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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
These are the three bikes I'm interested in. Any suggestions?

GT GTR Series 2013
GT GTR Series 3 Bike - 2013 at REI.com

Cannondale Synapse Alloy 7 Compact
Cannondale Synapse Alloy 7 Compact Bike - 2013 at REI.com

Scott Speedster 50 2013
Scott Speedster 50 Bike - 2013 at REI.com

Secondly, I know I will need pedals and shoes for these bikes. I have no idea what to get. I've read a substantial amount of information on the subject and still don't know whether to get road pedals or MTB pedals. I'm willing to spend about $100 on shoes and $100 on pedals. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

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They're all pretty capable bikes. Head to the store and test ride them, and go with the one that fits you best. If it's the cheapest one, you have more $$$ for some nice shoes and a helmet.

As far as shoes and pedals go, I'm going to recommend mountain pedals and shoes simply because they're easier to walk in, and more versatile. I have no idea what the advantage of "road" shoes are, but it certainly isn't off-bike comfort.

I'd say any old set of SPD-compatible pedals would be fine for a beginner. Even some cheap $35 Wellgos. They're simple, cheap, easy to learn on, and adjustable. Personally, I love my Eggbeaters, but they're not for everyone. I have them on my road, commuter, and MTB, so I don't have to switch shoes all the time.
 

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As long as they suite your intended uses/ goals and fit your anatomy, all are fine choices. Since they're all offered at REI, I suggest visiting some other shops and test riding some other bikes, just to get exposure to both.

Best advice here... test ride (a bunch - out on the roads), then decide.

Re: shoes/ pedals, I think it comes down to how important 'walk-ability' is to you. If you foresee doing any walking on your rides, then consider a mtb shoe/ SPD pedal system. The recessed cleats make it easier (though, not easy) to walk in.

OTOH, if you don't see yourself doing much walking, a road shoe/ pedal system may be to your liking. IMO there's no real advantage/ disadvantage when comparing mtb/ road shoe designs, but the larger cleat/ pedal surface area of road systems tends to minimize hot spots/ pressure points.

With either choice, a well designed, well fitting shoe along with proper cleat setup/ placement are keys to success. Since cleat set up is an integral part of bike fit, ideally, get this done with your fitting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have a discount at REI so each of these bikes will be roughly $200 cheaper than what the website says. That is why I am looking on their website. So it looks like MTB shoes and SPD pedals are what I'm going to be looking for. I just can't decide on the bike, haha. I'm really not able to test ride any of these right now either.
 

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No personal experience on the bikes you're looking at, but I'll just suggest that given bikes tend to be competitive with one and other within price points, go with the one that speaks to you--you'll find yourself wanting to ride it more if every time you look at it, you smile!

Agree with the advice on the SPD pedals. I did this with my Trek 2.3 (my first roadbike). I was very anxious about the whole clipping in/out thing, and these pedals made the transition very easy. We're getting ready to do the same thing to help my wife transition from toe clips.

As to the shoes, there are several brands of shoe that are sort of a hybrid--they're SPD capable, but they're kind of sleek, just a low profile walking tread, vice the more robust looking "mountain bike" shoes.

Best of luck with your decision!
 

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My GTR frame developed a stress crack, from the seat tube, across the weld, into the top tube, at about 5000 miles.

Anyone can make a bad frame, though. And I haven't heard of similar problems from other GT owners.

While somewhat less aggressive than the series 1 and 2 frames, the GTR 3, 4 and 5 frames are still fairly aggressive geometry. The Synapse is more of a relaxed geometry frame.
 

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My GTR frame developed a stress crack, from the seat tube, across the weld, into the top tube, at about 5000 miles.

Anyone can make a bad frame, though. And I haven't heard of similar problems from other GT owners.
That's true, but it does point up the importance of a strong warranty.

Cannondale frames... are warranted by Cannondale Bicycle Corporation, 16 Trowbridge Drive, Bethel, CT 06801 against manufacturing defects in materials and/or workmanship for the lifetime of the original owner.

