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Please help.. About to buy a bike(28 posts)

Please help.. About to buy a bikeOldschooler71
Sep 17, 2002 10:47 AM
So I've been mountain biking for about 3 years and have even started to race a little... all the while making fun of "Roadies" and their skinny tires. But, come to find out that all the best MTB'ers ride road bikes like 75% of the time and that if I want to get better then I gotta bit the bullet and get a road bike. (humor itended)

So, I've been trying to educate myself on road bikes (still a long way to go) and I've been saving my pennies. I've gone back and forth a hundred times on what type of frame to get (steel, carbon, etc.) and I think I've found a really good bike... The Litespeed Hyperion, a truely beautiful alum bike with carbon stays and full ultega and spinergy XAero wheels. A LBS has it for $2700 (which is $1000 more than I orginally intended to spend) but said they'd come down to around $2400... Then just a few minutes ago I found one on-line (hence no taxes) for $1700!!!
So before I do this impulse buy and bust out the AMEX, a few questions...
1) I'm pretty sure I've got the right size (59) since I've sat on it at the LBS several times, but I've never actually test ridden it. For that matter... I have NEVER EVER been on a road bike in my whole life, so I wouldn't even know what to compare it to. But am I crazy to buy this bike without ever having test ridden one?
2) Like I said, I'm only going to ride this bike to improve my endurance for MTBing... so I suppose I'll be mostly doing distance rides... long weekend ride kinda stuff (is 50 miles long?)
3) What is a "compact frame" and why should I care... the hyperion isn't compact...

Any other info you roadie experts can impart would be much appriciated.

Thanks in advance.
Hmmmm, where is someone going to start on this one. (nm)onespeed
Sep 17, 2002 10:50 AM
Get a Merak with full Record 10's ..(nm) :)Ted
Sep 17, 2002 10:57 AM
Finally someone that agrees. I am making an impact here. (nm)onespeed
Sep 17, 2002 11:04 AM
Quit it, he just wants help. (nm)rtyszko
Sep 17, 2002 12:01 PM
lmao. nmfbg111
Sep 18, 2002 4:59 AM
my feelings...Steve_0
Sep 17, 2002 10:59 AM
2) if this bike is intended to be primarily a supplement to your mtb training, you may be buying to much bike (for my tastes).

Rides of 50 miles are pretty good, but not excetpionally long (many here routeinely ride centuries and double centuries).

Most frame materials are pretty comfortable for sub 50 milers, so the lightspeeds ti MAY not buy you anything (then again, it may, everyone's different).

1) I wouldnt buy a bike without test-riding it for fit.... being on the bike for 2 hours is far different from standing over it in the bike shop. Even (many) pepole (here) who have been 'professionally measured and fitted' find later their bike isnt the proper size. In my opinion, current fashion is dictating bikes too small for the owners. This is examplified by all the 'aching back',
neck', 'shoulder', and 'butt' posts on this board.

TAKE A TEST RIDE IF YOU CAN

3) a compact frame is one with a small diamond...it would moreso resemble your MTB with the sloping downtube and long seat post. Proponents claim a stiffer frame results. Certainly a lighter bike results, but the benefit is a de minimus, IMO.

unsolicited) Save some costs by equipping the bike with 105 components (as opposed to Ultegra or DA). Excellant componentry with great savings.
First things first.MXL02
Sep 17, 2002 11:03 AM
You cannot buy a bike without riding it first. Period. Unlike a mountain bike which has alot of forgivness even with a stiff aluminum frame, an aluminum road bike will not be as forgiving. IMHO, aluminum bikes, light and stiff, are for racing, not distance riding. That may be the reason you are able to get this one at such a bargain. Same issues for compact frame...make the frame smaller to make it lighter and stiffer...not much of an issue for distance riding. (by the way, long distance for road biking starts at 50 miles and goes up to 200 miles and more per day.) Most of us > 100 miles/ weekend routinely.

