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  1. #1
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    What to Buy: Specialized Dolce Comp Compact vs. Argon 18 Radon?

    I'm a marathon runner, who's a newbie in cycling and wants to get into recreational long distance rides, and maybe entering a duathalon down the road. I've been to various LBS and have narrowed down to 2 bikes: 2011 Dolce Comp ( equivalent to men's Allez Comp Compact line) at $1350 or 2010 Argon 18 Radon for $1600 (Canadian Pricing). Plus, I get free Look Keo pedals with the Argon.

    The Argon has 105 and Ultegra combo, and the Dolce has 105s all around. I've been told that a women's specific design in the Dolce wouldn't make that much of a difference if I get a good fitting in the Radon, especially since I'm an avg size female height 5'5" with long legs and arms, but heard Zertz inserts for the Dolce would help in road dampening, and I'd also get the certified BG Fitting service when they build my Dolce. And the Radon at the other LBS is already pre-built in store, so they would just be adjusting it to fit me. But, the 2010 Radon is a higher priced bike with MSRP at $2399 vs. $1650 for the 2011 Dolce, so I'd be getting a really good deal with the Radon. Plus, aesthetics-wise, the Argon Radon called out to me so much more though, since it really stood out over the Specialized as shown in pics! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks in advance!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What to Buy: Specialized Dolce Comp Compact vs. Argon 18 Radon?-radon-bike.jpg  
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    Last edited by GadgetGirl; 10-24-2010 at 09:34 AM.

  2. #2
    Cycling induced anoesis
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    Given that both bikes generally meet your intended purposes, the next item to focus on is fit (very important).

    It depends on a number of factors, but I'm not sure I agree that even if you get a good fit on the Argon that WSD geometry won't make a difference. WSD is designed for riders (primarily women) that are proportioned long legs/ short torso, so if you do need a proportionally shorter reach, all else being equal, the Argon fitter may have to resort to a fairly short stem length to accomodate, where (because of the WSD's shorter reach) the Dolce could run a standard length stem. Depending on just how short the Argon's stem would have to be, that may alter f/r weight distribution on the bike.

    Also, if I understand you correctly, the Argon is only available in the size you tried. Depending on whether or not that would BE your size in that brand/ model, IMO pretty much dictates whether that's even a good option for you.

    I have no firsthand knowledge of Specialized BG FIT, but from my limited research and everything I've read, it's a very good fit system and doesn't come cheap, so IMO there's some value added services that shop provides. It's fairly safe to say the shop that carries the Argon won't match that fit system.

    Regarding differences in component groups (105 vs Ultegra), don't fret about it. I've ridden both extensively and am hard pressed to tell the difference. Both are refined and very reliable.

    Another thing to consider is warranties, especially considering your looking at frames with mixed materials (CF/ alu). The Argon comes with a 5 year warranty and Specialized offers lifetime to the original owner.

    If you don't already know, I would try to find out the frame sizes of both bikes and (assuming the Dolce you rode was sized to you and fit well) compare both bikes geometry. This may give you some insight into the differences in reach and what a good Argon fit might entail.

    HTH..

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the tips..I told all the LBS that I think I'd need a 50-51cm frame based on various online fit calculator sites (ebicycles, and also competitive cyclist site calculations I did with my reach. and my 29" inseam). The one selling the Dolce said the exact frame size would be chosen for me based on the BG Fitting they would do, so they wouldn't know exactly my size yet, so it sounded like it would be a really good in-depth fitting. And for the Radon, based on my measurements, I think I would fall between the XS size (47-50) or the S (51-53). And since it's hard to find Argons, I had to go to 2 different LBS to get each size, and of course the one selling the XS size said that would be my size, and the other selling the S size, said the S would be my size, so I don't know who to believe.. They all felt about the same to me since I'm a newbie and yep, I'm pretty sure the fitting I would get at the Argon stores wouldn't be as indepth as the Specialized store with the BG fitting, but they all still claim to provide pro fitting.
    Last edited by GadgetGirl; 10-24-2010 at 11:56 AM.

  4. #4
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    With a first bike purchase, you're buying the shop as much as you're buying the bike.
    Although you may not need a wsd frame, I would pay attention to the saddle width, handlebar width and reach for the brakes, as those will all make a huge difference for ride comfort. My wife and I went through the BG Fit system earlier in the week and she ended up switching to a much narrower handlebar and a new seat. It has made all the difference. Make sure whichever shop you go with will switch out all those parts if you need to.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GadgetGirl
    Thanks for the tips..I told all the LBS that I think I'd need a 50-51cm frame based on various online fit calculator sites (ebicycles, and also competitive cyclist site calculations I did with my reach. and my 29" inseam). The one selling the Dolce said the exact frame size would be chosen for me based on the BG Fitting they would do, so they wouldn't know exactly my size yet, so it sounded like it would be a really good in-depth fitting. And for the Radon, based on my measurements, I think I would fall between the XS size (47-50) or the S (51-53). And since it's hard to find Argons, I had to go to 2 different LBS to get each size, and of course the one selling the XS size said that would be my size, and the other selling the S size, said the S would be my size, so I don't know who to believe.. They all felt about the same to me since I'm a newbie and yep, I'm pretty sure the fitting I would get at the Argon stores wouldn't be as indepth as the Specialized store with the BG fitting, but they all still claim to provide pro fitting.
    FWIW, I don't hold the online fit calculators in very high regard. IME at best they get a rider in a range that'll work for them. 20 minutes with an experienced fitter will yield better results.

    Just a guess, but given your inseam and (seemingly) slightly shorter reach requirements, I would think the Argon in XS would be the better choice. But as I said, just guessing.

    Because the Specialized shop offers the BG FIT, I'll offer that I'm admittedly biased here, but a good way to determine who is going to better serve you 'fit-wise' is to ask both shops to detail their fit process. I think there are already indications that the Argon shops are going to fit you to their in stock inventory and (in all honestly) don't view that favorably. It tells me that only one of the shops will get sizing right, and that's key to a good fit.

    Lastly, try not to let price differences (as in, MSRP versus street) influence your decision too much. All bike brands have healthy markups, but there are a couple that IMO go beyond the norm. So when they 'reduce' their price, it appears to be a great deal, but in reality, the bike is competitively priced.

  6. #6
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    All good advice here. The only thing I can add is to make sure that the LBS will swap some parts after you have been riding a bit. When I bought my first new road bike in over 25 years, the fitter thought I might need narrower handlebars, but that I should ride with the stock bars first. It took only 10 miles to figure out his guess was right. Back to the shop to swap bars and stem, and it’s about perfect.

    As you are a marathon runner, I’ll guess that you will be riding really long distances. Especially with extended rides, you will appreciate fit way more than price.
    Last edited by seacoaster; 10-25-2010 at 09:21 AM.

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