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slightly better than entry level bike(17 posts)

slightly better than entry level bikescruffyduncan
Jan 30, 2002 6:33 AM
I've realised it's time to get a bike for events and riding quickly to complement my commuting/fun bike (a lugged steel framed specialized allez, circa 1994). I've been cycling a decent amount for about a year now and feel like treating myself to something nice. All the bikes in my price range seem to be Aluminium. The 2 that have been recomended to me thus far are a cannondale Caad 4 with tiagra components, or an Eddie Merckx compact, which I could have built up to my own spec, although my budget (around 1k gbpounds) would prohibit anything fancy. I plan to ride most weekends in the summer, go to the pyrenees for a week, and may attempt the etape. Does anyone know about these bikes?, they're both fast but will I hate the stiffness on my occasional longer rides?, are they good enough frames to warrant upgrades?. I don't intend to race this year, but like riding fast. There is no review of these bikes on this site, but other suggestions are welcome.

re: slightly better than entry level bikeMJ
Jan 30, 2002 7:28 AM
you can get set up quite nicely for £1000

when faced with a simlar problem last year - I went custom with Paul Donohue (in County Durham)

Campy Daytona / custom steel (631) frame = £975 including VAT

it rides great I couldn't be happier

the great thing about custom is braze ons - not many road bikes come with standard pannier capability - it sounds like you may do some light touring with the Pyrenees etc. - anyways the optoin is always nice

drop me a line if you need more info.
You might be selling yourself short . . .morrison
Jan 30, 2002 7:47 AM
Isn't 1K gb = $1600 U.S.? On our side of the pond, you can come close to a CAAD5 105/Ultegra mix for that price. I ride a 'Dale, and frequently complain about its stiffness on longer rides, but I ride with a lot of guys who just don't agree.
You might be selling yourself short . . .Troyboy
Jan 30, 2002 8:05 AM
Agreed. Where I'm located there is a superstore called Supergo. It is perfect for some types of people looking for some types of rides. At the end of a model year, there are always incredible deals. I remember last year seeing at somewhere around $1100, a pretty nice Cervelo with full Ultegra. I don't remember the wheels. That'll likely be the shortcoming. I rode one. Pretty nice. It is my opinion that this time of year is a premium price time unless you can find a previous year model on *let's get rid of it* pricing.
You might be selling yourself short . . .scruffyduncan
Jan 30, 2002 8:08 AM
1k GB equals $1400. The dale was £850. We are also an overpriced country (all our prices include 17.5% sales tax). I may be able to get something cheaper, but a good lbs will give lifetime servicing for a bike in this price range.

How much better is ultegra/record etc than the basic level components?, is it just weight or will I notice in performance terms.

The "0ff the shelf" bikes from the big US manufacturers are cheaper than a frame from europe plus parts.

I suppose my main concerns are that an Al frame will be uncomfortable on long rides and that a compact may be twitchy

Thanks for the recomendation for the custom builders, I suppose as I'm going to keep an OK steel bike, I fancy having something light and quick to use on special occasions. I didn't realise custom was available at sub £1000
You might be selling yourself short . . .MJ
Jan 30, 2002 9:09 AM
yeah that Donohue is a steal (and is steel) - just try and get a similarly equipped off the shelf bike from the LBS - much less a custom - that's what we get with the decline of heavy industry in this country - lots of welders looking for work...

Donohue built the bikes for the British Olympic team that cleaned up in Sydney - they're definitely light and fast - but are indeed steel - my Donohue (cyclocross) bike is 21 lbs and I have heavy wheels (Mavic 223's) and cross tyres/touring tyres on - expect you you may pip 20 lbs with a full road set up - don't know how much lighter or quicker you could expect to get things in your price range - quickness being a feature of geometry more than frame material a custom may be exactly what you're after

IMO Record and Ultegra are more about weight than about function (others will disagree) - check out for a review of Daytona compared to other Campy groups - a pretty honest critique

I'll shut up now - did I mention it's custom?
Custom eh?.scruffydunc
Jan 30, 2002 9:14 AM
so how do you test ride a custom bike?, sounds great if you have the perfect set up already, I don't. 20lbs is indeed light, I will investigate. I suppose I liked the look of the merckx, and the fact it had Eddie Merckx written all over it (he is a famed oerfectionist after all)
Custom eh?.MJ
Jan 31, 2002 1:54 AM
can't test ride a custom - unless you are in London some time - and you can have a go on mine...

you can pick higher (and lower) group sets depending on needs and budget

the zoot name factor is higher with a Merckx - but there's equal pleasure in riding a bike from a small custom builder

if you buy or are gifted a bike from outside the EU expect to pay import VAT - I've been stung a few times on stuff - I even got charged once for sending over a bunch of old used CD's from the states which were actually just empty boxes as I had all the discs with me in a traveller's case - took two months to clear customs and excise

be warned - expect English customer service from Donohue
a few questionsscruffyduncan
Jan 31, 2002 4:48 AM
I do live in London, though I can't imagine test riding a bike custom built for somone else would give me a fair impression.

