Bike brands - does it really matters?

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Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby andylo » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:27 am

Hi all,

Long story short, I am going to invest on a road bike and a new mountain bike.

Discard the MTB for the mean while, I was going to get myself a KTM Strada 5000 (with all those Ultegra and carbon blings :) ) but unfortunately the particular one I am after has all sold out. Which turns me to an Apollo Ultra 2013 model.

I am starting to think, does the brand really matters? Consider the major drivetrain parts are all Shimano anyway, what difference does the brand really means? I try to look up review/difference (not only) between Apollo and KTM but comes back with very little info on the net.

My buddy Nic (poohbear) strongly suggest me to get a Giant brand bike, again when I look into the Giant Defy Advance, all it really emphasising is just the Shimano components.

I guess my questions are:

1) With same drivetrain, different bikes more or less ride the same?
2) If #1 is yes, should I just look for the best bang for the $$ bike with same drivetrain? Is there any catches?

Thanks in advance :)
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by BNA » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:31 am

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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby il padrone » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:31 am

The brand really matters..... at the cafe table :mrgreen:
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby g-boaf » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:33 am

I'd ride the different brands and find which is better for you.
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby warthog1 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:46 am

Giant have a good reputation for warranty and are apparently the worlds largest frame producer so should be good. Ride a few and see what you like.
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby TMjpn » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:16 am

To answer your questions..

Yes, Drivetrain performance is mostly the same, but the characteristics from each bike frame are not...

The drive can vary with things like compact gears (less teeth) and larger cassettes (more teeth). They can be set up for easy climbing (not as painful on the legs) but not able to go as fast as a full set (53 tooth crankset on 11 cog) in a straight line. This is really the only difference bewteen specs of different brands.

Frames aren't all created equal. Some are made to be racy and get you low over the bars, other are tuned for more upright, relaxed riding which is comfortable over distance. some are super stiff and feel every bump in the road, while others are tuned to flex a bit and soften the ride.

Quality of carbon fibre used in the frame also plays a big hand in prices.

For example, the KTM Strada you have your eye on is a more comfortable, upright bike than the top KTM - the Revelator, which is a race bike through and through. That said though, the Strada is a better choice of steed if your after all round variety and day-to-day use. It'll capably climb hills as good as most bikes as thats down to the engine. The Revelator will probably transfer more of your power into motion via it's sheer stiffness, but we're talking small amounts of gain for us lay-folk.

Again, with Giant: Defy is the all round 'comfort' bike and the TCR is a more race orientated offering. On a weekend social ride you will be hardly out of place on either.

Apollo is a brand that doesn't get much take-up simply due to the brand factor, as it is with Malvern Star, Azzuri, and to an extent, Merida etc.. The bike will still be a capable ride, its just doesn't arouse the same the ooh-ahh factor from other folk as say a Colnago or Cervelo.

To be honest with you I was looking at an Apollo for a 2nd bike, they look kinda neat and tidy, and the paintwork looks nice, similar in look to an EMC2. I don't think they would be a bad investment - a few folk here have Artecs and havent heard them diss them yet.
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby RRalphy » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:00 pm

You will get a range of opinions on this topic, to me the brand of frame doesnt really matter as long as the bike feels good when you ride it and suits your purposes (see above post re aggressive 'race' geometry vs upright 'endurance' geometry).

I personally own a Focus Cayo and a Giant TCR Advanced 0 both of which were relatively cheap compared to say the colnago and pinarello frames with equivalent groupsets (my focus has SRAM force and the Giant Ultegra Di2 and for the same money I would have been looking at Shimano 105 or SRAM rival on the colnagos and pinarellos). Some people might look down on the brands but I dont tend to ride with people like that so hasnt been an issue for me so far.

One thing to note when you are comparing different brands and prices is to be careful to consider all the components, some brands that say "carbon frame with ultegra" dont actually have full ultegra (different brand or lower spec brakes etc) also worth comparing the wheels as these will vary a lot.
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby andylo » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:13 pm

Thanks guys. I am pretty certain I am looking more for the comfort/upright geometry than the racy one. I am too old even to think about to be competitive anyway :)

Couple of terminologies got my attention while I was doing more research. 1) inner cabling and 2) no tube tyres.

