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Buying a Road Bike...Need Advice!!!(15 posts)

Buying a Road Bike...Need Advice!!!Pirate27
Jun 30, 2002 5:09 PM
Hello all,

I am fairly new to this site but am really happy I found it...just tons of good and helpful information. I am someone who has grown up with small mountain bikes mainly because it was the "fad" around here...not even sure why. Now I want to get into more serious road biking. My goal is to train for a 100 mile ride in late September. This obviously means I need a good road bike. I have spent a great deal of time in bike shops, reading books and online sources for research, and I am very close to a decision. I have basically sold myself on the Cannondale model. It was between Trek and Cannondale, but the more I looked into it the more I was attracted to buying Cannondale. Now, however, I need to make a specific choice between the R500 and R700. As I said, I am faily new to road biking. I am not a pro and have no plan to get into "racing", just the charity rides, with some being long distances or multiple days. I also do not have a huge budget, or I would be looking at the higher models. Basically, the R700 is the top model I can afford...and even that is a stretch. The main difference being the R700 comes with Shimano 105 components (mostly) while the R500 has mainly Tiagra. The R700 will cost me about $225 more than the R500. What is the advice of people on here? What would you recommend for someone who is just starting out but looking to get into frequent riding and long distance rides? I understand highly experienced riders prefer the 105 to Tiagra, but will I notice the difference and will be it be as important if I am not "Racing" per say??? Will the R500 meet my basic needs of comfort, speed, etc.?

Any help and advice you can give me in this decision will be greatly appreciated...hopefully some of you have the knowledge or experience with these bikes to help me out. Thanks a ton! I look forward to becoming mor einvolved on here...
don't get Tiagra...C-40
Jun 30, 2002 6:51 PM
If you intend to but on any serious mileage, the Tiagra stuff won't last long. The 105 components will work better and last longer.

Buy all you can afford.
Spend more money upfront!filtersweep
Jun 30, 2002 7:44 PM
I was in your shoes not that long ago. As I was browsing aluminum bikes at my LBSes one salesman would say "go steel," the next "go titanium," or carbon... with all the "salesmanship" going on, it is hard to find an unbiased opinion.

If I were in your shoes I'd at least go 105- with no wiggle room. Does that Cannondale have some Coda parts? If so, are they ever upgradeable to Shimano? In fact, I'd probably go Ultegra, since they are almost the same price as 105, but with a nicer fit and finish, and lighter. For example, you can buy this year's Trek 2200 with Ultegra for the same price as last year's that had 105. If this doesn't mean anything to you now, I guarantee it will a year from now, and you will be cursing Tiagra.

Tiagra seems to have a niche on bikes that are in a marketing wasteland- the $1000 bike. Sora is complete entry level between $500-600, and a decent 105 bike $1500-1600. There really are not many $1000 bikes. I don't know how much the Cannondales run.

There is no point going with a boutique bike if this is your first road bike...

Also, if you need to compromise on anything, let it be wheels. You can always easily upgrade to better wheels, and odds are, you won't ever find the wheels you want (or later want) on an off-the-shelf bike.

Flame me if you want, but I firmly believe in setting a budget, then adding $500-1000. You'll be glad that you did. If you really get serious about your ride, it will cost you a ton later down the road (like to even upgrade from Tiagra to 105).
Roadie hubrisscottfree
Jul 1, 2002 6:26 AM
>>> "...but I firmly believe in setting a budget, then adding $500-1000. You'll be glad that you did."

No WONDER average folks get intimidated -- or disgusted -- when they think about joining up with the roadies! "And, you know, it's just not worth it to put in all those hard miles in the saddle unless you have a YACTH to relax on afterwards, and don't just buy a cheap-ass yatch, you'll regret it ..."

Answer is: 105's better but Tiagra's fine, if it's what you can sensibly afford. Don't go into debt over a damn bike. If you want to spend more later when you know what you want and what you're doing, fine.

Do NOT figure out what you can afford and then add $500-1000. Sheesh.
Yeah, what scottfree said. Sheesh! (nm)cory
Jul 1, 2002 7:35 AM
Price creep...jtolleson
Jun 30, 2002 8:32 PM
C'mon, give the guy a break. Oh yes, we should all have at least Ultegra or Chorus. Woulda shoulda coulda.

Bikes are pretty damn pricey for the average human, and a Tiagra (for that matter, some Mirage or even Sora) equipped bike will do what he needs within his budget. Charity rides? A first century? Fitness riding?

