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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I posted on another site about this, but it seems that particular place gets little traffic and has even less interest in helping out newer cyclists, so I found this forum, and it seems much more responsive to us new folks! :)

I'm looking at bikes, about to "pull the trigger" so to speak, and I am a little uncertain which way I want to go. I've been to my local bike shop, two shops, actually, and talked with them both. I prefer the one closer to my home, and not just for convenience, the owner seems more "in tune" with what I want to accomplish.

I had them do some work on my mountain bike, and they did a great job, at the price they quoted, in the time they said it would take, so that also boosted my impressions.

Anyway, here's where I find myself:

I rode three bikes last night, all Specialized models...

-Secteur Sport
-Allez Sport
-Roubaix Apex

My impressions were that the Secteur was a bit speedier than I expected (remember, I'm new to this!), the Allez's handling was superb to my tastes, but felt like I'd be sore after being on it an hour or more, and the Roubaix was the perfect blend of the two.

I was NOT going to ride the Roubaix, as I know that the carbon frame ups the price point, and it does. The shop has the Secteur for just under $1k, and the Roubaix Apex is $2300. He did tell me he could get me a Roubaix Compact at $1750, which would be the same frame as the Apex, but with Shimano Sora gear instead of SRAM. I have to admit, did take well to the SRAM shifters.

I'm just really balking at the prices on the Roubaix models. Some research (and the shop owner also said the same thing) that the Roubaix and Secteur are same geometry, but different frame materials. With Sora gear on both, shifting should be pretty similar.

What I noticed with the Secteur is that it is super comfy, but feels...I don't know...sluggish?.... compared to the Roubaix and the Allez. I could enjoy loafing along on the Secteur, where the zippy feeling of the Allez and Roubaix bikes would keep me pushing more, I think?

I don't know...this post is already too long, but any feedback/thoughts would be appreciated. If desired, I can give more background on me and my cycling goals/interests, but I figured this post is already long enough, lol, so I'd put that out there separately if it was of interest.

Thanks in advance!

:)
 

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First, welcome to the forum.

Second, you didn't say how big an issue price really is for you. But if you are set on selecting between these particular bikes, I would go with the Roubaix. I ride both carbon and aluminum bikes, and IMHO carbon is a big step up from aluminum. It is lighter, and it is going to be more comfortable over the long term. You were clearly able to tell the difference as well, because you said the Roubaix seemed "zippy" compared to the Secteur. Moreover, if it were me, if I bought the Secteur I would always be wondering what I was missing by not having gone with the higher end bike.
Having said all that, it is great that you found a good LBS, and that is a good reason for going with a brand they sell, but have you looked at other brands? There are a lot of choices in your price range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you!

Was trying to keep the post from getting to long, but I guess I should flesh in more of the specifics.

Back in late February, I got an iPhone 5. Big deal, lots of people did....except that for me, I decided that the new phone was the right time to finally look for a "food journal" app that I'd been meaning to look for over a period of time, and never "got around to it."

So, I did. And I started using it. At the time, I did not have a scale, but had weighed myself a couple months before and was 275lbs right after dinner and in my jeans/sneakers, etc. That was a "holy BLEEP!" moment for me! I'm 6'1" and 37 yrs old. Always have been bigger, but that was unbelievable.

So....besides journaling my food and cleaning up my eating habits somewhat, I decided I needed some exercise...badly.

I used to run off and on, so back to running I went. Had some aches and pains, but got through the "Couch Potato to 5K" program more or less unscathed, and LOVED IT. I progressed into a "5k-to-10k" program, and started hitting issues. My running shoes were shoes I'd bought before doing any of this, and were not appropriate for me at all. I wound up spraining my right ankle, not from a single event, just from overuse in wrong shoes.

