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Thinking About A Road Bike

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Road Cycling ďIt 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.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

Thinking About A Road Bike

Old 07-27-14, 08:58 PM
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Fastfwd01
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Thinking About A Road Bike

Looking for a little guidance in considering my first road bike. Iíve been trying to study up on road bikes, but maybe you guys can enlighten me here. I frankly donít know enough to know what I should be asking.

About me Ė I bought an entry level Cannondale F300 mountain bike new back in about 2006, but I hardly ever rode it until this year. Iíve only been riding it on the street Ė put street tires on it, clipless pedals, etc. Iíve ridden about 800 miles in the last three months or so. I like that it can tackle the urban environment Ė jump off sidewalks, etc. Itís slow though. I canít really get much over 14mph average on my rides. Iím using Strava and Map My Ride and while I think Iím doing ok Ė beating out several hundred folks on some routes. I am sort of motivated to see how much better I might do with a road bike and if it might further my interest in cycling.

Itís been about the only exercise that Iíve been engaged in for quite some time. I was previously as heavy as 270lbs a few years ago (5í6Ē). I dieted down to about 180, but couldnít get to my goal without exercising and gave up the effort and got back up to about 200. Iíve dropped down to about 175lbs since riding and my resting heart rate has dipped into the 40s (granted only on my Galaxy S5 which isnít super accurate). So, Iím pretty enthused about the prospect of sticking with cycling and seeing if I donít keep interest in it in hopes that I will reach my ideal weight and maintain it.

Iím not 100% sure that a road bike is for me. If anything, Iím looking at the endurance style road bikes believing I might be able to tolerate the riding position on one of them possibly. I donít think I really have the best body type for cycling Ė long torso, short limbs, only 5í6Ē and a heavy frame. Iím guessing they can fit a bike for me whatever I choose.

Iíve got my eye on the Cannondale Synapse 5 Disc 105. I only really know one guy personally who is into cycling and he strongly suggested to at least be looking at a bike with the 105 groupset. I question if thatís really necessary for me if Iím not interested in racing, but the price difference between it and the Tiagra isnít enough to quibble over really I think.

Heís a Trek guy (Madone 6.9 and another higher end Trek MB). He thinks I should get a Trek Domane 4.0, but Iím definitely not spending $2K on a bike. I donít think I need a carbon frame bike really. Iím leery of all of the talk of aluminum being prone to fatigue though. Do these manufactures live up to the lifetime frame warranty if they do break from fatigue?

Iím not such a Cannondale fanboy that I wouldnít consider another brand, but I just seem to like Cannondale. No real reason. My old bike was one of the last bikes still made in the USA, but thatís obviously not much of a factor in the current bikes available. Iím not into cycling enough to really judge one brand from another based on reputation. There is a big surge in the local cycling scene here though and there are some high end bikes around these parts these days.

Sorry for the huge post.
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Old 07-27-14, 09:48 PM
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You sound EXACTLY like me. I got the road bike and I love it. I do however miss jumping curbs, riding down steps, catching air here and there etc. Riding in the Urban area isn't as fun...that was until I started riding IN traffic...that's fun stuff! The speed of the Road Bike is fun though. Just don't get rid of your MTB so that you have it when you wanna go down town and jump some curbs.
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Old 07-27-14, 09:54 PM
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If you really get into biking, I would suggest one road bike and one bike with a flat bar. I rotate myself so I won't get bored with either one as both riding positions has its plus and minus. And if you really dig deep there are some top aluminum bikes out that ride just as good or better than cheap carbon bikes.
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Old 07-27-14, 10:31 PM
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I love road riding for its speed and ease of long distance riding. It's expensive, but nothing beats being able to easily reach 30+mph and blazing through the wind!
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Old 07-28-14, 06:56 AM
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I am in the same situation, too. I have logged around 700 miles on a mountain bike converted for road use. I ride with others on road bikes and only can't keep up on the hills. I am also shorter (female) with shorter limbs and a longer torso and in the process of losing weight. I know road biking is for me. I tried out a lot of bikes and now have a Cannondale Synapse 5 105 (womens) on layaway at my local LBS.
Good thing is that if I want to do any touring where a hybrid bike is preferred then I can just use my converted mountain bike.
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Old 07-28-14, 07:27 AM
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I test rode some bikes this weekend, like you I had read a lot of stuff on the innernets about 105 vs the cheaper groupo's.

