What bike to get, where to get it & what to look for?

Discussion in 'Bikes and Buying Advice - What Bike?' started by Feastie, 19 Aug 2012.

  1. Feastie

    Feastie Senior Member

    Location:
    Leeds
    Hello!

    I'm looking to buy my first road bike, and I was wondering whether anybody on the forum here might be able to give me a few gems of advice. Namely what sorts of things to look for in a bike, any brands or types of bike that come recommended and also where is best to buy from!

    My main reason for wanting a proper road bike is partly for casual fitness but also that I'm hoping to join a cycling club to go on some longer rides, and unfortunately neither my old nobody-would-want-to-steal it wreck of a bike nor my somewhat nicer but heavy mountain bike are really suitable for keeping up or going long distances.

    I've always tried bikes out in the shop before buying previously, but most sellers of road bikes seem to sell online, and I don't really know what to look at (besides price, obviously!!). Also I can't seem to find any women's road bikes on a lot of these sites - is the positioning less important for road bikes? I'm 5'7 and I know some people don't mind but I find the handlebar-to-saddle distance on women's bikes is a lot more comfortable.

    My budget is not massive, ideally £700 max but I could stretch it up to £800 if there's a sufficient quality gap. I'd rather buy something good once than something average twice (:

    Also if on the off-chance anybody knows a bike shop with a good range of bikes within my budget where I could maybe go and try them out in either North Norfolk, North London or around Cambridge, that would be great too!

    All help v gratefully received! Thanks!
     
  2. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    Much discussion about women's specific versus men's (i.e. unisex) bikes. It a bit depends on your shape - leg length, back length etc, as you say, women's roadbikes tend to have a shorter stem, narrower bars (these can be changed but cost money). I have just got myself a 2012 Giant Avail 2 in the sale at Cyclesurgery - at £100 off (so £700). Very good bike, with Tiagra gearing. I have the M, and am 5'9, they have the SM on their website http://www.cyclesurgery.com/pws/UniqueProductKey.ice?ProductID=CGIA0604RW . There is another user on here who is 5'6 I think and has the Small. The differences are quite small thus between the sizes.

    You could order it on click and collect, no obligation, or ask the local branch to get one for you. CS are in W Hampstead, Camden, Highbury, Hemel, and all over C London

    Evans tend to have a few women's roadbikes too and offer testrides and have stores all over the place

    There are Giant specific stores too, one in Cambridge

    Fatbirds are in Hunstanton in Norfolk and have a good rep, but perhaps rather high end
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Feastie

    Feastie Senior Member

    Location:
    Leeds
    Weirdly I was in Fatbirds just a few days ago have a nose around, looking for some cheap second hand bikes to keep as spares for visitors as we bought a load from there a few years ago. It's definitely a completely changed shop! As you said, it's quite high end, all of the prices seemed to be £1,000+ and the other customers were clip clopping around in their special shoes - definitely no 2nd hand bikes visible there any more!

    Anyway thanks for the tips, didn't realise you could just get them to order it in without obligation to buy, that sounds like a really good idea!

    Just looking around, I was wondering if you could give me a few pointers as to how to tell the bikes apart. For instance, this bike:
    http://www.viking.org.uk/viking-giro-ditalia-14-speed-gents-56cm-road-race-bike-2011-version/
    Besides being pretty bling (and a gents) is just £224.99

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=75449
    Whereas this one is £560...

    http://www.cyclesurgery.com/orbea-a...s/bikes-components-bikewear/fcp-product/43830 ...this one is £550...

    And then the one you suggested (I know you shouldn't be superficial but I do love the red!) is £700. It's just I feel like I'm missing the crucial knowledge to know where the price changes are coming from - what would be the difference between the one you just bought, for instance, and one of the £560 ones in terms of the ride?

    Thanks again for your help!
     
  4. Zakalwe

    Zakalwe Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Barnsbury, London
    Cor, that Viking has down tube shifters. With a bit more money you can get a bike with more modern integrated brake/shifters and save yourself reaching down between your knees to change cog and it weighs almost 12 kilos (probably more, they always do). Avoid.

    Never heard of BeOne personally, Sora groupset is okay but a step under Tiagra. 2012 Sora has annoying little thumb levers which is the main downside compared to better groupsets. Weighs a decent 9.6kg

    Orbea have a great reputation but that bike has a 2300 groupset, another rung down below Sora (in order of quality, Shimano goes 2300 - Sora - Tiagra - 105 - Ultegra -Dura-Ace)

    Depends on your budget, if you can stretch to vicksters offering I'd go with that out of te given options. There are loads more out there to choose from though.
     
