Q: I'm new to this road cycling lark and I have decided that I want to buy a Bianchi. I have around £500-£600 to spend. I do not need a 2007 model as I probably don't need the most up-to-date specifications, but when I look around there are varying levels of bikes I could go for.
For example, is it better to have carbon rear stays or a higher specification of gears? I am tempted by a 2005 Via Nirone alu/carbon which I have seen on eBay, but Evans has similar models at slightly higher prices (although I even saw one on eBay go for the same price as Evans has on its website...). Or do you think I should go to my local Bianchi dealer in Maidstone and buy from them at a slightly higher price? I'm desperate to get started, but I don't want to make a costly mistake.
Neil Brookson, email
A: This is one of those questions you must decide for yourself. If you don't need a 2007 bike, buy a 2006 model because it will cost less; if you prefer to save money above all other considerations, buy on the web; if you want to build a relationship with a local shop which might prove useful to you in the future, go there...
On the subject of gears versus carbon stays, it is almost certainly the case that in terms of riding enjoyment you will benefit more from a higher quality transmission, wheels and/or tyres than from the debatable merits of carbon stays.
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