Insert generic "need advice" thread title here



Fly1296

New Member
Dec 20, 2010
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I've caught the road cycling bug in a big way over the last couple months. I'm currently riding my first road bike in over 20 years, a 1978 Schwinn Varsity Sport 10 spd. Prior to that were low-budget mountain bikes. I actually like it a lot...it's a 66cm (c-t) that suits my 6'5" all-legs frame very comfortably. However, it's heavy at 41 lbs, some of the original parts such as wheels and freewheel are showing age (the only non-original items on it are tires, tubes, brake pads, and my recently added grip tape), and as much as I really dig the idea that I'm riding a classic, well-built piece of equipment the fact is that it's on loan from my Dad and he's made it clear that he'll want it back in the Spring. I considered buying a virtually identical bike at the local thrift store (for the excellent-condition frame only) and building it up with new components, but that plan fizzled pretty quickly. So I'm looking at something new. Right now I just ride for fun and fitness, 15-20 mile rides 2-3x per week. I don't have any plans to get into racing, since at 6'5" 200 lbs I'm just not built to compete with guys who'd be hauling around 100 fewer lbs of bike and rider, but I would like to do things like the MS 150 and such. My weight, if not necessarily my intended use, dictates quality components.

So now the part that will make eyes roll: my budget is pushing me inexorably towards bikesdirect.com, specifically towards these two options:
http://bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/knight_x.htm
http://bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/fens_xi.htm

To summarize my debate, the Knight is available in a 64cm with full Ultegra components for $150 more than the full 105 62cm Fens. Seems like a no-brainer except that my absolute top budget is $1000. My research has been inconclusive on the benefits of Ultegra over 105 for someone like me. The extra $150 would be nice to have for additional gear or (more likely) a basic mag trainer. That said, it's not that hard to add gear a little at a time, whereas once I commit to a component set I'm pretty well stuck with it. Sure, the easy answer seems to be that Ultegra would be money well spent, but only if I'm looking at real benefits over the 105. I don't want to pay extra for components if that money would be BETTER spent on gear of which I have absolutely none beyond a helmet. Component weight is not a consideration. Again I don't intend to race, and even if I did the 1/2 lb difference represents only .2% of my combined rider/bike weight.

I know all the arguments for (and against) going with a name brand from my LBS over BD so I would like to avoid beating that horse. My budget forces me to more or less choose between a sexy name frame or quality components. I'm choosing the latter because I suspect it will be easier to upgrade the frame later if my riding dictates while the components give me immediate benefit. So please keep the comments on topic. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif Thanks in advance for everyone's time!
 

ccallana

New Member
Aug 14, 2010
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The 5700 New 105 is a great group set and for most uses is perfectly acceptable over the Ultegra. The Ultegra is a bit lighter, and maybe a bit more durable, but for casual use shouldn't be an issue.

I would go with the cheaper bike if these are your options.

You can also take a look at Craigslist - there are some nice options out there if you are patient, and you can look at them, and ride them before buying.
 

davereo

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2010
1,639
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I would go with the Knight because the 64CM is closer to the size bike you are already riding. Fit is the most important issue when buying a new bike.
ccallana suggestion about CL is also a very good option. You could locate bikes in your area and take them out for a ride before purchasing them.
 

Fly1296

New Member
Dec 20, 2010
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I've been checking CL pretty regularly. Good bikes pop up often enough but not in my size.




Originally Posted by davereo .

I would go with the Knight because the 64CM is closer to the size bike you are already riding. Fit is the most important issue when buying a new bike.
ccallana suggestion about CL is also a very good option. You could locate bikes in your area and take them out for a ride before purchasing them.
 

ccallana

New Member
Aug 14, 2010
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I totally missed the different sizes... sorry about that.

I agree with davereo on that - fit is very important. If a bike doesn't fit, the rest doesn't matter, you will end up not riding it.
 

Fly1296

New Member
Dec 20, 2010
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So you guys think 2 cm would make that big a difference? I certainly agree on the fit part...going from my old 43cm MTB to this one has made a huge difference. I just don't know at what point seat and handlebar adjustments can't make up for a too-small frame. If 4cm difference is that point so be it...it'll make the decision easier.

Any thoughts on the pedals? I know less than nothing about shoes/pedals. I don't even have straps on my current road bike and have never used anything but plain ol' pedals. The included pedals on these bikes was a nice bonus, assuming they're good ones. The $100 I have left after the bike should be able to get me shoes!
 

kdelong

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2006
3,477
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4 cm is not a deal stopper but it is getting close. Most seat posts have a little more than 4 cm of adjustment and you can always get a longer stem if the top tube is too short for your reach. But it is better to get the bike that is closest to your ideal size.

