fuji newest, orbea aqua, felt z100, or allez?
Hey all, I'm looking for my first road bike, I use to ride mtb. I've been looking at the 4 bikes in my title. Any input?
A few different pricepoints there, if I remember right.
Did you ride them? What did you think?
As with MTB, you're better off spending your "real" number - if you try to cheap out on this, you'll usually end up spending the money on new parts or something after the fact.
IIRC, the Newest doesn't come in sizes as fine as the others. That may or may not effect you.
I haven't been able to ride them yet, but I'm hoping to stay in the 800 range, I'm not too worried about having 2300 components. I plan on upgrading later on. And I may go over my price range for the right bike. Road bikes are new to me so I'm really looking for a decent entry level.
Before getting too far into the fairly minor differences between the bikes, I think it would be good to define your intended uses and consider overall fitness/ flexibility. Why I say this is because two of the bikes you're looking at (Aqua and Allez) are pretty much race bikes, so their geometry will provide quicker steering/ handling and (all else being equal) place the rider in a more aero (aggressive) position.
The two others are slightly more relaxed, with longer wheelbases and taller head tubes, so handling will be a little more predictable and rider position more upright. The differences are subtle, but based on a number of factors, many have preferences.
Next comes fit, so once your uses are defined visit some LBS's for test rides. Once you've been sized/ fitted, head out on the roads focusing on fit/ feel, ride and handling. The bikes are similarly spec'd, so shifting and control feel should be similar (assuming correct bike set up), but you'll probably still feel differences in ride/ handling qualities. To minimize the differences in ride quality, you could ask that the tires be inflated to similar pressures, based on tire specs and your weight.
Another aspect to consider is the LBS's you'll be dealing with. Ideally, you'll find the shop that you prefer with the bike you prefer, but that doesn't always happen. Then you'll have to weigh advantages and disadvantages of the shops (location, expertise) with the bikes they carry. If it's important to you, ask about warranties. I know Specialized and Felts carry limited lifetime warranties on their framesets, but I'm not sure of the other two.
Lastly, the bikes you've selected are all good quality bikes and represent a decent sampling in this price range, but (if available), to expose yourself to what's out there, ride some others as well. Test rides are IMO fun, and can be a learning experience.
I was recently looking for a bike in that range and was seriously considering one of the gt bikes like this......
Looks like there are only small and xsmall left online.
I checked one out and they seem to size a little big.
Try as many bikes as you can.
The geometry of different bikes is something you need to feel in person and sizes across each brand vary tremendously.
You'll find something you like.
You'll know it once you have ridden a few different types and models.
With all due respect, and in my opinion, this is a stupid plan.
Originally Posted by Shane1000
I see three(ish) approaches here.
1) Get the 2300 bike. Swap out the components over time, bringing your spending on the bike to the level of one a model or two higher than the spec. you end up with. Fail to recover any money on the 2300 components because while I thought they shifted fine when I test rode a bike with them, they're not glamorous and EBay is saturated with bike stuff.
2) Decide what your "real" number is. Spend that. Be happy riding the bike mostly stock for the next ten years. (One of my bikes. Some of the best money I've ever spent on cycling.)
3) Decide that your "real" number is $800. There's nothing wrong with that. My number for my commute bikes has always been a lot lower. I also spent less on my mountain bike, which seemed like a good idea at the time but hasn't been terribly efficient in the long run. My 'cross bike came in a little more expensive and I had a period of throwing money at it to get it to perform consistently in races, but it would probably have been fine on the road. I got both of those bikes at or close to retail, though... Either maintain the 2300 and Sora components you get at that pricepoint until they wear out and then replace them over time, a process that should take you years, or look for a bike on consignment or clearance. This is a lot harder because you need the bike to fit you, so you're hoping to find a model that fits well. Particularly short and particularly tall people sometimes have better luck. This is also a little harder for someone who hasn't been riding road for a while because you can't do something like ride the same bike in a 52cm and a 54cm back-to-back. While I've had my plain road bike the longest and feel the most attached to it, it's also my worst-fitting bike. I ended up switching it to a 90mm stem and compact handlebars and have very little saddle-bars drop, and it's still a little bit of a compromise. If I had it to do over, unless I miraculously had the experience that I do now, I would probably have made the same mistake. Road bikes are not supposed to fit differently from XC bikes, if your XC bike is set up to ride comfortably for a couple hours. A lot of mountain bikers (myself at the time included) have some pretty funky expectations and assumptions. If you're thinking about replacing the whole bike, this is in a way a good argument to go with your budget, or even a lower one. I think with the help of a good shop employee, though, you can avoid my mistake. Which argues for retail.
