Flatbar road bike or hybrid?

Discussion in 'Australia and New Zealand' started by Jotjepoes, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. Jotjepoes

    Jotjepoes New Member

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    Hi! I'm new to this forum, so I hope you'll overlook any breaches of etiquette…


    I'm trying to decide whether to get a flatbar road bike or a hybrid and would appreciate any advice.


    A bit of background - I lived for years in the Netherlands and did everything (shopping, commuting etc) with a beat up 3 speed second hand peugeot, and hence i know nothing about buying bikes, but feel reasonably comfortable on one.


    I got back to Melbourne a few years ago, but only got back on a bike 4 months ago (as I was worried about Melbourne drivers) and now I really regret not getting on a bike sooner! I've been commuting to work (10k the long way, 5 km the short way), but starting to go on longer rides on the weekends. I'm mostly on paved bike paths and roads, with the occasional gravel path, but I have a bad habit of riding directly onto pot holes, bumps etc.


    Anyway, I'd like to upgrade from my existing clunky, heavy ladies Malvern Star to something lighter and faster. I'm short (5 ft) so a lot of bike stores I've been to have only one (if I'm lucky) bike that will suit me to try out. The ones I've tried that I like are the Giant CRX 2 and also the Kona Dew Deluxe. My budget is around $800 - $1,000.


    I've been told that the CRX 2 might not be sturdy enough for commuting, if I’m going to load it with clothes, lunch, some papers from work etc and then riding on potholes etc, and a hybrid such as the Dew Deluxe would probably suit me more. I really liked the CRX 2, but I'm a bit worried it may not last the treatment I'll be dishing out to it.


    Any opinions? Thanks!


    Jotjepoes:)
     
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  2. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    At 5' I would recomend the Felt SR81 47cm-650c Flat Bar Road Bike, however, Southcotts didn't import them this year. :eek:

    The Giant CRX 3 and 4 is more suitable for wider tyres and off road than the 1 and 2, the "XS" size should fit OK. :)

    For a similar discussion, see: http://www.cyclingforums.com/t-311812-15-2.html
     
  3. Sequoia

    Sequoia New Member

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    A friend of mine commutes to work on a 2005 CRX 2 and he's loving it. He's got a rack with panniers for when he goes to work and over weekends we ride quite a bit together, usually 40-60km rides.
    The tyres are good enough for the occasional gravel path akthough it'll be much more fun on the bitumen:)
    I wouldn't go with the Kona, I don't think it's worth the price and it will be slower.
    For around the same price I'd also check the Avanti Blade series, the Specialized Sirrus and the Sublime 2 (the last one being a womens specific bike) you can check them all at under 'HYBRID' at http://www.freedommachine.com.au/shop.asp (sorry, I couldn't get the links for the specific bikes).
    If you'll use it mainly for commuting I'd also consider the Avanti Blade 8 (internal hub gears, much less maintanence issues).
    If I were to buy a new bike for commuting the some weekend ride, I'd try and get one with a 105 rear derail and try and get shimano wheels and stay away from Alex rims (had bad experience with them).

    Good luck!
    A fellow 5footer:)



     
  4. jur

    jur New Member

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    I commute on a 2005 CRX2 and it's just great.
     
  5. Jotjepoes

    Jotjepoes New Member

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    Thanks all! It's been really helpful getting your comments. I've narrowed it down to either a CRX 2, Avanti Blade Comp (if I can find one to test ride in my size) or a Sub.lime 2 (if I can swap for Blade Comp wheels without it costing me too much).

    cheers:)
    Jotjepoes
     
  6. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    Without meaning to be rude, what is so important about the rear derailleur? I can understand recommending a 105 groupset over a lesser one, but I don't think that the RD is the most critical or quality-dependent part. Many bikes have the RD specified one level higher, or more, than the rest of the groupset and this is purely a marketing gimmick. I'd much rather have 105 BB and cranks and Tiagra RD than vice versa.
    Alex rims have a broad range of models and quality, like any other brand, and they are not all bad, although Alex is not favoured (or even represented?) at the top end.
    (edit) Mavic or Velocity rims built to any reasonable hub are as good as or better than any affordable Shimano wheel.
     
  7. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    Excellent post, artemidorus!

    Road components over MTB in a flat bar, then BB and crankset. Both should be Shimano. Wheels with Shimano hubs are repairable. Velocity rims are excellent. Shimano 440 shifters over 220, 9 speed over 8, RD, there is only $60 between a Sora and an Ultegra (9) anyway. HG93 chains are cheap now.