Can I assume any sub $2K bikes will features these 2 things?
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby jasonc » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:24 pm

andylo wrote: 1) inner cabling and 2) no tube tyres.

Can I assume any sub $2K bikes will features these 2 things?


definitely not
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby TMjpn » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:47 pm

andylo wrote:Couple of terminologies got my attention while I was doing more research. 1) inner cabling and 2) no tube tyres.

Can I assume any sub $2K bikes will features these 2 things?


Internal cabling is almost standard to alot of new bikes these days.

Tubeless tyres (tubulars) are not for your average punter - more for serious race folk. So you wont get those as jasonc pointed out.

Things to go look for to get maximum value/modern features:

- Internal cabling where possible
- A Full carbon fork (with carbon steerer tube, not alloy) that is tapered (changes diameter from the top bearing to the bottom for strength)

A frame is something you can't easily change, so always hunt out the best frame features over the best parts spec - cos if the bike bug bites and you want to go about upgrading bits, its more worthwhile adding in more performance in bits and pieces and not having to care about frame upgrades (which is the most expensive part!!)
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby andylo » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:52 pm

Thanks :) Very good advises here :)
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby TDC » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:57 pm

The most important aspects are as follows:

1. Sizing and fit
2. Sizing and fit
3. Sizing and fit
4. Sizing and fit
5. Sizing and fit

brand, groupsets etc are down the list.
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby Howzat » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:11 pm

You're right that brands don't matter - unless you're talking about Giant or Merida.

Unlike everyone else selling bikes in your price range, they design and make their own products. They also make many of the other bikes out there under other names. Which means there is nothing technically that any other brand can offer that Giant and Merida can't do as well, or in fact better.
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby andylo » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:34 pm

I am going to buy it from my LBS or sizing and fitting is not a concern.

Having say that the price difference of Apollo Prime (with Ultegra Di2 all around) on ebay vs LBS is quite "concerning" :)
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby DaveOZ » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:45 pm

Strava matters. How you get there does not. :D
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby richbee » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:21 pm

Brand matters in as far as different brands have different geometries, tubing, etc and can vary between incredibly stiff (and theoreticall fast) to compliant and more gentle on your contact points. Each brand also has a variety of frame geometries and tubing throughout their range so buying a Pinarello doesn't mean forking out a months wages for Bradley Wiggins' bike, you can get an FP Uno for a fraction of that which is more comfortable to ride but not as planted as the Dogma. Ditto with Giant, Colnago, Bianchi, Merida, Ridley, Scott, Specialized....
Try different bikes & geometries before you make your choice.

At the Cafe none of that counts, only the name on the frame :twisted:
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby alex » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:41 pm

go and test ride a bunch of bikes, then buy the one that you will ride the most

dont worry about carbon steerer tubes or tapered head tubes
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby jlh » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:45 pm

Brand name probably matters a lot to those who have spent the $$$ on said brands for wow factor. But test ride a number of different frames/bikes and don't be afraid to go with something that hasn't had millions of marketing spent on it.
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby il padrone » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:58 pm

Yes, Giant and Merida make a very large proportion of all the bikes that you are looking at. I reckon that Giant always seem to give great value for money and I believe Merida make most of the carbon frames (?).
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby redcorpsjames » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:32 pm

Merida are sick bikes now. I just got one. awesome new design on the scultura. you can build these bikes to be nice and light. and since they have been on the pro tour their euro coolness has only gone up . . .
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby ironhanglider » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:12 pm

TMjpn wrote:
andylo wrote:Couple of terminologies got my attention while I was doing more research. 1) inner cabling and 2) no tube tyres.

Can I assume any sub $2K bikes will features these 2 things?


Internal cabling is almost standard to alot of new bikes these days.

Tubeless tyres (tubulars) are not for your average punter - more for serious race folk. So you wont get those as jasonc pointed out.

