$650 vs $1650



ShrinkingFatGuy

New Member
Oct 12, 2010
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Hello all, first the concise version of my question:

I'm looking at 2 steel frame road bikes. What does the extra thousand dollars get me?

http://jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/satellite/11_satellitesport.html



versus

http://jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/aurora/11_auroraelite.html



Ok, here is the verbose version of my question:

I am a fat guy getting less so all the time. In the last 12 months I've dropped from 410 pounds to 306 (and counting!) as of this last Monday morning. A big part of that weight loss has been my drastically undersized Kona Jake. I'm 6'1, and the shop I bought it from sold me a 52 cm bike. It was pretty darn dumb on my part, but when you weigh 360 pounds like I did this summer you tend to chalk discomfort up to being a fat ass. Moving forward, I've fallen in love with cycling and have learned a lot. I test rode a better sized bike and was struck with the dreadful epihany that my very expensive bicycle was way too small. So here I am looking for a replacement to fly around on. I'm nearly sold on steel, hence the two bikes linked above.

The geometry is a little different, I am skeptical of how much the inch in the wheel base will make that much of a difference. The steel in the frames is metalurgically the same. Maybe the joints are higher quality? I know the components and wheels on the aurora elite are awesome. Are they awesome enough to warrant 3 times the price? Especially on a guy who is still packing 300 pounds? I'm going to get some test rides in, but I was wondering if anyone here had any insight. I've been screwed over by a salesman once, and I want to be fully equipped when I go to a (different) shop to buy my new bike.

Thanks!
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
10,098
428
83
Originally Posted by ShrinkingFatGuy .

Hello all, first the concise version of my question:

I'm looking at 2 steel frame road bikes. What does the extra thousand dollars get me?

http://jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/satellite/11_satellitesport.html

versus

http://jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/aurora/11_auroraelite.html

Ok, here is the verbose version of my question:

I am a fat guy getting less so all the time. In the last 12 months I've dropped from 410 pounds to 306 (and counting!) as of this last Monday morning. A big part of that weight loss has been my drastically undersized Kona Jake. I'm 6'1, and the shop I bought it from sold me a 52 cm bike. It was pretty darn dumb on my part, but when you weigh 360 pounds like I did this summer you tend to chalk discomfort up to being a fat ass. Moving forward, I've fallen in love with cycling and have learned a lot. I test rode a better sized bike and was struck with the dreadful epihany that my very expensive bicycle was way too small. So here I am looking for a replacement to fly around on. I'm nearly sold on steel, hence the two bikes linked above.

The geometry is a little different, I am skeptical of how much the inch in the wheel base will make that much of a difference. The steel in the frames is metalurgically the same. Maybe the joints are higher quality? I know the components and wheels on the aurora elite are awesome. Are they awesome enough to warrant 3 times the price? Especially on a guy who is still packing 300 pounds? I'm going to get some test rides in, but I was wondering if anyone here had any insight. I've been screwed over by a salesman once, and I want to be fully equipped when I go to a (different) shop to buy my new bike.

Thanks!

The biggest functional differences in the bike are with the wheels, brakes, gears and tubeset used in the frame.

The wheels in the Aurora Elite are 32 spoke, 3x lacing which suggests at least that they'll be pretty robust. More spokes than the cheaper bike and the 3x lacing will be better suited for your extra weight than the 28 spoke radial (spokes go straight from hub to rim) that are found on the cheaper bike.

The brakes - I don't know how fast you ride or what terrain you're on. If you like wizzing downhills then the disk brakes will give you added stopping power, especially on the longer downhills where rim brakes could get a little warm and toasty. That said, I know when I was 230lbs going up hill wasn't fun so I'm taking a wild stab in the dark and guessing that you like flattish roads in which case the brakes on either bike will be fine. Cantilever brakes are pretty darned good for the most part.

The gears - more sprockets on the expensive bike, it's a 10 speed - but the effective gear ratios are pretty similar. Odd that the touring bike has a compact double rather than a triple.

Frame - the expensive bike has the rather nice Reynolds 631 tubing...

