Questions about first road bike purchase

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by airosen, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. airosen

    airosen New Member

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    Hi everyone
    I'm soon going to purchase my first road bike...I've been riding MTBs ever since I learned to ride. I have a few questions...
    -I was wondering if there a good time to buy a bike, like when there will be good deals. Are you going to pay less in the off-season at your LBS, or does it really not matter? I'm in the market for an entry bike, nothing too much over a thousand bucks.
    -I've been eyeing the trek pilot series, they seem like the kind of bike I'd want to start off with.
    I noticed it's got a compact frame - keep in mind i'm still in high school so i'm still growing a bit, so will that allow me to grow a bit with the bike? What are peoples' views on compact vs traditional frames?

    -What are the pros and cons of a carbon fork?

    -I notice one difference between the pilot 1.0 and 1.2 is the wheels, the first has "alloy hubs and alex alloy rims with eyelets", and the latter has "Bontrager SSR". Can somebody tell me the difference between those?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. mongooseboy

    mongooseboy New Member

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    well, to start off, MY LBS has better deals in the "off season" because they clear out previous years bikes. i got my '06 Specialized Allez triple for 524.00 and they were selling it for 710. bit of a mark down :)

    The Trek Pilot should be good bikes. Id go for the highest version you can afford, the 1.2 will have better components than the 1.0. The compact geometry really just makes one frame size fit more people than a standard bike, because of the increased stand over the sloping top tube gives you.

    carbon fiber forks suck up a LOT of road vibration. I was shocked when i took the allez for a test spin (it SOLD me on the bike) it was pretty comfortable...DONT buy a bike without a test ride. even a short test ride will let you know if the bike will fit you and your needs.

    being a recent road convert, i can tell you the speed of a road bike is going to put a smile on your face. Before i had to really try hard to average 13 mph on my mountain bike with slicks on a 10 mile loop (lots of short hillls that killed me). Now i can go out on my road bike and not really push too hard and average 15+ mph, over 14-16 miles with more hills, and im not in the shape i used to be even a year ago :) If i had any fairly flat roads (I do but i need some better tires, those roads are full of glass fragments) I could easily average 19 mph. Im gravitationally challenged :D

    Look into both Trek and Specialized, i really think both companies put out very good entry through race level bikes. nothing against other companies, but they are the most avialable to me :)
     
  3. airosen

    airosen New Member

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    Well if I want to buy my bike in the offseason, during the winter, i'm not quite sure how i'll take it for a test ride, in the lovely canadian snow and slush. Hmm...maybe they could throw it on a trainer and teach me a thing or two about posture...never even straddled a bike before with areo handlebars.
    I'm pleased to hear that a carbon fork will absorb some shock - after coming from an MTB that has front shocks and obviously fat, knobby tires, i'm sure that a road bike will feel less forgiving, but i guess the carbon should help.
    I've got trek and specialized on the map, and I've heard good things about Jamis bikes, but I don't really know how to compare them since I don't really understand bike specs that well.
    Anyway, I'm excited to get rid of my old MTB; it's absolute bottom of the line steel, heavy like bricks, but at least it's quite a workout every time I take it for a spin.
     
  4. daveydave

    daveydave New Member

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    Airosen,

    I'm not sure where you live. Things may be different where you are. I live in the Boston area and due to the season change, most of the shops here are just starting to discount their bikes from this past season. Most shops seem to get their first supply in Sept - October. I think the perfect time to pick up something might be within the next 8 weeks, particularly if your climate is similar to mine.

    In the mean time, I'd be riding everything I could to find out what I like, what I want and what I really need. I was even able to get a nice bike 3 weeks ago at a discounted price. I was looking at the Jamis Ventura Comp which lists for $700 and was great. However, the shop owner had a Jamis Race which retails for $1000 and offered it at $850 without blinking. I considered it a great deal because it upgraded me from Tiagra to 105 rear derailer and carbon on the seat stay and real nice shifters. Another great positive is that it's has the same frame as the Jamis Elite. I know I can upgrade to a strong / decent racing bike with what I got. You can check out the difference at jamisbike.com

    I believe the reason he was willing to offer at such a great price was because it appears to be more expensive than most entry level bikes, and it's not going to get the attention of the high-end buyers. That and figuring that it doesn't have the name appeal that cannondale / trek / or specialized have, I don't think he felt he'd sell it before the end of the season.

