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Going test riding this week - anything I should add to my list? (Sub $1500 wsd)

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Going test riding this week - anything I should add to my list? (Sub $1500 wsd)

Old 08-18-11, 10:01 AM
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FlyingZombo
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Going test riding this week - anything I should add to my list? (Sub $1500 wsd)

Anyone care to make a recommendation on what I should add (or delete) from my list to test ride?

I'm a 5'2" female rider, short torso/long legs, not into multi-day touring, but looking for a good aluminum bike that will take me on a century but also allow me to push hard when I want to race. Somewhere in between super comfy and super aggressive

My budget is $1500 max (not including pedals), and for what I am interested in, that seems to be a sweet spot. I've done a solid amount of online research and also talked to a few LBS folks, though I think forums like this might offer a bit more objectivity than a salesperson (granted, every LBS is different - some in NYC are awesome and some are just horrific in their approach to dealing with female customers, in my experience).

All of the bikes below have 105 components throughout, but I'd like to have carbon fork, carbon seat stays, compact crankset and be under 20lbs. I don't know much about frames, but I know everyone raves about the CAAD 10's. How about the others below? The other thing to consider is that I'm not sure if I should only be looking at WSD bikes. I don't want something where I'm super stretched out when shifting/braking, but I also know other female riders who are annoyed that their bars are so narrow they often feel like they can never put their hands on the top of the bar because it's too unstable. Should I even consider mens? I guess it depends on geometry and proportions. All the stores I'd consider buying from include a fitting, so I am confident they won't sell me something that is way too big/small.

Anyway, this is a list I made based on what's available in my price range (hoping I might score an end of summer deal somewhere), my ideals, and what the shops that I would consider purchasing from offer (truly, two shops in particular in lower Manhattan were so uninformed, snobby and macho that I completely crossed them off the list, even if they carried bikes I like).

-Cannondale Caad10 105 (women's retail $1500): https://goo.gl/Jmz6D
-Cannondale Synapse 5 105 (women's retail $1390) https://goo.gl/q7388
-Bianchi Via Nirone 7 105 $1399 https://goo.gl/lu0Tp women's https://goo.gl/HBS5q (also $1399)
-Felt ZW 75 women's https://goo.gl/bsWWK ($1200) or the Z85 https://goo.gl/jQGGd (also $1200)
-Specialized Dolce Elite Compact https://goo.gl/hcV4L ($1450)

Anyway. I'll try them all out and end up going with what feels best, but I wonder if there's a bike someone thinks I MUST try. Any recs are totally appreciated. I currently ride a hybrid - Giant Dash, so I know these will all feel quite different, hopefully more nimble, more lightweight, stiffer, too? Thanks!
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Old 08-18-11, 10:44 AM
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Giant Defy 1. Actually the women's version is the Avail 1. https://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...er/7307/44117/
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Old 08-18-11, 11:15 AM
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Sounds like fun.

Don't write off a bike just because it's not WSD.

WSD is mostly a marketing gimmick.
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Old 08-18-11, 11:51 AM
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test riding is overrated.
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Old 08-18-11, 11:55 AM
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You have started with a pretty good selection there. This price point has many bikes that you will find to your liking I am a Cannondale Synapse 5 rider and I find it a very comfortable ride. It is snappy enough for non-racers and I have not one single negative thing to say about it (I love it). Now, having said that, no one can give you a REAL recommendation. All that we can do is suggest test riding all of the bikes on your list. In many cases a test ride won't tell you much. That depends on the shop and the length of the ride they allow. At this price range all of these bikes will make you one happy rider. I do not buy into the carbon seat stays. I find them more of a marketing ploy (as I do with WSD). I am a big guy at 6'1" 210lbs, so carbon seat stays would not really do a lot for me, you, being smaller, may find quite differently. Also, do not feel locked into the WSD angle. Many adjustments can be made on "Men's" bikes, such as stem length, saddle position crank arm length, etc. to fit you properly. Do not limit yourself. You have a good principle as far as not dealing with bad shops. This may be more important than you realize when it comes down to needing service. A shop that will not help you before you buy is not likely to be stellar when it comes to service, especially to new riders. Of course that is just MY experience but you may many who agree with it.

