Buying with Head VS Heart

Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts

Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby dreison » Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:08 pm

Hi all,
I am having a bit of trouble deciding whether I should buy a bicycle with my head or heart.

Background: I’ve been using my cousins Scott Metrix 40 to commute to work and beach so 16kms return to work or 35km if the weather is good enough to get to Bronte in the afternoons, I’m doing this 3-4 days a week and I jog the other days.

Problem: I am now riding so much I need to buy my own bike, I could simply buy another Metrix 40(which I really like) or get something similar with a carbon fork - Avanti Blade 2.0. These two flat bar road bikes seem to make the most sense but then I started looking at cyclcocross and touring bikes, which I really like the look of but they are more expensive and probably not as suited to my needs as the flat bar road bikes.

Budget: I would be willing to stretch the budget a little from $700 as I look after my belongings and I can continue to borrow the helmet, lights, pump etc from my cousin until the purchase price of bike is a distant memory; I think 1300 would be about the max.

Other Bikes:
In terms of the CX/ touring bikes, I like the look of most of them I just want something rugged, and decent over 40kms return and something I feel passionate about. Fender mounts and Discs would be attractive as I ride in the rain.

The bikes:
Masi CX + budget for vbrakes
Jamis Bosanova – I think this would be ideal but not sure how much I’ll be able to get one for in Syd
Jamis nova sport – back to alloy but looks rather nice
Surly – too expensive
Fuji Touring – might be worth a look
Norco – threshold A3 – alloy again but 99 bikes has them so might get more bargaining power?

Advice: I’d just like to hear what your thoughts are? Do you have any advice or specific bikes you might suggest. Should I just get another metrix?
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by BNA » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:48 pm

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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:48 pm

G'Day Dreison, welcome outside. :)

There's a lot of heart involved IMO, you have to enjoy riding the bike.

What sort of conditions are you talking? Road? Path? Gravel? Dirt? What's the traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian like?

Cheers
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby il padrone » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:06 pm

I always buy mine with my credit card - a lot less painful.......... at least until the statement comes in :| :oops: :(


But seriously, you do really have to love the bike - its appearance, ride, even the image associated with it. It is what keeps the passion in riding for you.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby dreison » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:00 pm

Hey guys,

thanks for the quick responses, It will be used mainly on the road and cycle paths . However the rides often require going up and down gutters which I would prefer to do at speed. I am attracted to cyclocross bikes due to my perception of thier increased versatility and the fact many have fender + rack mounts.

The Norco A3's are around $1k whereas most of the other cyclocross bikes start around 1.5k.

It seems the budget cyclocross bikes are a bit thin on the ground so do you have any advice to getting an idea if i like the style? - are road bike frames close enough to get an idea?

I still like the look of the Bosanova but it seems hard to make a decision when the Norco's wont arrive till march and I can't find a bosanova on the floor in sydney.
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby Xplora » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:36 pm

The difference in cost is negligible if you are commuting regularly. I am guessing that the 500 bucks difference between the CX bikes and the others is a train ticket once a week over a year? Hmmm?

A CX bike is designed to do what you want to do. Rough and ready road biking. You might in the long run just prefer to get a dedicated road bike, and take those gutters more gently. I thought I liked riding rough, but I like riding FAST even more. That sounded really dirty. :oops:
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby RoFlmaTiC » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:43 pm

Hi there,

I was considering a cx bike very recently and was very close to buying the Boardman comp cx from wiggle. Would be around $880 delivered to Aus I believe. It's got disc brakes but only a sora groupset which is ultimately why I didn't end up getting it. The next rung up (to get apex) was another $500 so I couldn't justify that.

Wiggle also do the Charge filter bikes, some of which also have disc brakes.
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby Xplora » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:32 am

It really does come down to price point. I paid 1200 for a Trek 2.1 because I couldn't justify spending 900 bucks on Tiagra and a lesser frame and wheels. The money you save you can spend in added time and money trying to recover the groupset. You take the bike to get serviced once every 6 months, and you've probably lost that 250-500 in time and costs within the serviceable life of the bike and groupset.
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:12 pm

RoFlmaTiC wrote:Wiggle also do the Charge filter bikes, some of which also have disc brakes.

:( Just looked, $800 + ship for a Filter Hi in my size, wish my DewDrop wasn't running so well. That is a killer deal.
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby RoFlmaTiC » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:50 pm

Mulger bill wrote: :( Just looked, $800 + ship for a Filter Hi in my size, wish my DewDrop wasn't running so well. That is a killer deal.


Yep, the filter disc bikes are on my wishlist!

I would probably snap up the filter apex if it ever got priced at <$1,000 landed in Oz. The 2012 models were a tad over that when they went on sale.

The Filter Hi would also do the job great, but I'm not a fan of that naff frame colour!
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby dreison » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:48 pm

Thanks for all the responses, I feel I really need to do some more research before I will understand how much I should be spending. I doubt the frame material will make much of a difference to me on this first bike but I really can't work out which groupset I should go for as I don't have any experience with them. I don't want to make the classic mistake of spending a lot based on reviews written by professional cyclists for experienced cyclists when I'll be numb-nutting around with no idea regardless of what I have.


