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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the market for a new road bike. I have a Cannondale r700 with a 105/ultegra components that I have been riding for the past couple of years. I am now ready for an upgrade. I am trying to get a sense of what is out there before I start driving all over the place to test these bikes out.

I am looking for guidance based on the following.

1. I have a budget of $2500.
2. I weight 195lbs. What type of frame material would give me the best, smoothest ride?
3. I have no allegences so I have an open mind.

I would love to hear peoples honest opinions and suggestions.

Thanks for the help.
 

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Hmmmm.....you could probably hear millions of different opinions on brands and frame materials. Since you have an open mind about it, I suggest going to a bike shop you trust and letting them help you guide yourself to that perfect bike for you!
 

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I agree with theremote1 if you plan to buy locally. First you have to find out what brands of bike they carry, and I'm sure there will be opinions abound. Also, post what kind of rider you are. How many miles do you ride/plan to ride a week, are you aggressive, have plans to aspirations of racing, do you have a lot of weight to loose or are you 195lbs and 6'11"? Are you very comfortable with sizing and willing to order online or even buy used? (I don't recommend this unless you know for SURE, but you can save a decent amount).

Also, do you want aluminum, which can be cheap but very stiff and efficient for your 195lbs, full carbon, or hybrid (mostly either aluminum or steel with carbon seat stays)?

If you go carbon with a large popular brand, you'll likely get 105-ultegra mix for this price range.

I'll assume you have at least a Trek, Specialized, and Giant dealer where you are. Carbon bikes in that range include:

Trek Madone 4.5 or Pilot 5.0, full carbon, 105-ultegra mix, MSRP is just over t $2100.
Specialized Tarmac Comp, full carbon, 105-ultegra mix ($2400 105-ultegra mix), Roubaix comp, ($2400 105-ultegra mix), Roubaix elite, ($1950 105-ultegra mix)
Giant TCR 2 ($2300 ultegra), TCR 3 ($1900 105), OCR-C1 ($2300 Rival)

I've personally riden The Tarmac Comp and Giant OCR and I like them both. Solid, well made frames, very upgrade worthy in the future.

I've also found a pretty good deal from what I can tell from a very reputable online source, competitive cyclist for their Ridley excalibur with full SRAM rival for $2000. Sounds like a sweet deal, but I've never been on a Ridley although they do have a good reputation with excellent reviews. They have a fit calculator and will help out on the phone too. I think the only size they are out of is small. I would have bought this bike if I wanted a complete set up, but decided to custom build one instead.

In any case, hopefully this info is a starting point. Narrow down your choices, then search the reviews, forums, and use that info when you go out for test rides. Fit is the ultimate decision maker for me as subtle differences in geometry can make a huge impact over the long run, although with most off the shelf bikes, you can adjust them to fit you well. Try to bring your pedals, shoes, and helmet for extended test rides.

Post your last few choices to get opinions from there. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks sscooterguy, there are so many things that need to be taken into account. This is the first time I have gone through this process. A little overwhelming to say the least.

I ride 4-5 times a week, mostly by myself but every once in a while I will do a group ride held by the local bike club. They ride at about 16-17 mph which is a great workout for me. I average about 80-100 miles a week (depending on time) but have aspirations of 120+. I am 5'8'' and have always been quite stout (strong, my wife says) so I am not to worried about losing weight, though I could if I just changed my diet a bit.

My bike now is a Hybrid, (alu and carbon) as I said I like it, it does give me a nice sense of the road, sometimes to much. I am looking for a smoother ride. With the minumum research that I have done, it seems carbon gives a quiet ride but I worry it might not be stiff enough under my weight. Any thoughts?

I do plan to buy locally, I need to be fit correctly, but the local shop carries only Trek and Cannondale. Other shops are available (Orbea, Cervelo, Lemond, Bianchi) but are a considerable distance away so I would like have better sense of what I am looking for before I drive there.

Again, thanks for any input and suggestions.
 

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theremote1 said:
I do plan to buy locally, I need to be fit correctly, but the local shop carries only Trek and Cannondale. Other shops are available (Orbea, Cervelo, Lemond, Bianchi) but are a considerable distance away so I would like have better sense of what I am looking for before I drive there.

Again, thanks for any input and suggestions.
Definitely try out your most local shop first. Orbea, Cervelo, and Bianchi bikes in your price range will either be aluminum or aluminum-carbon hybrids (usually carbon seat stays and carbon fork). Although these can take the sting out of the worst of road chatter and they have a good balance between stiffness (which will be good for your 195lbs) and comfort, these are again not full carbon. They likely have a low end full carbon model in their line ups too for your price range.

I'm not sure about lemond, but I know they generally have more plush geometry, which you have to decide if you like or not. Plush doesn't necessarily mean slower by the way, as you may be more efficient with the slightly different riding position.

I would test out the aluminum-carbon hybrids from cannondale and if you like that mix, you can get upgrades in drive train and check out the other not so local stores for what they have to offer.

Cannondale has a long history with working with and perfecting aluminum. I'm sure they have aluminum-carbon hybrids as well in your price range. I believe they also have the cannondale synapse which is full carbon starting at $1900 (depends on your location) for the 105 model and going up closer to your cost ceiling with upgrades. I'm not sure where cannondale's carbon is made, but they have a long history of all American made, which I think makes a quality control difference (and I'm Asian if that matters). I recommend trying the system six which is a hybrid carbon aluminum bike and then a full carbon synapse side by side. If you have a cleated pedal, bring them in with your shoes and set it up for an extended ride.

Push hard, see if you feel any flex. See if you can't tell the difference between full carbon and hybrid. Remember this is a long term commitment, so little differences will be magnified in the long run. I have a few friends that are your weight that haven't had a problem with their all carbon frames. The nice thing about cannondale is they have lifetime warranty on most of their frames, so definitely ask about it.

Trek of course has those models that I listed before. Take your time and try these bikes and set them up as you would have it at home. If you have a pedal system with shoes, like I said bring that it and give it a FEW test rides if need be. Set up the seatpost height perfectly, saddle angle and all. I believe in setting it up as close to real as possible, otherwise you're just getting a glimpse of the potential or weaknesses of each bike.

Check out the websites of those manufacturers, then search these forums and reviews for specific models. With that info, go to your LBS and try them side by side if possible. Post again with your thoughts and any other questions. If you noticed something quirky or are concerned about long term durability, likely others have too and will be able to help out. Also remember the more you put into upgrades when you buy the bike, the more you'll save in the long run with upgrades...However, even basic equipment can work well with frequent maintenance aka full shimano 105 which I have on one of my bikes.

Good luck.
 

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Two wheels=freedom!
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Don't know the age of your 'Dale, but if your parts are working ok...

How about a Colnago Master XL frameset? With a Street fork, CK headset, Italian BB, 1" stem, plus cables and a parts swap, you could just about squeek by at your $2,500 budget. (Don't know how the Dollar/Euro has affected pricing these days) It would be WORLDS better than just about anything else as a complete bike at that price. AND you would have a nice platform for doing winter upgrade projects over the next few years...

Or check these guys out:

http://www.smartcycles.com/

I was at their shop recently and the "il Massimo" frames look awesome! Same concept, get a nice frame and swap parts, then upgrade over time.

Just sayin...
 

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haole from the mainland
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mrossing said:
orbea onix is $1899 with 105 or campy veloce, $2500 with ultegra, full carbon frame, very good reviews. a couple of the cannondale synapse setups come in under $2500.
I was going to suggest the Onix, as well. Full carbon, great reviews, and a very nice looking bike, too. Looks a lot like the Orca of just a few years back.
 
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