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Bianchi, Cannondale, Trek, Gunnar?(31 posts)

Bianchi, Cannondale, Trek, Gunnar?mbakercad
Nov 7, 2003 9:39 PM
I'm shopping for a bike in the $1200-$1500 price range. I prefer purchasing at a LBS rather than online. Since I currently do not have a road bike I cannot say how it will be used for sure. I doubt racing will be a consideration. Priority wise I would rank comfort over weight but I do not want something to flexy. I'm considering the following bikes.

Bianchi Giro
Bianchi Veloce
Bianchi Vigorelli
Cannondale R1000
Gunnar Roadie
Lemond Buenos Aires
Trek 2100

Taking value into consideration, which would you pick and why? I had the following concerns.
1. Binachi; I know very little about them in general. Warranty? Where are they built?
2. Cannondale; too harsh and possibly out of my price range. What is the retail on the R1000?
3. Gunnar; last minute thought. Could one be put together in the same price range as the others?
4. Lemond; Bontrager component concerns (read they had some issues). Could be out of the price range.
5. Trek; Bontrager component concerns again.

Any thoughts other than I have too many choices? I will probably just end up buying whichever is prettier :)
re: Bianchi, Cannondale, Trek, Gunnar?kevinacohn
Nov 7, 2003 9:51 PM
I can only speak of the Cannondale R1000 ($1,799 MSRP, by the way), Lemond Buenos Aires, and Trek 2100.

In my mind, the Cannondale is the best deal of the three. I like the Cannondale ride (although of course some don't), and it has Ultegra shifters, derailleurs, and the crank (house brakes and SRAM cogs). I also like Fi'zi:k saddles...

In my opinion, the LeMond and Trek bikes (especially on the lower end, which is what you're looking at) aren't worth the dollars they cost. I'm not a huge fan of Bontrager products, and I'd have to say that if I were ever to purchase a Trek product (Trek owns/produces LeMond, Klein, Gary Fisher, Bontrager), I'd buy the frameset and build the bike myself OR switch out all the Bontrager components.

Also, Trek's aluminum bikes ride like (brown stuff), IMO.

I'd suggest looking at the Specialized Allez line, possibly the best deal in the $1,200-$1,500 price range.

The Allez Elite Triple is $1,090 MSRP, with Shimano 105 components. Functionally, there's very little difference between 105 and Ultegra.

This was my first road bike... I still ride it all the time at school. Excellent buy...

Kevin
re:... Cannondale ...?mbakercad
Nov 8, 2003 6:21 AM
Thanks for the reply.

The retail on the Cannondale is a little higher than I would like to go but it might be within reach. I have a Cannondale MTB that I am real happy with. When I first started looking at road bikes I went straight for Cannondale but the stories of shiffness/harshness drove me off. Also, since the R1000 may be out of my price range I began looking at the R800. Looks like a nice bike but I have not read anything positive about its wheelset. Should the R800 be avoided because of the Gipiemme Grecal Parade wheels?

I have read several posts with opinions similar to your own on the Bontrager products. I'm trying to spend a little more on a bike to get something which I do not need to start replacing compents.

I will also take a closer look at the Specialized line.
re: Bianchi, Cannondale, Trek, Gunnar?rcarbs
Nov 7, 2003 10:02 PM
I have a Veloce and have been very happy with it. I have a little over 17k miles on it and everything has worked great. The Veloce group is considered a lower end Campy group but has served me well. My Chorus group on my Look bike may shift with a little more precision but the Veloce is a good group. The Bianchi steel frame with the carbon fork rides very well. I would recommend it to anyone. Great bike for the long haul.
re: Bianchi....?mbakercad
Nov 8, 2003 6:30 AM
Thanks for the reply. Would you prefer the Campy Veloce group over the Ultegra? I have heard the opinion that both the Dura Ace and Record groups are pretty good. However, as you go lower into the lines that the Campy tends to be better.

