is going to be your optimal size, but when we're talking 2-centimeter differences in sizes, you can sometimes make it work with re-positioning of handlebars, stems, seats, etc.

If you end up enjoying cycling, you'll find plenty of thing you want to change about whatever bike you end up with. So, why not spent $800 on a decent used bike, figure out what you do/don't like about it, THEN buy a $2000 bike that you LOVE. (at which point you'll buy a trainer and other stuff so you can set the old bike up in the garage.)

If you tell us your overall measurements, (height, weight, if you have unusual proportions, etc.) we can probably suggest some potential bikes on the OC Craigslist...
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Old 10-13-19, 09:34 PM
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... Like this, for instance: https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/...990845563.html
or this: https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/...989724450.html
or this: https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/...983236809.html

... you get the idea.
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Old 10-13-19, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by dc2042 View Post
I am looking for comfort as much as possible and I've learned that I may want to avoid aluminum. I will be starting off with 20 mile rides roughly, but definitely working my way of to 40-50, and 100 for sure.
Two years ago, I posted the same questions as you, and someone suggested I consider aluminum. After my first ride on a CAAD12 nothing was quite the same in terms of handling and road feel. I went to a number of LBS's and test rode quite a few bikes, I ended up with a CAAD12 and am happy I did.
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Old 10-14-19, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by goenrdoug View Post
Since it hasn't been mentioned, you may want to consider buying used.

Like cars, bikes lose a lot of value every year. You could get a great deal on a bike that was considered quite nice just three or four years ago that spent very little time on the road. Plenty of people buy nice bikes and end up never taking to the sport. It usually takes them a while to decide to sell the bike...

Craigslist is a great place to dig around. You will, of course, need to know the size bike you need. Most people can make-it-work on at least 2 sizes of bike. Yes, one size is going to be your optimal size, but when we're talking 2-centimeter differences in sizes, you can sometimes make it work with re-positioning of handlebars, stems, seats, etc.

If you end up enjoying cycling, you'll find plenty of thing you want to change about whatever bike you end up with. So, why not spent $800 on a decent used bike, figure out what you do/don't like about it, THEN buy a $2000 bike that you LOVE. (at which point you'll buy a trainer and other stuff so you can set the old bike up in the garage.)

If you tell us your overall measurements, (height, weight, if you have unusual proportions, etc.) we can probably suggest some potential bikes on the OC Craigslist...
As a new cyclist, I wouldn't necessarily suggest used, as maintenance bills will be surprisingly high if anything needs to be done. For example, I didn't have time to re-do my brake cables a couple of weeks ago, so I dropped the Bianchi off at a shop to have it done. $115 later, I have brakes that work significantly better, but I paid $80 for labor and about $35 for cables, housing, and bar tape. Not saying it wasn't worth it or that the shop didn't deserve it, but it needs to be factored in, depending on the condition of a used bike.

Now, what I would consider is looking at New Old Stock (NOS) from a local shop. For example, when I was looking for my new bike, I was able to find shops with:
- Cannondale CAAD10 and 5800-series 105 for $700
- Focus Izalco Race and 5800-series 105 for $1100
- Bianchi Intrepida carbon with R7000-series 105 for $1600
- Moots with 6800-series Ultegra for $3900 (I saw this after I bought the new bike... would definitely have considered it)

All of which were available with a test ride, some level of fitting, as well as post-purchase adjustments/tuning, all of which I think are useful for someone new to the sport.

Of course, most of these have previous generation (5800 and 6800 series) components that were updated for 2017/2018, so deals like these will likely be harder to find this year, but definitely worth asking about, especially as we move into the end of the season.
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Old 10-14-19, 09:36 AM
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[QUOTE=Wilmingtech;21162637]2-3x more than your quoted budget

I meant the Scott Addict 20, not the RC version. Appears i can get for under $2500 with Ultegra. Willing to stretch budget some
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Old 10-14-19, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by dc2042 View Post
Willing to stretch budget some
Don't forget to budget for shoes, pedals, bottles, cages, bibs, jersey...
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Old 10-14-19, 10:52 AM
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[QUOTE=dc2042;21163112]
Originally Posted by Wilmingtech View Post
2-3x more than your quoted budget

I meant the Scott Addict 20, not the RC version. Appears i can get for under $2500 with Ultegra. Willing to stretch budget some
It looks like the Addict 20 is 105, and the Addict 10 is Ultegra. Either looks like a good package.

Have you had a chance to ride one yet? You'll give up a bit on being able to carry anything, but if that's no an immediate concern, then these would be great picks - provided you fit properly and like how they ride.
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Old 10-14-19, 07:16 PM
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I'm 45 and had a reasonable engine (240 W FTP) from riding on a stationary bike but I was too heavy (about 215) this April. In May I bought a Domane SL5 for around $2500. But, like others said, take into consideration the expense of shoes, jerseys, tools, bike computer, etc.

Because of the heat in GA (and the fact I hate heat) I spent most of my time on the Wahoo Kickr Core I bought around Memorial Day. That being said, I was able to do my first century in early September, my FTP is up to 282 Watts, and my weight down to 188.

