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Deciding on my first road bike. Looking heavily at the Felt Z85. Have a few questions

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

Deciding on my first road bike. Looking heavily at the Felt Z85. Have a few questions

Old 06-25-13, 10:05 PM
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Deciding on my first road bike. Looking heavily at the Felt Z85. Have a few questions


I am looking to buy my first road bike. I have a few in mind that I have looked at and done research on, but I wanted to get you more experience riders opinions. I would like to spend around $1300.

The bike at the top of my short list right now is the Felt Z85. I have not got to test ride it yet, and to be honest, I don't really know how good a test ride would do for me since it will be my first time on an actual road bike. I like everything about the Z85, the 105 components, the look, the price point ect. The only thing I am concerned about is the whole endurance touring vs. speed racing debate, as the Z85 is labeled as a endurance bike. I can't see myself going on rides longer than 4hours to be honest and that is at the max. I am a fairly in shape athletic type person who likes to compete.

Will there be a noticeable speed difference between the endurance labeled Z85 and other bikes labeled racing for around that $1300 price point? I have considered the Felt F85 which is the racing series, but I just love the color and look of the Z85. Can the Z85 be made into a more racing type spec? Am I over-thinking it and should buy it if everything else looks good except for this fact? I'm not really looking to compete in any sanctioned races per say, but at the same time I don't want to be held back if I want to turn it on for some friendly competition.
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Old 06-25-13, 10:16 PM
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Ok, I'm going to talk off the top of my head here as I know nothing about the Felt Z85, but in general the main difference between racing bikes and endurance bikes is the frame geometry. Endurance bikes generally have a slightly longer wheelbase and more upright positioning via a taller head tube, which especially for a newer road rider may be just the ticket. Performance will be very similar to a full race bike, but the main difference you'd notice is that the endurance model will feel immediately more comfortable. There may be a few other minor differences like compact gearing on the Z85 vs. standard on the full race models, but again, that will probably suit you better anyway. Plenty of racers use compact gearing these days BTW, and plenty of the 'older' racers I train with use endurance type frames as well.
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Old 06-25-13, 10:21 PM
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I would say get the Z85. It has a little bit longer wheel base and a slightly taller head tube with an associated relaxed stem angle. This is al for a more relaxed cockpit that will yield comfort on rough roads. This is a classics bike. Look up Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix for examples of the kind of races that this bike would be raced in.

It is not a twitchy, flick the hips and rip the turns criterion (a.ka. crit) bike.
It will still be plenty fast on open rolling courses and should yield stable handling on descents.

Don't forget that speed is a function of the motor more than the bike.
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Old 06-25-13, 10:47 PM
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OP, are you planning on racing your new bike? Are you going to ride with friends or other cyclists as fast as you can, for up to four hours?

I'm guessing the answer is no. Which means it doesn't matter what bike you purchase. The only difference you'd be able to tell is that on the endurance bike, you'd be more comfortable than on a more race-oriented bike.

Beyond that, you could bring the feel of the two types of bikes closer together with some simple changes, like handlebar height and stem length.
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Old 06-25-13, 10:58 PM
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I enjoy my 2011 Z85 quite much, and I like the look of the frame, at least on the 2011 and 2013 model. I never liked that "85" they added next to the "Felt" logo on the frames of the 2012. I see they got rid of the white wheels and handlebar tape on the 2013 model so those are two less things you have to worry about.

You can lower the handlebars on these bikes if you really want too, along with buying angled stems that you can flip to yet lower the handlebars more yet.... but in my opinion you'll enjoy the more upright position. You can play around with different stems and stuff... but in the end it was the right saddle and proper saddle position that made more of a difference for me... I put on a slightly longer stem and recently raised the handlebars back up to the default position and I'm happy with it. I also have long lower legs, which made my knees bend excessively at the top of the pedal stroke, so I upgraded the FSA cranks with shimano 105 cranks, while reducing the crank length to 170mm. My knees still bend a bit more than I would like but there's no pain and no numbness anywhere after playing around with proper fit unless I do something dumb (leaving hands in same position for 15 miles).

It's a bit heavy but a couple pounds isn't going to make any difference at all for a casual rider. A lot of that is in the wheels, which are bombproof wheels that work just fine. This $1000-1500 price range where you can get a 18-20ish pound bike with 105 components is about the sweet spot for price/performance... though I admit to having a curiosity with trying out SRAM components.

There are ways to get bikes even cheaper online, say bikesdirect. If you know your size and can fix your own bike problems it's a path to take...

Last edited by dissident; 06-25-13 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 06-26-13, 12:09 AM
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The Z series geometry has been used in the Tour De France and Olympics so you don't need to worry that it won't be fast enough.
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Old 06-26-13, 12:12 AM
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Ok, thanks to everyone for putting that worry to rest. Looks like I'm going to go with the Z85
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