With the right sale, or experienced help to shop the classifieds, dough can go further. But I think that the request for guidance is ok. Is $225 "worth it" for an upgrade to 105? Well, that depends if you have it.

Would I encourage it? Yes. But would I lead you to believe that you should worry about Tiagra? No.
re: Buying a Road Bike...Need Advice!!!Juanmoretime
Jul 1, 2002 12:44 AM
It sounds as though you are somewhat getting involved in roadbiking not racing. I mountain and road bike and have road biked for over thirty years. Get the 105 and be happy. Anything less and you will be replacing in a much less time time frame and that extra cash you have to pony up will be a much larger chunk in the future. I'm not saying this because I use 105, but have, 105 works great and has excellent life. I prefer Dura Ace but that works in my budget, not yours. LoL.
re:Stick to your budget!dzrider
Jul 1, 2002 4:15 AM
Your ability to handle your money in a way that's comfortable for you and keeps you sane is a much better predictor of happiness than what kind of components you have. Many of the riders, myself included, who would advise getting better stuff have more than one bike. If you find you love cycling you may as well. In a few years you may decide that you want better. Go out and get it then. You'll have a clearer sense of what you want or need to ride happily.
I completely understand your situationrengaracchi
Jul 1, 2002 4:19 AM
I have a Cannondale (R600? I forgot.) with Shimano 105 that I bought thirteen or so years ago. It has red/white color theme and it is still really beautiful. And, man, I've had a lot of fun out of the bike! It is my first road bike, and105 still works perfectly fine. If you can afford a Cannondale with 105, go for it. Ride it till you come to the point where the frame and 105 no longer match your muscles. Then you go for something a little nicer.

Good luck!
Don't forgetMel Erickson
Jul 1, 2002 5:35 AM
$75 for a helmet. Does it come with pedals? No? Another $75. $50 for shorts, $35 for a jersey (3 of each would be better). $75 for shoes. How 'bout a frame pump and floor pump, cages, water bottles, camelback, patch kit, a mini tool, tire irons, seat pack, extra tubes, cyclometer? You may not need all of these right off the bat (floor pump, camelback, seat pack, cyclometer). The bike shop may throw in cages and bottles or a pump or a patch kit and tubes or a mini tool etc. (but not all these). You get the picture. To buy everything I mentioned it would cost you at least $675. It's not just about the bike.
save the $$....raboboy
Jul 1, 2002 7:30 AM
I have an r500 and the tiagra is fine, this is a great bike. I have a little over 1000 miles on it and have had no problems at at all. Unless you are going to be doing many 100's of miles per week, then save the money for helmet/shoes/pedals etc. Yeah it won't last as long as 105, but the difference is 8000 miles instead of 10000 (or something like that).
get 105ColnagoFE
Jul 1, 2002 7:39 AM
If you are gonna use it more that once a week the 105 will last much longer and be more reliable than Tiagra.
Just a short rant about $$$mmquest
Jul 1, 2002 9:48 AM
While I certainly agree that cycling is expensive and you should DEFINITELY stick to what you can afford, overall cycling isn't that bad. I find it really amusing how people's jaws drop when you tell them you spent $2500 on a bike, but how many people do you know that have a $25000 Harley or boat or whatever? Especially considering that most cyclists probably spend more time on their bikes than most people spend on their recreational vehicles.
YEAH!! What he said.PBWatson
Jul 1, 2002 11:40 AM
& I dont have to buy gas, insurance, license & registration........
used is a nice alternative, if availableoff roadie
Jul 1, 2002 11:56 AM
I'm very happy with the used road bike I bought. I realise its not a good option for everybody, but looking around to find if there's a good used bike available is one of the best money saving / quality enhancing moves you can make. Its also nice because you can (hopefully) find out what bikes will fit you by looking at the previous owner and asking how it fit them. Chances are you can find a very similar bike used to any you want new, and good componants seem to hold up over time quite well. Many of the things I replaced on the used bike are things I've had to replace on new bikes also after very little use (in my casem the seat, pedals, bar, and rear rims on both my new MTB and my used road bike needed replacing due to fit and durability).

If you aren't at least familiar with intermediate level maintnance work on bikes, you may want to get permission to borrow the bike, or a garuntee you can return it at your descretion, and then pay a bike shop for a tuneup / troublshooting sesion. It won't cost much, and the tuneup is something you'd need sooner or later anyhow.