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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got a new job and, for some reason, most of the people I work with are serious road cyclers / triathletes. They seem to have a lot of fun and I'd like to join in.

So, I'm looking for a bike in the $1500 range (for the bike, not shoes and the rest). I'm 25 and somewhat fit, ran middle distance track in college, but am 100% new to cycling. I'm a light-weight, 5'9" and 140lbs.

One bike I liked at a LBS, Back Bay Bicycles, had a 2008 Connondale CAAD9 5 for $1389.

Another bike I looked at at a different shop, Cambridge Bicycle Shop, was the 2008 Bianchi Via Nirone 7/Ultegra/105 Compact for $1649.99. On the high end of what I'd like to pay, but it was a pretty bike. :)

A third LBS, International Bicycle Center (which I've only visited online, haven't gotten to the real shop yet), has a Trek Pilot 2.1 Triple for $1399.99.

Would these be good bikes for a noob who hopes to, in a few months, ride with more serious cyclers and are these fair prices? Which would you recommend? Are there any other bikes, or bike shops in Boston, that I should be taking a look at?

I plan to check out a few more bike shops tomorrow, so I may have more questions.
 

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The Cannondale looks like more than enough bike for a noob. Pedals, shoes, helmet, spare tube, inflation, gloves, jerseys, shorts, and other accessories can end up costing quite a bit. Make sure you realize that before blowing your budget on just the bike.

Do note though, that the gearing on the Cannondale is pretty steep if your area has a lot of big climbs.
 

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So,

1stly, the Canonndale you posted is very much a racing type bike, it has that type of geometry, as well as that kind of gearing (std double 53/39). Fork aside it is a fully aluminum frame and will be similarly stiff-it will be efficient, but on bumpy roads that stiffness means you're going to really feel those bumps.

2ndly, The Bianchi has a compact-which can be beneficial in going up hills-without the occassional fussiness a triple crank can have in shifting, as well as being lighter. Still a race type frame, but with carbon bits to make the ride smoother than the Cannondale I'd wager.

3rdly, the Trek is a much more comfort oriented bike in terms of frame geometry, with a full triple crank to get up hills. It has carbon fork and carbon backend to make the road a bit smoother and still be stiff.



As rjk said, budget in your accessories-all those little things add up quite a bit--a good pair of shorts/jersey/helmet/pedals/shoes/emergency tool kit will probably total more than $300 unless you hit clearance sales or the shop cuts you a deal on accessories.

As far as a bike--I have a thing for all things Eyetalian-and would go for the Bianchi....then again I've never ridden any of these in person. They all are more than enough for a beginner in cycling, nice frames and drivetrains all around. I don't like the Trek so much-as its wheels are paired spoke--they may look pretty, but if a spoke breaks you'll be stranded and have to walk home as you really can't do a roadside fix on those kinds of wheels. And since the Cannondale is a chunk of aluminum and would probably feel like it on the road--I'd go for the Bianchi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the replies and for the great overview of the three bike models.

As far as price, I arbitrarily set a budget for myself of around $2,000. My thinking was $1,500 for the bike, and another $500 for everything else. Of course, if I can come in under that, so much the better. :)
 

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Depends on how deep you wade in. If you take to the sport - in a year I bet you spend as much on all the other goodies as you spent on the bike.

That's probably a good thing from the perspective of most of the people on this forum
 

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If Back Bay Bikes is anything like their brother shop, Papa Wheelies, then I highly suggest buying from them. Great service and products.

Looks like room detailed all the bikes for you.

If you're ever looking for a riding partner, I'm not too far away in Portsmouth, NH!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
pdh777 said:
Depends on how deep you wade in. If you take to the sport - in a year I bet you spend as much on all the other goodies as you spent on the bike.

That's probably a good thing from the perspective of most of the people on this forum
Yeah. If I take to the sport I could actually see myself also dropping another $5k+ for a new bike in a year or two. That's the problem with these bike reviews--the more I read, the more I want the best most expensive stuff (and I don't even ride yet!). :p

Were I to upgrade bikes in a year or two, would there be any advantage to keeping my $1,500 bike? What do people normally do; do they sell their cheaper bike, or keep it to ride in the rain or inclement weather?

