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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

After reading a lot of the Beginner's oriented threads, it would seem there are a lot of people on here who know their stuff! I have narrowed my bike search down to 2 models, and need help deciding. I'll spare you the copying and pasting of every minor spec, but here are the main similarities and differences I'm weighing as factors:

Bike #1: 2008 Giant OCR A1

-105 components throughout
-"Alliance" frame w/carbon upper structure (stays, crossbar, etc.)
-Slightly elevated (upright) seating position
-Lifetime frame warranty

Bike #2: 2009 Opus Triton

-105 components throughout, with exception of Ultegra 6600 rear derailleur.
-Full aluminum frame
-Seating position relatively flat, vs. the Giant
-5yr frame warranty

Both bikes are going to cost roughly the same amount. They are carried by two different LBS, both of which I got a good feeling from after asking all sorts of silly newb questions, with the slight edge going to the Opus dealer. Both stressed the importance of proper fit, etc, so I'm confident that won't be an issue. The LBS carrying the Opus offers free lifetime minor tuning, whereas the Giant dealer gives the first two full services free.

Bike usage will be training with some possible group riding and short-range commuting.

Thanks in advance for any guidance you may have to offer!
 

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I think you could flip a coin. The Giant frame may be more comfortable if you're just starting out in the sport, but if the fit is right, either one would be fine. I don't think frame material would be the deciding factor. What about other components that might require upgrading, like the saddle, wheels, and gearing. Do you have a feeling which bike is going to be preferable in these areas?

If they're still equivalent, go with the one that gives you the best emotional response. That will be the one you use most.
 

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I agree, if both are the same fit for you, I like how bertrand put it, "emotional response". As you can see from all of the posts, we love to look at our bikes. Don't down play that part if you are looking at two otherwise equivalent bikes.

I don't think the lifetime minor adjustments really helps much. At first you'll think its great, then most people get comfortable making minor adjustments during their first year. The 2 tune ups are actually nice though. Depending on the shop, time of year, and the amount of work, those can run $40-70 each.

As for the component groups, they are similar, and I don't think the single ultegra rear derailleur should persuade you one way or the other. The wheels are also both so so on those bikes. They'll do, but will need maintenance (not minor adjustments) by your LBS to stay true. I've ridden both wheelsets, and they definitely need to be trued in a few months after breaking them in at least. Then it will depend on how much you ride them and bad the roads are where you commute.

The warranties are both decent from the length of time standpoint. I don't know about execution though, as I've never warrantied a bike. Personally, after 4 years, I've upgraded my bike, heck at this point every year I do. However, I do still have my giant OCR2 as an extra bike, so in the long run, the warranty MAY help.

I think you need to ride these bikes for extended tests. If you are putting in $1000-1300 into a new bike, I suggest you get clip in pedals and shoes now if you don't have them yet. I don't know if either of those bikes include clip in pedals. Bring them in with you, and have the stores install them for a good 10 -15 mile ride. You'll really get a better feel for the type of ride the frames will give YOU.

Any ways, good luck, have fun. Those are some pretty nice and well made bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First of all, thank you to Betrand and sscoterguy for taking the time to give detailed input. Your comments have given me answers to some of my outstanding concerns, and have left me with a couple other questions:

1) Durability of the wheels on both models was raised as a possible concern. As both LBS have expressed willingness to swap parts while the bike is still new, is this something I would be wise to ask about? Given the fact that different shops carry different component brands, recommendations regarding wheel material, spoke count, features, etc. would be most appreciated. Even if I have to pay a bit to upgrade, I would rather spend a little extra now and be as satisfied as possible with the bike.

2) My experience to date with cycling goes about as far as that of the typical kid growing up (riding BMXs and MTBs around the neighbourhood), with no specific cycling training or expertise. To this end, what should a rider at my level expect to gain from a test ride? Will I be able to get a true impression of how the bike will feel once I actually know what I'm doing?

Thanks again for all the help!
 

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A bit more general advice, get the bike which calls out to you to ride it. Both are good starter bikes and since you're coming in with little cycling experience, you won't know what you want until you put some miles on a bike. Durability is not really an issue at a non-racing level, especially for recreational and commuting riding - I've been using the same $40 spare wheels from a lbs for two years now. Get out there and ride, you'll figure out what you need and want over time.
 

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You are asking the right questions about wheels. Don't fall for any low spoke count is better shananigans, especially for a heavier rider. I'm not sure about the exact spoke count for mavic aksiums, but they as well as the mavic open pro/ultegras are known to be very well built and bomb proof. These are very widely known and likely your lbs will carry one or both.

Otherwise, go for high spoke count, 32 is standard I think for stronger wheels and many custom ones. I wouldn't really look for wheels with the SL designation (stands for super light). Look for brass nipples which are stronger. There are many options for custom wheels if your LBS will do it, but mavic open pro rims are probably the most popular because of their tried and true reputation. I don't know much about hubs though.

You bring up a good point with the test ride. However, I came from mountain biking, and took time with extended rides. I got to know the LBS' well, and they let me take an extended ride every friday afternoon for like a month. You don't have to do the same, but at least go on a few rides to see the differences and see if a particular frame IS NOT for you. You'll also figure out a little more each ride about how road bikes handle. Good luck, be patient, but not too patient, spring is upon us.
 

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Get the one that calls to you, but of the two, I like the Giant the best. Giant generally has good warranty support and customer service. You probably would never need the waranty after 5 years, but why not have it just in case?

Todd
 

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giant makes a great bike. and i agree with the previous people's help, take thier advice and keep asking questions but it's once you are out and breaking that bike in that you will fully understand what these components are capable of. nothing on either of those bikes will dissappoint you as your first bike and you'll have a lot more under your belt for the next one come that time.

and trek 1000 is a great beginners bike too if you want another one on the short list. i rode mine around for years and it never showed any signs of wear. 105 all the way. shimano is a geat drive train, you can't go wrong.

good luck and i say giant but either way, post up and let us know what you get and post pics.

josh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
After carefully considering all of the great feedback I have been given, I have made a decision, which is to buy neither of the bikes I was originally considering. As of about an hour ago, I am the proud new owner of a '09 Specialized Allez Sport Compact Double in satin black/blue.

I decided to go the way I did for a few reasons:

1) A trusted co-worker who has invested a small fortune in his MTBs swears by the LBS which carries Specialized.

2) It was recommended that I consider emotional response (ie. did the bike excite me, do I want to look at it, etc.). I felt the graphic scheme on the Giant was absolutely hideous, and I had yet to see the Opus in person.

3) The other two bikes had a lower spoke count, which was noted as not necessarily being a good thing for a heavy-ish rider (I am approx. 190lbs).

Thank you to everyone who contributed. I feel quite confident about my purchase as a result. Now to conquer my fear of riding in traffic... after I master the clip-in/clip-out process. :)
 
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