    I just built a flat bar TRY bike, component list available on request. :)
     
  8. Sequoia

    Sequoia New Member

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    You're not rude at all:) With the Alex rims, as I said, I have bad experience with them, with several sets, for MTB and road bikes. They might be great, but I find a big difference between them and the Shimano ones, and if for about the same price I could get the Shimano - I wouldn't go with the Alex.



    With the RD, the difference in shifting is quite big, and going from Sora or Tiagra to the 105 is VERY noticeable, and if you’re going to use the bike for commuting, riding in the city/suburbia/bike paths – you’re probably going to change gears quite often and you want a RD that will be very reliable, very precise and easy to use. And when use jump to the 105 level it makes a huge difference.

    Another thing is that with many bikes, if you don’t know much about bike components, you can at least (very roughly) determine what’s the level of the components by looking at the RD and the wheels. Usually the RD will be at the highest end of the components on the bike – so if you look at a bike and see that the RD is Sora, you know that the rest of the components will be low to medium end.

    And for about the same price (or maybe $100 or so more) you’ll get a bike with a 105 RD, and if you’ll read the specifications, you’ll see that the one with the 105 RD will usually have better components in general – the one with the 105 RD will usually have the Shimano BB and cranks, whilst the one with the Tiagra RD will have a non Shimano BB and cranks (like with the CRX 2 and the Blade Comp).



     
  9. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    Generally agreed, but I will argue a few points. Most of the feel of the shifting comes from the shifter, not the RD, so upgrade the shifter rather than any other part of the drivetrain. (I must confess that I found my right 105 brifter a bit dodgy- it kept seizing up on me at inconvenient moments- and was glad for the excuse to upgrade to DA after a crash).
    I am by no means convinced that the Tiagra BB and triple crankset is superior to the Truvativ compact on the CRX2. If you compare the 105 or Deore LX to Tiagra cranksets, you will see the biggest step in quality of engineering in the Shimano range. I replaced the Tiagra BB/crank on my partner's Avanti Blade Comp with Deore LX, to give lower gears rather than to "upgrade", and the LX is much nicer looking and lighter, with a stiff, splined BB axle and hollow crank arms. I also quite like the design philosophy of the compact, although I have never tried one. When will Campag/Shimano bring out theirs?
    Lower-end (550/560 and below) Shimano wheels are a bit overrated -heavy and dead-feeling due to the low spoke counts, but I'll admit that the 550 is strong and reliable, so far. I'd much rather a well-built velocity aerohead rim on a reasonable campag or shim hub (ie 105 or better).
     
  10. Sequoia

    Sequoia New Member

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    I agree with you - but some of the changes you mentioned are not relevant to a person who's going to buy a stock standart $1000 bike, and who hasn't got someone to go to the bike shop with them and ask about changing BB and such.

    Personally I'd prefer a compact crank, but I know that many commuters and weekend riders, esp. women, prefer a triple. My partner's got the 05' Blade Comp, and she spends most of the time riding the smallest ring or the easy gears on the middle ring (I don't think I've ever seen her riding the big ring) - and she's fit - but she's having a very hard time doing hills and long rides, and to keep a good cadence she has to stay in lowish gears.

    With the feeling of the shifting coming from the shifter, that's what I've always heard, but then when my prtner tried all these different flat bar road bikes we tried one with 440 shifter and Tiagra RD and then the Blade Comp with the 440 with the 105, and the difference in shifting was very noticeable!

    Well, truth is, if it was up to me, I'd get my partner to buy a bike with a full 105 and at least 550 wheels, but then I'd probably also tell her that she should go real road bike and not flat bars - but then we'd end up spending at least double than what we wanted - and she doesn't even like drop bars! (I was just happy that I convinced her that for riding on bike paths and Beach Rd over the weekend it's better to have a flat bar road bike than a MTB!! and she still wants to change to thicker tyres from the 28!)

    Don't know when campag are going to have their own compact crank, but Shimano's either already out or going to be out very very soon.... going to compatible with 105, Ultegra, and DA - and it looks very sweet:)

     
  11. parawolf

    parawolf New Member

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    Hi there, i'm a new member of this forum as well - and there is a wealth of information here to get through. I can only relay my experiences. I sold my car back in October and bought a flat bar road bike. On recommendation from a knowledgable friend I ended up with a 2006 Jamis Coda Comp with carbon forks, XT componentry all around.

    It is an awesome bike for me at the moment, I commute just under 30km a day and do about 50 - 100km on the weekend. It's comfortable, and has not had any problems. I got it from Melbourne Bicycle Center for about $1000, and then bought shimano spd shoes, some clothes, lights, a lock, emergancy tools, patch kit, etc. Walked out very happily parted with about $1500.

