Newbie question....
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  1. #1

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    Newbie question....

    So I've been a mountain biker for 16 years, and a long story short, I have to give it up due to back problems. I would like to get into road riding, but have not been on a road bike since childhood.

    I have been reading the reviews but except for the occasional "this bike sucks" review, every single one says "best bike for the dollar" and "super comfortable"...etc. I'd like to hear it from you folks what I should be looking for in a bike. I was a long time member of the mtbr.com board "Passion", and those folks helped me out here and there, and I'm hoping for the same over here. Here are some questions:

    I have a bad back and need something fairly comfortable, but I'm not looking for a 3 wheeled grandma bike. I do like to go fast.
    I am 6ft 210lbs
    I want to spend close to what I get for selling my mt bike (01 Specialized Enduro FS) which will probably be around $1000-$1400.
    What companies give the best bang for the buck?
    Is steel the best option for comfort?
    Campy or Shimano?
    What sucks out there?
    I know buying a used mtb is quite a risk given the abuse they take...does the same apply for roadbikes, or is it safer to buy used?

    I know, test ride, test ride, test ride. I have test rode the following so far: Spec Roubaix, Spec Allez, Bianchi Eros.

    I would like to test ride: Spec Allez CroMo, Lemond Zurich, Bianchi Veloce

    Any other info you folks have would be great, and thank you in advance.

    Jed

  2. #2
    Collin's Dad
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    Jed, sorry to hear you have to give up mtn biking. I've just been mtn biking for about 3 years, and about a month ago purchased my first road bike so please consider that in my comments below.

    Campy/Shimano: I'd focus more on which bike feels best first, but something notable would be if you started with a campy double and decided to go triple, you wouldn't need new shifters (I think this is true). It's like SRAM and Shimano in the mtn bike world, except that in the roadie world Campy is alot bigger, it's pretty much personal preference and at the price point you are looking at I wouldn't focus too much about it.

    Bang for the buck (buying from an LBS): I think Specialized offers a pretty decent bang for the buck, Giant does also and with the new composite OCR line you might find something you like.

    I think a used road bike would be an okay decision, but I'd want to know what kind of mileage was on the drivetrain, it's condition, etc...

    The old test ride test ride test ride is the way to go. You should also try and make sure that the tires have equal pressure if they are the same size. Wheels also change the ride/comfort also, as well as the saddle. I'm pretty sure the Spec Roubaix has 25mm tires while the Allez all come w/ 23's, 25's are going to give a "plusher" ride at the same pressure generally.

    What'd I test ride: Bianchi Eros, Bianchi Veloce, Specialized Allez Sport, Cannondale R600, Giant OCR1, Specialized Allez Cr-mo comp.

    What'd I end up getting? the allez cr-mo comp. Why? I thought it was the better fitting bike of the bikes I had test rode, plus I liked the thought of cr-mo. I looked at it as: I know at the <$1500 price range I'm not getting a super light race bike; I want a bike/frame that I will hang on to for a long time; if I do want a higher end bike at some time, it'll probably be carbon; if I want a bike to race with, it would probably be alum.

  3. #3
    Nat
    Nat is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNJED®
    So I've been a mountain biker for 16 years, and a long story short, I have to give it up due to back problems. I would like to get into road riding, but have not been on a road bike since childhood.

    I have been reading the reviews but except for the occasional "this bike sucks" review, every single one says "best bike for the dollar" and "super comfortable"...etc. I'd like to hear it from you folks what I should be looking for in a bike. I was a long time member of the mtbr.com board "Passion", and those folks helped me out here and there, and I'm hoping for the same over here. Here are some questions:

    I have a bad back and need something fairly comfortable, but I'm not looking for a 3 wheeled grandma bike. I do like to go fast.
    I am 6ft 210lbs
    I want to spend close to what I get for selling my mt bike (01 Specialized Enduro FS) which will probably be around $1000-$1400.
    What companies give the best bang for the buck?
    Is steel the best option for comfort?
    Campy or Shimano?
    What sucks out there?
    I know buying a used mtb is quite a risk given the abuse they take...does the same apply for roadbikes, or is it safer to buy used?

