Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

ravinr2008
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Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

Postby ravinr2008 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:25 pm

Hi All,

I've had a bit of a rough run with my Trek Emonda SL6 being stolen when my property was broken in to last month. The fact that riding season is here adds insult to injury. Anywho, I don't want this to be an excuse to not ride and I am really hoping to buy another bike without breaking the bank. I'm looking at spending around $2000 give or take 10%.

The aim is to buy a great frame that will last me years and I hope to upgrade the parts as and when I can afford it. I'm looking for a endurance bike geometry to help with comfort on long rides to build back my stamina. However, it should also be light and reactive on climbs. Carbon is preferred unless there is an alloy frame that is out of the world.

From my research I have narrowed my likes down to the 2017 Merida Sculpture 2017, 2017 Specialised Allez DSW SL Sprint Expert/Roubaix SL4 or 2017 Bianchi Intredpida. I have shortlisted these bikes based on geometry, engineering, practicality and of course looks. Whilst the Bianchi is the most expensive bike it is breathtaking but I haven't been able to find many reviews for the bike (frame specially). A step up in Specialised's range to the Roubaix Elite (with the new FutureShock suspension system) or the Tarmac (SL4 or Sport).

http://www.merida.com.au/en_au/bikes/ro ... -7231.html
https://www.bianchi.com/au/bikes/bikes_ ... ter=289138
https://www.bikesociety.com.au/product/ ... ubaix-sl4/
https://www.bikesociety.com.au/product/ ... aix-elite/
https://www.bikesociety.com.au/product/ ... sl4-sport/
https://www.bikesociety.com.au/product/ ... mac-sport/

Would love to hear what you think. Feel free to recommend other bikes in a similar price range that you may recommend.

Thanks.

Ravin

Quency
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Re: Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

Postby Quency » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:08 am

I have a carbon scultura. a model year or two older than what you are looking at but no significant changes in that time. I've had no complaints. about 20k km on it now and it has been treated to epic rides in the alps, racing with the local club and everything in between.
I've found it to be a very capable bike. would recommend.
unfortunately i've not ridden the other alternatives so can't help with a comparison

jaythefordman
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Re: Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

Postby jaythefordman » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:27 pm

I have a 2017 Merida Scultura 5000 Disc, and love it! Great ride! Very capable, Gets up and boogies when I need it to, and is pretty comfy too.

FWIW Ive ridden the specialised options you mention in comparison, and for me I find them lacking, in both ride and value. But that's just me

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Re: Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:57 pm

We have a Bianchi Intenso in the house (not mine) with 11sp Ultegra, carbon, Fulcrums. The only thing I recall were that the Reparto Corse calipers were nothing special, swapped out to Shimano Ultegra with soft pads. Did the BB on it a few days ago, a quality frame, just beautiful. The most recent Merida I worked on was one of the more expensive Hybrids, less than impressed, heavy as hell, unwieldy although granted it was a hybrid. Had Tektro hydraulic discs which were garbage. And the anecdotal evidence re Merida''s less than ideal warranty attitude in the wake of their mass fork recall (crap is the word I'm looking for) would put me off buying a Merida forever. I haven't touched a Specialized since the 1980s so I know nothing about them, sorry, although aren't Specialized owned or part-owned by Merida and source frames from the same factory ? I vaguely recall someone telling me that, don't know if it's still true.
Are there no Giants in the range that would suit ? Found a TCR Advanced 2017 as an example (105)

https://www.bikeexchange.com.au/a/road-bikes/giant/vic/hampton/tcr-advanced-2/102998924
Mmm, SunTour

jaythefordman
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Re: Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

Postby jaythefordman » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:44 pm

10speedsemiracer wrote: And the anecdotal evidence re Merida''s less than ideal warranty attitude in the wake of their mass fork recall (crap is the word I'm looking for) would put me off buying a Merida forever.


I've been caught up in this, however while its been a pain timewise, they have done the right thing in general. Perfect? I dunno, but its not something I would write off a brand over. Plenty of other suppliers with shittier attitudes.

