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Buying advice

Old 06-11-24, 02:59 PM
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Buying advice

I was at my local Trek store today and saw that they had the Emonda SL 5 on sale for the same price as the Domane Al 5 - almost $1300 off. I didnít have time to ride either, and plan to go back, but wanted to consult with you all:
  • I do a lot of recreational rides up hills for fun, but also like long endurance rides. Is the …monda so stiff that itís bad for 100+ mile rides? Is the Domane too heavy to be as much fun?
  • Iíve been hesitant about carbon fiber and generally agree that the only people who need to buy CF bikes are the folks sponsoring race teams. Am I being stupid?
  • is there any reason to buy the Domane AL given the savings?

Thanks for any help!
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Old 06-11-24, 03:37 PM
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Frame stiffness isn't really the issue for long rides. You can make the ride more comfortable by just the tires you put on a bike. Though Trek Emonda's and Domane's at the price point you are looking at probably have decent enough riding tires.

What is important is that you like the position the bike is made to give you. The Emonda is considered a aggressive fit and the Domane more relaxed. Not too relaxed though but not nearly as aggressive as the Emonda. Which many say the Emonda is a race fit, though both the Domane and Emonda are ridden in professional races, including the TdF and other Grand Tours.

So if you like being more aero, which saves energy during the longer rides, the Emonda will be a good choice. But if you don't like staying in the drops of your current bike, then the Domane might be your better choice. You don't really get to raise the bars any higher than they come when new without going to extra expense and making your bike look less attractive. And saddle height is based on your leg length, so you don't get to just drop the saddle to give you the relation of saddle to bar height you might want.

Carbon bikes are fine for anything, just like steel or aluminum bikes. The aluminum Emonda and Domane are both good bikes too. They just don't put all the bells and whistles or top tier components on them any more as they come from the maker. So they are more entry level and lower middle tier equipped bikes. But still good enough if that is as much you wish to pay. My Son's 2017 Emonda ALR (aluminum) rivals many lower end carbon bikes for weight.

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Old 06-11-24, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jemaleddin
I was at my local Trek store today and saw that they had the Emonda SL 5 on sale for the same price as the Domane Al 5 - almost $1300 off. I didnít have time to ride either, and plan to go back, but wanted to consult with you all:
  • I do a lot of recreational rides up hills for fun, but also like long endurance rides. Is the …monda so stiff that itís bad for 100+ mile rides? Is the Domane too heavy to be as much fun?
  • Iíve been hesitant about carbon fiber and generally agree that the only people who need to buy CF bikes are the folks sponsoring race teams. Am I being stupid?
  • is there any reason to buy the Domane AL given the savings?

Thanks for any help!
Dude. What is this "NEED" ****? You don't "NEED" a new bike AT ALL! Even if you didn't have a bike and wanted to ride, you don't "NEED" to buy a NEW bike - there are tons of cheap used ones. So it's not about NEED. It's about what you WANT, and what you can afford comfortably, and what fits you.
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Old 06-11-24, 04:00 PM
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I will happily sell you all kinds of advice. I have loads, and I make more all the time. My rates are ... oh, never mind, ......sorry ......

I was going to add more but [MENTION=466379]Iride01[/MENTION] nailed it.

Either bike can be comfortable is it is set up right. The Emonda is easier to set up for a racier riding position, and if you are comfortable like that for however long you like to ride, there you are. The Domane is easier to set up in a more relaxed position, so if you don't want to be as long and low maybe look at t aht.

Either bike could be exceedingly comfortable if you put on wide, soft tires. The Domane can (I think fit 34s or 38s, while I doubt the Emonda will fit 32s (you need to check.) However, if you ride decent pavement, 28s should be plenty for comfort anyway.

The differences in weight are trivial unless you are competing (and i I include informal Strava KOM comepitions with yourself and all that.) In terms of the joy of riding a few pounds are not really significant unless absolute numeric performance matters to you. The Domane is not so heavy you will have to be walking up hills you could ride up with the Emonda. You might be ten seconds slower up your favorite climbs ... decide if that matters.