For a recreational rider, there is no difference between Ultegra and 105. A racer who has ridden 105 for many years may notice a slightly more crisp shift out of the Ultegra, but he will definately notice less weight.
 

oldbobcat

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2003
3,233
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Tough call. 5700 is very slick--6700 and 7900 are outstanding, of course, but 5700 is so much better than its price point it's scary.

On the other hand, getting the right size is important. If your legs are truly long (like close to 50% of your total height), and your arms tend to be proportional to them, then you might prefer the shorter top tube of the 62 and you'll be able reach a lower handlebar. If your arms are more proportional to your torso height, or your legs aren't quite THAT long, the 64 might be a safer bet. I'm betting, of course, that standover height is a total non-issue for you.

It's hard for a relative beginner to buy a frame sight unseen.
 

Fly1296

New Member
Dec 20, 2010
39
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0
Agreed...I've decided to skip BD and spring for something local. Looking at a Defy 1 or an Allez Comp. Test riding next week, weather cooperating.

Originally Posted by oldbobcat .

Tough call. 5700 is very slick--6700 and 7900 are outstanding, of course, but 5700 is so much better than its price point it's scary.

On the other hand, getting the right size is important. If your legs are truly long (like close to 50% of your total height), and your arms tend to be proportional to them, then you might prefer the shorter top tube of the 62 and you'll be able reach a lower handlebar. If your arms are more proportional to your torso height, or your legs aren't quite THAT long, the 64 might be a safer bet. I'm betting, of course, that standover height is a total non-issue for you.

It's hard for a relative beginner to buy a frame sight unseen.
 

maddogbubba

New Member
Jul 5, 2010
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Originally Posted by Fly1296 .



Quote: Agreed...I've decided to skip BD and spring for something local. Looking at a Defy 1 or an Allez Comp. Test riding next week, weather cooperating.

Originally Posted by oldbobcat .

Tough call. 5700 is very slick--6700 and 7900 are outstanding, of course, but 5700 is so much better than its price point it's scary.

On the other hand, getting the right size is important. If your legs are truly long (like close to 50% of your total height), and your arms tend to be proportional to them, then you might prefer the shorter top tube of the 62 and you'll be able reach a lower handlebar. If your arms are more proportional to your torso height, or your legs aren't quite THAT long, the 64 might be a safer bet. I'm betting, of course, that standover height is a total non-issue for you.

It's hard for a relative beginner to buy a frame sight unseen.
 

maddogbubba

New Member
Jul 5, 2010
77
0
0
Originally Posted by Fly1296 .



Quote: Agreed...I've decided to skip BD and spring for something local. Looking at a Defy 1 or an Allez Comp. Test riding next week, weather cooperating.

Originally Posted by oldbobcat .

Tough call. 5700 is very slick--6700 and 7900 are outstanding, of course, but 5700 is so much better than its price point it's scary.

On the other hand, getting the right size is important. If your legs are truly long (like close to 50% of your total height), and your arms tend to be proportional to them, then you might prefer the shorter top tube of the 62 and you'll be able reach a lower handlebar. If your arms are more proportional to your torso height, or your legs aren't quite THAT long, the 64 might be a safer bet. I'm betting, of course, that standover height is a total non-issue for you.

It's hard for a relative beginner to buy a frame sight unseen.
both the defy and the allez look good and you are getting almost all 105 on them . looked at the defy online and did not see any size larger than a 58.5, would'nt think this would fit you .sorry about the above post - hit the wrong button.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
6,723
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Originally Posted by Fly1296 .

I've caught the road cycling bug in a big way over the last couple months. I'm currently riding my first road bike in over 20 years, a 1978 Schwinn Varsity Sport 10 spd. Prior to that were low-budget mountain bikes. I actually like it a lot...it's a 66cm (c-t) that suits my 6'5" all-legs frame very comfortably. However, it's heavy at 41 lbs, some of the original parts such as wheels and freewheel are showing age (the only non-original items on it are tires, tubes, brake pads, and my recently added grip tape), and as much as I really dig the idea that I'm riding a classic, well-built piece of equipment the fact is that it's on loan from my Dad and he's made it clear that he'll want it back in the Spring. [COLOR= #0000ff] I considered buying a virtually identical bike at the local thrift store (for the excellent-condition frame only) and building it up with new components, but that plan fizzled pretty quickly. [/COLOR] So I'm looking at something new. Right now I just ride for fun and fitness, 15-20 mile rides 2-3x per week. I don't have any plans to get into racing, since at 6'5" 200 lbs I'm just not built to compete with guys who'd be hauling around 100 fewer lbs of bike and rider, but I would like to do things like the MS 150 and such. My weight, if not necessarily my intended use, dictates quality components.
Did you abandon the notion of buying an [COLOR= #0000ff]identical bike[/COLOR] due to lack of immediate availability OR for other reasons?