  5. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    My Giant has Tiagra shifters - all done from the brake levers, 2300 (entry level) and Sora have one shift on the brake levers and a button, all seems a bit fiddly to me. There is also SRAM which is also easy peasy to use - 'double tap' once for up, twice for down (or vice versa) - but tend to be on more costly bikes

    Another option with SRAM is the boardman Fi - it's £799 but you can get 10% off if you join British Cycling http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/...uctId_777761_langId_-1_categoryId_165710#tab1

    There aren't many other Tiagra bikes for men or women around £700

    Evans have this http://www.evanscycles.com/products/norco/valence-a2-compact-2012-womens-road-bike-ec031683

    It is a bit wussy but the Giant is my commuter bike and it has a second set of brake levers on the handlebars like a flatbar bike - great for safe upright braking in traffic :smile:
     
  6. Zakalwe

    Zakalwe Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Barnsbury, London
    Something to bear in mind, the newly released 2013 Sora has inherited the same gear changing mechanism as its more expensive siblings.
     
  7. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    Are there any bikes with it yet? How do prices and other specs compare to a 2012 Tiagra bike?
     
  8. Zakalwe

    Zakalwe Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Barnsbury, London
    2013 bikes are being announced as we speak, it just depends on when the OP intends to buy and how soon the 2012 models sell out.
     
  9. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    Looks like new Sora will be as costly as current Tiagra if this Specialized is anything to go by http://www.pearsoncycles.co.uk/store/product/41499/Specialized-Sectreur-Sport-Triple-2013/

    That said Specialized are generally pretty costly for the spec
     
  10. Zakalwe

    Zakalwe Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Barnsbury, London
    Same as every year, price goes up, spec goes down :biggrin: the only thing really separating Sora and Tiagra was the thumb nipple anyway.
     
  11. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    Isn't Tiagra lighter...and a 10 speed compact double (I think that's the right term :whistle: )
     
  12. Zakalwe

    Zakalwe Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Barnsbury, London
    Oh yeah, Tiagra's 10 speed now isn't it. Silly me. Sora stays with a 9 speed block, weight gains negligible in my opinion, offset by reduced maintenance costs. Functionally, both work as well as anything Shimano produce.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    Feastie

    Feastie Senior Member

    Location:
    Leeds
    Thank-you so much both of you, really helpful! Makes a lot more sense now seeing the price differences!

    Can't believe I didn't notice the gear levers being on the tube for that Viking... I have tube gear levers on my commuting bike and they're the bane of my life, especially in London with all the traffic and the road surface quality being all over the place, I rarely ever fancy risking a wobble to change gears - end up cycling in a single gear the whole time! Definitely worth investing for better gears, absolutely. To be honest I just assumed that they didn't make bikes with those things any more, they're so rubbish. I wanted to get mine changed onto the handlebars but the price of moving the gears up is actually more than the bicycle cost in the first place!

    Well I feel a lot more like I know what I'm looking at now xD Will see if I can get to that Giant shop in Cambridge and try some out.

    Thanks again for your kind advice!
     
    vickster likes this.
  14. Zakalwe

    Zakalwe Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Barnsbury, London
    Giant, Specialized, Cannondale, Trek and a few others all compete in that sort of price range and offer the best value with comforting warranties usually. "top end" brands who put out lower spec options like that Orbea usually command a premium for the name painted on a rather basic frame and cheaper moving parts. It's always best to compare a few different frames and names as they each have a certain feel and fit different people better. Just like shoes.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Feastie

    Feastie Senior Member

    Location:
    Leeds
    Sounds like a plan. Yes I hadn't heard of Orbea before (and I've been eyeing the names on all of the bikes zooming round London for months now)!

    I've actually just found a decent second hand one of these for sale in what seems to be very good nick for around £250:
    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/specialized/dolce-24-2011-womens-road-bike-ec023875#reviews

    It's only got the Shimano 2300 gears on it, but for the price it seems to me like a really good deal. Just curious to know if you had any opinions on whether the price seems good or bad? I don't know how much they depreciate with time and because half these sites have pulled the old stock into archives, I've not been able to find the original price anywhere after a quick investigation. I would dearly love a brand new higher spec bike but at the same time if I could save all that money and still get something decent, it's really tempting!
     
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