Xplora wrote:It really does come down to price point. I paid 1200 for a Trek 2.1 because I couldn't justify spending 900 bucks on Tiagra and a lesser frame and wheels. The money you save you can spend in added time and money trying to recover the groupset. You take the bike to get serviced once every 6 months, and you've probably lost that 250-500 in time and costs within the serviceable life of the bike and groupset.


Question:
Will I be able to decide which groupset to go for based short test rides? Or should I follow the reviews and go for something more highly regarded?
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby Mulger bill » Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:44 am

105 and up will do the job very well.

IMO, if forced to make a choice between a frameset that feels great with Tiagra and a frame I'm not overjoyed to ride with DuraAce I'll go the Tiagra route thanks. It's much easier to upgrade parts than the frame.
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby rjk » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:17 am

go the cx route, i have a cx and it will do everything you want, i got a 2nd set of wheels that i have set up with 28mm road tyres on it, so when i want to head off road on rails trails and hard pack i just swap over wheels in about 10mins :).

when i am commuting the light weight conti gp4seasons are terrific, an upgraded version of gatorskins.

i also have a road bike which i love as well, but the cx is the goto bike when i am just going out for a ride, not a fast ride
Boardman CX pro now the commuter, Salsa Casseroll, Trek Domane
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby Xplora » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:20 am

dreison wrote:
Xplora wrote:It really does come down to price point. I paid 1200 for a Trek 2.1 because I couldn't justify spending 900 bucks on Tiagra and a lesser frame and wheels. The money you save you can spend in added time and money trying to recover the groupset. You take the bike to get serviced once every 6 months, and you've probably lost that 250-500 in time and costs within the serviceable life of the bike and groupset.


Question:
Will I be able to decide which groupset to go for based short test rides? Or should I follow the reviews and go for something more highly regarded?

How fast are you riding? Are you REALLY so strapped for cash that you can't afford a better model?

Groupset is 90% set up. That's the honest truth. Tiagra or Sora can run well if they are set up well. The question is, are you going to be riding enough kms and hard enough to notice the degradation in the setup over time? My 105 Trek was set up better than the Ultegra Trek. Both were fully acceptable to me as a rider that pushes as hard as he can. My 105 is absolutely awful compared to the Ultegra because I ride the 105 in the rain, and it's done 2-2.5K kms now compared to a babied Ultegra doing 500kms. But the 105 is still easily OK. It will become hateful in another 5-10K. That's part of mechanical parts. You have to adjust them over time.

Your short test run will be unlikely to tell you the true story about them. You have to change gears while standing up, really punish the gears... and if they are set up well, you shouldn't notice a difference for 500kms of wear and tear. Just get 105, you won't be sorry. Plenty of weekend warriors use 105 without stress. You won't be wasting money on 105. You MIGHT be wasting money on Tiagra (I don't know you or your riding skill or style), you'll probably be wasting money with Ultegra. I'm a snob, I wouldn't buy a bike with Sora. :lol:
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby high_tea » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:50 pm

Xplora wrote:
dreison wrote:
Xplora wrote:It really does come down to price point. I paid 1200 for a Trek 2.1 because I couldn't justify spending 900 bucks on Tiagra and a lesser frame and wheels. The money you save you can spend in added time and money trying to recover the groupset. You take the bike to get serviced once every 6 months, and you've probably lost that 250-500 in time and costs within the serviceable life of the bike and groupset.


Question:
Will I be able to decide which groupset to go for based short test rides? Or should I follow the reviews and go for something more highly regarded?

How fast are you riding? Are you REALLY so strapped for cash that you can't afford a better model?

Groupset is 90% set up. That's the honest truth. Tiagra or Sora can run well if they are set up well. The question is, are you going to be riding enough kms and hard enough to notice the degradation in the setup over time? My 105 Trek was set up better than the Ultegra Trek. Both were fully acceptable to me as a rider that pushes as hard as he can. My 105 is absolutely awful compared to the Ultegra because I ride the 105 in the rain, and it's done 2-2.5K kms now compared to a babied Ultegra doing 500kms. But the 105 is still easily OK. It will become hateful in another 5-10K. That's part of mechanical parts. You have to adjust them over time.

Your short test run will be unlikely to tell you the true story about them. You have to change gears while standing up, really punish the gears... and if they are set up well, you shouldn't notice a difference for 500kms of wear and tear. Just get 105, you won't be sorry. Plenty of weekend warriors use 105 without stress. You won't be wasting money on 105. You MIGHT be wasting money on Tiagra (I don't know you or your riding skill or style), you'll probably be wasting money with Ultegra. I'm a snob, I wouldn't buy a bike with Sora. :lol:


OK, I'm going to jump in here with a dissenting opinion: I think the advantages between different "levels" of componentry is wildly overrated. In particular, the argument that a higher "level" component is inherently more durable or maintainable than a "lesser" level one is completely bogus. Let me give one example: rear cassettes. Cheaper ones are steel; pricier ones are made of things like aluminium and titanium. They are lighter but inherently less durable. Just to be clear: the difference is real. The advantage is often illusory and the oft-repeated claims about the awesomeness of Ultegra vs 105, or 105 vs Tiagra as the case may be, tell me as much about the power of things like the placebo effect as the relative merits of whatever componentry.

