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new road cyclist needs advice...(12 posts)

new road cyclist needs advice...geocan
Sep 29, 2001 5:54 PM
Here `s the deal...I am going to make a road bike purchase but want suggestions.I have narrowed my choices down to 5 bikes at this point. I have about $700ish US to spend. I need opinions in regard to frame materials(alum vrs steel), componetry( sora vrs tiagra +) and fit(compact vrs traditional sizing).
I am about 6 feet tall, 205 pounds and muscular...i tend to be a big gear masher as opposed to a spinner. Not planning on serious racing just logging the miles and having fun. If anyone can help my decision process it must be the cylists on this website! I`ve done some research but want real time experience. I am in the northeast(canada) with less than perfect road conditions.Smooth asphalt is an exception not the norm. Please help.Thanks in advance.GC
An OK decision in time beats a perfect decision that's too late.nee Spoke Wrench
Sep 29, 2001 6:10 PM
It's almost October already! You've already missed some of the best riding weather of the entire year and those lost days will never ever be back. I think you should just make the best purchasing decision you are capable of today and get out and start riding and having fun.

When the time comes to buy your next bike, you will be a lot smarter about what you want .
Hey, wasn't that Winston Churchill who said that?Spinchick
Sep 30, 2001 4:10 PM
Something like, "A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed next week." A little off topic I realize but that sounded familiar, and practical.
Heavily biased opinion (but from experience)...cory
Sep 29, 2001 6:14 PM
One thing I'd check for sure is the tire clearance. Hardly anybody ever thinks of it, but if one bike will let you run 700x32s and the other won't fit anything bigger than 25s, you'll be limited. You may not want big tires all the time, but they're sure nice on rough roads, and having room for them doesn't hurt anything. Main problem is likely to be fitting the front tire under the brake. You may not find much difference, though, since components and design are very much standardized these days.
I'm a steel fan for its durability and comfortable ride, but they don't salt the roads much where I live. Aluminum might give you some peace of mind if you don't feel like using Frame Saver or Boeshield once a year.
Fit is most important, of course...I really urge you to at least try a bike one size BIGGER than the shop says you want. There's a trend to too-small bikes over the last 10 years or so. Grant Petersen ( has some thoughts about that that might be helpful for you.
I don't have any experience with either Sora or Tiagra. Shimano's low-end stuff works wonderfully well, usually, but I suspect you'll be upgrading to 105 as stuff wears out. I think I'd buy for fit and the other factors, and just plan on replacing the components with 105 as they give up.
Finally, unless you're young and strong and have perfect knees, consider a triple chainring instead of a double. You don't have to use the granny if you don't need it, but sometimes it's nice to have.
Consider Buying CanadianJon
Sep 29, 2001 6:21 PM
You didn't say which bikes you're looking at, but from my recent pricing experience here in Edmonton
I think you'd be well advised to take a serious look at two Canadian framemakers: Cervelo and
DeVinci. The reason being, you are not paying for importing and/or duty costs from other countries
of origin. At any given price point, these companies offer excellent value.
Two cents...Rich Clark
Sep 29, 2001 8:40 PM
Regarding your specific questions:

Frame material - In your price range, pick the bike by fit and feel, not by frame material. Pick a good roadie shop, ride the bikes, and work with them to understand what frame size, top tube length, angles, handlebar drop, etc. will keep you comfortable on 50 mile+ rides.

Compact vs traditional frame - this is subservient to fit. Some people are harder to fit with compat frames that don't come in a lot of sizes, others find a size that matches them perfectly. Don't get trapped by artificial distinctions. However, some people think compact frames are ugly, and that's just personal choice.

Sora vs. Tiagra - avoid Sora if only because it will make future upgrades and component replacement more difficult. Sora is Shimano's only 8-speed road group. Tiagra is 9-speed, and the individual components can be mixed and matched with everything higher in the line.

And I'd echo the recommendation that you make sure your bike can take some wider tires, especially if the roads are as bad as you say. For solo riding where piling up miles is your goal, 28's or larger will reduce potential flats and rim damage when you hit big cracks and holes.

