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zurich vs. zeplin vs. tcr(10 posts)

zurich vs. zeplin vs. tcrblatman
May 13, 2002 1:44 PM
hi,
i am new to road biking and i am looking for my first bike. i am had tried to tcr and enjoyed riding that bike more than any other aluminum bike. but i also liked the ride of steel and the lemond Zurich and also the Airborne Zeplin, which is titanium. i am wondering what people have to say about these bikes. i am going to do long rides and also commute to and from work. the Zeplin is a little more than the Zurich. this difference is around $300. do you think that this is worth it?
thanks alot
Dan
Too many factors...jtolleson
May 13, 2002 2:25 PM
Three different frame materials, for starters, so that is an issue of personal preference. The TCR will definitely be the stiffest of the 3 and you didn't tell what kind of riding you do, how much you weigh, Next, are you a label hound? If so, the Airborne gets a bit of the "mass produced Asian no-name bike" rap (rightly or wrongly, it just does).

The Zurich has probably NO detractors, though some will point out that you can get similar quality or even better from some of the small steel framebuilders, or a Landshark on gvhbikes.com, for the same money.

The $1500-$2000 price point has many, many sweet offerings and there is no right or wrong. As a new rider, you may do the best by going and spending a bunch of time at your LBS addressing fit and frame material issues. Airborne, available only by mail order, won't give you that.
Too many factors...blatman
May 13, 2002 2:32 PM
i am around 160 lbs. i am 5'11" and i plan to ride for fun. i would like to just get out and ride. my lbs does have Airborne bikes that i can try out. but those are the three bikes at my lbs. thanks alot
Too many factors...firstrax
May 13, 2002 3:26 PM
Since your LBS stocks all three, ride them all. Take them out on as long a ride as your LBS will allow. Buy the one that feels right. Dont worry about frame material or brand image.
right, then.weiwentg
May 13, 2002 3:42 PM
I'll give a brief description of the bikes - keeping in mind that I have a TCR and haven't tried any of the others.

the Zurich is steel, and will be a comfortable ride, but a little heavy. Lemonds have relaxed geometery - the ride is stable. this is not a criterium bike, this is for stage races or long rides.

the Zeppelin is a racing bike with steeper seat angles. you will be in a less relaxed position. it is lighter, and the frame is, by report, quite stiff. (it won't flex as much when you pedal, which is good, in that frame flex saps energy from the pedal stroke.) at the same time, it is a comfortable ride, as titanium is quite shock absorbent. furthermore, you can customize the components.

the TCR also has aggressive geometery, and is hellishly light. it is very stiff - I would wager more stiff than the Zepp, but will ride less comfortably (aluminum doesn't damp road shock). this is a bike you would want to be on in a criterium or a shorter race. this isn't to say that it's incapable of doing long distance races, it's just that doing so will be less comfortable (but not UNcomfortable). this is likely the best bike for the money - Giant keeps the costs down by producing frames in only 3 sizes. the trade off is that some people may not fit properly. you might be in-between sizes, or you might be a giant, or a midget (like me :P).

so, is racing in the cards for you? if so, you might want to skip the Zurich (or not). test ride all 3 bikes - the LBS shouldn't complain. and don't just do a spin in the parking lot.
based solely on your stated intentions, I'd get the Zurich or the Zeppelin. the thing is, you might get bitten by the racing bug.

anyway, from personal experience, the TCR is an excellent race bike. I'm a road racer, and high comfort isn't that important to me. it IS comfortable enough for long training rides. consider also the OCR Elite 1 - not sure if it's in your price range, but the geometery is more relaxed.
2 out of threeJekyll
May 13, 2002 7:55 PM
I'll agree on most of the Zurich comments (with the exception of how well it works for racing - probably not a great crit bike but would be a nice ride in a road race).
The TCR comments are pretty much right on. Did not ride one far but it felt much like a Canny, fast, quick, light and somewhat unforgiving.
The Zeppelin is anything but stiff or aggressive (at least not in my size - 54). It fits like a MTB (very long top tube) and wiggles in the BB. It is pretty comfortable for a Huffy (just kidding - it did ride pretty nice for the money).
Ride all three, buy the one that "speaks" to you.
2 out of threeweiwentg
May 14, 2002 2:43 AM
my bad, never rode the Zurich. never rode steel, for that matter :)
I'm a complete gooberjtolleson
May 14, 2002 6:30 AM
apparently read the whole post and remembered only 3 things... bike models. *sigh* Sometimes ya just gotta slow down!
Sounds pretty much rightdjg
May 14, 2002 7:25 AM
to me. One thing, though, is that I did see a raft of Airborne models at a decent LBS lately (College Park Bicycles, which you may have noticed in the news as they were looted following UMd's hoops victory). This suggests that it is now possible to get a local fit and a test ride with Airborne. Not my cup of tea, but I thought it might be worth a mention.

As above--there are lots of fine choices in the 1.5-2k range. I'd be tempted to get a custom Landshark, personally, but (a) I don't actually have one; and (b) to each his (or her) own. Bianchi seems to have a couple of nice steel models around 1,500. Lemond, etc. One nice thing about Ti for a bike that doubles as a commuter is that there are fewer worries about bike-rack paint dings, rain, etc. It's just not gonna rust. On the other hand, the rust concern with steel is often over-rated. A good steel frame really requires rather minimal care to last many years.

My best advice: get a good fit. A properly fitting bike is the best route to enjoyment and efficiency and comfort on the bike--materials and models really take a back seat to fit.
Love my '01 ZurichOver-the-Hill
May 13, 2002 4:41 PM
Can't speak for the others, as I haven't ridden them. I do not race, but do 3-4 centuries per year, mostly in the Appalachians (lots of climbing). I have been very pleased with the Zurich. Ultegra components are not the lighest out there, but as far as "bang for the buck", they are among the best. I have considered changing to lighter wheels, but this is more of a fine-tuning issue (for climbing). I anticipate enjoying the Zurich for years to come.

Hopefully, some other readers will give you their impression of the other bikes. The best thing is to ride each of them as long and often as your LBS will let you and make sure you get a good fit. That's what I did before buying the Zurich.