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I've done test rides, any advice?(11 posts)

I've done test rides, any advice?Jax
Sep 13, 2001 6:02 PM
I bought a MTB 5 years ago, and within a year, I was riding completely on the road. So, I've wanted to get a road bike, and have test ridden three. A 2002 Cannondale R500 (CADD4), a 2002 Lemond B.A. and a 2001 Specialized Allez A1 Sport.

The R500 felt the most comfortable for long hauls, but when I stood up, the back wheel seemed out of control. Really the whole bike did. The LBS guy told me this was because it was stiff. Maybe I need to pull more with my hands? Anyway, this was the best ride, but at 6'2, 235 lbs, I am worried I am too heavy for this frame. Any thoughts on that? It did seem to take off fast from a stand still.

The Lemond actually seemed much harsher than the cannondale. This shocked me. I was also unable to tell a big difference between the Ultegra and the Tiagra. This also shocked me. The acceleration seem like what I was used to on my Cro-Moly MTB with street slicks. I know the Lemond has much stiffer wheels, but the only reason I see now to go with the Lemond is if I need the strength of steel for my weight.

The Specialized did not seem as out of control when I sprinted, but since I rode the bikes in the order I have listed them here, I wondered if I was not getting used to riding road bikes.

I want to test ride the R500 again. All three bikes seem to fit fine. Both shops seem like places I could call home. And if I knew for sure the CAAD4 frame would hold up for my weight, I think I would get that. I dont know much about frame fatigue, so do you have any thoughts on that?
Any thoughts in general would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
re: I've done test rides, any advice?Tig
Sep 13, 2001 6:38 PM
Most of the big guys I ride with love Cannondales since most steel and Ti bikes flex too much under their weight. Some of those guys are bigger than you. You are the best judge for what suits your needs and feels best. A little more control that comes with experience might help make the R500 feel more stable.

Look past frame materials and consider the frame tube designs. The Cannondale is built with huge thin-walled tubes that make it stiff in the right places. Steel can't be used as thin as the aluminum on the Cannondale, and the smaller diameter tubes may feel more flexible under your weight and power.

I've ridden many different Cannondales over the years, and only one Lemond test ride. I'm sure a CAD 4 would be a good bike for you as long as the fit is as good as you say and it feels right. I don't know what wheel set these 2 2002 bikes comes with though.

Of the 4 main frame materials, aluminum is generally accepted to have the shortest fatigue life, followed by steel, then carbon fiber, with titanium having the longest expected life. Remember, these are generalizations and don't take in consideration of design and builder techniques.
don't get cheap components...C-40
Sep 13, 2001 6:53 PM
If you're doing any serious mileage, don't even consider Tiagra. Get Ultegra or DuraAce, if you're stuck on Shimano. Personally I prefer Campy, Chorus being the best value.

The CAAD 4 frame should be plenty stiff and yield a reasonably long life. There should be no reason for it to be out of control in a sprint, unless it's due to your lack of skill or gear selection. I always urge people to learn to spin. The biggest mistake I see inexperienced riders make is plugging along in a big gear at 70rpm (as I wizz by at 90-100rpm).
Frames are everything.Elefantino
Sep 13, 2001 9:38 PM
You can upgrade components later, if you're serious. I have 105 on my 5000 and it's been fine, although I just upgraded to Ultegra shifters. But that was after two years and because I shattered my left lever in a bad crash, plus I got a good deal on the Ultegras.
I'm also large (6-5, 210) and for my bad back carbon was the only way to go. I had to exact a promise from my wife that I'd never buy another bike and would do dishes for a year.
I'm now looking at a 5900 Ultralight ...
Frames are everything.MikeC
Sep 14, 2001 5:37 AM
6-5, 210? And I thought that "Elefantino" was homage to Pantani!
Re: HomageElefantino
Sep 14, 2001 3:42 PM
Yes, it is. I like Lance better, but I look more like Il Pirata — who, by the way, sucks in the Vuelta.
re: I've done test rides, any advice?raboboy
Sep 14, 2001 4:57 AM
This summer I just test rode all those bikes as well. I ended up eliminating the Specialized because they are built in Taiwan or somewhere (nothing personal about Taiwan, but have you heard of any great riders coming out of there or heard of the Sport being popular there?) I ended up with the Cannondale because it just felt more comfortable for me, but I'm not as large as you. Anyway, I've put a few hundred miles on it so far and I couldn't be happier.
likely wasnt a true testishmael
Sep 14, 2001 5:26 AM
did you check the tire pressure with a guage before each ride...and were the seats the same...these two (especially the tire pressure) make a huge difference...also the stem length (which is easily changed) affects the ride J
Sep 14, 2001 5:43 AM
has a great article on how to properly test ride a bike that I found to be helpful. It echoes some of what you say.

Uh - not to be flip but which color do you like best?nee Spoke Wrench
Sep 14, 2001 5:42 AM
When you test rode the bikes, you had some subjective observations that surprised you. I think that's a good thing. It shows that you have an open mind. I'd recommend taking one more round of test rides, this time in a different order. If you are still undecided, I'd let the creative side of my brain take over and buy the bike that looks the best.

Don't let the rational side of your brain analyze you out of buying the bike you really want.

Oh - If I don't say something about fit people won't respect me anymore. Get a committment from the sellers that they will exchange equal value stems with you until you get the fit dialed in. I doubt that will be any problem before the sale, but you might get a little hesitation afterward especially if it takes more than one try.
re:Do some more, it should be fun. nmdzrider
Sep 14, 2001 7:15 AM