Both are capable bikes but I cant help feeling that if you got the cheaper of the two you wouldn't be missing out on much. The only thing that might go south is the front wheel... When I got back on the bike again after a decade drinking boat loads of beer and a texas cattleranch worth of burgers, I was 230lbs and to be honest while shedding that first 40lbs I couldn't really tell the difference from half the "upgrades" I did. The fact of the matter was that I went way faster when I was 145lbs and racing on a 23lb steel bike than I am now at 163ish lbs on a 15lb bike. Sure the ride quality on the carbon cannondale is far better than the old steel bike but as I said, I was faster when I was lighter - it's only a little bit about the bike.

Im suprised that you didn't look at the regular Aurora model which splits the price at around a grand.

One bike to think about is the rather plain jane but well spec'd Surly Long Haul Trucker.

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/long_haul_trucker_complete/

A no frills strong frame with Shimano Deore XT bits (very good quality) where you need them - hubs, rear gears, cassette. The rest of the stuff is functional and those wheels would certainly be more upto the task. It's available in double and triple chainset. The 26x34 bottom gear will get you up the hills... slowly... but you'll get there and without busting a gonad. Of course you don't always have to used the 34 but having a bailout gear can be a Godsend. The bar end shifters ain't pretty but they're functional and you could upgrade to a set of Shimano Tiagra or similar 9 speed STI such as older Ultegra 9 speed (integrated brake/gear shifters) if you so desired. I ran bar ends for years and liked them and to be honest the only time I really prefer STI over bar end shifters is changing gear out of the saddle when holding onto the brake hoods.

Three sets of bottle bosses and a real pump peg - sorted for those long hot rides where the heavier guys go through water as fast as a 4 (fire) engine high-rise building fire and a place for a real full sized frame pump. You really don't want to be messing around with a few CO2 catridges for the bigger tires and full sized alloy pumps are ace for beating up frisky dogs and errant motorists. It has bosses for fenders, pannier racks and even a spare spoke holder. Damn. You could use that rack to bring the kitchen sink... the bike has everything else.

The other good thing about the Surly - the frame sizing. It comes in 58, 60 and 62 cm so there'll be more chance of a very good fit.

Price is between the two models you were looking at - about a grand.

... and congrats on the weight loss and getting on the bike and having some fun, even though your current ride probably leaves you looking like you belong in a circus wearing clown makeup /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif

Welcome to CyclingForums.
 

Scotty_Dog

Member
Jul 30, 2004
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Remember, too, those bikes are built for different types of riding. The Satellite Sport is an entry level road bike built for fitness/performance, whereas the Aurora Elite is a mid level touring bike built for loaded touring/commuting. Apples to oranges.
 

Froze

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
4,711
756
113
NE Indiana
Congratulations by the way for your fantastic job of losing weight!!!! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

I think the two bikes your looking at are good bikes, but I don't think their suited for someone weighing 300 pounds, their more suited for someone less then 200. Therefore you need to find a bike that can handle your weight, and touring bikes like the Surly the last poster mentioned can do that because their designed for about 300 pounds. There are plenty of good inexpensive touring bikes out there, Trek 520 is a very popular model, along with Fuji Touring, Jamis Aurora, Rocky Mountain Sherpa 10 (this one I think is the best touring bike for the money at around $1200), or if you can afford a bit more and want better components the Rocky Mountain Sherpa 20 for $1,600; see: http://www.bikyle.com/RockyMtnRd.asp for details.

Yeah touring bikes are heavier, but you need stronger steel and thus heavier steel, and heavier stout wheels to handle a 300 pound load. You wouldn't stick a 4,000 pound payload on the back of a Toyota Tacoma truck because eventually something is going to break, so you would use a Ford F350 and the Ford is heavier due to a beefier frame, beefy suspension, solid thicker wheels then the Toyota to handle the 1 ton weight. Thus the same is true with a bicycle, buy one that will haul the load.
 

ShrinkingFatGuy

New Member
Oct 12, 2010
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I appreciate the input from each of you! Thanks for the congrats! Its been life changing.

I understand these frames have different geometry. I might be wrong on this but I don't know that I buy that 2 or 3 cms here or there is going to make a huge difference to me. Subjectively there may be "an Apples and Oranges" difference, but for a 300 pound guy riding between 15 and 50 miles at a given time the frame geometry seem like a wash. Am I totally off base here?

