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Obligitory first bike thread (long winded)

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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

Obligitory first bike thread (long winded)

Old 06-03-11, 03:42 PM
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Wits_Of_Fury
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Obligitory first bike thread (long winded)

So I'm getting ready to buy my first road bike. I've read up on and test ridden several, and I am in limbo between a couple right now.

Before I list them, I'll share what I want in a bike and my goals in cycling. I'm looking for a quality entry level enthusiast bike that I won't have to upgrade tremendously for at least a couple years. I don't mind tailoring the bike here and there, but I don't want to end up doubling the cost of the bike or wanting a new one entirely next year. As far as what I want to do with cycling: go fast and push my limits. I love to compete--mostly with myself--and shave seconds off my run times. I would like to work my way into intermediate grouprides and ride centuries by next year, and eventually triathalons in coming years.

That said, here's the bikes I've looked at so far.

2011 Giant Defy 3, Raliegh Revenio, and Trek 1.5 are all out. All of them are missing major components of what I want in my bike, whether it be the right fit, gruppo specifics (I want at least 105, didn't like Tiagra so much).

2011 Trek 2.1-I was only able to ride the 60, whereas I need a 58. It felt pretty good with the exception of being too upright. a 58 will allow me to raise the seat a little and get lower on the bike. $1370

2011 Cannondale CAAD10 4 and 5-Drinking the Kool Aid on this one. As far as alloy frames go, I loved the feel and responsiveness. I preferred the 5 over the 4 because although the Rival gruppo performed better, I wasn't as much of a fan of the shifting style, and I couldn't rationalize spending an extra $300 for the upgrade. On the plus side, I can get the 5 for $1400at one of my LBS, One hundred less than MSRP.

2009 Giant TCR C1-This one is at another LBS and got lost in the back, now they're trying to sell it at-cost to make space for a new model. It was by far the best ride I've had, as it should be. Full carbon, full Ultegra, and Mavic Ksyrium wheels. Loved the bike. The good news: selling price is $2000, $1000 off the original price two years ago. The bad news: it is out of my budget by a few hundred bucks, although I'm willing to expand if it looks like a good enough deal.

I am about to go to a third LBS to test out The Specialized Allez Comp M2 Apex and Allez Elite Comp. Not sure if I'll go with those because of the SRAM and Tiagra gruppos, respectively.

The main battle right now is between the CAAD10 5 and the TCR C1. I'd end up upgrading the wheels on the CAAD10 eventually (perhaps even to the Ksyriums), but not immediately. It's a great bike for the value, and I can see myself happily riding it for a good while. But if $2000 for the carbon/Ultegra/Ksyrium upgrade is really worth it, I'm willing to jump on that offer. The owner told me he's trying to push that bike quickly, so I might not have too long to act. Any thoughts, comments, or suggestions?
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Old 06-03-11, 04:13 PM
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If that were my budget I would consider your shopping list well beyond good quality entry level road bike. Nothing wrong with that, I'm just saying.....to me a high quality entry level bike would be something like a Cannondale Synapse 7, Fuji Roubaix 3.0--basically bikes that are right at the $800-$900 range.

What didn't you like about Tiagra? Because Tiagra feels a lot like 105 except for a few things.

The CAAD 10-4 would be an excellent choice though.

I do think that oftentimes, you plan something out at the beginning, but as you progress you realize certain things did not turn out as you expected and you have to adjust your plan. This is why I think it's a good idea to start with a less expensive road bike until you figure out exactly what you like (or don't like) and then you can make a better purchase later on 2 years down the road maybe. For example, you may end up liking Shimano over SRAM. Or, you may prefer a compact frame over a conventional frame. Or you like vintage bikes, or prefer upgrading, or end up building a bike from a bare frame. I don't think you can be sure when until you've ridden long enough. Even if you're coming from a mtn bike or returning to road biking after a long break. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:17 PM
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CAAD ftw.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:30 PM
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In your position I'd end up going with the CAAD.

1) It's within your budget.
2) It's better to be in a crash with an aluminum than carbon (and considering you're entering the sport, you will crash). You can ride a bike with dents in it, whereas you cannot ride on with the frame in pieces.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:37 PM
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What didn't you like about Tiagra? Because Tiagra feels a lot like 105 except for a few things.
Tiagra seemed to have a slower and rougher shift, IMO.

I do think that oftentimes, you plan something out at the beginning, but as you progress you realize certain things did not turn out as you expected and you have to adjust your plan.
That is a great point, and it is exactly what happened, with the exception that I went the opposite direction you are suggesting. I started researching, looking at, and testing more entry-level bikes (<$1K), and I quickly realized that I wouldn't be happy with it very long. Slowly, my budget went up, looking at each bike within $100 price points. I finally reached a point where I didn't feel I was overspending and I wouldn't go home with buyers remorse. I was taking the advice of many on BF who suggest to buy based on where you want to be instead of where you are. The CAAD10 basically settled that balance.

