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Buying 1st road bike

Old 09-01-05, 10:37 AM
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moon_motor
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Buying 1st road bike

Hi all, I've read quite a bit on this forum over the past few months as I'm trying to decide what bike I want to get for my commute. I was doing 40 mile RT on a mountain bike and have been wanting something more efficient, Xbike or Road was what I narrowed it down to and finally, after a few test rides last night I've decided that I definitely love road bikes... so now I'm trying to nail down which one.
Today I'm considering a used 2002 Cannondale r600 CAAD4 with Shim 105 components, a new Reynolds 521 Mercier Corvus with 105 comps. or a new Cannondale r500 CAAD5 frame with a 24sp Sora drive train (Tiagra rear)... (all 3 have carbon forks)
So, here's my question; which bike??? The price range is from $700-$1000 (I can't really afford $1000, but what the heck, eh? I can't afford gas either and I can't pedal my car... not efficiently anyway)
I Really like the ride of the steel bikes that I've test ridden, but I'm wondering if buying a steel like Reynolds 521 is not a good idea. Would a CAAD4 or 5 frame be better than a midrange steel frame? Is it worth the extra $300 to get a CAAD5 with lower end components vs a used CAAD4 with 105 drive train?
Any other suggestions?
(I hope this post didn't ramble into confusion) - Thanks
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Old 09-01-05, 10:45 AM
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If you're leaving the bike outside, I'd be concerned about rust on a steel bike.
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Old 09-01-05, 11:18 AM
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I keep my bikes indoors, even at work the bike will come inside with me.
Will a Reynolds 520 hold up pretty well? I'm not too familiar with metal types and why one is better than another, to be honest. Is 631 that much better than 520? I just want to do 40 fast miles per day and have a bike that lasts. If I get into racing than I'll probably save up and get a very nice bike and use this one for a trainer/commuter. The Mercier steel bike with 105 components is only $700, that seems like a steal of a deal to me vs. the new Cannondale @ $1000 with Sora.
What do you think?
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Old 09-01-05, 11:25 AM
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well, i've only ever had one really good bike, the rest are all old at least ten years old and arent very good, but i had a Giant OCR3 with sora, alluminum frame with carbon forks, and that only costed me 560 plux tax. Its pretty light and very good for the price so i guess thats what i'd reccomend, even though i dont have much to compare it to. Ps. i dont really like any of my steel bikes, too heavy and clunky, but thats just my old crap.
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Old 09-01-05, 11:27 AM
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I think you should go with Steel. Not sure if the Mercier would be my choice but if it fits and is in your price range then go for it. The better grades of steel allow them to do different things with the tubes so they can make a lighter bike. 520 will hold up fine.
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Old 09-01-05, 11:35 AM
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I like the Mercier, personally. I rode a friend's and liked it. Steel VS. Alum comes down to weight/comfort. Alum is lighter & less weight to pedal. Steel is a bit heavier, but is a more comfortable ride.

And don't leave your bike outside, if possible. Most companies will provide you with some kind of storage space if you ask.
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Old 09-01-05, 11:38 AM
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right fit is going to be the most important. I'd rule out the used bike unless you're sure it will fit you. Next, I'd definitely prefer the 105 componets over Sora. 105 is a good groupset that should last a long time. Finally, what are the wheels on the bikes? I'm wondering if the Mercier at that price point with 105 componets might have cheaper wheels
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Old 09-01-05, 11:53 AM
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*right fit is going to be the most important. I'd rule out the used bike unless you're sure it will fit you. Next, I'd definitely prefer the 105 componets over Sora. 105 is a good groupset that should last a long time. Finally, what are the wheels on the bikes? I'm wondering if the Mercier at that price point with 105 componets might have cheaper wheels

re: Alex Alloy Aero dbl wall rims on the Mercier... I don't really know anything about rims. I suppose I should pay attention to them when I'm shopping.
I've been really unhappy with the Sora comps. Have had trouble threading on all test rides; is this just an adjustment issue?
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Old 09-01-05, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by natethaskate
I like the Mercier, personally. I rode a friend's and liked it. Steel VS. Alum comes down to weight/comfort. Alum is lighter & less weight to pedal. Steel is a bit heavier, but is a more comfortable ride.