Since the Bianchi Veloce and Bianchi Vigorelli are very similar price bikes and have the same frame. The main difference between the two are the component groups. Would you take the Veloce group over the Ultegra group? They do have different wheels and pedals.

http://www.bianchiusa.com/vigorelli.html

http://www.bianchiusa.com/veloce.html
re: Bianchi....?rcarbs
Nov 8, 2003 3:16 PM
I don't have any experience with the Ultegra group. Just about everyone that I ride with uses Ultegra. I'm the only Campy guy in the group. I like having something that is different from everyone else. (My Look 361 w/Chorus is an example). Everyone that I ride with has either Treks or Giants w/Ultegra. If the Bianchi frame geometry fits then I would get the Veloce, but then again.......the Ultegra is nice.......
re: Bianchi, Cannondale, Trek, Gunnar?Vimalakirti
Nov 7, 2003 11:24 PM
I'm riding a 2001 Cannondale R600 that I'm pretty fond of, CAAD4 frame, etc. My wife rides a Bianchi Veloce. She got a great deal on hers, $1,200, and the Campy Veloce groupo is clearly nicer that the Shimano 105/Tiagra mix that came stock with my bike. But her bike is a full 2 lbs. heavier than mine, in spite of hers being a 55 cm and mine a 58. So, you can take your pick--if you're not going to race, you might prefer the comfort and quality of components of the Bianchi over the stiffness and climbing abilities of the Cannondales.
The main reservation I have about Cannondale is their fat tubes--nobody can accuse them of being aerodynamic (even their "aero" frames leave a lot to be desired). Since ultimately aerodynamics matter a lot more than weight, especially in the flatlands where I live, my next purchase is going to be a Cervelo P2K.
re: Bianchi, Cannondale....?mbakercad
Nov 8, 2003 6:38 AM
Thanks for the reply.

Does your wifes bike have the Campy wheels and carbon fork? I seems the Bianchi changes a lot from year to year. The reason I ask is because I wondered how much more it would weight than an Aluminum bike. I do not care about ounces but several pounds might make a difference.

I hope to try out both but I'm not sure how much I can tell from one ride. Especially since I have little road bike experience. Everything feels smooth compared to my Cannondale M500.

Are you serious about the aerodynamics having that much of an effect? Just from the tube size and shape? I live in WV so weight would probably make a bigger difference on the climbs. But since I do not plan on racing anytime in the near future perhaps a steel bike is what the doctor ordered.
re: Bianchi, Cannondale....?Vimalakirti
Nov 9, 2003 12:06 AM
If you're in a paceline drafting off your friends, then the fat tubes won't be a big deal. But out on your own in the Windy City (my home) in a non-drafting triathlon, it can make a big difference. I think the conventional wisdom nowadays among triathletes is that weight is an overrated factor. But I'm sure plenty of roadies on this board will have something to say about that.

My wife's Veloce was a 2000 model (I believe)--she got such a good deal because it was an earlier year's model. Her bike has a Bianchi carbon fork and Mavic CXP 21 wheels w/Campy hubs (I think). I'm sure they've changed some components since then. And I know Cannondale keeps making its bikes a better and better deal--On the 2004 R600, for about the same price as my 2001 model, you now get a CAAD5 frame and Gipiemme wheels (the Cannondale hubs that came stock on my wheels were TERRIBLE). If you want to compare specs the Cannondale website will let you see all of their bikes going back several years.

I am of the personal opinion that much of the bumpiness of the Cannondale ride is subjective--people believe it's going to be a bumpy ride so they notice every bump. Your body weight is also a factor. A big guy like me doesn't get thrown around quite so much on aluminum, and appreciates the efficient transfer of energy more. Ultimately, as everyone else has already told you, you just have to go to your LBS and try them. They're both nice bikes. If you can't notice a difference, which one is cheaper? Which paint job do you like better?
everyone's got their opinions, but you really have to test rideBenR
Nov 7, 2003 11:29 PM
I only have a weak grasp of price ranges for the bikes you mentioned, but here's my opinion: Bianchi's are excellent bikes for the money. The only bad thing is the fragile European paint which is a concern on a steel frame. Otherwise, Bianchi doesn't cut corners on craftmanship or component spec, and their geometry seems to fit a variety of body shapes decently. Lower end Campy is superior to lower end Shimano. It might be heavier (they're all heavy at this point), but after having both, I think it shifts better and lasts longer.

