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Which bike should I buy? Sorry for the cliche post!

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

Which bike should I buy? Sorry for the cliche post!

Old 11-16-14, 05:37 PM
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dmooredesign
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Which bike should I buy? Sorry for the cliche post!

Hi guys. I'm new to the forum, and fairly new to road bikes (riding on road for a couple years). However, I raced bmx pretty competitively for several years, so I'm not a total bike noob! I'll try to make this brief. I'm currently riding a hybrid and I'm looking for an entry-level road bike with a little more aggressive geometry and riding position. I've narrowed my search down to 3 different bikes (all three are very different from each other).

1. Giant Defy 5 - $645
Aluminum frame/fork. General entry-level sporty road bike.

2. Charge Plug Road Bike (performance bike exclusive) - $699
Steel frame/fork. Sort of a cyclecross inspired rugged city/road bike with disc brakes.

3. Jamis Quest Sport - $750
Steel frame/fork. Modern take on a classic steel road bike.

I have test ridden both the Giant Defy 5, and the Jamis Quest Sport. I love them both. And each have their pros/cons. I plan on test riding the Charge Plug this week. I don't usually ask for people to make my mind up for me, but I'm having a hard time even getting this list down to 2. In case it helps, I'm not really concerned that much with weight and speed as much as overall function and quality. I will be using this bike for 15-30 mile rides around the city, 3-5 mile trips downtown for dinner, coffee, etc.

Any feedback is appreciated!
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Old 11-16-14, 05:49 PM
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Anything under about $1000, I'd get my money's worth at bikesdirect.com

Free shipping, usually, to boot.
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Old 11-16-14, 05:54 PM
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Bikesdirect is where it's at for cheap bikes, although supporting the LBS isn't necessarily a bad thing.
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Old 11-16-14, 06:18 PM
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The Charge looks good- steel fork, stupid website, Performance has good deals.

I would tend to not choose an aluminum fork (Defy).
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Old 11-16-14, 06:43 PM
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Thanks for the input. I've certainly been tempted by bikesdirect.com, but I really try to support local business when I can. I know that the alum fork is not the greatest, however I'm currently riding an all alum hybrid and really don't have too many complaints with the vibration. But that's one reason I'm leaning toward the steel frame/fork for the smoother/dampened ride.
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Old 11-16-14, 06:44 PM
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The Jamis looks very versatile; well suited for riding around town. It can handle fenders, racks, and wider tires.

I'd first want to ride that Charge before buying it; "straight gauge steel tubing" could be a very dead feeling ride.

The Giant Defy is a very popular bike, aluminum frame/fork versus the steel of the Jamis. Ride these bikes before you decide.
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Old 11-16-14, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by bbattle View Post
The Jamis looks very versatile; well suited for riding around town. It can handle fenders, racks, and wider tires.

I'd first want to ride that Charge before buying it; "straight gauge steel tubing" could be a very dead feeling ride.

The Giant Defy is a very popular bike, aluminum frame/fork versus the steel of the Jamis. Ride these bikes before you decide.
I definitely plan on riding the charge before I decide. After riding both the Defy and the Quest, I'd say the Quest was the better feeling bike, and it has a triple crank. Took it up a cobblestone/brick street and it handled it surprisingly well. The Defy is lighter and pretty sharp looking, and $100 cheaper.
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Old 11-16-14, 06:51 PM
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I've got three steel Jamis's, including a Satellite Sport (now Quest sport). Its a terrific entry level bike.
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Old 11-16-14, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
The Charge looks good- steel fork, stupid website, Performance has good deals.

I would tend to not choose an aluminum fork (Defy).
+1, To get the feel of an alloy fork, you have to ride it for 25 miles or so to see how your arms and neck react over time. I'm a Giant fan, but the basic Defy would not be on my list when compared to the Jamis.
Straight guage steel, must assume it's not chromoly steel, Performance bike vs double butted Reynolds chromoly steel, being an old steel bike rider, I'd definitely go with the Jamis again.
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Old 11-16-14, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bbattle View Post
The Jamis looks very versatile; well suited for riding around town. It can handle fenders, racks, and wider tires.

I'd first want to ride that Charge before buying it; "straight gauge steel tubing" could be a very dead feeling ride.

