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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy folks,

I'm getting back into riding after quite a few years away (xc raced as a teen but sorta got away from it when I got a car - funny how that happens). Started riding daily 20-40 miles this spring, and can't believe I haven't been riding all this time.

I don't have any inclination to race at this point, though that may change. My general preference is long rides, as fast as possible. Want to crank out a few centuries this summer, and I enjoy a good 40-50 mile ride after work (not a lot for most people around here I'm sure).

Been riding a 10-year-old Trek Fuel with slicks and disc brakes on the road - go ahead and laugh. It's comfy, but of course it's also very heavy and climbs like a pig on a stairstepper. Needless to say, it's time for a real road bike.

My only road bike experience is a Bianchi Trofeo (old) that was too small (I'm 5'10, it was about a 52cm IIRC). It was pretty smooth on the road, but cramped as I'm sure you can imagine. Enjoyed the speed, but riding on the hoods I was still in more of a tuck than I would be in the drops on a bike that fit.

I've got a couple options for getting into a road bike, and it'd be great to have some opinions from some folks with more experience. My budget is around $1k, less is preferred and more isn't necessarily out of the question.

Option 1: '05 Trek Madone 5.2. New SRAM rear wheel, otherwise looks pretty stock. Ultegra 9-speed. Seller wants $890, may be flexible.

Pros: Sorta light, carbon (is the older stuff still going to give a better ride than aluminum?). If the frame works for me, could be a good platform for upgrading as time goes on. Not super spendy (but also not sure if it's worth what the seller is asking?)

Cons: Older. 9-speed. I don't have to have the latest tech to be happy, but it isn't the new cool 10-speed either. Have read that this era Madone is pretty aggressive; this doesn't immediately concern me, I can deal with something that isn't a couch. But if it's not going to be enjoyable to spend 4-5 hours on, I'm not sure it's what I want.

Option 2. 2013 Novara Strada. Virtually new (had a couple rides but nothing spectacular), has nice 10-speed 105 group. Aluminum, obviously. Should run me around $650-$750.

Pros: Basically new, no real concern for wear. Probably a less aggressive riding position than the Madone. Cheap. Modern 105 drivetrain, and 10-speed (does this really matter?).

Cons: Aluminum; unknown if it will be a harsher ride than the older Madone. Probably heavier. No brand-name cachet (don't care personally).

Option 3: 2013 Cannondale CAAD10 105. New, no discounts, guessing around $1500.

Pros: Seems to get amazing reviews. Light (unsure if it's comparable to the '05 Madone), allegedly pretty comfy for aluminum though I'm sure it's not comparable to carbon.

Cons: Roughly double the money of the other options; though, I understand the concept that sometimes it's better to pay for what you want up front rather than get something that's ALMOST what you want and then spend a bunch more money over time because you're not quite satisfied.

If I went with the CAAD10, I'd probably have to part with my Fuel and be mountain bikeless. Haven't done much off-road in years anyway, but I might get back into it? Dunno.

Option 4: Other. ?

All comments, opinions, etc. greatly appreciated.
 

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I love my CAAD, so that would be my first pick for me. It would have better resale value than the Novara. The Trek sounds good too, especially with the Ultegra. Not sure what the felt is equipped with, but if you don't like it you can probably resell for a similar price of what you paid for it. Ride all 4, see what one feels the best. None of them seem like a horrible first road bike.
 

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Last September I was looking for a road bike to add some thing different to Mtn biking. I picked up a 2001 Trek 5200. This bike is is pretty much a Madone 5.2 from a few years earlier. 9 speed Ultegra with with std triple. I was able to get for $500 and it has been a nice bike for me. Lighter than most other $500 bikes and even most $1200 bikes. Good component group and the 9 speed with triple gives me all the gears I need with a 12-25 cassette. My longest ride has been 50 miles with it, but that is mostly because I use this bike mostly for after work spins of up to 90 minutes. On the weekends I ride the mtn bike for long rides. Anyway no comfort issues at 50 miles and 2.5 hours. I will say however any road bike will take a few rides to get dialed in to the body position. I have made a stem change and have been moving my seat forward to get better power position over the pedals. Nothing unusual or wrong just adjusting things as I get more familiar with fit.

I guess my point is a 2005 Madone could be very nice bike and don't scared off by the 9 speed system. When new it was bike that was made to be ridden alot. The only issue is to make sure it is not worn. Mine has been perfect albeit I have no idea of the miles on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies!

I ended up going with the Madone, it was a bit more expensive but it was what I really wanted, and I figured I couldn't go wrong with that frame.

Been on a few shortish rides so far, and I love it. The drop bars are taking some getting used to, but I'm going to give it a couple weeks before I start thinking about stem changes or anything - I want to allow my body to get used to them, and then see if any changes really need to be made.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
35 miles in two hours with some decent climbing last night. This thing is awesome.

Didn't end up changing the drops, other than moving the levers a tad (they were super low). I'm quite comfortable now, just took some getting used to.

Should have done this years ago...road bikes are fun.

Looking forward to a century in the near-ish future.
 
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