Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

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ChrisAOnABike
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Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Sun Sep 30, 2012 21:00 pm

Three days ago, I knew nothing at all, but now I know what 'LBS' stands for. I figure at this rate of progress I'll be an expert in a week....

...ok, so the truth is a little different. I'm completely bewildered by the array of bikes, clothes and gear out there, and I just feel too confused to buy anything.

I have a hybrid on loan at the moment, but I think I'm heading towards a road bike, with a view to getting fit, losing weight, and maybe taking part in sportives.

I have a fabulous OH, who has offered to buy me a bike as a 50th b'day present (two months away :cry: ), and it appears I have a budget of about £750-1000, which I may be able to top up a bit for clothes and stuff.

So far I'm looking at a Specialized Allez Elite (2013 - £900), highly recommended by LBS-1, and either a Cannondale Synapse 2012 (£850 I think), or a Fuji of some kind (also 2012 and about £850), as suggested by LBS-2, who have also offered me some test rides which LBS-1 didn't mention.

So I'm leaning towards LBS-2, since they didn't seem to be pushing one brand quite so hard, and also said that a test ride was essential which seems very sensible to me. They do also stock Specialized, so if the Allez Elite is a good choice, I could get it there I think.

Based on my other interests (computers, cameras), I'm the type that gets quite fussy quite quickly, as soon as I acquire a little knowledge, so I'm guessing that I need to look a little beyond entry level. Based on my reading so far, it appears that aluminium frame, carbon fork, Tiagra groupset (that's another word I learned yesterday) is about par for the course for my price range, but other than that I have pretty much no idea.

So I'd greatly appreciate any suggestions, reviews, pointers, etc, etc.

Thanks in advance, apols for the rambling post!!

lc1981
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby lc1981 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 21:14 pm

There might be some ideas in this article. The Giant Defy 1 sounds good value given that is has a 105 groupset - one level up from Tiagra.

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Mikey41
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby Mikey41 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 21:17 pm

Even though I haven't been around for that long, you pick up some stuff quickly :)

Specialized - well thought of
Cannondale - well thought of
Fuji - haven't heard anything about them

If LBS 2 is offering test rides, go for it. Test as many as you can. Consider Trek and Giant if the shop does them too, but otherwise you are right to be looking for alloy frame, carbon fork and Shimano Tiagra / SRAM Apex. That combination will get you a good bike that will be more than capable of doing what you want.

Don't forget the clothing and other stuff you'll need to get, £800 for the bike and £200 extra should sort that lot out.
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Simon Masterson
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby Simon Masterson » Sun Sep 30, 2012 21:33 pm

Don't fret about groupset: you won't notice the difference. It's worthwhile getting a 10 speed (i.e. Tiagra in Shimano) rather than a 9 speed (i.e. Sora in Shimano) as if nothing else there's more choice of cassettes and some people don't like the Sora shifters, but that's about it. If you really get into this and are inclined to throw money about, you'll probably want to buy a fancy carbon fibre bike with fancy wheels; the first bike will depreciate if you had in mind to sell, and won't be worth making major upgrades to.

With that in mind, personally I think that you'd be better off buying a £700 bike than a £900 bike, unless you've got 'separate funds' available to buy clothing and tools (etc). There isn't £200 of difference between the two either way.

If your aim is to get fit and participate in sportive events however, you might want to consider a bike aimed at this area of cycling; there seem to be quite a few available of late. Aesthetically racey but with a higher rider position, provision for larger tyres and mudguards, and sometimes a rear rack.

In a nutshell, go and try some bikes, and pick the one that feels most comfortable, from handling to gear shifting action. Make sure the shop advise you and fit you to the bike. Best of luck! :)

lc1981
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby lc1981 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 21:40 pm

Also, you should ask for a test ride wherever you choose to buy. It should be something that all shops offer.

Simon Masterson
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby Simon Masterson » Sun Sep 30, 2012 21:47 pm

Indeed; you can't buy a bike purely based on any number of recommendations. Beggars can't be choosers, and you can't expect a bike that's so good that it could have been custom made for you if it wasn't, but nevertheless taking a short ride should tell you if the bike is right for you.

With that said though, I would stress the bike fitting point: We're all different sizes, and it might be that the bike doesn't come with the ideal stem size, for example. Something that the shop might be able to alert you to.