I have a commuter Veloce frame with old shimano mix that I ride more than intended because it's such a nice-riding steel frame, yet still relatively stiff and not too heavy. I've also ridden a newer veloce with full Veloce parts on it and had the same perception. I don't remember the price off-hand, but it was very reasonable, want to say roughly $1000, which included open pro wheels. The Vigorelli is a different steel alloy (I think supposedly smoother) and slightly more expensive, maybe not as good a deal- you'd have to test ride it to see if it's worth the difference.

In your price range, I would avoid aluminum, with the exception of the Cannondale if you can get it for $1500 or under. Cheaper aluminum bikes, such as the Giro & partcularly the Trek, are not good general riding bikes in my opinion. They tend to be rough riding and really not as stiff as advertised, especially when they loosen up after a few thousand miles. The Trek 2300 uses a better alloy but costs more. Maybe good as a budget racer for a year or two since they're lighter, but a couple ounces is worthless if you're uncomfortable. The cannondale is a nicer aluminum frame, but you will pay more for it along with cheaper components. If you really like STIFF, crisp, sharp-handling frames then the Cannondale might be a good option but it won't be as smooth as your steel options. Their paint jobs are decent as well, although not as nice as my Klein Quantum w/chorus 10! Speaking of Klein, you might make the price point for one of their cheaper models and I've heard that they have made huge comfort gains without sacrificing responsiveness. Again, you'll be paying for the frame at the expense of componentry.

I don't remember price off-hand, but I feel that Lemonds are nice but over-priced. Someone is likely to shoot me down here. The Reynolds 853 is technically a higher-end steel than the Veloce, but after riding both bikes for only a few seconds, I don't think it justifies the price difference. It might come down to which bike fits you better (geometries are quite different) and which is "prettier." A couple friends swear by their Gunnars but I don't really know much about them nor have I ridden one. I believe frame prices start at $500+, so you might be able to have one built at the upper end of your range.

Just my thoughts but be sure to go ride them for yourself
everyone's got their opinions, but you really have to test ridereddach
Nov 8, 2003 4:12 AM
Do not know where you live, but if anywhere near these shops, take a look at this.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3635066131&category=7298

Best buy I have seen online in a while. Hey, E-bay pricing with no risks.
Fugi..mbakercad
Nov 8, 2003 6:51 AM
I live in WV so any of those shops would be a haul. I checked Fuji's website and the closest dealer is almost 1 1/2 hours from here.
Bianchi, Gunnars....mbakercad
Nov 8, 2003 7:10 AM
If I pay $1500 for a bike I know it is not top of the line, but I do not want to buy then start replacing parts immediately either. This being said I have been reading a lot of positive posts on the Campy Veloce group.

http://www.bianchiusa.com/veloce.html
Reynolds 631 Frame
Veloce group
Campagnolo Vento G3 wheelset
MSRP $1599

http://www.bianchiusa.com/vigorelli.html
Reynolds 631 Frame
Ultegra group
Mavic Ksyrium Equipe wheelset
MSRP $1599

The local Bianchi dealer is pretty small and has very few sitting on the floor. I spoke to them on the phone, while they sounded helpful I do not think they are willing to order both for me to try out. They do have a 2 week return policy but if I can only get them to order one, I wondered which of the two would be better.

The considered both the Trek 2xxx series and the Bianchi Giro are because of the Aluminum frames with carbon seat stays. A lot of manufactures seem to be going to this setup. The carbon is supposed to dampen the vibrations inherant to aluminum. I have all but decided against Trek because of the Bontrager components but was still intersted in any opinions in the Giro.

