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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I started a thread recently seeking guidance on steel and Ti framed bikes. I received some great advice. Some of that advice suggested that I consider a starter road bike in the $1,000 plus/minus range to 1) see if my interest will grow and 2) develop some opinions about what I want in a higher end road bike.

My ride's main mission will be to help me with fitness and to train for organized century rides. I've a testy back, so I'm looking for a riding position that I can maintain for long rides (and still walk when the ride is over).

For my possible starter bike, I also want component sets in the Shimano 105 value range.

I'd go with aluminum on this starter bike. I'd prefer to not mix carbon in the AL frame...for example, AL with carbon seat stays.

Given these parameters, my research has lead me to:
- Cannondale Synopse Alloy 5 http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/09/cusa/model-9RAS5C_9RAS5T.html
- Orbea Gavia http://www.orbea-usa.com/fly.aspx?layout=bikes&taxid=57&pid=158
- Jamis Quest http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/quest/09_quest.html
- Giant Defy 1 http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/bikes/road/2266/32191/
- Jamis Ventura Race (exception is that this has a carbon monostay in the AL frame)
http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/ventura/09_venturarace.html

All of the above have carbon forks.

Please let me know your thoughts on my choices (considering my mission parameters). If you think of a manufacturer/model that I missed (and should consider), please let me know.

From a lot of reading on this forum, I could get some answers that say to get the bike that fits the best. I totally understand that. I'm really interested in your input on the above choices beyond the fit issue.

Thanks.
 

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mad max,

I have a Giant Defy 1 and love it. I bought it to do get into shape and do long rides with my wife. The only things I have done to the bike are change the seat and tires. The Defy 1 has a nice geometry for endurance types and the carbon forks and seat post allow the aluminum frame to be more comfortable on the road than it otherwise should be. I like the paint scheme and the understated graphics. The 105 components work great.

The only possible downside is that it is a triple. But, where I live, that is a good thing. Having that granny ring comes in handy. Especially if you are getting the bike to get into shape. For your purposes, I think the triple would be more versatile and the weigh penalty is minimal. It would be easy to change the crank at a later time if you felt the need.

I highly recommend the Defy 1.

S-
 

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winders said:
mad max,

I have a Giant Defy 1 and love it. I bought it to do get into shape and do long rides with my wife. The only things I have done to the bike are change the seat and tires. The Defy 1 has a nice geometry for endurance types and the carbon forks and seat post allow the aluminum frame to be more comfortable on the road than it otherwise should be. I like the paint scheme and the understated graphics. The 105 components work great.

The only possible downside is that it is a triple. But, where I live, that is a good thing. Having that granny ring comes in handy. Especially if you are getting the bike to get into shape. For your purposes, I think the triple would be more versatile and the weigh penalty is minimal. It would be easy to change the crank at a later time if you felt the need.

I highly recommend the Defy 1.

S-
I test rode the Defy 1 and a buddy is getting one. I was surprised by how good a bike it was. I recommended it to my buddy.
 

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I assume that all other factors being equal, you'll want a bike with a slightly taller headtube, in order to create a slightly more upright position, which may be easier on your back. The two bikes above that fit this criterion are the Cannondale and the Giant. The Giant may have slightly more durable wheels.
 

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There's nothing wrong with the Giant, or Specialized, or Scott, but (unless I'm mistaken) the Scott is closing in on $1,700. Considering you've got a tricky back, I'd go with the Spec Roubaix. It's in the same price range and (IMO) will be smoother and more comfortable than any ALU bike. The steel Jamis would be my second choice, if $$ were an issue with the Roubaix.
 

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PJ352 said:
There's nothing wrong with the Giant, or Specialized, or Scott, but (unless I'm mistaken) the Scott is closing in on $1,700. Considering you've got a tricky back, I'd go with the Spec Roubaix. It's in the same price range and (IMO) will be smoother and more comfortable than any ALU bike. The steel Jamis would be my second choice, if $$ were an issue with the Roubaix.
I rode the lower tier roubaix and the defy 1, now it was a limited test ride but I didnt feel that much dampning on the roubaix but it was only a 20 minute test ride and liked the defy better. Tastes vary though so get out and test ride these.
 

