Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts
Hi, I'm 52, 176cm, 90kg and recently upgraded my old MTB to a new Specialized Hardrock Pro disc. I love the new bike but I may need to buy a new road bike as I'm about to start a new job 25klm from home (mainly along flat, major roads) and wish to commute by bike. I think the Hardrock would make for a VERY long trip each day.
The LBS suggested a flat bar road bike like a 2007 Spec Sirrus Sport(supposedly more comfortable riding position than a 'true' road bike).
My 2 questions are: 1. For my use, am I better off with the Sirrus, a 'true' road bike (like a Spec Sequoia) or a Tricross bike?
2. Can someone please explain the differences between these three styles of bikes and advantages/disadvantages. Apart from the bars, I can't see much difference and I'm a bit confused. My budget is around $1200, but will spend more if I need to.
A big "Thank you" to anyone who can help.
I definitely be looking for drop bars to tackle a 25km commute - the so-called 'more comfortable' position of a flatbar road bike gains its 'comfort' from being more upright, but the flatbars don't give you any other option. Sitting up into a head wind on the way home is probably an option to avoid. On drop bars you can get the same 'uprightness' (on the flats), or a bit more aero (on the hoods of the shifters - the most often used position) or more aero again (on the drops).
Is my bias showing yet?
There are plenty of bikes to choose from that might suit, so check out the Sequoia / Allez, or Giant or Avanti or Diamondback .....
Drop bars for sure - more hand positions and even though most people live 'on the hoods' ie, the brake levers, being able to move around on the bars is a great advantage and at 25km you are well into the zone where that'll save your hands.
The basic differences you want to be looking for in drop bar bikes are tyre width, riding position and geometry.
A pure racing bike will have very thin tyres for less rolling resistance, very low handlebars for a better aerodynamic position and a short wheel base plus steep fork (and other differences) to give nimble handling - they are designed to go fast and comfort is less of a consideration.
A bike designed to be comfortable will have wider tyres (32 or 35mm) for more stability on loose surfaces and greater cushioning over bumps, the handle bars will be closer seat height so there is less weight on your hands and arms, and a longer wheel base plus more raked forks for greater stability.
Then there are variations between the two.
If you are riding on the road and nothing worse than a dolomite track, the narrow tyres of the racer aren't really a problem.
Provided the shop doesn't cut off the top of the fork tube, you can set bars quite high if you don't like the extremely low position of a racer.
The more nimble handling isn't an advantage in the real world and racing bikes aren't so nervous as to be hard to ride.
So, for what you're planning, you can pretty much buy what you fall in love with and there is plenty in your price range.
Definitely look at the 'comfort' bikes - they are designed specifically for your task but be warned that the style of bike varies dramatically inside that range (from 'sit up and beg' flat bar bikes to the Giant OCR2 which is near enough to a racing bike). The Sequoia is a good choice. The Giant OCR2 and Trek1200 are too. All three are slightly different in focus. But every manufacturer will have a choice of bikes, just don't get sucked into the 'you must have a racing bike' line that so many bike shops push.
For a commute of 25km, look at what you are going to carry with you - a rack and panniers will take all that stuff off your back, but not all bikes have the fittings to take a rack.
Hi, and once again, thanks for the good advice.
It looks like I'll go for something like the Sequoia or an Avanti equivalent (my local dealer sells these)... although there are Merida and Giant dealers not too far away, so I should have a look at these. The Giant appears very popular so I guess they are damn fine bikes.
One last question, if I may:
I'm completely bamboozled about correct sizing. I've looked at a couple of websites and it appears I need a Masters Degree in Astrophysics to select the right size bike!! I want to get it right, but is it really THAT complicated?
Is just sitting on the bike for a few minutes a reasonable indicator of correct fit or do I need to take a bike for a ride? I assume taking the bike for a decent ride is probably the best way to see if it fits ok, but of course bike shops won't allow that. Or do I size a bike using some formulae based on my body height/size?
Any hints I receive will be greatly appreciated!
The size of the frame is relatively uncomplicated - as long as you can straddle it with flat feet and it feels comfortable to sit on, it'll be right. Watch out for exreme reaches to the bars, seats set a million miles from the top tube, handle bars down around ankle level. You should be able to take a bike for a run around the car park at least - look further afield if you can't get that ... and yes, I have told a shop to keep their bike because they had a 'no ride' policy - good shops OFFER you rides, you don't have to beg for them (I've seen that in operation too).
