Analysis paralysis and the one-thousand dollar question

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by jaygeephoto, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. jaygeephoto

    jaygeephoto New Member

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    I think I've been to enough bike shops now to be totally overwhelmed. I'm 56 and ride an average of 50~7- miles a week in the good weather - otherwise at the gym. I really like the Felt Z5 and Z85. Question is money and will I really notice the difference? I'm replacing a 26 yo Fuji Sagres (don't judge!) and know that anything will be an improvement. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    Can you test ride both?

    Either looks to be a fine bike, the Z5 has tiagra components and a carbon frame while the Z85 has 105 components and an aluminum frame. The Z5 is lighter by a few pounds but will leave you $400 lighter in the pocketbook.

    You can't go wrong either way.
     
  3. jaygeephoto

    jaygeephoto New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I plan on ding just that as soon as the streets here in MA are cleared from the latest deposit of white stuff. Most sales people, while not pushy, seem to feel that I will get a lot more out of a carbon fiber and be less sore after 30 or so miles than anything aluminum. What are you riding?
     
  4. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    That's BS, used by salesmen to upsell you on CF. Why would you be "less sore" from riding a CF frame? Both bikes have CF forks, and neither has any kind of suspension to absorb bumps. Most of the handling feel of a bike is determined by the geometry, the way it fits you, and stiffness of the frame and fork. Most of the "ride quality" is determined by the wheels, tires and inflation pressures. Most of the comfort is related to how the bike and saddle fit you....it's got nothing to do with the frame material.

    They want you to buy the CF bike because they charge $700 more for it (comparing the Z85 to the Z4, both with 105-drivetrains). If you decide you really want to pay for the CF frame, I'd stay with the 105. No point putting a cheaper drivetrain on a more expensive frame. We are all sensitive to the power of suggestion and our own expectations, so if the salesman leads us to expect that a more expensive frame will ride better or be more responsive to pedal input, faster accelerating, better climbing, etc, we tend to go out and confirm that on our test rides.

    You're not buying a car here. Expect to be sore after 30 miles on any of these bikes when you first start riding. You'll need some time to fine-tune the saddle, or buy a new saddle if the OEM one proves too narrow, thin or weak to support your weight. In addition to your butt getting sore, you might even notice your legs.

    Oh, I ride a custom-made bike with an aluminum mainframe, CF fork and CF rear triangle. The tires I had on it last season were 25mm Vittoria Diamante Pros. They rode really nice at 100 psi rear, 90 front. Being thin race tires, they didn't last long though. Now back to GP 4000s.

    Bottom line is always buy what you want with your own money and enjoy it. After good test rides on both bikes, if you're convinced the CF frame really does ride smoother or just look better to you, buy it. Try to test ride them on the same day, and make sure the salesman sets the saddle height and inflates the tires the same on each bike before you go out.
     
  5. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    +1 on the BS. There's no material that automatically confers a specific ride quality to a bike.
     
  6. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    There really isn't that big a difference anymore between today's Tiagra and 105. At least, not that much of a difference that you'll notice at this point. If you're coming over from friction shifting, even 2300 will knock your socks off. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

    That being said, I'll echo what others have said. Ride both with similar tire pressures. Buy the one that you prefer. There are ways to smooth out a "harsh" AL frame--25 mm tires instead of 23 mm, carbon seat post, etc.
     
  7. fireman7875

    fireman7875 New Member

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    Agreed! While there can be subtle differences in ride quality between aluminum and carbon, those differences are more due to the frame design than the material. That said, give me a quality aluminum frame with a quality parts group over an entry level carbon frame with low end components any day! Carbon Fiber is all the rage these days and I have three carbon bikes myself but there is certainly nothing wrong with an aluminum frame.

    Brian
     
  8. jaygeephoto

    jaygeephoto New Member

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    Thanks for the input, especially dhk2. I will ride both and be wary of the tire inflation thing. From what I've read and heard so far the fit is the most important thing. Yes, the seat will be carefully chosen - I still have my Brooks leather seat in my spare parts bin from my younger days (ouch)! My three greatest challenges riding now are stinging and numbness in my hands and seat (never mind exactly where) and sometimes cramping in my quadriceps. Thanks again.
     
  9. jaygeephoto

    jaygeephoto New Member

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    Thanks for your thorough answer. I just posted a response to all.
     
  10. jaygeephoto

    jaygeephoto New Member

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    The place that I bought my bike from has no interest in actually fitting me for a bike. I still have the wrong size bike (Felt Z85 56 cm) sitting in my living room ready to return it to them. I'm 5'7" with short legs and a long arm reach ( I'm not a simian but not exactly build for cycling). The next sizes down in Felt are 54 and 51. Sizing would put me in a 52. Since I've been riding the wrong size bike (58cm steel tube bike - way too big) for years my fear is that I will feel cramped up on the right size bike. The same people want to sell me a very left-over Z45 (full carbon) for the same price but it's a 54. I rode it and it feels fine - but what do I know?

    A visit to a more involved bike shop fitted me for a 52 cm bike and had me ride a Specialized Roubaix,(full carbon) 2012, for $1900 and a Trek Domane 2.0 (aluminum) for $1,300. Since I'm out of disposable income at this point do you think it would be a good Idea to take the older Z45 or get a smaller new Z85 -or- just get my money back and buy elsewhere? Whatever I decide to do I don't think I'll ever deal with these clowns who sold me the wrong size bike -twice- again!
     
