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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm purchasing my 1st road bike for cross-training. I'm looking for a comfortable bike for longer rides. Looked @ a lot of diff bikes & I'm leaning towards a few LeMonds & would like some input before I bite the bullet.

The Zurich is nice, but a bit out of my price range. Next Fe/C spine bike I like is the Buenos Aires. Not too excited about the color. My LBS quoted me $1800 for the double --- guess this is msrp (can't find this info on any web sites)? He doesn't seem too willing to deal because there are few of these left & this is the last yr. for the Fe/C spines (the '07 models are all Al/C, all Al, all C, & 1 all Fe). I test rode 1 of his customer's 2005 BA w/ Campy Veloce components this morning -- very nice. The next jump lower is the Versailles & the major component differences between this & the BA is 105 vs. Ultegra shifters, cassette, & brakes, & lower grade Bontrager wheels, handlebar, stem. Are these upgrades worth the extra $300 for the BA?

The other option is to go w/ the Sarthe, which is similar in components to the BA, but w/o the Fe/C spine (it's all Fe w/ the C fork). Anybody know how much heavier the Sarthe is compared to the BA & should I care my 1st road bike (Sarthe is approx $250 cheaper)? Unfortunately no dealers in my area have 1 of these in stock for me to try. That's why I'm leaning toward the spine bikes ('cause I test rode & liked the feel/fit), but any input is welcome.
 

· Still On Steel
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I don't know whether I can help much other than to say that if you like the steel/carbon spine frame, better grab one while you can. I bought a 2005 BA about 3-1/2 months ago. I'd been riding a steel Allez for the last dozen or so years, and while that bike rides beautifully, the LeMond is just that slight little bit better. (Of course there are also differences in the fork, wheels, etc, but still ...) Also, one of my riding buddies has a 2004 Zurich. He's owned and ridden just about every frame material there is (steel, alum, Ti, full carbon) and told me, before I bought my BA, that he regards his spine Zurich as the best so far.

My other main contender was a 2005 Sarthe. I really loved the look (to my eye, the same orange that neither you nor I liked on the 2006 BA was gorgeous on the 2005 Sarthe) and it had Campag components like the BA; but I eventually decided it would be too similar to my Allez and went with the BA since it was a little different but without being extreme (which I didn't want).

I would guess that the Sarthe is heavier than the BA, but probably only by ounces. Not enough that it should be a deal maker/breaker, IMO.

If I'm reading you right, you're saying you could buy the 105-equipped Versailles for about $50 more than the Ultegra-equipped Sarthe? If so, tough choice, but ... if it were me, knowing what I know now, I'd go for the Versailles and get the spine frame (which you seem to be favoring heavily) and not worry about 105 vs Ultegra.
 

· Spicy Dumpling
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Agreed.

I have a Ti/Carbon spine (Tete De Course). I had decided on a steel/carbon but the local LBS owner sold me his bike with less than 500 miles on it. I rode treks 5200 series, madone, klein and the lemonds at a test ride day and it was no contest, the spine bikes took the cake. Of course these are all trek bikes but of the choices you are given I"d go with the spine bikes.

The trek guys at the test ride and our local trek rep ride the ti/spine bike instead of the treks. IMHO the spine bikes are the most underrated bikes out there and are a good deal right now as they are being closed out. Of course I"m very biased. I've had 3 people try my bike and all three have bought steel spine bikes and love them.

Opinions of a biased spine rider....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
got me a bike!

Just went back to the lbs w/ the husband (to see if he could help me decide)... turns out the factory had an '05 BA in stock in my size :) ! So I got a killer deal (paid what I would have for the '06 Versailles) & got the color that a really prefer. The 2005 model has Campy Veloce/Centaur components vs the 2006 BA w/ Shimano Ultegra/105 mix. Pros/Cons to these? I actually prefer the feel of the Ultegra shifters, but maybe that's 'cause that's mostly what I've tried. I don't know as much about the Campy line. Input anybody (specially you, Allez because you have this '05 BA, right?)?
 

· Soft
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Congrats on the new bike?

I just bought a NOS 04 Zurich. Wow what a nice bike. I'm a little jealous of the Campy on the BA. I wanted to try Campy on my next new bike, but it was hard to pass up the deal on the Zurich. And the Ultegra is a really nice upgrade from my Tiagra/105 Trek.
 

· Still On Steel
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2005 Buenos Aires, oh my!

Congrats on the new bike! Looks like this, right? If so, your bike and mine are twins (although I suspect yours may be a wee bit smaller than my 59cm).
View attachment 57742
Re: the components ... most people agree that Veloce = 105 and Centaur = Ultegra, so the quality level between the '05 and '06 models is pretty much a wash. Beyond that, it's mostly a matter of personal preference. I had ridden Shimano "forever" and wanted Campag this time around, partly to try something different and see how the other half lives, partly because of Campagnolo's old world mystique. IOW, I wanted Campag because I wanted Campag, end of story. This was one of the reasons I was attracted to the 2005 BA and 2005 Sarthe: production bikes spec'd out with Campag bits are thin on the ground. Fortunately, in the case of both of these LeMonds, I liked and fitted well the bicycles the parts were bolted onto.

The shifter hoods do feel different, but I've gotten used to them and scarely notice any more. After so many years riding Shimano, I must admit to still having the occasional "STI moment," reaching for the large Ergo lever when I should be hitting the thumb button. At this point, after only 3-1/2 months, I would further have to admit that my STI-equipped bike still feels more familiar, more natural, more automatic -- after all, I've been riding the thing for over 12 years. But I'm adjusting well to the Ergo system and I think I prefer it, overall.

I too really like the yellow color. Looks great with the carbon sections, and yellow bikes are comparatively rare on the roads. It also appealed to me personally as a cancer survivor who helps raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation (the bike is almost a perfect match for the LiveStrong bracelet I wear 24/7).

Complaints? Well, yes, a few, but all are small:

Every backside is different, but within five miles mine told me that the stock Bontrager saddle is C-R-A-P crap. You may like it fine; it was way too spongy for me. I swapped it with the Selle Italia Turbomatic from my other bike and now my butt is happy again.

My 59cm bike came with 46cm handlebars. I've been riding 44cm bars and find the 46's a shade too wide. I'll probably change them soon.

I wish the fork was painted solid yellow; I don't like fades, and think solid yellow would look better.

That's about it. Like I said, small stuff.

You and this bike are going to have many, many, MANY happy miles together. :thumbsup:

Oh, one other thing: in case you're not already aware, the colors of the 2006 Bell Sweep R helmet in Titanium/Yellow are a virtually perfect match for the 2005 Buenos Aires ...
View attachment 57746
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the info, Allez. It actually occurred to me earlier today that these '05 BA colors were close to those for the LAF. This is really cool because it's a charity I too support having so many friends & family afflicted by cancer (inclu my mom now w/ Stage IV breast cancer). Congrats for being a survivor & pushing through. You folks are a real inspiration.

I'll let you know when I get my bike (yeah -- a bit smaller than yours @ 51cm). Ride on-
 
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