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$3500 to spend...any recommendations?(22 posts)

$3500 to spend...any recommendations?thorman
Apr 18, 2001 5:25 PM
I've decided to upgrade from the Trek 2200 I'm currently riding. What are your suggestions for my new ride? I've looked at the Cannondale 3000si and the Trek 5500. I am open to all suggestions. Thanks for the information!
re: $3500 to spend...any recommendations?tret
Apr 18, 2001 6:35 PM
i take palpay
re: $3500 to spend...any recommendations?fire737
Apr 18, 2001 8:13 PM
The only bike you should even consider is a Custom bike from Srong. Carl will custom build the bike just like you want it. The bikes are of the highest quality and you would not be dissapointed. I have had differnent bikes in that price range like Trek 5500 and would never trade my Strong for another Large Bike Manufacturer. Custom is the only real way to spend that kind of money. Also buy Record 10 speed which I feel is more superior to Shimano. This is my opinion only and I am sure people are going to slam me but I do speak from experience. The bike geometry on most brand name bikes is not correct for everyone. CUSTOM. CUSTOM.
If it was me I'd ditto on the custom....DINOSAUR
Apr 18, 2001 8:34 PM
I'd go custom. I checked out Strongs website, also Steelman, Moon, Sachs,Anvil to name a few. The trend seems to be swinging back to custom steel. For $3500 you could have a nice bike built up. Just my opinion. The list of choices are endless....Seems like for that amount of money I'd avoid an off the peg frame and shoot for the moon...
re: $3500 to spend...any recommendations?dustin
Apr 18, 2001 8:43 PM
yeah, the custom is a good idea. when i get to that point, i'm planning on checking out Rourk. they're sleek, custom ti bikes. i saw them a few weeks ago and man, they're nice. they had one on display that weighed 15lbs! i've never ridden Ti, though, so i'm not saying "buy that bike."
pitfalls to custom....dave
Apr 19, 2001 1:29 AM
Nothing wrong with going custom, if you need it due to odd body proportions, but I've read several postings from people who didn't get a particularly good fit, even with a custom. I've seen pictures of customs with 2cm of steering tube spacers and a 90 degree stem to get the desired bar height.

While the customs builders can build anything you want, a whole lot of people don't have the ability to determine the geometry that they require. Apparently the builder forgot to ask about the geometry of the customer's current ride, to determine what alterations in geometry would be appropriate for an improved fit.

Fitting bikes can be helpful, but will only deliver correct geometry if the user installs the seat post, saddle, pedals and bars that will be used on the finished bike. The customer must also have a good measurement for his preferred KOP position. Otherwise, the custom geometry could be further off the mark than a standard frame.
Serotta Sizinggrz mnky
Apr 19, 2001 8:47 AM
If you want custom and want to get it right one of the better alternatives is to look for a shop that sells Serotta and has trained and certified fit technicians. A Serotta Size Cycle is a handy thing for them to have, but not that necessary. Chances are if they sell Serotta they'll also sell other brands, both custom and stock, and can dial you in such that you will have a range of choices. Some riders fit fine on stock "square" sizing while others need something tailored to fit their body. Even if you buy a bike from somewhere else (web, mail order, etc.) it's worth the hour and approx. $50 to get a fitting. It's not the only way, but it does remove a bit of the subjectivity and ease some of the mental anxiety.

I hesitate to recomend a particular bike over another - ultimately it comes down to what feels best to you - not what is currently popular in the magazines. For $3,500 you can play in both the carbon and ti arenas, although a complete custom bike is likely to cost a bit more. Some shops may be running some deals - for example The Spokesman in Santa Cruz has a killer sale coming up this weekend on in stock bikes. Contact them at:

I am neither an employee nor do I have any interest in their business - they just happen to be a high end shop (with a Size Cycle) with some good deals on some high end stuff and excellent customer service. You can use them as a basis for comparison against your own LBS.
question grz, since you seem to be dah manBreck
Apr 19, 2001 9:29 AM
If one rides a particular bike long enuff as I have done with the "medium" sized Klein Fervor and the so-called 58cm Trek OCLV road, and if you have "set up" the bikes to suit you (correct or no).... then you may have conformed a bit or a lot to your "chosen geometry" by what ever means you came by it.

