Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

lstehbens
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Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby lstehbens » Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:04 pm

Hi guys,

Tossing up between a couple of bikes for my first road bike - have been riding mountain bikes for a long time but never owned a road bike. I have been browsing these forums and others to get an idea of things.

I am looking at spending up to the $1799 for the Vivace but I was also looking at the Malvern Star A4 as people seem to have a pretty good wrap on it as a good starter bike with decent specs. The Vivace at the moment has this deal where you get knicks, jersey, helmet and clip-in shoes included in the price, which is a bit of an incentive I guess but not a deal breaker. I've never used clip-ins so what are the advantages/disadvantages of them? Also, how much of a step up is the frame and the 105 compenents of the Vivace compared to the Tiagra and frame/wheel etc of the A4? Here are specs of Vivace and A4 to compare. Thanks a lot in advance, just want to know if the $ are worth it for the Vivace compared to bang for buck. It seems even some of the more expensive Avanti's are using this Shimano R500 wheelset, is it any good? Would anyone know the weight of the Vivace? A4 says it is 9.1kg. Would this make much of a difference for me?

Also, for sizing, I am 189cm and 85kg or thereabouts, what sort of sizes should I be looking at? 56, 58? WOuld I be needing to go as big as 60?

Vivace:
2010 Avanti Vivace

* Frame: ADT 7005 UL Ultralite Alloy, Endurance Road Geometry
* Fork: ADT E1 Carbon with Alloy 1-1/8" Steerer
* Front Derailleur: Shimano 105
* Rear Derailleur: Shimano 105
* Brake Levers: Shimano 105
* Shifters: Shimano 105 20-Speed with Shimano Outer Casing
* Crankset: Shimano R600 Compact 50/34T
* Brakes: Shimano Tiagra
* Cassette: Shimano 105 11-25T 10-Speed
* Handlebar: Zero Attack Pro-SP 31.8mm
* Grips: Zero Suede Gel Wrap
* Handlebar Stem: Zero Attack Pro 31.8mm
* Pedals: Alloy Clipless Road
* Rims/Wheel Set: Shimano R-500 Wheelset
* Tyres: Continental Ultra Sport 700 x 23c with Superlite Tubes
* Saddle: Zero Atom
* Seat Post: Zero Attack Carbon 27.2mm
* Bottom Bracket: Shimano Tiagra
* Headset: FSA Semi-integrated Aheadset 1-1/8"
* Chain: Shimano 105

Malvern Star A4:
OPPY A4 (LEGEND)
Overview
Brand: Malvern Star
Available in (Colours) Race Red
Weight 9.1kg (M)
Frame Sizes SML MED LGE XLG
Frame 6061 Triple Butted Alloy Formed Tubing Integrated Ahead
Fork Carbon with Alloy Steerer
Shifters Shimano Tiagra STI 18spd
Rear Derailleur Shimano Tiagra 9spd
Front Brake Shimano Tiagra
Rear Brake Shimano Tiagra
Crank Shimano Tiagra S/M-170mm L/XL-175mm
Rims Mavic Aksium Mavic Rim Tape
Tyres Hutchinson Equinox 700x23mm F/V
Other The Oppy A4 is built for the recreational and first time road rider with lightweight triple butted alloy frame, Shimano Tiagra groupset and Mavic Aksium wheels to give you the same speed, efficiency and design touches as the Oppy carbon series
Full Specifications
Brand Malvern Star
BOB Code MI0108
Weight 9.1kg (M)
FRAME SET
Frame Sizes SML MED LGE XLG
Frame 6061 Triple Butted Alloy Formed Tubing Integrated Ahead
Fork Carbon with Alloy Steerer
COCKPIT
Headset 1 1/8" Integrated Ahead
Stem Forged Alloy OS - S-90mm M/L-100mm XL-110mm
Handlebars Ergonomic Alloy OS S/M-420mm L/XL-440mm
Brake Levers Shimano Tiagra
Front Brake Shimano Tiagra
Rear Brake Shimano Tiagra
Grips Tape
DRIVETRAIN
Shifters Shimano Tiagra STI 18spd
Front Derailleur Shimano Tiagra Down Pull 31.8mm
Freewheel Shimano Cassette HG-50 11-25T 9spd
Crank Shimano Tiagra S/M-170mm L/XL-175mm
Bottom Bracket Shimano Tiagra 2-Piece
Pedals n/a
WHEELS
Front Hub Mavic Aksium
Rear Hub Mavic Aksium
Rims Mavic Aksium Mavic Rim Tape
Tyres Hutchinson Equinox 700x23mm F/V
EXTRAS
Seat Velo Race
Seat Post Carbon 27.2x300mm
Other The Oppy A4 is built for the recreational and first time road rider with lightweight triple butted alloy frame, Shimano Tiagra groupset and Mavic Aksium wheels to give you the same speed, efficiency and design touches as the Oppy carbon series

