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The heart of a road bike(22 posts)

The heart of a road bikeGMS
Jun 1, 2002 6:40 PM
I am new to road biking and am deciding between purchasing a Giant OCR1, a Raleigh R600, or a LeMond Tourmalet. All three bikes are $1000 dollars and I thought all three were nice to ride.

The LeMond stands out because of the steel frame, and it seems to be taking the Cannondale approach of having you pay for the frame and get crappy components for the price point. The LeMond comes with Tiagra/Sora, and the other two come with full 105. The difference is noticeable, which is why I am at the 1000 dollar price point. I could not stand the brakes and the shifting at $550 or $750.

The LeMond does, though, have the best wheels (it is last year's model, and comes with Vector wheels or something, with the fewer spokes), and the frame is likely the best. Since I am new to road biking, it is not evident to me what will really matter after I have been riding for two months. It seems like it would be easier to upgrade components than it would be to upgrade wheels and frame. But would I miss the good wheels if I got a Giant OCR1 and rode it without comparing it side by side with something else? I don't know. This is why I am asking for advice from those with experience.

I can see myself buying the Giant, since the frame is smaller, it has full 105 and I am happy with how it works, and I have ridden the exact model I would buy. The Raleigh supposedly has nicer wheels (just about as good as the LeMond's) and I can see myself buying it also, but it is special order. The LeMond is satisfying but different. The frame is obviously smoother to ride on. The question really how much it would cost to upgrade the necessary components to 105/Ultegra, whether I'd want to, whether it would be worth it, etc. These are the things I don't know about.

So my question is, what are the factors that tend to reveal themselves as critically important after months of riding. Is the heart of the bike so dependent on the frame and wheels that components can do little to change that? Is componentry the critical factor in how enjoyable your ride is, and the frame/wheels are just a function of how much money you have, but you don't notice without side-by-side comparison?

I'd also welcome comments from anyone who has experience with any of these three bikes, or has alternatives or suggestions to offer.

Thank you very much.
re: The heart of a road bikeastrobiker
Jun 1, 2002 7:25 PM
I bought an OCR1 and am very happy with it. I got it in November and just went over 2000 miles on it today. You really want at least 105 components, and I wouldn't want to fool around with upgrading - buy the bike set up with what you want. If you are just getting into this, you will notice your shifting and gears a lot more than you will notice your wheels!
The biggest problem is...Breakfast
Jun 1, 2002 7:41 PM
...finding out that the level of componentry could have been better. The difference lies in the adjustability and durability of those adjustments. With higher level components an adjustment is made and it's right for a long time and with low level stuff it's a nuisance.

The other thing is finding out that a big majority of riders have better stuff and you'll then feel a desire to have the same too. This probably sounds superficial, but it happens to many riders.

If you ride 20 miles a week it's not a big deal, if you plan to ride 100 miles a week or long rides with other cyclists on weekends you soon wish you spent more.

$1000 is a good price point for a recreational rider, get at least 105 level. I like the LeMond in this case, or the Giant but a notch up if you can swing it.
if possible, get used.weiwentg
Jun 1, 2002 7:58 PM
the OCR1 does not have a good frame. the Lemond has crap components. solution: get used.
Jun 2, 2002 7:25 AM
Sorry, I was thinking of the LeMond model that has 105 group. I agree Sora/Tiagra is crap. That's not to say it doesn't have a place in cycling.
Increase your budget by $300+...spyderman
Jun 1, 2002 10:09 PM
You'll get a much better group with a better frame. You won't regret it!

BTW, I ride the Rolf Vectors. 2nd season+ and haven't gone out of true yet.
re: The heart of a road bikeJuanmoretime
Jun 2, 2002 9:13 AM
Stretch your budget as far as it will go. The best value for your dollar is to buy the component package and wheels you really want already on the bike. Look on this site or Ebay for a good used bike will give you the ultimate bang for your buck. Spend it now because you will pay BIG later to upgrade.
Wheelsets are confusingGMS
Jun 2, 2002 10:10 AM
Since I have decided to get full 105, that leaves me with the Giant OCR1, the Raleigh R600 (nobody ever has anything to say about this bike, even though it looks good on paper), or an increased budget.

The puzzling thing is that if I were to pay more for a LeMond Alpe D'Huez or a Giant TCR2, I'd get the better frame and the 105, but the wheels would be worse than what I get on the old LeMond model or the Raleigh for 1000 dollars. I don't want to think about how much it would cost for 105 with a good frame and good wheels.

I considered buying used but I have three major problems. First is that I feel weird spending that much money on something I have never seen or ridden. Second is most warranties don't carry over. Third is that I have some uncertainty over the process and also lose the "newness."

One of the reasons I want to ride exactly what I buy is because I have no idea what size I take. I am 6 feet tall and have wear pants with a 34 inseam. I think I am all legs. This means I'd probably want a smaller frame with a higher seatpost (Giant compact medium frame, probably). I can probably ride anything from a 54 to a 59 cm frame, but I am told 56 is for me.