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JamesB5446
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby JamesB5446 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 22:03 pm

Ask your local bike shop what they can offer you with Campagnollo groupset on it. If they can't you have to snear at them then storm out.

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jay197
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby jay197 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 07:11 am

Hi Chris,

I was exactly where you are 2 week ago, although my budget was only £600.

I am 43 and had not ridden a bike for 7 years, and in the end I got a £599 2012 bike for only £399 from those cuddly monkeys at wiggle :lol:


First things first, make sure you take your time choosing the right bike, and do NOT be rushed/pressured into buying anything by salesmen etc...!

As for buying a bike, then the most important thing I can say is for your first bike is look for comfort, comfort, and comfort.

Anyone who owns, or like me, has ridden the Synapse, will tell you it is a very comfortable bike, and that is what I would have bought if I had more money :wink:

Also, always look for a bike with Carbon forks, as they not only make the bike a little lighter, they act like "shock" absorbers which increases your comfort and handling etc.

I started riding my bargain american GT road bike almost every day last week, and I got a very sore backside. so the MOST important bit of kit for beginners like us, after a well fitting helmet of course :wink: , would be a "decent" quality pair of padded shorts/bib.

I learned the hard way this week, due to running out of cash :oops: I bought a cheap pair of padded cycling shorts from sportsdirect, but the pad is useless. I also bought a pair of "winter" long legged padded shorts from Aldi, much better but still not enough padding, but will be great to wear over a decent padded bib/shorts.

So this week I have bitten the bullet and have splashed out on these:

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/castelli-veloci ... hort-2012/

They have the excellent "kiss3" pad so hopefully my sit bones wont be sore anymore on long rides :P

Anyways, welcome to the addiction with no known cure which is "road bikes" they are so much fun and will get you fit and in shape in no time.

And gratz on having such a generous wife, you lucky sod :lol:

All the best,

Jay.

lc1981
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby lc1981 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 08:14 am

jay197 wrote:I am 43 and had not ridden a bike for 7 years, and in the end I got a £599 2012 bike for only £399 from those cuddly monkeys at wiggle :lol:


There are some bargains out there at the moment. See here for a few. The only problem with buying online is not being able to try the bike out first.

ChrisAOnABike
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:59 pm

Ok, many thanks for the responses so far, guys... I have a couple more questions.

Does anyone have any experience buying bikes second hand? There are a few 1-2 year old Specialized Allez Elites on eBay at the moment - they seem to go for about £500 which suggests I could get a lot more bike for my money (well, my OH's money :) ).

Obviously it wouldn't have that 'new bike' feeling but that aside, how much of a risk would I be taking in terms of lack of warranty, or worse, non-obvious wear or cracks that as a rookie I probably wouldn't notice?

The other thing is, helmets. I'm riding a hybrid at the moment, without helmet, which is possibly a bit silly. I'm only riding on a relatively safe route (round Richmond Park as my own personal TT route), but I guess I ought to get the helment ASAP.

Again, there's a bewildering selection, and some of the prices seem mental. My understanding is that there's not much to choose between them in terms of actual protection, so what would be a good compromise between price, comfort, weight, cooling, and not looking like a complete muppet?

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jay197
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby jay197 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 13:19 pm

I really cant see much difference in road bike helmets, I bought a large adult one for £14.99.

Would be interesting to see what you are paying for exactly in a more expensive helmet?

ChrisAOnABike
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Mon Oct 01, 2012 13:39 pm

jay197 wrote:I really cant see much difference in road bike helmets, I bought a large adult one for £14.99.

Would be interesting to see what you are paying for exactly in a more expensive helmet?

My thoughts exactly. I've tried a few on, and some definitely do seem more comfortable (and lighter) than others.

I've never worn a helmet on a bike (when I was riding regularly they didn't exist!!) so I have no idea how they feel in use. But I can imagine them getting hot and sweaty on a long ride.

One I tried felt quite snug - but it was £70 :shock: :(

lc1981
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby lc1981 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 13:48 pm

I can't say that I'm that experienced, not having owned many helmets over the years, but one thing I notice from observing the people I ride with is that some seem to have much better vents than others. I've got a Giro Indicator, which was by no means expensive, but it seems well ventilated and I rarely get too hot in it. I've seen others than have a large, solid, unventilated back, which I always think must be really uncomfortable. Whether this correlates with price, I don't know.

