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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to road biking, and looking for my first bike. I've been a runner for years, and have decided that I'm just not thrilled with the pain running causes anymore. I have an older Cannondale mountain bike and have loved it, and love the frames (most of them) are still made in the US. I think I'd like to get the R700, but I'm really curious how big a difference it is over the entry level Allez bikes? It looks like a difference of almost twice the price to step up to the R700.

I'll be doing some test rides this week, so what should I look for between the two bikes (Allez and R700)? Are their areas that a beggining rider will notice that the R700 is just better in? I'm also thinking about riding the Lemond steel frame bike at the same price level. How does the R700 compare with that?

I figure that this bike will have to last for years, and if the R700 gives me a bike that I can really grow into long term (where the Allez will limit me), then that's a good answer. I guess I'm trying to justify getting the R700 and want to know how to do it :).

Thanks
 

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Hornblower, I was in your same situation about two years ago. As a runner and mtn biker, I was just starting to get a little too old to get banged up with the wear and tear, so I bought my first road bike in 15 years. I looked at a lot of bikes, but narrowed it down to the R700 and Allez. I eventually went with the 'Dale.

First, it's not really fair to compare the entry level Allez and the R700. The Cannondale would go for about $1300 while the Allez Triple is about $750. The spec on the R700 is mostly 105 with an Ultegra rear derailler and a Truvativ crank/bottom bracket. The Allez Triple is mostly Sora with a Tiagra rear derailler and a Sugino crank. Plus the Allez Triple frame is a pretty dull one. If you're comparing those two, it's no competition. A more fair comparison is a R700 and an Allez Elite. The Allez Elite Double is about $1200 and the Triple is $1300. That'll give you a Columbus aluminum frame with a near-full 105 spec. At that point, it's just a matter of feel...ride them to make your decision. You won't go wrong with either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply.

I know in a lot of cases its not fair to compare the R700 vs the $650 Allez, but I'm just curious what makes a bike better as you step up in components and frames? Is the shifting between components that much different, or the Cannondales frame smoother or faster? I don't know what to look for in a test ride.
 

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My son has an 05 Allez Triple and I have an 04 R500.As mentioned, it's not really fair to compare a Sora equipped bike to one equipped with even Tiagra, let alone 105.

The biggest difference will be in the smoothnees of the shifting between Sora and anything higher.

Also, the stock brakes on lower end C-dales leave something to be desired. Pay careful attention to them when test riding any bike. It's where a lot of corners are cut.

Also, another major difference between Cannondale and current Specialized bikes are the frame design. The Specialized bikes have the rearward sloping top tube design where the Cannondales use a more traditional level top tube design.

My advice, having bikes equipped with Sora, Tiagra and 105 all within my family, is to get at least Tiagra and 105 if possible for biggest bang for the buck. Specialized and Cannondale are both good choices. Ride a few others too if you can. Measure several times, cut once. Bike shopping is fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I road the R700 last night, as well as the Specialized Allez and Roubaix, and Lemond Croix de Fer. In the end, I think I liked the Roubaix a bit more. It was a bit more comfortable in its ride. The R700 was nice though, and I may have to ride it again before buying later in the week.
 

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The Roubaix is a very plush bike and coming from a mountain bike, it probably is the smoothest transition since the positioning is more familiar (more upright). The Cannondale is surprisingly smooth given its short wheelbase and stiff base, but it definitely wouldn't be as comfort-oriented as the Roubaix. The one other bike you might want to test is a Cannondale Synapse Alloy 3. It's an all-aluminum frame using some of the technology employed on the carbon model. Plus it has that more upright geometry and is in the same price range ($1300) as the R700.
 
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