Thanks for your help. I'm sure I'll make a decision some time, even if it is to wait for the 2003's to come out so the prices on the 02's drop.
Last bit of adviceJuanmoretime
Jun 2, 2002 11:08 AM
If your going to wait. Go to They have great information to help you find your correct size. Watch for close outs. This way you get new plus can probably pull off a complete Ultegra bike for $1100 to $1300. LoL
Wheelsets are confusingBreakfast
Jun 2, 2002 12:09 PM
I am 5' 10" with a 32 inseam and I'm a perect fit for 58cm.

A wheelset is easy to upgrade compared to upgrading brakes and shifting/drivetrain components, or even the frame.

Getting a bike with a marginal wheelset is not that bad, you could upgrade a wheel at a time and end up with an emergency set plus a rear wheel/tire for the trainer. Also you get another cassette that can be of a different range to switch with.

Get the priorities set. Do you want aluminum or steel? Can you swing Ultegra (or my value favorite Campy Centaur)? How about going for broke and really getting something nice on the credit card? I've never regretted a bike bought on credit, I've paid it off quicker than other things and only wished I would've spent more.

You sound like this is kinda new, yet I don't get that you're in a big rush. Explore higher price points and by all means get to a dealer that sizes you.
Wheelsets are confusingGMS
Jun 2, 2002 1:15 PM
That's interesting that you are shorter than me and take a larger frame size. I rode a 59cm and I was clearly laid out too far to reach the handlebars. My arms were basically locked. That's why I am tending towards one of the Giants since if I get anywhere near the right size (there are only 3 sizes) then I am sure to be able to adjust it correctly. I was told I take a 56cm in conventional frames.

The most important thing to me are the components. I can tell I would not be able to tolerate Tiagra or worse, so I will get a bike with at least full 105. I am satisfied with how 105 works. I have been told by more than one person that the difference between 105 and Ultegra is sometimes not noticeable.

I understand that steel will give me a softer ride, and I could tell the difference in a test ride. That said, I also liked the aluminums I test rode and did not mind the stiffness. Unfortunately it is impossible to tell how each would affect me on a very long ride, since test runs are short. I also don't understand the difference between each aluminum frame. For example, how is the Giant TCR2's frame different than the OCR1's frame, and why is it worth 300 dollars? (I think it is the only difference between the bikes). I have been told that the OCR1's frame is mediocre, but am not sure what the specific reasons are for that statement (unless transferring the bumps in the road directly into your rear end counts). If the bumpiness can be tolerated, is aluminum actually better, then?

I wouldn't need a credit card to swing more than I am aiming at. I just don't know how much of my disposable income I am willing to throw into biking, since I don't know how much I will actually do it. I am hoping to do it frequently, but there is some risk that I won't. I have thought about what my "all out" bike would be, and it would probably be a Giant TCR2, a LeMond with full 105 (Alpe D'Huez), or a higher end Ultegra bike off the internet (Zurich, Scattante), but I'm hesitant on the latter. That said, if I got the LeMond from the local shop I'd probably need to replace the seat immediately like many others do, the wheels would still not be that great, and I would have paid 400 more than an OCR1 which is also 105.

In any event, thank you very much for your help. I probably won't get the courage to order something from the internet classifieds, and will get either an OCR1, TCR2, Raleigh R600, or LeMond Alpe D'Huez. For some reason I think the Giant medium frame would be safest for me since I don't know my size, I always seem to prefer smaller frames, and it is quite adjustable.
TCR vs OCRweiwentg
Jun 2, 2002 3:00 PM
the OCR frame is heavier, is not made of the same aluminum, and the geometery is more laid back (the only plus). if you want less aggressive geometery, have the shop build up an OCR Elite, which is built to the same specs as the TCR aside from the geometery.
is the TCR worth 300 dollars more than the corresponding OCR? yes - at least I think so.
but as for the 'adjustable' bit, they are and they aren't. yes, you can swap the seatpost and stem. but stem length affects handling: a 140mm stem will leave you steering like a semi-truck, and a 90mm stem will leave you twitching all over the place. switching the seatpost could get expensive. just get the dealer to dial the damn thing in right if you want it. it's a hell of a good bike, in both absolute and relative-to-cost terms.
Wheelsets are confusingGregJ
Jun 2, 2002 4:18 PM
Just how bad are the wheels on an OCR? A lot of cyclists think that boutique wheels like nuetrons or Rolfs or Ksyriums are highly overated for the price. I think they are fine wheels, but if I were shopping at a price point, I would go with higher componants and regular spoked wheels any day of the week. At your height and inseam, I think you should look at the large in Giant as well as medium, you could probably ride either although I am no expert on Giant geometry. 34 inch inseam is leggy, you may have a hard time with too much drop to the bars on the medium. I am 6 feet tall with a 34.5 inseam, I currently ride a 58 c-c, 61 c-t Pinarello. I have ridden 60 cm frames in the past. I would not want a 56, and absolutely could not ride anything smaller. (Keep in mind compacts are measured differently.)
Wheelsets are confusingGMS
Jun 2, 2002 4:52 PM
The wheels on the OCR are not that bad I don't think. Just, on paper, the Raleigh R600 has everything the OCR1 has plus better wheels. I think the OCR fork is straighter, though, and I think I am leaning towards it anyway. Also, it appears that Raleigh has lost its good reputation while I wasn't looking. (Nobody has had anything good to say about this bike, and I saw a review of the R700 which said something to the effect of "Despite the fact that it's a Raleigh, it actually does something well...").