So the Question is ... do the bike-fit-machines (as Serotta uses) and the person doing the fitting take this in to consideration, along with foot length, riding "style", back flexibility, prefer riding on the bars, hoods, or drops, ... other "factors",etc.

Can you be assured you can "conform into" their choices and it works for you as to the geometry you require as you will be spending quite a few bucks or more and "taking the chance" they are right.

As you may not know :), as one gets older as I am it becomes harder to adapt to correct form if you were not coached into it to begin with. That applys to running & biking both.

thx for your thoughts or take on this.

My Takegrz mnky
Apr 19, 2001 11:21 AM

All good questions! I'll answer/comment in the order that you used.

True - you tend to conform/adjust/deal with whatever you're riding - good or not. However, one shouldn't necessarily perpetuate a poor fit, but they will advise you.

The Serotta trained folks *do* take this into account based on observation and direct feed back. Bringing your own shoes and pedals (and possibly saddle) is strongly advised and you spend quite a bit of time just spinnning and getting comfortable while being observed. It can also be very helpful to bring your current ride(s) so that they know where you are starting from. We're not all going to be comfortable with some notion of a certain fit or the current racing position. They don't try and put you into this box.

The "conform into" statment is a little bothersome, b/c the bike should be fit to you. If you aren't comfortable with handle bars 4" lower than the seat they shouldn't force you into it. The confirmation is that they adjust literally *everything* on the size cycle so that you and they know exactly how you're going to fit and what it feels like - except for the dynamic feel of the ride and it's cornering. If you're limited to non-custom bikes then they can figure out which ones are going to work best for you and set the size cycle up to match a given frame geometry. You then just work with bars, stem, and seat locations.

As we get older we're definitely less flexible and have developed preferences (right or wrong) going custom allows you to get completely comfortable with a ride that is dialed to your wants and needs. You may have had an injury or back surgery, or something that makes your situation unique - this should be accomodated.

As an aside you might check out the website and follow the users board and see how many people have had these types of questions AND what the results have been after their custom baby arrives. The satisfaction level is extremely high and people tend to be a bit rabid about it. It doesn't do a quality frame builder any good to put people on anything other than the fit they want and need. also maintains a current list of their certified fit specialists. By no means is Serotta the only game in town, they just happen to have spent a bunch of time trying to get things dialed in and have a successful system. Some riders and LBS's don't believe in the Serotta approach which is OK also. I've met people that travel great distances to buy from cetain shops b/c of their reputation and ability to successfuly fit people.
Thx GrzBreck
Apr 19, 2001 12:01 PM
Your insight is very helpful. Will start saving my coins.

Q about custom's spacers and stem angleET
Apr 19, 2001 9:16 AM
What is the ideal amount of spacers and what stem angle should one be seeking on a custom?
Q about custom's spacers and stem anglebike_junkie
Apr 19, 2001 12:42 PM
There's really no ideal, but first off, spacers are often dictated by steer tube material. Generally, 25mm or less for carbon, and for a steel/alloy steer tube it doesn't matter. Aesthetics has to be considered. IMO more than 30mm doesn't look good, but I see bikes on the floor with 30+ all the time. The industry switch to threadless has created extended headtubes to be the standard thing now, to eliminate a big ugly stack of spacers which can also creak.

You definitely DO NOT want zero spacers. If you become more flexible later or want to stretch your position, you've got nowhere to go. I think 15-25mm is perfect, it looks good and gives you room to play. Somebody above posted how they've seen custom bikes with 20mm spacers, but that's normal, so I don't see the problem there. 40mm would suck, but 20mm is fine.

Stem angle can be whatever you want on a custom, they can design it into the build. If you absolutely like the typical 80 degree stem that runs parallel to the ground, fine. If you like a little rise, a 90 deg gives that and is becoming quite common, as it still looks good, and looks great on sloping TT bikes.

