Looking for First Road Bike


New Member
Apr 27, 2004
Ok, it wouldn't technically be my first, I had a Schwinn road bike (with friction shifters, yeah baby!) when I was like 9 years old, but now I'm all grown up.

I've had my Trek 7100 hybrid for only a year and a half now, but I'm getting that "I want a road bike" bug. I'm not fast, by any means, being able to manage about 15mph on average over distances up to 50 miles or so, but hills kill me, and hybrid bikes don't climb well. It also doesn't help that I weigh 270lbs either. Anyway, I do like Trek, and that's the bulk of what my LBS carries. Considering the amount of money I have to work with, I'm looking at either the Trek 1200 or 1500.

The 1200 has the SL frame, and the 1500 has SLR, which is a bit lighter and thinner in places. Could that be a potential problem considering my weight? There's also the question of the wheels. I broke some spokes on my current bike and ended up getting the wheel replaced under warranty. Since then it's been fine, but how are the wheels on these bikes going to hold up? The owner of my LBS said I may need to consider upgrading, but I could try riding the ones they come with until they wear out and then think about upgrading. I'm getting up to speed on much of the technology in road bikes, but I'm still not up to speed on wheels and all the different kinds of rims, tires, and spokes. I certainly see the problems with reduced spoke counts, but is there a specific material/make/type I should be trying to get? Do most LBS's upgrade wheels for the difference in cost, or would I be stuck buying two sets of wheels? If I do have to just buy a new set of wheels, what should I expect to pay for that?

The 1500 has 105 components, whereas the 1200 has some Tiagra mixed in. Is it worth it to get all the 105 components? Would I even notice much of a difference? Also, what's the story with the pedals? The 1500 says it comes with "Alloy road, sealed, w/clips and straps", what exactly does that mean? The 1200 apparently comes with clipless pedals, but it doesn't say exactly what they are. I have SPD shoes and nice pedals on my current bike, and I'd like to stick with SPD. Will I need to buy some new pedals if I go with the 1500 over the 1200?

The biggest question I have is, if I go with one of these bikes will I be left wanting something even better in another year or two? They both have carbon forks and seat posts, pretty good components, and well, they're not hybrids! If I go with the 1500 will having all the 105 components help much, or should I look elsewhere for some Ultegra equipped bikes (are there even any in the $800-1,200 range)? I'll admit that I'm leaning more towards the 1500. It seems like more bike than I could ever use, but that's what I thought about my 7100 when I got it. With high ticket items, I tend to get the best thing I can and then hold on to it for as long as possible (or even if I don't get the best, I still seem to hang on to it for a very long time). My car is 12 years old now, and I keep my computer for at least 4 years before getting a new one. That being said, what would a $2,000 or $3,000 bike get me that I wouldn't get in a $1,000 bike? "Smoother shifting" just sounds like a terribly lame justification for getting upgraded components. I don't race, nor do I think I ever will, so would Ultegra or Dura-Ace really benefit me at all? Are they that much more durable than 105, or is weight really the deciding factor at that point? The only frame upgrade I can really see being of any value would be carbon seat stays, but correct me if I'm wrong.

Thanks for your help. :)
That has to be one of the longest postings I have ever seen in a forum. You might want to check out Felt Bicycles (http://www.feltracing.com/) They offer quality bikes that are a decent value. There 105 equipped F70 runs $1070 and there Ultegra 10 speed equipped F65 runs $1400. Both bikes are aluminum with carbon seat stays. If you are interested in Ultegra, but $1400 is too much, then you can find alot of great deals on '04 bikes equipped with Ultegra 9 speed from various makers and retailers. As for the differences between 105 and Ultegra - you should test ride bikes equipped with both and decide for yourself.
I'm in the same spot... currently riding a trek 7200 hybrid, going about the same distances, and looking for a road bike. The specialized allez elite looks interesting, but I've heard it's a harsh ride. I've been happy with my trek, so I'm looking at the 1500 and 2100. As well as cannondale, giant, and felt. Anything in the $1250 range. The bit about picking up a 9 spd ultegra group is a good idea... I'll look into that.
Consider checking out a used bike. Your money goes so much further, and frequently the bikes are in virtually new condition. I bought my previous bike used, and it was probably the best investment I ever made. I paid 400 bucks for it 10 years ago and proceeded to put 3-5K miles/year on it up until last year. The drawback is that you have to look around, check the local papers, watch the free-ad's at the grocery store wall, put the word out at the local bike shop, etc. Just a thought.

You do get the award for asking the most questions in one post…

First I’ll start my response based on my experience. July 2003 I started to ride my bike again after a 25+ year rest. I got my vacation pictures back (June of 2003) and I was wondering who that fat guy was in the pictures with my wife, it certainly couldn’t be me. Then I was 6’4” and close to 280 pounds. Now I’m about 235 pounds.

First let’s be honest with each other, at 280 pounds I was fat, for that matter at 235 I’m still over weight. So unless you are 7’0” tall, you are over weight too. Your post explained that your existing bike does not climb well, be honest with yourself, YOU don’t climb well. Extra weight is your enemy. If you weighed 50 pounds less you would climb MUCH better. I can tell you this since I have first hand experience with this fact. So if you want to climb better start eating better and ride more. I don’t ride much, only about 2000 miles this year, but it’s more than enough exercise to help me lose weight.

While we are on the subject of weight, yes it matters when it comes to wheels. Below is a link to the wheels I have on my bike. The Mavic Ksyrium Equipe wheels came with my bike. I ridden on these wheels since March of 2004, about 1500 miles, and the only problem I had was I needed to add some tension to the rear wheel in September.

These wheels work OK for me and I may have been about 250 pounds when I first started riding on these wheels. Your LBS may suggest different wheels, but I’m not sure you should be riding on a reduced spoke count wheel, since you may have more broken spokes.

I don’t race, never will. But I have Ultegra on my bike. I’m sure 105 equipment would work just fine for me too. It’s you choice and money.

Regarding the bike, I’d suggest a Trek comfort road bike for you. In August of 2003 I purchased a Trek 2200 road bike. And in December I ordered the bike I now ride. One that was designed for a more upright ride, and more comfort. Since your LBS has Trek, I’d suggest a 2100C for you. And I’d work with the LBS to swap the wheels to a set of wheels that have more spokes.

Or maybe a Specialized Sequoia Elite

My point is I focused more on comfort when I finally purchased my road bike. I LOVE my bike… but you need to decide how much you want to spend, and how dedicate you will be to riding. For what it’s worth I ride a Merlin Solis. http://www.merlinbike.com/bikes/solis.aspx

And last but not least, if you ride with SPD pedals, and you like SPD… have the LBS install SPD pedals on the new bike. I ride with SPD on my mountain bike, and tandem. But I ride Look pedals on my road bike, since I wanted to have shoes that are a lot stiffer, and more comfortable on longer rides.
Not that I am much help to you due to my size (165 lbs.) and novice status, but I was recently in your situation. I rode a number of bikes and settled on the 1500 ($999). Shifting felt smoother than some of the other bikes I rode (1200, Allez Elite, Lemond), although that could just be my perception.

I quickly upgraded to Look pedals (addt'l $129) for the same reasons as Bikeguy2004 and have no regrets.

The best advice I received was test ride a lot of bikes and buy what fits & feels best. That being said the 1500 has been good to me in the short time I've had it (2 mos).
Yes I know, I need to test ride. I've been looking much more at the 2100 now, since it has the carbon seat stays and better wheels. We'll see how it all works out.

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