As far as size, I would think that the leggier someone is, the smaller the frame they'd want for any given height, so that their relatively smaller torso doesn't have to stretch so far. Yes you are leggier than I am and take a larger frame... It's definitely confusing. I tried riding a large Giant frame but the chain fell off pretty quick and they didn't have another one. I think I've decided that I will buy a bike from the shop, ride it, have them adjust it perfectly, and have it in a perfect riding configuration that I'm confident in before I buy it. That way, medium or large (hec, both might even fit if properly configured) I will be happy with it.

Wheelsets are confusingCarbon fiber fanatik
Jun 2, 2002 5:58 PM
Raleigh lost it's good name to mass producing off the shelf bicycles. You could buy them at the local 7-11. Giant has the same problem, yet makes some of the most awesome top drawer bikes. A local radio station was bragging lately about giving away $200.00 value, Giant bikes. Kind of have to look beneath the name and see what goes into the bike. The frame being the focal point. Material? Butting/tube manipulation? Finish? Fuji is another one that is trying to appeal to all the masses. You can spend a few hundred, or go to the hilt with a 15.9 pound "team". The choices in today's market are staggering and confusing. Buy whatever suits your style, taste and somewhat budget, but most importantly, fit, fit, fit..! Good luck in your search.
OCR 1 Frame Commentastrobiker
Jun 2, 2002 6:30 PM
Regarding the comments about OCR1 frames - I really don't understand the comment about them having some issue. I routinely ride 50 - 60 miles at a time and have done my first century and have no problems whatsoever with the frame. I bought the Giant with a similar thought - I would try it and see if I really rode it. I have been riding quite a bit and have no plans to replace it - it is quite fine for a hundred miles a week for the foreseeable future.
Jun 3, 2002 6:29 AM
I didn't mean to say that they have issues. it's just that I think the TCR frame is worth the upgrade. my friend's OCR 3 just doesn't compare.
your size is rider
Jun 3, 2002 9:44 AM
I'm 6'1" 34" inseam and I can ride 58 to 62cm, depends on who makes the bike. I found 830 to 847mm is the standover height. I can have an 580 to 595 toptube length.

Compact may fit you ok, but don't judge a bike based on having alot of standover clearance. The Lemond's may fit you the best of all three bikes as long as your reach, height, and standover is good for you. Alot of people are buying compact now a days, but how can someone 5'8" and 6'1" ride the same bike. Damn that seatpost is going to be long (440mm for the guy 6'1").

Just my 2 cents.

re: The heart of a road bikeNJRoad
Jun 3, 2002 11:21 AM
I'm not sure if you'll even read this as it is off the back, but here's my opinion

1) Don't buy online or from a source where you can't give the bike a thorough test ride before buying. I'm 5'11" and was told to buy a 56cm. After fiddling with different stems and playing with saddle and bar position I've had myself measured and it turns out that I should be on a 53cm or 54cm with a longer stem.

2) Don't get hung up on the wheels, the reduced spoke count wheels available now have their place but I would gladly trade my Vectors' for a set of Mavic OP/105 setup. Not that the Vectors' are bad but at my 210# weight, I don't find them to inspire a lot of confindence in a downhill corner.

Everone has a different idea, this is just what I have found in my experience. BTW, I would take the 105 group although I'm a huge fan of steel, especially LeMond's.
re: SizeGMS
Jun 3, 2002 12:57 PM
Yes, I read it, and thank you very much. I am definitely going to ride the exact bike I buy, since that is the only way I will be sure I get something that fits right, and a mediocre bike that fits me right is better than a LeMond Zurich that doesn't.

A agree about the 105 w/ LeMond, but at almost 1400 dollars, it's even more than a TCR2, which is also a very nice bike.
re: SizeNJRoad
Jun 3, 2002 1:12 PM
I know what it's like to be on a budget so what I meant was that that decision makes it harder 105 group or a really nice frame, near impossible to come by at the $1000 price point.
re: The heart of a road bikesongfta
Jul 23, 2002 1:54 PM
I own a 2002 LeMond Tourmalet. I love the ride, and I defnitely bought for the frame (dreamy Reynolds 853/520 ride and perfect geometry).

The components aren't too bad. The 2002 Tourmalet comes with a 105 rear derailleur, which is a nice upgrade. The brakes are fairly non-descript, so I'm replacing them with 105 brakes ($35 at - even though the stock stoppers aren't really bad. The Tiagra levers are quite good, and are durable - good for those who need something to last a while. The crankset/BB combination will be the next upgrade, for sure. But for now, the combination works very well.

FYI, I was also considering the Trek 1200 (didn't like the stiff aluminum for longer rides) and the IronHorse Intrepid (better components, nice frame, but didn't dig the geometry as much). It basically came down to ride factor. I was able to take each bike on a 20 mile ride over varied terrain and road surfaces. The LeMond just felt "right."