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I can't decide which bike to buy

Old 06-19-12, 08:19 AM
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I can't decide which bike to buy

I keep going back and forth on whether I should stretch my budget to buy a carbon frame or be conservative and buy a aluminum frame with good components plus wheels. My budget is $2k.

I keep drooling over the Madone 4.5, cost $1899 at LBS. BUT it has a mixed 105/Tiagra groupset and the wheels are pretty basic. Then there are other things I want to pay for - new pedals, cycling shoes, a thorough bike fitting, and I need a new pair of cycling shorts... it adds up and I'll go over.

But, I've test ridden like 5 bikes, and only the Madone put a smile on my face. I could test ride a bunch more aluminum bikes with higher components (like the CAAD10 105)... or I could just take the plunge and spend a little over my budget.

Maybe if I ask the LBS to replace the 105 parts with Tiagra on the Madone to bring the cost down some more, and then I'll upgrade to 105 in a year or so.

Type of riding I do: 25-50 mile fast group rides, and the occasional long ride... thinking about getting into racing but need to upgrade my motor first. Decisions, decisions. What would you do?
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Old 06-19-12, 08:23 AM
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Get the madone! Spend that hard earned money on a smile! Never downgrade. Most lbs's will give you free pedals and bottles. Talk to them... But buy thr damn thing!!
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Old 06-19-12, 08:36 AM
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Get the Madone with the parts you want. Go ahead, overspend now. It'll cost a lot to upgrade later.
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Old 06-19-12, 08:44 AM
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What are you riding on now? If you are going to race, I wouldn't be looking at a Madone... I wouldn't worry too much about the difference between Tiagra and 105. I have a bike with 2200 components and it is just as capable as my 105 bikes. To me, entry level carbon is not as good as good aluminum. Have you ridden a Felt F series, or a Cannondale CAAD10? Those will be the bikes you wished you had bought once you get into racing.
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Old 06-19-12, 08:48 AM
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My mistake, the $1899 was for the 3.1. The 4.5 costs $2199. I know the 3.1 weighs a bit more, like 300 grams, but I don't really care about 300 grams. I test rode the 4.5 because they didn't have the right frame size on the 3.1 for me.

Joe, what's wrong with the Madone for racing?
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Old 06-19-12, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by wkndwarrior
My mistake, the $1899 was for the 3.1. The 4.5 costs $2199.

Joe, what's wrong with the Madone for racing?
Sorry, I confused the Madone with the Cannondale Synapse as being relaxed geometry plush bikes.
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Old 06-19-12, 09:02 AM
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Do you actually know that you want a carbon frame based upon your observations from riding both alu and carbon bikes, or do you just assume you want carbon more on the assumption that its 'better'?
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Old 06-19-12, 09:19 AM
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Get the bike you want or spend the rest of your riding days pining over the bike you DID NOT get. It would suck even more while your soul is being crushed by the same roadies riding the bike you want. If you are riding the bike you want...the suckiness of being dropped will not be diminished...but in your mind of minds, you are saying "MY BIKE ROCKS!" And that is all that matters!
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Old 06-19-12, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by JustinNY
Do you actually know that you want a carbon frame based upon your observations from riding both alu and carbon bikes, or do you just assume you want carbon more on the assumption that its 'better'?
Honestly, from my test rides and my experience with riding the aluminum Trek 1.2 (with carbon forks), I don't find that much difference.

BUT, when I ride carbon, I find that the acceleration is better. I'm not a faster overall rider with carbon, but the differences in acceleration could be an advantage for closing gaps and staying with surges in fast group rides or races.

The feel and comfort? I'm not really sure, but it seemed that carbon smoothed it out a little more.

Or it could be that my preference for the Madone out of the bikes I test rode had nothing to do with the frame material, maybe it just fit me better than the other bikes did.

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Old 06-19-12, 09:55 AM
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personally I'd rather have a nicer AL bike and spend some of my leftover loot on nice accessories, Garmin 500, nice shoes/pedals (if you don't already have 'em), cages/bottles, etc.

as much as I'd love to get a nice carbon bike next time, I suspect that a higher end AL bike with more accessories will be the path I take, unless I get those accessories before I get my next bike.
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Old 06-19-12, 09:57 AM
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What about some haggling with the LBS about the price? With the end of the product year coming up he might cut you some slack on an even higher model or better components for the Madone. Unless they are really moving bikes out the door maybe some dealing is possible. As said, get the bike you really want and fits/performs the way you want/need.

I just did the N+1 bit and got the CAAD 10 4Rival. I could afford some of the carbon bikes but my experience with the aluminum frames kept me on them. If you are racing and like the carbon frame Madone, whichever model, go for it and get the kit and accessories you need to ride and enjoy it. Regret is a terrible thing and can ruin the owner's experience. Best of luck in making your decision.
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Old 06-19-12, 10:03 AM
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I think that Madone has a Tiagra FD and cassette. Ask the LBS to replace the FD with a 105 and get it (the 105 FD is about $50 MSRP). At least then you will have a matching set. To me, mixing the shifting components (brifters, FD, RD) is like wearing black shoes, a black belt and a brown watch band. Not a huge deal, and most people won't notice...but the feng shui is all off.

