Is a road bike right for me, and should I buy now?

mrmacmusic

Über Member
Location
Tillicoultry
Sorry for another "what bike?" type thread, but I'd appreciate some advice.

Back story: I've covered 4,500 miles on the Ridgeback Flight 01 I bought almost exactly a year ago. Although I had an enforced break through December and January, I'm essentially a 5-day a week commuter, covering 28 miles per day on roads and tarmac/dressed cycle-path surfaces, plus I try and get out at the weekend for a longer run (43 miles is my longest so far).

My dilemma is two-fold: firstly, is a road bike actually right for me, and secondly, is this actually a good time to buy (some 2013 models would appear to be making an entrance, but not from all manufacturers)...?

I've been itching to upgrade to a proper road bike for months, and having to repair the Flight following a rear mech hanger snap is fuelling my desire to just fix it, sell it, and trade up! The Flight can feel sluggish and heavy (not helped by the cheap ALDI rack/pannier and SKS thermoplastic mudguards, both now broken), so I'm looking for a more responsive ride – I don't really feel any power transfer to the rear wheel like I use to on my old Trek 6500 mountain bike – and for something that feels lighter and faster.

I want the drops, but I need to ensure that the bike will survive day-in, day-out commuting use in all weathers; be able to take a load (for those Monday and Friday full pannier days!); be comfortable enough on long rides and Sportives (my plan for 2013!), but also feel like it's got some get-up-and-go when I want to press on...

I've been unable to see any of them in the flesh, but from my research I'm most keen on the looks (and specs) of the Cannondale CAAD8 105 and Giant Defy 1. I quite fancy a Trek too as I've always liked them, and their 2013 Domane 2.3 looks particularly interesting! However, the Vitus Dark Plasma VR is intriguing at the current price and I quite like the look of the Carrera Virago, although I do think an aluminium rather than carbon frame would be the most sensible option.

Perhaps I should be looking at a cross such as the Boardman CX Team, although having seen a Focus Mares (ugly) and Specialized Tricross (underspecced for the money IMHO) my concern there is that it just won't feel engaging or lively when I want/need it to, although it probably would be more robust for the commute.

Given that my 'naked' Flight isn't that heavy though (supposedly around 11-12kg), I'm concerned that once a rack, pannier and guards are fitted, none of these bikes would actually feel any more responsive having dropped ~£1k... Maybe that's nonsense, but it's one of those situations where I won't really know until I'm actually riding my new, loaded bike on the commute.

I have also thought about changing to a seat-post rack and bag system (Topeak) rather than a fixed rack, so that when I'm not laden or am wanting to go out for a fast ride, it can be removed in favour of a small seat-post pack with tools'n'tubes.

So... are the Cannondale or Giant (or Trek) robust enough for year-round use, or would the Boardman be exciting enough? Do I buy now, or do I wait?

Help please! :blush:
 

defy-one

Guest
I wouldn't say my giant is robust enough to be a full time commuter,nor would i want to chain a £1000 bike up on the streets.
Can't remember if it has eyelets for a rack, and you wouldn't want all your rack weight hanging off the carbon seatpost anyway.
I think a sturdy roadbike with 25C tyres would be the way to go
 
2013 bikes will either be dearer for the same spec or be a level down for the same price. The best time to buy is when the 2012 bikes are discounted. Some have started already with a CAAD10 Dura ace with nearly a K off. However popular models have been in short supply this year so don't expect a Cube on discount or a Defy1 as I doubt there will be any residue stock to discount.

If you are on tarmac there is no reason why any roadbike shouldn't be ok other than if you need to fit panniers, but if it as the relevant eyelets then why not, depending on the surface and weight it might be an idea to swap the stock wheels for hand built 36 spoke open pros or similar and as DO says 25c tyres for comfort.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
2012 Defy 1 doesn't take a conventional rack - the 2 and below do - BUT they won't take fatter than the stock 25 tyres and reasonable guards

There are almost no Defys left, especially the 1 - at the weekend, I saw a M and an ML, think that's it in about 7 retailers - from £1k RRP, cheapest was ~£850 ; they are light though :smile:

I'd go for an X bike if I had heavy panniers - maybe have a look at some of the other makes, e.g. Ridley - CX specialists - e.g. http://www.wiggle.co.uk/ridley-crossbow-1116a-105-2012/

A seatpost rack won't feel as stable - a colleague uses one on his carbon Ribble and he says it can all feel a bit twitchy - how laden are you for a commute though really?

I am having a similar thought process, albeit a lower budget and was recommended a Ribble winter bike or a Dolan Prefissio (or whatever it's caused) - I am going for an Avail 2 for £700 (the women's Defy 2) - will stick a full topeak rack on and some crud raceblades I think they are called. I have a carbon roadbike so I am not needing a one bike does it all jobbie.

I am also a fair weather 10 mile a day commuter :whistle:

Happy dilemma solving :smile:
 
OP
mrmacmusic

mrmacmusic

Über Member
Location
Tillicoultry
I wouldn't say my giant is robust enough to be a full time commuter,nor would i want to chain a £1000 bike up on the streets.
Can't remember if it has eyelets for a rack, and you wouldn't want all your rack weight hanging off the carbon seatpost anyway.
I think a sturdy roadbike with 25C tyres would be the way to go
Thankfully my bike is taken inside the office at work, so there's no issues with it being locked up outside!