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BigVin
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby BigVin » Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:17 pm

Dunno if this helps, but my LBS reckons that the A4 is the best selling bike he's had in his store for the past few years.
Avanti are a good brand (my previous bike was one), but I reckon personally to go the MS.
Forza Basso - Vincere per noi!

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matth
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby matth » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:18 pm

Personally if it is down to those 2 bikes I buy the Oppy A4 and your own pedals / shoes / nicks and helmet.... most LBS will give you reasonable discount on the lot as a package so you should get it for less than the Avanti.

If you are keen on a 105 groupset, you can get a nice alloy frame with full 105 groupset (Avanti has Tiagra brakes, BB and non-series R600 crankset) for $1700 RRP (less haggling) with the Argon 18 Plutonium http://www.frfsports.com/Argon18/plutonium.htm

End of the day, I would wither spend $1300 on the Oppy (full Tiagra groupset) or if you can stretch the budget $1700 on the Argon (full 105 groupset) and add your own shoes, pedals etc.

For size, the overall geometry is important not just the seat tube, but as a guide I am 180cm and ride a 55.5cm Giant, but I have longer legs / shorter torso so my inseam is long for my height. Try this link to give you an idea, but make sure you can ride whatever you want to buy to make sure you are happy with it http://www.bikenow.com.au/u-fit/index.htm

Regarding the wheels, the R500 seem to have a mixed rating, but overall lighter riders (85kg or less) seem happy with them as long as not kerb hopping etc.

EricAdams
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby EricAdams » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:31 pm

Avanti got 10 spd while Malvern Star only got 9 spd. However, the 1 extra spd do not really do a lot unless you are doing some hill road racing.

105 are good group set, and the reasonable entry racing group set offered by Shimano, any group set lower than that level is not decided for racing. However, in terms of price or performance, I really doubt the needs of anyone need to go for 105 except you are getting a stock bike that already equiped it. Shimano 9 spd group set is good enough for most of the situations. In case you really want a better group set, SRAM is always there as in my opinion nowadays it do offer better price to performance ratio.

One more reason I do not like the Avanti is the R500 wheel set, even you are only 85kg, I still do not think it will last for a long period of time. I got at least two friends get broken spoke from those R500 within the first 6 months as they also not using normal spokes which you do need to find a dealer that stock them to rebuild the wheel in some case.

I may also recommand Merida HFS 904-com over the Avanti one for you consideration around the same price with better wheels and still 105 group set.
I just built my friends new 904 a month ago, it is a solid build bike around that price range. When I placed the order for my friend, Merida told me that 904 & 905 are their best selling road bikes for 2 years.
A good road bike is like an art work so as a good fountain pen. Gears like the the nib may need replacement over time, however a good frame was made to last ages.

spunkyryan
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby spunkyryan » Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:41 pm

My experience with a 2009 Avanti Vivace has been excellent. For the sort of riding I do (commuting to/from work on road and fun rides on road/shared path) it does the job rather well.

In terms of the components, I haven't had any issues with the combination which, from a quick glance, seem to be almost the same as the 2010. As for the R500 wheels they have been fine for me after some 3200km+ so far. That said, I haven't gone more than a few hundred grams above 69kg (currently 67kg) and that was when I wasn't exercising.

The most important factor is, as many people here on the forum would tell you, is how the bike feels when you take it for a spin. Componentry can mean bugger all if the overall ride doesn't feel right. Take both for test rides and a decent shop should be able to help you find the right frame size (FWIW I'm 187cm and am on a 56cm frame for the Vivace).

