Very Preliminary Road Bike Research

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by punkypossum, 11 Jun 2008.

  1. punkypossum

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    Right, as most of you will know I got bitten by the road bike bug last Sunday (I think I had it in my system for a while, but it's now become a full-blown condition), and although I can't afford one at the moment, I thought I might as well start doing my research now, so I know what to look out for and how much I will have to save...

    Being just under 6ft with a 34"inside leg, I have struggled with mountain bikes in the past to find one that fit me and wasn't too long in the reach (the wsd bikes tend to be too small for me). Suspect the same thing might happen on a road bike. How are they sized, is there some rough guide I can use along the lines of with the elbow against the saddle your fingers should reach the handlebars or something like that? (Yes, I know I'll still have to try, but some rough idea would be good) Would I be better off with a sloping top tube to get a shorter reach? (I think they look better anyway, but is there an advantage?)

    Also, I think I need something with a fairly relaxed geometry, bum in the air flat out racing position is not going to agree with me...

    I'm a bit worried about getting it all wrong when testing bikes as the position will be so different to my current bike (never ridden anything with drop bars :smile:), plus I suspect the bike will feel a lot twitchier than my current little tank, so I'm not sure if I will actually be able to tell in a test ride if the bike is right for me...

    What kind of money do I need to spend to get a decent beginners bike worth upgrading? I'd rather have a good frame and more basic components than vice versa.... I think I want a triple, but would a compact chainset do the same job? And what exactly are the differences in all this sora, tiagra, ultegra, etc. stuff? It doesn't need to be top of the range (in fact, I'll never be able to afford top of the range, but something decent where I won't regret not spending more after a couple of months...

    Could anybody suggest any potential bike candidates for me to look at? Want to use it for longer rides with view to potentially joining a club, not fussed about mudguard clearance, etc...

    I know I might not be able to get one for a while, but I would like to get a rough idea of what to look out for and how much to budget for.

    Sorry for squeezing about 29 questions in one post, but any help would be appreciated!!! Still love my mtb, but feel it's a bit like having a pair of walking boots and wanting some high heels...
  2. piedwagtail91

    piedwagtail91 Über Member

    you may be able to scrounge a ride on a road bike if you go to the ribble valley crc clubroom. they have a lot of women riders who may be able to answer a lot of your questions regarding bike fit.they may get to know of any used bikes that are coming up for sale.

    most of the women in one of the clubs I'm in ride hewitts but they're not cheap and are set up for touring. the shop is worth a look round and it has a good reputation. a clubmate took his wife over to get her position set up and she's very happy with the result .it's only a couple of miles from the end of the riverside/tramway cycle path on the outskirts of lostock hall /leyland.
    women in the racing club tend to favour ribbles, they do have a jig in the shop for bike fitting and all say they are very happy with the bikes.

    if you're thinking of venturing into the dales or forest of bowland I'd go for a's not that you can't get up the climbs on a compact , but some are long ( tatham fell, bowland knotts ) and a slightly lower gear on a triple will make climbing them a lot easier, or so the ladies tell me!.

    when you get nearer to buying a bike have a look at the local club websites. i got a bargain roberts touring bike off the cleveleys road club for sale board.
    most clubs have a sales board.
  3. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    drops and a road bike felt very twitchy to me after my sporty hybrid

    the audax type bikes are relaxed and more comfortable and have rack and guard fittings if wanted
  4. OP

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    Right, sounds like I'll be better off with a triple then, cause that's exactly where I'm planning to go. That's one step forward! :wacko: Is it me or are they rather rare? Have been browsing through the bike shop websites, and most bikes seem to come with a double or compact gearing..

    Could anybody explain the difference between sora, tiagra etc. please? I know the order they go in, but what difference would it make to me? Are some easier to use than others?

    As for Hewitts, yes, I've looked at their website...they don't seem to have anything under £1,000 - leaving second hand out of the equation for now, how much roughly do I need to spend on a decent bike that will be worth upgrading?
  5. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Punky, Shimano have a heirarchy that goes;

    Sora -> Tiagra -> 105 -> Ultegra (Ultegra SL?) -> Dura Ace

    Dura Ace is most expensive, and lightest. Sora is cheapest. Sora is 8 speed on most bikes (although I think the groupset went 9 speed this year). Tiagra is 9 speed, and the others are 10 speed.

    Gear changing on everything but Sora is via moving the brake lever in (to move to lower gear on rear, higher on front) and a paddle behind this lever (to move to higher on rear, lower on front). On Sora, the paddle is replaced by a thumb lever on the hoods - this can be a bugger if you want to change from the drops, although some people get on ok with it.

    Note that moving from 9 speed to ten speed can be expensive (new shifters, derailleurs etc) so buying a 10 speed group now *could* save some expense in the future if you want to move "up" the tree (assuming it hasn't all gone 11 speed by then).

    I can't tell you a lot about Campag because I don't know much about it - I think they do have advantages in terms of being 10 speed across all groups (or easily convertible, at least).

