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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi Everyone,

I'm quite new to the forum, and wanted to get some advice before dropping $$$ on a new road bike. I've been a mountain biker for the past 8 years, but with gas prices (i.e. the 40min drive to the trail-head), family time, etc, I think a few road rides on on the weekdays works a little better. So, i'm looking for a road bike, which is why i'm here...

I've been into a few LBSs and two of them are Felt dealers, and one is a cannondale. My top few must have's are 1) must be a stable comfortable ride, 2) must hold up to weight (more on that later), 3) must have a decent frame where component upgrade is invited. Now, on to fit. I'm 6'2", 240lbs (wet), and a 34" inseam. I know carbon is strong and all, and most of the LBSs are pushing the hybrid alum/carbon frames, but I just don't know. I ride a steel Surly Karate Money (a 29er) that is pretty much bomb proof and has a very plush ride. This is my 5th bike in the past 8 years (cracked 2 gary fishers, full suspension wasn't for me, all aluminum frame was too harsh). So, durability and frame stiffness is the priority (but I don't want to give up my plush steel ride).

I'm babbling...

Anyway, the LBSs say that about $1k is the sweet spot for bang for the buck. I don't have $1k, so I'm considering used. However, they have talked enough "road bike fit voodoo magic" that I'm reconsidering. Both bike shops said I'm a 58 when comparing my height to theirs (totally unscientific, but it gets me in the ball park). What type of fit differences can I expect between the felt, and cannondale? Do either run big/small?

Lastly, to be honest, I'm drawn to cannondale because of the lifetime warranty on the frame. Gives me a piece of mind. However, I can see myself doing a ton of road riding and splitting my time 50/50, so I want a decent bike that will last a few seasons. Just as in MTBing, I'll probably upgrade to something better in a few years.

Thoughts?

Thanks everyone!
Mark
 

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First of all, fit can only be determined by test riding. Our explaining relative fit is useless. You need to test ride every bike you are seriously considering and then make a decision based on that.

As between the Cannondale and the Felt...

Both make good frames. For a big guy, I think that a solidly built aluminum frame is the best option. I like Felt's carbon bikes, but I think that when it comes to aluminum, the Cannondale CAAD frames cannot be beat. Thats my suggestion.
 

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I sympathize...

Hey Mark, welcome to the forums. I'm certain you will find the answers you are looking for as I was in the same situation as you not long ago and turned to these threads for the answers. I got into mountain biking years ago while living in North Dakota and having moved back to Kentucky have found that the closest mountain biking to my location is a 30 minute drive away. With a wife, daughter, and only one car it is impractical to pack things up, ride for a few hours, leaving them at home. So I too have made the switch to road cycling and absolutely love it.

Regarding what brand to purchase you are almost certainly going to get nothing but opinions. The majority of responses will be "whichever feels the best". Which in short...is true. If you are looking at buying new I feel Felt is definitely the best "bang for the buck". They are solid rides and priced very well for the combination of frame/components. I started out on a Felt F55 and have recently upgraded to a Felt F4 (not because I needed to) and am completely satisfied with the way both ride.

As a frame of reference I am 6ft, 200lbs, and the aluminum/carbon combination of the F55 was great for me. I rode a century for the first time a couple months ago and didn't experience any abnormal fatigue. If you are like me though, and constantly want to upgrade I would suggest finding a good fit on whatever brand you choose and keep an eye out on craigslist in your local area and save yourself some $$$. I wouldn't weigh the decision too heavily on the frame warranty. It's the wheelset that takes the majority of the punishment on the road.

Hope I've been of some help. Take care and keep everyone up to date on what you decide!
 

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Couple options

Of the bikes you list, I like the Cannondale, but that's just personal preference. I'm sure they're all about equal, and you really just need to ride each one to see what suits you best.

Another option would be to get a set of road wheels for the Karate Monkey. That's a versitile frame that would do fine on the road. Or you could get another Surly -- Pacer or LHT, probably do it pretty close to your budget.
 

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I'd look into another Surly as the last post said... the pacer is a great bike, but i dont think they have it with a full build... if you're handy, you can build it up.. i built mine with ebay parts for about $900 total, full 105 9 speed... also, the crosscheck is a great all-around bike, can easily be used on the road... they go for under $900 i believe built up...

as you said earlier, the surlys are bombproof... and it'll last you..
 

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With the brands you're considering I don't think you'll go wrong. There are a couple of things to consider with your size and the fact that you've cracked mountain bike frames-

-road bikes, even strong ones, will need to be treated with a little more care if they are to last. That means don't take it off or up curbs ever, avoid potholes, and don't scream up driveway style (mini curb) MUT entrances at 20 MPH no matter how many lightweights and guys who replace their bikes every year you see doing it.

-do test rides, but aluminum may be the way to go- not because it's stronger, but because it will likely be stiffer. Little guys tend to suffer more on aluminum. Big guys can find carbon frames a little too squishy. That's a generality. Only test rides will tell for sure.

-with your size you'll want 25c tires. You'll inevitably hit a bump or two, and the additional cushioning will be kinder to your butt and your frame. Make sure your frame and fork will allow 25c's. Have the dealer put them on for you to prove it as a lot of road bikes come with 23c tires. 25c may only be 2mm wider, but they hold twice as much air.

-wheels will likely be more of a problem than the frame. I've seen posts here by 300+ pounders who have no trouble on reduced spoke count wheels. I've also seen posts by 200 pounders who break spokes and can't keep them in true. I suspect riding style plays a big roll in it, but if you can't break the mountain bike habit of going over anything at speed you may eventually have to upgrade wheels, and before you ask- 36 spoke Velocity Deep V's.

Best of luck, and no, you don't need to wear spandex.
 
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