Let that heal, did an easy run, no pain, did an interval training run of about 3 miles, and my Achilles on my right side got tight. Stretching helped, so I didn't think much of it. Then did a 4.5 mile run, and that did it. The run went fine, cooling down, it tightened up like crazy. I stretched, but it didn't help. This was on 6/19. Went to the doctor on 6/22, and was diagnosed with Achilles Tendinopathy, told to lay off the running till pain free COMPLETELY (at least a couple of weeks, probably more), and when pain free, I could SLOWLY ease back into running.

So....I've been going completely nuts not being able to workout out in the sunshine and fresh air. I do kettlebell workouts that I can modify a little so I don't stress that sore Achilles (which is healing, but slowly), and I do a bodyweight exercise cardio routine that takes about 30-35 minutes and can be made to not stress the injury as well, but it's just not the same.

I had been doing some research into cross-training in cycling before this even happened, but now it just kicked my interest in cycling into the fast lane, because now I can't even run, but the doctor was very much a fan of the idea of me cycling while recuperating, and also on an ongoing basis.

I have done some cycling before, when I was much younger. My older brother used to work in a shop and did some racing....I am not sure how far he progressed. I think he rode for the shop's sponsored team? I don't know. But he would toss me some of his "hand-me-down" gear and tips on riding, but this was over 20 years ago. I called and talked to him, and he was quite honest saying that he's been out of really paying attention to bikes on the market for quite some time.

So....I went to the two shops that are a reasonable distance from my home. Shop #1 is about 2 miles away, Shop #2 is about 15-20 miles away, and nasty congestion/traffic to get through to get there.

Shop #1 has talked about all the above with me, much of which they asked about and dug into as we talked. Shop #2 asked a bit, but then basically said "you tell us a price, we'll get the model that meets that price, and then fit it to you." Shop #1 handles Trek, Fuji, Specialized, and some others that escape me now. Shop #2 pretty much ONLY handles Trek. Shop #1 is very much a Specialized proponent.

Shop #1 seems to really have taken the time to talk to me about what I want to do, what my interests are, and so forth. I am not interested in racing, I want to get outside and challenge myself and work out, to the level I'm capable, and to improve as I can.

That may change over time, but for now, I want to challenge myself, and work hard. I miss a good sweat in the outside air....BADLY.

And, as of this morning, I weighed 220lbs, so I want to continue my change to an active lifestyle and healthier state of being. My prior resting heart rate was in the low 80's. Now it's in the low to upper 50's. My blood pressure was never terrible, usually 110-120/80-85. Not great, but not terrible. Last time it was taken was 110/64.

I'm really happy with the "new me," proud of what I've done, and want to get myself solidly under 200lbs and then leverage that new fitness to just keep getting better! :)

My worry, then, is that the Secteur, while pretty good right now, will be a bike I could outgrow relatively quickly as my legs get under me and I want to go faster/farther/steeper over time. I feel like the Roubaix would not hinder me, based on feeling how lively and responsive it was under me riding it last night.

I really, REALLY wanted to stay under $1k on the bike, however.

If I had $2300 in cash, I would have ordered the Apex last night when I rode it. It just felt P-E-R-F-E-C-T.

So.....I am REALLY sorry for the lengthy post, but that's more of my story, to help flesh it out some. The shop has a Trek card offer for 12 months no-interest financing. I had hoped to either avoid that, or use it for just a few months and be done. Were I to go with a Roubaix, I'd need the full year to pay it off, most likely, since I'll also be wanting to get pedals, shoes, shorts, and a computer for the bike. I could swing it, but I kinda didn't want to have a payment commitment like that.

On the other hand, I don't want to spend $1k on a bike that I feel like I'd want to trade in next season, either.

So there's my quandary.... lol.
 

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Well, no one could accuse you of brevity :)

First of all, congratulations on making the decision to lose weight and get more active. I am 5'7" and used to weigh 210 pounds. Through a combination of Weight Watchers and cycling I have lost 65 pounds and am now at a much healthier weight. So I know what you are going through.

Sounds like LBS 1 is a keeper. The recommendation of the Roubaix geometry sounds right, based on your age, current physical condition and goals. There may be other options out there but it seems that you trust the LBS. I have always believed that when you buy a bike you are also buying a relationship with the LBS that sells it.

