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Recommendations for a good starter road bike?(15 posts)

Recommendations for a good starter road bike?dave woof
Aug 22, 2002 9:59 AM
Hi All

I'm looking for a new bike for my S.O... The price range is $500 to $700. So far I've checked out Supergo, they have a Specialized Allez in that range, Sora components I think. I also saw a Giant SC3 or something? in that range. What I'd like is a bike that's 105 equipped in that range if it's possible. Don't want to buy used though.

Dave
re: Recommendations for a good starter road bike?Terrapin
Aug 22, 2002 10:18 AM
It's either Giant TCR or OCR range. The TCR is more race-ready, but more expensive. All are on truly excellent frames for the money.

I don't know if you can get 105 components in that price range, I've never seen it. But Tiagra is very good for the price, and unless your SO races all the time, I don't think she/he would care.
For what it's worth...MXL02
Aug 22, 2002 10:29 AM
My wife who is a new/occaisional rider picked the Giant OCR. When I demo'ed it, I thought it was too light and squirrelly, and picked a steel frame...she tried a Lemond (steel) and the Giant, and liked the Giant better...not sure why but it is probably a weight thing since I outweigh her by 60 lbs. So far she has been very happy with the bike.
Max the cards, go for a Merak. Wont regret it. (nm)onespeed
Aug 22, 2002 10:33 AM
re: Recommendations for a good starter road bike?Sintesi
Aug 22, 2002 10:38 AM
Haven't shopped that price range but 105 is going to be a tall order for $500-700. Get her a nice comfy Hybrid townie. If she's just getting her feet wet I wouldn't worry so much about the componentry. Just get her a name brand bike from a good dealer and all will be fine. Don't force her into roadihood unless she's hell bent on picking the sport up (in which case you'll want to save up and get a better bike). Get her bike that is comfortable and fun.
re: Recommendations for a good starter road bike?King Henry
Aug 22, 2002 11:23 AM
Since you want new, I highly doubt that you can find a 105 equipped bike within your price range. I was just in the market and don't recall anything even close, although anything is possible with close-outs.

I would echo the recommendation that you consider a hybrid. My wife just picked up Trek 7500, which leans more toward a road bike than a MTB, and she loves it. It is right within your price range.

If you really want a road bike, you need to figure out what your s.o. really needs from it. As other posters have said, there is nothing wrong with Sora or Tiagra unless the goal is racing or, I would add, "competitive" group riding (those rides frequently turn into quasi-races). As for brands, Trek, Lemond and Bianchi all have options within or close to your price range, in addition to those you already listed.
Giant infofbg111
Aug 22, 2002 11:42 AM
I'm a 27 year old male and just bought my first road bike a month ago. I can only tell you about the Giant OCR1 and TCR2 since those are the two I ended up focusing on. I initially wanted to spend $600 - $900 on a road bike I could use in triathlons, training, and possibly road racing down the line. Started my research at my local LBS, where after riding several models (Giant OCR1, Giant TCR2, Trek #### (a $1400 bike I forgot the model of), a Canondale R###, and a $4500 tricked out Felt. Went with the Giant OCR1 for price and fit, and because it seemed to be the most versatile and adjustable bike in the stable. 27-speed with 3 ring front gear, giving steep hill-climbing ability; adjustable handlebar stem so I could gradually lower it as I accustomed my body to the angle; and full Shimano 105; for $999. Great bike, rode it for a month and it felt good. However, after a month of riding and further research on the web, I decided that the TCR2 is what I needed. Its frame is similar to the OCR series, but with a few differences: Lighter components (frame, carbon stem and seatpost), slightly shorter wheelbase, full Shimano 105, Mavic wheels, same frame as the bikes the Spanish ONCE racing team rides, and few other nice extras. Even as a noob, I can tell the performance difference - the TCR is lighter, responds better to pedal input, and accelerates quicker than the OCR1. Basically, what I learned is that the OCR is for touring or individual training/ health riding, while the TCR is for racing. The TCR cost me $1299. You can't get better entry-level racing bike for that price, I think, but if your S.O. has no intention of ever racing it, go with an OCR (or other brand). I knew after a month that if I was serious about racing I would eventually upgrade from the OCR1 to a better racing bike, and decided to go ahead and upgrade now instead of later. Here's a good review at a triathlon site about the TCR2, but that talks about both the TCR and OCR series:

http://www.slowtwitch.com/mainheadings/prodreview/tribikes/giant.html
Giant infoaliensporebomb
Aug 22, 2002 12:18 PM
Also agree on the TCR2 as being the best bang for the buck..

I tried out the OCR1 and the TCR2 on the same day and it
is AMAZING what a $300 difference buys you.

Go for the TCR.

Also, I saw the 2003 OCR1 and I notice they're using the
TCR style frame. Same weird stem as the 2002 OCR1 but you
get the idea - CXP22 wheelset (not 21, 22) and 105 triple.
Giant infobiketalk
Aug 22, 2002 1:43 PM
When you say the same style as the TCR are you talking the shorter wheelbase and the cleaner looking welds?
I've been looking at great deals on both and cannot make up my mind as like you said they are cloe in terms of $. I'm from up north (Canada) and have got a price of $1450 CAN for the OCR1 and $1700 CAN for the TCR2.

Thanks for the feedback.
Giant infofbg111
Aug 22, 2002 2:55 PM
If you think you'll ever want to use the bike for serious racing, get the TCR. If not, save some $$ and get the OCR1. I would even recommend going with the TCR anyway b/c it's just so good, unless that extra $250 is a big deal for you.

As for the 2003 models, it sounds like Giant is standardizing its whole line on the TCR frame. I wonder if that will drive up the cost of the OCR's...

Also, here's a thread on this forum about compact vs. traditional frame designs. Scroll down to "legs" long post for a good explanation of the advantages of the compact frame (TCR and OCR) over traditional frames.

http://forums.consumerreview.com/crforum?viewall@@.efb23b6
I really love mine. but the guy did say $5-700weiwentg
Aug 23, 2002 9:06 AM
at that price range ... EPX? full Tiagra for $750 is not bad.
of course, you should go test ride a TCR2. :)
Mercier Corvus STI Triple $795 free shipWingWing
Aug 22, 2002 1:58 PM
Pretty nice spec. Big saving.
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/mercier/mercier_corvus.htm
Consider used bikesKerry
Aug 22, 2002 5:24 PM
If this is a joint purchasing effort (not a gift) then consider the huge jump in value you will get by going used. A two year old used bike will give you double the bike for that sum of money. If it's to be a surprise gift, the used route is problematic. But if your SO wants the most bike for the buck, a used machine the direction to go. Whatever you get, MAKE SURE IT FITS!
re: Recommendations for a good starter road bike?Barton
Aug 23, 2002 4:57 AM
Take a look at the Bianchi Brava. Good value in your price range.

A bike with 105 at that price will probably have to be used.
re: Recommendations for a good starter road bike?hoopshot
Aug 23, 2002 11:47 AM
I would figure out what qualities you want in a bike
and then look for new 2001 models that are still left
at stores. I recently bought a new bike and had decided
that I wanted a steel frame with decent components. After
looking around, I liked the Bianchi Campione but was
hoping to spend less than $999 (which a store I could
drive to was asking). I kept looking around on the web
and got lucky and found a 2001 model in my size for $750.
BTW, I was just in Boston on business and stopped by
Harris Cyclery. They had a 53cm 2001 Bianchi Campione for
$749, so there are deals out there if you can look. There
are also some shops that list road bikes on e-bay.

Good luck!

--Will