I really don't understand why a major manufacturer would mix 105/Tiagra components on a $2000 bike, especially when the MSRP difference on those components is less than $100. Me, I wouldn't spend that kind of money for a bike with Tiagra anything...just seems very penny-pinching on Trek's part. Just put the 105 FD and cassette on there.
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Old 06-19-12, 10:08 AM
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Get the one you feel more comfortable on.
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Old 06-19-12, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by alexaschwanden
Get the one you feel more comfortable on.
As stated above.

You can replace or upgrade almost any part of the bike, but having a bike that just feels good and comfortable for whatever reason is where you want to spend your money.
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Old 06-19-12, 07:52 PM
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get both
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Old 06-19-12, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by sced
Get the Madone with the parts you want. Go ahead, overspend now. It'll cost a lot to upgrade later.
+1. Components are never cheaper than they are as part of an OEM build.
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Old 06-19-12, 08:24 PM
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get neither until you have the cash to get what you want. Sounds like you want a nice carbon bike. Do not compromise.
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Old 06-19-12, 08:30 PM
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Bought a Madone 3.1 Sunday. Get it and ride
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Old 06-20-12, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by pgjackson
I really don't understand why a major manufacturer would mix 105/Tiagra components on a $2000 bike, especially when the MSRP difference on those components is less than $100. Me, I wouldn't spend that kind of money for a bike with Tiagra anything...just seems very penny-pinching on Trek's part. Just put the 105 FD and cassette on there.
That's an easy question. Multiply the savings per unit and that is your answer. Why do you think 99.9% of cars come with that crappy temporary spare tire? Trek and all of the major brands are trying to hit price points with most of their bikes, and that savings has to come from somewhere. Corners are often cut in the cranks (using FSA instead of Shimano/SRAM), brakes (using TEKTRO instead of Shimano), and wheels using Alex brand (or some other horrible generic wheel). One of the few bike makers I have seen that does not get cheapo on parts in Ghost and they are out of Germany. They use name brand parts for everything. The problem is you have to get them online.
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Old 06-20-12, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by bonz50
personally I'd rather have a nicer AL bike and spend some of my leftover loot on nice accessories, Garmin 500, nice shoes/pedals (if you don't already have 'em), cages/bottles, etc.

as much as I'd love to get a nice carbon bike next time, I suspect that a higher end AL bike with more accessories will be the path I take, unless I get those accessories before I get my next bike.
Accessories come and go. You can acquire them over time, and you tend to replace, or upgrade them as they wear out or improved stuff comes out.

Buy a good bike however, and you can easily ride it for 10 plus years ( 20 or 30 actually, but few people don't succome to wanting something new for that long.

So I'd buy the best bike I could afford, and worry about nice, but unecessary, addons like a Garmin, later.
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Old 06-20-12, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by joe_5700
That's an easy question. Multiply the savings per unit and that is your answer. Why do you think 99.9% of cars come with that crappy temporary spare tire? Trek and all of the major brands are trying to hit price points with most of their bikes, and that savings has to come from somewhere. Corners are often cut in the cranks (using FSA instead of Shimano/SRAM), brakes (using TEKTRO instead of Shimano), and wheels using Alex brand (or some other horrible generic wheel). One of the few bike makers I have seen that does not get cheapo on parts in Ghost and they are out of Germany. They use name brand parts for everything. The problem is you have to get them online.
Cutting corners is probably the correct answer. Just seems ultra-cheesie to put a $2000 price tag on a bike and then go cheap on the FD. I'm sure the difference to Trek between the cost of a 105 and Tiagra FD is only a few dollars. I'm sure they are saving a bit in bulk sales but in my opinion it tarnishes the product just a little when they cheap-out like that.
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Old 06-20-12, 12:23 PM
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If the only Tiagra parts are the cassette and FD, I'd leave them be and just bite the bullet to go a little over budget for the Madone. The cassette should really be considered an expendable like tires and chains as it will wear out and need to be replaced eventually. The FD is just a shaped piece of metal on pivots, most likely the only difference between Tiagra and 105 is weight and maybe a slight difference in design which you may or may not notice. You can upgrade later as they wear out.

I'm saying go for the Madone because you really seem to like it better after test riding. I think it's better to get what you want so you don't have that nagging regret ruining your fun when riding your "compromise" bike.
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Old 06-20-12, 12:32 PM
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I'd take a CAAD10 with Sram over the Madone anyday
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Old 06-20-12, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by pgjackson
Cutting corners is probably the correct answer. Just seems ultra-cheesie to put a $2000 price tag on a bike and then go cheap on the FD. I'm sure the difference to Trek between the cost of a 105 and Tiagra FD is only a few dollars. I'm sure they are saving a bit in bulk sales but in my opinion it tarnishes the product just a little when they cheap-out like that.

I 100% agree. I think Trek and Cannondale give the customer less at MSRP than most other brands...
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Old 06-20-12, 01:53 PM
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The answer is always get the one that puts the biggest smile on your face. Unless of course it bankrupts you and your family walks out on you. Then, and only then, you might want to reconsider.
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