Go and test ride several bikes of differing frame materials. Once you have picked out the frame material, come back to us and we can help you pick out a great bike in your budget.
First things first.- my responseOldschooler71
Sep 17, 2002 11:28 AM
First off... thanks very much for all your input...
I just called my LBS to see about test riding there Hyperion and they've sold it, but have a similar one I can ride (alum. with carbon stay), So I'm heading over there in a little while.

Regarding frame materials: Steel isn't an option for me...too oldschool (No offense to anyone riding steel), straight alum isn't an option...too stiff, and carbon isn't an option...too expensive...same for Ti for that matter... so this Litespeed seems to be a great compromise all around. I get the price savings of an alum... and some of the comfort of a carbon frame (because of the seatstays).
Also, I plan to eventually replace the seatpost, bars and stem with carbon to make a little more flexly.

Thanks again to everyone... you roadies might be alright afterall
First things first.- my responseMXL02
Sep 17, 2002 11:42 AM
Seat stays, carbon seatposts, and carbon forks, will not make an aluminum bike ride any better....as I said before, road bikes are not like ATB's...I know you are hot to get this bike, but take it from someone who has spent way too much money buying bikes impulsively then learning about the issues afterward. Test ride several bikes...the more the better. Don't get snooty about steel...modern steel tubing can be almost as light and cool looking (oversized tubes and tig welded) as aluminum and may ride a whole heck of a lot better. Test ride everything they have in stock and come back to us before you buy...if you can.
First things first.- my responseOldschooler71
Sep 17, 2002 11:47 AM
Again, Thanks for help on this.

I am gonna try to ride the specific model of bike I'm looking at buying, no problem, and I'll probably test ride this Carbon Giant they want to look at (but is way outta my budget).

Here's my logic thus far... I'm wanting to upgrade the stem, post, saddle, and bars eventually (just cause I'm a bike-porn-slut- with little self control, and because I want to upgrade to Carbon stuff for the added comfort anyways). If I at least get the correct frame size (59), then any other "fine tuning" can be done when I upgrade the misc. componets.

Does that sound reasonable or am I way off-base?
You are way off base.MXL02
Sep 17, 2002 12:36 PM
Read my previous posts...components are not automatically better or more comfortable just because they are carbon. The LBS senses your bike lust like a shark senses blood in the water...you need to calm down and do this logically or you will pay twice as much in the long run. Tell them you want to test ride steel, aluminum, Ti, and Carbon. You will not believe how different each one of these rides. Once you have done that then decide what bike to get. Otherwise you are playing russian roulette.
RUN! RUN! DON'T WALK! Giant Carbon for a first road bike?!? (nm)NJRoad
Sep 17, 2002 5:27 PM
and your problem with that would be what?Raf1
Sep 19, 2002 7:39 PM
And I do hate the look of Giant's but more power to him.

Make sure it's Campy Record cause you'll end up paying for it eventually.
Have you tried rivercitybikes.com ?Leroy
Sep 17, 2002 11:50 AM
They have had some great deals on the Litespeed aluminum bikes. They're in Tennessee,hence, no Texas sales tax, and they probably still ship free. It's always good to deal with your local shop, but frankly, I cannot stand paying sales tax, and I have had the shops make some egregious mistakes on work done, and advice given. As long as you know it fits [and you sized this one according to your post] I wouldn't worry about it. If you like the bike, pull the trigger on the deal. I have not bought a bike locally since I discovered the internet. I have a caad5 on the way from coos bay, oregon, gvh bikes, as we chat.

Good luck with it, you'll enjoy it, I know.

Dave Loving
Steel is Real, my friend. Test a Lemond or KHS in 853........nmSpunout
Sep 17, 2002 3:02 PM
Some answersbrider
Sep 17, 2002 11:28 AM
(1) Are you crazy? The better question would be "Do you feel lucky?" Even if you are "pretty sure," we're talking total crap-shoot here, with loaded dice. Especially for your first road bike, I'd deal with the LBS. Test ride a lot of bikes, for as long as they'll let you ride them, and decide from that what feels best. "Cool" will only get you so far, and if it doesn't feel right, you're less likely to ride it.

