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1st Bike: Trek vs. Bianchi(13 posts)

1st Bike: Trek vs. BianchiRD-Man
Nov 30, 2003 1:09 AM
Totally psyched to be getting my first road bike soon. Looking for views on Trek 2300 vs. Bianchi Vitara or Vigorelli . One LBS is dissing Trek for Bianchi, another loves Trek. Have also heard that I should try LeMond Buenos Aires. Comments on this or others are very welcome.

Thanks.
There are LOTS of alternatives - Online and at LBSwardinside
Nov 30, 2003 2:50 AM
The two bikes you mention are good; but different. The Lemond is also good. All three are more expensive than many other alternatives; which are just as good.
But first you should decide Aluminum Frame or Steel, then you will have a better idea of which brands to compare.
If you shop online, you can get the same Quality of bike as a Trek or Bianchi from bikesdirect, coloradocyclist, or supergo and save hundreds of dollars. Or you can get DuraAce for the same money or less money as Ultegra from Trek or Bianchi at a Bike Shop.
If you need the help of a Bike Shop and do not mind paying a little more for the service; there are lots of brands that offer better deals And/Or can be found at sale prices - including Felt, Motobecane, Jamis, Mercier, Fuji, Raleigh, and if you like compact frames (which most riders do not) Specialized and Giant.
with a little research, you can make a buy that you feel happy with -- plus this is a good time of year to buy as bicycle sales are slow - you should get a deal. At least 20% off "List" at your price range.
re: Go with what you can affordhudsonite
Nov 30, 2003 5:33 AM
There are lots and lots of good bikes out there. For your first road bike, start with a budget that will not kill you. Then talk to a bunch of LBS and have them fit you to a bike that is within your budget.

The fit is more important than the 'Brand'. Not all brands/models fit all people. For example I think trek makes a really great product, but they do not fit me. After you find one or two that fit you, then compare the two models and ask questions here.

If the trek 2300 fits you, I can tell you it is a great bike, the company offeres great customer service and you will be happy for many years. If the trek does not fit you, other brands might, including Bianchi. BTW, if you like the trek 2300, you may also want to wait for the trek 5000 that will be out soon. It will be a lower cost version of the 5200. The cost may be close to the 2300.

Brands that I think are good (at popular prices) are Trek, Giant, Fuji, Marin, Cannondale and Bianchi. There are some lesser known and smaller brands that are also very good. They tend to have smaller distribution footprints and offer a quality product and great value. These include Marinoni, Opus and DeVinci in the NE. Depending upon where you live, these may or may not be available to you.

So in summary, set a budget, then get fitted by a LBS you like and trust, then pick a model from a company that offers a good warranty and service. For your first bike the fit is going to be key, so avoid mail/Internet stores for now. They are best for experienced riders that know what they want.

Also, depending upon where you live, there are some very great deals on bikes right now. Particularly in the northern states where snow is starting to fall. The stores want to get rid of existing inventory ASAP. Great time to buy.

BTW, bike dealers are famous for dissing other brands that they do not carry. It is an unfortunate part of the business. It means nothing. The major bike companies protect a dealer from competition in the local area, such that you will not see two Trek(or other major) dealers across the street from each other. This means that one dealer is prevented from selling the other product, even if they wanted to. So they have a hard time commenting on another product that they do not carry or are prevented from carrying.
You do not have to be an expert to buy onlinewardinside
Nov 30, 2003 5:45 AM
It is condescending to say that you should wait till you know more to buy on line. It is true buying from a shop has its benefits AND buying online has its benefits. But it is flat insulting to say you need more experience to buy online. In fact, I good online shopper may end up with better fit than someone who is 'sold' by a dealer based on that dealer's stock and ideas.
Smart buyers check all their options! This is true on computers, bikes, cameras, you name it.
I say ask a few opinions from dealers, email a few online sellers for their opinion, and check out a couple of info sites -- then pick your best deal.
It was not meant to be condescendinghudsonite
Nov 30, 2003 6:21 AM
In no way was I trying to be condescending. My opinion is that getting the right fit on your first road bike is the most important thing. That is more easily and accurately accomplished by working with an expert at a local bike shop. A local bike shop can also adjust and dial in your fit over time, making the bike purchase a better long term value for the consumer.