Paying to get half-decent parts (my personal definition: Tiagra and up) makes sense. Once you've hit half-decent, you're chasing marginal gains. There's nothing wrong with that, but stretching your budget for marginal gains doesn't make much sense to me.

At the risk of digressing, the big advantage of Tiagra over Sora when last I looked was that Tiagra was the cheapest groupset that didn't have the button for downshifts on the hood. I don't care for that arrangement myself. The Sora stuff that I have has taken an absolute hiding over the years and is still working fine, so I'd buy it again from a robustness point of view.

Harking back to the original topic, I suggest going with your heart. Your head, faced with two half-decent bikes is probably going to say "Meh, either would be fine". Not much help there :D
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby Xplora » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:08 am

I've done some riding with the older Tiagra stuff and I wouldn't really want to go lower than 105 if I had the choice. Couple hundred bucks? You'd be mad to do anything less. If you expect as much as I do. I WILL be putting Athena EPS on my bike at some point, and even hydraulic roady brakes if they can get it into the hoods, because I have higher expectations than bike mechanicals seem to be able to give. I don't claim to represent this guy's desires though - we can shine a light on the situation and help him choose :mrgreen:
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby dreison » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:06 pm

Double post
Last edited by dreison on Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby dreison » Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:15 pm

Thanks for coming back with more responses

Xplora wrote:
dreison wrote:
Xplora wrote:How fast are you riding? Are you REALLY so strapped for cash that you can't afford a better model?


I ride everywhere as fast as I can, so I’m looking for something that'll get me out there going further and faster than before.

I will go and try a bike with a Sora groupset just so I have and opinion about the downshifts. It's not that I can't afford to spend more, I just feel that I’d be 90% as happy on a $600 bike as I would on a $1500 bike and I do plan to leave the bike chained and unattended at the beach(among other places) so keeping costs down seems to make sense.

What I'm currently looking at:
Norco Threshold http://www.norco.com/bikes/road/cyclocr ... old-alloy/
A1 $1450 105 + carbon fork
A3 $1033 Sora

Jamis
Bosanova $1300 –
http://www.myjamis.com/SSP%20Applicatio ... grp=road_9

Should I go and look at straight race bikes?
http://www.thebikebarn.com.au/product.p ... 291&page=1

I’ve looked on Wiggle and being a large hasn’t left me many deals.

All I can do is test ride the different groupsets. Are there any other bikes I should be looking at? What does the Bosanova look like to yall?
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby Xplora » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:56 pm

105 is virtually worthless secondhand, so don't stress about that aspect. If you're really stressed, scuff the rear derailleur and the hoods. Bam. Worthless groupset. :shock:

I'd fully encourage you to give them a go. As I said, it's the longer term durability that is the concern. If you are testing, get out of the seat and do some climbs while changing gears. 105 isn't going to like it either, but the speed of changes will really help you understand what you are missing. My experience with Sora has been a friend's bike. He couldn't get it to shift consistently until he gaffer taped the barrel adjustment. That's incredibly lame IMO. It was a fairly new bike, and it required gaffer tape to work. I expect better. My opinion is that once I've spent 600 bucks to get absolute garbage, it really isn't as issue to spend another 300 to get something I will enjoy for a long time. I want stuff to work. As I said, your riding ability will require a certain level of gear. Most people starting out don't need more than Sora, but if you actually want to ride (not just pose with the girlfriend on the beach paths) then you'll probably find your sweet spot is Tiagra/105. Let us know about the testing.
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby jasonc » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:14 am

what about this

105, carbon, $1k
Image
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby high_tea » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:46 pm

Of the three, I'd go the Noro A3. Actually, I'd prolly pick the Masi CX over all of them but that's me. I like cantis and I'm not into discs but I accept that a lot of people have the opposite view.

I wouldn't bother with a race bike except for racing. Wouldn't go carbon either, not to leave in public. Too delicate.
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Re: Buying with Head VS Heart

Postby TomBikes » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:40 pm

I recently purchased a masi cx and I love it. I've only recently started cycling again, sort of (jumped from BMX to skating to cycling). I've found that it allows you to do everything you really need on a bike for getting around. Now, for the price, what cab you expect, it doesn't have the greatest groupset and the cantis aren't amazing. But, it does the job for me. The frame is a little heavy, I haven't found it to be a problem, probably because I used to ride a BMX that weighed a little over 14kg. With the weight, cone the reassurance that the steel frame can take a beating. For the price, I believe it would be the strongest frame you could find. Plus, with the price (paid 630 for mine) I was able to kit my self out with a bunch of nice extras such as a good floor pump, a great lock, a large saddle bag, extra tubes, lock skewers, a new giro Monza, a tool kit, mini pump, and all the little saddle bag fillers you need. Just remember, with most shops, you get a good deal on extras when purchasing a bike.

just my 2c
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