The only part of road bike shopping that is more fun than the actual shopping is BUYING one. Good luck in your search and come back and let us know what you decided to get...and POST PICS!!!

Oh yeah.....the Giant Avail 1, as suggested by another poster, is a bike you may consider as well.

Cheers,

Brian J.
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Old 08-18-11, 12:15 PM
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Wife loves her synaspe 5. You might want to try the Caad,she did and also liked that but it was a little to aggressive she said.
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Old 08-18-11, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by baj32161 View Post
You have started with a pretty good selection there. This price point has many bikes that you will find to your liking I am a Cannondale Synapse 5 rider and I find it a very comfortable ride. It is snappy enough for non-racers and I have not one single negative thing to say about it (I love it). Now, having said that, no one can give you a REAL recommendation. All that we can do is suggest test riding all of the bikes on your list. In many cases a test ride won't tell you much. That depends on the shop and the length of the ride they allow. At this price range all of these bikes will make you one happy rider. I do not buy into the carbon seat stays. I find them more of a marketing ploy (as I do with WSD). I am a big guy at 6'1" 210lbs, so carbon seat stays would not really do a lot for me, you, being smaller, may find quite differently. Also, do not feel locked into the WSD angle. Many adjustments can be made on "Men's" bikes, such as stem length, saddle position crank arm length, etc. to fit you properly. Do not limit yourself. You have a good principle as far as not dealing with bad shops. This may be more important than you realize when it comes down to needing service. A shop that will not help you before you buy is not likely to be stellar when it comes to service, especially to new riders. Of course that is just MY experience but you may many who agree with it.

The only part of road bike shopping that is more fun than the actual shopping is BUYING one. Good luck in your search and come back and let us know what you decided to get...and POST PICS!!!

Oh yeah.....the Giant Avail 1, as suggested by another poster, is a bike you may consider as well.

Cheers,

Brian J.
Words of wisdom. The shop where I got my Defy 1 knew nothing about the bike and only allowed me to "test ride" it in their small parking lot (watched closely by the salesman). The week after I bought it, I started having problems with the spokes. THREE SEPARATE TIMES I was in the shop with spoke issues. Each time they scratched their heads, "fixed" the spoke and said have a nice day. Never once did they offer to replace the obviously bad wheel. But they gave me a smoking deal on the bike sale...I just refuse to ever go back.
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Old 08-18-11, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
Words of wisdom. The shop where I got my Defy 1 knew nothing about the bike and only allowed me to "test ride" it in their small parking lot (watched closely by the salesman).
I would pass on nay LBS that didn't allow a reasonable test ride. Several years ago I was torn between CF, Ti, or a combo. I would have ended up with the combo without a long test. The LBS told me to take the bike home and keep it an extra day since it was a three day weekend. I ended up buying an all Ti since I found out the combo combined the worse in materials rather than the best.

More recently I took a CF bike out for a test rifde of 30 minutes. I came back and the LBS said that's not long enough and offered to lend me some cold weather clothes so I would be comfortable. They also asked what kind of pedals I use and put their own pedals on the bike while checking it out before I went on the ride. In both cases, I brought bikes right away from them
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Old 08-18-11, 01:15 PM
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I steer away from bikes with frames made of "combo materials".

In my opinion, the "joints" of these combo frames are always the "weak links", when frame failure/issues begin to manifest.
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Old 08-18-11, 02:55 PM
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You don't have to stick with WSD, even if it's "men's" bike, as long as it fits and you're comfortable, it's ok. Just to tell you something, Cannondale tends to lean on the larger sizing in the industry, so you might have trouble with fitting on it. One thing to remember, make sure you have clearance on the top tube, that's one of the most important thing out there.

I'm from NYC, mind telling me which LBS you're planning to visit? If it's a shop that I'm familiar with, I might be able to help you out on pricing.
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Old 08-18-11, 03:14 PM
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Thanks, everyone for your comments. I definitely want to keep an open mind with this and go with what fits best and feels best. I wish a LBS in NYC would let me take a bike out overnight so I could actually head to the park to ride it for an hour or two, but I am pretty doubtful that would ever happen. I'm expecting most of them to allow me to maybe ride around the block for 10 minutes?