I understand that Reynolds is a great tube design with a well deserved reputation, but I assume that the unamed tubes in the Satellite, although perhaps not world class, can more than handle riding around town hitting the occasional pothole. The chemistry of the steel is virtually identical.

"Both are capable bikes but I cant help feeling that if you got the cheaper of the two you wouldn't be missing out on much." This is about where my thinking is right now, especially considering the fact that another 12-18 months from now I intend to weigh about 220 pounds, and I will likely be interested in a very different bike. What about these bikes makes them ill-suited for 300 pounds? The frames, wheels, etc? The only thing I am worried about on the Satellite Sport is the wheels, but I figure I ride them till they pop a spoke and I put nicer wheels on. That is still a 100 or 200 bucks less then Aurora Elite, Aurora, or Long Haul. Thats 100 - 200 buck I spend on my next bike, rather than this one.

Regardless, I've got a lot of test riding left to do. Thanks again for all the input!
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
10,098
428
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If you intend to get something different in 12 months, if you hit your weight targets, why not just buy something about the right size from the classified ads? There's a whole boat load of stuff up on craigslist or ebay for a fraction of the price of new. Check out some websites of local cycling clubs - they might have something for sale too...

As for the "chemistry of the steel" thing you bring up... it is different. Reynolds tubesets usually contain varying amounts of manganese, molybdenum and carbon

520 - Cold worked Chromoly. UTS: 700-900 MPa, density 7.78 g/cm3 8 tube set
631 - Seamless air-hardened heat-treated. UTS: 800-900 MPa, density 7.78 g/cm3

The 631 has similar properties as the cheaper 520 but does so with a significant reduction in weight. However... when you factor in that you're more than a few pounds overweight then you're not going to notice the difference.
 

Scotty_Dog

Member
Jul 30, 2004
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Originally Posted by ShrinkingFatGuy .
I understand these frames have different geometry. I might be wrong on this but I don't know that I buy that 2 or 3 cms here or there is going to make a huge difference to me. Subjectively there may be "an Apples and Oranges" difference, but for a 300 pound guy riding between 15 and 50 miles at a given time the frame geometry seem like a wash. Am I totally off base here?
Personally, I agree with purchasing the less expensive bike because of your decreasing weight. I'm just confused as to why you chose to compare a road bike vs a touring bike. As far as my apples to oranges comment, there is much more of a difference than frame geometry alone. For example, the touring bike adds better (10 speed) components, wide range gearing, disc brakes, sturdier wheels, larger tires, fenders, a rear carrier, and a few extra pounds (free of charge).
 

ShrinkingFatGuy

New Member
Oct 12, 2010
4
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0
You all know your stuff and I greatly appreciate your input! I was comparing the Aurora Elite to the Satellite Sport because the Aurora Elite is what the Salesman was pitching to me. I would have been better off comparing the Satellite to something like this:

http://jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/quest/11_quest.html

That's a 5 pound swing between the Satellite Pro and the Quest for $1100. I long for the days when a 5 pound swing will impact my riding! For the sake of my curiousity how much of that 5 pounds is components and how much is frame/fork weight?

My hesitation to buy from craigslist, etc is that I am so gun-shy about finding something that is the right fit. But you are probably right, I should check it out at the very least.

You are all great, thanks again for your input!
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
10,098
428
83
Originally Posted by ShrinkingFatGuy .

You all know your stuff and I greatly appreciate your input! I was comparing the Aurora Elite to the Satellite Sport because the Aurora Elite is what the Salesman was pitching to me. I would have been better off comparing the Satellite to something like this:

http://jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/quest/11_quest.html

That's a 5 pound swing between the Satellite Pro and the Quest for $1100. I long for the days when a 5 pound swing will impact my riding! For the sake of my curiousity how much of that 5 pounds is components and how much is frame/fork weight?

My hesitation to buy from craigslist, etc is that I am so gun-shy about finding something that is the right fit. But you are probably right, I should check it out at the very least.

You are all great, thanks again for your input!
To be honest I'm not sure that those factory built Mavic wheels would be upto the task of 300lbs. You could the Askiuming for trouble. Even if you go up market for the Ksyrium you could be left Krying-sum...