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No Treks?
.
 

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SystemShock said:
No Treks?
I was curious about that too. I looked at the Trek 2.1, which has a 105 rear derailler, but only Tiagra shifters (and therefore 9 speeds) where the other bikes mentioned have 105s all around (and 10 speeds). I don't see how Trek could be that far from the rest of the market. Did I miss something?
 

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Marcos_E said:
For what it's worth: The Specialized Allez Double

Why? Because if you wind up liking the sport plenty, Specialized tends to do well in the second hand market because of its name.

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=38496&eid=115
I think you mean the Allez Sport Compact Double... the Allez Double is Sora/Tiagra, not 105. The Sport model is 105s all around.

I'm in the same boat as the OP, and I've looked at the Allez Sport, but my LBS didn't have anything bigger than 56 cm, so I've got to find another shop that has a big one to try.
 

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You have a "testy back" and you want a comfortable bike for long distance rides and yet you decide on an aluminum frame? Don't!
 

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If you are considering bikes in the 1700 range....

I just grabbed one of these last weekend for $1600 The wheels are crap, but good enough for a heavier (195lbs) rider like myself - for a while at least.
full carbon frame - lifetime warranty.

Unfortunately, I can't really offer anything in terms of ride quality etc...because it feels FANTASTIC compared to the '87 Trek I've been on for the last 2 years.

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=39267&eid=117

I agree with the others that Specialized does seem to hold resale value quite well.
 

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If you don't mind aluminum, & you are riding around a 55 cm, I spotted this Lemond Alp d'Huez for $899. C Bike.com
I hate paying full retail....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The LeMond is a nice looking bike.
I haven't heard about c.bike until the above post. I'll check that out.
Thanks.
 

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There is a page in this month's Bicycling magazine comparing several frames that would meet your needs (non-racing cycling). The Defy 1 was one of them. The Roubaix is also mentioned.

I have a 2008 Giant FCR (all aluminum) and love it. It got me started into cycling, and it's now my commuter. My husband has an 2008 OCR (aluminum with carbon fork and stays), and also loves it. It's his commuter now. We have had absolutely no trouble at all with either Giant we purchased.

I bought a 2007 Scott Contessa Speedster (full 105) about a month ago, however it's listed on Craigslist now. It's a lovely bike, no problems at all, but I decided to go full carbon after reviewing my bike budget (aka paying my taxes) and testing a few carbon frames.

I had major hand issues on this bike, which were my fault for not getting a pro fit prior to riding a metric century the first week I got the bike. I just had too much pressure on my hands. My left hand went completely numb on the ride, despite trying to move my hands around a lot. It took 2 or 3 days to get most of the feeling back, and I STILL have about a pea size area of partial numbness on my left pointer finger. After getting a professional fit on the Scott, no new hand issues developed.

The carbon seat post and fork made a difference on road vibration. Full carbon was even that much better for me.

I ended up with a 2009 Blue RD1. Relaxed geometry was key for me as I also am getting more fit, have back troubles (degenerative Disc Disease in 2 lumbar discs), and ride long weekend rides, working my way up to a century in July.

If you felt the Defy felt best on test rides, I'd have no reservations about buying this bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the informative input Loraura. The Giant dealer in town carries several other brands and does not have any Giants on the floor right now. I'd like to test one...especially after your positive input on Giant bikes. My wife and I are trying to work our way up to doing a century too. We'll try the metric century first.

Thanks Again.
 

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Which ever bike you choose, look in to stem with good rise and also handlebars with teh shallow drops.

I recommend the FSA compact bar. It allows you to ride the drops with less of a low reach. Also the curve of the drop places the hoods closer and more leveled with the bar top, so even cruising on the hood position is easier.
 

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Hasa R1, very similar in specs to the Giant Defy with 105 all around but much cheaper. Built in the same country as well. They sell very cheaply on eBay.
 
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