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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, I've been riding a downhill bike for 2 years now and I'm tired to drive 1h30m to the closest DH mountain so I was looking to buy a road bike to get some instant pedaling action. I've went to numerous LBS and I'm still not quite sure what I should get. I'm looking for a 1300$ price range (taxes included) for the bike only. So yeah, pretty much an entry frame with tiagra stuff. I'd be riding a bit every night or two, like for 1-3 hours. I might use it to get to work also so +20km everyday. I'd like to take it to 50km rides and even more eventually. I'm really not a racer but I like to challenge myself a lot so I'd like something that is a good mix between comfort for the longer rides and performance I guess.

So far I've found a ''Giant defy 2'', ''Trek 1.5'' and ''Louis Garneau axis 3.0'' for 1240$. A ''devinci SL3'' and an ''opus scherzo'' for 1300$. All 2010.

From what I can tell they're pretty much all the same except for the scherzo (carbon haubans/seatpost/fork and spd mountain pedals) but I've never heard/read much from opus. I'm new to the road bike world so I was wondering if there's a frame or a build that's better than another for some reason or if there was a feature I overlooked. They all look the same to me.

I also found a ''devinci CX 2009'' (new) for 1700$. Now it's 400$ over my budget but its full carbon so I was wondering if it really was worth the extra money or if I should stick with the lower budget bikes. There seems to be a war between pro carbon and pro metal frame fans so I can't say if it's really worth it. 1700$ + pedals + shoes + accessories almost adds up to 2x the initial budget I first planned so yeah... if it was REALLY worth it I would pay for it but if I'd be just as happy with an alu bike in my price range, it would save me some money.

If someone could help me sort it out, I would be VERY grateful.

Thank you!
 

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At the end of the day, material won't make the difference alone, and neither will geometry (alone), so don't be quick to judge something because it's full carbon, or has "racy" geometry.

If I was more familiar with the bikes you mentioned and how they compare, I'd blurt out my opinionated answer. But for now, I'll have to leave you with "you've got to get some test rides in".
 

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Along with the intended uses you've offered, here IMO the key statement in your post:
"I'd like something that is a good mix between comfort for the longer rides and performance..."

Taking all that into consideration, I'd suggest focusing on bikes having what's called relaxed geometry, which have slightly taller heat tubes and longer wheelbase allowing for a more upright rider position and 'more predictable' steering/ handling. No matter the frame materials, these bikes will add a dose of comfort to your rides and oftentimes accomodate wider tires, which will do the same. And you'll lose next to nothing in performance when compared to a 'race' bike.

Bikes in this category would include the Giant Defy, Specialized Secteur, Felt 'Z' series, C'dale Synapse, to name a few. So visit some LBS's, get sized/ fitted and test ride some bikes. I know you said they all look and feel the same, but when you go back and ride back to back and start making comparisons, that may not hold true. One might strike your fancy, even if it's just from an aesthetic standpoint.

Last thought. While a full CF bike is nice, for a first road bike I think your price range of $1,300 is a good one. The bikes in this range offer a lot of value and will suite your purposes for a long time to come, so keep the extra few hundred for that wheelset upgrade we all succumb to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
PJ352 said:
Along with the intended uses you've offered, here IMO the key statement in your post:
"I'd like something that is a good mix between comfort for the longer rides and performance..."

Taking all that into consideration, I'd suggest focusing on bikes having what's called relaxed geometry, which have slightly taller heat tubes and longer wheelbase allowing for a more upright rider position and 'more predictable' steering/ handling. No matter the frame materials, these bikes will add a dose of comfort to your rides and oftentimes accomodate wider tires, which will do the same. And you'll lose next to nothing in performance when compared to a 'race' bike.
Yeah I'm doing a lot of reading and that's what I was wondering, where do you draw the line between the need for a performance bike or an endurance bike. Endurance bikes usually have the relaxed geometry you're talking about (which seems to be minor when you look at the numbers) which makes longer rides more comfortable. So what exactly qualifies as a long ride? are the race oriented bikes really less comfortable? Should you totally ignore the race bikes if you do not plan to do any actual races? Also, if you compare the geometry Cannondale Caad9 6 and the cannondale synapse 6, they're basically the same thing except for a millimeter here and there, is there really that much of a difference?

Speaking of longer rides, I'm reading that a bottom bracket with external bearings really helps a lot yet I see some pricy bikes without it. Is it something I should look for or it's totally unimportant since I won't notice the difference?

One last thing... Cranks with 3 gears or compacts with 2? I read you'll never need 3 unless you carry a lot of stuff which I don't plan to do, so should I really focus on a compact bike?

Thank you!
 

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PL7 said:
Yeah I'm doing a lot of reading and that's what I was wondering, where do you draw the line between the need for a performance bike or an endurance bike. Endurance bikes usually have the relaxed geometry you're talking about (which seems to be minor when you look at the numbers) which makes longer rides more comfortable. So what exactly qualifies as a long ride? are the race oriented bikes really less comfortable? Should you totally ignore the race bikes if you do not plan to do any actual races?

Speaking of longer rides, I'm reading that a bottom bracket with external bearings really helps a lot yet I see some pricy bikes without it. Is it something I should look for or it's totally unimportant since won't notice the difference?

One last thing... Cranks with 3 gears or compacts with 2? I read you'll never need 3 unless you carry a lot of stuff which I don't plan to do, so should I really focus on a compact bike?

Thank you!
Lots of good questions. Fortunately, you answered a couple along the way. :)

What constitutes a long ride to a fit, seasoned rider may be 75 miles, while someone new to riding may think 20 is a killer, so that's a hard question to answer. I will say that fit goes a long way in keeping a rider comfortable and that (in turn) motivates them to keep riding.... further and longer.