I have prices a little more and I think I may be able to get a Gunnar in that price range but I do not know if it will be possible to try out one. Are these more of a made to order bike? I have a local Gunnar dealer, I may speak to him in the near future.
Which has the best geometry for you?geeker
Nov 8, 2003 6:28 AM
For me, the choice would be Gunnar. The geometry is by far the best for me, and I could have it put together without low-spoke wheels and house-brand name parts. Price-wise, you'd have to check.

I hate compact geometry, so Bianchi is out. Fine bikes, frames are probably Far East-made, but I don't think that's automatically bad. Don't know about warranty. Trek, Lemond and Cannondale geometries aren't good for me (I have long legs, short torso and prefer shorter top tube and longer head tube).

As other posters said, you should test-ride and see what fits best. Also see what LBS do the best job with fitting, and avoid the ones who try to force you onto whatever model/size (even if ill-fitting) they happen to have in stock.
Which has the best geometry for you?mbakercad
Nov 8, 2003 6:43 AM
I have no idea about the geometry. Since I have not road biked any I really have not preference. Would getting fitted potentially help me eliminate some manufactures?
Which has the best geometry for you?geeker
Nov 8, 2003 7:53 AM
Yes, getting fitted (provided the LBS does a good job) would very likely help. It may not be the end-all solution for new riders (your riding position may change and become more stretched-out over time), but recommended. You might not *eliminate* brands, because stem length and rise can be altered to make up many differences, but you'll avoid ill-fitting disasters.
re: Bianchi, Cannondale, Trek, Gunnar?Barton
Nov 8, 2003 6:39 AM
Take a look at the Jamis Quest. Jamis bikes (frame made in Taiwan) are usually excellent values.
re: Jamismbakercad
Nov 8, 2003 6:47 AM
I just check Jamis's website and the closest dealer is over an hour away. I hope to buy and get service locally so they probably are out of the running.

Thanks for the reply.
Bianchi.... Raleighlyleseven
Nov 8, 2003 7:10 AM
You won't go wrong with Bianchi. I believe they are made in Italy, although for awhile they were being made in Taiwan. I am a Campy fan but I can't say that the Veloce is better than Ultegra. Also, check out Raleigh (if close by) as they put a lolt in the bike for the money. Bianchi is a fine riding bike and I know Cannondales are good bikes but stiff and not long on comfort.
Bianchi.... CannondaleLeroy
Nov 8, 2003 7:58 AM
The century I did on my caad5 c-dale was no more brutal than the century on my steel bike. The "harsh" tag applied to cannondales is a myth in my opinion. Maybe I just like the way they ride. For my $$$ it'd be the Veloce or the Cannondale...with an edge to the cannondale. Let us know what you finally do.
IT would be hard to beat that Fuji Marseille deal @ $995collectorvelo
Nov 8, 2003 8:24 AM
The guy that posted the Fuji Marseille this morning at $995 is getting a heck of a deal. I think the bike is lighter than any of the bikes you are looking at AND it has as good or better components. Plus from my point of view; it is hard to beat the ride of Reynolds 853
Only way to tell is to try it yourself.....divve
Nov 8, 2003 8:33 AM
There's no way you're going to get accurate information here regarding ride feel. For instance, the general statement of Cannondale being harsh is simply nonsense. I suggest riding a CAAD7 with full carbon fork and then directly compare that to a tank like a Bianchi aluminum 7020. You'll find out in an instance what super stiff and harsh means. Next, take a flyweight Bianchi XL EV4 aluminum bike out for a spin and you'll feel what the definition of a noodle is, even though the included Reparto Corse XL fork is actually one the stiffest around. They're all aluminum but ride completely different. There's no way you can draw broad conclusions just based on material and manufacture...also the controls (bar, seat, wheels, tires, etc.) will contribute to a difference in feel.
ALL This test-ride stuff is overrated !! bikes,cars, womenfrozentwin
Nov 8, 2003 10:11 AM
You think in a 1 hour test ride (20 minutes in the case of -- never mind...) you can tell how something will be for months, years, decades, or until death do you part? Balonney! And all you types that think you can not generalize about tubing - where do you think those generalization came from -- the secret dis-information committee?? rubish -- Steel bikes are smoother than aluminum bikes, aluminum bikes are lighter than steel bikes, Titanium bikes cost more than either, Carbon bikes do not have good road feel, german cars are more reliable than itailan ones, --- not in every case OF COURSE -- not even every Jap car is boring and looks like a jelly bean - only 99.9%
but these generailizations are a good place to start and help us understand certain principles - like always have a spare car if you own an Alpha -- and for long rides & touring give steel the most consideration -- and do not worry about a french woman using your razor - she doesnt shave anyway
You don't need....divve
Nov 8, 2003 10:35 AM
.....an hour or even 20 minutes to distinguish a noodle from a tank. Generalizations usually have their origins in ancient history and continue to the present and thereafter, through people parroting back what they've heard from so called "trusted" and "reliable" sources. A good example is your German car reference. It has now been proven over and over again for more than a decade, that your average Toyota or Honda is more reliable than a Mercedes. Yet the majority of people of this world would pick the Mercedes over the other two makes if given the choice.