In any case, it shouldn't stop anyone from buying a 2017 bike that's been 'fixed', probably get a real good deal, if not a 2018 model.

10speedsemiracer wrote:I haven't touched a Specialized since the 1980s so I know nothing about them, sorry, although aren't Specialized owned or part-owned by Merida and source frames from the same factory ? I vaguely recall someone telling me that, don't know if it's still true.


While I can't confirm, but I am also of the understanding that the specialised frames are built at same factory as the Meridas. Part of the reason I'm not keen on the premium that comes with Specialized.

ravinr2008
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Re: Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

Postby ravinr2008 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:41 pm

Thanks for sharing your Merida experience @Quency and @jaythefordman.

Although I am leaning toward the Merida, the Roubaix has caught my eye with theFutureShock suspension. I know, it’s contrevertial but it seems to make sense to me. How many tines have we riden over bumpy uneven roads (read: never maintained bike lanes) which have caused shoulder pains and pulls.

I was really hoping to get some Bianchi insight here too. @10speedsemiracer I feel what you say about the components on the Bianchi but the frame is key here. I can upgrade to better parts down the track.

Really torn. Also with the silly season around the corner the lesser I spend the better. I’m doomed!

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Re: Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

Postby Duck! » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:23 am

10speedsemiracer wrote:I haven't touched a Specialized since the 1980s so I know nothing about them, sorry, although aren't Specialized owned or part-owned by Merida and source frames from the same factory ? I vaguely recall someone telling me that, don't know if it's still true.

Yes, a substantial chunk of Specialized is owned by Merida, although the size of that chunk has varied over the years, and most, if not all, of Specialized's stuff is manufactured by Merida. It is worth strongly pointing out that despite the partial ownership and very close manufacturing ties, Merida (in Australia) and Specialized have completely separate distribution channels, and those channels would likely have a different ethos to warranty processes. Do not let the distant, high-level links between the two cloud the closer, more relevant judgements. Neither is perfect, but not for the same reasons.
Are there no Giants in the range that would suit ? Found a TCR Advanced 2017 as an example (105)

https://www.bikeexchange.com.au/a/road-bikes/giant/vic/hampton/tcr-advanced-2/102998924
The OP is after Endurance geometry, which would point to the Defy rather than the TCR.
In any case, it should be pointed out that model years are about six months ahead of calendar years; a great many 2017 model bikes are likely to be getting very low on stock, if not completely sold out. In many cases, the only difference between '17 and '18 models will be the paint, but depending on individual brands' frame production cycles, some may have a new frame to show off. In terms of the running gear you'd expect to find at the $2000 level, nothing has changed between '17 & '18 spec.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:38 am

Are there no Giants in the range that would suit ? Found a TCR Advanced 2017 as an example (105)

https://www.bikeexchange.com.au/a/road-bikes/giant/vic/hampton/tcr-advanced-2/102998924
The OP is after Endurance geometry, which would point to the Defy rather than the TCR.
In any case, it should be pointed out that model years are about six months ahead of calendar years; a great many 2017 model bikes are likely to be getting very low on stock, if not completely sold out. In many cases, the only difference between '17 and '18 models will be the paint, but depending on individual brands' frame production cycles, some may have a new frame to show off. In terms of the running gear you'd expect to find at the $2000 level, nothing has changed between '17 & '18 spec.


Totally concede that a Defy would probably be more relevant, although tripped over the TCR as an example of bang-for-buck.
Mmm, SunTour

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Re: Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

Postby SheikYerbouti » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:43 pm

Consider the Intenso by Bianchi, I believe the Intrepida is a lower end bike, possibly lower grade carbon because I think the geometry is the same so something has to separate them, and I believe comes with lower spec components (tiagra).

This could suit.... with 105: https://www.bikeexchange.com.au/a/road- ... /102919467

ravinr2008
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Re: Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

Postby ravinr2008 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:51 pm

SheikYerbouti wrote:Consider the Intenso by Bianchi, I believe the Intrepida is a lower end bike, possibly lower grade carbon because I think the geometry is the same so something has to separate them, and I believe comes with lower spec components (tiagra).

