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Been a bike-shopping freak

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning' started by Berto, Jan 29, 2005.

  1. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    Man,what a shock it is having to pay retail after working in the bike business.

    My initial efforts had been limited to online shopping with an offering from Leaderbikes being the front-runner;A nice bike no-doubt,with what looks to be a good geometry,but buying a bike sight unseen is generally not good policy-especially with road bikes.Road bikes are a very specialized breed with very dedicated riding positions,so you want to try 'em first.
    While I continued to use the 'puter for the purpose of researching and price hunting,it became time for me to hit the local shops and see what deals I could find on 2004's and winter close-outs.
    My criteria for a road bike was fairly straightforward:
    A true road race geometry for good sprinting,quick steering response and comfort enough to handle century rides.
    A minimum Shimano 105 level componentry.....for MTB folks,this would equal LX.Not the absolute best,but journeyman level.
    Aluminum frame/carbon fork.....lightweight but stiff enough for a strong 200+lb rider.THis combo also makes for a smooth ride on less than smooth roads.
    Priced under $1200.
    So basically, this puts me just in mid range price-point of road bikes and probably the most competetive area in road bike sales...a good thing for me.
    Every manufacturer has a good offering in this catagory,so assuming the fit is right,I really can't make a 'bad' choice,but being a former wrench in this business,I'm able to sort out some minor differences that can amount to a lot in terms of the bikes value and durability.
    I found myself drawn to the offererings from Giant,Specialized,Trek,Lemond,Jamis,Bianchi and Cannondale.I looked at the specific models offered in my price range from each manufacturer and ruled out models based on my impressions overall bike quality ie; frame weld quality,tubing brands vs generic,unseen components like bottom brackets,hubs and headsets (where cheap parts are often used to keep price down).I also tried to steer clear of gimmickrey meant to increase the bikes' appeal without actually adding any value like funky wheelsets with oddball spoke lacing patterns that may be weeker or heavier than more conventional desins,weird unproven tubing or frame layouts,compact geometries,carbon forks with elastomer inserts,etc.
    Here's what I found:
    Giant TCR series-nice overall value,but imprecise 'compact geometry' frame and iffy paired spoke wheelset.Tough call since I really like Giant bikes-it's a nice bike,but not my style.$1200

    Jamis Quest-One of my first looks.Only steel bike I considered (Reynolds 631),this bike was nicely spec'd on sale for $899.It had some cheap stuff (tiagra fr derailleur) mixed in and the steel frame while very nicely made,but was oriented toward sport touring and lighter riders-had a triple crankset,I want a more performance oriented set-up.

    Specialized Allez Elite-This bike had lots of gimmickrey-compact frame geometry,funky shaped tubes,weird inserts in the setpost and fork (both carbon).It did use their top end frame design and had good componentry for the $1000 price tag.It was set up well for my kind of riding,but too much goofy stuff.

    Trek 1500-this bike was close to perfect,but a little short in the front triangle and too bland in geometry....I liked it,but it doesn't suit my lanky build.$1049

    Lemond Tourmalet-this bike is made in the Trek factory and was very well suited to me.It had the same value as the Trek 1500 with a better geometry.It had a mix of 105 and Ultegra,Bontrager wheelset and a coservative but gorgeous blue and white paint job.The test ride revealed a sufficiently stiff,but unrefined ride...the geometry was fine,but the ride quality felt like a cheaper straight gauge alum frame,no shock absorbtion.Overall though,at $1130,this is a sweet ride.

    Cannondale R700-A Crackenfail?! THe shop had a last year R600 priced down to $899.Although it was a little lean on the component side,I found that it really felt perfect in fit,so it led me to the R700.This bike has the 105/Ultegra mix,CAAD 7/Optimo frame with "Slice" carbon fork,Shimano 105 level wheelset (funky but proven) and overall nice component quality.In my research,I found the CAAD frame finished at the top in durabilty/stress analysis testing-very impressive for aluminum.The Cannondale frames are handmade in the USA and known for being stiff but smooth.My test ride of the triple equipped version R700 confirmed to me that this was the bike I wanted.

    So,I'm getting the Cannondale R700. $1200 I had them order me a double crankset version in the saffron orange.It'll be here at the end of Feb,I'll have it paid for by then.

    Berto has attached this image:
  2. I think you'll like the C'dale.

    I purchased one in 1997 while waiting for my hi-zoot carbon racing frame was being waranteed (aluminum sleeve seperated from the Bottom Bracket shell). The C'dale was the only frame I could find in my size locally and I needed a bike for racing.

    When the Carbon Fiber frame came back about 5 weeks later I sold that frame and kept the Cannondale. I still have it and it's been a great bike. I'm not crazy about the aestheics as I prefer a traditional steel frame look, but it sure does ride nice.

    I'm sure you'll be happy with the C'dale. Let us know how it turns out.

  3. Vic303

    Vic303 Senior Member

    Mar 15, 2003
    CDales are nice bikes. My rides are a Masi (circa late '80's 531) and a Burley Duet tandem (I'm stoker). My husband (also a refugee from the bike biz) rides a Trek/Lemond OCLV, and drives the tandem. My MTB is a Fish Hoo Koo e Koo, and his is a Specialized somethingorother....

    Oh, Campy for the roadbikes, btw.
  4. $1200 for a BICYCLE?...
  5. BCR

    BCR BIGASS!!!!

    Dec 8, 2002
    New Hampshire
    Berto, you tryin to tell me you don't have enough spare parts lying around to whip up a road bike?

    I've been thinking about getting a road bike, but don't want to dump $1000 (the minimum I would spend) right now. Still need to get my spare DH bike together.

    I would never pay retail for anything. I only buy used unless we're talking about small parts, wheels or tires. If you look hard enough you can find awesome deals online. There's even tons of new stuff that is second hand too, but the buyer never used it. It's fun to build a bike worth $3000 and only spend $1800 to do it.

    But I must admit, I would have to buy a road bike new since I'm not up to speed on them. Haven't been on one in about 12 years.
  6. BCR- what sized frame do you ride? If you are interested I have Gunnar ( Road frame I'd part with inexpensively. Made in the USA, Reynolds 853. Build once but not ridden much. I have enough parts to build it too if needed.
  7. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    $1200 for a BICYCLE?...

    $500 for a plastic pistol? (it's all relative...)


    I'm in the process of using a bunch of my stuff to build a MTB for my Sis since her last ride got stolen.Got the frame,wheels,BB,headset,cockpit,derailleurs-almost everything except disc brakes and shifter/brake levers.
    I had a Redline 'crosser set up for road...stoopidly sold it. :(

    I hate paying retail,but most of my connections aren't in the biz anymore either.
  8. For ~$1200 you get a good bike. Quality components and frame. Below that you start making compromises. Above that it's really just showing off...

    The problem is when you start getting into multiple types of cycling. I have a Tandem (Co-motion custom) 3 road bikes, 4 mountain bikes (racing, training, single speed & touring) & a track bike (custom). They don't hold their value like guns unfortunately. But like shooting, it's fun to do.
  9. Guest

    C dales are great bikes. I have been looking alot as well. I am between the Trek 1000 and 1200 right now. The test ride chances are really limited around here. The value of the treks are really good for what you get. Cannondale too but they start a little higher.
  10. nathanenge


    Dec 22, 2004
    Like all things customizable, the bike is highly soup-up-able.
    You can switch out the rubbers for road ones, or you can replace the stock shocks with rock shox, get a better ass-cushion, xenon headlights, switch to disk cross-drilled brakes...
    So for 600 or so you can buy a frame and soup it up...1200 bucks isn't much.