    I love this bike, the chews up the kilometres, it is fast, and feels very strong. Personally I cannot recommend it enough.

    Jamis 2006 Coda Comp Here
     
  12. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    Looks like a nice bike, although its components are mostly road rather than XT.
    I think it solves the problem of road gearing for non-racers in the wrong way, however- it has gone for MTB rear cluster and road triple crankset, which means that you have large jumps between gear ratios on the rear - fine off-road, but irksome, potentially, when you are tired on the road and can't quite strike the right cadence. I would prefer MTB crankset and road cluster, to preserve tight gear ratios at the expense of the loss of the biggest gears, which you only use on steep downhills or in a very fast bunch anyway. This is the way I have set up my partner's flat bar road bike.
     
  13. parawolf

    parawolf New Member

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    Probably a fair call. I've only been riding since October - and i'm more than happy with what this bike offers me and I reckon thats important. I don't know a stack about bikes, but i'm learning - slowly. Before October, I hadn't riden a bike since probably 1996.

    This bike is great for me for the commute around Melbourne CBD and rides up to 2hours in length from which I find the 'flat bar' style a little tiring.

    I'm looking to get a real nice road bike around mid year - and I will hopefully know more about components, what I like about my bike, what i don't like, and should then be able to communicate with the bike shop better.
     
  14. Jotjepoes

    Jotjepoes New Member

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    Thanks all for this. I've been following the discussion with much interest.

    I've more or less decided to go for the sub.lime 2, basically because the geometry suits me, plus the componentry appears to be the best value for money that I can see for that price range from my (albeit limited) research and also I'd prefer 27 gears as opposed to 18 (with the CRX 2) in the long term.

    Just a query for Seqouia - what were your bad experiences with the Alex rims?

    The only "negative" thing about the sub.lime 2 are the Alex rims (DA 16 alloy).

    My local avanti dealer, suggested that these were sturdier than that of the shimano WH-R500 (which are the ones used on the avanti blade and crx 2) although lthe Alex is less fast. At this stage I won't be going for speed but sturdiness is an issue. Is there a good reason to upgrade the rims (or whole wheel)? If I do decide to go with the upgrade, the guy I talked to suggested Mavic rather than shimano - any suggestions for an affordable one?

    The price of the sub.lime 2 is getting to the limit of my budget so I'm wondering if there really is a good reason to upgrade at this stage, or maybe just leave it for awhile for now.

    cheers and thanks again:)

    Jotjepoes

     
  15. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    I had a look at the web page, the smallest (S) should fit OK.

    Sarah has designed it with the lighter coloured wheels and components, not black. I think black Shimano wheels would spoil the look of the bike.

    If you don't like the Alex wheels (on my Felt they are OK), consider the silver Ultegra wheels from Shimano, WH-R6600, I think.
     
  16. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    George, when I last checked, those Ultegra wheels were expensive - $580 a set at a reasonable shop near Sydney. Jotjepoes, I think the Alex DA16s will be fine and not particularly inferior to the R500s. If you could sweet talk them into upgrading to R550/560 for a minimal amount (ie $50-100 or less), then it would be worth it, but don't waste your energy coveting the R500s- they're not worth it.
     
  17. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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  18. wazwal

    wazwal New Member

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    hi all, don't know if i can do this, but kind of want to tailgate on this thread...and get some advice re bike purchase, detailed advice.

    1st, i am somewhat confused by all the pros and cons discussed re componentry

    2nd would like detailed advice about a bike purchse at between 900 - 1K bucks

    i am male, 50, 1.9m tall, 105 kgs, ride daily on inner-city street, lanes, footpaths for about 10 mins each way - commute, carry a briefcase, weekends do streets n paths for 10-15klm jaunts, few weekends a year get out into hilly country blacktops for 30-40 klm rides, do 70-100klms for a weekend.

    currently ride a claud butler voyager touring bike, bought for $150, it's 8 yrs old

    much taken with my wife's avanti blade sport - light n fast, can be thrown around, but i do not really like those thin tyres

    simply, given above info, what would informed forumeers suggest as a good bike to purchase?

    thanks in advance for any n all responses
     
  19. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    I suggest the new 2008 Giant CRX2 in a Large size with all Shimano 9 speed running gear. The tyres are 28mm, so not too narrow. ;)

    I fit a lot of poeple to Flat Bar Bikes and the Giant CRX is excellent. If the bars are a bit low on the Large, fit a Stem Riser, Zoom, Heads-up, Dimension, etc...
     
  20. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    What's wrong with the tourer? My commuting bike is 15 years old, somewhat modified, and I wouldn't swap it for anything.
     
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