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reliable no frills road bike?

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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

reliable no frills road bike?

Old 07-30-11, 11:56 AM
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reliable no frills road bike?

I am looking for a new bike. My last bike was stolen. I don't drive so my bike is my main mode of transportation. Since this is the case I need a new one ASAP, in no more than 2 weeks time.

I've been looking into buying a new road bike and using it for commuting only, no training, or racing, or charity rides, just a small 20 mile round trip commute 4 times a week- though I don't plan on putting panniers or anything like that on it just fenders. The commuter bikes aren't that appealing to me, comfort isn't a huge factor, a bike that is "fun" to ride is more important. Cyclocross bikes seem to be ideal for what I want but they are too expensive, I am dealing with a budget of $400.

If I were to buy new I would buy this Vilano FORZA. **** brand I know, but it is new and within my budget.

The other option is used. I've been lurking for sometime on this forum so I know the usual suggestions, a good TREK from the 90's, or GIANT, or anything that was actually decent 15 years ago. But time is of the essence so buying a quality used bike might not be possible.

I've experience with buying used "vintage" bikes but they never seem to work properly, and I don't want a fixer upper, so I'm throwing that option out. No 30+ TLC clunkers. I just don't have time to refurbish.

So question time... How do the components on the Vilano FORZA look? I haven't been able to find many reviews on them, especially the Shimano 2300 STI shifters/derallieurs. In your opinion will this bike last 5+ years with regular maintenance? What is the best part about the bike and the worst part?

If a used bike pops up I'll post it to get some feedback but right now there are 0 on the radar.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 07-30-11, 12:15 PM
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Check out Performancebike.com for their Scattante line of bikes. Nashbar also sells some no frills bikes. Then there's BikesDirect.com

That Vilano may be fine; 2300 was rolled out for 8-speed bikes after Tiagra and Sora went 9-speed. Has the thumb downshifter like Sora, probably as reliable. With regular maintenance, it'll last a long time. There are still 1970's Schwinn Varsitys out there rolling.

Just make sure everything works properly and the wheels are true with even spoke tension. A lot of cheap wheels are not built well and this is why they fail.
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Old 07-30-11, 12:32 PM
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Since time and money are your two major factors here, have you tried going to some of the LBS to see if they have some used bikes that fall within your price range? The bike you linked to may be in your price range, but without ever having ridden one to see how they fit and ride, I think is asking for problems. I know that a lot of guys here do it, but I'm not a big fan of buying bikes on-line. Too many horror stories about having issues with the bike after purchase and having the warranty dropped by the manufacturer if you didn't have the bike assembled by one of their authorized dealers.

The 2300 line is initially an 8 speed but is also offered at the low end of Shimano's 9 speed drivetrain family (2300, Sora and Tiagra). I have never ridden a bike with 2300 components on them so I am not going to comment on their performance. I do know a person that shows up to our club ride on occasion that has a flat bar road bike that, except for the shifters, has the 2300 drivetrain on it. I haven't heard any complaints from him so I imagine that he is OK with them. Maybe someone else on this forum has had experience with the 2300 line and can be of more help.

Edit: The 2300 can be used with the 9 speed Sora or Tiagra cassette.
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Old 07-30-11, 12:46 PM
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bikesdirect.com?
If you have the tools and knowledge to do the minimal assembly...
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Old 07-30-11, 02:26 PM
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OP here...

Since bikesdirect was mentioned...

I have checked out bikesdirect.com and there were a few on there I was considering. This Windsor Wellington 3.0, This Mercier Galaxy SC3, and This Gravity Liberty 1. I shied away from bikesdirect because I've been reading some fairly bad things about them. To me, a laymen when it comes to bikes, these 3 seem about the same, Carbon forks, similar drive trains, Aluminum.

Are any of these bikes a better buy than the Vilano FORZA in the original post?

The FORZA is $50 cheaper so that means, perhaps a "pro set-up" to ensure a warranty or descent light weight fenders...

Also, I've looked at the LBS in my area and they mostly have new bikes out of my price range.
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Old 07-30-11, 02:58 PM
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I know it's not what you want to hear, but given your budget and purpose, a road bike is the wrong tool for the job. There are lots of single speed, hybrid and commuter bikes in your price range that are much more suitable.
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Old 07-30-11, 03:04 PM
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I'd get the Windsor or the Forza, it's got more of the road bike geometry we like to see around here.

No matter which bike you get, you'll need to learn to do maintenance and repairs yourself. The Mechanics forum is excellent for getting quick help. There's also Sheldonbrown.com, Parktools, and various other sites on the internet. At the very least, you'll need a floor pump.

I'd also recommend:

cycling clothing (bib shorts, jersey, cycling socks, cycling shoes)
* helmet
* blinkie lights (Planet Bike Superflash)
saddle bag to carry extra tube, tire levers, patch kit, allen wrenches
frame pump
* water bottles and cages
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Old 07-30-11, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by halfspeed
I know it's not what you want to hear, but given your budget and purpose, a road bike is the wrong tool for the job. There are lots of single speed, hybrid and commuter bikes in your price range that are much more suitable.
Aww, you had to go and inject common sense advice in here!

This Dawes Singlespeed has much nicer components for the same price

The steel Messenger is even cheaper
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Old 07-31-11, 04:13 AM
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If hills are not a factor, then I was going to suggest a singlespeed bike too.

I have done rides up to 50 miles on mine and chose a gear that is good for cruising at 20 mph (39/15). I can do 25 mph on it but spin out beyond that. Hills beyond 8% are tough unless they are very short. The only real disadvantage is slow-starting from a standstill. It is harder to get up to speed without a lower gear to start in.

I put mine together from a friend's frame/fork & wheels, but parts from our spares boxes. I only had to spend £25 ($40) to get it on the road!

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