Good luck with the decision making process and don't forget to post pics when you make a purchase :D
When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race - H.G. Wells

2009 BMC SLC01 - Super Record, DT Swiss RRC 46 clincher
2009 Avanti Vivace

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notadub
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby notadub » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:48 pm

I just picked up my A4 on Friday and can't keep off it.
I tested quite a few bikes over the last three weeks and without doubt, I felt the most comfortable on the A4. I'm just over 100kgs and have tried a few bikes that came with r500's and they just didn't feel as strong and couldn't imagine using them for my commute
btw It was bit of a struggle finding an XL in Melbourne but eventually found one. If you decide on the Oppy try Malvern Star's facebook page and ask a question in the "oppy good, bad and ugly" discussion and someone will point you in the right direction or it seems even organise for a bike to be delivered to a particular lbs.
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notadub
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby notadub » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:52 pm

spunkyryan wrote:The most important factor is, as many people here on the forum would tell you, is how the bike feels when you take it for a spin. Componentry can mean bugger all if the overall ride doesn't feel right. Take both for test rides and a decent shop should be able to help you find the right frame size (FWIW I'm 187cm and am on a 56cm frame for the Vivace).
D

Couldn't agree more I tested a well spec'd Felt that had been reduced from $2000 to $1400 and was almost seduced by the 105 groupset but I had comments such as this ringing in my ears.... thankfully I walked away from the "fantastic" deal and went for the bike that felt right
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open roader
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby open roader » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:08 pm

+ 1 more for the smile on the dial factor. What ever makes the heart sing loudest. If you can't split them then buy the cheaper bike and buy some really good nicks and your own pedals.

If you are unsure about cleated pedals (I was very suss about cleats returning to riding after a 25 year absence) then may I suggest you buy some mountain bike STP clip pedals for your MTB and some inexpensive MTB STP compatible shoes and try riding with cleats on your MTB to gain confidence. I have both a road bike and an MTB - I use MTB shoes and clips on both bikes - you can actually walk a little distance in MTB shoes - forget about walking anywhere in road shoes.

Cleated shoes/pedals have the advantage of transfering more energy into your pedal stroke and keeping your shoe planted perfectly on the pedal with no slippage from riding over bumps or from agressive pedalling.

Cleats have the disadvantage of needing you to remember to unclip your foot well before you intend to put it to ground and of course the disadvantage of extra cost of pedals and shoes over riding platform pedals in regular sport shoes. I have had one embarrasing (now humerous :P ) "clip stack" early on in my return to cycling and have not looked back since.

Best wishes finding your ideal ride!
3rd class cycling is always better than 1st class walking

lstehbens
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby lstehbens » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:43 pm

Hmm, thanks for the replies. I'm going to check out a bike store tomorrow so long as I don't sleep in too long and can send my mum's birthday present off (obviously a priority over my bike :) )

Should I be looking at any more brands? Like Merida, Giant, Specialised? What bikes do they have around the $1200 - $1700 mark? There's an Avanti store on the way to the store that hopefully has stock of an A4 in my rough size. So I will try to try both and see what else they have at this other bike store. Can anyone recommend good bike stores in Brisbane? I'm going to look at a BikeForce one and the Avanti one is just one of those Avanti Plus ones. I live about 15mins south of Brisbane.

So basically, go for a bike that feels best to me when I ride it. I am still thinking about components and specs though! haha. That sounds so like, Feng Shui ala the old dude in Karate Kid.

Lee

lstehbens
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby lstehbens » Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:58 am

Well, going out to Bikeforce Capalaba in the next few hours to check out an A4 and have a ride. Wish me luck. Might try some other bikes they have too, as they have Scott and Merida too. I do like the looks of the A4 though and it has pretty good specs (this coming from a road bike newb) with all the Tiagra gear. Anyhoo, talk soon and I'll let you know how it goes. To the post office first!

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matth
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby matth » Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:17 pm

lstehbens wrote:Well, going out to Bikeforce Capalaba in the next few hours to check out an A4 and have a ride. Wish me luck. Might try some other bikes they have too, as they have Scott and Merida too. I do like the looks of the A4 though and it has pretty good specs (this coming from a road bike newb) with all the Tiagra gear. Anyhoo, talk soon and I'll let you know how it goes. To the post office first!