Does your father's Schwinn have an Ashtabula ([COLOR= #808080]aka "American"[/COLOR]) BB, or does it have a three piece crankset?

FWIW. I like-and-endorse the notion of rebuilding old frames wtih contemporary components because older frames often have a subjectively nicer ride ...

However, it is more effort than most people want to make AND too many people think that replacing components from an earlier era with more recent components is like making-a-silk-purse-out-of-a-sow's-ear ... after all, you can buy a new bike for $700-or-less from a bike shop.

FYI. If your father's Schwinn Varsity Sport has a seamless electro-welded frame, then the lightest you will probably be able to make it is about 26 lbs. ([COLOR= #808080]because of the frame's size + 27" wheels[/COLOR]) ... not lightweight by today's standards, but certainly not unmanageable.

  • almost ALL of the steel components can be replaced with alloy components

You can (re-)lace a pair of 27" alloy rims on a pair of Shimano hubs ... you could lace up some 700c rims & use 700x28 ([COLOR= #808080]or, 700x32[/COLOR]) tires to reduce the weight a little further

  • Shimano has a shorter, "compact" Freehub body ... a Shimano rear hub which has a compact Freehub body can be modified to fit a frame with 120mm rear dropout spacing, so a set of "modern" shifters & derailleurs can be used with a "shortened" cassette. [COLOR= #0000ff]I recommend Campagnolo shifters[/COLOR].

The only impediment to updating an older frame which has an Ashtabula crankset is money + your DIY skills -- if you can remove-and-subsequently replace the top on a pickle jar, then you can probably DIY if you have the proper tools ([COLOR= #808080]most of the required tools are generic and you can often use any brand[/COLOR]).

REGARDLESS, [COLOR= #ff0000]it is very important for you to take a tape measure & note all of the dimensions of your father's bike [/COLOR]... particularly the top tube length & stem length because it was common for older frames to have the same length top tube (56cm-to-57cm was common).

You need to know the distance between the saddle and the bend in the handlebars PLUS the seat tube angle so that you will know if the fit of any of the contemporary bikes which you are looking can be made to mimic the fit of your father's bike .

While someone who is 6'5" should probably be riding a frame with a 64cm +/- top tube, you are obviously comfortable on a frame which probably has a shorter top tube ... most of the older frames often had the same length top tube ([COLOR= #008000]57cm was common[/COLOR]) and smaller frames had shorter stems than larger frames.

BTW. MOST of the parts you might choose to use on any vintage frame can subsequently be removed-and-used-on another frame.
 

Fly1296

New Member
Dec 20, 2010
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I opted not to build up an older frame for several reasons: I decided I wanted the frame stiffness of a modern geometry, the cost to buy all the components would equal or exceed the price of an equally equipped new bike (unless I got lucky on CL or eBay, something I don't want to have to count on), and although I'm quite handy this was something I just didn't want to tackle.

I did run into an interesting bike a couple days ago: a 59cm mid-90s Raleigh with Mavic700x25 wheelset and Shimano RSX components. It also looked to have compact gearing although I didn't count teeth or anything. The RSX has the same form factor as Tiagra/105 on up and the shift action on these was smooth. However, the shop wants $400. It occurred to me that this could serve well as a starter bike, giving me experience with a more modern geometry and STI shifting, while saving up cash for a new bike. It would certainly be an improvement over what I'm currently riding. Of course, if I add the $400 to my current budget I could be looking at entry-level carbon for my main bike. Advice?
 

kdelong

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2006
3,477
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I suppose that it all boils down to when do you want to start riding a better bike and how fast can you save money. If you live here in the US Midwest or Northeast, then you still have several months to save because the weather has been horrendous for riding.

USA Raleigh makes nice bikes now, but that was not always the case. Although the mid-90s was not their low point, it was not their high point either, and $400 for a bike that is nearly 15 years old with RSX components sounds a bit high, but maybe not if you compare it to an eBay bike + shipping+making it ridable. If it were me, considering that there is a couple of inches of inches of snow outside my window right now and an ice storm predicted for Tuesday, I would just redouble my savings effort and get my new bike when riding weather is a little closer. However, if you live in Tuscon, AZ or in Oz, then get the Raliegh and ride it while you save for a better bike.
 