I'm going to take a moment to plug the Torker Interurban. I test-rode a few after I broke my previous commute bike. I ended up buying a bike from a friend, but I was impressed. It's a $600 bike with a mostly 2300 drivetrain and another brand's compact crank. The frame is reasonably nice steel, the fork is cheap steel, (but no reason to believe it's unsafe, just heavy. You're still heavier.) and the bike has all the right eyelets and things to use it for commuting, light touring, mounting full fenders, etc. Basically this is a bike that you can use for wherever road cycling takes you, at least outside of competitive time trialing and heavy touring, something that a lot of other brands' models have lost in the pursuit of looking more like a competition bike. The sales guy described it as being like a working person's Surly, which I thought was apt. Other brands probably have similar offerings, although I thought the compact crank was a really nice touch in a pricepoint that sometimes forces people to use a standard, whether or not it makes any sense for them. I might not want to race it without switching to Tiagra shifters, but that's because I'm spoiled.
If you're going to use this for commuting, I would keep the 2300 components until they wear out. They're not horrible to use, especially if you only use them for recreational riding or commuting. If you have your mind set to upgrade components immediately, then I would just buy the bike with the higher groupset off the bat since that would be more cost effective.
Originally Posted by Shane1000
I test rode a Fuji Newest and a Specialized Allez. I liked the Allez more because it was lighter and I think it looks better.
I'll be doing some commuting to work and back and then longer rides on my days off. When i said upgrade later on, I did mean a couple years from now. I have no problem riding with 2300's. I'm basically doing this because riding is something I enjoy a lot and I need to drop some pounds and get healthy. I'm really interested in the Felt and the Allez, Felt has come highly recommended by a few of my cycling friends and I loved my specialized mtb. Possibly after a few years I might be interested in doing some races for fun, and that is when I would be looking into upgrading components. And I do plan on riding a few more as well.
The commuter who's not a total Fred is probably the user most forgotten by the bike industry lately. At least, the largest companies.
Again, this is going to depend a lot on how your riding evolves, and your region. My most recent acquisition is a '05 Trek Portland. Brilliant bike for everything but a time trial, I think... It's got a little longer wheelbase than a strict racer, but it handles plenty quick and has the flexibility for me to set it up in as aggressive a position as I can handle. It was also easy for me to put a rack and fenders on it, both things I consider a necessity for a bike I use the way I planned to, and do, use it.
Unless you're somewhere totally dry, fenders are awesome. Really. And full fenders are significantly better than clip-ons, although clip-ons are still significantly better than nothing. So have a look at the seatstay and fork crown clearances when you look at bikes. Can you get fenders on? The eyelets are convenient but negotiable, IMO.
If you carry a load for more than a half hour or so, a rack is totally awesome. (And a slightly longer wheelbase so you still ride the bike laden, and not the other way around.) I think eyelets are more of a concern in this case because while zip ties, tape, and malleable sheet metal clamps are enough to secure a fender, it strikes me as a very sketchy way to secure a real load. Having two points on the seatstay to secure a load is preferable to one on the seatstay bridge if you get a choice. I actually found P-clamps to be pretty adequate for this, and preferable to bolting straight to the seatstay bridge, but actual eyelets would be nice.
None of these desires have to mean that you're also someone who wants to sit bolt upright and ride slowly, though, especially if you want to ride faster on the weekend. There's a whole little corner of cycling that's all about riding fast with fenders and a load - randonneur cyclists. Some of those guys are total hammers when they're not doing a brevet, and would still drop me like a clingy girlfriend who wants to stay in on race day when they are.
Since Trek ditched the Portland and have nothing between their racing-style bikes and their heavy touring model, I don't think they really have an appropriate offering. Something my circle sometimes calls a "racemuter."
Cyclocross bikes are popular for this, but frankly I think that the things that make them 'cross bikes - cantilever brakes and sometimes a little extra bottom bracket clearance - make it a lot harder to make them as good on the road as something intended for primarily road use.
The Fuji, at least, has some of the right holes. An acquaintance of mine found that the clearance in the fork was exceedingly tight, though. I think riding with a load goes well with having a little fatter tire. A lot of posters here think that weighing more than 170 lb or so goes well with a little fatter tire. So that's something to think about - can you stuff an appropriately-sized tire for you and your use into the frame? What about if you live someplace wet and want to use real fenders?
Jamis' Aurora actually comes with some of this stuff preinstalled, which is nice. Although the fenders look pretty worthless. The Raleigh Port Townsend is less outside your pricepoint, and has a bunch of this stuff preinstalled. Surly specifically targets this kind of market but not your pricepoint. Ditto Soma and Gunnar. And of course the Torker Interurban I mentioned earlier, although it doesn't come with anything. I think Salsa might have some models too.
I wouldn't worry too much about racing any of these bikes. Strip the commute crap off a light touring/randonneur/racemuter bike and you're set. If you reach the level where it makes a difference, just get whatever purpose-built racing bike your team gets a deal on. You would be anyway. Try to stuff that stuff onto a race bike and you're likely to end up frustrated, and wetter and dirtier when you get to work. IOW, a station wagon with the rear seats thrown out and a big engine will beat a sports car with a little, crappy engine, and you can also go shopping, take your competition wheels to the track, and move a couch.
I got a trek 2.1 and I'm happy with it, no complains at all, hoping to upgrade to a cf maybe in another year or so...
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