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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
New member looking for help on first road bike purchase. I just signed up for my first sprint tri and the only bike I have is an 18 year old Cignal Mountain bike. I went to the LBS and looked at the Fuji Sportif line of bikes, specifically the 1.5 and 1.7. The 1.7 is sale priced at $600 which is just what I was wanting to pay.
I am having trouble finding any info on this line of bikes and was wondering if anyone could give some feedback, good or bad.
I am not set on the Fuji line of bikes and I'm in no way brand loyal so if someone has a better suggestion for a bike in the $600 range I would love to hear from you.

This bike will be used for tri events and general riding with my wife and son, with some occasional longer, faster rides if I can find a local group.


Thank you
 

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The Fuji will likely suite your purposes, but TBH, I think you can do better for about the same price.

The Trek 1.1 has an 8 speed drivetrain and is offered in more sizes. Same for the Specialized Allez Compact, Jamis Ventura Sport and Giant Defy 5. And there are others.

Best bet is to visit some reputable LBS's, discuss your intended uses/ goals, cycling experiences and price range. Get sized/ fitted to bikes of interest and head out on the roads for test rides. This IME is the best way to determine your preferences for both fit and feel, whittling the field from there.

Unless you can manage most of your own repairs and are adept at fitting yourself, shop for shops along with bikes, because of the many value added services the reputable shops offer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your help.
I really like the shop I have been dealing with,they are currently tuning up my mtb. It's a small mom and pop type shop where the owners are also experienced riders. The one downside to small shops is lack of selection.
Is there anything in particular you dislike about the Sportif?
 

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Thanks for your help.
I really like the shop I have been dealing with,they are currently tuning up my mtb. It's a small mom and pop type shop where the owners are also experienced riders. The one downside to small shops is lack of selection.
Is there anything in particular you dislike about the Sportif?
It's not so much that I dislike the bike, it's more that I think there are better choices. But I do think it's noteworthy that it's 7 speed, has lower end shifters and sizes span 4 cm's - too much of a gap, IMO.

The other brands/ models I mentioned are 8 speed, have better (IMO) shifters and are offered in more sizes.

If Fuji is the only choice in your area, I'd suggest either expanding your search to other areas or at least looking at Fuji's other offerings. I believe the Newest is in your price range and has better specs, but sizing is no better. In the sizes offered, it'll either fit, or it won't - or maybe never fit all that well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There are other shops around, there is a Specialized dealer a few miles up the road from the Fuji shop but the Specialized shop doesn't have the same reputation for service
 

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There are other shops around, there is a Specialized dealer a few miles up the road from the Fuji shop but the Specialized shop doesn't have the same reputation for service
Have you yourself actually experienced a poorer level of service from them? I would definitely go and poke around and I would also take some on a test ride. At the very least, it'll give you an idea of what another bike feels like. Ride an entry Allez and Secteur to experience the difference between traditional and endurance geo. Then go to another shop and try out other rides. And ask at least one of the shops if you can try out a higher end ride - be upfront with them and tell them you have no intention to buy it but just want to see what it's like, many shops will oblige.

Lastly, I know it won't be popular advice with you but I would seriously consider increasing your budget to at least $800. That's a more reasonable entry level price and will give you a lot more to choose from.
 

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I agree with Boston, that you need to increase your road bike price point for better componentry. I would even consider purchasing a used quality road bike with better componentry, than to purchase new with low end componentry. Sometimes, used bikes can be found in excellent condition with relatively low mileage. If you have a friend or family member, who is knowledgeable about bikes, perhaps they can assist you with the pruchase of a nice used bicycle.

Good Luck! :thumbsup:
 

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I would not suggest buying used if you are new to road riding. Bike fit is paramount especially if you will be taking part in a Tri. The LBS will make sure that the bike fits you, at worst in the most rudimentary way, at best they might have a sophisticated fit system and a fitting guru who can get you some precise numbers.
 

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I'll second BostonG's advice and demonrider. Branch out to other shops (Specialized has a couple of bikes close to your price range, but there are others) and definitely buy where you'll get sizing/ fit assistance.

Better components won't make a hill of beans difference if the bike doesn't fit.
 

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For sprint triathlon training, lower grade components will hinder your progress. I see no reason to ignore the "crappy" component issue. There's actually no reason for you to have to sacrifice components, just because you'd like a great fit. The two entities are not necessarily mutually exclusive of one another.