I purchase my bikes on line and am a huge believer in the on-line shopping experience. But I also have been riding road bikes for a long time. I know what I want and prefer to forgoe the LBS experience for my own. But when it comes to my wife and family, I let the LBS look after them.

In my opinion, I just don't think that the first road bike purchase should be done on-line by someone without experience. It is too easy to mess up the fit and final assembly. Not to mention, that the poster did mention Trek as one of his choices, which is not available on-line.

But you are correct that some LBS can sell the wrong product to the wrong buyer. That is why it is important to find a good LBS that will look after you.

And yes, there are many products you can buy on-line easily, such as cameras, camcorders, computers, books (all of which I buy online). But none of these require 'fittings'.

Just because you do not like my opinion, it does not mean I am condescending.
It was not meant to be condescending - but you werewardinside
Nov 30, 2003 6:30 AM
It is not about 'liking' your opinion. And you are still being condescending - and you do not even see it.

Fit is personal, it is NOT science. And dealers foul up bike fit all the time. I smart person can research their fit online and in stores and then pick a bike that fits well from the geometry published on the bike.

This is MUCH easier to do than figure out what you need on a computer setup before you buy it.
You're offbaseteoteoteo
Nov 30, 2003 9:04 AM
"In fact, I good online shopper may end up with better fit than someone who is 'sold' by a dealer based on that dealer's stock and ideas."

You're comparing the worst of scenario's at an LBS in this quote to the absolute best of scenario's for a first time online buyer.

I'm not saying this hasn't happened before but these paths would rarely cross.

The fact is that this buyer is already looking at more than one shop--thats a good sign.

A bike is an extension of your body and should fit like such. Sure you could buys shoes or a suit online but are you absoulutely sure they will fit? No, not until you try them on. Your saying that fit is a personal choice based on what the individual buyer likes. How can the individual buyer be a part of a a "fit" process without the object there?

Good fit is part science and part art. Both parts work together.
Not condescending...lyleseven
Nov 30, 2003 9:18 AM
I don't think he was condescending, and I would rather sit on a bike in the bikeshop than buy online if any doubt existed on fit. Fit is more science than art, a lot more! The Bianchi Vigorelli is an excellent bike, especially for the money. I haven't ridden the Trek, but I made the mistake of getting aluminum for my first road bike and would recommend steel for a new road rider.
Not condescending...RD-Man
Nov 30, 2003 10:31 AM
I really appreciate the advice I've gotten here. For what it's worth, I wasn't offended by being told to stay offline for now. I wouldn't feel comfortable trying to fit myself anyway. That's not to say someone else couldn't do it, just not this newbie.

So, it sounds like there is quite a bit of difference in the feel of steel vs. al. In one of my LBS, there is an '03 Bianchi Alloro (al with cf seat stay) for about $1650. I'm obviously not going to be able to take a 50 mile ride when trying these bikes out. Will the Alloro be as comfy as a steel ride over long distances? Does a carbon back end really smooth out the ride of al. as much as steel over long distances? I'm looking for lightweight speed (al.?) that's rather comfy (steel?) over the long haul. Is that so much to ask?? Ha Ha!
Why can't you test ride it that far?russw19
Nov 30, 2003 11:45 AM
I work in a shop and if you approached me and I thought you were seriously looking at buying that bike and not just joyriding it, I would let you test ride it as long as you wanted. I would ask for a driver's licence and a major credit card to hold and I may even run the card and refund you if you brought the bike back, but I would let you ride it. The shop may make you jump thru a bunch of hoops, but ultimately they should let you take it out for an hour ride at least if they are serious about you buying that bike.

One small piece of advice I tell customers is to work out or run just before you come to the shop to test ride a bike. If you are the type that goes to the gym, come take your test ride on the way home. It's not going to make a huge difference, but you should try to ride the bike when you are fatigued. A bike feels different after your muscles are tired. Riding after a hard workout may make the bike feel like it will after a 50 mile ride. It may not make much of a difference, but it could tell you more than riding the bike for 5 minutes around the block while you aren't even warmed up.

