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  1. #1
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    New Defy - Selection Help, Please

    Hello,

    After a 20 year hiatus, I got back to cycling last year. I bought a Giant Defy 3, aluminum with 9-speed Sora. I've enjoyed cycling again much more than I anticipated and plan to upgrade bikes shortly. The Defy geometry seems to suit me, and more importantly to me, of the three LBS in my area, the Giant dealer is clearly the most helpful and knowledgeable. So i plan to get a "better" Defy.

    I am 50 years old, 6'1, 190 lbs. I live in a very mountainous region. I ride mostly for fitness with some minor club racing and sportifs. My budget is $2000.

    Option 1: 2016 Defy Advanced 1
    - Pros: Ultegra groupset; better wheels
    - Cons: even discounted, it is at the tip-top of my budget; biggest rear sprocket is 28t and I use my current 32t quite a bit in the mtns

    Option 2: 2016 Defy Advanced 3
    - Pros: only $1400, has the same frame as the more expensive 1, I personally love the paint job
    - Cons: 10-speed Tiagra (still an upgrade from my current bike), poorer wheels (same my current ones)

    Option 3: 2017 Defy Advanced 3
    - Pros: as #2 above, but this gets hydraulic disc brakes rather than mechanical
    - Cons: it would have to be bought, then ordered; no discount, it's $1550

    i would greatly appreciate any advice you can give. Although I've been riding for a year I still feel fairly naive when it comes to valuing bikes and components.

    Thomas

  2. #2
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    Personally, I'll go with the paint job that I like the most. Parts can be changed and upgraded. The paint job? No so much.
    Wake me up when it's alarm green.

  3. #3
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    Thank you, tach, that makes good sense, so I'll factor that in. And saving that $600 would leave something in the bank for future upgrades.

    Loaded question I ask in that regard. How long many miles is the norm for wheel life, if there is such a thing? (I'll ask my Giant dealer, too.)
    Last edited by Thomas10; 06-04-2017 at 03:36 PM.

  4. #4
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    IMO, if you are going to get a disc brake bike, I would get hydraulic, not mechanical. Hydraulic gives you better modulation. That being said, on a road bike, unless you ride regularly in rain and wet roads, rim brakes work just fine.

    Also, it doesn't seem like it makes a lot of sense to move from Sora to Tiagra. Why are you upgrading in the first place? Moving just one step up in groupo doesn't sound like a good enough reason to get a new bike like and kind otherwise.

    Don't let the 28T cassette of the Ultegra bike deter you. You can probably get your bike shop to swap out the cassette and derailleur. Many shops sell take-off parts on eBay. If it will help them make a sale, they will do it.

    Bottom line: Test ride all the bikes. Buy the one that feels best to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas10 View Post
    Loaded question I ask in that regard. How long many miles is the norm for wheel life, if there is such a thing? (I'll ask my Giant dealer, too.)
    On rim brake wheels, over 10K miles sounds reasonable as brake tracks wear down. On disc brake wheels, 20K miles sounds more reasonable.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



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    Thank you, Lombard, for the advice.

    my biggest reason to buy is to go from aluminum to carbon. My club does lots of very long (to me) rides and I'm hoping the carbon frame will reduce fatigue a bit. I wanted to go to 105 too but my shop has only the Tiagra or the Ultegra in stock. I was fine with rim brakes but certainly don't mind the idea of discs as that seems to be the default now.

    I'm going to go ride them later today and will ask about the possibility of swapping in a cassette with a lower last gear.

    Thomas

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas10 View Post
    I was fine with rim brakes but certainly don't mind the idea of discs as that seems to be the default now.
    For road bikes right now, it appears about 50/50 rim vs, disc brake bikes available. I can tell you that the newest Ultegra rim brakes are excellent in both braking power and modulation. Discs have their advantage in foul weather and mud for mountain bikers, but no advantage for dry weather riding on paved roads. Test ride both and see which you like better.

    My point here is that while you will see rim brakes becoming less common overall, they are far from becoming obsolete. It will be literally decades, before you will no longer be able to get parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas10 View Post
    I'm going to go ride them later today and will ask about the possibility of swapping in a cassette with a lower last gear.
    You will also probably need a different rear derailleur. If the existing one is short-cage, you will need to go to a mid-cage. They shouldn't have a problem doing this as derailleurs are cheap.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  7. #7
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    Update:

    Went to LBS today and talked to owner re my choices. He offered to take an extra $200 off the Advanced 1 and replace the cassette with a Ultegra 11-32 for $80. I took him up on it. This gets me a HUGE upgrade from my starter bike and still gets me out the door right at my budget, even including tax.

    I'll pick up the bike and get a fit on Thursday and I'm about as happy as a pig in fresh mud!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas10 View Post
    Update:

    Went to LBS today and talked to owner re my choices. He offered to take an extra $200 off the Advanced 1 and replace the cassette with a Ultegra 11-32 for $80. I took him up on it. This gets me a HUGE upgrade from my starter bike and still gets me out the door right at my budget, even including tax.

    I'll pick up the bike and get a fit on Thursday and I'm about as happy as a pig in fresh mud!
    Congrats on the purchase! And glad you're pleased with it.

