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odearja
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be in the market shortly for a new bike. I currently ride a Giant Escape hybrid in central illinois. The weather pretty much goes from one extreme to the other depnding on what time of the year it is. I might add that I am a clyde at 230 although my goal is to get down to around 210.

Since I have recently become obsessed with cycling, I can't wait to get my new ride. This hybrid has done me well and my current plans are to keep it for a more casual ride. With that being said, I am wondering about my next ride being along the lines of a Giant Defy or something that leans a bit more the the racing side of the spectrum. I don't actually race against anyone but every once in a while we all like to dig in and haul a**. There may come a time that I may want to do an impromptu race, but I don't see it right now. We have rolling hills, a decent bike trail and plenty of somewhat flat country roads. Right now I am flirting with the 20-30 miles trips. Will I end up in centurys...I have no idea. But I am likely to lean towards the endurance side of things on a regular basis than just get up and go.

I have heard the defy is a bit more relaxed and accomodating for those who go for distance and endurance, but I am curious about the overlap I will have the the escape.
BTW, my LSB sells Scott, Felt, and Giant's for there main product but they highly push the Giants. I am not as much concerned about brands althought I like familiar things and I will support my LBS.

I know that most everyones response will be about fit and test rides to see what works, but what I am after is what are YOUR personal thoughts on the subject??
 

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I got a defy 1 for my first road bike, and it was a capable bike. But, depending on the road conditions around you, it may be worth it to check out some of the entry level carbon bikes, which will cost a few hundred more. I say this because the frame was pretty harsh over bad roads, but everyone's tolerances for harshness are different. The riding position on the "relaxed" defy is more road bike than it is hybrid. And "relaxed" may or may not be more comfortable, since everyone is different.

The LBS will push a brand, but that often is a product of representing their own interests (highest profit margin, most inventory which they want to move--be careful when it comes to sizing, some LBS's will try to sell you the wrong size bike because it's the one that's on the floor). I would ride as many bikes as possible and come to your own conclusion. FWIW, if you want aluminum, I think it's hard to pass up on the Cannondale CAAD10, which is generally considered to be the best Aluminum Frame bike around (but, may not be your favorite, so ride one and see). the felt Z ("comfort" Geometry) should also be checked out, and the Z comes in alum or carbon, Felt also has the racier F, which also comes in alloy or carbon. There's also the Specialized Allez, Cannondale Super Six (Carbon), the Trek 1.x/2.x or Madone (carbon). There are many more choices, but for a first bike you should absolutely test ride as much as possible to get a lay of the land.

When you get a feel for the frames, you'll invariably wonder what kind of group to get on the frame of your choice. I will say that in the Shimano Universe, Tiagra 4600 (10 spd) is most certainly capable for a no-frills, value based group choice, and going up market from that point will buy you refinement and marginal increases in performance, but there is certainly a diminishing return on functionality the higher you go. SRAM is the same story. Apex is more than suitable for a first bike, and while Force and Red may have creature comforts or weight savings that seem like attractive features, you're paying a big premium for a marginal improvement in functionality. I would suggest that money that would be spent on upgrading components should be spent on upgrading contact points like your saddle, or kit (shoes, bibs, jerseys, glasses, etc). This is, of course, if you're operating under the constraints of a budget.
 

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odearja
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
For whatever the reason they push Giants, I'm not sure. And by they, I mean one particular salesman. The owner of the shop doesn't seem as brand loyal Imo. The main mechanic has an Escape, Defy 5, and a TCR. He may be a bit biased as well. I certainly want a bike that I will grow into and not grow out of so I am trying to gain as much info as possible.

I am renting a Defy 1 for this weekend to see how I like it. I like the idea of a carbon bike, (this defy has a carbon seat post and fork) and I am wondering if that will give me a taste of what carbon is like. But I have my reservations about a full carbon setup given my non-european cyclist stature. I suppose they should hold up just fine, especially because where I ride has some broken pavement but not much, but I am a bit cautious either way because of the investment.
 