I know a few folks who have bought bikes from some of the "cool" shops in the city, only to have the mechanic or salesperson roll their eyes when they walked in with a simple friendly question or a request for a quick gear question or brake adjustment. I can't deal with that nor do I wish to be treated with disregard or indifference because I didn't plunk down 5k on a shiny new Cervelo (no disrespect to Cervelo owners - they're beautiful bikes!)

Right now I'm probably going to consider Toga Bikes, Sid's, Echelon, Zen Bikes. (The other biggies are missing for obvious reasons.)
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Old 08-18-11, 03:25 PM
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FlyingZombo, check your PM, just gave you a message.
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Old 08-18-11, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by FlyingZombo View Post
Thanks, everyone for your comments. I definitely want to keep an open mind with this and go with what fits best and feels best. I wish a LBS in NYC would let me take a bike out overnight so I could actually head to the park to ride it for an hour or two, but I am pretty doubtful that would ever happen. I'm expecting most of them to allow me to maybe ride around the block for 10 minutes?

I know a few folks who have bought bikes from some of the "cool" shops in the city, only to have the mechanic or salesperson roll their eyes when they walked in with a simple friendly question or a request for a quick gear question or brake adjustment. I can't deal with that nor do I wish to be treated with disregard or indifference because I didn't plunk down 5k on a shiny new Cervelo (no disrespect to Cervelo owners - they're beautiful bikes!)

Right now I'm probably going to consider Toga Bikes, Sid's, Echelon, Zen Bikes. (The other biggies are missing for obvious reasons.)
Is there a Performance Bike where you live? That would be a great place to start. Great service, no attitudes, and a wide range of bikes to choose from. There are some really nice Fuji's in your price range...they even cary Focus now.
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Old 08-18-11, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
Is there a Performance Bike where you live? That would be a great place to start. Great service, no attitudes, and a wide range of bikes to choose from. There are some really nice Fuji's in your price range...they even cary Focus now.
Ironically there's no Performance in NYC......
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Old 08-18-11, 05:46 PM
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I'm 5'2" ride a short top-tube bike (= short torso), I'm an avid road rider, moderately aggressive, I don't race but I do long rides (century+) and like to go fast(ish) down hill and do lots of climbing rides.

I just shopped for a bike, and ended up with a Scott CR1 sl - which is not in your price point, but there are other models in the Scott line (Contessa) that might work for you.

For sizing, I look for a 500-510mm effective top tube and a 105-110 head tube. shorter top tube + taller head tube = smaller feeling bike. I use an 80mm stem on my Scott.

I've ridden both 38 and 40cm bars, and they are both OK, my fitter wants me on 38s but I like 40's a bit better.

Stems and bars are easy to swap aftermarket. On several of those bikes you may have to swap for a shorter stem. The dealer should allow you to swap for a shorter stem, and eat at least part of the cost. Handlebars are more of an issue, since they are more complicated to swap out.

You have to get a frame that fits you. That's the most important thing.

The Felt is too big.
The Bianchi is just on the edge of too big.
The CAAD is going to feel bigger than the Synapse, and will be a lower more aggressive position. EIther might work, you will probably feel more comfortable on the Synapse, coming from the hybrid - the CAAD is a low/race position.
The Dolce looks good, I would ride the 48.

You should be able to go for a real test ride. Once you are very close to buying, try to "demo" the bike rather than test ride it. I paid $65 three times for demos - totally worth it. If you buy from the dealer you demo at, sometimes they will credit your demo costs towards the purchase. I rode each of the 3 bikes on 50-75 mile rides - and you can tell a lot at mile 60 that you couldn't tell at mile 10!

It may be worth having a professional fit done - if possible, at the shop you purchase from. If you go with Specialized, they have a whole pro fit system & train their reps, so you should be able to get help. This is a service worth paying for.

Happy shopping!
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Old 08-31-11, 05:29 PM
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So just an update on the testing front. I tried out a Felt ZW6 (on sale so in my budget. yeah!), ZW75 and a Bianchi Via Nirone 7 at a LBS that is super friendly, customer-focused, non-snobby.