Given adequate time an some "expert" assistance from a quite bicycle knowledgeable person, I still think that buying used is a viable option at your price point. There are many really great used options out there for less than $600. Options that will serve as awesome sprint triathlon training bicycles, with decent componentry. Since you'll have an opportunity to test ride the prospective bike, neither "fit" nor "frame size" should be a problem, provided that you've test ridden several other bicycles prior to the test ride, for comparison.
 

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For sprint triathlon training, crappy components will hinder your progress. I see no reason to ignore the "crappy" component issue. There's actually no reason for you to have to sacrifice components, just because you'd like a great fit. The two entities are not necessarily mutually exclusive of one another.

Given adequate time an some "expert" assistance from a quite bicycle knowledgeable person, I still think that buying used is a viable option at your price point. There are many really great used options out there for less than $600. Options that will serve as awesome sprint triathlon training bicycles, with decent componentry. Since you'll have an opportunity to test ride the prospective bike, neither "fit" nor "frame size" should be a problem, provided that you've test ridden several other bicycles prior to the test ride, for comparison.
I think it should be noted that after I posted, you edited your previous post deleting the recommendation for buying online (Bikes Direct).

That aside, my point re: 'better' components was that the OP should take the steps necessary to get a good fit, because a cheaper alternative that doesn't allow for those safeguards (buying online/ winging it on CL/ buying used) may get him better components, that (overall) won't serve him well if the bike doesn't fit. And a poor fit does hinder performance.

Your scenario above for buying used sounds good "on paper" and can be done, but isn't without pitfalls. Done correctly, a buyer either needs to bring along someone knowledgeable in bike mechanics/ fit or ask the seller to bring the LBS for both assessments. Since they're new to the sport, most don't know anyone possessing that knowledge, so that leaves the latter as an option. As I said, doable, but buying new (with a warranty and LBS support) is the better/ safer option.
 

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I think it should be noted that after I posted, you edited your previous post deleting the recommendation for buying online (Bikes Direct).

That aside, my point re: 'better' components was that the OP should take the steps necessary to get a good fit, because a cheaper alternative that doesn't allow for those safeguards (buying online/ winging it on CL/ buying used) may get him better components, that (overall) won't serve him well if the bike doesn't fit. And a poor fit does hinder performance.

Your scenario above for buying used sounds good "on paper" and can be done, but isn't without pitfalls. Done correctly, a buyer either needs to bring along someone knowledgeable in bike mechanics/ fit or ask the seller to bring the LBS for both assessments. Since they're new to the sport, most don't know anyone possessing that knowledge, so that leaves the latter as an option. As I said, doable, but buying new (with a warranty and LBS support) is the better/ safer option.
Hey there PJ!

I actually hesitated to delete the bikesdirect recommendation, because some newbies have been quite satisfied with online purchases from BD. However, I do recognize the fact that the probability of any online bicycle purchase dissatisfaction, escalates exponentially as the cyclist's bicycle experience decreases. I therefore, opted to delete the BD recommendation. The deletion was actually irrelated to your post.

Of course buying used is not generally anyone's first option. However, for those of us who are on a tight budget, buying used can be a virtual windfall, and so can a scrupulous purchase online from BD, Nashbar, or Performance. However, there does exist that overwhelming probability of making a mistake when purchasing online. You also forfeit the opportunity to test ride your bicycle when buying online. However, everybody takes that chance anyway, newbie and crit racer, alike.

Plenty of people have friends and/or relatives who are quite knowledgeable about bikes, eventhough, they themselves are not. If by chance the OP is in that category, then he might seize the moment of opportunity by taking advantage of that most fortunate relationship. OTOH, if he does not have that good fortune of proper personal bicycle guidance, then buying used would not be the most prudent option for the OP, because it would involve too much risk.

Therefore, having an "expert" assistant should be considered mandatory, if the OP should consider buying used. The "expert" can then advise concerning both the overall condition of the bicycle, its frame size, and whether it will fit the OP. The "expert" assistant makes acquiring a really decent used bike, more of a reality, and not just some verbal mumbo jumble that looks good "on paper", but can't be made a reality.

Sure, when you have the bucks, buying from a reputable bike shop is the ideal situation. You'll not only form a real relationship with the LBS, but you'll also be able to expect future mechanical support from folks who are familiar with the detailed intricacies of your specific bicycle. You'll also have a conduit between yourself and the manufacturer, should any warranty issue arise. Additionally, you can be assured that you're getting a bicycle that fits, and where at the very least, minimal standards of material quality have been maintained and upheld. That means, that eventhough your components may be of a lower caliber than those found on expensive road bikes, they're at least better than what you'll generally find on any Xmart bikes.