BTW, the English really do have bad teeth....
Cannondale.flatspoke
Nov 8, 2003 10:30 AM
I have a R1000 and I can say that it really is comfortable.When i bought it I tried the caad5 and it was too harsh IMO. The caad 7 is wonderful and light . the R1000 has pretty good components too .
Cannondale Caad 7--tin can???reddach
Nov 8, 2003 12:46 PM
Have noticed alot of discussion RE: the Caad 7

Try this
http://forums.bicycling.com/bic/thread.jsp?forum=6&thread=59509

Very interesting thread for anyone considering a new Cannonball
Doesn't REI have....divve
Nov 8, 2003 2:27 PM
...a no questions asked life-time return policy or something like it? Buy your CAAD7 - Optimo SI - or whatever they call it there. Use it, trash it, take a dump in the headset, and return it in 5 years, and pick up a new and shiny bike on your way out.
Cannondale...um...Matno
Nov 8, 2003 5:34 PM
I don't think there's a difference in "comfort" between the CAAD5 and CAAD7, only a difference in weight (and possibly more lateral stiffness in the CAAD7). Both are very comfortable rides. I'm a lightweight rider and I recently did 370 miles in 3 days on my CAAD4, and it was amazingly comfortable. WAY smoother ride than my previous steel bike. The myth of C'dales being stiff comes from their older CAD3 and earlier models (which are very stiff - but still great race bikes).
Cannondale...um...lyleseven
Nov 8, 2003 6:38 PM
Your old steel bike must have been pretty bad... I have ridden new Cannondales and much prefer the ride of my steel or Ti bikes. Have not rode the CAAD7, but I am a heavier rider (200+)
Cannondale...Matno
Nov 10, 2003 3:27 AM
I won't deny that my previous steel bike wasn't the pinnacle of technology. It was almost top of the line, but over 10 years ago. However, I can say that my CAAD4 is WAY smoother than any other aluminum frame I've ever ridden. It's also a LOT cheaper than any Ti bike and most high-quality steel frames. When you can ride 150+ miles in one day and still feel like the ride is smooth, I don't see how anyone could complain. Especially if it does that for a lightweight rider like me. Then again, I've never ridden Ti. I can't afford to even taste that forbidden fruit...

Of course, some ride characteristics are influenced by more than just the frame. Wheels, stems, handlebars, saddles, and even seatposts can make a difference. However, I swapped most of that stuff from my steel frame to the C'dale and the difference was significantly greater than when I upgraded the parts on the steel frame originally.

By the way, who makes the best steel frames? (I know that's a loaded question, but in terms of comfort and light weight, there have got to be some standouts).
Cannondale better check the warranty firstrogerinbalance
Nov 9, 2003 5:55 AM
Cannondale limits their warranty due to the fact that their bikes do not hold up -- there is lots of history of their frames being less reliable than any other high grade frame. In addition, no other bicycle company has had as many recalls. check the facts; you are safer with any other brand that you look at in a bike shop.