Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

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Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby dajackal » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:45 am

Hi All,

I'm looking to upgrade my comfort hybrid (giant cypress) into either a flat bar road bike or drop bar road bike. It will be used for commuting and weekend fitness/leisure rides.

I'm currently tossing up between these two bikes:
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-au/bik ... 048/57445/
http://www.reidcycles.com.au/bicycles/r ... -bike.html

Would a drop bar road bike be appropriate for commuting? I'm worried that:
- The tyres will be too thin to ride on footpaths/grass (avoiding pedestrians) for the sections of road too busy for me to keep up with traffic
- I will lose balance or damage my bike if I go over potholes or branches
- Too difficult to maneuver at low speeds and uncomfortable to scan for traffic.

In terms of road bikes, I like the Reid because it seems like an less aggressive road bike, so perhaps it could be used for commuting.
- Traditional geometry = less aero = more comfortable than a racing bike?
- Eyelets for mounting a rear rack = great for commuting
- Not sure if mudguards can be installed or not

Keen to get your thoughts on what type of bike would be most appropriate for my situation.

Cheers
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by BNA » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:04 pm

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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby Summernight » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:04 pm

Tyre width/tread can be changed, depending on whether the bike has clearance for fatter tyres.

I don't find it difficult at all to manoeuvre my drop bar at low speeds, nor do I find it uncomfortable to scan for traffic. I ride my commute in the hoods the whole way, not the drops (frankly I've never used the drops as I don't feel overly comfortable nor safe in them when riding in traffic). I do rain, hail and shine every work day and I don't think that there would be a significant difference in riding a flat bar to a drop bar (apart from the different riding position and possibly speed).

I think it'll depend on what is most comfortable for you and what will be sturdy enough to weather everyday riding.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby lobstermash » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:47 pm

Drop bars are fine. I've got a Reid Falco and I'm on the drops all the time. It doesn't affect my ability to look around or manoeuvre. The bikepaths on my commute are pretty dodgy, with potholes and tree root mounds etc. The only thing that's ever worried my skinny tyres is the odd bit of glass.

Reid does a lot of bike for the money. Correctly sized and assembled it shazizzles all over the Cross City 3. However if you order online and don't know what size to get, and how to adjust the seat properly for your height, and/or you don't feel confident finishing off the last bit of assembly (I also found that the Alex wheels needed a bit of trueing out of the box with mine), the Giant from a LBS might be a better option.

BTW, have you had a look at singlespeeds as commuters? They're miles cheaper and more versatile than you think...
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby dajackal » Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:25 pm

Sounds like drop bars are the way to go. I'll pay Reid a visit for a test ride / fitting.

Are there any other considerations for buying a commuter road bike?
Are there any other recommended bikes? I had a look on Cell and couldn't find any road bikes with eyelets for mounting a rear rack.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby rangersac » Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:37 pm

I'd check that front fork on the Reid for clearance for mudguards. Also whilst it looks like there are eyelets for a rack on the seat stays there doesn't seem to be any around the dropout area to mount the rack to.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby dajackal » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:56 am

Hi guys, i'm now considering these two bikes and will go in for a test ride this weekend. Just wondering if the brand name justifies the price difference given that the groupsets are the same (Shimano Sora). I'm not sure what else is different.

$492 for Reid Osprey Elite
http://www.reidcycles.com.au/2013-reid- ... dyGWfn7AsI

$800 (assuming 20% off RRP $999) for Giant Defy 3
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-au/bik ... 008/57412/
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby rjk » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:19 am

check the weight of the bike, if all other factors are the same, a lighter bike will always be nicer to ride
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby lobstermash » Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:41 pm

I'm not a 'brand' person. Most alloy bikes come out of the same group of factories, so the brand they print/paint on there is pretty much only as relevant as the service you'll get before, during and after the sale.

In terms of weight, I reckon wheel weight is more important for the 'pleasantness-of-ride' factor (and efficiency) than frame weight.

When you test ride the bikes, find somewhere a little bumpy to see how the forks translate it to your hands... Also, ask if you can try out some better wheels.

Also, you can fit racks for light/medium loads to just about any bike, eyelets or no. If your budgets opening up a little, you could probably stretch to a Falco Sport (Tiagra components, lighter frame) with Mavic wheels and a rack for the $800 you would spend on just the Defy 3...
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby geraldobeavis » Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:06 pm

Test ride both and decide. I know the groupset is the same as a defy for the cheaper Osprey, but the frame is the most important part.

The defy frame is arguably one of the best budget alloy frames. If you are looking at the 2013 model, it is the same frame as a defy 1 frame minus a press fit bottom bracket. 2014 model appears to be lower grade alloy, probably not enough to notice. There are many positive reviews floating around the interweb for the defy.

You should also research and test ride some other brands in addition to these two, figure out which suits you best.


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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby slow fatty » Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:48 pm

dajackal wrote:Hi guys, i'm now considering these two bikes and will go in for a test ride this weekend. Just wondering if the brand name justifies the price difference given that the groupsets are the same (Shimano Sora). I'm not sure what else is different.