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odearja
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I will say that in the Shimano Universe, Tiagra 4600 (10 spd) is most certainly capable for a no-frills, value based group choice, and going up market from that point will buy you refinement and marginal increases in performance,
Is there any place I could look up info on how one groupset rates to the others? I'm sure some of it is a matter of opinion but surely there are ratings somewhere
 

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Is there any place I could look up info on how one groupset rates to the others? I'm sure some of it is a matter of opinion but surely there are ratings somewhere
the review portion of RBR will give you reviews, but here are the current lineups (from low end to high).

Shimano (Numbers in Parenthesis denote the most current generation)
Tiagra (4600)
105 (5700)
Ultegra (6700)
Ultegra Di2 (electronic shifting, not sure of series #)
Dura Ace (9000, Mechanical)
Dura Ace Di2 (Electronic)

SRAM:
Apex
Rival
Force
Red

Campagnolo (Rare on factory bikes, probably a moot point for you)
Centaur
Athena
Chorus
Record
Super Record
Super Record EPS (Electronic)

These are not complete as I'm not 100% up to speed on every makers group sets, and a lot of changes have happened with the introduction of electronic shifting. I also excluded groups that are considered to be below "enthusiast level" like Shimano 2300.
 

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I am wondering about my next ride being along the lines of a Giant Defy or something that leans a bit more the the racing side of the spectrum. I don't actually race against anyone but every once in a while we all like to dig in and haul a**. There may come a time that I may want to do an impromptu race, but I don't see it right now. We have rolling hills, a decent bike trail and plenty of somewhat flat country roads. Right now I am flirting with the 20-30 miles trips. Will I end up in centurys...I have no idea. But I am likely to lean towards the endurance side of things on a regular basis than just get up and go.

I have heard the defy is a bit more relaxed and accomodating for those who go for distance and endurance, but I am curious about the overlap I will have the the escape.
If I were buying a bike this year, I would 100% look at the "endurance" category from Giant, Specialized, Trek, Scott, Felt. Although these are slightly relaxed bikes, they are also raced in the spring classics by pros.

I would consider these more "all-around" road bikes, capable of riding fast and capable of riding long distance over slightly rougher roads.

They will still be a night and day difference to your hybrid bike.
 

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I think the Defy is a good choice as are similar offerings from the companies you listed. You will benefit from a more aero position in Central Illinois. It's not particularly hilly there, but it's open country and windy at times. I grew up in Woodford County and still keep an old bike (very old 70's vintage Raleigh) on my parents farm to ride when I visit. The rural roads around there are so quiet.
 

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For whatever the reason they push Giants, I'm not sure. And by they, I mean one particular salesman. The owner of the shop doesn't seem as brand loyal Imo. The main mechanic has an Escape, Defy 5, and a TCR. He may be a bit biased as well. I certainly want a bike that I will grow into and not grow out of so I am trying to gain as much info as possible.

I am renting a Defy 1 for this weekend to see how I like it. I like the idea of a carbon bike, (this defy has a carbon seat post and fork) and I am wondering if that will give me a taste of what carbon is like. But I have my reservations about a full carbon setup given my non-european cyclist stature. I suppose they should hold up just fine, especially because where I ride has some broken pavement but not much, but I am a bit cautious either way because of the investment.
Well biases motivated by genuine enjoyment are fine. Good thing, probably.

I wouldn't worry about being a clyde on a carbon bike. The fragility of Carbon is overstated in my opinion. Perhaps consider warranty as a factor for peace of mind.

FWIW, the carbon fork/seatpost on my Defy didn't damp out too much of the vibes. Granted, the harshness was exposed on some pretty awful roads, where a carbon bike might have been as bad, but generally speaking, smoothness has been an important part of my bike purchases ever since I got off the Defy, and why I like riding Steel and Ti with 25c's, latex tubes, and 23mm wide wheels (improves smooth ride).

But, in the end, let your butt be the most important data point in whatever research you're going to be doing regarding this purchase. Geometry, tubesets, equipment, consensus etc are all important considerations, but none more important than what your body is telling you.
 

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The Defy 1 is a pretty great bike for the money. I like mine quite a bit (a 2012), coming from a Surly Pacer - it's a fun bike. If you find it too harsh of a ride this weekend, it looks like there is room for 28mm tires, which would smooth things out a bit. I haven't confirmed that yet, though.
 

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odearja
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I just went on my maiden voyage on a Defy 1 with the carbon seat post and fork.

They will still be a night and day difference to your hybrid bike.