As for "who needs CF?" that is pure BS.

CF is just another of the many materials out of which many objects, including bicycles, can be made. I have no idea how many people around the world have been riding CF bikes for a couple decades with no issue, but I would bet it might approach or exceed the tens of millions. Nobody "needs" or "doesn't need" CF bikes or anything else ... or bikes at all for that matter. if a bike you like which offers what you want is made of CF ... so what?

If I said "Bikes were made of wood originally and really, no one 'needs' a metal bike" you would laugh at me. Possibly plenty of people ware laughing at the "No one 'needs' CF" folks, too.

The question you need to ask is not about price or frame material.

Only you know how you like to ride. The question (IMO) is, "which bike will be better suited to the way you like to ride?"

it is possible that with enough spacers and an up-angled stem, you could achieve exactly the same riding position on the Emonda as on the Domane. Would you want to make those adjustments?

Would you be happy riding a hundred miles in the classic racing position, stretched out and low?

If your two listed bikes are what you ride currently ... then the Fuji has drop bars and the Sirrus is flat-bar. Are you comfortable for 100 miles on either? How ids the Fuji set up? How far below the saddle top are the bars?

Bikes are tools and the fitness of the tool to the job is what makes it good or not. How do you want to ride?
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Old 06-11-24, 04:07 PM
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I had recently bought a Emonda SL5 (22-23 model - which is likely the one on sale at your store). Rode it a few times. Found it plenty 'Race'Stiff, maybe overly so.
And for a carbon bike it is quite 'heavy' - a relative thing in consideration for what one might expect from a carbon frame bike....
The AL version of Emonda is almost identical in weight to the carbon version. The components are mostly identical.
The Domane AL5 is only 1/3 kg weightier than the Emonda -with identical components.
So, really, buy the one which you find most comfortable and like otherwise ...
The Wheels on all are identical, and very sturdy and weighty...
Any of the 3 different models can be greatly improved by some better wheels. An upgrade set of now basic carbon wheels - of which there are many to choose from - might cost $400-$700 and pull back almost 2 lbs of overall weight. Might be the best initial upgrade.
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Old 06-11-24, 04:12 PM
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I’m 2 mos, on an Emonda SL7. It’s by far the smoothest and most comfortable bike I’ve owned, and this is my 12th road bike. I’ve had 3 different aluminum, 3 steel, the rest carbon. I can’t state what part makes it ride smooth, the frame, carbon post or carbon bar, likely all of those. I rode 2 weeks on the OEM Bontrager tubed 25mm tires at 105-110 psi and even then noticed how comfortable the bike was. Then I changed to GP5000 tubeless 28mm, running 70-80 psi and it got even more comfortable. I never considered a Domane, didn’t like the colors in any event. Emonda was money well spent.
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Old 06-11-24, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
What is important is that you like the position the bike is made to give you. The Emonda is considered a aggressive fit and the Domane more relaxed. Not too relaxed though but not nearly as aggressive as the Emonda. Which many say the Emonda is a race fit, though both the Domane and Emonda are ridden in professional races, including the TdF and other Grand Tours.

So if you like being more aero, which saves energy during the longer rides, the Emonda will be a good choice. But if you don't like staying in the drops of your current bike, then the Domane might be your better choice. You don't really get to raise the bars any higher than they come when new without going to extra expense and making your bike look less attractive. And saddle height is based on your leg length, so you don't get to just drop the saddle to give you the relation of saddle to bar height you might want.
Yeah, I think I'm going to head over tomorrow and see if they'll let me ride each of them around a bit. Being in the drops doesn't bother me a bit (though most roadies I see spend all their time on the hoods), but the Emonda definitely has a more stretched out position either way.

Originally Posted by genejockey
Dude. What is this "NEED" ****? You don't "NEED" a new bike AT ALL! Even if you didn't have a bike and wanted to ride, you don't "NEED" to buy a NEW bike - there are tons of cheap used ones. So it's not about NEED. It's about what you WANT, and what you can afford comfortably, and what fits you.
In my mind, carbon fiber bikes are usually significantly more expensive than aluminum, and, as noted in this thread, not even that much lighter. And having grown up without the finer things, I'm often hesitant to spend any more than necessary.