How long does the custom build process take?, does it require a visit to Durham?, what are the guarantees like?. What are the (honest) pros and cons of the various reynolds tubing types.

Cheers again, I think this may be the way forward.
a few questionsMJ
Jan 31, 2002 6:07 AM
no - a test ride on somebody else's custom isn't gonna help at all - but you're welcome to take a look at it if you want more than just the photo (linked below)

for pics of my bike and general Donohue discussion -
MJ "my DONOHUE cross bike" 10/29/01 10:49pm

for the honest, frustrated, no holds barred scoop on Donohue customer service -
Timo Vennonen "Anyone ride a Donohue?" 5/3/01 12:54am
it must be said that after they got the parts in and everything taken care of they did offer some free swag (as they should) - I am very happy with the bike now

doesn't require a visit to County Durham - you send them your measurements (call/email/fax) - guarantees? dunno really didn't check - I assume they would want to make everything right (if you find out let me know) - but statutory obligations under the 1979 Sale of Goods Act do the trick nicely

for discussions on steel tubing
Nessism "853 vs. 631 steel??" 1/18/02 4:38pm
Mel Erickson "Gimme an education on steel." 1/21/02 6:46am

as you may read - I went with 631 and am very happy with only a minimal penalty for extra weight on the frame - for 853 you may want a carbon fork

they can do the frame quite quickly - just make sure they'll be able to get the parts in (I think they estimated about a month for me - took a while longer with the interesting, hopefully unique events of my order)

I would suggest you call them and run through your questions with them (be forewarned of interesting regional accent)

it is a great deal and as I said already I'm happy with my bike - put 4000 miles on it from April to December...
a few questionsscruffy duncan
Jan 31, 2002 8:15 AM
Thanks mate, you've been very helpful. It's been good to get some proper advice rather than "105 sucks dude" type comments.
a few questionsMJ
Jan 31, 2002 8:37 AM
no problem - post me here if you have more Donohue specific questions
coupla things...ohio
Jan 30, 2002 9:31 AM
... if you can get a custom bike as cheap as mentioned above that's almost certainly the way to go, as fit (much more than material, despite what people say about aluminum) is what makes a bike comfortable for long trips, no matter how you have the handling dialed. If you happen to fit off-the-shelf bikes, the giant OCR series is also worth looking at, as are many other bikes. Ride them.

If they don't fit perfectly, those donahues are priced right. The only reason not to is to get a slightly better component spec.

As far as components, I think it's worth it to try to get shimano 105 over tiagra, but unless you race (or "only want the best"), there's little reason to go to ultegra, and no reason to get dura-ace. 105 will shift better, have stiffer cranks, and be more durable in areas. However, the frame is the first priority. Any weak spots in the componentry will be remedied over time as components wear out from the thousands and thousands of miles you start riding because you love your bike so much.
i agree on the OCR series.(nm)aet
Jan 30, 2002 10:42 AM
Can't you avoid the sales tax by ordering from outside UK? Alsomorrison
Jan 30, 2002 10:49 AM
if you can't, or if an import tax applies, couldn't you get around it by having someone 'gift' the bike to you from the States?

Of course, these are hypothetical inquiries only, as I never would want others to think I advocate anything less than paying one's full share to the government!
Buy a cheap cannondale off of that one dude.....mixinbeatz
Jan 30, 2002 10:50 AM
Maybe you can buy the cannondale for cheap off the guy who posted down the list about all the cannondale bashers. By the sounds of his post, I think he took alot of the comments personally. I doubt if he will ever ride his 'dale,' again... or any bike for that matter...
re: slightly better than entry level bikekentuckyjoe
Jan 30, 2002 3:59 PM
I just built up a caad4 frame for myself and i love it.alot of people say their not that great if your under 150lbs due to the stiff frame but at 200+ thats not a problem for me,smooth as can be:)id just get one that fits good and enjoy riding. Later,Joe