(2) With the mileage you're talking (and that's not all that long for increasing endurance -- how long time-wise are your MTB races?), that Litespeed is way more bike than what you need. But that's not to say you won't like it.

(3) Compact frame is just an option. SOme people like it, some people don't. If you're MTB has similar geometry (sloping top tube), you might find it more to your liking. As I said in (1), ride a bunch of bikes and see what feels best.
re: Please help.. About to buy a bikehoopshot
Sep 17, 2002 1:20 PM
I think you've gotten some really good responses already, but I wanted to add a couple of Central Texas specific comments. I've heard that Britton's Bicycle Shop in San
Antonio is a really good place to get fitted for a road bike, although I'm not sure if they carry the kind of stuff you're looking at. Cycle360 and Bicycle Sport Shop are supposed to be good, too. I wouldn't get too rushed to order something as we are just getting into the fall discount season for bikes.

Oh, and just fyi, a "compact frame" is a herasy and real road bikes are made of steel :-P

--Will
lemme hear you say "AMEN", brothers and sisters!MXL02
Sep 17, 2002 1:23 PM
"a "compact frame" is a herasy and real road bikes are made of steel :-P "
if a 59 is your size, there is nothing compact about you....nmSpunout
Sep 17, 2002 3:06 PM
re: Please help.. About to buy a bikezooog
Sep 17, 2002 2:52 PM
Buy what you think you can afford and will need to train/ride on but don't buy the damn thing without a test ride or rides. Try a couple a different bike...Good Luck
re: Please help.. About to buy a biketeoteoteo
Sep 17, 2002 4:47 PM
I ride a compact carbon alum mix and have some advice for you.

Don't get too caught up in Alum is too stiff, steel is too yada yada games. Ride some bikes. 2400 is more than you need to spend. If your trying to get fast for MTB stuff your thinking along the right lines just take the budget down to 1700-1800 tops.

My Carbon Alum mix rides no more soft than most of the bikes I sell that are all Alum.
Too expensive for first road bikeLC
Sep 17, 2002 5:38 PM
It actually took me over 3 years to figure out what size I needed. The more you ride, your body changes and what frames I had that used to fit, no longer fit. I started with many years of MTB riding like yourself and the size just does not matter as much on a bike when your all over the place on single track. Just pick up something cheap that you think will fit at first then you can get fancy with an expensive frame down the road when you have your size figured out.
re: Please help.. About to buy a bikemoabbiker
Sep 17, 2002 10:58 PM
If I were you, I would stop myself from spending that much $$ on a first bike, especially since you really seem to want a road trainer (i.e. heavier bike is a benefit, not a liability). Stick with a $600-$1K bike, 105 components, even less if you can find a great deal somewhere.
"bike-porn-slut- with little self control".fbg111
Sep 18, 2002 5:41 AM
lol, I like that. Anyway, if my actual budget were $2500 - $2700, and I wanted a good long-distance bike, here's what I would get:

Merlin XL Compact
http://www.merlinbike.com/english/road/xl_compact.html

Decent review:
http://www.bikyle.com/merlin_xl_compact.htm

The reason is b/c it's an all-titanium frame combined with a compact design. The compact design theoretically gives greater stiffness, especially in the rear of the bike, and the titanium frame adds road shock absorbtion, for the best of both worlds.

People who prefer compacts say the design decreases frame flex and increases power transfer, most noticeably when climbing. They also say it slightly lowers the center of gravity, which makes the bike feel more comfortable when standing and rocking the bike side-to-side as you pedal hard. It's also more similar in design to a mountain bike, which you as a mtb'er may appreciate. But many other roadies also say they can feel no difference b/t compact and traditional whatsoever.