Setting the bike up to suit you, the correct fit, is a different animal again and can be quite detailed and complicated. Too many shops just stuff about a bit with the seat height and leave the rest to you. That's piss weak but it's the norm.
However, some shops go into a lot more detail with fit. My own preferred shop uses the Bike Fit system and it takes them over an hour to fit a bike to you. I know another shop in Adelaide that puts a similar effort into fitting bikes (but I don't know the method they use). The shop I bought my son's bike from probably won't get much more money from me because of the slack fitting procedure they went through ... not to mention the quality of the first service they did on his bike.
As far as I'm concerned, it pays to look around and to look further afield than you might think desirable, just to get this level of service. The shops that put this sort of effort into fitting the bike to you put the same effort into other areas as well ... and you shouldn't have to pay for a proper fit if buying new (but that'll depend on the shops in your area - hell, my son got a full fit out from my preferred shop just by buying a set of shoes and pedals ... but I was an existing customer).
Of course, these fitting sessions aren't final - you will need to fiddle as you get riding, but they are a damned good start.
But, as far as frame size goes, it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and it's not that hard to find the right size frame for you. Similarly, you may find the XXX bike just doesn't feel right where the YYY fits perfectly - this is why you need to shop around.
Hi (again) everyone,
I've been doing some research and have narrowed my choice down to three bikes: the Specialized Allez Comp ($2399), the Specialized Allez Elite ($1749), and the Avanti Giro ($1899).
The guy at my LBS suggested the Avanti as being better value over the Elite as it has full 105 "running gear" (that's probably not the correct terminology, but please excuse my ignorance!). He also suggested if it was his choice he would buy the Comp as the wheels alone made it worth the extra.
My question here is: Does the extra 'goodies' on the Comp justify me spending 25% more over the Elite or the Giro? Am I REALLY going to get much benefit other than some added pose-value with the more expensive bike?
At 52 years of age, it is fairly unlikely I'll win the Tour de France this year! I just want a bike that has smooth gear changes, of good build quality, and is so smooth and enjoyable to ride that I will want to ride further and longer. Thanks heaps.... I really do appreciate any advice I receive.
If both have 105 running gear, then that's your smooth gear changes, won't be anything to pick between them. You're going to get a good quality frame at that price from anyone.
The difference in price might get you some "better" wheels and a nicer looking bike, and a bit less weight, but I doubt it'll be that big a deal for your purposes. As far as I can tell the Avanti has lower gearing as standard, (36/50 front vs 39/53), which you may prefer.
OTOH if you really like the Allez Comp to ride, and get on the Avanti and hate it, then it's worth the difference in price.
I'm still considering which bike to buy, and today I had a look at a Bianchi Nirone 7 Alu/Carbon. It has Campag Veloce gear and the sales guy told me it is comparable to 105 in the Shimano range. Is this correct?
The bike looked fantastic in the Celeste (apparently Bianchi riders will remove certain body parts if you refer to it as "green"!!!)
I can buy the bike for around $2200.00 and it seems good value as I have been lead to believe Bianchi are top quality bikes.
So now it's down to the Avanti Giro, Specialized Allez Comp and the Bianchi. What do you guys think of the Bianchi in comparison to the others, in particular the spec level of the bike?
Thanks again for any help and advice you guys can offer.
There's only one thing to do - ride them!
The salesman is correct, Centaur and 105 groupsets are 'comparable' - but a Campag fanatic would disagree!
Check that you are getting a full Campagnolo groupset, not some odd bits and pieces thrown in to keep cost down - IMHO a 'mix and match' groupset is undesirable.
Yep, what Richard said, test ride as many as you can. One of them will just smile at you and whisper "come on big boy, throw a leg over, I like it fast and har.... oops sorry got carried away a bit there
Bianchi MTB's are beautiful scoots, can't comment on their roadies, but they're all greenish
does anyone think bikes are over priced??
to buy a decent bike it's $2000+ and you can go up over $4000 for the top of the line models.
consider this; you can buy a 50cc scooter for $2000 and decent bigger engined scooters can be had for around $4000-$7000.
when you consider your buying a machine with an engine with much greater performance than a bike you start to wonder about the relative value of bikes.
Pah. I walk into my favourite shop and they've got bare FRAMES at over $6,000. That's not expensive
I chose a bike, not to last for this racing season for the next couple of years commuting, I chose a bike to last me out. Cost a lot now but I anticipate it being a cheap buy in the long term.
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