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    I want to buy a road bike

    I'm sure there must have been similar posts to this in the past, but the search engine doesn't appear to be up to finding them. So...

    Having commuted by bike to work each day for the past five months, and having started riding further afield a few times recently to the tune of fifty or so miles a day, I've decided that I could do with a decent road bike, so that I can get a few more miles per hour out of my efforts.

    Naturally, WSC is my first port of call for advice.

    I'm looking for a sportive type frame, rather than a out-and-out racer - I don't intend to spend three hours with my arse hanging six inches above a razor blade. Carbon forks would be nice, as would a compact chainset (the Italian manager of a cycle shop in Kendal charmingly informed me that triples were for the unfit, hill climbers, and "weemin"). Apart from that, I just want durable components, away from the bottom-end ranges, that won't fall to bits.

    How much to pay? Some opinion seems to be that £500 will buy a decent entry-level bike. In the shops, perhaps not surprisingly, I've been urged to go for the £700-800 ranges. Obviously the less I have to pay the better, bearing in mind the points in the previous paragraph. Those £300 bikes in Halfords are kind of tempting, but they look like they'll fold up at the first pothole.

    I've been looking at the popular brands, like Trek and Specialized, and at the B'Twin Tribans, which seem to have a few good write-ups. I've been watching eBay too, but most of the decent bikes seem to go at prices that aren't much below the shop cost, once the bidding has escalated.

    Eagerly awaiting your recommendations.

    #2
    I want to buy a road bike

    I don't have one but do want one when I get more time of my hands, so this is all based on reviews and personal 'what I'd do' kind of taste.

    Anyway, heard good things about those Tribans - they punch well above their price point, so to speak.

    Trek, Specialized and Giant are the first three names people would come up with, and they'll be what you see the most of, so they're kind of your obvious answers but personally I'd want something a bit different.

    The classic mainstream/'high street' British brands - Raleigh, Claud Butler and Dawes usually seem a bit overpriced for the components you get.

    As well as looking out for a carbon fork, keep an eye on the groupset. Most bikes will be Shimano equipped but some of them will have entry level Campagnolo. I think the table of equivalances goes something like this:

    Code:
    dura-ace = super record
               record   
    ultegra  = chorus  
    105      = athena
                   centaur
    tiagra =   veloce
    sora     = xenon/mirage
    claris/2300/2400 
    Tourney/A070
    After a quick look around for a benchmark one to try to beat I found this. It's Orbea, a Euro brand ending in a vowel (FIGS's favourite, I believe), sportive geometry with carbon fork for £600. I don't think you'll find a Trek/Giant/Specialized/Cannondale with that at this price point. Groupset is Claris 8 speed - wondering if there are any Sora-equipped at this price though, and I think 9 speed is possibly gettable too...

    edited the groupsets to match what Toro said.

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      #3
      I want to buy a road bike

      Yes, £40 more gets you a Wilier Triestina Montegrappa with carbon fork and 9 speed Sora.

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        #4
        I want to buy a road bike

        Avoid the Halfords Carrera bikes, as you say, by the way. They are the only retailer and they fiddle the RRP and sale prices to make them look better than they are.

        The Boardman Sportive bike gets decent write ups somewhere, though. Alu forks and Claris on that one, for £500.

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          #5
          I want to buy a road bike

          Awesome!

          Right, I see you've figured out the basics for yourself; that makes things easier. As you say, the less you pay the better; but equally obviously, every bit more you spend you can get a bit more bike.

          The entry-level market has really improved in the last couple of years, though. So there's lots out there.

          Compact is definitely the way to go. I've only just made the switch myself, but using the same gears as the pros is pointless if you're not as strong or light as a pro which, like, you aren't. So all the full-size does for most people - except maybe going downhill - is give you a smaller range of usable gears and encourage you to use too low a cadence.

          Triples may make a lot of objective sense, but they are for French people and mountain-bikers and, yes, women. It's just how it is.

          Useful round-ups of the sub-£500 market here and the £500-£900 market here. And another for the sub-£1000 market generally here.

          How comfortable are you setting the bike up and maintaining it yourself? If the answer is "not very, at all", it's worth looking at something from an LBS, since they and other LBSs will be much happier about doing jobs on it for you than if it's an online special. But if you're handy, you may get better value from wiggle, of chain reaction, or one of the other big online retailers.

          Think about terrain; if you're mostly riding on flat stuff, spending money on saving weight will get you accelerating a bit quicker but otherwise won't make a lot of difference. Whereas if you're riding hills, weight savings will pay for themselves many times over.

          Think about whether you want to upgrade the bike over time; if so, get something with a higher-specced frame for the money, and comparatively modest groupset, wheels, etc, and you can change the components as you go. If you want it self-contained, look for better specs on those.

