CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

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CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby lowros » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:38 am

Hi everyone,

I have been riding a Giant Seek 3 for about a year now and have clocked up around 1200km on it (probably 400km in the past two months alone) and unfortunately have been hit with the upgrade bug...

I am looking for a drop bar road bike and have a budget of no more than $1500, but I would rather stay under $1300. This is before accessories, as I already have a helmet/pump/lock/SPD mountain bike pedals and shoes and clothing.

I have shortlisted a few bikes all around the same price, namely:
Azzurri Forza Elite 2013
Giant Defy 1
Specialized Allez Elite Mid-Compact
Scott Speedster s20
Cell 2013 Team Shimano 105

I live in the southern suburbs of WA and was planning on commuting a few times a week which is a 25km one way journey. As for security, I can park my bike in a secure cage and lock it in there as well to deter theft, so that isn't a concern to me.

I am leaning towards the Azzurri for a few reasons as it does seem the best bang for buck and it is a CF frame, but is this overkill for a commute? I am kind of sick of my flat bar bike and it is getting uncomfortable riding for more than an hour, but is the Azzurri going to be any more comfortable in general? Also, I treat my bikes pretty well, but could anyone foresee any issues in commuting with this bike and the eventual wear on the frame? I would probably commute twice a week, plus around 50-100km on the weekend. With this in mind, would an alloy bike be better?

I guess my mind is already set on the Forza Elite, so I am really looking for any advice on why I should get one of the other bikes over this one! Any help from anyone would be appreciated!
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by BNA » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:01 am

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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby misterhorsey » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:01 am

Many many more experienced and learned riders than me here, but my experience of riding a steel bike exclusively for about 2 years to commute and to go on charity rides, long reccy rides etc, and now upgrading to a alloy bike for fast non commute road rides, is that the steel bike was and still is the perfect commuter. The respective bikes are Surly Cross Check and Cannondale CAAD10.

The Surly is heavier, yes, but only by 2kgs. Not as fast to accelerate, yes. But far more comfortable and predictable ride. Greater durability and ability to mount pannier racks and fenders makes it far more practical. I'm averaging 200km a week at the moment, so a reasonable amount of time in the saddle.

Also, I wouldn't really want to put my precious delicate road bike through all the trials of commuting!

Disclaimer: I have no experience of carbon bikes....yet.

Prob not what you want to hear, but just a thought.
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby CXCommuter » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:57 am

Have you considered a cyclocross bike (I have a Giant TCX1), it is alloy, lightish with full rival groupset for about $1500. With a set of 25mm tyres it is a very capable beast whilst being more laid back, longer and tougher than a regular road bike. In addition I can mix it up on the weekend group rides with no problems. You might find last years model (mine) cheaper if lucky but it does not have rack mounts and brake bosses (good for mudguards) like the 2013 model.
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby lowros » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:13 pm

I'm not so keen on riding off-road anywhere (even through parks) and prefer to stick to the road for distance and endurance riding, so I'm not sure a cyclocross bike would suit me unfortunately :(

I think my Seek 3 would be fine for commuting on but it just feels like a dull ride. I love riding and I take my bike out every weekend but as I get better and the rides get longer I yearn for something a little more fun and comfortable to ride.

Maybe I am trying to kill too many birds with one stone by getting a commuter which is also my weekend bike!
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby AndrewBurns » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:58 pm

Sounds like you should keep the Seek 3 as your commuter and get a pure road bike for weekend rides. If you want to commute on the road bike you'll quickly find that carrying a backpack sucks, you can either try to compromise and get a CX bike with a rack but you already have a commuter bike, or you can leave some clothes at work when you want to commute on the road bike.
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby BrisVegas » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:44 pm

AndrewBurns wrote:Sounds like you should keep the Seek 3 as your commuter and get a pure road bike for weekend rides. If you want to commute on the road bike you'll quickly find that carrying a backpack sucks, you can either try to compromise and get a CX bike with a rack but you already have a commuter bike, or you can leave some clothes at work when you want to commute on the road bike.



^^ this.

