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need direction in choosing a road bike(15 posts)

need direction in choosing a road bikedealy663
Dec 19, 2001 11:10 PM

I'm a former roadie from the 80's that is now seriously into mountain biking. However I'm quite interested in getting a road bike for training purposes and look to start riding to work twice a week on it this would be about 60 miles per week on the road bike.

I would love to get an Airborne Zepplin, but since I already spent over $3000 on my mountain machine this year, another 2 grand on a roadie could end my marriage. Any suggestions on what is a good bike to start with? I've seen some specialized Allez' used for just under a grand. What else should I be looking at when trying to get the best bang for my buck. I won't be doing any racing, but could see myself going on the occasional big group ride or eventually working up to the occasional century.

Are used italian steel frames worth considering? Is the comfort of steel worth it when compared to aluminum like on the Allez?

Thanks in advance, Derek
Welcome back to the road . . .DCW
Dec 20, 2001 1:30 AM
A lot of folks have done the same in the past few years -- great for improving fitness and endurance.

As I just wrote below in another thread:

Go used . . .

If you are confident you can choose a good fit, check the internet classifieds. My riding buddies and I have bought several very nice bikes for our kids (and some older friends) that way. Most recent example was last week for a student of mine: custom built Rhygin, two years old, Ultegra 9-speed, aero wheels, perfect fit, etc: $2500 new, $800 used, shipped. For a bike two to four years old you should expect to pay 30-60% list.

Of course, you sacrifice warranty and the usual LBS free tune-ups and take some risks with fit and the person on the other end of the transaction.

For new, in addition to hunting down seasonal sales, you might also consider Gary Hobbs ( Friends and I have bought four or five bikes from him in recent years. He has some great Italian frame choices, among others. Look at the Casati and KHS steels for around $1200 w/Ultegra or Daytona. He'll build the up as you like, and he's a very knowledgeable guy.

I ride with an Allez/105 friend. His bike is a lot heavier than my Italian steel, but it's probably not the frame. He likes it. I'm old fashioned, like the ride of good steel. I tried ti, but went back to steel about two years ago. That probably had more to do with fit and appearance than ride. The fit was a little off, and I wasn't keen on the post-modern look of a bike that matches my toaster.

Good luck.
Second on usedElefantino
Dec 20, 2001 5:53 AM
The deals you can get are worth looking at. I recently purchased a like new Specialized S-Works M4, full Ultegra, new Dura-Ace rear, Speedplays, $900 shipped.

