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Can anybody recommend me a bike please

SoniSoni Posts: 1,217
edited October 2008 in Road beginners
Hello, i'm 36 and would like to get a decent road/racing bike, i used to have a racing bike back in the late 80's which i loved, and purchased an old 80's style racing bike off ebay 6 months ago for £40.00 which isn't bad, but feels like its going to snap! A little old......as today's bikes go.

So, i have about £400.00-£500.00 budget, i'm after something of good quality, which will handle my 18stone weight (which i'm hoping to loose!) and was thinking of a new Raleigh??

Are they any good by todays standards, or could i get something a little better for the same price?

I was looking at the entry level racer on the Raleigh Website here:- http://www.raleigh.co.uk/b_details.aspx?id=347

I've been looking around Google and can get the above bike for £199.99......

Ahy thoughts or suggestions would be wellcomed.

Regards

Soni

But i'm wondering if i should spend a little more and get something a little more decent?
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  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Unfortunately Raleigh are far from their heyday these days.

    If you are anywhere near a decathlon I'd recommend having a look there, as you can get some really good bikes in your budget.
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  • paul_orpaul_or Posts: 156
    Hi,
    I'm new on here, but I ride a slightly older derivative of the same bike, so....

    It's got me into road cycling, put it that way, so for a modest expenditure it served its' purpose.

    HOWEVER...

    After 6 mths of increasingly enjoyable cycling, I have got to the point where I have upgraded it as far as I can - Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres to counteract the puncture hazards on Suffolk roads, new brake shoes, and Shimano SPD540 pedals. It is now running as good as it will get. But having briefly ridden a 'proper' road bike, i.e. one realistically affordable within the 500-600 pound bracket, I realise that I am riding little more than a top-end toy!

    Like millions of others will probably tell you, this bike is a waste of money if you're going to get seriously into cycling. You will be like me by next summer - having taken it as far as you can with upgrades, after which it is no longer economically sensible to spend money on it. And then you'll be posting on here, asking what the best 500-600 pound bike is!!!

    I am saving for something like a Specialized Allez, or a Cube Aerial - a 'proper' road bike that justifies an upgrade path. Believe me, the difference such a bike will make is immense - the Raleigh is heavy, its frame flexes, and its components are cheap and nasty. You could look at an 08 end of line Specialized model, for example, if you can find a suitable one, and save a hundred quid or so off the 'new' price.

    The thing to look at on any bike is the frame - everything else can be replaced. By saving a couple of hundred more, you will get a bike that will repay your investment a million times - and after a year or two the Raleigh will have no resale value except at a car boot sale.

    That's my rant finished, hope it was useful. I'm off to ogle the Specialized website again!!!
    visit my blog for more excitement

    http://www.flammerouge.co.uk
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  • Unfortunately Raleigh are far from their heyday these days.

    If you are anywhere near a decathlon I'd recommend having a look there, as you can get some really good bikes in your budget.
    hmm you can get some excellent discounts on their carbon models , which always get good reviews , and dont they use the same frame as the planet x carbon ?
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Unfortunately Raleigh are far from their heyday these days.

    If you are anywhere near a decathlon I'd recommend having a look there, as you can get some really good bikes in your budget.
    hmm you can get some excellent discounts on their carbon models , which always get good reviews , and dont they use the same frame as the planet x carbon ?

    I seem to remember some of the kit bolted on to the Carbon Raleigh to be of a far lower quality to the opposition though.
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  • I reckon you should be able to get a decent bike for £500. Once the new season's stock hits the market (has it already?), then there should be plenty of opportunity to purchase a 'last season's bargain'. With that in mind, you might be able to get a £750 for £500. Not sure when the best time to look is though...

    Around the £500 mark, I think Giant, GT, Specialized and Bianchi offer set-ups that - just about - fall into this price (but you'd also need to factor in pedals and shoes).
  • SoniSoni Posts: 1,217
    Hi Guys, i've just come back from a specialist bike shop and they sell Marin etc., and spoke to the guy and he showed me (believe it or not - funny how Paul_or recommended) a Specialized Allez 18 and 27 speed, the 18 speed was £549.99 and the 27 speed was £579.99.

    The bikes felt really really nice, but i hadn't even heard of the brand so said to him i'll do a little research - also i've only got £400.00 at the moment, won't have the £549.99 until next weekend.

    I'm just about to google it to see if i can get it any cheaper.

    By the way, the bike was really really light! And the tyres handled my 18stone with ease!

    One problem - i asked him why the handlebars didn't have the brake grips accross the top like my old 80's style racer has, and he said they don't conform anymore - so this is going to be a serious consideration for me - as i really like the looks of the bikes with the cowhorns but don't want to keep leaning down everytime i want to brake......
  • LagavulinLagavulin Posts: 1,688
    Soni wrote:
    ... i really like the looks of the bikes with the cowhorns but don't want to keep leaning down everytime i want to brake......
    If you use the hoods you don't have to be on the drops in order to brake.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    you can fit cyclo-cross levers that allow you to brake on the tops.
  • You can't far wrong with the Allez. One of the best regarded in that price bracket. Re the brakes, road bikes just don't have those horizontal brakes anymore. Watch some cycling footage on you tubes and you'll see that people generally rest their hands on the hoods, from where it is easy to brake.
  • sicknotesicknote Posts: 901
    You could also try Ebay as there have been some good buys of bike that wouls have cost that when new but went for a round half price :wink::)
  • The Specialized Allez is like the Ford Focus of the bike world - that is to say, it's a fairly common, good quality, popular bike. You can't go much wrong with a Specialized - they're one of the biggest brands in the world.

