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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I'm in the market for a new road bike. I sold my old TREK 1.2, it was a great entry level road bike, I enjoyed it, but I felt myself outgrowing it the last few years as I started riding more and more and for much longer distances. I went to a LBS here in NYC and I spoke to a guy who showed me a 2011 Scott Speedster S10, definitely a good bike, with an Ultegra Groupset. It was marked down to 1,304 from 1,650. I wasn't too crazy about the color way though, I really want a red bike. Probably sounds superficial, but I'm looking for a serious long term bike, and I want to be 100% in love with it. Color, components et all.

That's when I came into contact with a Specialized Tarmac Mid Compact for 1,450. Carbon frame and fork, really nice looking, I admire the look and geometry of certain Specialized frames. I also love the fact that it's a full carbon body, however... the components are pretty much on the lowest end of the Shimano line with Sora STIs. I love the bike, but don't love the components. The Sora STIs were what I had on the TREK. I just think it's strange that such a nice bike would come with such low end components, but I know that Specialized has to cut corners someplace.

I'm kind of torn as far as what I should do. The SCOTT bike was nice, but I was more into it for the components rather than the style, and I think that if the Tarmac came with better components at that price point, I'd be sold 100%, but it doesn't so I'm a bit unsure. I was looking online at Merlin Cycles and they sell full Ultegra group sets for super marked down prices. I suppose I could upgrade the components down the line if I'd like too, which I'm sure I would.

I'm just stuck. Is it worth it to buy the Carbon Tarmac and then just upgrade down the line? It's a 2013, which I like, but the 2011 speedster already has the components I would want to upgrade to, but not crazy on the style. I've tested both bikes, they both feel good. What would you guys do? I'm curious. I guess that's a loaded question as everyone has their own type and specifics as far as what they are looking for, what type of riding, etc.

Confused once again! :confused:
 

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you can raise your budget or you can find something with tiagra components for around the same price point you are looking at now then upgrade some of those components later. my preference is to have a frame i love even if the components are not what i want today. cheaper to upgrade components, as the important ones can be swapped out over time. a frame swap is typically one large outlay of cash.
 

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Cranky Old Bastard
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You've listed good reasons for not buying either of those bikes.

Obviously, you shouldn't compromise what you want. "I wish I would have taken the blue pill." (or was it red?? Haven't watched the movie in a while.)
The perfect bike is out there waiting for you, you just have to find it.

It costs a lot of money to upgrade components. You're almost always better off to find a bike with exactly what you want already on it.
For example: if you buy an aluminum-framed bike and spend a few hundred on components...you could have bought a better carbon bike in the first place.

There must be a hundred dealers and thousands of bikes available in NYC. Or order over the internet if you know enough about sizing and geometry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You've listed good reasons for not buying either of those bikes.

Obviously, you shouldn't compromise what you want. "I wish I would have taken the blue pill." (or was it red?? Haven't watched the movie in a while.)
The perfect bike is out there waiting for you, you just have to find it.

It costs a lot of money to upgrade components. You're almost always better off to find a bike with exactly what you want already on it.
For example: if you buy an aluminum-framed bike and spend a few hundred on components...you could have bought a better carbon bike in the first place.

There must be a hundred dealers and thousands of bikes available in NYC. Or order over the internet if you know enough about sizing and geometry.
Yeah, I've been hitting up a lot of different bike shops the last few says, as far as my budget, I'm willing to go at least 1700. As I mentioned before, I want this bike to be more of a long haul bike. I'm willing to spend a good buck to get something of good quality and something that I really want. I keep flip flopping about the component thing, and the carbon thing. I love the way carbon feels, but I think that components are super important as well.

I'm definitely not going to just limit myself to these two bikes, that's foolish of me. I'm sure I can eventually find what I want, it's just hard because I want something now, I'm sort of impatient, which can be a bit of a detriment in cases such as this. It's just that the weather's getting warmer, and I want to be in the park every day but this is a big and important purchase.

I checked out a TREK Madone 2.1 yesterday, in red and white, it was beautiful, fairly light, and came with Shimano 105s, which I liked. The MSRP is 1450 I think, but they are selling it for 1250, which isn't bad. It's definitely a contender, but I'm not sold 100% yet. I have that carbon envy thing, and it's bad bad bad. :blush2:
 

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So, I'm in the market for a new road bike. I sold my old TREK 1.2, it was a great entry level road bike, I enjoyed it, but I felt myself outgrowing it the last few years as I started riding more and more and for much longer distances. I went to a LBS here in NYC and I spoke to a guy who showed me a 2011 Scott Speedster S10, definitely a good bike, with an Ultegra Groupset. It was marked down to 1,304 from 1,650. I wasn't too crazy about the color way though, I really want a red bike. Probably sounds superficial, but I'm looking for a serious long term bike, and I want to be 100% in love with it. Color, components et all.