Have you thought about a cyclocross or touring frame?

re: new road cyclist needs advice...geocan
Sep 30, 2001 4:28 AM
Thanks for the insights.Just what I have been looking for.The tire point was one I have not considered but will from this point onward.As for buying Canadian I have a Devinci bike on my shortlist(Podium -105/tiagra mix,Mavic CXP23 rims,6061-T1 aluminum frame with a kinesis roadfoil fork).For the money it is the best deal but I was concerned about ride quality.I have been searching for reviews but they are not as plentiful as some of the popular stateside bike companies. The point about future upgrades certainly plays a role.The other bikes I have considered all are Sora equiped(Giant OCR2,KHS Flite 300 and GT ZR5.0) with the exception of Specialized Allez A1(Tiagra).
I am hoping to snag a good dea, with the new 2002 lines soon to hit the stores, maybe get a 2001 model at a clearance price.Sorry to sound so indecisive about this but this purchase will be the last for the foreseeable future so I want to make an informed choice.Thanks Guys!GC
re: new road cyclist needs advice...WJudd
Sep 30, 2001 8:05 AM
105 is a BIG step up from Tiagra/Sora so I'd advise that bike as the best deal you've found so far. I've heard bad things about aluminum ride quality but am not convinced. I've got a '86 Cannondale, you know the ones that were REALLY oversized and I've never felt it's ride overly harsh.

Go with the better components.
Sounds nice but get a heftier wheelsetjtolleson
Sep 30, 2001 11:37 AM
The Devinci dounds like a nice option, and bigger riders don't tend to have the difficulty with al that lightweight riders do. My only caveat is the CXP23 rims. I'd get something with more spokes, maybe price the CXP33?

Now will be a great time to buy, and I do think that the difference between Tiagra and Sora is pretty significant, mostly because of the issue of shifting from the drops. I'd avoid the KHS Flite 300. It retails sometimes for as low as $350, is pretty heavy and the Sora is mixed with even lower entry level componentry. It is just not in the class of the other bikes you've listed, especially with what you say you are willing to spend.
Devinci CaribouRich Clark
Sep 30, 2001 12:01 PM
If that Devinci fits your budget it looks killer for the money, based on specs alone. However, they say at that the maximum tire width is 700x23, so bear that in mind. This is going to be an issue with many racing-style bikes, however.

If it were me -- and I'm not typical around here -- and wanted a Canadian road bike for long rides on poor roads, I'd look at Devinci's Caribou. Aluminum frame, but the cromo fork and the longer wheelbase will soak up vibrations, and the touring rims and 700x32 tires will hold up to bad pavement and occasional dirt or gravel. It's not a racing bike, but for epic solo rides and training, as well as touring and commuting, it looks like a very well specced bike. And it should be around the same price as a Podium.

(I've never seen one myself, I'm just looking at the specs.)

If, as you say, you don't plan to race but simply to ride a lot and have fun while training, this sort of bike (which our UK friends sometimes call an "all rounder") can do almost everything.

re: new road cyclist needs advice...Stan Lipnowski
Oct 8, 2001 9:39 AM
I have had both the Devinci Chicane which I have passed down to my son. This allowed me tho move up to the Devinci Silverstone. I love these bikes. Now I don't have a lot of experience to compare them to other brand, but they are a great value$$, and are Canadian built.
No complaints!!
re: new road cyclist needs advice...geocan
Sep 30, 2001 3:27 PM
Excellent stuff guys. I will check out the touring lines as well. I considered the KHS flite 300 mainly for frame only - 520 reynolds steel.As a point of interest I got a sneak preview of the 2002 flite 300 and flite 500.It appears KHS has upgraded the componetry of each with the flite 500 having what appears to be a carbon fiber fork?What`s the line on fork materials - is carbon fiber that much better than steel or aluminum?
I do have a 7000 series aluminum mountain bike(schwinn) and must admit that I have not had any problems in regards to ride quality. I am definitely a heavy rider so maybe my concerns are mute in that regard but is comparing road and mountain frames like comparing apples to oranges?
As for the drivetrain I believe I will go for the higher end stuff - even if I have to expand the budget.It seems to me it is a question of pay now or pay later.I am currently upgrading my Mesa GS and really do not want to face that possibility again with the road bike - at least in the short to mid term.Thanks alot.GC