I doubt that you would "outgrow" the Secteur any more than you would outgrow any first bike you buy. Once you get into this hobby you will always want to be upgrading (at least that's how I feel). However, like I said earlier I think you are more likely to enjoy riding the Roubaix more and that could encourage you to ride more.

Another option someone is sure to mention is, now that you know your sizing for the Roubaix, see if you can find one used, e.g. on Craigslist and use the LBS for service (of course you would have to pay for that) and all clothing and accessories.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
LOL, I tried to keep it brief on the first post, but the 2nd one, well.... :blush2:

Anyway, as for the shops, I am pretty well sold on Shop #1. The folks there have been very welcoming and helpful, and really have not pushed one level of bike over another. The owner, when I asked about the Trek 1.2 he had hanging there, seemed really "eh" about them. I was grabbing test rides between cloud bursts of rain, so I didn't get to ride the Trek, but he offered. He said based on what he'd heard from me on the Specialized models that he didn't think I'd like the trek, but said I could try them all again this afternoon (which I plan to do).

I guess the Secteur just felt really......recreational? Not that I have any interest in nor delusions of being a racer, but I guess I just wanted something that handles and accelerates a little more aggressively than the Secteur. I wouldn't be unhappy with it, but my wife, who rolls her eyes at my many expensive pursuits in life, said to me after asking how it went, "I know you, and you are never happy with 'bottom level' anything, so if the cheaper one is at the bottom level, you and I both know you won't be as happy with it as the more expensive one."

(This was after I got the "how much???? For a bleep-bleep-bleep bicycle?" reaction, lol.)
 

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Well, of the 3 bikes you tried, the Allez is actually the one with the "racing" geometry. The Roubaix and the Secteur are "endurance" bikes supposedly designed for longer rides over rougher pavement. Take these categorizations with a grain of salt, though. People race on "endurance" bikes and do century rides on "racing" bikes all the time. At the end of the day the question is which bike fits you (and your needs) the best. Go try them again this afternoon and report back. Try the Trek as well, but you are not going to like the 1.2 more than the Roubaix. Allez and Secteur, maybe, but the Roubaix is in a higher class.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Will do....just headed out of work now, so I plan to get to the shop before our daily afternoon thunderstorms pop up. :)

Like I said, if money was no object, I would have just ordered the Roubaix Apex I rode. Just was "it" when I rode the bike....seemed really agile, quick, enjoyable to ride, didn't feel like it'd beat me up too much....seemed to be the whole package for me. I kinda was digging the SRAM shifting, too. Seems more "race oriented" than what I'd need, and I'm sure I could get comfy with the Sora gear that's on the other bikes I've looked at, and would also be on the Roubaix Compact I would order if I go carbon. But...if I had the money in my pocket, I do know what I'd get. Just not sure I can convince myself $2300 for a bike is a good idea.
 

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+1 on the advice Social Climber has offered. It's completely on point. The only thing I can add is that there are lots of really good options in this price range. The Cannondale Synapse and Felt Z4 & Z5 are other good endurace options. The Z4 and Z5 have the now popular "race inspired endurance geometry" which is a little stiffer, with a little shorter headtube and a better bottom bracket system (the 2014 Synapse goes this way as well, but is pricey). Diamondback Podium 5 is a really good race oriented option around the same price range as is the Felt F5. Trek has some bikes here as well. Focus has the Cayo Evo with shimano 105 starting around there too, Look has the 566, Scott has the Cr1. The key is to get out and test bikes and see what feels best to you, so you are on the right track. Enjoy shopping and riding and post some pics once you make your choice.
 

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First off, kudos to you on your lifestyle changes. Amazing accomplishments!!

In reading through all the posts, my advice is as follows:
Buy from shop #1
Buy the Roubaix Apex
DON'T buy used CF.

My logic, back to front. CF can fail in ways undetectable to the naked eye. Buying used you'll get no warranty, so if you think $2,300 is a big investment, think about the cost of repairing a cracked CF frame.

