buying advice

Dr M
Dr M Posts: 171
edited July 2008 in Road beginners
I have been mountain biking for many years and would like to get a road bike again. I'm not very clued up on geomoetry though. I've heard that some of the newer designs are a bit more comfortable than the old stretched out design (which i used to ride about 18 years ago...and use to find it pretty uncomfortable on long rides).

I'm looking at the Specialized allez and also heard the Focus Cayo (from Wiggle) is a good buy. Are these a more relaxed geometry? (what sort of angles provide a more comfortable ride?) Also i live in the Lake District so am thinking a triple ring may be essential?

Sorry about all the questions, but i'm pretty much a novice with road bikes these days!


  • Dr M
    Dr M Posts: 171
    oh just another question...

    Regarding chain rings, what exactly is a compact? I'm assuming just smaller rings than a standard set up giving easier gear ratios?
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    On the second question, yes, compact usually means smaller rings, say 50/36, rather than regular say 52/39 or 53/42. Triple maybe 53/39/30. MTB triple chainsets are sometimes fitted to tourers and have lower ratios. I would say you should probably go triple if you are used to mtb's, though if you are fit (or get fitter) maybe a compact would do. Unlike some I think there are few disadvantages to going triple over double, the weight penalty is pretty negligible. If you go compact and decide you want to change to triple it may well require a new rear mech as well as the chainset, so perhaps its best to start with triple.

    On the first question, I am not sure that the Focus or Allez geometry is particularly relaxed, though Focus do make the Ergoride which is (cheaper than the Cayo, but an Alu rather than Carbon frame). Specialized do the Roubaix which is more relaxed and has a carbon frame (prob not as relaxed as the Ergoride though). Also the Spesh Tricross might be worth a look, and it could be quite versatile.
  • Mark Alexander
    Mark Alexander Posts: 2,277
    I bought a triple Campag 52/42/30 with 13-26. now, its great but I wish that I'd bought a double. You may have more gears but workable ones, a little less. I'v used the granny ring 3 times in 4 years.

    A compact is a double that's a touch easier to pedal.

    My tuppence worth is, even though you live in a hilly place (South Wales is similar) get a 53x39, 11-25 or 12-26 . you'll grow into it. I have the triple and a double. the double is actually easier.

    10TT 24:36 25TT: 57:59 50TT: 2:08:11, 100TT: 4:30:05 12hr 204.... unfinished business
  • jethro924
    jethro924 Posts: 49
    Get something that takes full length mudguards. Guarantee that you will appreciate being able to go out for a ride when it has stopped raining and the roads are still wet and stay dry! :D - Especially if you live in the Lake District, all that water didn't get there by accident! I think trek have some bikes that would fit the bill.

    If your not an out and out racer there are some excellent tourers or audax bikes. Leyland based Hewitt Cycles supply the Chiltern or Cheviot (Frame and Fork £375) or Thorn produce both the Audax Mk3 and Club Tour. All steel bikes made to be comfortable yet reasonably fast.

    Without wanting to re-hash all the previous post reference double Vs triple debates:-
    Double chainsets with 53/39 teeth at the front (or indeed 53/42) are for racing people, Lance Armstrong, Tom Boonen and the likes, fact, period. Mere mortals try and emmulate their heroes and deride any body that rides a triple as not being worthy. Therefore bike manufacturers have come up with the Compact chainset. Looks racy so it must be good, right?

    IMHO get a compact and ask LBS to fit a 48/34 (i.e 5 teeth less on both ring than the superheroes). As these wear out replace them with 50/36 if you feel the need. If you become the next David Millar change to a standard double.
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    I would agree with Jethro's thoughts, especially re: mudguards and audax or touring bikes if practicality, versatility and comfort are more important than out and out speed, and a Hewitt would be an excelllent bike if you can afford one (I'm a fan of steel too, though I don't wear a beard!).
  • Dr M
    Dr M Posts: 171
    thanks for all the replies! i'll have a look at tricross and audax bikes as well and see if i can demo a couple to see how the riding positions are (not sure if bike shops have demo road bikes like they do with mountain bikes though...i'll pop in this week and see!)
  • gkerr4
    gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    the allez is a fairly relaxed geometry - it isn't marketed as such, but but it is

    the cayo on the other hand is not - I know it isnt the only thing that defines 'relaxed' but for a given frame size, have a look at the headtube length - this shows how upright or othersize the frame is.

    actualy - it's a little more complicated than that as the type of headset has an effect too but you get my point.

    the allez is slightly less 'relaxed' than the roubaix and slightly more relaxed than the tarmac.
  • Steve_b77
    Steve_b77 Posts: 1,680
    I've just bought a Specialized Allez with teh Double chain ring, and coming from a 6" full susser it certainly seems a bit weird to begin with but I do find it pretty compliant and very comfortable on the road.
  • Parkey
    Parkey Posts: 303
    Dr M wrote:
    Also i live in the Lake District so am thinking a triple ring may be essential?

    Ohhhh yeah. :)

    I was there with my road bike last month. Would have been going backwards without my triple.

    The Allez seems popular. My girlfriend recently got an SCR3, which is broadly equivalent and she's very keen on it.
    "A recent study has found that, at the current rate of usage, the word 'sustainable' will be worn out by the year 2015"
  • I went from 4 years of MTB (Pennines) to a compact double chainring 50/34 + 12/25 cassette 9Focus Cayo) and have been fine. Initially found it a bit tough but within a week i could get up anything in bottom gear. Completed the 80 mile white Rose Challenge and the Kirklees Sportives this year and gearing not an issue. However I feel I was quite fit and am light only 65 kg in weight. Geometry fine for me but it is a bit 'racy'.