    I know, test ride, test ride, test ride. I have test rode the following so far: Spec Roubaix, Spec Allez, Bianchi Eros.

    I would like to test ride: Spec Allez CroMo, Lemond Zurich, Bianchi Veloce

    Any other info you folks have would be great, and thank you in advance.

    Jed
    It doesn't really matter which bike you get as long as your shoes don't clash with your outfit.

  4. #4
    BrooklynVelo
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    Jed welcome

    Welcome from a fellow former mtbr.com'er (is that correct?). Anyway to answer your questions.

    1) What companies give the best bang for the buck?

    I believe that the general feeling is that Giant is one of the best bangs for the buck. Excellent componant spec for the $. Others would include Specialized, and Fuji. I'm sure people will add to the list.

    2) Is steel the best option for comfort?

    Ah the comfort question. The most important this is frame design for comfort. You can have a stiff steel frame and a very comfortable al/carbon frame. I'd try as many variations as possible and find what works for you. After all everyone's different. I think that my 01 Al TCR Team is very comfortable.

    3) Campy or Shimano?

    Don't even ask. It's not worth the hassle. Again go out and try both and buy what you find more comfy. My big hands like Shimano, others like Campy and I try not to hold it against them

    4) What sucks out there?

    Prices. Prices for Ultegra equiped bikes will be rising thanks to the increased price for Ultegra 10 speed. Another reason I'm keeping my Ultegra 8 on.

    5) I know buying a used mtb is quite a risk given the abuse they take...does the same apply for roadbikes, or is it safer to buy used?

    I would say it's fine to buy used. I've bought two used roadbikes, one on Ebay and one on the RBR classifieds and I couldn't be happier.

    Other than that good luck with your hunt. I have a feeling you'll love it on the road.
    Damn the Man, Save the Empire
    Brooklyn Velo Force

  5. #5

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    your most important info was the fact that you said you had a bad back. what's wrong? temporary or permanent? a road bike is an awful way to do things when you have a bad back. if it's something more severe, you might consider getting a bike that's made more for comfort. Trek, Lemond, etc.. all make 'em and the difference is the geometery is a little different causing you to sit up a little putting less strain on your lower back. The bike will still be as fast as you can make it go. A friend of mine just got a Lemond Big Sky Series bike and he loves it. He rode a road bike for a while, but it was making him miserable in his lower back. This bike he has now is a "god-send" he says.

    Trek 2100C
    http://www.trekbikes.com/bikes/2005/road/1200c.jsp

    Lemond Big Sky Series
    http://www.lemondbikes.com/2004_bikes/big_sky.shtml

    there's a lot out there.

  6. #6

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    advice

    Since you have had back problems, I would recommend having a bike fitting done or buying from a shop with competent fit experts. Many road bikes are designed for racing with aggressive geometries that can be uncomfortable for people with back or neck problems. One of the big problems is finding a bike that will allow you to raise the handlebars enough. A large drop from the seat to handlebar can pose problems for people with back and neck issues.

    Two brands that seem to be addressing such fit issues are Specialized and LeMond. The Specialized Rouboux frames are specifically designed with comfort in mind, and have relatively long head tubes that allow for higher handlebar heights. Some of the new LeMonds also have extended head tubes, and their relaxed geometry also tends to be more comfortable.

    Although some cyclists claim that comfort has nothing to do with frame material and everything to do with geometry, many of us have found that aluminum frames tend to transmit more road shock and buzz than steel, carbon and ti. Personally, I prefer the ride of steel frames, but many people swear by carbon and ti. If someone swears that aluminum frames are more comfortable, chances are they haven't ridden much on the alternatives.

    With regard to Campy vs. Shimano, let simple economics guide your choice. Both offer quality products. However, it will cost you much more to operate and maintain a Campy equipped bike. The prices for Campy components are much higher than equivalent Shimano ones -- particularly high-wear parts like chains and cassettes. If you like the look and feel of Campy gear, and can afford it, then go for it. But if costs are an issue, then Shimano wins hands down. I've got both groups, and I regret the day I bought Campy because frankly I'm not wealthy enough to afford it.

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