Opinions please.....

Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts

Opinions please.....

Postby Bluerider » Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:10 pm

Hi there all,

Another newbie for the forum and getting into cycling......
Man it's so confusing to make sure your first purchase is close to the mark for the use intended.
First off I intend to just ride local (Gladesville,Sydney) to get the hang of it as I haven't ridden with those funny shoes locked in, man thats going to be an experience.
After some runs to bed myself in I intend to build myself up so to join some friends who vary doing 40k to 80k runs sooner or later.
Rides I intend to do at later dates over to Bondi,Centennial Park,Northern beachs so you get the idea.
My budget to start with is around $2500.00, including pedals and the other items required.
I have learnt this will get me into the low end of a fair performance road bike. Some carbon,105/Ultegra,Mavic wheels etc.....
Giant A1,A2's, Scott S20 to name a couple.
I notice these are the Market leader brands but I have come to really like the look of BMC Streetfire and Argon18 Radon.
Anybody got any feedback on these 2 brands please ?
Riding experience ?
Hard to find anything locally, know they have Factory teams so thats good for bike development.
Sorry for the long post and look forward to your feedback.

Thanks very much in advance.
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by BNA » Wed Jul 18, 2007 1:36 am

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Postby europa » Wed Jul 18, 2007 1:36 am

G'day mate,

welcome to the nut house and seeing I'm the resident heretic, I'm going to give some advice that will send your mates into a tail spin.

You don't need the level of gear you're looking at.

Seriously.

In fact, you are taking a big risk in spending the money you're looking at spending.

However, that's okay. Buying and then replacing is a fine cycling tradition.

You see, you have absolutely no idea how you are going to use your bike. Sure, you have mates who do 'this, that and the other', and you'd like to join them, and you probably will, but you don't really know how your own usage is going to pan out.

Fortunately, this probably isn't going to be much of a problem for you. At that price range, you can afford to buy a very good bike. In that price range, do NOT get hung up about the components and apparent differences in weight or colour or fanny factor or anything else. Seriously. If you shop around and make sure that you are not being ripped off, ANY bike you buy in that price range is going to be a very good bike that will give you a lot of service.

You will come adrift in two areas.

The first is in useage. At the moment, you're thinking of going for weekend rides with your cobbers. However, if you buy a racing bike (which it sounds like you are planning to do) and then decide you want to commute on her as well, you may well find that you don't like wearing a backpack with all the gear you need nor that you like leaving her chained to a fence in a public place for the working day. Mind you, you may need nothing beyond a change of clothes and have the bike parked in the office with you. You may choose not to commute but go touring instead. Your wee daughter might want to go with you and you can't hook a tag-along onto the carbon seat post of your uber-rocket.
So think very carefully about useage and be prepared to get it badly wrong. At worst, you'll buy another bike (that's a problem?
:shock: ), but please consider whether this bike will need panniers as most racers will not easily take them (if at all) and while many happily live with back packs, many don't.

The second mistake is to buy the !!! Spammer !!! on bling factor or to rationalise the decision. Whatever you do, buy the bike you fall in love with. Seriously. If you do not have that emotional connection, you will not keep riding the thing or you will find yourself replacing her.

Look at lots and lots and lots of bikes. This becomes very boring very quickly, and that is good. Keep looking because you'll blast through that boredom and suddenly, you'll realise you are attracted to one particular style of bike and then, one particular bike. THAT is the bike to buy. I don't give a stuff if all your mates ride carbon rocketships, if you find yourself looking at steel touring bikes, buy one of them - you will still be able to go riding with them. I don't care if they all ride Bianchi's and think that Shimano was invented by the devil, if you fall in love with the Trek Madone, that's the bike to buy.

Beware of the mony balony and hype that you will cop from both friends and shop assistants. In your budget, any bike you buy will be mechanically efficient, mechanically sound - a 'damned good bike' in other words. So get the emotional side right. Buy the bike you fall in love with. It doesn't matter if your mates all laugh, that'll just provide extra topics for conversation in the coffee shop because the ONLY thing that matters is the warm feeling you have inside from riding her.

Richard.
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Postby timbo » Wed Jul 18, 2007 3:13 am

Europa has pretty much summed it up. Make sure you test ride as many bikes as possible. Despite all the bikes being your size in theory, in practice one will fit like a glove more so than the rest, and will then prove to be the one most enjoyable to ride. That will be the bike for you. At the time of purchase, a proper bike fitting session to make sure the bike fits you, will be more important than a fancy brand name on the downtube.
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Postby Halfanewb » Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:23 am

Richard is spot on about the emotional connection. At the time i was riding a hybrid and out shopping for a jersey when i turned around and saw her. It was love at first sight :) .

