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Gearing? Assuming decent components, maybe so

I'm not at all SURE of this, you understand...but the thing that's made the most difference in my riding has been gearing.
Fit comes first, as you said. I rode (I now realize) too-small bikes for years before I finally broke down and bought myself an Atlantis for my 55th birthday. Rivendell's sizing chart put me on a frame 3-4 cm bigger than I'd been using, and it was an epiphany.
After that, though, switching from the standard 53-39 to something like 50-34 or (my current setup) 46-36-26 triple chainrings was by far the most significant change. I'm an old slow guy in big mountains, so it might not be as dramatic for you, but I've convinced a couple of other people to try it and they're converts, too.
All this assumes decent quality in the main components, but that's rarely an issue anymore. Upgrading the shifters from 105 to Ultegra, stuff like that, isn't really going to get you much in performance. Having realistic gearing will.
 

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shades9323 said:
After fit and test ride, please list what are the next most important aspects to look at when getting a new road bike. Should I look at shifters first? Deraiullers first? Forks?

depends...
racing? prob aerodynamics, stiffness, and such.
casual rider? comfort.
commuter? rack mounts, etc.
just wanna look cool? color.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
FatTireFred said:
depends...
racing? prob aerodynamics, stiffness, and such.
casual rider? comfort.
commuter? rack mounts, etc.
just wanna look cool? color.
I would classify myself as a casual rider. I don't plan on getting into racing. No bike can make me look cool anyway.
 

· Squirrel Hunter
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Lbs

Consider the service and quality of the local bike shop you are buying from. Sometimes it is worth driving an hour or two to find a quality shop. A good LBS can answer the questions you are asking.

Fit, helmet, test ride, saddle, pedals, shoes, shorts (good chamois), shifters, wheels, color...
 

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I agree totally with Cory. After fit it is gearing. Do you live in the mountains? Do you live in a valley and only ride on the flats? Gearing is by far, the second deal-breaker in riding satisfaction. If you end up walking your bike up that last 100 feet of hill because you are in your lowest gear and it's just not low enough, you'll appreciate what I'm saying. On the other hand, if you are on the flats and your breathing is ragged and you are spinning out in your top gear, yet other guys are passing you while having conversations with their partners, then you might appreciate what I'm saying.

A bicycle is a machine. To appreciate it you must fit on it properly. That is number one. Number two is you must be able to ride it over the terrain you regularly ride on. Gearing, therefore, underapreciated, is number two. Wheels, components and such are secondary items. Modern shifters, even Tiagra are much better than old friction shifters. Brakes work, no matter whether they are Tektro or Tiagra. Components in the low range are fine. I'm happy with Ultegra in Shimano because I just can't see paying for Dura-Ace. It's only for the bling. It's like buying perfume that costs $10 a gallon to make and is sold in one ounce bottles for $150.
 

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Wheels and rubber.

So you have a bike that fits you well. Now you need wheels that suit your needs. Wheels are expensive, and it's hard to justify a $350 upgrade... maybe $400+ with good rubber and tubes... when you have hoops that roll. Even if those hoops are not the best for your needs.

For now, I like riding longer distances. A great weekend ride might go towards 100 miles and it's an all day thing. Comfort is No.1 and reliability is paramount. My shop built up a set of Velocity Aeroheads on 28 hole Ultegra hubs in a traditional cross-pattern with hand cut double butted-ss spokes. A box section rim might be more comfortable yet, but I like the extra strength... so that was my choice. I like Michelin Megamium2s as comfortable fast tires, and I can get 'em (for now, they are discontinued) for about $20 each- a heck of a deal.

Trek, for instance, puts wheels with deep aero sections, radial lacing, and some cheap house-brand rubber on just about everything. What for? It sells bikes, I guess.

If you are at a real bike shop, have them swap out the stock wheels and have them build wheels for the kind of rider you are. I think my wheels are cooler than any "Cafeteriums" out there. The only thing I would consider is the same thing but with higher end hubs- but I saved enough to consider a second wheelset in a few years, if I want to have another set to put on another cassette for flatter rides.

Good wheels... baby, that's what the uncool people have. The people that ride instead of stand around pointing at their bikes. Maybe it's just me.

'meat
 

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I'd have to tie one on..

for a good set of wheels and rubber also. I've rarely had issues with gearing or derailleurs...but I've been plagued by wheel issues. broken spokes, blown hubs, trueness, all have affected my views of a bike and the ability to ride it safely. a good strong set of wheels with durable hubs and a new rubber is what I count on to 1) have faith keeping me on the bike and safe and 2) enjoy the ride worry free.

after that...WARRANTY. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
The wheel sets on the bikes I am looking at are all Alex. Can't really afford to upgrade the wheels already as I am buying a bike for myself and one for my wife. The bikes we are looking at are the Trek 1000, Specialized Allez, Giant OCR3, and the Diamondback Podium 1. How much of a difference does a carbon seatpost make (Trek and Specialized). The Giant also has a "composit fork" instead of a carbon like the others. Does that make a difference. All have sora shifters/brakes. The Trek and Diamondback have 2203 front deraiuller and Tiagra rear. The Specialized has Sora up front and Tiagra in back. The Giant has Sora front and back.