Would you suggest that I interpret "sturdy road bike" as a 'cross?
 
OP
mrmacmusic

mrmacmusic

Über Member
Location
Tillicoultry
The Boardman cx with slicker tyres on might be the way to go
Cheers :thumbsup: I know, but it just doesn't light my fire. It's growing on me though...

Two things still put me off the Boardman... firstly, surely a 2013-14 model is due imminently; and secondly, I'd really prefer Shimano 105. Never had SRAM.
 
OP
mrmacmusic

mrmacmusic

Über Member
Location
Tillicoultry
2013 bikes will either be dearer for the same spec or be a level down for the same price. The best time to buy is when the 2012 bikes are discounted. Some have started already with a CAAD10 Dura ace with nearly a K off. However popular models have been in short supply this year so don't expect a Cube on discount or a Defy1 as I doubt there will be any residue stock to discount.

If you are on tarmac there is no reason why any roadbike shouldn't be ok other than if you need to fit panniers, but if it as the relevant eyelets then why not, depending on the surface and weight it might be an idea to swap the stock wheels for hand built 36 spoke open pros or similar and as DO says 25c tyres for comfort.
So now is the right time to be looking, assuming I can find stock of what I'd like in a 2012 model. I'm running 25c Marathon+ tyres right now on the Flight, and had been considering changing to Durano+
 

vickster

Legendary Member
SRAM is nice and easy to use - believe me if I can get on with it, anyone can! :laugh: I shall need to get to grips with Tiagra on the Avail...wish me luck :whistle:

Apex is comparable to Tiagra, Rival to 105 I think

I know what you mean about the Boardman bikes - great apparently, but the styling is dull for me
 
OP
mrmacmusic

mrmacmusic

Über Member
Location
Tillicoultry
2012 Defy 1 doesn't take a conventional rack - the 2 and below do - BUT they won't take fatter than the stock 25 tyres and reasonable guards... A seatpost rack won't feel as stable - a colleague uses one on his carbon Ribble and he says it can all feel a bit twitchy - how laden are you for a commute though really?
Thanks vickster, that's useful to know :thumbsup: I don't fancy anything twitchy, and the pannier is pretty full on Mondays and Fridays when I'm taking stuff in for the week ahead (or bringing it home!).

I am having a similar thought process, albeit a lower budget and was recommended a Ribble winter bike or a Dolan Prefissio (or whatever it's caused) - I am going for an Avail 2 for £700 (the women's Defy 2) - will stick a full topeak rack on and some crud raceblades I think they are called. I have a carbon roadbike so I am not needing a one bike does it all jobbie. I am also a fair weather 10 mile a day commuter :whistle:
Well, I'm out in all weathers ^_^ I was looking at raceblades too (assuming I do end up with a road bike not a 'cross). Sadly I don't have a carbon road bike, but I do have a Cube MTB... maybe I should forget carrying anything on the road bike, and stick slicks on that for Mondays and Fridays. Hmm.
 
OP
mrmacmusic

mrmacmusic

Über Member
Location
Tillicoultry
SRAM is nice and easy to use - believe me if I can get on with it, anyone can! :laugh: I shall need to get to grips with Tiagra on the Avail...wish me luck :whistle:

Apex is comparable to Tiagra, Rival to 105 I think

I know what you mean about the Boardman bikes - great apparently, but the styling is dull for me
Good luck ^_^

Another problem with the Boardman is that I can't see one... none of the local Halfords have one in stock. Guess the styling should be of similar dullness to the road team though – I just wish it was a bit brighter.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
I guess the question is a) do you want a real toy more or less for the weekends or b) do you want a semi toy that can also be used for practical stuff like commuting. Trying to find a 105 shod bike that will take rack and guards properly is almost the holy grail it seems - commuters don't want higher end bike it seems!

I am lucky to have the finances and space (in lounge :whistle: ) for both, oh and an MTB if I want to get muddy lol

Maybe MTB to take stuff is the solution + semi toy that doesn't need to take a rack...

IF you want a Defy 1 in ML or XL - Cyclesurgery are showing on website at £849... :smile:
 
OP
mrmacmusic

mrmacmusic

Über Member
Location
Tillicoultry
I guess the question is a) do you want a real toy more or less for the weekends or b) do you want a semi toy that can also be used for practical stuff like commuting. Trying to find a 105 shod bike that will take rack and guards properly is almost the holy grail it seems - commuters don't want higher end bike it seems!
Well, I have to be practical – yes, I'd like something nice for the weekend, but equally, I need something to commute on too... I can't believe that there isn't a 105 equipped alloy bike that'll happily take rack and guards?!

Perhaps I should look at building something... I must admit, I really like this (being a Scot, I love the "Stoater" name too) but as it would work out so expensive, I've decided not to look at it too much ^_^
 
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mrmacmusic

mrmacmusic

Über Member
Location
Tillicoultry
Interesting, just not sure I like the styling.

No-one has commented on the Cannondale option I mentioned in the first post yet... should I not even be considering a CAAD8?
 
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