Re: the Roubaix, your wife knows you far better than we ever will. If she says you won't be happy with anything less, I believe her. :wink5:

Sure, you could test ride a bunch of other bikes, but I don't know how much better you're going to do than buying a bike you love riding from a shop you have confidence in.

If you want to know more, just ask. But please, no more paragraphs!! :eek:

(j/k, and welcome to the forum).
 

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I was recently in a very similar situation. You can view my post here...

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?p=4322348#post4322348

I went with the Roubaix Comp, and there is some info in the thread that touches on why. Basically, I wanted a bike, liked the way it rode, and having Sora to start out with meant that when I felt the need I had something to upgrade! When I finally do, it will be 105.

Kinda scary how similar the situation sounds.... From the weight, to the running, to the running injuries, and the bike. Based off the description of the bike shops, it even sounds like you are in my area and decided on the same shop I did. Throw in the afternoon showers you mentioned and it really has me wondering if you are from the same town! Ha!

BTW.... I am very happy with my bike, and it suits me just fine for the 35-40 milers I do several times a week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
First off, kudos to you on your lifestyle changes. Amazing accomplishments!!

In reading through all the posts, my advice is as follows:
Buy from shop #1
Buy the Roubaix Apex
DON'T buy used CF.

My logic, back to front. CF can fail in ways undetectable to the naked eye. Buying used you'll get no warranty, so if you think $2,300 is a big investment, think about the cost of repairing a cracked CF frame.

Re: the Roubaix, your wife knows you far better than we ever will. If she says you won't be happy with anything less, I believe her. :wink5:

Sure, you could test ride a bunch of other bikes, but I don't know how much better you're going to do than buying a bike you love riding from a shop you have confidence in.

If you want to know more, just ask. But please, no more paragraphs!! :eek:

(j/k, and welcome to the forum).
I know, I know....that's what happens once I get going. I'll do better, I promise. :)

I do like the Apex, although they are unavailable until mid-August at the earliest (according to the shop when they checked).

I do like SRAM a little better than Sora, but I know I can get used to either and upgrade when I wish to (shop owner's suggestion, as well).

I took the bikes a touch further today (maybe 1.25-1.75 miles for each bike), and got a hill in there. Not an Alp, but enough to tell me the Secteur was harder to move uphill.


I was recently in a very similar situation. You can view my post here...

First Bike.... thoughts?

I went with the Roubaix Comp, and there is some info in the thread that touches on why. Basically, I wanted a bike, liked the way it rode, and having Sora to start out with meant that when I felt the need I had something to upgrade! When I finally do, it will be 105.

Kinda scary how similar the situation sounds.... From the weight, to the running, to the running injuries, and the bike. Based off the description of the bike shops, it even sounds like you are in my area and decided on the same shop I did. Throw in the afternoon showers you mentioned and it really has me wondering if you are from the same town! Ha!

BTW.... I am very happy with my bike, and it suits me just fine for the 35-40 milers I do several times a week.

Wow, I read that thread....that is pretty spooky how similar our back-stories are! I'm in southeastern PA.... lol.

So you went with the Roubaix Sport? Sounds like we're doing similar things overall, so that is a huge endorsement to me of the one I'm looking at (the Roubaix Sport).

The Apex, as I said, isn't around till mid-August or later.

I also rode a Trek 1.2 and a Tarmac...not sure WHICH Tarmac, though. The 1.2 was not a contender, to me, and it seemed really "touchy" in it's handling. Tarmac as better, but similar. The Tarmac was FAST, though...wow.

I also noticed really mushy, sluggish braking on the Secteur when I got it moving and then went to do a controlled stop. The Roubaix seemed to really have a better braking capability. I am 99% sure I'll order the Roubaix Sport tomorrow.

Shoes....? Shop owner suggested Specialized shoes that are meant for MTB but can be used for either MTB or road riding. Since I have a Cannondale mountain bike, his suggestion was I get a pair of used pedals that he has (<$30) for my MTB that would be compatible with the pedals I get on the road bike, then I can use the same shoes for both.

