Buying a Road Bike for about £600

klargon Posts: 18
edited April 2008 in Road beginners
Myself and 3 mates are planning to cycle from Lands End to John O'Groats next summer. None of us have ever road cycled before, so we want to pick up some bikes well in advance to train and become accustomed to the bikes. I've done some research, and we've come up with a shortlist of bikes (we'll all be buying the same bike). We'll have support, so we won't be carrying anything, and we need a bike that'll be comfortable enough when doing 100 miles a day.

Anyway, here's the shortlist (with the best haggled prices we've managed so far!):

Boardman Road Comp (<£550)
Trek 1.5 Triple (<£550)
Focus Ergoride ST (£650)
B'Twin Sport 4 (£610)

I've been very impressed with the Decathlon staff, and I'm leaning towards the Sport 4, as it's got seemingly better components than the rest. Can anyone see why it might be a bad idea to go with it?

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.


  • Rich Hcp
    Rich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    How 'bout a Specialized Allez?

    The same bike may not suit all of you, so it may be better to pick what is best for each rider

    Giving it Large
  • klargon
    klargon Posts: 18
    The Allez Triple was in the list originally. I've not seen any in my local bike shops though.

    All having the same bike has its benefits. We can get a better deal. I don't think any of us are likely to be able to tell the differences between the different bikes to start with.

    Is there any particular reason why you'd recommend the Allez over the other bikes?
  • lilactime
    lilactime Posts: 86
    out of the ones you listed the trek 1.5 looks good in red ( my bro has one and he loves it ) but boardman has excellent spec for price , but you gotta get it from halfords . if your buying more than one go in and make an offer ? and dont forget to get them to throw in pedals computer and shoes , they will to stop you walking away .
  • klargon
    klargon Posts: 18
    Well, £550 is 50 quid off retail. Halfords have been useless both times I've been in. They also tell me that they're gonna clear all the 2007 models before selling the 2008. The B'Twin has higher spec components:

    Carbon stays
    Truvativ Elita crankset
    Shimano 105 deraileurs, cassette and shifters
    Mavic Aksium rims
    Look 206 pedals
    5 year frame guarantee, 2 years parts

    It has a retail of £700, but some awesome guy by the name of David at Decathlon offered them for £610 a pop. Surely there's nothing else that can come close for spec at that price?

    Cheers for the replies. Keep 'em coming!
  • lilactime
    lilactime Posts: 86
    thats got great spec , get it and forget halfords
  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
    How about a ribble?
    I like bikes...

  • gkerr4
    gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    you need to look at the geometry and see if it will be comfortable - especially since you need it for a purpose - your end to end

    personaly I don't think a ribble would be any use as they are all quite racy in their geometry - quite a short headtube = very racy position (unless you use a ton of spacers above)

    the allez is a good choice - also the Giant SCR range - the SCR having the benefit of being able to fit mudguards and rack - I know you are supported but you might want mudguards on a bike to keep yourself / friends dry while riding on wet roads.

    the ergo-ride is probably the best out of your list (imo)
  • Steve_F
    Steve_F Posts: 682
    The SCR was the one I was thinking too. Quite an upright riding position but should still be as easy to move along as the rest.

    I'm getting one myself as the positions should be better for my back and I'm not doing anything like that kind of mileage!
    Current steed is a '07 Carrera Banshee X
    + cheap road/commuting bike
  • klargon
    klargon Posts: 18
    gkerr4 - I think the Focus was likely to be the one we went for until Decathlon offered such a good price. I think the problem we have is that it's £50 over budget with wiggle's discounted price, and that's before buying some pedals and cleats. I don't suppose you can give an idea why it might be better to go for than the B'Twin?

    I've looked at the Giant SCR 2, which is under budget. It seems like we'd be sacrificing on a few components when we don't mind spending a bit more. I guess the 1.5 as a double might come in closer to budget, but I'm pretty sure we'll be needing the easier gears a triple provides. The Sport 4 still seems to beat it at a components level, too. Maybe I'll go take another look at the 1.5 and see how the frame compares in geometry to the B'Twin.
  • meesterbond
    meesterbond Posts: 1,240
    Have you actually ridden any of them yet?

    Components and spec sheets are one thing, but if the bike doesn't fit or feel right then frankly it won't matter if the groupset is better! Even if you know nothing about road bikes, you can all obviously ride and you'd be very surprised at how different one bike can feel from another... you can compare groupsets and wheels and suchlike, but if the frames are different you can only compare them by riding them.
  • klargon
    klargon Posts: 18
    You've identified one of the main problems there - the Ergoride is Mail Order only, and Decathlon order bikes in from their warehouse when a customer pays. So, the top 2 bikes on our list are pretty much complete gambles. The main problem I've got is that my local independant bike shops don't seem to stock the bikes I'm interested in, so actually finding somewhere that will let me take a bike out for a bit seems difficult. Having said that, I've never taken any of my mountain bikes for tests before buying, and I've tolerated them. I guess I'm just hoping my ignorance will prevail - how would I know that another bike was better if I'd never taken another for a ride?
  • meesterbond
    meesterbond Posts: 1,240
    That's a fair point, but on a mountain bike you're forever changing position, moving your weight around and I think you can certainly 'get away' with anything provided it's close to your size. I've bought several mountain bike frames without trying them over the years (although the one I ended up sticking with is the only one I did try - coincidence?).
    On a road bike though, you're going to be spending a good few hours in largely the same position and if that position doesn't fit, it'll hurt. A lot.

    It used to be far more important to get the sizing spot on, but since a lot of bikes are now only available in 4 sizes and you're expected to tailor the stem, seatpost, spacers to fit it's perhaps less so.

    I'd still go and try a few to get a better idea what you're paying for, if nothing else... at least that way you can go back and compare geometries, components etc...