IMHO with my eyes closed and shifting the Tiagra groupo was really hard to see/feel a HUGE step down from 105.....Tiagra has exposed cables while 105 buries them under the bar tape, Tiagra has the shift indicators which I really do not NEED......this is all comparing 10 speed Tiagra to 10 speed 105.....the 11 speed 105 coming on the 2015 bikes makes the choices a bit different.

Also the new 105 group if you get a bike with a 105 crank you can put any chain rings on it you choose to, you are not as limited as if you had bought an earlier "compact" crankset. But a lot of entry level bikes do not have shimano 105 cranks, they may have "shimano" cranks but it is not IMHO a 105 crank from what I have seen so far. Many others also use FSA cranks in their bike that has a 105 groupo.

I would not worry about the "body type" to be a cyclist, if you enjoy it then you ARE a cyclist :-).
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Old 07-28-14, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Fastfwd01 View Post
Looking for a little guidance in considering my first road bike. I’ve been trying to study up on road bikes, but maybe you guys can enlighten me here. I frankly don’t know enough to know what I should be asking.

About me – I bought an entry level Cannondale F300 mountain bike new back in about 2006, but I hardly ever rode it until this year. I’ve only been riding it on the street – put street tires on it, clipless pedals, etc. I’ve ridden about 800 miles in the last three months or so. I like that it can tackle the urban environment – jump off sidewalks, etc. It’s slow though. I can’t really get much over 14mph average on my rides. I’m using Strava and Map My Ride and while I think I’m doing ok – beating out several hundred folks on some routes. I am sort of motivated to see how much better I might do with a road bike and if it might further my interest in cycling.

It’s been about the only exercise that I’ve been engaged in for quite some time. I was previously as heavy as 270lbs a few years ago (5’6”). I dieted down to about 180, but couldn’t get to my goal without exercising and gave up the effort and got back up to about 200. I’ve dropped down to about 175lbs since riding and my resting heart rate has dipped into the 40s (granted only on my Galaxy S5 which isn’t super accurate). So, I’m pretty enthused about the prospect of sticking with cycling and seeing if I don’t keep interest in it in hopes that I will reach my ideal weight and maintain it.

I’m not 100% sure that a road bike is for me. If anything, I’m looking at the endurance style road bikes believing I might be able to tolerate the riding position on one of them possibly. I don’t think I really have the best body type for cycling – long torso, short limbs, only 5’6” and a heavy frame. I’m guessing they can fit a bike for me whatever I choose.

I’ve got my eye on the Cannondale Synapse 5 Disc 105. I only really know one guy personally who is into cycling and he strongly suggested to at least be looking at a bike with the 105 groupset. I question if that’s really necessary for me if I’m not interested in racing, but the price difference between it and the Tiagra isn’t enough to quibble over really I think.

He’s a Trek guy (Madone 6.9 and another higher end Trek MB). He thinks I should get a Trek Domane 4.0, but I’m definitely not spending $2K on a bike. I don’t think I need a carbon frame bike really. I’m leery of all of the talk of aluminum being prone to fatigue though. Do these manufactures live up to the lifetime frame warranty if they do break from fatigue?

I’m not such a Cannondale fanboy that I wouldn’t consider another brand, but I just seem to like Cannondale. No real reason. My old bike was one of the last bikes still made in the USA, but that’s obviously not much of a factor in the current bikes available. I’m not into cycling enough to really judge one brand from another based on reputation. There is a big surge in the local cycling scene here though and there are some high end bikes around these parts these days.

Sorry for the huge post.
Do you really need the disc version? Non disc is less money, there is a Domane 2.0 that has the aluminum frame with Tiagra. Maybe you could even find a 2013 for less. I have seen them in 2014 models for under $1200.
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Old 07-28-14, 09:39 AM
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I'm not sure how much the "feel" of the disk brakes changes with some riding and break in, but I rode a Cannondale synapse disk and I was not terribly impressed, the breaks were easier to modulate, less grabby than rim brakes, but overall it felt like it took more lever effort for a given amount of braking with the disks vs rim brakes.

