Buying a New Road Bike (the Shimano vs Campy debate)

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by elrohwen, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. elrohwen

    elrohwen New Member

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    Until now, I've just been using an old (and by old I mean 15 year old) mountain bike for my on and off-road riding. Sometime in the next year I plan on buying myself a reasonably priced road bike. I'd really love to get a Bianchi and my first choice was the Brava. I really like the price (about $650) and the bike in general (especially the steel frame; I'm a big fan of steel and not many American brands still make affordable quality steel frames) ... however, I was reading some posts and realized that the Shimano Sora doesn't seem like the best choice for shifters. The only other road bike I have experience with is my dad's (which also runs a Shimano Sora) so I don't really know how much of a difference it makes to be able to shift from the drops or not. I'd like to know a real roadie's preference on the importance of being able to shift in the drops.

    When the weather's nicer and I have time I usually ride 4 days a week (20 or so fast miles a day twice a week and over 30 slower miles a day on the weekends with one or two longer tours a season) and I don't race, so buying an extremely high end bike isn't a priority. The cheapest Bianchi with a Campy drivetrain (the Eros) costs $1,100 which is probably more than I can afford to spend as a poor college student ... Is it really worth it to shop around for a bike that uses Campy? Or do all entry-level road bikes use the Shimano anyway?
     
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  2. Roy Gardiner

    Roy Gardiner New Member

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    I love Campagnolo because of the thumb-shift for upchanges, great at high speed. Real roadie? Well, maybe, but I'm not alone in this opinion -- but then it really is just personal preference.

    Think about 2nd hand. Go to your LBS and get one of the racers' trade-ins for latest 2004 gear. It may even cost you more than an entry-level new bike, but will be vastly better. If where you are is anything like where I am, each bike shop might have a dozen of these bikes that they don't really want but have to take to sell the new ones.

    Any retailers here?? What do you think?
     
  3. treebound

    treebound New Member

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    You can also get little-use component trade-ins. Nothing wrong with it as long as the gear isn't worn out or broken/bent.

    The only way to know for certain which way to go is to sit on a bike with each and see how each one feels. Many better shops will let you sit on a bike in a trainer to test out the feel of the shifter system. I've got a trade-in Shimano setup on my MasterLight, but will eventually go to Campy in a few years for personal reasons (always wanted a full set "just because").

    As Roy noted above, find a shop that sponsors a race team and see if they have any gear or full bikes coming in. Now until mid-February is a good time to look. The USCF/USA-Cycling web site will get you to a listing of local clubs if there are any in your area. Many of them have personal/team web sites active that often list sponsoring shops.

    Hope this helps some.
     
  4. Roy Gardiner

    Roy Gardiner New Member

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    I'm having a bad day explaining myself today.

    Treebound, that's a better idea than mine :) I just meant check out ordinary people trading up. For instance, lots of Masters (aka Old Gits in England) have better bikes than the young lads, and trade them more often, because they can. There goes the inheritance!
     
  5. Daremo

    Daremo New Member

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    If you know your size, and have some good knowledge about bike stuff ........... you can Fleabay a well equiped bike for your price range that is only a year or two old if you are patient.

    That is only if you are confident in your bidding ability and parts knowledge. As a local shop employee/manager for five years, I have a bit more knowledge ... so I outfit my new bike successfully for fairly decent prices. I basically have a full 105 9-speed STI bike with an Italian steel frame/fork that out the door cost me $850 including shoes and a cyclometer. I pieced together the bike, and got the things I didn't want to EBay from my local shops.

    After all was said and done, I have a basically new bike, with only about 20% of the parts being used. But then I went to my old shop, and the owner (who was the best man at my wedding), said why didn't I come there, he would have given employee purchase ability directly from the manufacturer ...... ugh!

    That means it looks like I'll probably buy a Giant TCR composite with Ultegra for my graduation gift to myself for getting my Masters in May ......... ;)
     
  6. leifclarke

    leifclarke New Member

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    Ergo vs. STI levers is all personal preference. I can not hit the thumb lever to get a harder gear while in the drops with ergo. I have no problem using my finger for the same shift with STI. Conversely I know a elite level cyclist on a shimano sponsored team w/ all shimano wheels, accessories, etc who uses ergo levers w/ all kinds of SRAM parts and stuff like that to make them work with shimano wheels. He can't make this same shift with STI levers but can with ERGO!

    Since you're not racing some of this loses importance but I'm just throwing it out there and something to consider.

    In addition I agree with some here that campy is bad-ass all around and there isn't much more breath-taking than a nice steel bike equiped with it. I still prefer shimano almost entirely because of the STI levers.
     
  7. timmit

    timmit New Member

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    shimano is easier to use and more popular than campag but you won't go wrong with either - shimano prob better for beginners
     
  8. Binky

    Binky New Member

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    Roy has the right idea--no need to buy a road bike new. At least in the U.S anyway.

    I've got 6 bikes hanging in my garage and bought NONE of them new. I've built them all from purchases mostly from the web and gotten excellent deals. My road bike is a Trek 5500 frame that I found on roadbikereview.com for $700 two years ago. It belonged to a retired guy in Long Beach, CA that bought a Colnago Master Lite and wasn't riding the Trek. It was in new condition. I put the rest of the bike together with Campy Record stuff because I know someone who got me a deal on the group. The bike went together for $2200 and I'd guess at the time it was worth at least $1000 more. I repainted it last year and now it looks brand new. I highly recommend Trek carbon. There's lots of them out there for sale because thousands were built and sold here in the U.S.

    As for the Campy vs Shimano thing--I've ridden Dura Ace and Campy Record and I doubt I'll go back to Shimano. Not only are the Campy levers rebuildable (easily done in your garage for less than $35 per lever--try that with Shimano) but the left lever can be used for either a double or a triple setup. I run a double and I like that fact that I have incremental positions with the left lever. Not so with Shimano. I wore out a set of Ultegra levers on another bike in the same amount of time/miles that I've had my Campy levers. The Campys are still very crisp. If I want them even crisper, I can buy a $9 spring kit and they'll feel like new levers. I also like the fact that my cables are hidden as well as the fact that I'm not having to torque the entire brake lever for a shift. Shimano lever always seemed clunky that way to me.

    Find a used Bianchi with Campy stuff if you can. Don't be afraid of used gear. Talk to the owner and find out what kind of rider they are. If they sound like they race or are otherwise hard on their stuff, then pass it up. Try and find a recreational rider who doesn't ride that often, has the bike sitting around the garage and just needs to get rid of it for one reason or another. Sometimes new additions to the family or a new house or something like that will encourage people to part with their bikes for alot less than they paid. Its a gross generalization, but older (40+ like me) rec riders and women generally take better care of their bikes. I've bought from both and gotten great deals.

    Good luck.
     
  9. Roy Gardiner

    Roy Gardiner New Member

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    Thank you :)

    The only bit I would take issue with here is on ex-race bikes. Ex-race tend to be higher spec Dura-Ace or Record, which makes a big difference. They also are lower mileage (if used just for racing) and will often be in perfect condition. All those Masters riding this-year's top-of-the-range must have traded last-year's somewhere.
     
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