Buying a Road Bike

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by robjs, 2 Jan 2008.

  1. robjs

    robjs New Member


    I'm having a few issues with trying to buy my first road bike. I've been riding MTBs for a long time, and really got into riding this year as a break from work/studying.

    I'm pretty sure of my sizing on a MTB, and I have a really vague idea of my road bike sizing (~53cm).

    Now, the plan was to go down to a local cycle shop, and try and ride a 53cm frame, and see how it felt. I don't really trust buying a bike without having ridden it first - especially when I have no idea on frame sizing!

    Unfortunately, the Evans nearest me has no road frames that are 53cm, and seem to have absolutely no knowledge about what the fit should be like for me - also, they want to charge 25% of the bike price as a deposit just to order it in so that I can see what the frame sizing is like. This seems pretty stupid, since I don't even know that 53cm is the right size for me - they're just going to be holding onto a chunk of my money for a while for no huge reason (I mean, isn't this the reason that they're a chain, they get the economies of scale of moving bikes around? I might understand if they had to order it from a distributor...).

    I've got a few other cycle shops around (being in central London), but I'm really unsure as to what to do about getting fitted - places like CycleFit seem to offer quite a limited (and expensive!) selection of bikes.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on a good place to buy in London, or how to get around the whole fit problem? My fallback option is likely to be going back up North under the pretense of seeing some family to buy a new bike ;-)

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    You've got the right idea, try before you buy. As Evans won't play ball keep searching till you find a shop who will. You are spoilt for choice in London and although you might be put off by your experience in some retailers there are plenty that are run by enthusiasts who will give you knowledgeable advice and a test ride.
  3. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Hi robjs and welcome.

    I'd echo Smokin's advice, if it's your first road-bike you need to know that you have good fitting advice etc.
    Evans are a big chain which is also their weakness, they're levels of service are variable.

    Being in London I'd put Condor Cycles near the top of your list and there is also Bike Plus and Geoffrey Butler down Croydon way...not forgetting Pearson Cycles in Sutton too from past purchasing. But definitely hop over to Condor.

    My last bike I bought at AW Cycles in Caversham (Reading), not far from Londinium, thet gave me a basic bike-fit for £30 which was discounted from the price of a full-price bike. It consisted of a basic set of body measurements plumbed into a computer to provide the ideal main bicycle dimensions...the bike shop then swapped-out stems and cranks as required...have to say it was pretty much spot-on. Other stores will do the same.
    Good hunting...spied anything you like yet? How's the budget?
  4. goo_mason

    goo_mason Champion barbed-wire hurdler

    Leith, Edinburgh
    Is it a good idea to get measured up for any road bike ? I'm considering getting one on the Bike To Work scheme in April, but ours is through Halfrauds. I know now that they will source any bike for you and not just what they themselves sell, but as they'd have to order one in for me I'd not be able to get 'measured up' first.

    Or would it not really be worth the hassle for a £300 - £400 bike ? After all, I could go and try a few out somewhere else first (eg. Edinburgh Bike) and get a good idea of frame size.

    I was thinking along the lines of a Giant SCR3 for a first roadie - thoughts ?
  5. OP

    robjs New Member

    First off, thanks for the replies, welcome and advice.

    Fab Foodie: That's definitely the kind of thing that I'm after - when having discussed things with chain shops before, there's far too much of "oh well, this is how this bike comes, you can't change it". My commuter bike has really wide bars that Evans wouldn't swap out as a result of this :biggrin:

    Budget wise, I'm looking up to around £1,400 I think. I'd quite like something quite light since I have to carry my bike upstairs a few flights of stairs. Also, my current aluminium bike is reasonably harsh, and I'd like something that perhaps damps vibrations a little better. Also, as I've found with my current bike, if it's being ridden often, better quality components tend to last longer.

    I quite like the look of the Orbea range or Bianchi since both seem to have full-carbon bikes with 105/Veloce that are within my price bracket. However, hard to say if I don't know what's going to fit.

    Since this is going to be a bike for when I'm not commuting, at weekends, and joining some group rides I'd like something that's comfortable, but also quick, and fun to ride.

    I'll check out the stores that have been mentioned, thanks!
  6. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Might be worth trying another branch, or speaking to someone else (the manager?) at the one you've been to. My local Evans (the Manchester store) were excellent, extremely helpful, knew their stuff, and willing to spend a good half hour showing me bikes although I'd made it clear I wasn't buying that day (they were very happy to order a Dahon Jack in for me to try, for example, even though I only expressed a vague interest in the bike on the off chance I couldn't get a non folder on the train :biggrin: ). Quite often that's the thing with chains - get the right store, or right person, and you're laughing...

    Given your budget, I reckon you're entitled to be a bit picky about the service you're getting. If you can find somewhere to test ride one, Planet X do some very nice bikes with the equipment levels you're thinking of, and could be worth a look too.
  7. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Goo - I'm in a similar boat myself (although not getting my first roadie, I'm looking at getting my first "modern" (compact frame, integrated brake/shifters of some sort) bike fairly soon).

    My limited experience suggests that bike fit will matter more as you do more miles - things that were little niggles on my 16 mile round trip commute became more of a pain (sometimes literally) on my new 27ish mile round trip. I suspect that doing more miles still (long runs at the weekend etc) would increase the discomfort caused by a poor fit still further.

    I'm heading off to the local Giant dealer to look at the SCR range myself later on today (hoping I can still get a 2007 model with a discount).
  8. walker

    walker New Member

    Bromley, Kent
    have you tried popping into cycle surgery as they hold plenty of road frames in store
  9. jashburnham

    jashburnham New Member

    IME Evans are crap. I'd second Condor & Pearson and add Sigma Sport (Hampton Wick) to the list, I bought a bike from them at the end of last year and they couldn't have been friendlier or more helpful.
  10. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    For Evans, think Dixons.
    For Condor, think small(ish) boutique where a truly personal service is possible.

    If you are happy that you know your size and want to maximise bang for buck at the expense of some exclusivity then the big internet stores can deliver.
  11. Twenty Inch

    Twenty Inch New Member

    Behind a desk
    I'd never walk into Evans or Cycle Surgery. Perhaps it's different outside London, but in London they are almost always staffed by surly, couldn't-give-a-toss piercees that would sooner walk away from you than serve you.

    Sigma Sport in Hampton Wick are good, Bicycle Magic in Whitechapel are old friends but unlikely to have what you are looking for, Condor are great.
  12. Paulus

    Paulus Getting older by the minute

    There is a shop in North Finchley, Nth London called Shorter Rochford, which is very good. They sell a wide range of road frames with their own name on to build up, and ready built up bikes from trek, Specialized and Giant. With your budget you could get something very good.
  13. Mortiroloboy

    Mortiroloboy New Member

    LoL!!! Not surprising the amount of wonga your bike cost!!! Happy New Year;)
  14. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    South Manchester
    Your budget will get you a good machine, so don't be fobbed off - get as much as you can for your cash...

    Ribble with Ultegra is £999 (Focus / Planet X and PBK's are similar) and £1400 would go Dura Ace.....
  15. OP

    robjs New Member

    Thanks for all the awesome advice - I'm going to see if I can get over to Condor this weekend to have a chat with them, and give Sigma a ring to see what they'd recommend (and whether it's worth me going over there to check it out).

    I'd seen the Planet X bikes, and they look really nice for the money - unfortunately I've not found anywhere that I can test ride one yet.

    Thanks again for all the suggestions, and I'm sure I'll be back to comment in here once I've ridden some bikes :-)

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