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Hey guys, I have been on MTBR since '98 but this spring I want to get a road bike as I have come to the conclusion that I am enjoying riding on pavement more and more. I have basically been riding my mtn bike cannondale F700 with slicks on for the past 3 yrs. I do alot of city, trail, and road riding on my mtn bike. I do not have the gearing to keep up with my riding buddies. But I do have fun riding through obsitcles on my city rides such as stairs; but i think I can give that up for a little more efficiency.

Two brands I've been looking at are Cannondale and Trek. Both are available at my LBS which is why I'm looking at them. I have done some searching online and I am interested at the R1000/R5000 and the OCLV and Pilot versions of bikes. I don't know much about how geometery affects a bike but I can feel differences between bikes on rides. Not sure if I really care whether I go with carbon or al. I am actually quite content with my f700's ride; although some say it is really harsh. It some nimble and responsive.

Now to the biggest thing; my budget. I can comfortably spend 3k on a whole setup; but spending closer to 2k would be nice so I can have some extra money for anything I may need to buy this summer once i really get riding.

Again I have never been on a road bike. It is snowing here right now so I don't really want to go out and test ride a road bike only to fall flat on my face. I am doing some research online but would also like your guys input so I am well armed when I do go into the store and will only have to do a couple test rides before I lay down the cash.

Thanks
 

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here comes trouble
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What you get depends on what you're gonna do with it. The more aggressive the geometry, the less comfortable long rides tend to be, but aggressive geometry is more conducive to racing. Carbon absorbs more road vibration than aluminum, but it's not a gigantic difference. Personally, I think dura ace is a little over the top for a first bike. I don't know if made in the USA counts for anything, but pretty much all carbon fiber comes from overseas out of the same handful of factories, whereas your alu frames by Trek or C'dale are generally american.

Go ride the bikes in your price range and you'll be able to tell for yourself. And remember - fit, fit, fit (somebody had to say it).
 

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You might look at something like the Trek 2300 or the CDale equivalent. Good AL frame, nice components and an overall good deal.

What ever you do, take as long a test ride as the LBS will allow. Make sure the bike fits well, and you will be much happier.
 

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As an MTB'er (local club racer) who bought my first decent road bike just last year, I understand your situation. You are doing well to do your homework. Just as in the MTB world, fit is key. Don't let an LBS talk you into a hard core race frame unless that is what you want. I ended getting an '05 Cannondale CAAD5 frame (AL frame w/carbon fork & seatpost) rather than a part-carbon '06. The geometry felt good from the 1st test ride. My 6ft frame felt "at home" on that 58 cm frame. Its relatively long wheelbase (by 2005/6 norms) gave a plenty smooth ride. I much preferred it to some carbon-framed bikes with "compact" geometry. After 1000k, inc some 50+mi rides I like the bike more than when I bought it.

Do some critical test rides. Accelerate. Turn. Brake. Go over the same bumps with different bikes to compare the ride. Test the shifters. See what feels good to YOU, not the salesman. You may find you prefer a stiffer, more responsive frame. For that much $$$ you deserve to be happy.

For $2k you can buy a very nice roadie, though you could spend a few hundred less & still get a great bike. If you can afford it, I would bypass Shimano's 2 lower end components (Sora & Tiagra). IMHO not as smooth or durable as the next lines up. My bike has 105-level components, which is probably the best value for your $$. Very functional and durable. I find 105 gear very good though not quite as polished as Ultegra. Ultegra is a bit nicer (more cosmetically than functionally), more $$, and slightly lighter than 105. Dura Ace is lighter still, a bit smoother, more $$, but perhaps not as durable long-term as Ultegra (e.g. Titanium cogs on the DA cassette wear faster than Ultegra cassette). Personally, I would go with 105 or Ultegra if you are not into racing.

BTW- I would keep the f700. Although I've been fortunate enough to log a few hundred miles on my roadie in the Midwest this winter, I can't wait until the trails dry out to haul out my FS Iron Horse. I'm planning to do a few centuries on the roadie this summer, but I'll be doin' some XC too.

Pedal Time- It's all good!
 
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