Fly1296

New Member
Dec 20, 2010
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I suspect impatience has a lot to do with it. I really feel like the bike I'm on is holding me back, and I just want my sexy new ride ASAP. On the other hand, all the bike shop guys have told me that while it may net be fast or pretty, the Schwinn will build up my strength faster due to the weight.

Stopped by the LBS today and I think I've decided on a Giant TCR with 105.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
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Quote: Originally Posted by Fly1296 .

I suspect impatience has a lot to do with it. I really feel like the bike I'm on is holding me back, and I just want my sexy new ride ASAP. On the other hand, all the bike shop guys have told me that while it may net be fast or pretty, the Schwinn will build up my strength faster due to the weight.

Stopped by the LBS today and I think I've decided on a Giant TCR with 105.


FWIW. Measure the frame on your father's Schwinn ... bring a tape measure to ensure that the top tube on any bike you buy is at least as long as the top tube on the Schwinn ...

IMO, you should probably be looking at a 29er Hardtail frame (e.g., a Redline 29er or a Raleigh XXIX) with a Rigid fork and building it up with the Road components which you prefer ([COLOR= #808080]I recommend Campagnolo shifter with everyhing else being Shimano[/COLOR]) BECAUSE I can't stress enough that you probably want a frame whose top tube is 64cm long-or-longer, and I think that you will be hard pressed to find an off-the-peg Road bike with a top tube which is that long.
 

m0b00st

New Member
Jan 31, 2011
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Originally Posted by Fly1296 .


Stopped by the LBS today and I think I've decided on a Giant TCR with 105.

Why this bike with this component group? I ask for several reasons. I noticed in your other thread that you really seemed to like the SRAM equipment. Also you started out with bikes that were in teh $800 price range, and are now looking at bikes that are in the $2000 price range. I have a feeling I know how you got to this point, but I would just like to hear from you the reasoning. Also wondering how you specifically made the jump from the Defy to the TCR since I also find myself in this same debate amongst all the manufacturers. Ex: Tarmac/Roubaix TCR/Defy SuperSix/Synapse etc.

Please let us know how you came to this end-pass.
 

Fly1296

New Member
Dec 20, 2010
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0
Originally Posted by m0b00st .



Quote: Originally Posted by Fly1296 .


Stopped by the LBS today and I think I've decided on a Giant TCR with 105.

Why this bike with this component group? I ask for several reasons. I noticed in your other thread that you really seemed to like the SRAM equipment. Also you started out with bikes that were in teh $800 price range, and are now looking at bikes that are in the $2000 price range. I have a feeling I know how you got to this point, but I would just like to hear from you the reasoning. Also wondering how you specifically made the jump from the Defy to the TCR since I also find myself in this same debate amongst all the manufacturers. Ex: Tarmac/Roubaix TCR/Defy SuperSix/Synapse etc.

Please let us know how you came to this end-pass.


I started out hoping to spend around $600. As I learned more it became obvious that I would need to spend more than that to get the level of bike I wanted. About that time I heard about bikesdirect.com, about which time I started this thread. After more research and soul searching I came to the conclusion I wanted the opportunity to test ride, as well as the support that would come from a LBS, a feeling reinforced by the universally great treatment I've received by all shops I've checked. It must be said that none of them have tried to up-sell me. Finally I discovered that it wasn't a huge step up, only $300 or so, from my new high-ish end aluminum to a nice entry-level composite with the same equipment. As far as SRAM vs.105 I'm thus far going only on floor feel. In talking with the guy yesterday he really felt like the TCR was a little bit better equipped than the similar Tarmac, for a little less money ($1750 vs $1800). Some things are worth paying for, and I want to make sure I don't feel like I left capability on the sales floor to save a little cash. For the same reason I've been buying my suits from the thrift store lately. Same quality (if you're willing to hunt :) ) for a tiny fraction of the price.
 

m0b00st

New Member
Jan 31, 2011
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So what took you from the more comfort based Defy to the racey TCR?

Congrats on your new bike BTW!
 

oldbobcat

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2003
3,233
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Sizing Giants is weird. You either have to take it on faith that your fit is somewhere in S-M-L-XL, etc., or you look at the charts and go by effective top tube and head tube. My TCR is ML, which has something like a 53 cm seat tube. It shows lots of seat post, but the stretch and handlebar height are right, so that's my size.