The Domane is an endurance bike and the isospeed and the 32c tires definitely make the ride compliant. So I'd recommend something that can take a wider tire. An endurance bike or gravel bike isn't a bad place to start looking. The only complaint I have is my lower back starts to hurt after I ride for too long, though I think that's more me than the bike.

I also like the 11 speed Shimano 105 groupset with the rear cassette range of 11-34.

On the other hand, I get enjoyment out of riding my wife's $500 Trek Verve when it's attached to the Wahoo instead of my bike.
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Old 10-14-19, 07:29 PM
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[QUOTE=aliasfox;21163218]
Originally Posted by dc2042 View Post

It looks like the Addict 20 is 105, and the Addict 10 is Ultegra. Either looks like a good package.

Have you had a chance to ride one yet? You'll give up a bit on being able to carry anything, but if that's no an immediate concern, then these would be great picks - provided you fit properly and like how they ride.
Yes, I have. I rode a 2019 Addict 20, 58cm which is my size, Rim brakes. It felt really good actually. They will upgrade to Ultegra group set from 105 and out the door with tax is $1945
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Old 10-14-19, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by goenrdoug View Post
Since it hasn't been mentioned, you may want to consider buying used.

Like cars, bikes lose a lot of value every year. You could get a great deal on a bike that was considered quite nice just three or four years ago that spent very little time on the road. Plenty of people buy nice bikes and end up never taking to the sport. It usually takes them a while to decide to sell the bike...

Craigslist is a great place to dig around. You will, of course, need to know the size bike you need. Most people can make-it-work on at least 2 sizes of bike. Yes, one size is going to be your optimal size, but when we're talking 2-centimeter differences in sizes, you can sometimes make it work with re-positioning of handlebars, stems, seats, etc.

If you end up enjoying cycling, you'll find plenty of thing you want to change about whatever bike you end up with. So, why not spent $800 on a decent used bike, figure out what you do/don't like about it, THEN buy a $2000 bike that you LOVE. (at which point you'll buy a trainer and other stuff so you can set the old bike up in the garage.)

If you tell us your overall measurements, (height, weight, if you have unusual proportions, etc.) we can probably suggest some potential bikes on the OC Craigslist...
Seems like a lot of good used options too. Based on my test drive, 58cm seems perfect for me. 73.5" tall, about 170
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Old 10-14-19, 08:29 PM
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The Scott's a nice bike. That's a good price. You can't go wrong starting out with a good relationship with the local shop -- since you'll be back for all sorts of gear (tools, pedals, shoes, tires, etc. etc.) in the future.

On the other hand, for $550 you could get a damned nice bike:
https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/...969537996.html
and be in the game...

Then, later, you can buy exactly what a few thousand miles of riding helps you figure out you really need.

</devils advocate>
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Old 10-14-19, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by goenrdoug View Post
The Scott's a nice bike. That's a good price. You can't go wrong starting out with a good relationship with the local shop -- since you'll be back for all sorts of gear (tools, pedals, shoes, tires, etc. etc.) in the future.

On the other hand, for $550 you could get a damned nice bike:
and be in the game...

Then, later, you can buy exactly what a few thousand miles of riding helps you figure out you really need.

</devils advocate>
That is some sound advice right there, thanks.
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Old 10-15-19, 06:21 AM
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But whatever you do, make sure you buy a bike that fits.

A great deal on a bike that is too big or too small isn't a great deal in the end.
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Old 10-15-19, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by dc2042 View Post
I am new to road cycling but I do feel I will progress quickly. I am an avid hiker/backpacker of 500+ miles yearly, so my endurance level and ability to climb will adapt quickly I think. I would be open to spending 1k-2k, don't want to go overboard, but want something that is reasonably high performance that can grow with me, but again I am a beginner. I look forward to any recommendations from experts.
If you are looking for - according to me - the best price/quality ratio on the market, I would consider Giant.

The Defy (Adv. 1) is their endurance bike & the TCR (Adv. 1) is their race bike (just a little more aggressive than the Defy). Both are equipped with mecanical Ultegra groupsets & will cost you less than 2k, especially at that time of year.

Personal notes:
1) Love the bike you ride - ride the bike you love. If this means that you have to spend a little more, do it. You'll thank me later.
2) Try a few of them if possible.
3) Buy the right size.
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Old 10-15-19, 07:47 AM
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[QUOTE=dc2042;21163919]
Originally Posted by aliasfox View Post

Yes, I have. I rode a 2019 Addict 20, 58cm which is my size, Rim brakes. It felt really good actually. They will upgrade to Ultegra group set from 105 and out the door with tax is $1945
Does it speak to you? Will it whisper sweet nothings from the garage? If so, then that's the bike for you.

I'd suggest taking a few other things out for a spin now that you have a benchmark. I'd still suggest trying out steel and aluminium options, even if only to eliminate them from contention. Buy the one that you're still thinking about at the end of the day.
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