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  1. #1
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    Thinking about the Tommaso Imola

    Alright, I told myself I have exactly $500 to spend on a bike. I know there will be a lot of people saying to get a used bike, but I've been hunting around on the bike-rich Chicago craigslist for over a year and have get to get a sweet deal (there have been some deals that slipped by). It seems that 52cm bikes are hard to come by.

    Right now, I have some ancient Murray that gets the job done(got it for $40 ), but I finished college last semester and took my bike back to Kansas with me. It's got some no-name shifters, brakes and everything, but it served me well (and is serving me well in Kansas). Now I go back to Chicago in about a month, but I'm not taking this bike with me and the thought of being in Chicago without a bike makes me sad so I really want to get one as soon as I get back.

    Now, I love going fast and have delusions of racing one day, but I can't justify paying over $500 for a bike since one of my main reasons for buying one is to save money on transportation ($2 subway rides, boo) and since I spent $80k on undergrad and will spend $160k+ on grad school. So, after hunting for about a year, I decided I might pull the trigger on the Tommaso Imola, but they have two options: the Imola with Carbon Fork and without. The former will bring me almost $50 above budget whereas the latter will put me at $500 exactly.

    Now the question is whether or not it is worth it to "fork" over the money for the, uh, well, fork? (see what I did there? )

    P.S. If you guys have recommendations to better bikes for the price, let me know as well.

  2. #2
    Cycling induced anoesis
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    Depending on the types of roads you'll be riding, a CF fork offers a measure of comfort. OTOH, if utilitairian trumps comfort, stay with the standard fork.

    I'm not sure I'd call these better choices, just more choices. FWIW, the Galaxy is steel.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/mercier/galaxy.htm
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/dawes/lt1500.htm

    Here's BD's main road bike page:
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/road_bikes.htm

    Regarding fit: I know you're not new to road riding but fit really does matter, so (assuming your current bike is comfortable and set up correctly - for you) it would be good to take some measurements and compare the geo to any new bikes you're considering.

  3. #3
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    I can't help you out on the carbon fork decision as my bike doesn't have them and I've never ridden a bike that did. However I can tell you that I have a Tommaso Capri which was their low end model before the Imola. I love the bike. I've had it for 4 years give or take and have never had any problems with it. I rode an old bike like you for years and this was like night and day for me. I used the online fitting chart when buying the Tommaso and I had no issues with fit.
    https://system.netsuite.com/c.364039...etry/Imola.jpg

    I ride 7 to 10 miles a few days during the week and a 20 to 30 mile ride on the weekend. The Tommaso works great for me.

    Good luck in your decision.

  4. #4
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    I'd get the carbon fork.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dresden
    I'd get the carbon fork.
    Yikes, that definite about the carbon fork?

    Another question I have is in regards to the Shimano 2203 shifters. I've heard from some that they are comparable to Sora and from others that they are a step below. Anyone know for sure how they are compared to Sora?
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  6. #6
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    Just basing that on my experience with the fork on my '97 Fuji Roubaix. It's a steel bike that came with an aluminum fork. I switched it out for a carbon fork and there's a noticeable lessening of the road vibration transmitted to my hands.

  7. #7
    Cycling induced anoesis
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    Quote Originally Posted by roldy
    Yikes, that definite about the carbon fork?

    Another question I have is in regards to the Shimano 2203 shifters. I've heard from some that they are comparable to Sora and from others that they are a step below. Anyone know for sure how they are compared to Sora?
    Shimano's 2200 series is a step below Sora's, but it's close functionally and mechanically. One spec worth noting is that the 2200's are 8 spd compatible, while the Sora's (and Tiagra's) are 9 spd compatible.

    Regarding CF forks, my experiences mirror Dresden's. I have a '91 Serotta Colorado ll (steel w/ steel fork) and after a crash replaced the fork with a low priced CF fork and could tell a (positive) difference. But as I eluded to in my previous post, if utilitarian trumps comfort, the standard fork will do just fine.

  8. #8
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    Hm, well, if I spring for the CF the total price is $538 compared to the next-up model (the Monza) which is $699 (free shipping). Thats an extra $160 for Shimano Tiagra/105 components. Boo, now I'm back to square one, haha. I think I'll just wait a little bit and re-evaluate my funds
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  9. #9
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    While the Tommasso Imola is a good entry level bike, I'd try and stretch the budget and move up to the Monza. The components are better and should quell the need to upgrade for a while. I can not stress the issue of fit enough, I assume you're thinking of buying from RS Cycles via the net. I also purchased my first road bike from them, a Capri, 4 years ago. I used one of the online fit programs (don't remember which one) and while it will get you in the ball park, nothing beats actually riding the bike before you buy. If you do go with the Imola, RS offers a "Pro build" where they assemble the bike, adjust everything then test ride before disassembling the bike for shipment. I rode my Capri for about two years before selling it on Craigslist and didn't have any major issues with the bike. By the way when I purchased my new bike, I found out that the Capri was actually to small for me after I was fitted at the LBS.

  10. #10
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    hey roldy.. im in the exact same boat as you, except im considering a 54cm imola. as far as the 2203 shimano, i was initially concerned as comparable bikes direct models have sora for the same price and saw it as a weaker component set. but from what ive been reading, the difference is negligible between 2203 and sora. its all entry level gear and there is nothing wrong with that when you are an entry level rider.

    i eventually blocked out the recommendations to "find a used ride on craigslist with better components" or my favorite "wait another year and save up for a better machine from an LBS". i have a $500 budget that will not grow just because i wait a year. in a year, i'll be spending that extra money on crap for my kids, not to be comforted by trek stickers on a bike frame. with respect to all on this forum, people can get caught up in the component up-sell and the added piece of mind it represents without understanding if that piece of mind translates into value.

    let me know if you buy it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by flashflood1972
    hey roldy.. im in the exact same boat as you, except im considering a 54cm imola. as far as the 2203 shimano, i was initially concerned as comparable bikes direct models have sora for the same price and saw it as a weaker component set. but from what ive been reading, the difference is negligible between 2203 and sora. its all entry level gear and there is nothing wrong with that when you are an entry level rider.

    i eventually blocked out the recommendations to "find a used ride on craigslist with better components" or my favorite "wait another year and save up for a better machine from an LBS". i have a $500 budget that will not grow just because i wait a year. in a year, i'll be spending that extra money on crap for my kids, not to be comforted by trek stickers on a bike frame. with respect to all on this forum, people can get caught up in the component up-sell and the added piece of mind it represents without understanding if that piece of mind translates into value.

    let me know if you buy it.
    right now i am stronly considering the imola + pro build sans the carbon fork for $558. the only things keeping me from making the purchase right away are 1) im gonna wait until i get back to chicago 2) i re-evaluated my funds and i have a bit more than i originally thought and 3) for $758 (+ pro build) you can get the monza with much better components.

    but in the end, i really think i'll get the monza (at least i think it looks secksier) and i'll let you know how it works out but it won't but until the 29th-ish
    Last edited by roldy; 06-05-2009 at 12:33 PM.
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  12. #12
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    oh wow, heads up to those considering the imola. the imola without carbon fork is now $399 instead of $458 making it ~$100 cheaper than the carbon fork version. i think that pretty much helped me make up my mind, haha.
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  13. #13
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    well, for those waiting for my review on the imola, im sorry but i saw a gt zr 4.0 on ebay and grabbed it for $470-ish
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