And don't leave your bike outside, if possible. Most companies will provide you with some kind of storage space if you ask.
I think I'm pretty sure I want a steel bike. I rode a $500 steel frame at the LBS and couldn't wipe the grin off my face, then I test road the Cannondale (mind you it was smaller than my size) and I wasn't impressed (which surprised the salesman) I don't know why, it just didn't feel like it enjoyed the road like the steel one did. Is that because steel is typically a "softer" ride? If that's the case then I really want a steel frame. And over 20 miles one way commute, I think I'd like the comfort of a steel bike. But I also need some pretty decent wheels that I can have some confindence in over some cracked pavement.
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Old 09-01-05, 12:08 PM
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I would go with fit and feel first. After that any are decent choices. My wife has a new SR500, and it is a very nice bike, (about 23.5 lbs), beautiful black paint job, US built frame, and decent component mix for the money (close to the R500 I would guess). I really have been sold on Cannondale lately, and there is just something about a brand new bike. Go with fit first, after that what ever feels the best. After we bought our new road bikes (ex-mountain bikers), we ended up spend way to much on accessories (pedals, new helmets, shorts, jerseys, odd and ends, etc... ) so be sure to allow a little budget for extras.

John
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Old 09-01-05, 12:12 PM
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If you are commuting that much make sure you don't think about the bike as a toy...it is your transportation. By this I mean make sure you do your maint and if you think a part need upgraded then do it. I bought a Marin Mill Valley off of eBay as my commuter last Oct. That bike now has 1800 miles I have put on it (and my commute is no where near yours) and I have new wheels (higher spoke count with stronger rims), new BB and cranks, rack and panniers in the back.

What I am saying is don't skimp...if it needs different wheels get different wheels they will pay for themself pretty quickly.
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Old 09-01-05, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper
If you are commuting that much make sure you don't think about the bike as a toy...it is your transportation. By this I mean make sure you do your maint and if you think a part need upgraded then do it. I bought a Marin Mill Valley off of eBay as my commuter last Oct. That bike now has 1800 miles I have put on it (and my commute is no where near yours) and I have new wheels (higher spoke count with stronger rims), new BB and cranks, rack and panniers in the back.

What I am saying is don't skimp...if it needs different wheels get different wheels they will pay for themself pretty quickly.

I absolutely agree. I learned on a couple long walks that money would have been well spent on good wheels and cranks (stripped mine on a Giant MTB I was commuting on). I would like to upgrade a component at a time. By the way, how do you like that Marin Mill Valley. I saw one at REI and was thinking that a bike like that may be what I'm looking for, or a Jamis Coda. Part of me is a little nervous to put a lot of money in a road bike for this much riding and thinks that I should get an Xcross or "urban" commuter, but I really love the way the road bikes ride.
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Old 09-01-05, 12:34 PM
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I really like it. I think flat bar roadies are very nice and are great for commuting and family rides. IMO too many people buy MTBs when they should be on this sort of bike. Road bike gearing and wheels, I run 700x28 tires and I have all the holes for racks I will ever need.

Here is mine, notice that even with the stem flipped up I have a pretty good amount of drop from my saddle to the bars.

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Old 09-01-05, 12:39 PM
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The mercier sounds like a good deal for the money. For a little under $1000 you can buy a new Trek 1200 with 105 group components. But buy the bike that rides the best to you. If it fits and you like the ride and feel, that's all that matters. Good luck and welcome to life as a "roadie."
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Old 09-01-05, 02:54 PM
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Thanks to everyone for their input on this thread and all of the other ones I've read over the past few months. I'll set up camp in the bike shop that I've recently fallen in love with and for the next few days I'll test ride every bike on the rack. A new bike from the LBS is the way to go for a first timer- No doubt.
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Old 09-01-05, 05:09 PM
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I have the Mercier (in AL not Steel) and love it. It's the same frame as a lot of the other Kinesis (Bikes Direct) models. The 105 components are nice, and shift well. I think my bike came set up a little different than yours, but a nice buy nonetheless.

FWIW here is the bike I got (for $695 off Ebay):

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...orvus_al05.htm
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