    If you're worried about the riding position, you could ask the LBS to leave you a good spacer stack, and gradually move the stem down it - I did this on my Giant. (Started with the bar tops level with the saddle nose, like on my old bike, and moved the stem down a spacer at a time).

    EDIT: The Ribble bikes are great value for money - if you're close enough to them to get a test ride/fitting, definitely worth a look.
  6. piedwagtail91

    piedwagtail91 Über Member

    a lot of the racing club have ribbles from winter bikes to top of the range alu, no one has gone ribble carbon yet. they're all happy with them and haven't had any problems, the cheapest, the winter bike will take guards and a rack so you could possibly tour on it or strip it down in summer to have a more sporty bike with just a saddle pack for carrying spares.they are good value for money , some love them others don't. have a look, you don't have to buy!our club does a bike shop ride every couple of months and hardly anything is bought, we just go to look.another couple of shops which have the occasional bargain is broadgate cycles but I've no idea how to get there,( it's over the cobbled bridge and right at a roundabout). and wallis in walton le dale at the bottom of the hill. they have a winter audax bike similar to ribbles for £400 on special offers and scroll down.
  7. OP

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    Ok, thanks, that's clarified it a bit further...I think I want at least Tiagra then, sound far less fussy.

    So what makes a winter bike a winter bike then? Is the only difference that it will take mudguards or is there other stuff as well? Cause being the only bike it will have to be a summer bike too!!!

    I don't want to go to Broadgate Cycles for various reasons, but will certainly have a look at ribble and the other shop you mention (like the idea of a fitting jig)!!!

    Oh, and what about I need Carbon? And those cyclocross bikes, I know they are tougher, I suspect that makes them heavier and not as fast, is that right?
  8. piedwagtail91

    piedwagtail91 Über Member

    some cyclo cross bikes will adapt to make a good touring bike., but they need gear lever bosses/ cable stops on the down tube, the example above doesn't show them in the picture so would probabaly only take flat bars with rapid fire shifters.
    forks depend on what you want to do, if you just want to do dayrides or short tours with a saddlebag / rackpack or possibly rear panniers then carbon will be OK, if you want to do expeditions with front panniers then they need to be something else.
    two clubmates did a 1000 mile tour across France on what were basically ribble winter bikes with panniers on. they had triple chainsets and carbon forks. when they came back they took all the touring stuff off and used the bikes for training.
  9. OP

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    Hehe, yes, they are about half a mile down the road, so not a problem!!! :wacko:

    I'm not planning on fully loaded touring, so don't need to worry about that...

    Still confused about the difference between a winter and a summer bike tho! Sorry about the numpty questions, but I would rather have some idea of what I'm talking about before going to the bike shop!!!! :angry:
  10. piedwagtail91

    piedwagtail91 Über Member

    there really isn't much difference between summer and winter.
    winter will usually take mudguards and have a lower range of groupset and parts on.
    a summer bike will usually not take guards.
    in some cases the only difference between a summer and winter frame will be that the winter frame will have eyelets to fasten the mudguards to.

    keep asking , tomorrow there'll be a lot more on line so you'll get more opinions on what to look for.
  11. OP

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    It's slowly becoming clearer, so apart from the ribble ones and that other one you pointed out, would something like this giant be a good starting point? Just been browsing around a bit more...

    And how transferable is the sizing from a mountain bike, for example my current mtb is a 19.5, would that make me a 50 (or medium) in the giant then with that being a compact frame? Cause in that case, some of the WSD designs might work, like e.g. the Specialized Dolce, which comes in a 56...
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Über Member

    ola Punky

    A few answers:
    1) Ribble frames only take 23mm tyres AFAIK, are only alu or carbon or a mix - bit thin for touring;

    2) 19" in MTB would make you somewhere around 58cm on road bikes, the size does not convert by multiplication as the position is different - you may just get on a 56 but I bet that would be too small;

    3) You'll probalby have to get a man's bike anyway due to your height and leg length;

    4) Spend £ on frame as you can't change that - can always swop wheels and pedals and other things. Wheels are the next best spend as even a light front wheel does make a significant difference;

    5) I think Hewitt will gladly fit you on the jig but probably with the understanding that you then buy a bike from them - could be difficult;

    6) Bike in the link is okay but a bit overgeared for the local horrors, doubt even 30x25 will get you up Whalley Bank (nearly 1km of constant 1 in 7), but, as it is Shimano, you can swop the rear for a MTB mech to get something like a 34t bottom cog, that'll help, make sure the rear mech can handle it (might have to use a MTB rear mech which will work perfectly on that rig). If you buy from a decent LBS they should swop out various parts before you buy it
  13. OP

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    But, but, but mickle....I haven't asked an endless question for ages - you should be thrilled!!!! :rolleyes:
  14. OP

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    Don't want to go touring, just be comfy on long day rides, but I like the idea of a bike that would at least give me the option of sticking 25mm tyres on...

    As for the gearing, how do other people get up hills on them? Surely not everybody switches rear mechs over to mtb ones? This is all very confusing!!! :rolleyes: This whole gear ratio stuff is completely going over my head... I take it I want a small number at the front, i.e. 30 and then a high one, i.e. at least 34 at the back?
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