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Road Bike Brands to Consider? Help 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

Road Bike Brands to Consider? Help Needed

Old 03-09-21, 09:08 PM
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caddyshack4
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Road Bike Brands to Consider? Help Needed

The amount of information out there is overwhelming regarding bikes and brands. I am looking for some general guidance or thoughts that don't come from a YouTube channel or website that likely get paid a buck to recommend brands. I have a 2007 Redline Conquest Cyclocross bike. I chose this as I liked the versatility for commuting, endurance rides, off road, etc... It's treated me well and I still ride it to this day, but I am finally looking to get a true road bike.

I will mainly use it for group rides, exercise, century rides, a few events (not major competitive events). I am finding it difficult to narrow down a "brand" of bike. I don't want to visit multiple bike shops to check out multiple brands, so I am hoping for some advice on some brands to take a serious look at so I can focus on just visiting 2-3 bike shops. Price range is $2,000 - $3,000. I'd like to get a Shimano 105 group set that comes standard with the bike. Carbon or aluminum doesn't matter as much for me, but at this range probably lean carbon. The brands I keep getting draw toward due in part to the bike shops I like in town are Specialized, Giant, Cannondale, and Trek. Canyon seems interesting, but I have worries on customer service, warranty, and not giving business to local shops.

Appreciate any thoughts brands. I have specific bikes in mind, but really just wanting to ensure I am not overlooking a certain brand of bike because I haven't heard of it or my favorite local shop doesn't carry it.
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Old 03-10-21, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by caddyshack4 View Post
The brands I keep getting draw toward due in part to the bike shops I like in town are Specialized, Giant, Cannondale, and Trek.
You will be fine with any of these, no need to over think. All the brands have similar offerings within a few hundred $. Finding something in stock will be the challenge.
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Old 03-10-21, 06:37 AM
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Buy from a Shop that gives you a Free Fit with the New Bike.
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Old 03-10-21, 06:47 AM
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None of them suck. At this point, it's probably much more important that you shop the shops, rather than shop the brands.
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Old 03-10-21, 08:28 AM
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You will probably have to do what you don't want to do and go to a few shops and check out the bikes, especially with the challenges of shopping during the pandemic. There's a lot of info, but the truth in 2020 is that largely at any given price point, what you get is going to be about the same from one brand to another. I considered three or four brands like you did, though not exactly the same ones, and bought based off of a combination of shop experience and the bike that fell best to me test riding.



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Old 03-10-21, 08:35 AM
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At this point in time, I would also recommend going with the best LBS available that has the bike you like most. It is not easy to shop a new bike right now, but take your time and go with your gut feeling.

All of the brands you mentioned are great. On my end, I am sold on Giant bicycles mainly because they produce a lot of components in-house and therefore offer a great (if not THE best) price/quality ratio in the industry.

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Old 03-10-21, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Buy from a Shop that gives you a Free Fit with the New Bike.
THIS

Fit matters more than brand, components or frame materials imho.
Don't believe me? Ride a carbon fiber frame with Durace that is two sizes too big. The bike brand won't matter

If you can, bring your bike shoes if you have them to the shop for the fitting. They can make adjustments to the cleats.
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Old 03-10-21, 07:55 PM
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The brands you mention are all great. Specialized and Trek also has OEM parts (although I don't know if they *actually* make them or contract out.) just like Giant.

There are many excellent smaller brands that make great bikes you might consider: Marin, Surly, Salsa, GT....
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Old 03-10-21, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Symox View Post
The brands you mention are all great. Specialized and Trek also has OEM parts (although I don't know if they *actually* make them or contract out.) just like Giant.

There are many excellent smaller brands that make great bikes you might consider: Marin, Surly, Salsa, GT....
Felt, Jamis, Bianchi, Cannondale, Cervelo, BMC, Colnago, Fuji, Scott, DeRosa, Orbea, ....

Go to all three shops you mentioned. You'll see that, to a great extent, bikes are a generic item, especially among the big three brands you mentioned. For a given amount of money, you'll get very similar quality frame, components and wheels. But don't be afraid to look at the less famous brands if they are sold near you. You might find that you'll get a little more for your money. I really don't believe there's any such thing as "better" or "worse" for any given price point between the big names and the less highly marketed ones. Maybe a better or lesser value, but no necessarily quality difference. The quality for you ultimately really depends on how the bike fits you - and that really depends on the shop working with you to get the fit right.

Pick your favorite shop that has a bike in stock that will suit you.
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Old 03-10-21, 08:43 PM
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These are all great.

Thanks and this gives me some comfort to rely on the local bike shops I use to help me get it right!
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Old 03-10-21, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by caddyshack4 View Post
These are all great.

Thanks and this gives me some comfort to rely on the local bike shops I use to help me get it right!
A good bike shop won't sell you something that isn't a good fit. They should be willing to order whatever you need size wise to make it right (depending on supply levels which are all screwed up now due to COVID)
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Old 03-11-21, 09:11 AM
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I think the best bet is to more or less see who has the bikes you want, in your size, and is willing to work with you to adjust fit. For your riding, you're likely looking at the endurance lines for each of these brands:
- Cannondale Synapse
- Giant Defy
- Specialized Roubaix
- Trek Domane

They'll all have a 105 equipped bike between $2-3k. I'd probably put disc and carbon on your checkbox, too. The Specialized has suspension in the front of the bike ("FutureShock"), and the Trek has an "Isospeed Decoupler" for the seat tube. Both of these are used to make the ride more comfortable. I haven't tried Trek's IsoSpeed, but having rented a Roubaix with FutureShock 1.0, I can decisively say that I didn't like it and couldn't get used it. But my opinion doesn't mean anything - lots of other people like these features. As far as I'm aware, neither the Synapse nor the Defy have any suspension gimmicks.

Another brand to look at in that range is Scott - I've heard good things about the Addict from one of my local shops.

I'm 5'10" and wear 30" inseam pants (178cm and 75cm, for the rest of the world), and I'm most comfortable on a 53-55cm bike, depending on geometry. And this is where the bike shop becomes important. Some may be willing to do a "proper" fitting on a jig, if you're willing to be indoors working with them for maybe 30 minutes. Of course, this still being pandemic times, this may not be offered - I know some bike shops prefer doing most of their business in the parking lot these days. If you are looking for a fitting, they'll measure you, and tweak the jig to where they think you'd make the most power, and tweak it a bit based on your comfort. That said, I'm going to bet most bike shops won't do that for a $3k sale, especially after a year of brisk sales. Why do that for a $3k sale when someone else might just walk in and pick up the bike without any extra work? Of course, walk into a shop and ask for a custom geometry Seven, and they'll trip over themselves to give you a fitting and an espresso.

What you'll likely get, at this level, is the ability to swap seatposts (setback vs in-line), saddles (wide vs narrow), and stems/spacers (length, rise). However, none of these are scientific, and will rely on you to be able to tell what seems too tall, too short, too wide, too narrow, or the wrong angle. The shop that's most willing to play with these variables ought to be the one you give your money to.
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