That's when I came into contact with a Specialized Tarmac Mid Compact for 1,450. Carbon frame and fork, really nice looking, I admire the look and geometry of certain Specialized frames. I also love the fact that it's a full carbon body, however... the components are pretty much on the lowest end of the Shimano line with Sora STIs. I love the bike, but don't love the components. The Sora STIs were what I had on the TREK. I just think it's strange that such a nice bike would come with such low end components, but I know that Specialized has to cut corners someplace.

I'm kind of torn as far as what I should do. The SCOTT bike was nice, but I was more into it for the components rather than the style, and I think that if the Tarmac came with better components at that price point, I'd be sold 100%, but it doesn't so I'm a bit unsure. I was looking online at Merlin Cycles and they sell full Ultegra group sets for super marked down prices. I suppose I could upgrade the components down the line if I'd like too, which I'm sure I would.

I'm just stuck. Is it worth it to buy the Carbon Tarmac and then just upgrade down the line? It's a 2013, which I like, but the 2011 speedster already has the components I would want to upgrade to, but not crazy on the style. I've tested both bikes, they both feel good. What would you guys do? I'm curious. I guess that's a loaded question as everyone has their own type and specifics as far as what they are looking for, what type of riding, etc.

Confused once again! :confused:
Within your budget, you're looking at something in the 105 range. You've already discovered the tradeoffs with going carbon fiber and being stuck with a cheap gruppo, and going with nicer parts and having a cheaper aluminum frame - which will not ride as nice. a 105 groupset is a bit heavier than Ultegra, but works almost as well. With your riding experience, you need to be upgrading and not settling for Sora or Tiagra level components.

There are a couple of models from Giant which might work. Giant is one of the Big Three, along with Trek and Specialized, and their bikes are just as nice but tend to be a better value. The TCR SL is an aluminum framed bike, but its a nicer quality of frame than the Speedster and the Giant Defy aluminum. If you want carbon, The TCR composite is really hard to beat. I think Fuji might some stuff that hits that same quality/value quotient, but I'm less familiar with them.

- I think because carbon fiber bike prices are creeping up, aluminum is starting to make a bit of a comeback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Within your budget, you're looking at something in the 105 range. You've already discovered the tradeoffs with going carbon fiber and being stuck with a cheap gruppo, and going with nicer parts and having a cheaper aluminum frame - which will not ride as nice. a 105 groupset is a bit heavier than Ultegra, but works almost as well. With your riding experience, you need to be upgrading and not settling for Sora or Tiagra level components.

There are a couple of models from Giant which might work. Giant is one of the Big Three, along with Trek and Specialized, and their bikes are just as nice but tend to be a better value. The TCR SL is an aluminum framed bike, but its a nicer quality of frame than the Speedster and the Giant Defy aluminum. If you want carbon, The TCR composite is really hard to beat. I think Fuji might some stuff that hits that same quality/value quotient, but I'm less familiar with them.

- I think because carbon fiber bike prices are creeping up, aluminum is starting to make a bit of a comeback.

Thanks for your input! I really like the TCR composite! And the components are a nice upgrade for sure. It's a great looking bike, and it's not even a colorway I would normally go for... so that's something to think about. I never really checked that deeply into GIANT, definitely need to do more research! I also need to take a full weekend and just go to as many bike shops as humanly possible and try as many as I can. It's draining though, so many options.

It's just hard sometimes because I have people who tell me "the frame is the most important, go with the frame, and then change all the other stuff after." So it leaves my head spinning a bit. I'm so down for a carbon frame, but at the same time, I'm not 100% opposed to an aluminum frame, it's just that the carbon is so appealing to me.

EDIT** I hopped on over to FUJIs website and found this : Fuji Bikes | ROAD | COMPETITION | ROUBAIX 1.3

I'm liking the 105 set up, and the bike has an over look to it that is really appealing. I think I need to find a dealer and see if I can hop on one and take it for a spin!
 

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Thanks for your input! I really like the TCR composite! And the components are a nice upgrade for sure. It's a great looking bike, and it's not even a colorway I would normally go for... so that's something to think about. I never really checked that deeply into GIANT, definitely need to do more research! I also need to take a full weekend and just go to as many bike shops as humanly possible and try as many as I can. It's draining though, so many options.

It's just hard sometimes because I have people who tell me "the frame is the most important, go with the frame, and then change all the other stuff after." So it leaves my head spinning a bit. I'm so down for a carbon frame, but at the same time, I'm not 100% opposed to an aluminum frame, it's just that the carbon is so appealing to me.
Find a shop that has both and do a side by side test ride in the parking lot - making sure to look for a culvert or pothole to run over. Pay attention to which one feels right - responsive yet comfortable. Make sure they are fit the same as well. Just to compare apples to apples, it would be a good idea to first determine your appropriate saddle height and test every bike with the saddle height the same. Cheap and easy way to get saddle height in the ballpark is to measure your inseam - crotch to floor with bare feet - and multiply by .88.

