What to choose - fresh thinking required?

driverpm
driverpm Posts: 65
edited September 2007 in Road beginners
Hi All,
OH NO, not another boring "what bike shall i get thread" :wink:
..............But i really would value your thoughts:
For various reasons (delays and hidden costs) i'm about to cancel an order on a Ti framed road bike that i'd ordered and was really looking forward to. Like everyone here i want my cake, to be able to eat it, in one and not put any weight on; and therefore want a perfect bike that's going to be fun to ride (i.e make you want to go that bit further, faster) and not be crippling after a day in the saddle. I spent ages making my original choice and now that i'm looking to change my mind, i'm just a bit numb to all the choices out there. I would really appreciate a fresh perspective, to get me excited about what is, after all, a lovely descision to be making!
Budget £1500 (could stretch a bit for the dream!), would like Ultegra if possible
Previously considered:
Specialized Roubaix
Cannondale Synapse (irrational dislike of Liquigas coulours though!)
Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable

Comments

  • mossycp
    mossycp Posts: 233
    IMO you can't go wrong with any bike worth £1500, they will pretty much all be great to ride. If I were you I'd go to a good LBS with lots of choice of high end machinery, have a chat about exactly what you want the bike to do and get a proper fitting.

    Personally, I get excited by riding something a bit different to everyone else. I like the look of a BMC Pro or Team Machine (not sure whether you'd get one for £1500!), Sunday Bicycles look good as do Enigma, maybe a Burls for something unique. See what your LBS can do that's a little bit different.
    Today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way {Dr Seus}
  • Steveorow
    Steveorow Posts: 162
    If you do not like the liquigas colours buy the Synapse in shiny black or the blue white its offered in as well . You can still get the 2006 model in stealth Black with Ultegra for around £1500 ( the one I have ) .
    Chose this over the Roubaix as its more responsive and feels lively while still very comfortable and smooth on long rides . Didnt really like the upright position of the Roubaix either .
  • baudman
    baudman Posts: 757
    mossycp wrote:
    ...and get a proper fitting.

    AMEN! (And after your initial measured fitting, that can still take a few tries and tweaks). With that sort of money outlaid, I'd make sure your supplier/LBS is happy to let you tweak it for a while.
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    How long are you planing on keeping the bike and how much do you enjoy your individuality? I'm assumin that you can achieve a good 'fit' on all models too. £1500 is about the price-point where the law of diminishing returns apply - the cost vs performance benefit flattens off considerably - it mainly comes down to things like aesthetics, brand, design thereafter. Both the Specialized and Cannondale are competent bikes - but there's a lot of them about. As 2008 models have been launched, now's a good time to get a 2007 model at a discount - you could save as much as 25-30% on a similar specced 2008 model. However, if it's a 'keeper' then your choice of titanium is a good one - although a little heavier than the carbon-framed models, it will probably keep looking good for longer and if it does get a little scuffed-up, some wet'n'dry and elbow grease will get it nice and shiney again.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Hi DriveRPM,

    I'm in exactly the same postion as you are at the moment.

    I also want to buy a new road bike for £1,500 + that is just a little bit different to the mainstream.

    After a lot of research, I too have decided on titanium and most probably a Van Nicholas Chinook (http://www.vannicholas.com/WbmLongImage.aspx?img=Gallery/CN_BK_L.jpg).

    I have decided that once my workload reduces, I'm heading off to Fat Birds (www.fatbirds.co.uk) in Hunstanton to see what they've got. They stock Van Nicholas and Merlin, although I don't fancy Merlin since I discovered that their parent company also produces Litespeed (see link below).

    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... =cardboard
  • herbie12
    herbie12 Posts: 40
    When I was looking for a new bike a few years back I was in a similar situation - had the cash to buy something v. nice and I'd discounted all the mass brands (the Speccies, Cannondales, Treks etc) and wanted something a bit different...

    The thing is, I tried Litespeed, Time, Merlin, Bianchi etc etc and yet still ended up getting a Cannondale six13...

    Why? Well it just felt right... everything about it felt perfect... so don't discount the big brands just on snob value alone!

    As for the 'don't buy Merlin because they also make Litespeed'... what's that about?? That's a bit like saying I'd never want to own a Lambo because they also make Audis. Total nonsense.
  • driverpm
    driverpm Posts: 65
    Thanks All, for replies so far
    Hi DriveRPM,

    I'm in exactly the same postion as you are at the moment........I'm heading off to Fat Birds (www.fatbirds.co.uk) in Hunstanton to see what they've got........

    My existing Ti order is for a Zephyr through Fat Birds. :oops:
    The shop is great and the staff are knowledgeable, friendly and above all patient.
    So why am i getting a bit twitchy about my order?