Which bike do you think has the best combination of attributes?
 

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State the facts, Keith

WhiskeyNovember said:
You'd do well to first learn about what you speak, dogmeat. Uneducated generalizations should not be presented as fact.
Maybe my "just about" and "I guess" are too aristotlean for you? Instead of an ad hominim attack generalized response with no information content, why not educate us?

OK, you tell me which trek road bike that costs over $1,000 that doesn't have radial lacing and house-brand rubber?

Maybe you can explain the wheel choice for the Pilot (the "fast comfy cruiser"), and why YOU woud pick Bontrager Selects to ride on a $5grand bike, given the marginal RBR reviews of 'em... http://www.roadbikereview.com/cat/wheels/tires-clincher/Bontrager/PRD_104401_2489crx.aspx#reviews

Flame on, dude. If you're gonna flame... bring it!

'Dogmeat

ps- Carbon seat post???? What the heck for? So you can overtighten the collar and break it?Good lord, I think it's amazing the kind of CRAP bike companies try to use to differentiate their products. In my opinion. I'd say ride the Giant and compare prices... keeping in mind if the carbon seatpost snaps off and tears your shorts, they are a lot harder to sue than a domestic manufacturar.In my unfactual, on-line posting opinion, which may not even be my own.
 

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Frame shape, comfortable seat, appropriate wheels

For long easy riding, get a bike with a long wheel base and low bottom bracket. For short fast rides get the opposite.

The seat will have a huge impact on how riding feels. It's less a matter of quality or price than how well it fits you. If your butt hurts for a month, it will probably hurt until you get the right seat at the proper angle.

Wheels designed to dependably carry the loads you want to carry are worth some extra money. Low spoke count wheels aren't the best for a 200 pound rider with a rack and panniers. A light rider with no load doesn't need to push heavy duty wheels.

All but the worst parts work well enough for most riders and all but the best parts can be replaced without spending big money.

Few riders figure out what gears they need without riding a while and after a longer while your needs may change.
 

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dogmeat said:
OK, you tell me which trek road bike that costs over $1,000 that doesn't have radial lacing and house-brand rubber?
I never took issue with the radial lacing and house-brand rubber claims...not that either of those are <i>bad</i> things. Your biggest misunderstanding involves your claim that Trek puts wheels with "deep aero sections" on "just about everything". This alone demonstrates your lack of understanding and false generalizations. Go ahead...dig yourself into a deeper hole of misunderstanding. :)


dogmeat said:
Maybe you can explain the wheel choice for the Pilot (the "fast comfy cruiser")
Um...you're aware Trek offers more than Pilot model, right? If you're surprised by this, you might also be surprised to learn that they don't all have the same wheels.

dogmeat said:
and why YOU woud pick Bontrager Selects to ride on a $5grand bike, given the marginal RBR reviews of 'em...
I <i>wouldn't</i> choose Bontrager Selects to ride on a $5000 bike. In fact, I never implied such a thing. Where did you get this $5000 figure, anyway? Oh, and I'd be careful about basing your purchasing decisions on RBR reviews...

dogmeat said:
Flame on, dude. If you're gonna flame... bring it!
Since when is calling an uninformed individual out on his false and misleading "facts" known as "flaming"? You made inaccurate statements. I called you out on them.

Keep your chin up, dogmeat. You're not an idiot. You simply don't know very much about Trek bicycles.
 

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dogmeat said:
ps- Carbon seat post???? What the heck for? So you can overtighten the collar and break it?
Logic, and 5 minutes of simple research will demonstrate that the carbon fiber used in the vast majority of seatposts offers far superior vibration-damping characteristics when compared with traditional aluminum seatposts.

Additionally, you may be surprised to learn that modern bicycles increasingly utilize crazy things called "torque-specs". Look it up. It's quite facinating.
 

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shades9323 said:
After fit and test ride, please list what are the next most important aspects to look at when getting a new road bike. Should I look at shifters first? Deraiullers first? Forks?
First, don't buy new. Used = better bike for the same (or less $$)

Second EVERYthing but the frame is replaceable. The frame is too, but then you run into $$ issues.

SO get the bike that floats yer boat NOW 'cause in a few years it probably won't. As riders learn what they do and don't like, they change things out. (I know I do!)