Some mornings i get a bit lazy and don't feel like riding, but as i am having my morning coffee and i feast my eyes on her frame (bike lives in the kitchen) the cycling juices start flowing. If this isn't enough she will pout and silently rebuke me " I thought we were going out :x "
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Postby sogood » Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:29 am

Going back to OP's questions, both BMC and Argon 18 are highly reputable brands and you can't really go wrong with them. BMC may not have the value point of some of the mass production brands, but it is solid.

As for Richard's advice. The hard part is to work out just what you want to do with your cycling. Essentially, it's often unpredictable irrespective how hard you analyse it beforehand. The only sure way is to go out and ride and you'll find out what you like and what you don't. So the alternative solution is to pick up a second hand bike and see how you find it, then flip it and invest in your dream machine when you are sure.
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Postby LuckyPierre » Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:23 am

I'm with sogood on this one - buy a decent secondhand bike, set yourself some goals to establish what your riding habits are going to be, then spalsh out.
If buying a secondhand bike seems too hard, perhaps you're already starting to establish your riding pattern. :wink:
Crikey, who asked this misery guts his opinion? :?
Anyway, like the others have said - ride plenty of bikes, then pick the one that you like the most (bike fit is very important, but it's unlikely that you'll like a bike whose fit isn't a reasonable start point.
There are several 'lesser brands' re-establishing a presence in the market, so check out Apollo/Raceline, Gitane and Nishiki as well as the Scott/Trek/Giant's that are around.
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Postby sogood » Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:37 am

I would just add another point. Bike fit is another one of those things that's hard for a newbie to judge. If comfort is the criteria for test riding the various bikes, then the one that has the highest bar position is most likely to be the one that is most comfortable at that time point. Yet again, once you've got used to the road bike position over time, a different lower position is probably even more comfortable.

So I come back to the suggestion of picking up a cheap secondhand and go out and ride it. Over time and distance, you'll get a good idea of what you really want and a reference point for testing other bikes. Then again, you can go and splurge on a mid-top end bike and trust the bike fitter in the LBS to get it right for you, first go.
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Postby Parrott » Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:12 pm

I have an azzurri primo. Full ultegra, carbon forks, seat stays and colombus zonal tubing for the rest of the frame. This make doesn't have a well known brand name so you don't pay for it. It is light and works for me, racing at club level and training.

The only dodgy part IMHO are the wheels; shimano 550's. May not be an issue to you, I weigh 85kg and think my weight has something to do with the flex they suffer. Got some American Classic cr420 wheels and these are good.

Anyway at $2300 I reckon the azzurri is worth a test ride.
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Postby Halfanewb » Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:38 pm

If you have the courage of your convictions and go out trying new bikes there are a couple of points to keep floating about in the back of your mind.

Sogood's point about the handlebar hight in relation to saddle height is important because-

As a starting rider the more upright you ride the more comfortable the bike will seem.

If you have a set of strong/fit abs/core body muscles sweet, if not....

As you progress in bike fitness you will feel the need to stretch out that back and get a flatter or more aero riding position.

I am sure the salespeople will be happy to adjust the seat height as that is a minor tweak but see if they are willing to to do a quick lateral seat adjustment and get your knee over the spindle and your bum comfy in the seat before you test ride , at least this way the difference you perceive in the ride that bike offers will be based on the bikes geometry and not some random seat position.

Once you have this set up - a quick test - place your elbow against the front of the seat and extend your fingers , look at the distance between the end of your middle finger and the handlebar. If the bar is 1-3cm away then this is the "semi-racer" position if it is 4-6cm away then it is "race" position and most mid range bikes come setup this way.

Your prospective purchase must be able to accommodate both settings with out having to shorten the length of the neck to much - shorter neck = sensitive steering/over steering. Often the bike will have a neck that slopes downward and quick reversal of this can also improve the riders position.

Having said all that , the best you can get at this stage is close , the rest will come once you and the bike have melded over the coming 6 months and minor tweaks of 1cm will be noticeable.

Enjoy the hunt :)
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Postby Bluerider » Wed Jul 18, 2007 4:57 pm

Thanks for the welcome europa ! and to all big thanks for the great advise !!! :D

I have a Giant MTB to thrash around and take little daughter for rides (not a bad punt europa) and her 2 older brothers have their mongoose's etc....
So in saying that a racing bike is for My indulgence and defiantely won't be used as a commuter to work and back unless oil stocks suddenly disappear.
I don't feel comfortable buying second hand on ebay etc unless it's from a shop (for fitment advise) and I will research that as it's good advice.
I will keep hunting armed with your good pointers.