Things to go look for to get maximum value/modern features:

- Internal cabling where possible
- A Full carbon fork (with carbon steerer tube, not alloy) that is tapered (changes diameter from the top bearing to the bottom for strength)

A frame is something you can't easily change, so always hunt out the best frame features over the best parts spec - cos if the bike bug bites and you want to go about upgrading bits, its more worthwhile adding in more performance in bits and pieces and not having to care about frame upgrades (which is the most expensive part!!)


Internal cabling can be done well or badly. It does affect how easy it is to replace cables as and when necessary. If you are using electric gears then as long as the cable gets there it is ok. Internal cable runs for wire cables are neither a positive nor a negative to me.

Tubeless tyres are not tubulars. Tubulars are for people who want them, they confer ride and weight advantages but they are expensive and more difficult to repair. They will not be standard equipment on affordable bikes. (I like tubulars, but recognise that they are not for everyone) Tubular rims will only accept tubular tyres.

Many people choose tubeless tyres because they are not susceptible to pinch-flats and can run at lower pressures. They also work better with sealant gunk than a tube does. However the airtight sidewalls are usually stiffer than regular ones, so there are rolling resistance losses to balance against the benefits of fewer flats. Tubeless compatible rims will usually accept regular clincher tyres so you can alternate between them according to your preference. It is also possible, with special rim tape, to make regular clincher rims work with tubeless tyres.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby Mulger bill » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:36 pm

Ride all your prospects then listen to your bum and heart.
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby andylo » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:24 pm

I am in Brisbane and although nowadays it seems every 2nd corner has a bike shop, I am just very much in doubt they will let me "test ride" their bike. I have a feeling if I have asked they will give me a very funny look like "do you know what you are asking?" :p

By the way the more I look at it the more I have decided to move 1 level up to the Ultegra Di2 drivetrain :)
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby RRalphy » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:36 pm

andylo wrote:I am in Brisbane and although nowadays it seems every 2nd corner has a bike shop, I am just very much in doubt they will let me "test ride" their bike. I have a feeling if I have asked they will give me a very funny look like "do you know what you are asking?" :p

By the way the more I look at it the more I have decided to move 1 level up to the Ultegra Di2 drivetrain :)


most bike stores will have a few demo models for you to test ride (and by test ride I dont mean do a lap of the block, some will loan it to you for the weekend etc so you can put some kms on it) they might not have their entire range but if you ring around all the shops you will probably be able to find a wide variety of bikes to test ride (or just find the particular model you want to take for a spin)

I agree with previous comments re giants, great frames with solid warranty and excellent bang for buck on the components

http://www.bikeexchange.com.au/bicycles ... /102134490
the bike in the above link is great value and has been 'reduced' to $2999 for almost a year (was brought down when the tour was on last year) if you are keen on Di2 I would suggest trying to find one in your size and give it a ride (I have one and love it) - if you are keen on it you can probably bargain them down a bit since it has been on sale for so long and the new models are well and truly out now
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby andylo » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:28 am

Isn't the TCR series are consider more of a "racy" type?
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Re: Bike brands - does it really matters?

Postby TMjpn » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:06 am

ironhanglider wrote:
Tubeless tyres are not tubulars. Tubulars are for people who want them, they confer ride and weight advantages but they are expensive and more difficult to repair. They will not be standard equipment on affordable bikes. (I like tubulars, but recognise that they are not for everyone) Tubular rims will only accept tubular tyres.

Many people choose tubeless tyres because they are not susceptible to pinch-flats and can run at lower pressures. They also work better with sealant gunk than a tube does. However the airtight sidewalls are usually stiffer than regular ones, so there are rolling resistance losses to balance against the benefits of fewer flats. Tubeless compatible rims will usually accept regular clincher tyres so you can alternate between them according to your preference. It is also possible, with special rim tape, to make regular clincher rims work with tubeless tyres.


Oops - thanks for correcting me! Made me realise something new - now I can make sense of shimano's offerings.
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