    My advice, ride 'em. Ask what deals you could get on bikes even if you think the retail price is way out of your range. I'm sure in a few weeks the situation is going to start favoring you in a big way.

    dave


     
  5. Oruboris

    Oruboris New Member

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    The advice to test ride is sound, but also listen to the fitters at the bike store...

    When I got my first road bike, it just_felt_weird. I was used to my mtn, and this was nothing like that.

    Left to my own devices, I'd have ended up on the completely wrong bike. As is, I loooove my road bike. Dunno why, but it seems so intimate, like an extension of me, in a way none of my mtn. bikes ever have.

    But that took a couple hundred miles.
     
  6. airosen

    airosen New Member

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    Thanks for the advice, Dave. I live in Toronto, so the climate's not too different. I'd love to get a bike within the next few months, but the problem is... let's just say I won't be in the proper financial situation until the spring. So I guess I don't have much of an option. But I could try and get something sooner. At what point would most LBSs clear the 07s for the 08s?
     
  7. saintsfan342000

    saintsfan342000 New Member

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    They're already doing this at my LBS. I just got a C'dale CAAD9 Optimo 3, MSRP $1599, for $1250 because in 2008 the same model will run for $1300.
     
  8. daveydave

    daveydave New Member

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    Hi Adam,

    Yep, Toronto would be somewhat similar to Boston, though your fall will probably be shorter. When I started looking in May, I was just blown away by the fact that a road bike entry level would be $700. It took me the better part of 3 months to find the dealers and bikes in my size to get an idea of what I liked. Some you will discard right away just on feel, others will stand out right away. You may look at your current resources as a problem, but I think you are in a good spot. You don't need something right now. As a consumer, this is the most important thing you can have going for you. If it takes you until the spring to afford the bike you want, buy then. If you find something you like in the fall, and can ride it through the winter - do it. Throughout the winter you will find many deals. The last thing a retailer wants is last years stock sitting on their shelves. The most difficult thing for you is going to be finding the right size in the model you like. However, if you are smart, as it appears, you will be able to use the internet to find the dealers in your area with "your bike." You can also use the internet and have your LBS build it if you can't find your size in your area.

    My advice again would be to ride 'em. Go to 5 - 10 bikes shops in your area, don't be opposed to going outside of your area if you are really curious about a bike. The best part about this is that you will find a bike shop that fits your personality & that can be important down the road.

    Dave

     
  9. airosen

    airosen New Member

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    Thanks a lot for the advice, dave! I'm pretty fortunate where I live to be in close proximity to a number of good bike shops, and I'll definitely want to shop around a fair bit to get a good price - I'm in absolutely no rush.
    In terms of sizing, I'm not quite sure what size of a bike I'm looking for. I'm a pretty small guy, only about 5' 5", so if we take, for example, the pilot, it comes in sizes like 50, 52, 54, etc... which one would I be looking for? (I'm assuming that when I decide to make a purchase, the guys at the LBS will make sure the bike fits me...)
    Oh and I feel like if I bought a bike new in the middle of the winter, I'd be scared to ride it in fear that I'd get salt and slush all over the drivetrain and components...but I suppose that's all just part of living in this climate. :)
     
  10. D.F.L.

    D.F.L. New Member

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    Two solid entry bikes would be a Trek 1000 (what I started out on) or a Masi Alare. The step ups closing on your stated price would be a a Masi Nuova Strada or the Trek Pilot series, pretty much just stepping up the component mixes.

    At the entry level, I'd almost say take the step back to the very entry level frames and components. Your fork and seat post will be carbon and the 'lower end' components are still very good. Plus, they are a lot cheaper. This gives you some more money to make sure you find a good saddle, pedals, and shoes (three really damn important things to somebody getting on the road). Then there's a good pair of shorts, the gloves, a sweet helmet, and so on. All the little extras can add up fast.

    Bear in mind though, whether you're getting a TT bike worth more than your car or looking for a good deal on an entry road bike, the most important thing is whether or not you like riding it.
     
