BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

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BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby comehome » Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:06 pm

So, I'm on the lookout for entry-level road bike having never really ridden before. Budget around $500.

For that sort of price I can pretty easily get on a Cell bike (I appreciate you get what you pay for) with a Sora groupset.

I did, however, come across the above BH at my LBS (The Melbourne Bicycle Centre in Prahran) on sale for $699 (supposedly down from $1299). It's a (big) stretch on my budget, but does have the Tiagra groupset and more importantly, the convenience of service at my LBS.

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I understand BH is reasonably new to Australia but I'm struggling to find much feedback on the brand, much less the frame. Anyone with experience with either the bike or The Melbourne Bicycle Centre?

An alternative for me might be the Cell Blade with Sora ($549). If we ignore the groupset difference, are there any notable differences between the two? Wheels / tyres? (I am aware of the Cell Swift with Tiagra - but at $669 I'd opt to buy from my LBS for a fraction more.)

A part of me is saying this'll only be a 12-month-frame so go with the cheaper option. (Not to mention I doubt I'll notice much difference between Sora and Tiagra) Thoughts?



BH Zaphire Shimano Tiagra - $699
Frame: ZAPHIRE Aluminum
Fork: Carbon Fiber Fork
Headset: Tange 1,125"
Front Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra
Rear Derailluer: Shimano Tiagra - New 10 Speed
Levers: Shimano Tiagra - New 10 Speed
Cranks: FSA Omega - Compact 34/50T
Bottom Bracket: FSA External
Stem: BH Alloy
Saddle: BH Saddle
Cassette: 12-30T
Wheels: SHIMANO R500 Front & Rear
Tyres: Michelin Dynamic Sport 700x23C
Seatpost: Alloy Micro Adjust


Cell 2013 Blade Shimano SORA Road Bike - $549
Frame: 6061 DB Tubing with replaceable dropout
Forks: Carbon fork, alloy steerer, forged alloy tips
Handlebars: UNO 6061 Alloy
Stem: UNO 3D
Bartape: Cushion bar type
Headset: Neco Semi-Integrated
Chainset: Shimano Sora FC-3305 Compact 50-34T
Chain: Shimano CN-HG53 9-Speed
Cassette: Shimano Sora 9-Speed 11-25T
Shifters: Shimano ST-3500 9-Speed Double
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Sora RD-3500
Front Derailleur: Shimano Sora FD-3500
Brakes: Shimano Sora BR-3500
Saddle: Velo FLow
Seatpost: Alloy 27.2 x 300mm Micro Adjustable
Wheels: Alexrims DC19Alloy Double Wall - Stainless Steel spokes
Tyres: Kenda Koncept 700 x 23c
Weight : 9.5kg
Come with pedals and toeclips


Cell 2013 Swift Shimano Tiagra Road Bike - $669
Specifications
• Frame: 7005 Triple Butted Alloy Frame with replaceable dropout
• Forks: Carbon fork, alloy steerer, forged alloy tips
• Handlebars: FSA Vero Compact
• Stem: FSA OS190
• Bartape: Cushion bar type
• Headset: FSA Integrated Cartridge Headset
• Chainset: Shimano Tiagra FC-4650 Compact 50-34T
• Chain: KMC X10 10-Speed
• Cassette: Shimano Tiagra CS-4600 10-Speed 11-25T
• Shifters: Shimano Tiagra ST-4600 10-Speed Double
• Rear Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra RD-4601
• Front Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra FD-4600
• Brakes: Shimano Tiagra BR-4600
• Saddle: Cell Velo Race
• Seatpost: Alloy 27.2 x 300mm Micro Adjustable
• Wheels: Shimano WH-R501 24mm Depth
• Tyres: Vittoria Zaffiro 700 x 23c
• Weight : 9.8kg
Last edited by comehome on Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:47 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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by BNA » Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:46 pm

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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby jasonc » Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:46 pm

go the BH for sure.
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby jimconte » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:56 pm

I run the old tiagra 4500 9speed and I have also ridden a bike with old 105 groupset. Both were brilliant and I believe that if your getting the tiagra 4600(2013) it is the same as the old 105. I cant say if the new sora is bad but I doubt it but I can confirm that tiagra is perfect for entry level I love being able to change up gears while on the big chain ring trying to keep momentum up on small rises under massive load but still smooth as change. I could only dream what ultegra and dura-ace feel like.
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby jimconte » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:03 pm

Just looked at the specs for the bt absoulutley perfect bike for a person wanting to start racing or just putting in the serious km,s. You will be able to takle mountains even if your a novice as it has compact chainrings and a 30 tooth large cog. I have 52/39 with the standard 12-25 cassette and sruggle on cat 2,s I would love your set up and I have been cycling my whole life and started for fitness a couple of years ago. Had my license taken for life(love large Japanese motorcycles but got me in lots of trouble as a young man)
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby jimconte » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:04 pm

By the way that BH is an absolute bargin. Jump on it
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby comehome » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:45 pm

Thanks for the advice guys, really appreciate it. If I can find the dollars, I'm now leaning towards the BH. Bit hard trudging through the specification jargon but I am learning - albeit slowly.

To be fair, I've thrown the Cell Swift into the mix - also Tiagra - specs as above. It does seem the Cell bikes have closer to a full Sora or Tiagra groupset, whereas the BH only has the Tiagra derailleurs and levers. Does this matter much? Any notable shortcomings in the Zaphire specs?