One of the questions you answered is that the difference between relaxed (or endurance) and race is subtle. It basically comes down to a slightly less aggressive (more upright) rider position on the relaxed geo bike and a lower, more aggressive rider position on the race bike. Race bikes also tend to handle slightly quicker because of their shorter wheelbase and less trail. You're right though, the number differences aren't that great.

Regarding your questions on race bikes, no you don't have to race to own one. I ride a Tarmac and don't race. Are they really less comfortable? To some, yes. Generally speaking, they can be set up close to a comparably sized relaxed geo bike. But at some point I'd have to question why someone would make changes to a bike in an effort to make it like something else, if you follow me. IMO if you're on the fence about which way to go, given that this is your first road bike (thus, you'll be new to riding a drop bar bike) I think relaxed geo may offer some benefits.

Regarding your bottom bracket comment. Are you really referring to external bearing BB's or are you thinking of the BB30? Either way, IMO unless you're a power rider, current BB's meet most riders requirements. The rest is 90% marketing.

Lastly, regarding triple and compact cranksets. It comes down to little more than matching the gearing to a riders fitness/ terrain. If you live in a hilly/ mountainous area and are only moderately fit, the triple may offer some benefits. OTOH, if you live/ ride in relatively flat terrain and are fairly fit, the compact will likely more than suite your needs.

HTH...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So basically, a synapse would be more comfortable than a caad9 but even if I get a caad9 I'd get used to it? I'm just using those bikes for comparison, haven't set my mind on one yet but apparently the caad9 is crazy good and it fits my budget with some late season bargaining. Best way to find out would be trying both at a LBS I guess, but it won't give me a good idea on how it would turn out for me after a 100km ride, which is why I'm asking.

I was referring to the external bearing BBs yeah, apparently they're better for longer rides but I've seen expensive bikes without them so I assumed it was either marketing or a misconception. It does state on wikipedia that the external bearing BBs are usually lighter and stiffer though but yeah, marketing.

For the triple vs. compact question... I guess I'll try to find a compact one with a 10speed cassette if possible. If I fail at climbing a big hill, I'll just come back later and try to kick it's ass again!

And it does help a lot, thank you for your time.

Now that a know a little bit more what I want/need, time to go for another round of shopping...
 

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PL7 said:
So basically, a synapse would be more comfortable than a caad9 but even if I get a caad9 I'd get used to it? I'm just using those bikes for comparison, haven't set my mind on one yet but apparently the caad9 is crazy good and it fits my budget with some late season bargaining. Best way to find out would be trying both at a LBS I guess, but it won't give me a good idea on how it would turn out for me after a 100km ride, which is why I'm asking.

I was referring to the external bearing BBs yeah, apparently they're better for longer rides but I've seen expensive bikes without them so I assumed it was either marketing or a misconception. It does state on wikipedia that the external bearing BBs are usually lighter and stiffer though but yeah, marketing.

For the triple vs. compact question... I guess I'll try to find a compact one with a 10speed cassette if possible. If I fail at climbing a big hill, I'll just come back later and try to kick it's ass again!

And it does help a lot, thank you for your time.

Now that a know a little bit more what I want/need, time to go for another round of shopping...
Regarding your CAAD9 vs Synapse comparison, here's what I think it comes down to. Based on your fitness/ flexibility (or lack thereof) you may or may not prefer the CAAD over the Synapse. It's possible that initially the CAAD (or a similar race bike) would be too aggressive for you and the LBS could set it up to be less so, but you do run the risk of never being comfortable on the bike. I'm not saying that WILL happen. I'm saying it may. OTOH if you ride the Synapse and it's comfortable from day one, and as you build saddle time you want to lower the bars gradually for a more aggressive riding position, you still can do so. That's why I said being your first road bike, relaxed geo may offer some benefits.

Granted, a relatively short test ride isn't going to tell you what a 50-60 mile ride will, but as long as your initial fit is good, I think a 20-30 minutes ride on both a race and relaxed bike will give you some insight as to your preference. And I think it's more realistic to see these two types of bikes as slightly different in character, rather than one is fast/ racy and the other is slower but more comfortable. Remember, some relaxed geo bikes have been doing the pro circuit for a number of years (and winning!), so in their own right, they're performance bikes as well.

Gotta love your kick ass remark. You're a true roadie already!! :thumbsup:
 

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PL7 said:
I ended up finding a great deal on a ''Cannondale SIX 5'' 2009. I think it's the most bang for my bucks I could get. I did 200km with it so far and I love it.

http://www.cannondale.com/usa/usaeng/Products/2009/Road/Elite-Road/Details/1540-9RCT5D_9RCT5C-SIX-5

Thanks for all the help!
I think the Cannondale Six 5 is great. I tried the 2010 Six Carbon 5. I was close to getting that but ended up getting something else. I like the geometry of the bike - race oriented but not overly aggressive. Great choice.
 

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Got it for 1300$ CAD, including taxes and a 30% discount on everything else I bought. From what I've read it was 1700$ USD +tx in 2009. It's a closeout batch they bought. It wasn't still in the box but I inspected it and it never got used before from what I could tell.

Around here, all I could get for that price is a bike with a lesser quality frame/group/wheelset. Might not have been the deal of the century but I believe it's a fair price considering it would have cost me nearly 2k for a similar 2010 bike.

Anyway, I didn't have to bust my budget for a bike that will probably take a good while before I need something better. I don't think I could have asked for more.
 
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