Simon Masterson
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby Simon Masterson » Mon Oct 01, 2012 17:54 pm

More expensive helmets are often lighter, better fitting and more ventilated. There are some good ones out there that don't cost much, though.

I didn't bother with a helmet until August of this year (just a cycling cap prior); I bought a Kask K-10, which is fairly fancy but it really shows in the quality. Really fantastic fit that produces a glove-like hold very quickly and easily, it's light and very aerated; definite sensation of wind being channeled over the head, which is nice in the heat.

Regarding secondhand bikes, it IS a gamble to a certain extent, but use your judgment. Some people would replace a secondhand carbon fork on principle if they can't be sure about what crashes it has or hasn't been involved in. Fair point; they can fail very suddenly and without conspicuous signs of fatigue, but there's no hard-and-fast rule.

ChrisAOnABike
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Mon Oct 01, 2012 20:02 pm

Simon Masterson wrote:Kask K-10

:shock:

Can't find one of those in stock for less than £130!

However, the spending spree has commenced. I have now bought (well, ordered) a Giro Indicator - having found the review here saying how good they are, and discovering that I could order one through Amazon for £24, I went down to Halfords and tried it on.

Not as comfy as no helmet at all, but at least at that price I won't feel too bad about changing later if I need to.

I did ask the assistant in Halfords what bike I should buy, and rapidly discovered that it's like asking what camera to buy in Jessops - pointless.

soslow
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby soslow » Mon Oct 01, 2012 21:26 pm

Hi Dont know if this will help you but
Have an Elite as a second bike/winter trainer and is a very comfortable ride. the wheels and tyres seem to suck some performance from it but as a first bike its very good. saddle is ok as well and ive not changed mine.

My first bike was a fuji newest 2 on triple sora and i clocked up thousands of miles on it before she was stolen. Saddle and wheels were shoot but a relativley inexpensive upgrade. if you can get one with tiagra 10 speed cheap its worth considering

Dont worry about bieng fussy as if the bug bites you will want something better every time you think you can persuade OH you need it

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Mikey41
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby Mikey41 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 21:52 pm

ChrisAOnABike wrote:I've never worn a helmet on a bike (when I was riding regularly they didn't exist!!) so I have no idea how they feel in use. But I can imagine them getting hot and sweaty on a long ride.

Depends on the helmet. I have a Specialized MTB one at present, really must change it to a road one, but while riding along, I can barely feel it and my head stays cool.

When you stop however.....

Still, I'll always wear a helmet on the basis that if the worst happens, it's better than nothing.

Oh, one more thing. If you are bald, put sunblock on your head when riding on a sunny day to avoid some "interesting" sunburn patterns.. :oops:
Last edited by Mikey41 on Mon Oct 01, 2012 21:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Simon Masterson
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby Simon Masterson » Mon Oct 01, 2012 21:52 pm

ChrisAOnABike wrote:
Simon Masterson wrote:Kask K-10

:shock:

Can't find one of those in stock for less than £130!

However, the spending spree has commenced. I have now bought (well, ordered) a Giro Indicator - having found the review here saying how good they are, and discovering that I could order one through Amazon for £24, I went down to Halfords and tried it on.

Not as comfy as no helmet at all, but at least at that price I won't feel too bad about changing later if I need to.

I did ask the assistant in Halfords what bike I should buy, and rapidly discovered that it's like asking what camera to buy in Jessops - pointless.


I got mine for about £65. Half price at Chain Reaction. ;)

ChrisAOnABike
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Tue Oct 02, 2012 07:24 am

Simon Masterson wrote:I got mine for about £65. Half price at Chain Reaction. ;)

Yes, I'm just too late for that one - it's discontinued AFAICT.

lc1981
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Re: Another 'what bike should I buy' thread

Postby lc1981 » Tue Oct 02, 2012 08:01 am

Mikey41 wrote:Oh, one more thing. If you are bald, put sunblock on your head when riding on a sunny day to avoid some "interesting" sunburn patterns.. :oops:


Or get a cap to wear under the helmet.


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