Russ
My choice...dgangi
Nov 30, 2003 11:27 AM
I recently purchased a road bike and the '03 Trek 2300 was on my short list of bikes. I eventually ended up purchasing a 2003 Fuji Team instead for the following reasons:

1) Weight - Fuji was 16.7 pounds, about 1/2 pound lighter than the 2300. I am a light rider (150lbs) and the weight of the bike impacts me more than a heavier rider. In fact, the Fuji was the lightest bike in my list.
2) Parts spec - Fuji came with Ultegra drivetrain and Ritchey cockpit. Trek had Ultegra drivetrain and Bontrager cockpit. I don't like Bontrager stuff all that much (have witnessed failures with Bontrager on mountain bikes so I am leery of the quality).
3) Ride - the Fuji had a more compliant ride. Both handled equally well.
4) Price - I got the Fuji in closeout for $995 at Cycle Spectrum (storefront for BikesDirect.com). The Trek 2300 was about $800 more, even "on sale".

The Trek beats the Fuji (and all other brands) in terms of their warranty - full lifetime on aluminum frames. The Fuji had a 5 yr warranty.

I also shopped the K2 Mod 5, Specialized Allez, Felt F60, Motobecane Le Champion, and Scattante (Supergo brand).

Regarding service, before I bought the bike I heard that Fuji was very good. I can now attest to that. After 300 miles, the free hub on my rear wheel had a problem. Fuji replaced the wheel no questions asked.

I have 800 miles on my Fuji after 2 1/2 months of riding. I still really like the bike and am happy with my choice.

I hope this post doesn't come across as a knock against the Trek 2300 - I thought it was a great bike. My MTB is a Trek. Trek is also famous for their warranty and customer service. I just didn't think the premium was worth the Trek vs the other brands.

The '03 Motobecane Le Champion was another interesting bike. After my shopping it turned out to be my second choice, primarily because of the price and performance. The frame was a Kinesis and was light and stiff. However, the Moto was spec'd with a lot of house-brand stuff on it that turned me off. BUT, the '04 model is spec'd with Ritchey parts and a nicer paint job. Here's the URL for the '04 Moto at bikesdirect.com (note to other readers - I am in now way connected to bikesdirect.com so please don't flame me for posting this URL):

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/lechamp04.htm

Note - the price for the Fuji Team on the bikes direct website is more than they sell the bike at Cycle Spectrum (where I bought my bike). The Fuji on the webiste is also the '02 model, which I think is butt-ugly (yellow) as compared to the '03 model which I own.

Lastly, you might consider getting a used bike. Shop your local classifieds and eBay and you are bound to find some good deals. The only downside to buying used is that the warranty doesn't transfer, so if you have a problem with the bike there is no warranty coverage. You can find a lot of Trek 2300's on eBay for much less than they sell for new.

Good luck on your purchase and let us know what you decide to get!

Thx...Doug
My choice...lyleseven
Nov 30, 2003 5:06 PM
Stay with steel if you weigh more than 180 lbs for a first bike. Eon't worry about the weight of the bike issue as long as you're not buying a boat anchor! The reason Trek will cost more is because of the USA manufacturing. Fuji makes good bikes but they are made overseas. Trek or Bianchi are good choices, good bikes, good components, good warranty service. Good luck!
My choice...JoeTV
Dec 1, 2003 9:43 AM
I would stay away from Cycle Spectum (rectum). My wife owns a mountian bike (Caloi) from them. It is in garage now needing major work, (no shift to front big ring, chatters in rear cog, rear wheel needs re-trued (they made it oval), bottom bracket creaks (too loose?), head is stiff (too tight?), front brake pad rubs tire). This was how I got the bike back after I took it to Cycle spectum for tune up, we asked them to change cables, check brake pads and re-lube what needed to be lubed. They have "lifetime free service". The kid that did this "work" said this was the best job he could do, so I brought it to the store manager, he said I could leave it if I wanted, but it looked like good work to him. It is my wifes bike, we are just waiting to take it to a real shop for repair. "lifetime free service"--you get what ya pay for....