$492 for Reid Osprey Elite
http://www.reidcycles.com.au/2013-reid- ... dyGWfn7AsI

$800 (assuming 20% off RRP $999) for Giant Defy 3
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-au/bik ... 008/57412/


On paper the 2 bikes are very similar and it's hard to find $300 in difference other than brand. A test ride may prove otherwise.
I don't think the Giant is overpriced, it's just that Reid does seem to be amazing value. Being a sceptic I wonder where they may save their money e.g. quality control.

Do Reid offer a wheel upgrade on their bikes? This could be money well spent if your budget is up to $800.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby thejester » Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:13 pm

rjk wrote:check the weight of the bike, if all other factors are the same, a lighter bike will always be nicer to ride


Nope. Soooooooo wrong.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby lobstermash » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:13 pm

slow fatty wrote: On paper the 2 bikes are very similar and it's hard to find $300 in difference other than brand. A test ride may prove otherwise.
I don't think the Giant is overpriced, it's just that Reid does seem to be amazing value. Being a sceptic I wonder where they may save their money e.g. quality control.

Do Reid offer a wheel upgrade on their bikes? This could be money well spent if your budget is up to $800.


I've got 2 Reids (Falco and Griffon SS) and my wife's got one (X229). I'm pretty damn impressed (ie why we have 3 of them...).

Reid do a Mavic Aksium upgrade for $200 on their road bikes. They shipped my Mavics separate to the bike, so I have the stock ones (2200 hub, Alex wheel, Kenda tyre) as spares. I wonder if they let you keep them if you buy from the shop...
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby Philipthelam » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:12 pm

dajackal wrote:Hi guys, i'm now considering these two bikes and will go in for a test ride this weekend. Just wondering if the brand name justifies the price difference given that the groupsets are the same (Shimano Sora). I'm not sure what else is different.

$492 for Reid Osprey Elite
http://www.reidcycles.com.au/2013-reid- ... dyGWfn7AsI

$800 (assuming 20% off RRP $999) for Giant Defy 3
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-au/bik ... 008/57412/


The Giant defy 3 is a much much better bike, there are actually quite a few differences between the two bikes. You can tell where Reid have saved some money (but it is not necessarily a bad thing) . Look at the bars on the reid and the giant defy. The giant has nice compact drop bars, which seem the norm these days on bikes with Shimano STI levers. The reid has other bars, it has a bigger drop and longer reach and has a weird shape with the start of the drop almost perpendicular to the ground. You would either have to hold right at the end of the drop bars where you wouldn't be able to reach the levers or you would have to bend your hands uncomfortably in order to put it behind the levers in the drops. The reid also has a triple crankset (which I personally dislike), VP bottom bracket and headset, zoom handlebar and seat post, and tektro brakes.

The biggest difference is the frame. Honestly too many people judge a bike by its groupset. The groupset probably has the least impact on how the bike feels and rides. The bike frame is the most important part of the bike. If you get a chance, compare the two frames, you will notice huge differences in term of tube shape and width etc. and probably how it rides.

If you end up buying the reid I do not recommend you to upgrade to the mavic aksium wheels . If you use the bike for commuting you ought to either use the 32 spoke wheels provided or buy a strong and durable wheel like the pro lite como. If you become more serious or intend on racing the askiums are bottom end and too heavy and by spending a bit more you could get something lighter and nicer.

The giant defy is a better bike and would be my pick but at the end of the day you have to decide whether these differences are really worth the extra $300. It might actually be better to buy the cheaper reid and if you really enjoy riding then buy a better bike in the future.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby dajackal » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:29 pm

Philipthelam wrote:The giant defy is a better bike and would be my pick but at the end of the day you have to decide whether these differences are really worth the extra $300. It might actually be better to buy the cheaper reid and if you really enjoy riding then buy a better bike in the future.


Thanks for the insight and detailed analysis. As a beginner I don't think I'd be able to tell the immediate difference between a $500 bike vs a $800 bike which is why I'm leaning towards an entry level road bike. However, ergonomics and overall quality & design is important to me.

Additionally, I am still a little worried that it wont be comfortable/convenient/practical enough for daily commuting so there's a chance I may only end up riding the new bike on weekends. e.g. I'd rather have a kickstand than shave 500g off my bike since my work doesn't have bike racks. I'd rather have a pannier rack to get the load off my back. etc.

What are your thoughts on the Cell Blade? How does it compare to the Reid Osprey Elite / Giant Defy 3?
http://www.cellbikes.com.au/Cell-2013-B ... gory=12632

Are there any other entry level road bikes I should consider?

Thanks everyone for ur tips and advice!
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby slow fatty » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:20 am

lobstermash wrote:
slow fatty wrote: On paper the 2 bikes are very similar and it's hard to find $300 in difference other than brand. A test ride may prove otherwise.
I don't think the Giant is overpriced, it's just that Reid does seem to be amazing value. Being a sceptic I wonder where they may save their money e.g. quality control.

Do Reid offer a wheel upgrade on their bikes? This could be money well spent if your budget is up to $800.