  11. wineandkeyz

    wineandkeyz New Member

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    It's hard to tell which size you'll need; it's not just about height, it also has to do with where your height is (in your legs, trunk, etc.). I'm guessing you'll probably end up on a 52 or 54, though.

    And to answer one of your earlier questions, yes, a decent LBS will put you up on a trainer, and will fit you to the bike. They'll look at the seat height, seat position forward to back, stem length, etc., etc., etc., and should tweak it quite a bit to get it just right for you. If they're any good, they'll spend a whole lot more time with you AFTER you've bought the bike than they did in helping you pick it out in the firtst place.

    As far as pricing, now's probably the time to get your best deal on 07's if you can afford it. Also, if you're looking at bikes with Shimano gear, a lot of folks recommended to me to go with their 105 hardware or better.
     
  12. masi rider

    masi rider New Member

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    I got 2 Masi Alares 1 for me and 1 for my wife, left over 06's. Retailed for US$750, got both for US$530 ea.:cool: Great bikes, love it, will serve us for a long time ahead.:D Basically take your time when buying,,,,,look eveywhere and you will get a good deal. I knew I wanted a Masi and it took a while to get the deal I got. Mosy entry level bikes are the same,so go with what you like and can afford.
     
  13. mongooseboy

    mongooseboy New Member

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    I know all the bike stores around me are just starting to mark down price and have the '07s on closeout. I just got a flyer in the mail from a bike shop ive never even been too (guess now i have to go check it out?) Not that i can even afford anything since ive been recently layed off.... but never hurts to look :) Sure cant beat saving a bunch of money on a bike that is BRAND new. Hope you can find what your looking for...I figure ill be upgrading compnents in a year or so once i can get a decent job. I love my frame, now i want campagnolo veloce and new wheels... although if these wheels stay ture like they have been, I might skip that part...

    good luck! and happy riding :)
     
  14. bweltondav

    bweltondav New Member

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    hi-mountain biking has always been kind of a hobby of mine but I'm hunting for a road bike. All of this is good advice but I was just wondering what particular components I might want to focus on now that I'm in the market for a bike. The trek 1000 is my most serious consideration right now--other than my LBSs, are there any website and the lot that i might find a good deal at (given that i already know my size)...
    thanks
     
  15. davidhowland14

    davidhowland14 New Member

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    you really want to buy your first road bike at an LBS to get the support and help that they can offer you. Buying off of ebay or criagslist is great when you know what you need/want in a road bike, but buy your first one at an LBS. THey'll get you fitted to the bike and get you on a bike that fits you. Trek 1000 is a great starter bike. It's an all around solid bike and Trek is a great company for road bikes.
     
  16. D.F.L.

    D.F.L. New Member

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    The 1000 is what I started on, and I still ride it on occasion. While the components are 'lower end' Shimano, that doesn't mean they are bad. In fact, now a days, you have to really go searching for bad components, and you're certainly not going to get anything crappy on a Trek.

    Buy at your LBS. You know what your getting and they'll service it for you. Might even get a better deal on a 'last year's model' if they have one.
     
  17. gravelmuncher

    gravelmuncher New Member

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    My first roadie was a Trek 1400, and was a fantastic bike. However, for someone who is inevitably going to grow out of a bike, I would have to suggest that your best value-for-money option would be a Giant. I've never owned one, but I ride with a few people who do - and have never heard them complain about their bikes. A couple of my Giant riding buddies are also VERY strong, fast riders.
     
  18. airosen

    airosen New Member

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    Ok so I'm getting a good vibe about the entry Treks - what do people think about the pilot series?
    I'm eyeing the '07 Pilot 1.2...
    [​IMG]
     
  19. davidhowland14

    davidhowland14 New Member

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    My personal opinoin on the pilot series is that you should just go with the more agressive geometry, it'll pay off later. Notice how the top tube in that bike slopes upwards? more agressive geometry would have a level bar.
     
  20. airosen

    airosen New Member

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    So you're saying I should go with a more traditional frame?
    How will a horizontal top tube pay off? (Keep in mind, I don't think I'll be doing much (or any) racing on this bike)
     
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