Don't keep us in suspense... how did you go :P

FYI, Giant are on sale currently... the new TCR 1 (alloy frame, carbon fork / seatpost, full 105 groupset, Shimano RS-10 wheelset and R540 pedals included) can be had for $1699 without even haggling. I had a look at both the TCR 0 and TCR 1 this afternoon... both very nice looking if you lean to the more modern styling which I do. I would have loved to take the TCR 1 for a test ride as they had one in my size... pity school is back in so funding is low ATM :-(

http://www.bikeexchange.com.au/bikes/show/100116926-giant-giant-tcr-1-new-all-sizes

lstehbens
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby lstehbens » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:36 pm

Well I went out there yesterday and had a ride of a Scott around the same price point and a couple of different sized Malvern Star A4s (L and XL). I ended up getting an XL one as myself and the bike shop guy who was pretty good actually, thought I looked more comfortable on it. The thing is though they only had an A3 frame with all the bits from the A4 on it. But he assured me this frame (blue/black) was the same as the A4. Is this true? I triple checked and all the bits were Tiagra etc, and I think I prefer the blue colour so I went for it. Got it for $1150 which I was happy with and then I bought a floor pump $65 and these clip in shoes from Shimano that have a flat side on one side, so I will get some MTB shoes to go with them a bit down the line.

One bummer is I went for my first ride today, after fitting a cycle computer I got as a present ages ago (6 months ago :P), and the gears weren't right. In the harder gears on the rear cog it did not want to stay in the bottom 2-3, but I called the shop just then and he said bring it in tomorrow and we'll fix it for you, so I was happy with that. I also bought some Bikeforce knix which are pretty comfy I have to say, but were like $110 so they better be. All up pretty happy, got a top speed of 62.5km/h coming down Mt Gravatt lookout :P. IT's a bit wierd riding a bike with totally different hand positions, and then going from like hands on top to hands on the racing bits where the brakes are, especially when you're going fast.

Anyhoo, will post some photos soon. Thanks for your inputs. I'm sure I'll get a whizbang bike in a year or two once I outlive this one and want racier fastier bits.

Lee

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JV911
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby JV911 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:58 pm

spunkyryan wrote:My experience with a 2009 Avanti Vivace has been excellent


+1 so it gets my vote (i had an '06) plus its better spec'd with mostly 105
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matth
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby matth » Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:06 pm

Good to hear you went with the one that felt best for you. The geometry for the A3 and A4 looks the same and I would be surprised if they used different frames... normally just different groupsets / paint / wheels between models.

The issue with the smallest 2-3 gears on the rear cassette sounds like the rear deraileur is slightly out of adjustment so should be a simple adjustment... http://techdocs.shimano.com/media/techdocs/content/cycle/SI/TIAGRA/RD-4500/SI_5VX0A_En_v1_m56577569830607047.pdf

Which pedals did you get ?

lstehbens
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby lstehbens » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:06 pm

Ended up getting Shimano PD-A530 pedals... seem ok. Still, had fun on my first ride so can't complain too much, just would have been nice to not have to drive out a couple of days after buying the bike to get it looked at.

lstehbens
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby lstehbens » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:13 pm

That document from Shimano is confusing, doesn't make it that easy to figure out what you need to do. It's like interpreting a woman. A bit like my manual for the cycle computer actually... diagrams with no words :)

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open roader
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby open roader » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:22 pm

Congrats on your new purchase! Be sure to adjust the tension out of the pedal clips so your shoes unlock really easily to begin with.

Happy Riding!
3rd class cycling is always better than 1st class walking

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matth
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Re: Avanti Vicace v Malvern Star A4

Postby matth » Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:40 am

lstehbens wrote:That document from Shimano is confusing, doesn't make it that easy to figure out what you need to do. It's like interpreting a woman. A bit like my manual for the cycle computer actually... diagrams with no words :)


Try this video... http://bicycletutor.com/adjust-rear-derailleur/ or this article by Sheldon Brown http://www.sheldonbrown.com/derailer-adjustment.html

Sounds like you may need to adjust the cable tension clockwise to loosen the tension, but if you do take note of how many turns you make so you can reset to original position if required. If you are not confident just take it into the LBS and ask the guy to show you how he fixes it.

Get that sorted and enjoy your bike :-)

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