This could suit.... with 105: https://www.bikeexchange.com.au/a/road- ... /102919467


Sure will do. What has been your experience with Bianchi?

ravinr2008
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Re: Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

Postby ravinr2008 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:47 pm

10speedsemiracer wrote:
Are there no Giants in the range that would suit ? Found a TCR Advanced 2017 as an example (105)

https://www.bikeexchange.com.au/a/road-bikes/giant/vic/hampton/tcr-advanced-2/102998924
The OP is after Endurance geometry, which would point to the Defy rather than the TCR.
In any case, it should be pointed out that model years are about six months ahead of calendar years; a great many 2017 model bikes are likely to be getting very low on stock, if not completely sold out. In many cases, the only difference between '17 and '18 models will be the paint, but depending on individual brands' frame production cycles, some may have a new frame to show off. In terms of the running gear you'd expect to find at the $2000 level, nothing has changed between '17 & '18 spec.


Totally concede that a Defy would probably be more relevant, although tripped over the TCR as an example of bang-for-buck.



I did consider the Defy over the TCR but seems pretty highly priced for the components - DEFY Advanced 3 with Tiagra (2017) at $2700. I’d rather a Merida Scultura 5000 with Ultegra.

Hmm. More to think about.

jaythefordman
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Re: Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

Postby jaythefordman » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:15 pm

ravinr2008 wrote:I did consider the Defy over the TCR but seems pretty highly priced for the components - DEFY Advanced 3 with Tiagra (2017) at $2700. I’d rather a Merida Scultura 5000 with Ultegra.

Hmm. More to think about.


Yes, the reason I didn't buy a Defy, despite wanting one initially, is that it does come with a relatively high price for the components. Also, on riding one I wasn't really all that impressed with the ride, a bit too flexy. Great if you really need the relaxed geometry etc, but wasn't for me.

Merida is very solid pricing for spec

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Re: Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

Postby SheikYerbouti » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:22 am

ravinr2008 wrote:Sure will do. What has been your experience with Bianchi?


I have two. A Via Nirone 7 alloy 105 with Pro-Lite Braccianos in the C2C relaxed geometry and an Oltre XR1 carbon Ultegra with Campy Zondas in the HoC race geometry. I like them a lot, never had any issues, the Nirone I bought second hand and is 7 years old.

I have set them both up to the same measurements based on my bike fit. I haven't really ridden anything else, and I think that this is something worth noting: the name on the down tube is less important than having the right size bike adjusted to suit your body measurements. But Bianchi is a bit of a more prestigious brand than your Giants or Specialized... but what does that mean to you? Do you base your self-worth on whether the identical car is badged Mazda or Ford?

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Re: Bianchi Intrepida/Specialized Roubaix/Merida Scultura for under $2000. Which one is the best?

Postby ravinr2008 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:17 pm

SheikYerbouti wrote:
ravinr2008 wrote:Sure will do. What has been your experience with Bianchi?


I have two. A Via Nirone 7 alloy 105 with Pro-Lite Braccianos in the C2C relaxed geometry and an Oltre XR1 carbon Ultegra with Campy Zondas in the HoC race geometry. I like them a lot, never had any issues, the Nirone I bought second hand and is 7 years old.

I have set them both up to the same measurements based on my bike fit. I haven't really ridden anything else, and I think that this is something worth noting: the name on the down tube is less important than having the right size bike adjusted to suit your body measurements. But Bianchi is a bit of a more prestigious brand than your Giants or Specialized... but what does that mean to you? Do you base your self-worth on whether the identical car is badged Mazda or Ford?


Cheers. I love the analogy here. You're right, it is more about the perfect fit (literally and figuratively speaking) rather than the brand. Bianchi's always caught my eye for the quality. Well, at least their yearly model upgrades don't involve as little as a paint job.However, I am more inclined this time round to practicality over looks and brand names.

I might have added the Trek Domane to the list here. The engineering in the 2017 frame is very impressive. Price is a worry.

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