          If you can upgrade one thing, or are looking to get one thing as high spec for your budget as possible, it's wheels.

          Kev's equivalence chart for the gruppos is useful! Tiagra's certainly been improved in the last few years; I'd still have it about even with Veloce, and Centaur about halfway between those and 105.

          Comment


            #6
            I want to buy a road bike

            Last time I met mumpo he lived on top of a hill in Lancaster from which you could see Ireland. I think suitable for climbing might be on his need list.

            Comment


              #7
              I want to buy a road bike

              Hah, yes, the terrain in the Trough of Bowland does tend towards undulation. It's not an unbroken series of Alpine ascents, though, so I'm not sure if it warrants specialist gearing. I should brush up on these gear ratios, I suppose, if I want to make sure I get the right set.

              Thanks Kev and Toro, plenty of helpful ideas there. We've got a couple of decent bike shops here in Lancaster, a top-end one where the absolute minimum spend is about £700 and Leisure Lakes, which is a bit more mass-market and can order anything they've got online. They're good for services and maintenance too. I wouldn't want to get direct delivery from an online order.

              I'm never quite sure how much emphasis to put on the bike's weight. Plenty of forums suggest that an obsession with shaving off every possible gramme is all very well, but it shouldn't be the overriding concern, there are plenty of other factors that affect the bike's performance; and besides, it only takes a couple of full water bottles to write off your savings. What sort of target should I be aiming for? 10kg seems to be the magic figure for many people.

              Looking at the Leisure Lakes site, there are plenty of Specialized models, but is this one a no-brainer - a Secteur Elite down from £1000 to £700?

              Comment


                #8
                I want to buy a road bike

                http://road.cc/content/news/123391-win-rapide-rc1-road-bike-worth-£1199

                It could be you. Dunno why that link is not working, there's a prize draw on that site, ends today. In the News section.

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                  #9
                  I want to buy a road bike

                  Ta. I'm in it.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I want to buy a road bike

                    I was in your situation last year. A keen cycling mate of mine told that the frame was the most important thing to spend money on, then the wheels. You can upgrade the components as and when.

                    For my budget, he recommended I get a Canyon, but they're only available mail order and they didn't accept payment by the cycle to work scheme. But, apparently, their bikes are very good value for money.

                    In the end I got a Giant Defy in the sale (around about September they were off loading last year's models to make room for the new stock) which, when combined with cycle to work savings, meant I was getting a £900 bike for about £500. Presume they will run similar sales this year.

                    If you're like me and suffer from bike envy, I'd recommend you work out your absolute maximum budget, and then get the next level up.

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                      #11
                      I want to buy a road bike

                      Whatever you get, make sure you get the compact groupset - I've still got my 52/39 and I struggle like buggery up any decent sized hills.

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                        #12
                        I want to buy a road bike

                        It's maybe a bit over budget but the Boardman range are vey good value for money. It's what I'd go for.

                        http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/road-bikes/boardman-road-team-carbon-bike-2014

                        Most sub-£500 bikes are not all that, although the Triban range from Decathlon can be good but spec sems to vary from bike to bike.

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                          #13
                          I want to buy a road bike

                          Or Planet X:

                          http://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CBPXRT58ALUTIA/planet-x-rt-58-alloy-shimano-tiagra-road-bike

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                            #14
                            I want to buy a road bike

                            Perhaps an overly obvious point, but if you're going the LBS route, then I'd suggest going for a test ride of at least a couple of bikes to see which suits you best.

                            The second-hand route might be worth a go too, although you do have to be a bit wary (looks too good to be true = too good to be true/probably stolen). If you have a local bike club then they might be worth contacting to see if anyone's recently upgraded and has an older model they're looking to shift.

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                              #15
                              I want to buy a road bike

                              I've decided to buy a new bike this week. Dilemma is that all my nice bikes have been stolen quite quickly. No-one has ever tried to steal my clunky Trek, but then I don't like it much either. I've been casual about locking it up.

                              I want a nice light bike I can haul up steps.

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                                #16
                                I want to buy a road bike

                                Bought this today

                                http://www.questadventure.co.uk/whyte-pimlico-2014

                                Very pretty, very light. I'm happy (until she gets nicked).

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                                  #17
                                  I want to buy a road bike

                                  SRAM, nice. How many flights do you have to carry it up? Ever considered a folding bike?

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                                    #18
                                    I want to buy a road bike

                                    Yes I've considered a folder .. but I don't commute to work anymore, so the ease of the ride is most important. I carry it up 2 flights at the train station and random steps around London. I've often let men carry my bike upstairs for me. This one I can manage.

