first road bike advice - amira comp vs. synapse 5 (women's)

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by bluefire, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. bluefire

    bluefire New Member

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    Hi there,

    I've been on the hunt for a road bike for about a month, visiting many LBS's as well as bigger chains. I've ridden about 15 different bikes, some of them several times, and I've narrowed my choice down to two bikes: Specialized Amira Comp ('10) and women's Cannondale Synapse 5 ('12).

    These two are fairly different and I've had a lot of feedback (even from other shops) that the Amira is an incredibly great value: full Shimano 105 set, carbon frame, incredible fit, for $1890. I've forgotten what wheels it comes with.

    The Synapse is a a good fit too, aluminum/carbon fork, Shimano 105 shifters & derailleurs, rs10 wheelset, for $1350.

    My bike budget was about $2k, although I can stretch it if I want to -- it won't hurt me financially, just a psychological thing. This is my first road bike since I was a kid, so I have to get accessories... pedals, maybe clipless (not sure about this), patch kit, lights, water bottles & cages, pump, probably some bike shorts, etc. I have a helmet already.

    My question is, does it seem reasonable to get the Amira as a first road bike? I've been told by many that it's "a lot of bike". My application is recreational riding / exercise to start, then biking with a friend who's an ironman triathlete and will probably push me a bit. I have visions of one day getting into triathlon, though I hate running so not sure this will come to fruition.

    I live in the mountains so around my house there are serious hills, though I think both bikes could handle this okay. I think the Amira has an 11-25 gearset (not sure that's the right term), and the Synapse has 12-28 (which i think is better for hills?).

    I *love* the way the Amira feels. Everything about it smooth and slick and it just feels perfect. I *really like* the Synapse, but the Amira has the edge on how it rides, especially with the carbon frame. One other thing -- these are from different shops. It's also possible the Amira is just dialed in better (it's from an LBS) and that when the Synapse (from a bigger store that maybe isn't as careful with its builds) is adjusted it would feel smoother.

    The Amira would stretch my budget, but I'd probably be set for a very long time with it. The Synapse obviously would cost less, but I worry that I'd be dreaming about the Amira (or something like it). On the other hand, I do think I'd be happy with the Synapse, so maybe I would forget about the Amira if I'm happy with the Synapse. I like the aesthetics of both, so would be motivated to ride with either one.

    Soooo, any advice, guys? Is it really worth it to stretch my budget to get the Amira? Or is it excessive for a first bike? Would love to hear your input and what you might do in this situation and why. Let me know if I can give any more info that would help. I'm not looking for anyone to make a decision for me, but wanted to bounce the facts off some other ears so I can see if I'm being irrational (do I just want the pretty, expensive bike even though I might not need it) or if there's a better argument one way or the other. Thanks!
     
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  2. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    If you really love the Amira over the Synapse, go for it. Otherwise you will always have the "what if" syndrome. Carbon usually gives a more comfortable ride than aluminum. Hills are "easier" on a carbon bike than on an aluminum bike. The gearset is actually called a cluster and your LBS can change that to the 12-28 very easily and might do it at no charge to get the sale. For the people who tell you that it is "a lot of bike" tell them that you will grow into it, which is true. As you get better riding, you will have a bike that will keep up with you rather than having a bike that keeps holding you back. What are they worried about anyway, a little jealous that you might end up with a better bike than what they have?

    One other thing, it is good to buy a bike from a real bike shop rather than a bigger store. At your LBS, you have a chance to get to know the owner and the higher ups of the organization and this could result in perks down the road in such things as discounts on accessories and service, how quickly you get your bike serviced, etc. It is probably much more difficult to meet the people at the bigger store who can get you any perks. Also, most small LBSs tend to see their loyal customers as friends whereas a bigger store tends to have a less personal relationship with their loyal customers who remain in their eyes.......customers.
     
  3. chaztrocity

    chaztrocity New Member

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    I was considered a beginner and I heard the same thing... your bike is too much bike for you. I had no problem with the bike and had I chosen a heavier cheaper bike, I think I would have been disappointed. If you got the dough, no bike is too much for you. Unfortunately for me, I had a ladder accident and cannot ride long distance anymore... so my cycling days stopped as soon as I started to take the next step in training. Incidently, I am selling my bike (check the classifieds!!!). It's full carbon BMC Road Racer, size 51, full Ultegra. It's been sitting in my study for 8 months and I still enjoy just looking at it and can't resist the temptation... then I take it for a spin and I have my shoulder pain and I get upset... So, I need to just sell it and move on. However, I think Amira is a good bike BUT, you should not NOT buy a bike just because it's "too much bike." If it's more than what you want to spend, then that's a good decision, otherwise get the fastest sickest bike your money will buy!!!
     
  4. bluefire

    bluefire New Member

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    Thanks for all the input, everyone! So, it turns out I managed to get 15% off the Synapse with the help of a friend. That put the price difference between the bikes at $750 before tax ($800 after tax). I ended up going with the Synapse, bought all the accessories I wanted (tons of stuff!) and still paid less than the price of the Amira before tax. I'm good with the decision -- although the Amira was amazing, I liked the Synapse enough to make it silly to pay 800 bucks more for a different bike at this point... better to spend that on all the extra things I needed. Incidentally, here's the list of accessories I got with the bike: saddlebag, patch kit, CO2 inflator & cartridges, tire levers, water cages, water bottles, multi-tool, tube, cateye computer w/ cadence, headlight, taillight, flat pedals (to start), clipless pedals, biking shoes, mirror, jersey, 3 nice bike shorts/ pants, bright yellow biking jacket, gloves, and a lock. Plus a full fitting and two years of free tune-ups. I already had a helmet :). All in all, I'm pretty happy with my haul. Now just gotta get out there and start riding!! And the next time I come across a deal like the Amira, at least I won't have to get all the accessories too.
     
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