Would still love to hear of anyone with Zaphire or even just BH experience. And yes, I'll certainly be test-riding ;)
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby nickobec » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:03 pm

As long as the BH fits you (ie is the right size for you) get it, go to the LBS and test ride it and a sora equipped bike, you will notice the difference between tiagra and sora drivetrain

FSA crankset vs Tiagra crankset, probably not a lot of difference performance wise, but it probably saved BH a few dollars a unit.

it is good value for money check http://bikeexchange.com.au you will not see any other new tiagra equipped bikes at that price in Vic.

BH have been around for a while, 100 years it appears, Spanish, you often see french pro teams riding them, like AG2R in the past, Sojasun now

Will be no different from an alloy entry level Malvern Star/Giant/Specialized/Orbea/etc built in SE Asia to a budget, with a brand label attached

can't spot any obvious flaws, and most entry level gear nowadays is good, reliable and not clunky

it is a little more exotic that a Cell/MS or Giant
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby Duck! » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:20 pm

jimconte wrote:I run the old tiagra 4500 9speed and I have also ridden a bike with old 105 groupset. Both were brilliant and I believe that if your getting the tiagra 4600(2013) it is the same as the old 105. I cant say if the new sora is bad but I doubt it but I can confirm that tiagra is perfect for entry level.

Sorta, but not entirely. However, the 4600 Tiagra shifters are essentially (now two generations old) 7800-series Dura-Ace, and are utterly brilliant.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby ozdavo » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:12 pm

BH will have better resale value when you want to upgrade in 6-24months.


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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby comehome » Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:09 pm

Thanks for the feedback, guys. Didn't get the opportunity to ride the BH over the weekend however I do note for around the same price (a tad more) I can grab a Specialized Allez Sport which has inferior components, but (arguably) a better frame. Another alternative would be a second-hard albeit good condition Giant Defy 1 or 2. I do realise the risks inherent with buying second hand, particularly as a first time buyer, but there are some good deals out there.

Call me shallow but I just really dislike the look of the BH, ha ha. I'm a designer by trade - shoot me.
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby Dimma » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:08 pm

I ride a BH and it's fantastic, the best frame I've ever had.
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby comehome » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:24 pm

^ carbon fire or alloy? seems my LBS can't move them (the alloy ones, at least), even at steeeeep discount. they've plenty of stock. it's only a little bit disconcerting..
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby im_no_pro » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:40 pm

comehome wrote:I understand BH is reasonably new to Australia but I'm struggling to find much feedback on the brand, much less the frame.


Not sure who told you this, I was looking at BH's 4-5 years ago when I bought my first Roadie. John Trevorrow used to sell them prior to shutting his shop up, not sure how widely available they were though. As already pointed out, its a bloody good buy at that price.
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby Dimma » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:34 pm

Mine is carbon, but they're a quality brand.
I'm sure you know this but you need to ride a bike to compare it.
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby thejester » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:45 am

BH - Spanish brand, been making bikes since 1909. First manufacturer to build a sub 1kg carbon frame. Huge in Spain, big in Europe. Pro teams ride them.
Zaphira is heavy frame compared to Giant Defy.
Tiagra is bulletproof, shift quality is similar to 105 but there is a weight penalty. If you are lazy with maintenance Tiagra is perfect for you.
At $550 and 9.5kg the Cell is very good value. This year Sora have done away with the thumb shift. Sell the wheels, buy some braccianos and drop another 500grms to get a sub 9kg bike for under $1k

For $699 I would be very happy with a Zaphira. At normal retail of $1399 I would go for the Giant Defy.
I sell both.
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby comehome » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:53 am

^ Thanks for the reply. Heavy, you say? What are we talking? I presumed most bikes in this category to be in the 9.5kg to 10kg region. It's heavier than that?
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby thejester » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:56 am

and put a carbon seat post on.
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby thejester » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:57 am

cant tell you the exact weight. But when you pick them up the BH definitely is heavier than the Defy.
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby Duck! » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:47 am

thejester wrote:Tiagra is bulletproof, shift quality is similar to 105 but there is a weight penalty.

I'd say the Tiagra shift quality is better than 105. The whole 7900/6700/5700 family of shifters is a backward step from the shift quality of the previous generation. 4600 (i.e current) Tiagra shifters are heavily comprised of 7800 Dura-Ace mechanicals, plus there's the significanly lower friction thanks to the "clothesline" gear cables, so they perform well above their perceived level. The main weight penalty is in the solid crank (105 introduces Hollowtech crank arms) and the all-steel cassette sprockets - no alloy spiders.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby mezla » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:00 pm

My girlfriend just bought one of these at $699 from www.bikes.com.au - FANTASTIC deal IMO.

I happen to have a spare carbon seat post, a spare set of Reynolds Solitudes with nice conti tyres and latex tubes. Should be a nice little upgrade straight off the bat to help get her hooked :D
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Re: BH Zaphire Tiagra - yay or nay?

Postby briztoon » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:28 pm

I know this is an old thread, and my limited input will be too late.

While at the TDF we were looking at all the teams and equipment before the sign on period on one stage. One of the group is an expat Pom LBS owner who has his store in Townsville. He used to race at a fairly high level in UK before moving to Australia. When we came to Sojasun he commented on the BH bike being rubbish and the frame wouldn't last more than a year. I asked him why, and he said something about the frames being the worst on the market (in terms of those at the tour) and having a very poor life span.

His original comment was unsolicited and his opinion. I just found it interesting at the time, as the BH bikes were the only bikes he criticised, and it came with absolutely no prompting at the time.
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