On another note coming from a manufacturer and wholesale background it's interesting the levels of customer service is from store to store !
Dead set some ppl need to take a chill pill, ok I know I'm a newbie and can waste some of their time but they don't understand "I'm the customer" and word of mouth is the cheapest form of advertising for their business.
If any of you Sydney guys/gals can advise a shop with good customer service pm please.
By the way keep the advise coming.
Thanks and regards
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Postby Halfanewb » Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:15 pm

Hmm a few things clicked when you said you were from sydney , Cell bikes have a good rep here on the forums, i get the impression they have good pre and after sales service.

This Bike is a nice looking pony, the blue is nice looking too.
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Postby MountGower » Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:38 pm

I
Last edited by MountGower on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby sogood » Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:22 pm

CF frames explodes on contact with water and with extended sun exposure. That's a documented fact verified on most cycling forums on the net. :wink:

You are warned!
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Postby Bluerider » Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:43 pm

I have visited the store mentioned, yes very affordable to get into the c/f range of bike compared to the name brands.....
I am concerned of frame quality imo and have been advised by ppl I know.
They could be wrong but stack that bike against say the Giant Alliance 2, OK doesn't have Ultegra but 105's can you question the frame ?
They are on special for $1895 with pedals, which would you choose ?
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Postby LuckyPierre » Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:07 pm

My Alchemy is an Australian designed (and built) Columbus Zonal (aluminium) frame with a Columbus carbon fork and an Ultegra groupset. Alchemy also imported frames with the same basic geometry and tubing with 105 groupsets - as did Azzuri and Learsport - all at different prices. It is said that the imported frames for all three brands came out of the same factory as Giants - and given that it was the designer that said it, I suspect that it is true. :wink: If you put them side by side, it is very hard to see any difference - and I've been able to do that at club events.
I think that you should trust yourself a bit - don't give up on the secondhand market - but if you want something quickly, a new bike might be the way to go. You've mentioned the 'indulgence' word, so my / our cautionary advice might be out of place - there's nothing wrong with indulging yourself! I always thought that I would have a DuraAce-equipped, carbon monocoque framed bike by now, but I've got side-tracked by lightweight steel. :? That's probably even more indulgent, truth be told. :oops: And did I mention Campagnolo groupsets?
I haven't seen a Cell bike, but if it came to a choice between a 105-equipped Giant and an Ultegra-equipped Azzuri Primo, I know which one I would have bought before my indulgence really bit. :)
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Postby sogood » Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:10 pm

Bluerider wrote:I have visited the store mentioned, yes very affordable to get into the c/f range of bike compared to the name brands.....
I am concerned of frame quality imo and have been advised by ppl I know.
They could be wrong but stack that bike against say the Giant Alliance 2, OK doesn't have Ultegra but 105's can you question the frame ?
They are on special for $1895 with pedals, which would you choose ?

As has been noted on another cycling forum. That Cell Victor is based on a generic CF frame that has been badged under no less than four brands around the world.
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Postby Bluerider » Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:36 pm

LuckyPierre wrote:My Alchemy is an Australian designed (and built) Columbus Zonal (aluminium) frame with a Columbus carbon fork and an Ultegra groupset. Alchemy also imported frames with the same basic geometry and tubing with 105 groupsets - as did Azzuri and Learsport - all at different prices. It is said that the imported frames for all three brands came out of the same factory as Giants - and given that it was the designer that said it, I suspect that it is true. :wink: If you put them side by side, it is very hard to see any difference - and I've been able to do that at club events.
I think that you should trust yourself a bit - don't give up on the secondhand market - but if you want something quickly, a new bike might be the way to go. You've mentioned the 'indulgence' word, so my / our cautionary advice might be out of place - there's nothing wrong with indulging yourself! I always thought that I would have a DuraAce-equipped, carbon monocoque framed bike by now, but I've got side-tracked by lightweight steel. :? That's probably even more indulgent, truth be told. :oops: And did I mention Campagnolo groupsets?
I haven't seen a Cell bike, but if it came to a choice between a 105-equipped Giant and an Ultegra-equipped Azzuri Primo, I know which one I would have bought before my indulgence really bit. :)


hehe like your post, can I add from my experience in the automotive manufacturing world, many many companys/factories have "their brands" and for volume purpose's agree to make similar product for X number of company's but it cannot be made identicle to their house brand.
That means to the eye it may look spot on but the components cannot be the same so this confirms for me then about the cell frames then.
That's not to say they are no good but I'm sure they wouldn't be identicle to the Giant etcetc....

sogood thanks you double confirmed my thoughts.
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Postby Bluerider » Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:39 pm

So I notice a for and against carbon ?.....
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Postby Mulger bill » Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:52 pm

sogood wrote:CF frames explodes on contact with water and with extended sun exposure. That's a documented fact verified on most cycling forums on the net. :wink:

You are warned!