    Well, when i placed the order it was origianlly for a Chinook, it was always a toss up between the 2 (zephyr and chinook) and being told there was no price difference i decided on the chinook (for aethetics). When i reflected on it that night i realised i preffered the ride quality of the zephry but the Groupset of the Chinook (ultegra over 105). therefore i rang the next day to swapout the chinook frame for a Zephyr (i'd already spec'd the ultegra groupset)- i was told no worries, normally ready in about a week. Heard nothing so called back in a week, was told 'terribly sorry, frame on a boat will be a couple of weeks'. I thought no problem - i can spread my payments (having already placed deposit)! 2 weeks later, heard nothing, so again called to be told sorry again frames still not delivered will be in Holland on 17th Aug (confirmed by VN owner - very helpful chap!). Was a bit frustrated as each time they obviously had the info but i only got it when i called, so emailed to see if they could give me ani idea of when would be buit up for me to collect as i'm away around that part of Aug, reply was prompt but indicated that, due to frame swap, price was £145 higher. i've emailed for confirmation of this but heard nothing yet. From their website i can see they list frame only difference of £82, but built up versions price for ultegra spec is identical. I know wheels are different but suspect price would be nearer £20 than £80, so don't know where £145 was from. So i guess i've got the 'ump a bit really, I totally understand that it's not their fault that manufaturers mess them about, bu the lack of info especially 3 weeks post order to be told of (aparently) random increase is a bit crap.
    I'd still recommend them in many ways but make sure you don't make any changes (without written confirmation) and be prepared to do the running if you want any info.
    As for the bikes, i think they are great - really impressed, and assuming i can get to the bottom of what's going on, and don't get inspiration of an alternative, I'll probably persevere, just want a bike - my hybrid's dying :cry:

    let you know how it goes

    Phil
    Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable
  • Herbie12 wrote:
    As for the 'don't buy Merlin because they also make Litespeed'... what's that about?? That's a bit like saying I'd never want to own a Lambo because they also make Audis. Total nonsense.

    Hi Herbie12,

    Yes, it probably was a little harsh, but I was so shocked to see those photos and to then discover that Merlin and Litespeed are all part of the same group.

    I trust that Merlin take more care of their products than Litespeed.
  • driverpm wrote:
    Well, when i placed the order it was origianlly for a Chinook, it was always a toss up between the 2 (zephyr and chinook) and being told there was no price difference i decided on the chinook (for aethetics).

    Hi Phil,

    I've not yet seen any Van Nicholas bikes, but I preferred the Chinook as it is supposed to have greater rear tyre clearances than the Zephyr.

    Dave
  • herbie12
    herbie12 Posts: 40
    Herbie12 wrote:
    As for the 'don't buy Merlin because they also make Litespeed'... what's that about?? That's a bit like saying I'd never want to own a Lambo because they also make Audis. Total nonsense.

    Hi Herbie12,

    Yes, it probably was a little harsh, but I was so shocked to see those photos and to then discover that Merlin and Litespeed are all part of the same group.

    I trust that Merlin take more care of their products than Litespeed.


    If memory serves, they're built in a completely different factory by different people to different standards. ABG also make Quintana Roo and Real Design wheels and forks.

    The thing that annoys me with threads like that though, is that there's a couple of people who've had problems (albeit quite serious ones) and based on that Litespeed are suddenly dreadful bikes and their entire range is badly designed. All based on a few pictures...
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    Herbie12 wrote:
    As for the 'don't buy Merlin because they also make Litespeed'... what's that about?? That's a bit like saying I'd never want to own a Lambo because they also make Audis. Total nonsense.

    Hi Herbie12,

    Yes, it probably was a little harsh, but I was so shocked to see those photos and to then discover that Merlin and Litespeed are all part of the same group.

    I trust that Merlin take more care of their products than Litespeed.

    Oh for gods sake man! it doesn't mean your Merlin - or another Litespeed for that matter - is going to break. Give me strength! :roll:
  • Oh for gods sake man! it doesn't mean your Merlin - or another Litespeed for that matter - is going to break. Give me strength! :roll:

    True, but it doesn't exactly fill you with confidence with the brand either and personally I just wouldn't take the risk.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Sorry to rain on your parade, but Merlins are made in the same factory as Litespeeds in Chatanooga, TN. The original Merlin Metalworks was is Mass, but they effectively merged the companies when ABG acquired Merlin. If they can mess-up the welding on a Litespeed, then there's no reason why Merlin should be any different.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • herbie12
    herbie12 Posts: 40
    My mistake... I thought they were still separate.

    So just to recap, from a statistically insignificant sample, collected in a highly unreliable manner, the forum has managed to deduce that not only one company, but also it's sister company produce a bad product!