Source:
Policies

FWIW, on GT's FAQ page it states "We offer limited, but reasonable warranty coverage on “Normal Wear” parts that are defective from factory. In other words, anything that fails or breaks as the result of a manufacturer's defect. Please refer to your owner’s manual for the complete terms of warranty."

Source:
GT Bicycles / Bikes & Bicycle Parts / BMX Bikes & Mountain Bikes

Scott offers a 5 year warranty as long as an annual maintenance service is performed, otherwise it reverts to three years.

Source:
Warning - SCOTT Sports
 

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Don't let walkability deter you from getting road pedals because you can get more power transfer with them compare to spd pedals. The cleats for road pedals are much more stiffer, thus you get efficiency when pedaling. I brought a set of Look Keo covers for the cleats so I can walk with traction. It also minimize the wear and tear of the cleat.

Look KeO Road Cleat Cover at REI.com
 

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Do you planning riding mostly on flat or hills? If you live in most flat area, go with the GT since you really don't need the triple crank. If you do live in hilly area, go with the Cannondale since it's a 27 speed, meaning more gear combo to work with. Both bikes come with almost the same Shimano entry component so neither has an advantage and everything else is similar. If I am buying it, I would definitely go with the C'dale if I live in hilly area and GT in the flat area.
 

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For hills, the 34/28 combo on the GT gives you a ~ 1.21 gear ratio

The 30/26 combo on the Synapse gives you 1.15.

The bigger issue is warranty. I don't want to even go there, as far as what GT considered "limited but reasonable" in my case. You know you're getting a solid warranty from C-dale. I don't know anything about Scott's reputation for warranty. Even short of a warranty claim, dealing with GT customer service people is a nightmare.

Suffice to say, I will never own anything from GT again. Even though my shop was willing to sell me a replacement at his cost.
 

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I am just under 5'10 with about a 30" or 32" inseam. What size bike do I get now?
Try them at a bike shop. There is no real right answer for you.

I am 6' 4: with a 34-35" inseam. I ride a 60cm Super Six.

Just try them. It really can depend. After you get it they can make minor changes to make it fit better. My bike had its saddle moved back a little bit for me to fit better.

As for pedals and shoes my answer on which way to go is it depends. I have road shoes and pedals. Now I will say road pedals are a little less forgiving in the clipping out part than my mountain bike pedals are but they are for different types of riding.

I chose to go the road pedal route because I want the stiffer/ lighter shoes and not have to work about hot spots. Now I will say my mountain bike shoes are a lot nicer to walk in but then again on a mountain bike you do have to run up some kills.
 

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Are you ordering the bike on line or going in to REI? I didn't click on the links and therefore didn't see the specs or geometry but I betcha it's not the same for each bike. They'll all feel different.

You should really go in and let the salesperson size you up (sizing can differ between bikes) on each one you are interested in and then take each on a test ride - GT included. The more you test ride, the better you'll know. And not a circle around a parking lot, go on a real ride. On a road, up hills, down hills, around corners, spin on a flat, stand up and sprint on a flat, etc. (yes, it's hard to believe but riding a bike with flat pedals can be done). Pick a route before you get there.

The advice in this thread is good but not better than what your body and mind tell you when you are on a bike. Take some time and go on a few test rides, it's fun and informative.
 

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The advice in this thread is good but not better than what your body and mind tell you when you are on a bike. Take some time and go on a few test rides, it's fun and informative.
Best advice yet!!
 

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I live in Pennsylvania so it is all hills. I think the Cannondale might be the one. Thanks for all the help everybody.
I agree. I actually took the specs off Cannondale's website, where they list the rear cassette on that Synapse as a 12-26. REI says that it has a 12-28 rear, and you'll appreciate the 28 more I would think. A 30/28 combo gets you close to 1:1 gear ratio.
 

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JMO, but I think fit, feel, ride and handling trump gearing concerns. That can be changed relatively easily and inexpensively. The other things can't. So yes, test ride, then decide.

Beyond that, I think warranty is next in importance. Odds are you won't need it, but if you do, you want it (and good support) to be there.
 
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