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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    2013 Diamondback Airen 4 vs. 2012 Cannondale Synapse 5 105

    Which women's bike would you recommend for a first-time beginner triathlete? I hope to use this bike as my starter bike and invest in something better quality in 3-4 yrs time.

    The Airen 4 has Shimano Ultegra components with alum/carbon fork frame. The Synapse has a Shimano 105 components also with alum/carbon fork. I can get the Airen for $1300 and the Synapse for $1200.

    I am measured to fit a 52.5" frame... the Synapse I'm looking at is a 51" and the Airen I can get in a 52".

    I am also considering the 2013 GT GTR Series 1 ... with Ultegra/Tiagrac comps & Alum/Carb fram. Only $1299 which seems a good deal. Only one bike shop in town sells the GT brand though so that has me worried.

    Recommendations? Other suggestions?
    Last edited by klynshoe; 07-08-2013 at 01:33 PM.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Get the one that fits. But...I'm not a fan of Diamondback, and the Synapse sounds too small.

    Also, why are you looking at a Synapse for a race frame? It's very relaxed geometry. (Though it totally makes sense as a beginner).

    My advice is to look at the CAADs from Cannondale. They are superb frames. Available in men's and women's geometry.

    Do you know if you need men's (unisex), women's, or can ride both? (They both work for me, depending). What is your height and measured leg length? (Did they measure your inseam? Or just tell you which they thought fit?).

    Are your legs long in proportion to your overall height? About average? Or short (so long torso). What about your arms? The 'classic' women's bike accommodates someone with long legs in proportion to height, and shorter arms. Men's long torso, and long arms. I have short torso, and long arms, so I can, depending on geometry, ride both.

    A woman who is petit with short arms, but a long torso, may be better on a women's bike because of her arms, even though long torso technically calls for mens.

    If you can ride men's (unisex!) there is more to choose from. Look at the CAAD8 105 or Tiagra (nothing at all wrong with Tiagra, the frameset is more important, you can always upgrade later). If you absolutely have to have women's, they only have the CAAD10 available (costs more). The lowest was Tiagra, but the 10's cost more than the 8's, so better with men's. (Though the women's CAAD10 in black with blue accents is beautiful, so is the white).

    I'm a little concerned with a shop that measures you, then tries to sell what is onhand (assuming they were both at the same place). It does happen where they try to push the stuff unhand off on a new rider. Ideally, they measure you, then order the bike that fits. And maybe give you a little discount since it's such a simple sale for them. They don't have to try to sell, it's a guaranteed sale, etc.

    Also, my last rode bike was a carbon synapse. I just bought a CAADX last month. (Same as the road CAAD8's and 10's, but it is a cyclocross, so slightly wider tires, and can go on or off-road). Even though it is aluminum, I feel it's a much better frameset than my Synapse was. Just saying.

    CAAD10 WOMEN'S 6 TIAGRA - CAAD10 - Elite Road - Women's - Bikes - 2013

    CAAD8 6 TIAGRA - CAAD8 - Elite Road - Road - Bikes - 2013

    One thing more. YOu mentioned you were sized on a 52.5. Was that supposed to be the advertised size bike? (So seat tube?), or do you need a 52.5 cockpit (top tube). Makes a huge difference. Also, geometry from bike to bike is not the same. Especially when comparing different brands. So no, you do not always need a 52.5 size, though it is possible that is the best top tube for you. (But that is hard to determine without a good fitting for a new rider). So, wondering what that number is based on. A size 51 bike doesn't mean much, you need to look at top tube.

    Confused yet? Sorry.
    Last edited by aureliajulia; 07-08-2013 at 07:44 PM.

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