I've got one bike for all occasions and i'm over it. It sucks commuting in road shoes and pedals and carrying a backpack on skinny tyres etc etc. I'm in the process of buying a faster and lighter road bike for my group rides and will grab a $200 single speed cromo bike to ride to work. Sounds like you already have a decent commute bike, so go get a shiny new race bike! 8)
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby RRalphy » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:46 pm

I agree with AndrewBurns above. By the sounds of things you are currently afflicted by upgradeitis, in this situation I would probably go for the CF bike and keep your existing bike as the commuter this way in a few months time you wont be back on the forums asking for advice on which CF bike to get because you have decided that the upgradeitis hasnt gone away (this is how it worked for me anyway).

The CF bike would also be fine for commuting, in my opinion, though as others have said you are limited in what you can put on it racks/packs -wise, though I disagree with what some of them have said about commuting with a backpack (I commute with 1 and its not an issue though I only commute 10km each way). In your OP you also expressed concern over durability, the CF bike will be fine with that many kms being put on it, I regularly ride 200-250km a week on my CF bike, 60km of this commuting, and it is handling it fine.
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby jasonc » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:51 pm

I've got a flat bar for commuting and a CF roadie
when commuting on the flat bar I fill my bag as much as possible - multiple days food/clothes
that means on sunny days I can commute backpack-less on the roadie
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby misterhorsey » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:13 pm

BrisVegas wrote:Sounds like you already have a decent commute bike, so go get a shiny new race bike! 8)


+1

I'd suggest going for the dedicated road bike as you'll get much more bang for your buck in terms of overall improvement. However, if money were no object, the cyclocross option is a great way of getting a more rugged bike that gives you a fast roadie like ride, but with commuter practicality.

Here's my surly. Its very fast and fun, but it also has pannier racks and fenders so that you can commute but also enjoy the ride (ie, not have to wear a back pack, not have water splash onto you from below, run fast wheels and skinny tyres). The fenders are a recent addition and are a revelation.

Can't seem to embed the image, so here's a link:
http://flic.kr/p/ebFK22
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby CXCommuter » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:49 pm

lowros wrote:I'm not so keen on riding off-road anywhere (even through parks) and prefer to stick to the road for distance and endurance riding, so I'm not sure a cyclocross bike would suit me unfortunately :(

I think my Seek 3 would be fine for commuting on but it just feels like a dull ride. I love riding and I take my bike out every weekend but as I get better and the rides get longer I yearn for something a little more fun and comfortable to ride.

Maybe I am trying to kill too many birds with one stone by getting a commuter which is also my weekend bike!


Slight misunderstanding- my TCX is not used for any offroad at all- it was purchased as a commuter (soon to be dedicated commuter as I am building up a Jamis Eclipse frame at the moment- Reynolds 853 steel) and has doubled as a weekend group ride bike which it is more than capable of keeping up with the group (and actually is a good climber but not so good as a sprinter). The CX route would be my choice if I was allowed only 1 bike but if 2 bikes are the go get something more dedicated either AL or CF, just what suits you for the weekend riding.
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby Dave R32 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:12 pm

Have a look at the Trek Madone 2.1. They are currently on sale for $1300 with predominately 105 kit.

I saw one in a shop on Monday was very impressed.

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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby AndrewBurns » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:37 pm

Also don't think you can't commute on a road bike if the weather is looking nice and you're feeling it. I regularly commuted 24km each way to and from work on my carbon fibre road bike with deep aero wheels and thin race-only tyres (22mm front 24mm rear) with no problems at all.

I've noticed that over that 24km commute the difference between the pure road bike with aero everything vs the CX commuter bike with loaded panniers was only about 5% in total commute time but of course the road bike was much more fun to ride ignoring the fact that constantly clipping in and out to stop at lights with SPD-SL pedals sucks. On the other hand I'd never take the CX bike on a 90+km fast ride, the few percent difference in efficiency between the two would really add up on the longer weekend rides, especially the ones with fast bunches that push you to the limit.
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby pakula » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:35 pm

I bought a Trek 2.1 in January this year for $999 (2012 model on sale)
I commute 25kms one way 2-3 times a week and it's great. A few hills, and I average 26kph (working up), in the car its 24kph.
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby SmellyTofu » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:45 pm

I experimented with riding to work with a backpack and roadie + SPDSL. It sucked losing the ability to pedal without clipping in on SL's which is vital at intersections vs SPD where you at least can pedal your way out of situations clipped or not and having this heavy monkey backpack on your back just sucks. My commuter is an alloy flatty, RS80 C24's, 23mm GP4000S + tyre liner, rear racks with 2 panniers and a rack bag with tools/spares. In terms of speed, fastest speed on roadie ~1:23, flat bar ~1:30. Not much lost overall but in terms of safety and comfort, flatty all the way. Plus if I do scratch it, it won't hurt too much as it's an old bike anyway.

