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Okay, I'm going to try this again...

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

Okay, I'm going to try this again...

Old 09-30-08, 04:30 PM
  #1  
cuffydog
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Okay, I'm going to try this again...

I'm in the market for a road bike after riding a steel hybrid for years. The Trek 2.3 fit really well, but it seemed expensive for having 105 components, an aluminum frame, and weighing around 20 lb. I've never ridden aluminum over any distance, so that is a big consideration. Then I saw (online) another bike: it's steel, with a cf fork, Ultegra, weighs about 18 lb, costs a few hundred more than the Trek, and it has 650 wheels. If I want to try it, I have to order it online (buy it), have it set up by LBS, and see how I like it. I can send it back after a couple of weeks if I don't like it and get $$ back, except set up fee and shipping--so maybe it will cost an extra $150 or so to do this.

The questions: steel v. aluminum, 700 v.650, ultegra v. 105? Anything else?

I should also say that I've been riding the same bike for 12 years. I want to buy a good, durable bike that I'm going to want to hold on to for the next 12 years. In other words, I don't want a starter bike.

FYI, the steel a Terry Isis sport. It has Velocity Uriel wheels and the Trek has Bontrager Race Lites.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 09-30-08, 05:03 PM
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Steel vs. Aluminum:

The Trek is going to have a lighter and stiffer frame. The Terry is going to feel a little smoother and weight a little more, but it won't be soft enough to slow you down. The carbon seatstays on the Trek do very little as far as vibration dampening goes. Either way, you are getting a very well built rig.

700c vs. 650c:

The 700c Velocity Uriel wheels are pretty flimsy, the 650c's are probably a fair bit stiffer, so wheel stiffness isn't much of a factor here. What is a factor is how the size of the wheels changes the way the bikes fit and handle. 700's are going to hold their speed better than 650's. The 650's are a little easier to accelerate. The smaller 650's would also make the frame geometry more proportional to a smaller rider's body. If you are looking at bikes that have a 50cm toptube or shorter, then 650c's would make for a much easier go when it comes to fitting.

Ultegra vs. 105:

Ultegra is lighter... and that's about it.
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Old 09-30-08, 05:10 PM
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I would only consider 650s if you need them for your size. The steel vs AL is really a matter of how the individual frame is built. Generally, steel will have a smoother ride.

DO an on line fit calculator to get an idea of what geometry you need. If all of your experience is with a hybrid, what feels right could be too short in the top tube and too upright for a proper road fit.
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Old 09-30-08, 05:12 PM
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I know I've said this in several threads, but if you have a Performance store nearby you can get:

- '08 Fuji Roubaix Pro for (last time I looked) $1100 - 10% on all bikes in stock, and also get 10% back in store credit. The frame is comparable to the Trek 2.x line (Aluminum, carbon fork and seat stays), and is equipped with Ultegra shifters and RD, and 105 FD.

- '08 Fuji Roubaix Pro which is comparable to the Trek 2.3, 105/Ultegra (RD). Don't know the current price on that one. It was on sale in the August mail ad for $1000, not including any in-store discounts.

- '08 Fuji Roubaix is the October mail ad for $850 - 10%, 10% store credit. same frame, I believe it's Tiagra/105, comparable to the Trek 2.1.

For the money I don't think you can get better buys in this class of bike.

FWIW, I'd be very hesitant to order a bike online and deal with shipping and possibly returning it.

I replaced an old 30 lb. steel road bike and I don't really know how to describe the difference in ride. The weight of the bike is so different, the saddles are different, I'm new to cycling, etc.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-30-08, 05:23 PM
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If you are very sure about how to fit yourself to a bike then going online can often get you good deals. If you aren't really sure then spending a bit more to get good advice on fit at your LBS is money well spent. A bike that doesn't fit is never a good deal. Make sure that your LBS has a good rep, though. Local bike clubs might be an invaluable source of information.

For places like Performance or REI there is a wide range of experience level with the sales staff. Some are very good and some are not so much.
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Old 09-30-08, 05:50 PM
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Okay, this is all helpful. Weirdly, it's the steel bike that's lighter, maybe because it's got the smaller wheels and the Ultegra components. I did go to the LBS to try out the Trek and they measured me and said that I'd do best with a 51 cm (saddle to handlebar) tt (+/- 1.50 cm) and a 51.37 (!) frame. The wsd Trek that fit so well was a 52 cm. The 20" Terry has a c-c measurement of 50.8. It's the bike with the 650 wheels. I'm guessing there's something about the frame that's too small to take bigger wheels since the 21.5 inch frame (which is too big for me) does have 700 wheels.
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Old 09-30-08, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by BananaTugger View Post
Steel vs. Aluminum:

The Trek is going to have a lighter and stiffer frame. The Terry is going to feel a little smoother and weight a little more, but it won't be soft enough to slow you down. The carbon seatstays on the Trek do very little as far as vibration dampening goes. Either way, you are getting a very well built rig.

700c vs. 650c:

The 700c Velocity Uriel wheels are pretty flimsy, the 650c's are probably a fair bit stiffer, so wheel stiffness isn't much of a factor here. What is a factor is how the size of the wheels changes the way the bikes fit and handle. 700's are going to hold their speed better than 650's. The 650's are a little easier to accelerate. The smaller 650's would also make the frame geometry more proportional to a smaller rider's body. If you are looking at bikes that have a 50cm toptube or shorter, then 650c's would make for a much easier go when it comes to fitting.

Ultegra vs. 105:

Ultegra is lighter... and that's about it.
I disagree, Ultegra shifts better and rides smoother than 105 components. However subtle, there is still a difference. Whether the difference warrants paying 20-30% more is another matter.
Same can be said when comparing Ultegra to DA....
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