One of the reasons I kind of like the Cannondale is that I'm interested in triathlons, and thus were I to drop a lot of $$$ in a year on a bike, it might be on a triathlon bike. I figure the Cannondale I could keep and use for normal, non triathlon, road races-- so I'd have a bike for both. Good idea, bad idea?

livin4lax09 - I really liked the guys at Back Bay Bikes. Their prices seemed fair and they also have this deal where if I buy a bike from them they'll give me 20% off on accessories.

Does anyone know about trainers? They seem to range from $150 to $600+. Would a $224 trainer such as this '08 Kurt Kinetic Cyclone Trainer be alright? I guess I don't know what makes the $600 trainers better than this one.
 

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Smaxe said:
Yeah. If I take to the sport I could actually see myself also dropping another $5k+ for a new bike in a year or two. That's the problem with these bike reviews--the more I read, the more I want the best most expensive stuff (and I don't even ride yet!). :p

Were I to upgrade bikes in a year or two, would there be any advantage to keeping my $1,500 bike? What do people normally do; do they sell their cheaper bike, or keep it to ride in the rain or inclement weather?
have you considered purchasing a used bike as your starter bike ? its a great way to ease into the sport without having to break the bank and seems to make more sense to me if there's a possibility of upgrading within a year or two. i was able to sell my first bike (cannondale r600), which i purchased used, for the exact same price i paid for it 3-yrs later when i upgraded.
 

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You are probably better off buying a decent starter bike - as you mentioned the Cannondale etc. New

The pratfalls to look for in a used bike include parts that don't work or fit. I got back into the sport 7 years ago after a long layoff - techonologies and products had changed.
Bought a used Litespeed off e bay. rode it and kind of didn't like it. Turns out the bars were too narrow - i needed a zero offset seat post and a few minor parts. Liked it much better after the changes - but still not the ideal bike. The price was good... but

The point is you would be better off to dial in your measurements either from your local LBS or Wrench Science or other online site. Then when you go looking for a bike you will have a better idea of your needs and can set up the bike to your measurements b4 riding.

Also a good idea to get an entry level bike "that fits" - if you really get into the sport you will have a more clearly defined idea of what your dream bike should ride should ride and feel like.

Good Luck
 

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Welcome to the sport first and foremost.

Second, you need to actually ride these various bikes and see how they fit. Just becase a bike is your size (Medium, 54cm, etc etc.) does not mean it will be comfortable. I personally ride a Giant and there a whole bunch of people who complain who uncomfortable they are, so ride it first.

Third, as a beginner the bike will matter, to and extent. If you get this bike and absolutely love the sport, a good bike will let you dive in head first with little need to upgrade in the near future. But on the other hand you could buy a 2000 dollar bike and have it hang in the garage for years and sell it on e-bay or craigslist at half what you bought it for. Either way enjoy the bike and good riding.

-Chad
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I intend to buy new from a LBS. Of course if LBS has a used bike I'd consider it. I just don't yet have the bike savvy to be purchasing from craigslist or ebay, so it's the LBS for this first purchase.

And I do intend to test drive the bike, not that I know precisely what a well fitted bike should feel like, but it should let me at least know if I can imagine riding the thing for many miles.

I actually stopped in at the shop Sunday to test ride/purchase the Cannondale but they did not have my size. :( They have one on order and it should arrive later this week or the start of next week at the latest. I'll have to be patient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you for the great information.

I ended up buying a 2007 Cannondale CAAD9 Optimo 1. This choice was greatly influenced by the quality of the LBS which carried the bike. As much as I liked the Bianchi and the other bikes, I liked the Cannondale carrying LBS the best and thus bought from them.

I also got a good deal on the bike (I think), which was originally $2,500 but because it was a 2007, they sold it to me for $2,000. Of course, I did end up spending another $1,200+ on accessories, but got some good stuff.

One question: the bike has a FSA SL-K Carbon crank. I'm not familiar with this brand, how does it compare to the Shimano cranks?
 

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Smaxe, are you joking? You just bought a brand new bike to learn to ride on. You haven`t even had it a week yet- how can you be concerned about how the carbon crankset that came with it compares to another brand? Ride it and see if it works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
While I appreciate the frankness of your reply, my question was more out of curiosity than anything else. Being new to the sport, I'm still learning and I find asking questions facilitates this learning.
 
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