I don't think you can be sure when until you've ridden long enough.
Also a very good point. I'm sure as I ride more and learn more, my wants needs will change. But my question is this: How do you effectively do that without buying something? Do you ride your friends bikes? Do you test ride bikes at your LBS or ones you see on Craigslist? It seems like it'd be annoying having that fly around the shop that rides all the bikes, knowing full well he isn't going to buy it. What is the best way to experience different styles of riding while you aren't looking to buy?
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Old 06-03-11, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Wits_Of_Fury View Post
Do you test ride bikes at your LBS or ones you see on Craigslist?
The former is good for trying different styles of bikes out, and the latter for seeing if you really would be into cycling. Not that hard to pick up a decent road bike with Sora/Tiagra STI for <$500.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:42 PM
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You spelled obligatory wrong.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Bioluminescence View Post
In your position I'd end up going with the CAAD.

1) It's within your budget.
2) It's better to be in a crash with an aluminum than carbon (and considering you're entering the sport, you will crash). You can ride a bike with dents in it, whereas you cannot ride on with the frame in pieces.
1) The CAAD is in my current budget, but like I pointed out in the above response, my budget is somewhat fluid and I'm willing to go up to about $2000 if I find something wicked sweet.
2) This is something I considered while I was test riding, and you're right. At the time I suppose I was thinking more with the chubby I got from riding a full carbon.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Wits_Of_Fury View Post
1) The CAAD is in my current budget, but like I pointed out in the above response, my budget is somewhat fluid and I'm willing to go up to about $2000 if I find something wicked sweet.
2) This is something I considered while I was test riding, and you're right. At the time I suppose I was thinking more with the chubby I got from riding a full carbon.
And there really isn't too much of a difference in the weight department. They're both fairly light (granted the CF is lighter, but still).

Plus, AL handles better than CF IMHO.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:46 PM
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If you're not planning to race, but to do group rides, then get the bike that's most comfortable, or "speaks to" you.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
If you're not planning to race, but to do group rides, then get the bike that's most comfortable, or "speaks to" you.
Just get the one your soul connects with.
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Old 06-03-11, 05:01 PM
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They are both nice bikes, but while you appear to be getting a pretty good deal on the CAAD10 the discount on the TCR is better.
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Old 06-03-11, 05:05 PM
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Did you budget enough for your riding gear too? Shoes, shorts, helmet, shirt, gloves?

Even if you get a $800+ high end entry level bike, having the right gear makes a BIG difference.

I would still recommend getting a sub-$1k bike and pocket the rest of your $$ for an upgrade to a nicer bike in two years time. By then, you should have at least another $2k saved up. If within 2 years you decide you want to stick to the sport, then sell your sub-$1k bike for around 50% of its purchase price--considering you got a good bike and you took care of it--then you are looking at $2,500-$3,000 to spend in two years. That amount is right around the sweet spot for road bikes wherein you get the most for your money and the best components prior to making to jump to REALLY expensive road bikes that only make you feel good and look good but not necessarily makes you go faster.

A lot of people getting into the sport do exactly that for good reasons. If you decide you don't want to stick with it, then you only spent $1k or less and you can easily recoup half that cost by selling your bike and some gear; assuming you got good gear and you took care of it.

In any case, CAAD 10-4 would be my choice in your list of bikes because it is a really good frame with really good components and the whole rig would hold its value well. I test rode the CAAD 9 with Rival ($1,700) and that bike was sweet! Racy geometry and not the most comfortable, but it was very responsive and light--less than 18 lbs. without pedals per my LBS. I realize now that I wanted a bike with a better riding frame and a compact geometry so I'm glad I did not get the CAAD last year. Not saying I would have regretted buying it then, most likely I would just be selling it now.
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Old 06-03-11, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Bioluminescence View Post
Just get the one your soul connects with.
Resonates, not connects. Get it right!
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Old 06-03-11, 05:39 PM
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The bike that gives me the best vibes so far is definitely the CAAD10-5. The Rival gruppo on the 4 just isn't doing it for me, especially for an extra $300. $1400 isn't too far from the "entry" level prices, especially for how much more bike I'm getting. Plus, the shop selling it for that price really resonated with me because they were more interested in talking to me about bikes instead of talking to me about selling me a bike. They are the only shop that has offered to take my measurements to find the best size for me. As it turns out, I do feel more comfortable and less cramped on a 58, whereas every other shop I went to looked me up and down once and put me on a 56.
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Old 06-03-11, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Resonates, not connects. Get it right!
No, I meant like in that movie with the blue people.
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Old 06-03-11, 06:26 PM
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I got the CAAD10-5 a month ago and it is a great bike. I got no regrets. Get the CAAD and spend the $600 difference for the TCR on some nice wheels and on gear. (I am biased. Just my 2¢.)
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Old 06-03-11, 09:09 PM
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I have a TCR (a bike I'm so happy with you'll have to pry it out from under my cold dead body) but in your position I think I'd get the CAAD. Its a great bike you won't be unhappy with - and you won't be kicking yourself in a month for pushing the budget too far.
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Old 06-04-11, 11:17 PM
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still love my felt Z85. Love the look, attention to detail,smooth ride.. had my first flat at just 75 miles, a rusty safety pin straight through the tire liner.. fixed up easy enough. Good times!
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