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Need help choosing between Orbea, Specialized, Trek, Bianchi, and Focus

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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
View Poll Results: Which would you pick? (all have Ultregra)
Orbea Orca Bronze
10.81%
Specialized Roubaix Expert Compact
27.03%
Trek Madone 5.2 (with H3)
13.51%
Bianchi Infinito
32.43%
Focus Izalco Pro
18.92%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

Need help choosing between Orbea, Specialized, Trek, Bianchi, and Focus

Old 06-01-12, 07:28 AM
  #1  
mattteuz
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Need help choosing between Orbea, Specialized, Trek, Bianchi, and Focus

Like most who post on the forums, I am internally debating which bike to go with and would like some experienced opinions.

I've been road biking for a couple years now, but not terribly seriously. I just started really getting into exercising (biking and jogging) and decided it was time to upgrade from my Scattante (yes, I hear your chuckles). I do mostly 30-40 mile rides on a nice dedicated bike trail without too many hills (it was a railway). Working my way up to a century ride to tick one thing off my bucket list. I am 41 and have a buddy who is a serious rider. I'm not going to be racing and don't do the big group rides. Comfort and fun are my main goals.

With that said, I have narrowed my selection down to the following which are in the $3-4K range. All would be outfitted with Ultegra components, so consider that a non-issue.

Orbea Orca Bronze
Specialized Roubaix Expert Compact
Trek Madone 5.2 (with H3)
Bianchi Infinito
Focus Izalco Pro

Thoughts for or against any of these? I've ridden the Specialized, Trek, and Bianchi and like them all with the Specialized just slightly ahead by a nose hair. But to be honest, I don't think my senses are tuned enough to truly tell.

Thanks all!
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Old 06-01-12, 07:32 AM
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RT
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I will be the first of many to say ride them all and pick the one that is most comfortable.

BTW, Scattante is a fine frame.
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Old 06-01-12, 07:39 AM
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The Scattante seems like a pretty reasonable bike; my understanding (and I could be wrong) is that it is made by Fuji. These are all good bikes and I'm not sure what a poll will tell you. You probably want to focus on the LBS. Which one of the local stores do you think will give you the best service and advice? That will limit your choices to what they sell but there are a lot of good choices out there. I suspect most of these bikes have a compact crank but that is one thing I'd probably focus on as well esp. since you plan on doing more challenging rides down the road.
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Old 06-01-12, 07:42 AM
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I'd get the Bianchi. But I wouldn't put Ultegra on it
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Old 06-01-12, 09:18 AM
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Specialized Roubaix Expert Compact ---> SL3

but only because I just bought one and it is beautiful and rides like a dream. I got the white/Carbon version. It is exactly what I wanted.....but it might be different from what you or others want.

Hard to tell you what to buy but I can say I think Specialized makes great bikes (this is my 3rd Specialized) and I also have a Cervelo. You may want to look into the Cervelo R3 as well while you're at it.

I think you should ride them all and then decide and I agree that your LBS should be a big factor in your decision.

Have fun....its great fun buying and trying new bikes.
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Old 06-01-12, 09:25 AM
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Jaymadd
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These are all nice bikes, if money is no object then go with the one that fits the best and that you like the looks of the most.
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Old 06-01-12, 09:28 AM
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assuming they all fit/ride comfy for you, the orbea is the least common around these parts and I might choose that if you like the fit/ride of it. number two for me would be the infinito. on that list of course. in that price range consider synapse and defy advance as well as a cervelo. lotta great bikes in that price range
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Old 06-02-12, 02:23 AM
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I liked the Trek 5.2, but ended up purchasing a Synapse Carbon Ultegra. Zertz inserts are ugly to me. You might also check out Felt Z4 and Cervelo RS. Probably all are great bikes. Find the ones that fit best and then figure out what you like. I was not excited about the Trek 5.2 H3 because it is only available in all black.
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Old 06-02-12, 02:54 AM
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For comfort...Specialized!
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Old 06-02-12, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by RTDub View Post
I will be the first of many to say ride them all and pick the one that is most comfortable. BTW, Scattante is a fine frame.
+1

Bikes are commodities. They use the same components, same materials, nearly identical design concepts. Pick the one that offers the ride feel you like, and you're all set.

I'd also say that while you should feel free to spend whatever amount suits you, you don't need to drop $4000 just to ride a century in comfort. There are plenty of bikes in the $1500 price range that will soak up just as much road buzz as the carbon fiber wonders -- e.g. Specialized Secteur, Cannondale Synapse Alloy, Giant Defy. And of course there's the old classic steel -- Jamis Satellite, Salsa Casseroll etc.
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Old 06-02-12, 07:06 AM
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All the bikes sound good.

Make sure they fill the tires to the same air pressure before you test ride. A hard or soft tire makes a big difference in the ride feel, both for soaking up bumps and for crisp steering response.

Comfort is your main goal (for now...)? If your bike fits OK, maybe you just need new tires, and perhaps a different saddle. Try Continental GP4000 tires. Don't over-inflate them, and they'll really soak up the bumps with their flexible sidewalls. And they have excellent grip when cornering. I'm at 170 lbs, and I use 95 psi front, 105 psi rear.

But a new bike is good, too! It might get you riding more often, then it'll be worth every dollar.

Last edited by rm -rf; 06-02-12 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 06-02-12, 09:31 PM
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I tend to agree with everyone. Try to ride all of these for a comparison; all are good bikes.

I just upgraded to a specialized roubaix pro and really like it. My LBS let me borrow a test bike for a 53 mile test ride and it convinced me.

The first real ride I did with my new specialized was an 82 miler. The following week I did a 200k or 126 mile ride, which was a milestone for me.

If you can get an extended test ride like I was able to do that can help. Good luck.
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Old 06-02-12, 09:55 PM
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Bianchi.
You know you want one.
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Old 06-03-12, 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted by CuRed View Post
Bianchi.
You know you want one.
I want one as well.
__________________
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Old 06-09-12, 11:12 AM
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mattteuz
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thanks for the responses so far. good info.
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