Just my .02, but another guy somewhere in the forums rode the same exact bike at a different dealer and had a similar impression.

I do not do any descents where I NEED brakes, most of my very limited braking is slowing down for stop signs and stuff like that, I can almost go a whole 30 mile ride without using brakes at all some days.

Bill
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Old 07-30-14, 10:24 AM
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I’ve been looking around at bike shops and sort of window shopping I suppose you might say.Was offered a deal of $1,400 on a ’14 Cannondale Synapse 5 Disc 105 in the brushed aluminum which I personally really like, but must not be very popular vs the black if they only still have them available in my size. They can get the ’15 models too with the 105 5800 groupset, but no price break on those.

My neighborhood ‘LBS’ carries Jamis (and Specialized). While I was in getting a new tube yesterday – he shot me a deal of $1,300 for a Jamis Xenith Endura Sport (Tiagra groupset). That’s a carbon bike with Tiagra – for what seems like an incredible price.$600 off suggested retail.

I give the nod in looks to the Cannondale regardless of color scheme, but that seems like an insane deal on the Jamis for a carbon bike even though it has the Tiagra groupset. I keep reading differing opinions on which is more important between frames and groupsets and I suppose that may be expected. If the money situation shapes up in time I may just have to ride both and see if I can tell which feels better. I’m not sure a short demo is going to give me much feedback though.

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Old 07-30-14, 10:30 AM
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I don't get why you're not taking the opportunity to ride these bikes that you're considering. A short test ride will not tell you everything, but it will tell you more than not riding anything and trying to decide based on paper specs.
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Old 07-30-14, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Jaeger99 View Post
I don't get why you're not taking the opportunity to ride these bikes that you're considering. A short test ride will not tell you everything, but it will tell you more than not riding anything and trying to decide based on paper specs.
Well, yesterday, as I stated I was stopping by for a tube and it was straight from work at my neighborhood bike shop. Doc Martins, long sleeve Polo shirt, etc. Last weekend I was just out trying to get my old car running right after washing the motor and it getting wet and stopped by a bike shop I had not yet been to because it’s pretty far from my house (only other Cannondale dealer in the metro). I was in Chacos and shorts and they didn’t have a bike in my size at all that was ready to ride. They did offer to have one ready this week (not the Cannondale I’m considering though).

Speaking of – the prime ‘LBS’ that does sell Cannondale and is closer to me seems to only rent bikes like by the hour if you want to test ride one. From the best that I can tell they don’t allow test rides of their bikes. I haven’t asked. They don’t have the one I’m looking for though anyway. They are the most elite dealership in town.

It does raise the question for me how much stock to put into buying from one dealer over another. The Cannondale shop that is closer to me seems to offer the best after purchase service and possibly their setup fitting is better than the others IDK. They are close enough I could just ride by and get the tune ups, etc. if ever needed. The other Cannondale dealer is too far to ride by and I don’t think they do the lifetime tune ups, but are willing to give a very generous price break on the ’14 bike. They do at least offer a tune up after 30 days of riding.

Frankly, I like to check out the elite dealership (they even have a bistro attached to the store you can visit while your bike is being worked on). They’ve got some cool super high end bikes and the staff seem to try to be friendly, but there’s a bit of a snotty atmosphere to the place – possibly the customers lending to that. It detracts from the appeal of being a customer for me personally.

Anyway, I have mixed feelings about who I should purchase from and how much weight should be given to what shop might have the better after sale service and/or who might be more interested in profiting after the sale from additional services they offer. I’m a fair mechanic. I can probably do most of my own wrenching for minor stuff.
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Old 07-30-14, 08:37 PM
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These are the two that Iím primarily looking at now. I keep feeling swayed one way and then the other. Should I prize the carbon frame and lower level groupset that might be upgraded later or the aluminum bike with the better groupset? Neither might still be available by the time I purchase anyway frankly.