Go used.
re: need direction in choosing a road biketarwheel
Dec 20, 2001 5:49 AM
Best advice for a good, inexpensive bike: Get a professional frame fitting done at a good bike shop so you know exactly what size/geometry you need. (You'll probably have to pay for the fitting, $50-100, unless you buy a bike from the shop.) Then shop online. GVH Bikes ( has some incredible deals right now -- a whole slew of nice Italian steel frames built up with full Ultegra kits for about $1,200. You'd be hard pressed to find a better deal and/or selection right now. You also generally can get some good deals on built up bikes from and
Dec 20, 2001 9:15 AM
that Viner Competition/Ultegra deal looks hard to beat, and knowing what you're looking for regarding fit is key to getting a good deal you'll be happy with down the road.
another vote: i'm on my second bike from him. nmJs Haiku Shop
Dec 20, 2001 10:57 AM
re: need direction in choosing a road bikecioccman
Dec 20, 2001 7:47 AM
While I think used is a great option, if you're unsure about size, you can get easily trapped. You can fall for something on line that seems like a great deal, and might be an icredible deal, to someone else who fits it right. I would lump your situation into the type that can really benefit from a super-store like Supergo. They have many many many bikes, you can ride 15 if you want. They stock every darn size bike. Many super deals right now on 2001 models too!!! There are several models such as Cervelo, Specialized, Giant, maybe even Trek that can be had for just over $1000, Ultegra equipped as well for the most part I think. Many times, people unsure of their size and not hell bent on anything in particular can walk into a local LBS and get somewhat taken. They try darn near everything to sell what they've got on hand. I cannot tell you how many sales people have tried to get me on a 55cm bike because most stock seems to be around that size. That is simply, absurdly too large for me. My advice is to start small and move up til you get it right. You can never shrink down a bike too large. The smaller the frame, the lighter and stiffer. You'll have better speed and better command of the rig. It's been quoted in here that a pro noted that most recreational riders are on bikes too large. From all that I've experienced, it is true. Don't get stuck with that disease. Good luck.
The pro's observation should be:dzrider
Dec 20, 2001 8:49 AM
Most recreational riders are on bikes too large for racing. As you point out, smaller bikes are lighter and stiffer. Many of us recreational riders are looking for more comfortable. This may be a disease, but it ain't serious and costs far less than "bicyclorexia".
Yep, and not all that muchdjg
Dec 20, 2001 9:23 AM
lighter and stiffer at that. Yes, all things equal, a smaller frame is lighter and stiffer. But unless a bike is spectacularly large we're not talking about that much of a difference. I raced on a 53 in my younger days. Now I'm riding a 55 (actually, it's nominally a 56, but it's 55 c-t and the top tube is a 55). Would a 2 cm drop in frame size--for the same model frame--result in a measurably lighter and stiffer frame? Yes. But the difference in stiffness would be marginal at best and I don't think the weight difference would make a whit of difference in most amateur racing. That is, although I went bigger for comfort when I hit the dread 40 mark, I don't think the larger frame is even less race-worthy than the smaller one. People trying to get the drops as low as possible should probably use deep drop bars AND look to the smaller end of the range of frame sizes that could work for them. But I think the lighter and stiffer thing is largely a red herring. If you know you are climbing the alps at the peak of human ability, racing against others who are working at the peak of human ability, with your livelihood on the line, you may not want to surrender any available technical advantage, no matter how marginal or theoretical, to a competitor. That's why LA ditches STI for the front der. on his climbing bike, and why it was rational for him to do so even though it probably did next to nothing--if not nothing--for his margin of victory. But the idea that a "recreational rider" (twice a week? cat 2? it's all still recreation) is making a mistake buying something that is more comfortable but 50 grams heavier seems nuts to me.
well said nmgtx
Dec 20, 2001 10:40 AM
Yep, and not all that muchdzrider
Dec 20, 2001 12:27 PM
Thanks for explaining my point so well.

To the original question I think the best answer is to try to find a bike you can really enjoy riding. If you're comfortable with your knowledge of size and shape then used bikes and/or GVHbikes are excellent ways to go - I've done both and been very happy. If you're not so certain, try bikes you can afford at the better shops in your area. Get the best feeling seat you find onto the best fitting frame that's fun to ride and start riding it.
All are good pointscioccman
Dec 20, 2001 9:48 AM
Obvsiously all this is arguable and up to a person's taste when it comes right down to it. My preference would be 2 cm's too small from optimum size rather than 2 cm's too large from an optimally sized bike. I've had the two cm's too large and could never ever get comfortable. Numbness problems were vicious. This could have been a uniquity for me alone. Furthermore, because I prefer a smaller frame, most small shops don't stock them or stock many if any. So, I'm constantly getting this oversize sales talk because there are always a lineup of 55s or so. In my personal experience, it's certainly more prevalent than if I were 6'7", or 6'.

Once you're well inside the ballpark, you can move around, up and down.

Good luck!
Get a steel Lemond road bike. They're nice, not to expensive.Bernie
Dec 20, 2001 10:24 AM
Dec 20, 2001 11:08 AM
Check out Bianchi's. They are pretty good values. Got the heritage/Italian bred thing going, too (at least the mid to upper lines). Some are Asian.

Bang for the buck? Definitely try the Giant OCR line.nigel
Dec 20, 2001 7:24 PM
I have a Giant TCR which has given me INCREDIBLE bang for my buck. The OCR (Oversized Compact Road) line starts at $650 for a SNAZZY OCR3 in yellow/grey/silver with dependable (though not race-ready--which is fine for you) Shimano Sora components. Giants are very light in weight but ride quite nicely and have great reputations for value for the buck. I couldn't be happier with mine. Check 'em out!