What about a computer? Suggestions?
 

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Shoes: lots of people use MTB shoes (including me) because it is easier to walk in them than road shoes. Since you already have an MTB it makes sense to go with one pair of shoes that can be used with both bikes

Computer: there are a lot of good ones out there. Cat eye is a popular brand. My suggestion would be to get one that measures cadence as well as speed and distance. It can help with training
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
OK, so I'm confused...

I looked up Sora shifters, and all I see are thumb levers, which the Secteur Sport I rode does NOT have. Yet, the Secteur Sport lists Sora STI shifters, which is what the Roubaix Compact lists, as well.

The Roubaix Sport Compact, at $2100, lists Shimano 105 shifters. Haven't demo'ed them. How would they compare to whatever I used on the Secteur? The images I can find online that most resemble what I tried are labeled Tiagra, but I don't think that's what is spec'ed for the Secteur Sport???

Thinking of maybe splitting the difference and going to the Sport Compact with 105's....
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
LOL, now I'm chasing my tail.

The brakes on the Sport Compact are Tiagra. On the Apex I rode, they are Axis 2.0, and those are what I liked....very powerful braking. The Sport has Axis 1.0, which I am "assuming" will not be far off the 2.0's?

I would not be pleased if the Tiagra's are not as strong a braking system as the Axis...that's a major plus from the Apex ride today. Might have to pick the tech's brain some more at the shop...
 

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For 2013 Shimano updated Sora to 9 speed and dropped the thumb shifter. It now uses inner and outer levers, like Tiagra and up.

Don't fret too much over brakes. Most dual pivots function similarly and can always be upgraded with Kool Stop Salmon brake pads at minimal expense. Demo bikes aren't always tuned to perfection.

I'll second the suggestion to go with Cateye with a cadence function. The Astrale 8 is wired and sells for around $35 and the Strada Double wireless, around $80.

Two nice things about Specialized shoes (road or MTB) is that they include an insole with a metatarsal button to disperse pressure and wedge to help keep knees aligned. Still fit matters most, so go with shoes that fit best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Maybe a dumb question....

The Sport Compact and Apex Elite have the cables wrapped, where the Compact has cables out in front of the bars. I really prefer the cleaner front of the Sport Compact and Apex. Just aesthetics, or anything functionally better (or worse) at having the cables all able to be wrapped and "managed" on the bar?
 

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Maybe a dumb question....

The Sport Compact and Apex Elite have the cables wrapped, where the Compact has cables out in front of the bars. I really prefer the cleaner front of the Sport Compact and Apex. Just aesthetics, or anything functionally better (or worse) at having the cables all able to be wrapped and "managed" on the bar?
Purely aesthetics, but IMO hidden cables can increase resistance along the cable path, slowing shifts.

If installed correctly, this shouldn't happen, but judging from a number of posts here on RBR, it can (and does) happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Interesting.....


I think the Compact takes it. Will call tomorrow and see if the shop has any reason to give me to get the Sport Comp, but they didn't even bring it up when talking bikes, so I'm guessing not.

The owner's suggestion today was the Comp and run it till I either wear out the Sora gear or decide I'm ready to change it out.

Might not be a bad idea....

I'll post whatever the end result is. Thanks much for all the advice to everyone!
 

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The owner's suggestion today was the Comp and run it till I either wear out the Sora gear or decide I'm ready to change it out.

Might not be a bad idea....

I'll post whatever the end result is. Thanks much for all the advice to everyone!
I agree with the owner. 1) Drivetrains are wearable and 2) Sora and Tiagra will meet most recreational cyclists needs.

I generally recommend that noobs stay at the lower end of their price range, because it's an unknown if they'll stay with the sport. In your case I broke from that, given what your wife offered. I think getting what you want will serve to keep you motivated, so it's an investment.

By all means, keep us posted of your progress.... and good luck!
 
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