Iím now leery of the supposed lifetime frame warranty being worth much if a frame actually does fail from fatigue - giving a possible edge to carbon. Sounds like either could be toast fairly easily if I crashed it Ė which doesnít inspire confidence in forking out this kind of money.

I donít see myself racing. Possibly going longer distances and improving my Strava rankings. For whatever itís worth.




If it were a decision based solely on looks - I think the Cannondale looks better. I need to try to ride them and see how they feel to me - I know.

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Old 07-30-14, 09:10 PM
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I have a Jamis Xenith, a little different geometry than the Endura. I really like it and it got mine at a very deep discount too. I'm not interested in disc brakes personally, which is neither here nor there. I agree that the brushed aluminum does look good but after a few months I've decided that I like carbon. I think I understand your explanation of test rides but even if you have to "rent" one I think you need to ride both. If you have to rent the Cannondale for an hour make sure you get your money's worth. ; )

And if you crash? You could wreck a frame, you could be fine. No way to know. I've read magazine articles that say that carbon is actually quite repairable though it seems to be a pretty localized skill. I suppose you could look at steel if you really want to worry about repairing crash damage but racers sure don't.

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Old 07-30-14, 10:43 PM
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Here's a thought. Test ride the Jamis. Test ride an aluminum frame bike with 105. Compare the two. Can you tell the difference between carbon and aluminum? If so and you like the Jamis and it fits, buy it. If you think you want to consider aluminum, go to the other bike shop and ask if you rent a bike and then decide to purchase, can the rental fee go toward the purchase of the bike? I can't imagine any shop wants to turn down a sale on a bike in that price range.
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Old 07-31-14, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by a1penguin View Post
Here's a thought. Test ride the Jamis. Test ride an aluminum frame bike with 105. Compare the two. Can you tell the difference between carbon and aluminum? If so and you like the Jamis and it fits, buy it. If you think you want to consider aluminum, go to the other bike shop and ask if you rent a bike and then decide to purchase, can the rental fee go toward the purchase of the bike? I can't imagine any shop wants to turn down a sale on a bike in that price range.
I apologize for airing my learning experience as I’m picking up on what to be looking for. I appreciate the input from those who take the time to read through all of this. I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m being dismissive of opinions. I’m just trying to aggregate the various opinions and see how I believe they might apply to my situation.

I actually watched a video on Youtube last night by this guy from Australia I believe who gave his opinion on the carbon vs. aluminum debate and it sounded like some pretty sage advice. He was stating generally it was a really individual choice, but for somebody who is a beginner to road cycling that aluminum might be the better choice.

I know I’ve barely had clipless pedals for two months now and feel pretty lucky that I’ve only fallen twice because of them. I might only imagine what further complications I may encounter with my first road bike (I’ve ridden a road bike before – 20 years ago in college I owned a Trek, but I’m talking recently).

From what I gather though I might guess that I would probably best see the benefit of a carbon bike on a longer ride vs. a short test ride. The reduced cumulative fatigue from road vibrations might only be really appreciated after many miles.

I’ll try to see about getting the dealers to let me ride a few different bikes soon and get a better feel though. I seem to sway one way and then another from day to day as I pick up new info.
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Old 08-14-14, 06:28 AM
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Update: I put in an order on a ’14 Cannondale Synapse 5 Disc 105. I know the ’15 models are coming out soon with the 5800 105 and possibly improved all around; disc brakes, etc. The local dealers told me they wouldn’t back off the retail price on the ’15 models - $1,570. They would give me a break on a ’14 - $1,350. The LBS I purchased from seems to have a good rep for setup fit and they offer lifetime ‘tune-ups’ with purchase – worth a little something. Probably not the best deal on a ’14, but I believe there only two Cannondale dealers in my area and this LBS was the closest and has the best rep as far as I can tell for fitting.

I wish there had been some info out there reviewing the ’15 models and/or the 5800 group that might have helped me make a more informed decision, but money is tight for me and this seemed like a prudent choice. Plus, I like the brushed aluminum version of the ’14.