The Giant Defy is a very popular bike, aluminum frame/fork versus the steel of the Jamis. Ride these bikes before you decide.
Strait gauge steel tubing. Nothing wrong with it, but I test rode a Specialized Sirrus with an aluminum fork last Summer. The only thing I had against the Sirrus was the shift levers. Otherwise, it handled and rode just as well as any steel bike I've been on. I guess some folks can feel the difference, others can't. Either way, I would pick mine from a local shop that's been in business for a while if possible. Giant seems like the best bet because of its huge distribution network. If you need something fixed under warranty, you don't have to box the whole thing up and ship it back. Things may be different if you are mechanically inclined and like to do you own tune ups and maintenance.
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Old 11-17-14, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by bbattle View Post
The Jamis looks very versatile; well suited for riding around town. It can handle fenders, racks, and wider tires.

I'd first want to ride that Charge before buying it; "straight gauge steel tubing" could be a very dead feeling ride.

The Giant Defy is a very popular bike, aluminum frame/fork versus the steel of the Jamis. Ride these bikes before you decide.
Where did you see where it specified straight gauge steel tubing? Can't seem to find it. Possibly because I'm looking at Performance's mobile site.
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Old 11-17-14, 07:35 AM
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Charge Plug Road Bike - 2015 Performance Exclusive


"Features:
  • Charge straight-gauge steel frame is stiff, strong and insanely rugged
  • Mechanical disc brakes front and rear offer efficient speed control and dependable stopping power
  • Shimano Claris 16-speed drivetrain offers plenty of gears to choose from
  • Alloy rims are strong and durable
  • Kenda Small Block Eight tires are rugged enough to take you from main street to the mean streets and back

Charge Plug Road Bike - 2015 Performance Exclusive"


If you were to spend $899, the Charge Plug 3 comes with Tange Infinity double-butted cro-mo.
Charge Plug 3 City Bike - 2014

I've had a couple of straight gauge hi-tensile steel bikes that rode nicely enough but also a couple that were very dead feeling.
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Old 11-17-14, 10:30 AM
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OP says he wants a bike with a "more aggressive geometry". The three bikes being considered are not aggressive, they all have more relaxed/endurance type geometries. Of course OP has test ridden and likes them so maybe just means he wants something with drop bars/more aggressive then the hybrid and if he test rides something with more aggressive geometry he might not like it.

With all that said, I would first look around CL to see if something used can be found. Jamis is the best of the three considered but you might find an older 105/Ultegra bike for the same price as new Claris. The Defy is really nice if you step up a few levels. My friend got last years on close out with 105 for $1000 out the door.

But the other key factor is the mention of going out and locking the bike up downtown. I don't know how bad bike theft is in ATL but that's another reason to buy used and minimize potential losses.

Not sure OP's size but:

Really nice older bike (DT shifters but still nice)

Pansonic Road Bike

2010 Felt F-95 Road Bike. Great 1st road bike

Nice older Jamis with higher grade frame(bar end shifters)

Reynolds 631 Cro-Moly Steel Road Bike

FUJI NEWEST 1.0 road racing bike bicycle, like new

Gt road bike 105
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Old 11-17-14, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
OP says he wants a bike with a "more aggressive geometry".
I think he meant compared to BMX and hybrid he was riding before.

I would second the 631 Reynolds Jamis.

However, if you're not a good wrench, I would try to get the Jamis Quest from an LBS and see if they will give you free tune ups if you buy it.
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Old 11-17-14, 10:49 AM
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Giant Defy with a carbon fork. What's the price on that?

For your downtown outings, I'd think a Jamis be less likely to be stolen than the Giant Defy, if that matters.

I think the Charge's disc brakes for urban cycling would be useful. The increase braking power for negligent drivers or when a pedestrian unpredictably crosses in front of you etc. My experience, I'm braking more frequently in the city than in rural areas. Especially downtown, lots lots of braking.
- The one accident I had was downtown city when a Taxi made an illegal right turn in front of me and I couldn't brake fast enough. I wonder if disc brakes could have made a difference?

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Old 11-17-14, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
Giant Defy with a carbon fork. What's the price on that?

For your downtown outings, I'd think a Jamis be less likely to be stolen than the Giant Defy, if that matters.