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                                      #19
                                      I want to buy a road bike

                                      Can you wait a month, Mumpo? Unless youíre desperate to start riding now, the end-of-season sales will start in a few weeks, as the new models come out around September. You might get a bike that's a couple of levels up the range in terms of equipment.

                                      I should brush up on these gear ratios, I suppose, if I want to make sure I get the right set.
                                      If you ever need to check a particular gear ratio out, this is a great resource: online gear rato calculator.

                                      At the time you buy, if the bike doesnít have one already, Iíd consider getting your rear cassette changed to one with a 27, 28 or even a 30 as the largest ring. You wonít miss the 11-tooth (which would have to go) unless youíre a speed demon sprinter and there will be times on a steep climb when being able to drop down to a 34x28 ratio will be very handy.

                                      Plus a compact crankset with a larger cassette at the back also gives you a better low-end gear than a conventional triple crankset with a normal 53/39, 11-25 cassette setup anyway. (34x28 = 32.78 gear inches, whereas 32x25 = 34.56 gear inches).

                                      Couple of other things: consider getting wider tyres fitted. 23mm is very thin. And contrary to popular belief, wider tyres have lower rolling resistance. (Theyíre also more comfortable, as you can run them at lower pressures without getting pinch-flats).

                                      Donít get too hung up on weight: How lightweight do you need your bike to be?

                                      And donít think you have to have clipless pedals: The shoes ruse.

                                      Oh, and as well as the Canyons and Boardmans mentioned above, Ribbleís own-brand bikes always get good reviews. They have two alloy-framed Sportives at £560 and £590, as well as a carbon Gran Fondo (built for comfort and long rides) at £890.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        I want to buy a road bike

                                        Hmm. Whoever wrote that page on pedals is simply wrong. The claim about upwards force has been debunked, he ignores the major issue about stability and safety at high speeds and high cadences, and is simply making shit up about the stiffness of soles not mattering.

                                        By all means don't use clipless pedals if you'd rather not - but that's a load of gibberish.

                                        The page on weight, judging by how it sees carbon bikes psitioned in the market, is at least fifteen years out of date. And it ignores the very real difference in acceleration between lighter and heavier bikes, as well as the effects of fatigue when climbing.

                                        TLR - you can find all sorts of cranks saying all sorts of everything on the internet. Some of them ride and write about bikes, and most of those are mostly concerned to show that their old set-up, which they've been using since this was all fields, is better than any of this new-fangled expensive nonsense.

                                        Comment


                                          #21
                                          I want to buy a road bike

                                          Your advice on gearing is excellent, though, and the point about the sales also spot on at this stage of the year.

                                          Comment


                                            #22
                                            I want to buy a road bike

                                            Well, deal's done. Someone posted a Cube Peloton in excellent condition up on the small ads here a work, and it was too good an opportunity to miss at the agreed price of three hundred and fifty pounds, exactly half what it's going for on most websites.

                                            Apparently it's only been ridden only twice and I'm prepared to accept that, it's been in storage for a few weeks and I do wish they'd have dried it off first, because the screw fixing the bottom bracket is just showing some signs of rust. But apart from that, a ten-minute wipe-down and it might as well have rolled straight out of the shop.

                                            Time to get it home now, and sort out a proper adjusting session at the LBS.

                                            Comment


                                              #23
                                              I want to buy a road bike

                                              Ah yes... I am too late to this thread but you would probably have ignored my advice to buy a Columbus steel lugged frame. They will last forever if taken care of. Ok so they weigh like 0.4 kg more than aluminium carbon stuff, but I can live with that.

                                              For me bikes are like football boots. The pros are paid to wear the fancy coloured Mercuryvapourrazorpredators, but people in the know wear plain black Puma Kings and Adidas Copa Mundials. Now that Roy Keane is retired, he wears the latter on the training ground. 'Nuff said.

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                                                #24
                                                I want to buy a road bike

                                                Bryan, the Cinelli Supercorsa frameset (with Columbus SL/Niobium tubing) currently runs at 2300g or so, for frame and forks. And that costs about £1500. You can knock a bit off that weight by fitting a carbon fork. But it's heavier if you want it lugged.

                                                For comparison, a Cervelo R3 frame & fork, which costs about the same is 980g.

                                                The ride quality of steel is still unparalleled, but there is just no comparison weight-wise between that and modern construction materials.

                                                Mumpo - looks awesome, and fabulous spec for the cash! It'd be worth taking into your LBS for a service, but that's excellent value.

                                                Comment


                                                  #25
                                                  I want to buy a road bike

                                                  I'm just going to leave this here...

                                                  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/sports/cycling/as-technology-makes-bicycles-lighter-and-faster-it8217s-the-cyclists-falling-harder.html?_r=0

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