Originally Posted by Maelochs
Either bike can be comfortable is it is set up right. The Emonda is easier to set up for a racier riding position, and if you are comfortable like that for however long you like to ride, there you are. The Domane is easier to set up in a more relaxed position, so if you don't want to be as long and low maybe look at t aht.

Either bike could be exceedingly comfortable if you put on wide, soft tires. The Domane can (I think fit 34s or 38s, while I doubt the Emonda will fit 32s (you need to check.) However, if you ride decent pavement, 28s should be plenty for comfort anyway.

[...]

Would you be happy riding a hundred miles in the classic racing position, stretched out and low?

If your two listed bikes are what you ride currently ... then the Fuji has drop bars and the Sirrus is flat-bar. Are you comfortable for 100 miles on either? How ids the Fuji set up? How far below the saddle top are the bars?

Bikes are tools and the fitness of the tool to the job is what makes it good or not. How do you want to ride?
The Domane comes with 32mm tires and goes up to 38mm. The Emonda comes with and tops out at 28mm.

I think the longest ride I've had on my Fuji is about 28 miles, but I think of it as a sunny day parade bike more than a training/racing machine. I plan to do a century on it this summer, as I'm going to be taking it easy riding with my wife. The Specialized hybrid was fine for a century ride, but left me wishing I could get more aero much of the time, especially with strong winds near the ocean.

Originally Posted by cyclezen
So, really, buy the one which you find most comfortable and like otherwise ...
The Wheels on all are identical, and very sturdy and weighty...
Any of the 3 different models can be greatly improved by some better wheels. An upgrade set of now basic carbon wheels - of which there are many to choose from - might cost $400-$700 and pull back almost 2 lbs of overall weight. Might be the best initial upgrade.
Ride On
Yuri
Wheels in the future are a good idea - I think my first purchase would be better tires. Wheels that cost 1/4-1/3 of the cost of the bike will have to wait. 😀

Originally Posted by Steve B.
Iím 2 mos, on an Emonda SL7. Itís by far the smoothest and most comfortable bike Iíve owned, and this is my 12th road bike. Iíve had 3 different aluminum, 3 steel, the rest carbon. I canít state what part makes it ride smooth, the frame, carbon post or carbon bar, likely all of those. I rode 2 weeks on the OEM Bontrager tubed 25mm tires at 105-110 psi and even then noticed how comfortable the bike was. Then I changed to GP5000 tubeless 28mm, running 70-80 psi and it got even more comfortable. I never considered a Domane, didnít like the colors in any event. Emonda was money well spent.
Well that's a glowing review! Glad you like the bike so much!

I think you all have convinced me to try them both and pick whichever is more comfortable. They really are spec'd very closely, and a lot of the geometry is pretty similar. I'm panning to use whatever I get for everything that falls outside the tihngs my current bikes do well: grocery runs, city errands, commuting and looking elegant and stately.

Thanks so much for your feedback - I really appreciate all of it!
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Old 06-11-24, 07:25 PM
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I have tubeless 28 mm Conti GP5000 tires on the OEM Bontrager wheels, the tires measure at 30mm real life and there’s easily room for a 32. I’ll take pictures if it helps. I personally find that a 28 is the perfect size for speed, I would not want to be doing fast club rides on a wider tire and I would not be moving to a Domane beceause it takes a 32, wider intended purpose is to ride gravel/dirt.
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Old 06-11-24, 09:45 PM
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Domane has fender mounts; clearance for 32mm plus fenders. Emonda does not. That was a deal breaker for me, as I ride brevets in the rain quite a bit.

As far as AL vs CF for comfort, I'll add this testimony. My $40 AL Detroit Bikes Sparrow fixie frame is nearly as buttery smooth as my Domane with its fancy shock absorption. Both running 32mm tubeless. The fixie has slacker geometry, and a CF fork. My steel/steel Fog Cutter is downright harsh compared to those two.