I've got 2 Reids (Falco and Griffon SS) and my wife's got one (X229). I'm pretty damn impressed (ie why we have 3 of them...).

Reid do a Mavic Aksium upgrade for $200 on their road bikes. They shipped my Mavics separate to the bike, so I have the stock ones (2200 hub, Alex wheel, Kenda tyre) as spares. I wonder if they let you keep them if you buy from the shop...


Wow I'm impressed, I assumed you only got the upgrade wheels, not both.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby lobstermash » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:20 am

Yeah, I was pretty impressed too. However, I had to change the cassette over myself (dead easy with the right tools, but still...).

I use the Falco as my commuter and heartily disagree that the Aksiums are a waste of money.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby lobstermash » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:26 am

Forgot to mention, the Aksium upgrade includes Aksion tyres and Mavic tubes. Thought it was worth adding because you can get just the wheelset for around $200 from a few places
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby comehome » Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:07 pm

hi all, first post here - i seem to be a in similar position to the OP. pretty much looking at the same bikes, cell blade inclusive, for fitness / weekend riding. i'm quite slender as it is (182cm, 62kgs) so for me it's about improving aerobic capacity.

i popped into reid yesterday and to be frank, wasn't overly impressed. i'm obviously a novice so don't really have grounds for this, the whole establishment felt a bit makeshift, bikes included. i say this after visited a couple of LBS at checking out the usual suspects - giant, malvern star, etc. i appreciate these bikes are a good price bracket or two higher, but it seems to be justifiable.

with this in mind, perhaps the cell blade is a good middle-ground between say a reid and a giant? that's a largely educated guess, but pricing works with my theory.

has anyone here experienced the 2013 cell bikes, blade in particular?

not to hijack, but i could hypothetically splurge on a, let's say, malvern star C4/C5 (which would presumably keep me happy for longer), but having never really ridden for fitness before, i'm not sure this would be a wise move.

thoughts appreciated.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby dajackal » Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:44 am

Test rode the Reid Osprey Elite, Cell Blade and Cell Swift. I was most impressed with The Cell Swift and least impressed with the Reid Osprey Elite. Perhaps that explains why each one is incrementally more expensive :P

The brake levers for the Reid was very hard to use from the hoods.
The Swift was a very good fit for me. Maybe because the frame size was a 53 in the swift but 54 in both the blade and osprey elite.

Now I will compare the Cell Swift to a GIant Defy 3 and see what the extra $130 or so gets me.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby dajackal » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:00 am

didn't get a chance to test ride the giant defy 3 so i'm leaning towards the cell bikes.

on reflection it turned out the cell swift seemed to fit me alot better than the blade. i am wondering if 1cm difference in frame size can make that much difference or if the sales guy purposely didn't fit me properly into the blade to try to upsell me. the swift was a 53cm whereas the blade was 54cm.

http://www.cellbikes.com.au/Cell-2013-B ... gory=12632
http://www.cellbikes.com.au/Cell-2013-S ... gory=12632

from what ive read fit is the most important so perhaps i should just pony up the extra $ for the swift over the blade? i couldn't tell much difference in the components other than the saddle being harder on the blade.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby lobstermash » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:23 am

If you've got the right sized frame, the fit onto the hoods or drops can depend on how the store has set it up. You just rotate the bar forward or back.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby dajackal » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:40 am

thanks! maybe i'll want to rotate it upwards a little more as i'll probably be spending most of my time in the hoods (initially)

the sales guy said i could install a shorter handlebar stem(?) (shorter running parallel to the top tube) so i wouldn't have to reach out as far but it would end up being an extra $60 or so.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby lobstermash » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:37 am

??? Shorter stem? I'm no shop assistant, but it sounds like you need a frame with a shorter top tube. You can always move the seat up if the seat tube is a touch on the shorter side.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby Lurkin » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:56 pm

I have a 2013 Falco Elite, with the Mavic Rim Upgrade.

It has been used for ~180k rides and daily commuting.

Definitely sufficient for either.

The after sale service from Reid has been beyond my expectations/ is free for 12 months with the bike.

I also have a 2012 Osprey, which is being set up for touring currently, but has been used for commuting and ~100km rides.

Again, performed perfectly.

I'll note that stems can be obtained cheaply from ebay (as low as ~$10) if you're patient.

I'll also note that the Falco Elite is more comparable to the other bikes (price wise) that you are comparing it to, as opposed to the Osprey Elite, which has an inferior groupset/ shifters etc. to the Elite.
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Re: Beginner Road/Commuter Bike < $600

Postby dajackal » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:48 am

I ended up ordering the Cell Swift and insisted that they take the time to fit me properly when I go in to pick it up.

I am a total noob when it comes to road bikes but I feel that the Cell bikes are a better package overall from the feel of the handlebar grips to the comfort of the saddle. To top it off, the Cell Swift looks awesome :)

Lurkin, do you have any tips on how to make a road bike more practical for commuting? My bike doesn't have mount points for installing a rear rack. Also I was considering getting fatter 28c tyres for comfort and stability.
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