Don't buy a bike and upgrade parts. It's expensive. That advice is really only good if you get a custom geometry ti frame of something that will last a lifetime. Frames are becoming obsolete almost as quickly as components. The only time that upgrading makes sense is perhaps getting a good set of wheels, or with some entry level triathlon bikes, that are specced with a nice drivetrain but have have ridiculously heavy cranksets.
 

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Don't buy a bike and upgrade parts.
Sage advice, :)
Buy it and ride it (the exceptions saddle and wheels - everyone can use an extra set) or build it from parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sage advice, :)
Buy it and ride it (the exceptions saddle and wheels - everyone can use an extra set) or build it from parts.
Yeah, you guys are definitely right. I'm opening my budget a bit and I'm finding a bit more for the money, carbon bodies and better gruppos. Money talks! But I definitely won't sacrifice one for the other, i.e good frame, bad components, or good components and mediocre frame. I am confident that I will be able to find everything I want, it will just take some time!

I'm really liking the fujis. This one may be the one for me: Fuji Bikes | ROAD | COMPETITION | ALTAMIRA 2.5 just a matter of finding it, trying it, fitting it and keeping the fingers crossed!
 

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Seems like this ship has sailed, but I would suggest not ruling out a really good aluminum frame. The CAAD10 is probably the best aluminum road bike frame ever mass produced, and probably has a better ride than low-end carbon frames. If you haven't ridden a CAAD10, I recommend doing so before making your decision. You'll get better components at the same price as a lower-end carbon framed bike.
 

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odearja
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Seems like this ship has sailed, but I would suggest not ruling out a really good aluminum frame. The CAAD10 is probably the best aluminum road bike frame ever mass produced, and probably has a better ride than low-end carbon frames. If you haven't ridden a CAAD10, I recommend doing so before making your decision. You'll get better components at the same price as a lower-end carbon framed bike.
I read this thread because it almost seemed like the OP and I have the same exact thoughts, with that being said, I've always heard that the defy was more of an endurance bike, and the caad10 and TCR's had more aggressive geometries for a more race like experience. I only mention that because you said you wanted the bike for the long haul......
I personally am leaning towards a cx bike with higher end components (~105-ish) which looks like I will have to build piece by piece. Most cx bikes in my price range of $1200-1500 are sporting soras and similar. I'm not hijacking this thread, I am just putting my 2cents in
 

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You may already be aware of it, but just in case...if you find "the" bike you want at a shop, but it doesn't have the exact components you're looking for, you can always ask the shop if they'll swap out components for you. I've done this several times and sometimes there's no charge (e.g., going from Shimano to SRAM), or sometimes there's a small upgrade fee. The worst they can say is no...but they might just say yes. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You may already be aware of it, but just in case...if you find "the" bike you want at a shop, but it doesn't have the exact components you're looking for, you can always ask the shop if they'll swap out components for you. I've done this several times and sometimes there's no charge (e.g., going from Shimano to SRAM), or sometimes there's a small upgrade fee. The worst they can say is no...but they might just say yes. :)
That's a good point, I never really thought about that before. I'm going to a couple shops next weekend to look at some different models. I will keep the component swap question in mind for sure :)
 

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I was in Eastern Mountain Sports on the Upper West side yesterday and they have up to 25% off some road bikes at the minute. I got a Masi Evoluzione Apex with all SRAM components for $1632 reduced from $2000.
 

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Your original choices were very different kinds of bikes. If you truly are looking for a long term purchase, you need to test ride a bunch of bikes and do lots of research to decide what you want in a frame. Otherwise, you may be getting another short term bike and the components really will not matter much.
 

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Not sure if anyone mentioned this but I didn't have time to read all the posts, sorry in advance! Anyway some, if not most LBS's will allow you to swap out parts when their brand new for upgraded parts for just the cost difference between the Sora and Ultegra for example, so you can pick and choose what model of component you want, I did that with a new bike I have on order, but I only upgraded 3 items, it would be silly to upgrade the entire package though.
 

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Or, instead of trying to pick between Ultegra or Carbon, you could get both:
Bikesdirect, $1600 A co-worker of mine just got that bike, has about 500-600 miles on it now (including a 2-day 180 mile ride), and is loving it. Downside is no ride before you buy.

Actually, several of my co-workers recently got carbon Motobecanes, (4 I think) plus a few alloy Motos. I've only talked to two of them about their bikes (a LeChamp, and an Immortal); they both love them. One is coming off a Trek 2.1, the other an old "classic" steel bike. The only guy on our team that does not like his Motobecane is the guy that got the uber-cheep alloy frame with 2200/Sora.
 
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