Need expert opinions...........

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Colonel, May 4, 2003.

  1. Colonel

    Colonel New Member

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    Hi all,

    I really need some help with bike selection. A bit of background first. I am 6ft 5in, approx 118kg (and loosing), and currently commute and try to do some decent training rides on an Avanti Hurricane MTB. The MTB was recommended to me by my LBS a few years ago, with the justification being that no road bike would handle my weight.

    I have put slicks on the bike, have a computer, am trying to take the cycling more seriously, and am getting extremely annoyed with the weight / sluggishness / etc of the MTB. I am trying (and in some cases succeeding) to keep up with some of the "real" roadies out on training rides during lunchtimes and on the weekends.

    After a lot of lurking on forums such as this one (which by the way, I have found to be the best of the lot that I have found to date - congrats to the organisers etc) I have come to the conclusion that there are bikes out there suitable for bigger riders, although I temper that with the fact that not all bikes will be suitable for me.

    I would rather pay a little more for quality, am not overly concerned with a little extra weight and would rather trade weight for durability any day of the week.

    To my point (and sorry if I am a little long-winded - just thought that I needed to paint a bit of a picture in order to get the right advice). I am looking currently at a number of bikes, ranging from the standard off-the-shelf models to hand made ones (expensive). The two that I am seriously considering at the moment are:

    Trek 1500

    Cannondale R800

    My concerns are that the standard wheelsets that come with these two bikes may / may not cope with my weight. I also looked at the R1000 which has Mavic Ksyrium Elites.

    One LBS I went to offered to build a new wheelset for the Trek - 36 spoke double-butted for the same price as the standard Trek (he knows from speaking to me that he will also get a lot more business from me - computer, accessories, clothing etc etc etc - the list goes on).

    What I would like is any feedback from you guys as to what sort of setup I should aim for. Am I looking in the right area (I don't want to start up the steel vs aluminium debate again)? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time.

    Colonel
     
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  2. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    Since you are a big guy, you will feel road shock more than lighter riders. I have used every frame material out there, and I like carbon and aluminum.

    Aluminum and carbon are strong and will resist flexing better than any other material. Carbon will give a smoother ride and absorb shock better.

    I'm riding a Cannondale right now, but just got a Trek 5200 frameset on a warranty return. I've had a 5200 before (cracked the bottom bracket) and it was a great ride. The Cannondale is stiffer, and you will feel it more, although the newest Cannondale's have improved from the older team Saeco frameset I have. I love my Cannondale!!! Both are great bikes!!!

    Don't be afraid to work out a deal with your shop on your purchase. Tell them the items you don't like/want, and maybe they will swap something out for free or a a reduced rate. Items like seat/seatposts, wheels, cranks, pedals, etc. are common items to change if you don't like them.

    It may be cheaper to buy a frameset and add the components you like. Test ride all the frames you are considering and feel the differences, especially over bumps.

    Wheels have come a long way. The Mavic Ksyrium Elite's are VERY strong and durable, even for bigger riders. Even so, they are expensive, and since you are commuting, maybe a set of quality Mavic rims with 36 spokes would be better. I use Mavic rims/DT spokes. You can't go wrong with that!!!

    Don't stop attacking those "roadies" on your lunch hour either!!!

    Good luck!!!
     
  3. rek

    rek New Member

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    See the signature at the bototm for my recommendation :) I ride a CAAD5 road frame myself and love it. I'm not exactly a featherweight either, at 6' and 90kg.

    The CAAD5 frame on the R800 would be a much better built frameset than the Trek's would be -- hand-made, smooth welded, etc. The CAAD7 on the R1000 is pretty much the same design, but made out of a lightweight alloy.

    In my opinion, buying a great frame with good components (R800 with 105) is a better investment than a good frame with great components (Trek 1500 with Ultegra) -- components are, in the long term, consumables; however frames aren't (for non-sponsored riders at least!)

    No matter which bike you choose, I'd certainly get a set of wheels made with 32 or 36 spokes.
     
  4. Colonel

    Colonel New Member

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    J-MAT and REK,

    Thanks heaps for taking the time to reply to the query. I too like the look and feel of the Cannondale, and have an LBS that is looking into building up a 36 spoke wheelset for the R800 / R1000 (he's going to come back to me with some indicative pricing). There are a number of other things that I would need, including wider bars (I am 50 cm across the shoulders), the normal accessories (shoes, pedals, pump, bottles & cages - the list goes on). Hopefully the price will be competitive with the Trek offer that I have received to date.

    I was talking to a guy about the Cannondale today and he expressed some concerns with the top bar height for taller guys? Do you know what he is concerned about - and should I be concerned? Is it a factor? I don't mind a rougher ride - the Avanti MTB that I currently ride is solid (no suspension).

    I would be interested in anyone's thoughts on the Cannondale R800 - it looks to be a beautiful bike (and I would love to have some cash left over to buy a decent HRM/computer - currently looking at the S710i). Thanks in advance,

    Colonel.
     
  5. rek

    rek New Member

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    About the top tube height concern, that's probably in reference to the standover height -- straddle yourself over the top-tube, and see how much of a gap there is between the tube and your crotch -- should be at least an inch or so for a road bike. This is one of (but not the only!) factors in frame fit. Things like saddle positioning, reach to handlebars, etc. are important, too. Road bike fit is much more critical than mountain bikes -- a centimetre here and there does make a difference.

    Also with regard to frame sizing; different manufacturers use slightly different measuring points when sizing their frames. For example, I was matched to a 58cm Look frame, but due to the way Cannondale measure their frames, their 56cm was my size.

    random mumblings ahead;

    If you are concerned about rougher rides, ask for some wider tyres to be put on (it'll probably come with 23mm tyres as standard; ask if they can be swapped out for 25 or 28mm ones. In my experience, 28s will just fit (I have them on my bike)

    IMO the R1000's paint job looks nicer :) But expect the R1000 to be more expensive than the Trek. Dumping the Ksyriums for built wheels might save you a bit of money.

    Have you decided on double vs triple crankset yet? If you aren't a strong climber, and your local terrain is hilly, you might find a triple is the more practical way to go.

    Shoes; number one concern is comfort. Don't buy something uncomfortable just because it's on special, or has carbon soles where another does not, etc.

    Pedals; I can highly recommend the Shimano Ultegra SPD-SL pedals. They have the wide, stable platform of Look pedals, but the convenience of not being slippery when walking (and likewise, no need for separate cleat covers.)

    S710s are great; though expensive, and a little rough around the edges in its basic cyclocomputer functions, its PC download feature (and the accompanying analysis software) is invaluable. A lot of us here use them.

    Pumps; the Zefal HPX is the benchmark in high-pressure frame pumps (they tuck under the top tube.) They are rebuildable, and can actually pump to high pressures (unlike mini-pumps that only claim to.) The downside is that it doesn't have a pressure gauge -- there are probably similar products from other brands that include one if that is important to you.

    There's a recent thread in one of the mountain bike forums about what should be in a roadside service kit (tools, patches, etc.) which you might find interesting reading.
     
  6. Colonel

    Colonel New Member

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    Rek,

    Thanks again for the reply. There is a heap of great info there, and I certainly appreciate the time you put into it. Just putting some figures down last night, depending on what the LBS guy comes back to me with, I will probably have to go for the R800 if I go the Cannondale way, if I am to get the additional bits and pieces that I want.

    Colonel
     
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