OTOH, I have an AL Focus Mares CX bike that I wouldn't dream of riding 100km much less 100 miles.

The thing OP has to determein is, how comfortable is he going to be in the two very different positions? For me, the Domane stock is too stretched out for distance. I did finish a 1200km on it, but struggled with nand and neck pain. Based on that, I'd recommend the Domane over the more aggressive and stretched out Emonda, for distance. YMMV.
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Old 06-12-24, 04:38 AM
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My old advice on the Emonda SL5 vs the Emonda ALR5 -

Since they were very close in weight, and both came with the same equipment - including the crap wheelset - was to get the ALR5 and put a decent set of wheels on it. It will be over a pound lighter and still cheaper than the SL5.

But with these sale prices - get the SL5 and put a better wheelset on it. You will have a very good bike at that point.

Smoothness - my ALR5 is one of the smoothest frames I've owned. Its stiff where it needs to be, and complaint when it needs to be. I have CF frames that are very rough in comparison - and the only frame I have that is smoother is my steel Lemond.
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Old 06-12-24, 05:32 AM
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These days a max tire width of 28mm seems very limiting.
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Old 06-12-24, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jemaleddin
I was at my local Trek store today and saw that they had the Emonda SL 5 on sale for the same price as the Domane Al 5 - almost $1300 off. I didnít have time to ride either, and plan to go back, but wanted to consult with you all:
  • I do a lot of recreational rides up hills for fun, but also like long endurance rides. Is the …monda so stiff that itís bad for 100+ mile rides? Is the Domane too heavy to be as much fun?
  • Iíve been hesitant about carbon fiber and generally agree that the only people who need to buy CF bikes are the folks sponsoring race teams. Am I being stupid?
  • is there any reason to buy the Domane AL given the savings?

Thanks for any help!
Geometry is very subjective but whether is be the H1.5 on the Emonda ALR or the H2 on the Emonda SLR I will say neither is insanely aggressive. So in theory unless you have subpar flexibility than a Emonda with a full stack could work as an endurance bike. The Domane IMO is just a pig of a bike.

If you are hesitant on carbon the Emonda ALR is a great pick.

There is zero reason to get a Domane let alone a Domane ALR
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Old 06-12-24, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
These days a max tire width of 28mm seems very limiting.
They may list max 28mm for some reason, but itís not because of the frame. Maybe the stock wheel set?


My ALR can fit 32ís with room to spare.
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Old 06-14-24, 11:43 AM
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Not to disappoint anyone, but to put a button on this conversation in a way that might only please the C&V set:

I ended up buying neither.

I test rode the Emonda and found that the geometry was great for me, the 105 hoods were very comfy, and the bike was light and responsive. I put down a 20% deposit to have them hold onto it while I considered my options.

Öand then I found a guy selling a 1995 GT Edge Ti that was over a kilo lighter, felt more nimble, and cost little more than my deposit. I fell in love with the ride, the Dura-Ace 7402 groupset and the potential for what I can do with an almost 30-year-old bike.

It has a few problems that the a new bike like thr Emonda doesnít: the left brake lever sticks a little and needs some love, the cables probably ought to be replaced, and the 8-speed 13-21T cogs arenít great for hill climbing. But I love a triple triangle and now I can drop a grand on upgrades to get it perfect.



Anyway: thanks again for all the comments - you all really helped me figure out what I wanted from a bike, and I appreciate your perspectives! (I would love some advice on which forums to ask questions about upgrading various bits and bobs - itís not old enough for C&V.)
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Old 06-14-24, 01:37 PM
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If it works for you it is the right bike.
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Old 06-14-24, 02:05 PM
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Well good for you.

11-21 on the rear... ooof! That'll make one grunt quite a bit.

1995 bike? Likely has a 130mm rear spacing if they weren't too far behind the times. You could somewhat inexpensively put all new Shimano Tiagra 10 speed on it or if you are willing to spend more, go with new 11 speed 105 or even 11 speed Ultegra. Ultegra will give you the best weight savings over the other two groups and will be more inline with a light Ti bike. However you'll pay more for that weight savings.