I think the Charge's disc brakes for urban cycling would be useful. The increase braking power for negligent drivers or when a pedestrian unpredictably crosses in front of you etc. My experience, I'm braking more frequently in the city than in rural areas. Especially downtown, lots lots of braking.
- The one accident I had was downtown city when a Taxi made an illegal right turn in front of me and I couldn't brake fast enough. I wonder if disc brakes could have made a difference?
I believe the carbon fork defy is right around 1k. I test rode that one too. It's hard to really feel the difference on a test ride. I really like the surly cross check and long haul trucker but they are a little too pricy for me, so I feel like the quest and the charge are closer to those types of bikes. The main thing that draws me to the defy is the cheaper price, the looks, and it's at the closest LBS to my house.
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Old 11-17-14, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by kimpw View Post
I think he meant compared to BMX and hybrid he was riding before.

I would second the 631 Reynolds Jamis.

However, if you're not a good wrench, I would try to get the Jamis Quest from an LBS and see if they will give you free tune ups if you buy it.
Yes, I just meant more aggressive than my hybrid. Drop bars, less slant on top tube, etc. I'm about 5'8" and trying to stick to a 54 cm frame max as I prefer the seat raised a bit. I'm pretty good with most bike repairs, I've built several bikes from the frame up. However those were simpler BMX racing bikes so I haven't had much experience working with derailleurs.
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Old 11-17-14, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by dmooredesign View Post
Yes, I just meant more aggressive than my hybrid. Drop bars, less slant on top tube, etc. I'm about 5'8" and trying to stick to a 54 cm frame max as I prefer the seat raised a bit. I'm pretty good with most bike repairs, I've built several bikes from the frame up. However those were simpler BMX racing bikes so I haven't had much experience working with derailleurs.
Derailleurs are pretty easy. Just youtube them. Once you do it a few times you'll get the hang of it. Of course it just takes some time and concentration to get it right, especially if you are indexing. I just use friction so I only have to set the limits and boom done
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Old 11-18-14, 10:54 AM
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I have eliminated the Giant Defy 5 from my list, so now it's just down to the Charge Plug and the Jamis Quest. I plan on test riding the Charge this week.
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Old 11-18-14, 11:34 AM
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my roommate from college has a steel Jamis and he friggin LOVES it, I think his might be a bit further up the scale, has american classic wheels, etc. I'd give it a serious look
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Old 11-18-14, 01:08 PM
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I'd make sure to get a carbon fork.
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Old 11-18-14, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Astrozombie View Post
I'd make sure to get a carbon fork.
Steel fork is fine
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Old 11-18-14, 05:13 PM
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I'd personally roll with the Giant, but yeah, all of em are all about what in what in terms of what you're getting ...

looks like both the Giant and the Jamis have Shimano Claris groupo's so... I guess... I mean, it is what it is...
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Old 11-18-14, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bbattle View Post
Charge Plug Road Bike - 2015 Performance Exclusive


"Features:
  • Charge straight-gauge steel frame is stiff, strong and insanely rugged
  • Mechanical disc brakes front and rear offer efficient speed control and dependable stopping power
  • Shimano Claris 16-speed drivetrain offers plenty of gears to choose from
  • Alloy rims are strong and durable
  • Kenda Small Block Eight tires are rugged enough to take you from main street to the mean streets and back

Charge Plug Road Bike - 2015 Performance Exclusive"


If you were to spend $899, the Charge Plug 3 comes with Tange Infinity double-butted cro-mo.
Charge Plug 3 City Bike - 2014

I've had a couple of straight gauge hi-tensile steel bikes that rode nicely enough but also a couple that were very dead feeling.
+1 Bro, I would go with the Plug 3 city. Especially if you want a more do it all type, where you can gravel grind in a park, then swap tires and hit the street with a group. Overall a good 1st intro buy
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Old 11-18-14, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by RogueRadio View Post
+1 Bro, I would go with the Plug 3 city. Especially if you want a more do it all type, where you can gravel grind in a park, then swap tires and hit the street with a group. Overall a good 1st intro buy
Unfortunately my max is about $750 so it's either the Charge Plug with the straight-gauge steel, or the Jamis Quest with the 4130 CrMo. Which would you pick?
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