All I can say is Wow! I could not imagine how correct this post is. That defy is a whole other animal.

FWIW, the carbon fork/seatpost on my Defy didn't damp out too much of the vibes. Granted, the harshness was exposed on some pretty awful roads, where a carbon bike might have been as bad, but generally speaking, smoothness has been an important part
Totally agreed here too.
1.This actually amounted to a miserable ride. But not really the bikes fault. It clearly was a half-a**ed fit.
The guy I was dealing with used a tape measure to compare seat height to handlebar distance etc and said "close enough. Take it for a spin in the parking lot and see what you think". Well after 2 laps in a tiny lot it seemed close enough so I took it. After 8 miles...... No way. Not good enough. I wasn't sure if the pain in my hands was about the bike fit or just not used to riding on hoods but after talking to the lbs, a different stem may be needed (a getting used to it factor is necessary I realize but as a person with carpal tunnel issues, I need to minimize this time)
2. I loved the compact crank. Now I see what everyone is talking about. But as Charlox said.... The seat post and fork weren't enough. The pavement seemed to transfer straight up thru the bike and me as a result.
3. Damn that cold wind went straight to the bone today. Which may have played a huge part in my fingers going numb despite having UA gloves on under my biogel cycling gloves.

Bottom line, despite the twitchy handling (comparatively to the escape) and a pinch flat after 7.5 miles (500+ miles on escape with no flats) it deserves another shot at a serious test ride. Just making sure it's during warmer weather and a proper fit. :)
I can say that I would seriously consider a carbon bike such as the defy comp 3 or similar might be in order.
 

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odearja
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The Defy 1 is a pretty great bike for the money. I like mine quite a bit (a 2012), coming from a Surly Pacer - it's a fun bike. If you find it too harsh of a ride this weekend, it looks like there is room for 28mm tires, which would smooth things out a bit. I haven't confirmed that yet, though.
If possible, this may be a huge plus!
 

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If possible, this may be a huge plus!
Here you go. Schwalbe Ultremo 28mm* tires mounted on 19mm rims. More than enough room, front and rear (that's what she said!). Not really surprising, IMO, given the ability to mount fenders.

Looking at your earlier post, I'd definitely play with the fit a little. Yeah, it's a stiff aluminum bike, but I thought it was tolerable if not comfortable. But I was also fit by people whom I trust. If it's a good shop, they will swap out your stem after a few rides to suit your preferences/comfort.

Good luck and get in some good miles on the rental this weekend. Hope this helps.


*I love these tires. Were on my Pacer. Will now live on my Defy. A little pricey, but the best 28mm tires I've used so far.
 

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odearja
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Here you go. Schwalbe Ultremo 28mm* tires mounted on 19mm rims. More than enough room, front and rear (that's what she said!). Not really surprising, IMO, given the ability to mount fenders.

Looking at your earlier post, I'd definitely play with the fit a little. Yeah, it's a stiff aluminum bike, but I thought it was tolerable if not comfortable. But I was also fit by people whom I trust. If it's a good shop, they will swap out your stem after a few rides to suit your preferences/comfort.

Good luck and get in some good miles on the rental this weekend. Hope this helps.


*I love these tires. Were on my Pacer. Will now live on my Defy. A little pricey, but the best 28mm tires I've used so far.
Funny you should post that link. I did the exact same thing this evening. I got the old digital calipers out and measured for clearances. I'm glad to know someone has already tried successfully.!

As far as I can tell the tire will fit in that setup. But changing a flat and squeezing a fully inflated 28mm thru the dual pivot brakes without disassembling them.....in my dreams.
We would just have to remount the wheel before inflation. No big deal I guess.
 

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We would just have to remount the wheel before inflation. No big deal I guess.
Yup. Just one of the realities/inconveniences of wider tires and caliper brakes. Once you get the install-before-inflating routine down, it's really a non-issue. Might want to carry an extra CO2 cart* until it becomes 2nd nature.


*One small gripe, I'm a frame pump kind of guy. The flat top tube shape just doesn't work as nicely as I'd like with frame pumps. Yeah, you can kind of make it work, but it rattles a lot, no matter what I've tried. So I've converted to CO2 for this ride. Not really a big deal at the end of the day.
 
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