If however you find a roadie with rack mounts, that would be a good comprimise. Aero position with the utility of the rear rack.
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby Xplora » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:58 pm

OP. Been there. Done that. Do NOT get a road bike for commuting unless you can afford to destroy it. Not even joking. COmmuting is a brutal bastard of a task that will destroy your bike. Spend 1300 on a road bike (Trek 2.1?) and don't take it into the rain. Run your filthy Giant into the ground.

I bought a Trek 2.1 so I could ride through rivers and other BS. My Madone 5.2 isn't treated like a princess but I don't attempt CX with it. If you Must Upgrade, a CX bike is a great idea because commuting requires a much more robust approach to gutters and the road. Racks help. A lot. ;) btw commuting is not that quick, so dont stress much.

Alu vs CF... I would get Alu because it gets destroyed in a much less subtle way and you want to know that your bike is structural or not. A bad knock could ruin your bike... and you might not know. General use is NOT racing, and you are not going to risk your life against semitrailers with a failed frame just because you need to get home. You might take the risk to win a race... but not a commute.
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby m@ » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:12 pm

I don't have any problems commuting on a road bike... aero position would probably help with that gentle sea breeze you get out that way ;)

Personally I'd buy the bike you will enjoy riding the most; I've had a dedicated commuter (hardtail MTB with slicks and rack) and riding to work became a chore; switched back to commuting on the roadie with messenger bag and haven't looked back. I also tried a rack and panniers on the roadie but hated the effect it had on handling.

Either way my advice would probably be the same: $1300 will get you a nice alloy frame with decent components; test ride the candidates and buy the one you like most, keep the Seek for rain days and/or days with a lot of cargo then ride the road bike on weekends and for fair weather commutes.
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby Ken Ho » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:44 pm

Just thought I might add, that pedals are really easy to change. no reason you can't run flats to commute on, and change to clips for the weekend.
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby mick243 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:55 pm

Ken Ho wrote:Just thought I might add, that pedals are really easy to change. no reason you can't run flats to commute on, and change to clips for the weekend.


absolutely.... I have several bikes, but at the moment only have 1 set of decent pedals - they get moved to whatever theyre needed the most on at the time.... (spd one side and flats the other - not the best road pedal, but much better than flats or toe clips.
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby rjk » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:11 am

definitely go the azzuri as your road bike or the new verite which has ultegra componentry. you will love how quick and comfortable they are to ride, once you get used to a road bike that is, also dont skip on getting a bike fit done for your new beast.
http://www.cyclingexpress.com/cycle/ver ... 2013.aspx#

a few of my cycling buds have the azzuri and love it.

Keep the flat bar as the commuter and when you ride it into the ground you can get a CX bike as your commuter.

I have 2 sets of wheels i have for my disc equipped cx bike, it is so quick and easy to swap them over depending on what type of riding i plan on doing, from hard pack rail trails to quick road rides, the boardman cx pro from wiggle is a dream to ride
Boardman CX pro now the commuter, Salsa Casseroll, Trek Domane
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Re: CF or Alloy - $1300 part time commuter

Postby AndrewBurns » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:55 pm

rjk wrote:definitely go the azzuri as your road bike or the new verite which has ultegra componentry. you will love how quick and comfortable they are to ride, once you get used to a road bike that is, also dont skip on getting a bike fit done for your new beast.
http://www.cyclingexpress.com/cycle/ver ... 2013.aspx#

a few of my cycling buds have the azzuri and love it.

Keep the flat bar as the commuter and when you ride it into the ground you can get a CX bike as your commuter.

I have 2 sets of wheels i have for my disc equipped cx bike, it is so quick and easy to swap them over depending on what type of riding i plan on doing, from hard pack rail trails to quick road rides, the boardman cx pro from wiggle is a dream to ride


Boardman CX (pro or otherwise) definitely for the win. Rode home with two loaded panniers today, it can carry enough clothes for a few days travel, I can ride over dirt/gravel/grass etc or I can take all that off and ride nearly as fast as my dedicated road bike. I did take the time to fit a larger cassette and change the big chainring to a 46 instead of the 50 because I live in a very hilly area and I wasn't ever going to spin out a 50/11 when commuting.
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