    That's it... I'm never buying anything made in Tennessee again. Just in case.
  • driverpm
    driverpm Posts: 65
    Well, You're right about tennesee. Whenever i drink a large amount of Jack Daniels Old #7 i find my legs become unreliable :oops:
    But thanks for the replies anyhow!
    Phil
    Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable
  • driverpm
    driverpm Posts: 65
    Update,
    Had a chat with Fat Birds this morning and they were great - agreed that there was a misunderstanding somewhere along the line and agreed to honour the original agreement - HAPPY DAYS! :D Hope to pick up my bike some time around the 23rd (won't be too bad as really busy 'til then and away for a few days too). Despite the delays, Van Nicholas' customer support have been excellent since i contacted them - emails from owner/founder, and even a few freebies bunged in.
    I guess it goes to show the benefit of actually talking to people rather than trying to communicate... via ................the ............................internet..............................&..............................email..........................................Doh! :oops:
    Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable
  • PapaZita
    PapaZita Posts: 40
    driverpm wrote:
    Update,
    Had a chat with Fat Birds this morning and they were great
    Hope to pick up my bike some time around the 23rd

    The delays must be frustrating, but I'm sure you'll find that it's been worth waiting for. I have a Zephyr and an Amazon, and they're both excellent. Fat Birds have always been great for me too.

    PZ.
  • driverpm wrote:
    Update,
    Had a chat with Fat Birds this morning and they were great - agreed that there was a misunderstanding somewhere along the line and agreed to honour the original agreement - HAPPY DAYS! :D Hope to pick up my bike some time around the 23rd

    Hi Phil

    Are you still due to take delivery of your Van Nicholas Zephyr today (23rd) ?

    I'd be very interested to know your initial impressions of both the bike and Fat Birds, as I am looking to get either a Chinook or Zephyr from Fat Birds.

    Dave
  • driverpm
    driverpm Posts: 65
    Hi Dave,
    Got a call this morning to say frame etc... in stock and going to built to be ready at my convenience, i.e. this weekend woohoo! :P Fat Birds have, overall, been brilliant and i hope to build a good long term LBS relationship, even though it's not that local (40 miles). As for the Zephry I'll get back to you next week once i've out a few miles on it. My initial test was impressive but it was on a frame too small for me, got measured and sized on an Euros, which i liked, but not as much as a too small zephyr, so i have high hopes. Will let you know though. I've heard rumours that '08 VNs are not too far away, but i have no idea how they will differ from '07s.
    Cheers
    Phil
    Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable
  • driverpm wrote:
    I've heard rumours that '08 VNs are not too far away, but i have no idea how they will differ from '07s.
    Cheers
    Phil

    Hi Phil,

    I'm glad to hear that it is all working out o.k. in the end for you. Apparently, Van Nicholas are launching their 2008 models at the EuroBike show on 30th August, but I can't imagine them changing them all that much.

    Look forward to reading a full report on your first ride on the Zephyr.

    Best regards
    Dave
  • driverpm
    driverpm Posts: 65
    Hi Dave,
    Picked up the Zephyr on Saturday, had to wait until Monday 'til i could take it out :evil: had to take it out early as had lots to do later in day. Planned on a quick 45 minutes to test it all out and fettle any niggles. Well i eventually got back after 1hour 45mins with a huge grin on my chops :D
    apart from a minor noise from the left crank arm it was great, i kept turning for home and then mysteriously finding slightly longer alternative routes home. I hadn't had breaksat so i was a bit wobbly when i got home but once sugar levels were restored i was really happy with it all.
    As for the crank noise, i couldn't work out where it was coming from, it sounded like rear cassette when riding, but couldn't emulate it on a stand. As luck would have it i was going to the Mildenhall cycle rally later in the day and Fat Birds had a trade stand there. Phil & others took a good hour trying to work out where the noise was coming from but removing and replacing the left crank arm has sorted it out & my longer than usual commute was perfect this morning.
    So my immediate review is really positive - assume it hasn't changed unless i update you in the future.
    Cheers
    Phil
    PS i went for a 58cm Zephyr Ti seat post and collar with ultegra group and wheels - it just feels right :wink:
    I also have a standard double which was a minor concern as i'm used to much smaller ratios, but i've not encountered any problems (or long steep hills if i'm honest :oops:) yet
    Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable
  • passout
    passout Posts: 4,425
    Salsa have some pretty cool looking steel frames - see www.wiggle.co.uk
    I think Bike Radar reviewed one (forget name but the more expensive one) and said it felt a bit like titanium. Probably won't break either!
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • Hi Phil,

    I'm so glad to hear that you finally got your Van Nicholas Zephyr and that you are pleased with the bike.

    The fact that Fat Birds went to so much trouble to resolve the problem with the left crank arm shows that they care about their customers, which is something that is all too sadly missing these days.

    As soon as my current work commitments have eased a little, I'm going to try to get over to Fat Birds myself and see what they have in stock. I would much rather be measured up properly and at least sit on a bike of the correct size than trust the sizing facility on the Van Nicholas website and then place an order on the strength of that information.

    Anyway, I hope that you continue to enjoy your new bike and that it lives up to your expectations.

    Thanks for letting me know how it all turned out eventually.

    Best wishes
    Dave