Oh yeah, new wheels too to match the 10 or 11 speed freehub you'll need. Or at least inquire with a wheel builder at a LBS about changing the rear hub to what is needed if you do upgrade the drivetrain components.
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Old 06-14-24, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
11-21 on the rear... ooof! That'll make one grunt quite a bit.
I miscounted! Itís 12-22. SoÖ better? A little? I guess? 😕

Originally Posted by Iride01
1995 bike? Likely has a 130mm rear spacing if they weren't too far behind the times. You could somewhat inexpensively put all new Shimano Tiagra 10 speed on it or if you are willing to spend more, go with new 11 speed 105 or even 11 speed Ultegra. Ultegra will give you the best weight savings over the other two groups and will be more inline with a light Ti bike. However you'll pay more for that weight savings.
It does have 130mm rear spacing. I talked to my LBS guy who is going to do a fitting before I do much with the bike, in case I need a shorter stem (maybe) or narrower bars (at 44cm, probably!).

(The rear derailleur is spec-ed up to 26T, and he suspects it might do 28T, but thatís still not great with 52/42T up front.)

He was suggesting that the current wheels can probably handle 8-10 speed cassettes, so suggested I look for an older 10-speed groupset. SoÖ relatively current Tiagra, pre-2014 105sÖ you get the idea.

Iím not a snob, and modern Tiagras probably shift better than 30-year-old Dura-Ace, but Iím still torn between preserving the old stuff, and just going modern. Which would be easier if I ditched the Alex Rims wheels, and speaking ofÖ

Originally Posted by Iride01
Oh yeah, new wheels too to match the 10 or 11 speed freehub you'll need. Or at least inquire with a wheel builder at a LBS about changing the rear hub to what is needed if you do upgrade the drivetrain components.
I think these wheels are relatively budget-oriented, so it might make more sense to just find a better set of wheels, but I donít know much about that. My budget doesnít extend to carbon fiber or super fancy, but Iíd like something light and fast without spending a fortune. I know how to look up good tires, but nothing about rims. Any pointers would be great!
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Old 06-14-24, 04:44 PM
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For ages they've said drop bars on a road bike should be the same as the distance between the acromion process of your shoulders. I don't really put much into that. But maybe it suggests the max width you should ever go.

I ride on 38 cm bars and think they are much more better for my fit than the 42 cm bars that match my acromion process measurement that I rode for over 4 years and just never could get use to.

I do agree that if you are trying to keep that older and prettier look of cranks and such, then modern Shimano, SRAM and others just.... well it's just not pretty. But I use the new stuff. I don't think anyone seeing me on a bike will notice them as I fly by them or they fly by me.

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Old 06-14-24, 05:20 PM
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The pull ratio on old Dura-Ace might not be the same as new Tiagra---be really careful about compatibility. I know modern Tiagra does not mix with pretty much anything else in the Shimano line, more or fewer speeds, If you slap a 4700 or 4800 cassette on there it might not shift properly.

A lot of people know better---C&V folks might know---but you could find the smallest chain rings you could mount on the existing spider, and shop Ebay or whatever for older cassettes which might be compatible. It is possible that later Ultegra 10-speed or even 105 10-speed stuff might mesh well with 7400 Dura-Ace shifters. I don;'t know but you will want to.

Myself, I see a bike as something to ride before it is something to look at (though I do care how I see it, and know that no matter what I do to it, some people will hate it) so if it were mine I would probably go with 105 11-speed (or Ultegra id I could find an old rim-brake set at a decent price.) That would allow me to use Any modern chain rings or cassettes, from 11-21 or whatever, to 11-34 or 11-36 .... you would need the GS derailleur for anything over 28 (officially) but even with my feeble legs i can handle some mild hills with a 50-34 and 11-28. You could also run a wolf's tooth link.