  11. jaygeephoto

    jaygeephoto New Member

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    The place that I bought my bike from has no interest in actually fitting me for a bike. I still have the wrong size bike (Felt Z85 56 cm) sitting in my living room ready to return it to them. I'm 5'7" with short legs and a long arm reach ( I'm not a simian but not exactly build for cycling). The next sizes down in Felt are 54 and 51. Sizing would put me in a 52. Since I've been riding the wrong size bike (58cm steel tube bike - way too big) for years my fear is that I will feel cramped up on the right size bike. The same people want to sell me a very left-over Z45 (full carbon) for the same price but it's a 54. I rode it and it feels fine - but what do I know?

    A visit to a more involved bike shop fitted me for a 52 cm bike and had me ride a Specialized Roubaix,(full carbon) 2012, for $1900 and a Trek Domane 2.0 (aluminum) for $1,300. Since I'm out of disposable income at this point do you think it would be a good Idea to take the older Z45 or get a smaller new Z85 -or- just get my money back and buy elsewhere? Whatever I decide to do I don't think I'll ever deal with these clowns who sold me the wrong size bike -twice- again!
     
  12. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Get your money back and buy elsewhere.
     
    Chavez likes this.
  13. Chavez

    Chavez New Member

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    Exactly. ANY bike shop that's worth its salt will fit you for free if you spend some serious $$$ there.
     
  14. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Agree with all the feedback to go elsewhere based on the info. 52/53cm sounds about right for 5'7", 54 might be a smidgeon too big. As for having ridden on larger bikes and possibly feeling cramped, tweeks can be made to stem length and height (adding/removing spacers) to fine tune. Who know's, maybe you'll finally feel like Goldilocks with a perfect bowl of porridge.

    PS I ride a full aluminum frame w/CF fork. On 25c width tires the old girl feels as comfy as I need a bike to be. I lot of folks like to parrot the aluminum bikes are harsh rhetoric, dunno why. Maybe once upon a time before manufacturers were in tune with the materials properties they were. A test ride will quickly verify.
     
  15. jaygeephoto

    jaygeephoto New Member

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    So I've narrowed it down. Sort of. Looking to ride an all Carbon and I've looked at the Specialized Roubaix, Cannondale Synapse and the Felt Z5 and Z4. I need to decide because the snow will melt, some day, and it will suddenly be 80 degrees.

    Bike shops I've visited have sold me on the idea that I ride enough to appreciate the difference between aluminum and all carbon. I guess they saw me coming!

    I plan on riding about the same as I did last year (50~70 miles a week - hopefully more with a new bike) and some group rides.

    Is Shimano 105 really worth the extra $300.00?

    Does one brand give you more for your money or known to be more durable than another?

    Is it OK to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast?
     
  16. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    But you're cheating because you're using 25mm tires at lower pressures. Put on some cheap, heavy 23's, inflate to 10 psi over the max sidewall rating, then tell me about the ride. Even with that cushy, springy CF fork up front, bet you can tell the difference :)
     
  17. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    I had a steel bike that would have made feel like crap. But thankfully many factors affect ride quality. I run latex under the best rubber I can find on a 23mm wide rim at 85psi. Rolls faster and corners better than almost anything out there, in an old Cadillac sorta way. Never looking back.
     
  18. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    They've tried to sell you on a false idea. There is no implicit CF ride quality, just as there is no implicit ride quality to an aluminum bike. Your bike shop either doesn't understand that or willfully ignores that to sell bikes. Any bike of any material can ride like crap just as any bike of any material can ride like it was made by the cycling gods themselves.
    Compared to what?
    You'll get more for money buying a bike from an LBS than you will buying your bike from a department store (Walmart, Target,......). That's about it. Otherwise the answer to your question is no.
    It's okay to eat pumpkin pie any time of the day, especially if it has whipped cream on it. [​IMG]
     
  19. jaygeephoto

    jaygeephoto New Member

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    Thanks Alienator. I am new to the world of 21st century cycling so I appreciate everyone's input. I see by your photo/avatar that you are well accessorized.
    J
     
  20. mark174ace

    mark174ace New Member

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    Hey JayGee,

    I am in Mass as well anxiously waiting for Spring as well. For guys like us there is no immediate benefit by buying a CF frame. I am 40 and took up cycling only a year ago. I bought a bike based on what I could afford and what components and intangibles I liked. I ride an aluminum frame with sram apex components and I wouldnt give up my bike for anything. I avg a 18-20 mph pace and I have done as much as 60 miles in a day and logged 1,700 miles from May to Oct last year. I had no problems with my bike and if anything she had more of a problem with me haha. Its more about the heart than the frame baby!

    Since you ride a smaller frame you should have no problem finding plenty of left over models from 2012 that can save you some $$$. I believe Goodales in Nashua, NH is having their anniversary sale this week. That is where is where I bought my bike last year. I put a deposit down during the anniversary sale last year and locked in on a price that saved me 50 bucks. They will fit you for free and most likely give you a free basic tune up good for the next year. There are plenty of other bike stores that will also treat you right.
     
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