I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for Moos' reply to this! :lol:

I don't ride carbon, but I think it's a reasonable assumption that if it was garbage, it wouldn't be used. If it's good enough for aviation and formula 1 it should be OK :?

Shaun
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Postby mikesbytes » Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:09 pm

Mulger bill wrote:I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for Moos' reply to this! :lol:


u mean "Carbon Queen Moo" ?
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Postby moosterbounce » Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:20 pm

Oh bugger it...I have to comment on the carbon question!! This should make everyone happy :wink:

I'm the resident carbon junkie and love anything carbon - in fact, these guys even tell me when new carbon components are released :shock:

2 years ago I sat on the couch a lot. Then we bought bathroon scales and I got on. :( The next week I had a flat bar road bike. I rode and rode and got to a "happy" weight. Not ideal, but enough to reward myself with a new bike.

Did all the investigation and was looking at a $2500 Felt carbon/alu. It had a name (more in the US than here) and looked good, and there was a local stockist. Then I walked into another store and fell in love with a Scott CR1. OK, it was almost double the price but I was in love dammit!! :oops:

So, without knowing when or where or how frequently I was going to be riding this thing, whether it would fit me, or if it was the right thing to do, I ordered it. The rest is history and I ride (weather permitting) as much as I can. I find it more comfortable than a Giant OCR, but that is a personal thing.

As for carbon...
    The road vibration is much less than my flat bar. A much nicer ride after 4 hours in the saddle.

    It has a spring to it that I love. Other materials can give this and is related to frame design too, but I loved the feel of my bike.

    It is light. OK, the CR1 was the lightest frame ever built up until the Scott Addict came out so this is no indication of general carbon bike weight (we had an interesting post a few months ago with the make/material of everyone's bikes and the weight - there were a few surprises here).

    It can scratch easily - I have a scratch from a cleat while carrying my shoes, yet there are no marks from stones hitting the tubes :?

    It will be destroyed if you get hit by a car/dog/old lady/dalek - I have Cycle Cover insurance just in case (but we have 6 bikes in our house and replacement value of these was huge so it ws worth it for us). A friend of mine and 2 other riders were wiped out by a car this yeat - some cuts and bruises, but $20,000 bikes destroyed!! :shock:

    The pros ride them...but not for all races. Many still prefer an alu frame for some terrain (I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong here but isn't alu preferred for Paris-Roubaix?)

    Will it explode in the rain after prolonged sun exposure? Who cares!! Mine lives in the house, not in front of the window, and to be honest, if I don't like getting rained on why should Scotty?! :wink:


I must admit, if you are going full carbon, I reckon you need carbon bidons too - cheap plastic doesn't look right (though husband would disagree :roll: ).

Do you need it? Nah... Do I? Nah... But if you like it, and it feels good then do it!! What is life if you can't suck it and see!! Everyone is right - try as many as you can but don't discount any material - they all work.

Loved it when Richard said "It doesn't matter if your mates all laugh, that'll just provide extra topics for conversation in the coffee shop because the ONLY thing that matters is the warm feeling you have inside from riding her." We've been teasing Tuco for buying a PINK bike for ages :D
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Postby heavymetal » Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:30 pm

moosterbounce wrote:It will be destroyed if you get hit by a dalek -


I'd be interested to see how any bike can withstand an impact with one of these :shock:

Kev :D
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Postby europa » Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:35 pm

heavymetal wrote:
moosterbounce wrote:It will be destroyed if you get hit by a dalek -


I'd be interested to see how any bike can withstand an impact with one of these :shock:

Kev :D


My tank'd go straight through one :shock:

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Postby moosterbounce » Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:22 am

:oops: Sorry...my definition of a dalek is one of those motorised wheelchair things - the sort of thing I'm going to have when I get old and grumpy to save my legs for riding!! :D They can get up a real speed!! :shock:
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Postby nimm » Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:22 am

I have the Giant OCR 1.0 (2006) although the OCR 1 (2007) is virtually identical. Looks like they have dropped the specs from 105 to Tiagra on the 2008 model, unfortunately.

Anyway, I wanted to say this bike is fantastic and despite not being full carbon (and perhaps 1-2kg lighter), it's certainly more bike than my body can make use of ATM. When you add the cost of computer, shoes, riding clothes, spare tubes, more tubes, patch kit, tubes, tools, cleaning gear, etc... then spending less (around $1600-1800 in this case) makes sense.


Although I didn't follow the Europa guidelines to buying a bike - I bought it in Australia while I was overseas, had never ridden a road bike, and never even seen it before - I'm definitely in love with it now :)
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