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Another newbie, 1st bike advice, 6 choices(10 posts)

Another newbie, 1st bike advice, 6 choicesisttimr
Jun 11, 2001 5:54 PM
First, thanks to all who take the time to give advice, i've been following the group and reading the posted reviews for awhile and am ready to buy, just looking for a little more 'real' advice.
I'm looking in the 1500-1600 max price range, I'm 155lb, avg torso, 5'9'' tall. I've identified the following five bikes as the best contenders.

Trek 2200 aluminum/carbon fork 105gruppo $1500

Bianchi Talladega steel reynolds 663/carbon fork ultegra gruppo 105 wheelset $1600

LeMond Bueno Aries reynolds 853 steel/carbon fork 105 rolf vector wheels (2000 model, still new $1300)

Marin San Marino Columbus steel/carbon fork daytona gruppo $1450

Cannondale R600/800 Aluminum caad4/carbon&aluminum fork 105(mostly)

Fuji Team aluminum/carbon ultegra ritchey pro wheels (mail order and only double chainring, a bummer as i live in mountains $1400)

any thoughts?

Thanks again, have really enjoyed gfolowing the discussion sover the last months
re: Another newbie, 1st bike advice, 6 choicesFred(notFred)
Jun 11, 2001 6:39 PM
If you go with the Lemond, you should be able to get an 01 model for the price you quoted. I did. I really like the bike, but I'm partial to steel. You might want to think about the whole steel vs. aluminum thing, ride some examples of each under similar conditions and see if you have a preference.
re: Another newbie, 1st bike advice, 6 choicesLLSmith
Jun 11, 2001 7:22 PM
I have the Trek 2300 which has a similar frame, but different componets. The bike handles great. At your weight the aluminum ride should not be a problem. I must agree with Fred on the test ride. Do not be in too much of a hurry. Compare the steel and aluminum rides and see which one is more comfortable for you. Take each bike out for at least 60 minutes and see how you feel. If you buy the wrong bike you will be looking for a new one in the near future.
re: Another newbie, 1st bike advice, 6 choicesDaveG
Jun 11, 2001 7:37 PM
all good bikes, seems like you've done your homework. I'm partial to the Marin, because its all Italian, well-made, and a bit more unique (but hey, I'm a partial Marin owner). To me the 'Dale is a bit more refined than the 2200 as there has been much refinement of the Cannondale design since the early (harsh) days. I know little of the Fuji, but I'd argue against mail order for a 1st bike (the service is worth any minor extra cost). When I was considering the Lemond's I felt like the finish quality (and excessive stickers) was a turn-off but that won't affect the ride. Ride them all within a short as possible window and pick the one that fits and feels the best. I doubt you could do too badly with any of these bikes.
re: Another newbie, 1st bike advice, 6 choicescycleguy
Jun 11, 2001 9:18 PM
I agree with the Marin, if it fits. Nice bike and very good componets.
re: Another newbie, 1st bike advice, 6 choicesDINOSAUR
Jun 11, 2001 8:12 PM
I'm not an newbie, I might be considered an old roadie, but when I start thinking about a new bike in the future, I start getting brain freeze. I just might skip the whole idea and go with another Klein as I know what I am getting.

Getting back to your question, you will make it a lot easier on yourself by first deciding on your frame material. Then I would go with the wheels, then component group. I presume they all have Ultegra as indicated by your selection. First and foremost should be fit. Lemond's have a long top tube and you could have a problem with fit if you have a short torso.

Also don't eliminate a double chain ring. I live in the mountains also and I can ride just about anything with a 52/39 12-25. If you are concerned, go with a 12-27.

Another real important factor I found is the Bike Shop you are making your purchase. Do you feel comfortable dealing with them, do they have a large inventory, what is their turn-around on service, are they guys that look out for their customers, or are they just trying to make a sale, have you hung around their shop long enough to see how they treat their customers? This is important as these are the guys you will deal with down the road if you have problems with your bike.

One man's meat is another man's poison. Whatever you select, just take good care of it and ride the heck out of it and you can't go wrong.
re: Another newbie, 1st bike advice, 6 choicesHank
Jun 11, 2001 9:52 PM
you're on the right track. Really focus on fit. Bring your tape measure when you test ride those bikes. Go to the Colorado Cyclist site and study their fit formulas. Measure yourself. But then once you get an idea of what fits, I'd consider ordering from a place like GVH - he could hook you up with something like a Steelman with full Ultegra (and this would include hand built wheels) and you'd stay in your price range. Good luck.
Jun 11, 2001 10:49 PM
I've been shopping around too. I'd do the Bianchi in your list.

I've owned 2 Al road bikes (old 'dales) and I'm going with a small custom shop STEEL bike this time.

There have been some problems with the Rolfs on the Lemond. There's a Rolf Pro at my LBS with a broken spoke--it's costing the owner $100 to fix it.
re: Another newbie, 1st bike advice, 6 choicesLen J
Jun 12, 2001 5:58 AM
Having just completed the Bike Buying process (And being somewhat anal when it comes to spending money on me) I spent an awful lot of time researching Bikes & what to do & not do in the process. Here are some things I've learned:

1.The most important thing is fit. Make sure you are certain as to what constitutes a good fit for you. This will require getting on many bikes & tweaking them until you feel right. I would strongly recommend paying for a professional fit. There are several fit systms that will work. I found that the serrotta fit system was the best ($50 to $70 but well worth it.)

2.Test ride all bikes you are interested in. Make sure all the bikes you test ride are adjusted to your fit. Don't test ride if they are not. You would only kid yourself & not get a good test. Make sure the test ride is at least 5 miles and includes hillclimbing & descending. Nothing illuminates a Bikes flex and handling Like uphills & downhills. MAKE SURE THE TIRES ARE FULLY INFLATED. Sounds simple, but you'd be amazed how often they are not. Nothing will make a bike feel more sluggish than underinflated tires. If you are first trying to choose frame material, try to test ride bikes of different materials with the same wheels. Since wheels have such an impact on ride, you want to eliminate this. You can always test ride the frame you pick with different wheels. Most LBS will let you trade out wheels once you slect a bike. Trust your gut during the test. One or more of the bikes will "talk" to you. Listen.

3.Once you are down to a couple of bikes that talk to you, Do a close inspection of each bike, really paying attention to fit & finish. Review warranties. You are looking for a tiebreaker at this point. Which LBS has the better Maintenance group (if each bike is from a different shop).

4.At this point if you still can't decide, Which one inspires you, which one do you want to be on. Which one do you want your friends to see you on. Which one touches you.

Good luck.
PS> I think this is a personal choice. The models you have selected are all good bikes, now it's about fit & feel.
Consider the MarinAFred
Jun 12, 2001 7:36 AM
One of my favorite bikes is a '99 Marin Vicenza with carbon fork and Daytona group. For the price you've been quoted, the San Marino is great deal. You cannot go wrong with Columbus steel and the Daytona group is an excellent value--10 speeds and solid shifting. The Marins are hand made in Italy by two reputable frame makers using traditional geometry. The only thing you may want to swap out are the wheels. Most Marins come with Ambrosio rims, which are okay, but tend to be heavy. IMHO the Marin gives you the best value. Make sure it fits!