If you're paying custom money, you can get the spacers and the stem angle the way you want, that's the whole point.
re: $3500 to spend...any recommendations?mike mcmahon
Apr 19, 2001 5:05 AM
For that kind of money, you can get a Strong Foco with top-of-the-line everything. My Strong Foco with Chorus 10, Ouzo Pro, Newton stem and bar, Spinergy Xaeros came in a just over $3k. You could certainly stay within your budget with Dura-Ace or Record kit and Velomax or Nucleon wheels. Just don't ask Kristin for advice on choosing a bike or you'll still be here asking questions at Christmas. ;-)
If you don't go Custom now, you WILL later...coonass
Apr 21, 2001 7:24 AM
Obviously the Custom will fit you like no other 'Standard' frame far as Record 10 vs. Dura-ace...I ride both too and can't tell that there is a noticable amount of difference, except that Dura-ace is by far a much quieter equipment (rear-hub) noise.
You haven't given us much infoDMoore
Apr 18, 2001 9:48 PM
How do you ride, how far do you ride, what do you like/dislike about your present bike, what do you want a new bike to do, how will you use it, how tall/heavy are you, how are you proportioned, do you race, would you like to race, what events, what level? All these are questions that need answers before anyone can make an informed recommendation. Do you view a bike as a work of art, or as just a tool to ride? You mention an Al bike and a carbon bike, which are very different from each other.

For $3500 you can build up a very nice bike. A good midrange custom steel frame is certainly possible in that price range. I think you should be looking for a frame in the $1000 to $1500 level, which then leaves enough for a very nice gruppo, DA/Chorus/Record to your taste.

With $1000 to $1500 for a frame, there are many builders who will build you a great steel bike. Simonetti, Anvil, Steelman, Strong, and many more have been favorably mentioned. Mid range Ti frames from Litespeed, Merlin and others are within reach. All sorts of aluminum frames, foreign and domestic, are affordable. Carbon frames from Trek, Aegis or Kestrel are in the range.

I think your $3500 budget is probably a little light, however, for top line Ti or carbon frames, as well as the top steel frames from the likes of Richard Sachs, Spectrum, Moon, etc.
re: $3500 to spend...any recommendations?Duane Gran
Apr 19, 2001 3:22 AM
If you have $3500 to spend, I would try to spend $2500-$3000 for the bike and keep the remainder on hand for upgrades and change-outs. I'm personally fond of the Trek models over Cannondale, mostly because I prefer the carbon material over aluminum. This is a preference you need to determine for youself. A good solution might be to go for the Trek 5200 and choose Dura Ace over Ultegra and get nicer wheels. A good bike shop should be able to make these upgrades for a reasonable price. This should run you between $2500-$3000 for this setup.
Spend $2500 on bike Invest the rest in a 12mo CD(nm)Onrhodes
Apr 19, 2001 7:01 AM
Giant TCR ONCE +vacationalansutton
Apr 19, 2001 7:40 AM
If it fits you, there's no better deal or riding bike. IMHO.
keep the trek & ...Breck
Apr 19, 2001 8:36 AM
buy previously-owned Kawasaki Mule and have sum real fun. :)))

jest kiddin' guyz.

one would think with "money-to-burn" choices would become easier,
however it just moves your reference from "which toy model to buy" to "which lexus model to buy", etc.
audi a8 anyone, or Les Striker 427 kit Cobra(!) ... same price.

decisions, decisions, today, etc.
then ditto tomorrow when you tire of the last "great" ride.
we bike nutts are a fickle lot.

for mee would opt for the extra-light OCLV frame set with "klein-like" airhead style fork ... the EZ part; wheels and gruppo the haard part.
King head set,TTT bar/stem,Syncros ti post, being my only "musts" for more std. set ups.

cheers all!
Ask Kristin :-)Brian C.
Apr 19, 2001 8:52 AM
It's a joke, Kristin, a joke. (Sorry.)
This is a joke...this is only a joke...Kristin
Apr 19, 2001 10:49 AM
if this had been an actual response, it would have been followed by useful information...

First, you should test ride every bike in and under your price range. (This is much easier to accomplish if you live far away from any major metropolis.) After each ride, you should come back and post detailed questions about each bike to the board. I suggest you change your handle every other post so that you do not get sacked too badly by forth said post. Once you narrow your selection down to 3 or 4 bikes, go back and ride each of them again in one week intervals.

Second, if you haven't been fit, you should do that. But there seems to be some confusion about which system, if any, is most accurate. So you should get both the Serotta and the Fit Kit system. If the numbers don't match, repeat the process. Best 2 out of three wins. You can do this and still remain comfortably within your budget.

Better yet, take a part time job at your LBS and build bikes for 6 months. Increase knowledge and budget at the same time. You should really know everything there is to know about bicycles before buying one. :)
Touche ... (nm) :-)Brian C.
Apr 19, 2001 11:19 AM