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Which $500-$600 bike?(15 posts)

Which $500-$600 bike?SuperGnome
Feb 5, 2003 1:17 PM
Hey all... first post here and I'd like some advice.

I'm buying my first roadie in about, oh, 12 years, and have a few to choose from. I'm looking at the Giant OCR3, Trek 1000, and Specialized Allez.

I'm curious if anyone has an opinion as to what they'd choose for doing -fast- 30-60 mile rides. Is there much of a difference? Are any of them more speed minded? Any input is appreciated!

Do you ride much currently? nmKristin
Feb 5, 2003 1:20 PM
Do you ride much currently? nmSuperGnome
Feb 5, 2003 1:43 PM
Well, it's Winter in Wisconsin.. *8( So not currently, but last year I picked up a Trek 6500 and was doing 20 mile road rides regularly (lots of trails too, but I wanted longer rides for cardio and getting less fat). *8)

I'll be pushing 30 miles after a few rides this year, and hope to be doing at least one 50 or 60 mile ride a week.
Feb 5, 2003 3:15 PM
I was in the same position as you were 2 years ago when I bought my first road bike. I had been pretty lathargic for 10 years, but had been riding a Trek 720 on trails by my house for 2 years. Pretty much the same as you have been doing.

When I bought the road bike, I had 3 selections that basically "fit" me and I needed to chose one. My mistake was choosing the one that "felt" the fastest. The reason the bike "felt" fast is because it's a racing (or crit) frame. They do certain things with the geometry (tube angles and lengths) to make the bike have faster potential. I discovered 2 things:

1. My body--being still out of shape--didn't adapt well to the bikes aggresive race geometry. Riding it makes me hurt all over and I've never been comfortable on it. Right from the first month, I've considered selling it--I still am. Technically the bike might fit, but that doesn't mean its a good bike for me and my goals.

2. Geometry doesn't make bikes fast, people do. This is trickier to explain. Geometry can make a difference in performance, but only for the experienced rider. For a first road bike, it won't make a difference if this is a Trek 1000 or a Lightspeed Classic. It will take time and conditioning in order to increase your speed.

So my advice--if you want it--is to test ride all three bikes. Ride each one for at least 3 miles on varied terrain (uphill, downhill, flats ect). Then choose the bike that you feel most comfortable on. It will be difficult to not choose the one that feels like the best performer, but if you do you may find yourself regretting it later. (Though none of the 3 bikes on your list are designed with a crit geometry like mine is.)

It may cost you more, but don't mail order your first road bike. Get if from a local shop that will be willing to help you tweek the fit (bar height, saddle height, reach, ect) as you begin riding it.

Lastly, don't worry too much about fit at this point in time. (I'll get balked at for this.) But have the local bike shop fit you and then just use your insticts and choose the most comfortable bike. I spent months trying to learn about fit. I got all confused and then still ended up with not the best bike. So in retrospect, it wasn't the best use of my time.

Just my $.02 Best of luck on your pursuit. Riding is great isn't it?
Feb 6, 2003 9:18 AM
Wow, thanks for that great message.
Pick by fit , maybe consider Fuji FinestContinental
Feb 5, 2003 1:34 PM
Pick the bike that fits. No big difference in quality at this price point. You might want to consider a Fuji Finest. I bought one last September and am happy with it. They are availalble in steel and aluminum frames. Steel has a lifetime warranty and is also a little less expensive. The Finest frames have the same geometry as a Steelman, which is a very expesnive bike.
re: Pick by fit , maybe consider Fuji FinestSuperGnome
Feb 5, 2003 1:46 PM
I plan on riding what I buy, and I hope I can control myself enough to ride a few before deciding. Problem is there are still a lot of close-outs in town right now, but there is ice/snow/slush/evil all over the place.

I have the Finest on my list, but I was leaning towards the other three. The shop in town that carries Giant also carries Fuji, so I'd give both the steel and aluminum bikes a whirl.

Where in Wisconsin?Andy M-S
Feb 5, 2003 2:00 PM
In recommending a bike, I think it's also important to look at the shop from which you'd be getting it. Where in Wisconsin do you live? I'm over in La Crosse, so if you're in this neck of the woods, I might be able to help you out...
Where in Wisconsin?SuperGnome
Feb 5, 2003 2:39 PM
I'm in Madison... Used to live in La Crosse. Ahhh, what fun MTB riding up there... used to ride Hedgehog all the time... you can get from there back behind Grand Dad's on trails. Beautiful road riding in those parts too.

Thanks for the offer, but there's a pretty healthy selection of friendly biker-owned shops down here. It'll save me a two hour ride for my free tune-ups. heh

Where in Wisconsin?Andy M-S
Feb 5, 2003 3:06 PM
Yes...but you need to find the right shop there. Find some local roadies and see if there's a good place to go. There's some place that has four or five storefronts over by the U...I was very disappointed when I went to look at their used stock; seemed kind of overpriced. That's the sort of trap you need to avoid.
I'd pick by fit...Mel Erickson
Feb 5, 2003 2:56 PM
ride and components, in that order. As said, there's not much difference in frames at this price point. Also, there's not alot of design and engineering that goes into these frames either. No shaped tubes or stays, probably not a carbon fork. Vanilla geometry. Therefore, and I know I'm sticking my neck out, going out on a limb, etc. etc. etc. but.... a steel bike might ride smoother, albeit with a weight penalty. At this price point I'd consider steel over aluminum.
Trek 1000 featured in Bicycling march issue best value-nmbenja15
Feb 5, 2003 5:16 PM
Feb 5, 2003 5:56 PM
Thanks everyone for your feedback. I'll ride em one and all and talk to who I can round these parts for good shops... and pick up the March issue of Bicycling... *8)

Consider usedKerry Irons
Feb 5, 2003 6:28 PM
For that price, you get a decent new road bike. If you buy used, you can get a very nice road bike that's a couple of years old. You would be very pleased with the quality and performance you could get in a used bike at that price. Just be sure that whatever you get is a good fit.
Is this from your personal stash of FAQ answers? ;-)OldEdScott
Feb 6, 2003 5:58 AM