In any case, depending on what you want to spend (you mentioned $1000 I think) I am sure you can find a more suitable cassette which will be compatible.
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Old 06-14-24, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
For ages they've said drop bars on a road bike should be the same as the distance between the acromion process of your shoulders. I don't really put much into that. But maybe it suggests the max width you should ever go.
My other drop bar bike (1981 Fuji) has 38cm bars and they're pretty cramped, so something between the two is probably right!

Originally Posted by Iride01
I do agree that if you are trying to keep that older and prettier look of cranks and such, then modern Shimano, SRAM and others just.... well it's just not pretty. But I use the new stuff. I don't think anyone seeing me on a bike will notice them as I fly by them or they fly by me.
My main objection is that I spent late winter and early spring restoring my Fuji with almost all the original parts (can't find the right crankset with the embossed FUJI on the cranks!) so I know how nice it is to have a restored bike. That said, this is my light go-fast bike, so I should probably start thinking of it as a restomod.

Originally Posted by Maelochs
Myself, I see a bike as something to ride before it is something to look at (though I do care how I see it, and know that no matter what I do to it, some people will hate it) so if it were mine I would probably go with 105 11-speed (or Ultegra id I could find an old rim-brake set at a decent price.) That would allow me to use Any modern chain rings or cassettes, from 11-21 or whatever, to 11-34 or 11-36 .... you would need the GS derailleur for anything over 28 (officially) but even with my feeble legs i can handle some mild hills with a 50-34 and 11-28. You could also run a wolf's tooth link.
At this point I think that's the path forward: new wheels that can handle a 10 or 11-speed cassette, a modern-ish lightweight groupset but try to keep the 600 rim brakes, and whatever the right size handlebars are. My budget is $1200, so I'm hoping for a $400 wheelset, a $400 used groupset, $200 bars, and then $200 for tape, tires, tubes, cables. I'm hoping to do the assembly myself at the co-op where I volunteer. Wish me luck on that!
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Old 06-14-24, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jemaleddin
Not to disappoint anyone, but to put a button on this conversation in a way that might only please the C&V set:

I ended up buying neither.

I test rode the Emonda and found that the geometry was great for me, the 105 hoods were very comfy, and the bike was light and responsive. I put down a 20% deposit to have them hold onto it while I considered my options.

Öand then I found a guy selling a 1995 GT Edge Ti that was over a kilo lighter, felt more nimble, and cost little more than my deposit. I fell in love with the ride, the Dura-Ace 7402 groupset and the potential for what I can do with an almost 30-year-old bike.

It has a few problems that the a new bike like thr Emonda doesnít: the left brake lever sticks a little and needs some love, the cables probably ought to be replaced, and the 8-speed 13-21T cogs arenít great for hill climbing. But I love a triple triangle and now I can drop a grand on upgrades to get it perfect.



Anyway: thanks again for all the comments - you all really helped me figure out what I wanted from a bike, and I appreciate your perspectives! (I would love some advice on which forums to ask questions about upgrading various bits and bobs - itís not old enough for C&V.)
I always hesitate to advise someone buy used, since IMO you need to know a little more what you're doing than buying new. But there are cetainly good deals out there.
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Old 06-14-24, 10:13 PM
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A good quality used bike is fully depreciated, it shouldn't drop much in value if still compatible with new parts, like rear dropout spacing.

Based on another thread, I think that vintage titanium frame will outlast a new carbon fiber one.
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Old 06-15-24, 06:16 AM
  #23  
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you could go wild with a SRAM AXS for rim brake if you want to go wild..then the only cables are the brakes and you have a touch of modern and classic.
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Old 06-16-24, 03:14 AM
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Sometime during the past 20 years carbon has made it to the masses. No longer reserved for just pro tour level bikes, carbon frames began being offered at the mid tiers.
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Old 06-16-24, 04:12 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
These days a max tire width of 28mm seems very limiting.
Hear hear. ^^^ The roads are only getting worse. Especially the kinds of roads cyclists seek out for limited auto traffic. My minimum standard for new bike/frame/fork purchases is 35mm. I ride 28s but want the option of going bigger.
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