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I apologize if this is long and/or boring; I am having a hard time finding advice from a nonpartisan party. Figured I'd give this forum a shot...

I've been riding mountain bikes for the past, oh, 7 years or so. Although I do have one very old low-low-end road bike that I ride every so often, I now want to purchase a road bike that is entry-level but (theoretically) "race-ready," meaning primarily an aggressive non-touring frame that I can keep for a while and can grow with me if I want to upgrade.

I've been pretty impressed by the value of bikes in the $1500-$1800 range, where you can often get full Ultegra and a stellar set of wheels along with a nice frame.

So far the best value I've found (I think) is the Cannondale R1000, which has pretty sweet CAAD7 Optimo Si frame along with full Ultegra and my choice of either Mavic Cosmos or Ksyrium Elites ($1700-$1800). However, Trek (2200), Specialized (Allez Comp), Bianchi (Vigorelli), Giant (TCR), Lemond (Alpe d'Huez), and Litespeed (Capella) have some similar deals that I've ridden. I was just really taken with the Cannondale's frame (all of my bikes are/have been aluminum). Is it that clear-cut or am I missing something?

My other question is about Campagnolo vs. Shimano (which I know is a debate that can go on forever). I rode a couple of very nice Orbeas with lower-end Campy and liked the "feel" of the levers better than the Shimanos I tried out. But it seems like Ultegra is more in line with Centaur or even Chorus rather than Mirage or Veloce (which is what I'm finding at this price level). Is that accurate?

Anyway, I appreciate any help I can get. Thanks.
 

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n-dawgg said:
I apologize if this is long and/or boring; I am having a hard time finding advice from a nonpartisan party. Figured I'd give this forum a shot...

I've been riding mountain bikes for the past, oh, 7 years or so. Although I do have one very old low-low-end road bike that I ride every so often, I now want to purchase a road bike that is entry-level but (theoretically) "race-ready," meaning primarily an aggressive non-touring frame that I can keep for a while and can grow with me if I want to upgrade.

I've been pretty impressed by the value of bikes in the $1500-$1800 range, where you can often get full Ultegra and a stellar set of wheels along with a nice frame.

So far the best value I've found (I think) is the Cannondale R1000, which has pretty sweet CAAD7 Optimo Si frame along with full Ultegra and my choice of either Mavic Cosmos or Ksyrium Elites ($1700-$1800). However, Trek (2200), Specialized (Allez Comp), Bianchi (Vigorelli), Giant (TCR), Lemond (Alpe d'Huez), and Litespeed (Capella) have some similar deals that I've ridden. I was just really taken with the Cannondale's frame (all of my bikes are/have been aluminum). Is it that clear-cut or am I missing something?

My other question is about Campagnolo vs. Shimano (which I know is a debate that can go on forever). I rode a couple of very nice Orbeas with lower-end Campy and liked the "feel" of the levers better than the Shimanos I tried out. But it seems like Ultegra is more in line with Centaur or even Chorus rather than Mirage or Veloce (which is what I'm finding at this price level). Is that accurate?

Anyway, I appreciate any help I can get. Thanks.
Fist of all - go check out http://www.gvhbikes.com. You can get an Ultegra equipped bike for under $1300 and in some cases right around $1000 I think.

That said - I'm not sure if your CAAD 7 with Ksyriums is "entry level." So if you want entry level - you can spend much less. However, I'd keep going in the direction you seem to be headed. If you know you can be committed to the sport (and it sounds like you can from the mtb riding) spend a bit more on the bike now so you'll have fewer upgrades later.

Of the bikes you mentioned - I obviously think the Cannondale is the best bike based on my assumptions about the manufacturers build quality and design. Also the CAAD 7 is basically a pro frame and is definitley race worthy.

Campy or Shimano? Don't start an argument on this board - it gets ugly. Go with whatever feels better - it's a personal decision. Once you get above Ultegra or Centaur, you're going to get a good group.
 

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n-dawgg said:
My other question is about Campagnolo vs. Shimano (which I know is a debate that can go on forever). I rode a couple of very nice Orbeas with lower-end Campy and liked the "feel" of the levers better than the Shimanos I tried out. But it seems like Ultegra is more in line with Centaur or even Chorus rather than Mirage or Veloce (which is what I'm finding at this price level). Is that accurate?
I'll let others argue the virtues of different frames. You are right. Ultegra is more in line with Centaur. But on a blind test ride I think you'd notice stepping down to 105 more than you'd notice stepping down to Veloce. Avoid the 9 speed Campy since it is all slowly going to 10 speed ... which is another reason to avoid Ultegra since is will likely go from 9 speed to 10 speed in a year or two.
 

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Vote for Cannondale

Last year i was in the same situation that you were. After reading many posts and reviews here, and since i was already riding a c-dale jekyll (and loving it--still riding it) I ended up finding a bike in the classified's here. I got a CAAD 6 frame with c-dale's si crankset and bb. In my case i found a guy who had bought the frame and some components to build a bike, and then had to sell--so it was new. after almost a year of riding i am completely satisfied with my purchase and plan on keeping it for a long time to come :D

in regards to campy or shimano it is a personal preferance. i got campy record (9-speed) that he sold me with the frame. i prefer the way that campy shifts over the shimano, and they are very comfy riding on the hoods for longer periods of time. I use Ksyrium Sl wheels and so far they have been perfect!

Hope this helps
 

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Get the one that speaks to you

n-dawgg said:
I apologize if this is long and/or boring; I am having a hard time finding advice from a nonpartisan party. Figured I'd give this forum a shot...

I've been riding mountain bikes for the past, oh, 7 years or so. Although I do have one very old low-low-end road bike that I ride every so often, I now want to purchase a road bike that is entry-level but (theoretically) "race-ready," meaning primarily an aggressive non-touring frame that I can keep for a while and can grow with me if I want to upgrade.

I've been pretty impressed by the value of bikes in the $1500-$1800 range, where you can often get full Ultegra and a stellar set of wheels along with a nice frame.

So far the best value I've found (I think) is the Cannondale R1000, which has pretty sweet CAAD7 Optimo Si frame along with full Ultegra and my choice of either Mavic Cosmos or Ksyrium Elites ($1700-$1800). However, Trek (2200), Specialized (Allez Comp), Bianchi (Vigorelli), Giant (TCR), Lemond (Alpe d'Huez), and Litespeed (Capella) have some similar deals that I've ridden. I was just really taken with the Cannondale's frame (all of my bikes are/have been aluminum). Is it that clear-cut or am I missing something?

My other question is about Campagnolo vs. Shimano (which I know is a debate that can go on forever). I rode a couple of very nice Orbeas with lower-end Campy and liked the "feel" of the levers better than the Shimanos I tried out. But it seems like Ultegra is more in line with Centaur or even Chorus rather than Mirage or Veloce (which is what I'm finding at this price level). Is that accurate?

Anyway, I appreciate any help I can get. Thanks.
You said you were "really taken" with the 'Dale. If it fits well and you can afford it, then it looks like your choice is simple.

But to complicate things, you may want to try a Fuji. They look like pretty good bargains to me and I see lots of them. After getting my first road bike (and seeing the $ disappear from my savings account), I'll admit I had a little regret not at least giving one a chance.

But, my bike spoke to me and I bought it. Beside the money issue, I haven't regretted it my decision.

Good luck!
 
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