Fitting is also different with compacts. Whereas traditional frames are measured in height and length, and come in a large variety of sizes, compacts come in only a few sizes. Merlin makes them in small, medium, medium/large, large, and extra large (and custom). Giant offers even fewer sizes - small, medium, large. So make sure it fits right if you look at one of these.

I've only owned one road bike, a compact Giant TCR2, so can't compare it to a traditional frame. But just ask around, and search this forum for more on the differences. Several people have asked this question the past few months. Here's a few threads I've bookmarked:

RBR:
http://forums.consumerreview.com/crforum?viewall@@.efb23b6
Tom Kellog, Merlin designer:
http://www.hydromedia.com/phorum/read.php?f=4&i=163&t=162

Misc. bookmarks on frame materials, geometry, and fitting:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frames/index.html
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
http://www.slowtwitch.com/mainheadings/prodreview/tribikes/giant.html

I haven't seen any real criticism of the compact frame, other than that traditional roadies think it looks ugly.

Anyway, that Merlin gets rave reviews everywhere I look b/c it is a light, stiff performer, yet the titanium + hourglass seat stays make it very comfortable for distance riding. This is also one of those bikes that most consider to be the "last bike you'll ever buy", b/c it so good in every respect has a lifetime warranty.

Anyway, I don't own one, but wish I did, and will once I'm good enough to deserve one. From your stated requirements, it sounds like a consideration for you as well.
PS - also look at...fbg111
Sep 18, 2002 5:43 AM
Merlin's other stuff. Plenty of traditional frames to choose from. And the Agilis is a cheaper version of the XL Compact:

http://www.merlinbike.com/english/road/agilis.html
Fit is more important than weight, material, or $$$sharkey
Sep 18, 2002 8:11 AM
I too, was a mountain biker for years (8 years to be exact), and had no desire to ride a road bike. A shoulder injury forced my to temporarily stop mountain biking . . . to make a long story short, all that stuff you are hearing about it making you a more fit cyclist is absolutely true!! It is astounding how much better for your endurance, leg strength, technical ability gets . . . and if you want to loose weight . . . road riding is the way to go!!!

That said, if you want to spend big bucks on a new road bike, it has to fit!!! Fit is more important than anything: Weight, material, brand name, or how much money you spend. A poorly fitted bike will be a chore to ride,and you will probably grow to hate it.

Check local bike shops for a "Serotta fit cycle". . a contraption, that, in the hands of an expert "fitter" can put you within a cm of the PERFECT BIKE. The cost is usually around $40 for this service, and will be the best money you can spend.

Secondly, (after you know what bike size, stem length, crank arm length, etc) test ride everything. Bring your shoes and pedals if you like, and take a good long test ride (some shops even let you take a bike for the weekend!!).

Cautions: First, the lust factor among many bikes is high . . so high that you'll end up getting that Colnago (I'm using Colnago as an example because I really wanted one . . .BAD, but it simply didn't fit me right . . other bikes felt better) despite your best instincts. Definitely follow your instincts.

Also, mountain bikers (me included) always seem to feel a little uncomfortable in the beginning in the new stretched out postion of a road bike. You will get used to it very quickly, and depending on your age and flexibility, you will most likely be getting a new (longer) stem in the next year because you want to be a little flatter across the top of the bike.

Good luck and be patient!! You'll find that perfect bike!
re: Please help.. About to buy a bikeVVS
Sep 18, 2002 9:38 AM
A lot of good but sometimes conflicting advice here. I think the most valid point made is that $2,500 is way more than you need to spend to get what you need. With a few clicks, you can see lightly used quality bikes for that price and less.

I recently bought a bike through the RBR Classifieds after much product and and LBS fit research. I couldn't be happier with the result. I got a better bike (Trek OCLV with full, nearly new Dura-Ace) than my budget could afford had I bought a new bike and I saved a lot of money over what I was prepared to spend.

Be patient; if you don't see the right thing yet, wait. Do your homework; be flexible. You don't own a new bike for long; it becomes a used bike the day you first ride it.

Good Luck.