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Old 08-14-14, 06:33 AM
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So when does the new bike arrive??
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Old 08-14-14, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Fastfwd01 View Post
Update: a ’14 Cannondale Synapse 5 Disc 105. I - $1,350.
Looks like a good deal to me. That should be an awesome ride! Congrats!
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Old 08-14-14, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
So when does the new bike arrive??
They tell me it usually takes 7-10 business days... there were 6 brushed aluminum left and only in my size (51). Looking forward to getting out on this thing after the hours spent agonizing over the choice.
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Old 08-14-14, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by goenrdoug View Post
Looks like a good deal to me. That should be an awesome ride! Congrats!
Thanks! I felt like it was a good enough deal considering the somewhat limited competition amongst Cannondale dealerships and purchase from a place that should perform a proper fitment, etc. I can see that the '15 models are showing up around $1,450 or so on the internet in some locations. So, probably not the most smoking clearance on last years model deal around, but whatever.
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Old 08-15-14, 01:25 PM
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Out of curiosity I checked around outside of the metro here. A few dealers willing to do $1,200 on a ’14 and $1,450 on a ’15. That might have been handy to have checked on BEFORE I agreed on paying $1,350 and putting down a deposit. Maybe it wouldn’t have made any difference. A couple dealers wouldn’t budge from MSRP.

Oh well… I do expect to get the best fitment possible for what I’m paying and I believe this shop can do that. I wouldn’t count on it from some of the others that I talked to.

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Old 08-16-14, 11:56 AM
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I’ve also discovered that the salesman where I put down my deposit lied to me about the availability of 2015 models. Actually, when I first entered the store and began inquiring about buying this particular Cannondale he told me that there were no more 2014 models left which I subsequently had to correct because I already knew there were. Then he proceeded to tell me that the 2015 models wouldn’t even begin production until the middle of next month inferring that an order for one wouldn’t come in until sometime after that which I interpreted to be late September at the earliest.

I’m unsure if he was just being lazy and didn’t want to get up off his stool. If he was purely incompetent – he didn’t seem to know how to look in the computer to check on the availability that I had to correct him about. He possibly outright lied to me or maybe a combination of all of these possibilities.

I’m calling them to see if I can cancel my order and get my deposit back based on having made a decision under the false impression that the 2015 models were not even available for at least a month or more. I believed they were a reputable shop and I could trust the information that they gave me. I’m hoping that they will agree to allowing me to get my deposit back.

I clearly told him that I was torn over knowing the 2015 models would have the 5800 105 groupset and whatever other improvements they might make.
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Old 08-16-14, 12:23 PM
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I can't believe you didn't test ride a few different bikes. Hope it works out for you.
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Old 08-16-14, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by f4rrest View Post
I can't believe you didn't test ride a few different bikes. Hope it works out for you.
Oh, I did. Last weekend I spent all day Saturday test riding bikes. Honestly, hard to find bikes that fit me that were in stock. I rode a Scott, Bianchi, Jamis, Specialized, and the Cannondale Synapse I want in a bigger size and a CAAD 10. I couldn't tell a great deal other than I did find that I liked the 'endurance' style bike geometry better. The Synapse seemed to be as comfortable as any. I'm not sure I'm really going to hone in on the 'perfect' feeling bike by test riding random bikes - much less out of a bunch of bikes not even in my correct size.

I got a refund on my deposit. I'm reevaluating my choice.
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Old 08-16-14, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Fastfwd01 View Post
Oh, I did. Last weekend I spent all day Saturday test riding bikes. Honestly, hard to find bikes that fit me that were in stock. I rode a Scott, Bianchi, Jamis, Specialized, and the Cannondale Synapse I want in a bigger size and a CAAD 10. I couldn't tell a great deal other than I did find that I liked the 'endurance' style bike geometry better. The Synapse seemed to be as comfortable as any. I'm not sure I'm really going to hone in on the 'perfect' feeling bike by test riding random bikes - much less out of a bunch of bikes not even in my correct size.

I got a refund on my deposit. I'm reevaluating my choice.
That's good. No, you own't find the "perfect" bike in a ride around the shop, unless they happen to have the fit dialed in pretty close as well. But at least you can eliminate some that definitely don't fit or ride well.
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