    But for the record: charging you $80 to swap your $65 cassette for a different $65 cassette really wasn't doing you any favors.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fronesis View Post
    But for the record: charging you $80 to swap your $65 cassette for a different $65 cassette really wasn't doing you any favors.
    As I stated before, the rear derailleur probably needs to be changed too. While derailleurs are relatively cheap, they still run around $50 for an Ultegra if you buy online, more in a brick and mortar shop. $200 off minus $80 is still $120 ahead.

    OP, you did well. Congrats!
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    As I stated before, the rear derailleur probably needs to be changed too. While derailleurs are relatively cheap, they still run around $50 for an Ultegra if you buy online, more in a brick and mortar shop. $200 off minus $80 is still $120 ahead.

    OP, you did well. Congrats!
    OP: Lombard is of course right about the need to switch from the short cage to the long cage RD when you go to the 11-32 cassette. You should make certain the shop has actually swapped out the RD's. Some places might try to give you the short cage RD, since it can be made to work with the 11-32, but it will likely cause you problems down the road and is not an acceptable way to go on a brand new bike.

  11. #11
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    Thanks, guys.

    Is is there a way for me to tell if it's the long or short cage, other than just asking? I trust this LBS but you never know.

  12. #12
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    Shimano Chart
    New Defy - Selection Help, Please-shimanochart.jpg

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    Thanks for the chart, JR. I see where one RD has a max of 28t and the other 32t. But I don't see any other differences. Do they look any differnt? Any different part number? Will the short one actually be able to shift into the 32t cog? Should that be evident on the test ride?

    I'd like to be able to tell if it's the right one. I don't want the guys at the shop to say it's good and I don't know the difference. This is too nice a bike for me to think I could have big problems with it in the future.

  14. #14
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    As shown on the chart, the standard length cage is listed as SS and the mid-length is GS. It may however not have this marking on the derailleur.

    See this link for a picture of the standard length; RD-6800-SS

    And here for a picture of the medium length; RD-6800-GS

    Note the difference in the distance between the two idler pulleys.

    And here's a thread talking about the same question. Rear derailleur identification

    hth

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas10 View Post
    I see where one RD has a max of 28t and the other 32t. But I don't see any other differences. Do they look any differnt?
    Yes. The "cage" is the pulleys that hang down from the derailleur. The mid-cage version has a longer distance between the pulleys than the short-cage version. Other than that, there are no markings on the unit itself.

    BTW, there is no such thing as a long-cage road derailleur. Only mountain bike derailleurs are long-cage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas10 View Post
    Will the short one actually be able to shift into the 32t cog?
    It can be made to work, but it is far from optimal. The tell tale sign is when you shift to the 32T cog, you will hear a "motor boating" sound. Also, in order to get this to work, the chain will either be too long in the small/small combo or too short in the large/large combo. Too short in the large/large combo is potentially catastrophic as the chain can bind and rip your derailleur right off your bike. So if a bike shop is going to do a hack like this, they will probably opt to make the chain too long for the small/small combo, simply resulting in poor noisy shifting.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  16. #16
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    Wow, you guys are good. Thanks so much for the info. I'll update when I talk to my LBS.

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    OK, never a dull moment, I guess.

    The dealer had gone with a longer chain with the short cage RD. He explained that it would work fine but I was not good with it. I don't want a workaround, even if it's a good one, on my new bike. One alternative was to order and install the med cage, at cost, but I didn't want to do that. Bottom line, I had them return it to the original 12-28 and chain and bought it that way. I love the bike and still feel like I got a very good deal at $1800, that $800 off retail.

    Now or I have to see if I can actually ride up any if these mountain passes with a 34 x 28 lowest gear. If not, I guess I'll work on switching to a 32T cassette in the near future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas10 View Post
    OK, never a dull moment, I guess.

    The dealer had gone with a longer chain with the short cage RD. He explained that it would work fine but I was not good with it.
    You made the right decision. I have Shimano 105, short cage and 32 at the back. It works, but it's far from ideal.

    As to the durability of the stock Giant wheels: on my previous bike (TCR) the rim of the rear wheel developed cracks after +/- 12,000 km. The break track was still fine.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas10 View Post
    OK, never a dull moment, I guess.

    The dealer had gone with a longer chain with the short cage RD. He explained that it would work fine but I was not good with it. I don't want a workaround, even if it's a good one, on my new bike. One alternative was to order and install the med cage, at cost, but I didn't want to do that. Bottom line, I had them return it to the original 12-28 and chain and bought it that way. I love the bike and still feel like I got a very good deal at $1800, that $800 off retail.

    Now or I have to see if I can actually ride up any if these mountain passes with a 34 x 28 lowest gear. If not, I guess I'll work on switching to a 32T cassette in the near future.
    Well, OK. Personally, I would have let them put in the mid-cage derailleur so I could have the 11-32T cassette to go up any hill I wanted. I like the wider range cassettes at both ends. Since I don't race, closely spaced gears don't matter to me.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  20. #20
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    I though about that. But I didn't want to wait until next week for a bike. And his retail price for a RD was twice what I could get online.

    Im going to try the 28 but I'm wondering if I could do the switch myself for a lot less. Plus, then I could keep the parts as spares or get some money back by selling them. It didn't seem quite fair that he wanted me to buy the new parts, even though the labor was free.

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