My recommendation is to ride the parts on the bike when you get it till you figure out what doesn't suit your style/preferences, or it wears out THEN change it out/upgrade.

HTH,

M
 

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shades9323 said:
The wheel sets on the bikes I am looking at are all Alex. Can't really afford to upgrade the wheels already as I am buying a bike for myself and one for my wife. The bikes we are looking at are the Trek 1000, Specialized Allez, Giant OCR3, and the Diamondback Podium 1. How much of a difference does a carbon seatpost make (Trek and Specialized). The Giant also has a "composit fork" instead of a carbon like the others. Does that make a difference. All have sora shifters/brakes. The Trek and Diamondback have 2203 front deraiuller and Tiagra rear. The Specialized has Sora up front and Tiagra in back. The Giant has Sora front and back.

Which bike do you think has the best combination of attributes?
I'm going skip the flamefest and answer your question, but probably not in the way you want. At a given price point, there is going to be very little variation in the quality of the components between different major bike manufactures. The wheels may have different names, the tires different, the bars will be different brands but they will be very similar if not the same in terms of quality. All of the bikes you are looking at will likely last longer than you want to ride them. Same goes for the components as long as you properly maintain the bike.

The only bike I would skip there is the Diamond Back. Instead see if you can add test rides of a Jamis and Lemond in your price range. Ride all of the bikes, several times if necessary. Make sure you get the saddle set to the correct height for each bike before you ride it. Bring your own tape measure and measure the saddle height from the center of the bottom bracket and make sure it is the same, if not tell the shop to change it, if they don't want to, tell them you will have to buy somewhere else. This is important because a 1" change in saddle height will make the same bike feel completely differently.

The same as the saddle, have them set the bars to be the same height off the ground so you have the same saddle to bar drop on each bike you test ride. As far as for aft seat placement and total reach, try to measure from the tip of saddle to the bars and get that measurement within 1cm. Also, make sure they inflate the tires to 100-110 psi right before your ride (those tires may look inflated but could be at 80 psi which will make a bike that would feel snappy and stiff at 100psi feel sluggish and wallowly).

Now you have removed most of the variables between the bikes so you can tell how they actually feel. Now the differences you feel on your test rides will be from things like bike geometry, frame stiffness, wheel stiffness, etc., rather than variable that are the result of poor bike to bike fit and setup. If a shop has a problem doing all this, explain you are not going to spend your hard earned money on a shop that can't spend 5-10 minutes setting up a bike properly for your test ride.

The right bike out of all the above will be like the partner/spouse. You can't tell who it is by a photo of measurements, but when you start to ride, it will just feel right.
 

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I certainly wouldn't waste my money on a CF seatpost. I like CF. I think it's an extremely useful material, that's also quite versatile.

But to consider a CF seatpost over upgrading tires, wheels, pedals, saddle, etc....Nahhhhhh. Think about this. A seatpost isn't a moving part. It's not big. The weight diff between a CF post & a traditional Aluminum post won't amount to much. What a seatpost is, is nothing more than a short round tube that holds your seat up.

And as far as this statement is concerned......

"Logic, and 5 minutes of simple research will demonstrate that the carbon fiber used in the vast majority of seatposts offers far superior vibration-damping characteristics when compared with traditional aluminum seatposts.

I'd like to see some independently researched hard evidence that proves that it's a fact.
 

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I think most posters are missing the point of the original question, the OP isn't talking about upgrades but what they should take into consideration when trying to select a new bike for purchase so yeah if it came down to two equally good bikes where one had a CF seatpost and the other didn't then I'd choose the one with the CF post.

Unless you really know what you are doing and if it is your first bike then you aren't going to qualify then I wouldn't recommend going down the used or online bike route unless maybe you do have someone that knows their stuff you can rely on for assistance.

I'm a big fan of making use of the Local Bike Shop for advice and fitting adjustments being a newbie road cyclist myself so I would also factor in how convenient and how much you like the store you purchase from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
jaseone said:
I think most posters are missing the point of the original question, the OP isn't talking about upgrades but what they should take into consideration when trying to select a new bike for purchase so yeah if it came down to two equally good bikes where one had a CF seatpost and the other didn't then I'd choose the one with the CF post.

Unless you really know what you are doing and if it is your first bike then you aren't going to qualify then I wouldn't recommend going down the used or online bike route unless maybe you do have someone that knows their stuff you can rely on for assistance.

I'm a big fan of making use of the Local Bike Shop for advice and fitting adjustments being a newbie road cyclist myself so I would also factor in how convenient and how much you like the store you purchase from.

I am definately a road newbie. I also like to have brand new equipment that I know where it has been. The only upgrades I plan on is adding clipless pedals. I am very confident in the shop that sells the Specialized Allez. They have a fancy fitting station and computer and the whole works. I need to get out there and test ride some bikes.
 
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