Nobody doubts that the best newbie purchase, would be at his local bicycle shop.

You're a good guy, PJ! :thumbsup:

Have A Nice Day! :)
 

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Hi,

I recently purchased a Sportif 1.3 - my first real road bike - and can offer my impressions so far. Because of weather I haven't had it out on the road as much as I would like but I find it handles predictably and is quite comfortable even on my poor local roads. I thought it was an excellent value at the price I paid and don't feel that I could have done much better on my budget.

I believe that moving from the 1.7 to the 1.5 includes a carbon fork in addition to the drivetrain upgrades which may be worth it if you intend to race.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have decided against the Fuji bike. I have also been able to increase my overall budget to $800 MAX!
I went to the local Specialized dealer, I asked a few questions. I told the salesman that I couldn't spend more than $800 out the door. He shows me a leftover Roubiax for $3100..... LMAO. "No dude, I don't want to live on it! $800 OTD!"
He finally showed me a 2013 Allez Compact for $740+ tax.
He had me straddle the crossbar and said "1.5 inches between you and the bar, that bike fits you nicely"
That was essentially it for fitment.

Needless to say, I didn't buy the bike from him, but I think the Allez Compact is the bike I like. There are pleanty of other places within 50 miles of me who offer basic fitting for free and can schedule appointments for more in depth fittings.

Are there any others that you would say there are better options for the same money?
 

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I have decided against the Fuji bike. I have also been able to increase my overall budget to $800 MAX!
I went to the local Specialized dealer, I asked a few questions. I told the salesman that I couldn't spend more than $800 out the door. He shows me a leftover Roubiax for $3100..... LMAO. "No dude, I don't want to live on it! $800 OTD!"
He finally showed me a 2013 Allez Compact for $740+ tax.
He had me straddle the crossbar and said "1.5 inches between you and the bar, that bike fits you nicely"
That was essentially it for fitment.

Needless to say, I didn't buy the bike from him, but I think the Allez Compact is the bike I like. There are pleanty of other places within 50 miles of me who offer basic fitting for free and can schedule appointments for more in depth fittings.

Are there any others that you would say there are better options for the same money?
In this price range, I think the Spec Allez is a solid offering, so I wouldn't say there are other, better choices. Assuming your 'fitting' is what that shop offers customers purchasing bikes, I would say there are other, better shops, so if there are other Spec dealers, considering seeking them out.

OTOH, there's nothing wrong with branching out and test riding more bikes. You have a lot of choices, including...
Trek 1.1
Jamis Ventura Comp
Giant Defy 5 (relaxed geo)
C'dale CAAD 8 2300 - lists at $830, but 10% off gets you at your budget.

... and there are others.

Assuming you can find a reputable shop that'll dial in a good fit on the Allez, the one thing I like about it above the others (except the CAAD) is that it's spec'd with a Shimano crankset. A plus, IMO.

The CAAD8 also is equipped with the same, but is priced higher.

EDIT: re: your comment that shops offer free basic fittings, I think that would be IF you purchased a bike from them, but you can check on that. Also, it's better to purchase a bike from a shop you're confident in, because buying from one (and possibly being sized incorrectly) and going to another for the fitting is going to pose a problem for most any fitter. Gotta get sizing right to get a good fit.
 

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In this price range, I think the Spec Allez is a solid offering, so I wouldn't say there are other, better choices. Assuming your 'fitting' is what that shop offers customers purchasing bikes, I would say there are other, better shops, so if there are other Spec dealers, considering seeking them out.

OTOH, there's nothing wrong with branching out and test riding more bikes. You have a lot of choices, including...
Trek 1.1
Jamis Ventura Comp
Giant Defy 5 (relaxed geo)
C'dale CAAD 8 2300 - lists at $830, but 10% off gets you at your budget.

... and there are others.

Assuming you can find a reputable shop that'll dial in a good fit on the Allez, the one thing I like about it above the others (except the CAAD) is that it's spec'd with a Shimano crankset. A plus, IMO.

The CAAD8 also is equipped with the same, but is priced higher.

EDIT: re: your comment that shops offer free basic fittings, I think that would be IF you purchased a bike from them, but you can check on that. Also, it's better to purchase a bike from a shop you're confident in, because buying from one (and possibly being sized incorrectly) and going to another for the fitting is going to pose a problem for most any fitter. Gotta get sizing right to get a good fit.
+1

There's also the KHS Flite 223, the Schwinn Fastback 3, and the Jamis Coda Sport that are also well within your 'new' budget.
 
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