I tried the ZW6 first and - Jesus!- I took off. I don't think I was ready for the pep that the bike had. I'm used to riding a 22lb+ hybrid, so needless to say, my jaw dropped as soon as I took my first pedal. It was sweet, and pretty nimble. In a way I almost felt uneasy on it, it was so zippy. But like I said, it's on sale so I can actually afford a carbon frame bike, which is something I hadn't really planned on. The 2011 comes w/ 105 components and microshifters which were a bit strange to get used to at first, but I actually kinda liked. Also, being wsd, they fit me nicely and I didn't feel like I had to squeeze hard to brake.

The ZW75 came next, a nice ride, too. Zippy, but more solid feeling than the ZW6. Aluminum frame I guess lends itself to feeling more "solid" (heavy?). That said, it was still quick and I really did enjoy it. It was $300 less than the ZW6, but still very much within my budget, which was nice.

Finally, the Bianchi. Oh, the Bianchi. So pretty. But just didn't hit the mark. It felt like driving a cadillac. Maybe because there were extra spacers so it felt really upright, and I realize that is easily customizable, but even just starting up, it didn't take off like the others did.

So next I'm off to try Cannondales and Giants, but man...that ZW6 was pretty darn sweet.

Plus, like I said, the LBS gave me a good vibe. Free lifetime tune-ups, nice employees, attentive and professional.

I love test riding bikes
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Old 08-31-11, 08:17 PM
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Think it's great more women are getting into the sport. Congrats, and please post pix of your ride.

You cant go wrong with the CAAD or the Felts.....
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Old 08-31-11, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by FlyingZombo View Post
So just an update on the testing front. I tried out a Felt ZW6 (on sale so in my budget. yeah!), ZW75 and a Bianchi Via Nirone 7 at a LBS that is super friendly, customer-focused, non-snobby.

I tried the ZW6 first and - Jesus!- I took off.

I love test riding bikes
I'd put a hold or deposit or whatever on the ZW6 while you ride other bikes. I have a feeling that you'd miss it if they sold out.
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Old 09-01-11, 02:10 PM
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So it's done! I went with the ZW6. It's a great bike, and after test riding four others, including a carbon Synapse (b/c the LBS didn't have an aluminum assembled) and a Giant Avail (which also was an awesome bike, but unfortunately a bit too "blah" looking for my taste) I decided to go for the bike that felt the best. It's the most expensive of the ones I tried (except for the carbon synapse, which I wasn't really considering anyway since it was well over $2k), but I feel it's worth the money, it's got the components I want, plus a carbon frame, fits me well, and was a really great test ride.

Interestingly enough, Felt seems to have pulled the 2011 bikes from their site, which is unfortunate, because I wanted to compare it to the 2012 side by side, but off the bat I noticed the 2012 has Tiagra components. Thoughts on that?
https://www.feltbicycles.com/Internat...eries/ZW6.aspx


Also, the 2012 has Tiagra shifters, whereas the 2011 has microshift. Also not sure what the major difference there is and the reasoning behind it (cost?) but in any event, I'll post some pics soon.
Hoping to swap out the white bar tape for orange. Keep it fun.

Thanks again everyone for your comments!
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Old 09-01-11, 02:32 PM
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Nice choice, and well thought out. I ride Microshift exclusively because the ergonomics of shifting. Shimano was too 'throwy' and SRAM is too alien for me. It is poopooed because it is not a major player, but their stuff is solid. Cost is definitely the main factor.

...and as someone mentioned earlier - pics, or it didn't happen.
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Old 09-01-11, 04:29 PM
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Good choice, and way to do your homework, now get those pics up
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Old 09-01-11, 06:03 PM
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A few pics of my new ZW6

Not sure if this will work, but here are a few pics I think you can click to enlarge -
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
IMG_1239.jpg (49.9 KB, 48 views)
File Type: jpg
bike.jpg (76.3 KB, 60 views)
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Old 09-01-11, 06:39 PM
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Very nice looking bike. I won't hassle you about BF pic posting "rules." Enjoy the heck out of it. There are still weeks of riding weather yet.

Cheers,

Brian J.
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Old 09-01-11, 07:32 PM
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Very nice bike congrats...you nailed your first bike purchase...got a bike you felt comfortable on... from a shop that that seemed to treat you fairly and valued your business...you don't do much better than that...good job...and did I mention...very nice bike.
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Old 09-01-11, 09:05 PM
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good, now lose the reflectors and dork disc. but only if you can remove them yourself.
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