    If you have sat on one and know what size frame you need, it might be worth looking on the internet for a 2008 model in the sale. You'll get a similar specced bike for c.£150 less if you go for the outgoing model.

    e.g. http://www.cyclesurgery.com/1026471/Specialized-Allez-18.html

    or http://www.evanscycles.com/products/specialized/allez-27-2008-road-bike-ec001389

    Also consider a Giant SCR 1.5 as they have very good reviews, and the SCR range has been replaced by the Deny model, so they are in the sale most places. The SCR 1.5 has an RRP of £650, but can be found for £500 online. Only thing is their sizes are different to Specialized, so you really need to try one out first.
    Boardman Road Comp '08
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  • SoniSoni Posts: 1,217
    Lagavulin wrote:
    Soni wrote:
    ... i really like the looks of the bikes with the cowhorns but don't want to keep leaning down everytime i want to brake......
    If you use the hoods you don't have to be on the drops in order to brake.

    Sorry mate but what are the hoods?
  • SoniSoni Posts: 1,217
    If you have sat on one and know what size frame you need, it might be worth looking on the internet for a 2008 model in the sale. You'll get a similar specced bike for c.£150 less if you go for the outgoing model.

    Yes mate i say on a 56", i could touch the floor with the ball of my foot the seat was up quite high but the guy said it wasn't on maximum - i asked him if he thought i needed the next size up which would have been the 58", but he didn't think so.....

    If i went for the next size up would that cost more?
  • LagavulinLagavulin Posts: 1,688
    Soni wrote:
    Sorry mate but what are the hoods?
    hood.jpg
  • trickeyjatrickeyja Posts: 202
    I too had a budget similar to yours, but it kept growing and eventually I came out of the shop with a reduced-price 2008 Allez Elite at the end of August. The Allez (any model) is a good bike and I have found mine very reliable so far. I've already been about 900 miles without a puncture which is better than my old mountain bike! If you do go for the Allez I don't think you would regret spending the extra.

    As for braking, that was the thing that put me off getting the bike at first but after a few rides I found myself on the "hoods" most of the time, and you can brake fine from there. It didn't seem a strenuous position either, and you can easily transfer quickly to the hoods from the tops if you prefer using the tops.
  • SoniSoni Posts: 1,217
    Lagavulin, that bike mate is absolutely beautiful - the colours are great!

    Is that the 06 of what i'm considering getting? Or is it top of the range?

    I'm not trying to be difficult here, but don't quite fully understand due to lack of experience with racers, but i would still need to hold onto the 'Drops' when i go to brake though wouldn't i?

    Can you still purchase that bike of yours new from a shop?
  • MettanMettan Posts: 2,103
    At 18 stone (and a "new-ish" rider?) , personally I'd get the Triple rather than the Compact - on fresh legs you'll be ok climbing with a Compact - however, after some mileage in your legs, I'd suspect you'd appreciate a Triple regards climbing (and 18 stone) as opposed to a Compact. Have a quick read up on the Compact/Triple choice, before your purchase. Plenty of threads on this forum. If in doubt, ask.
  • SoniSoni Posts: 1,217
    trickeyja wrote:
    I too had a budget similar to yours, but it kept growing and eventually I came out of the shop with a reduced-price 2008 Allez Elite at the end of August. The Allez (any model) is a good bike and I have found mine very reliable so far. I've already been about 900 miles without a puncture which is better than my old mountain bike! If you do go for the Allez I don't think you would regret spending the extra.

    As for braking, that was the thing that put me off getting the bike at first but after a few rides I found myself on the "hoods" most of the time, and you can brake fine from there. It didn't seem a strenuous position either, and you can easily transfer quickly to the hoods from the tops if you prefer using the tops.

    Hi Mate, yeah just been checking out the bikes on Ebay and boy do they seem to keep their price! Which is a bad thing for the posion i'm in at the moment - as there doesn't seem to be much of an incentive to purchase second hand - as i would rather pay the little bit more to get brand new - but froma sell on point of view its great.

    Just been looking at the bike you have funny enough here

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/specialized-allez ... otohosting

    Nice colours also...

    Can you explain how you brake from the hoods?
  • SoniSoni Posts: 1,217
    Mettan wrote:
    At 18 stone (and a "new-ish" rider?) , personally I'd get the Triple rather than the Compact - on fresh legs you'll be ok climbing with a Compact - however, after some mileage in your legs, I'd suspect you'd appreciate a Triple regards climbing (and 18 stone) as opposed to a Compact. Have a quick read up on the Compact/Triple choice, before your purchase. Plenty of threads on this forum. If in doubt, ask.

    Hi mate thanks for the advice, yeah for an extra £30.00 i was going to go for the Triple anyway, as i like the idea of the extra gears as i live near a lot of countryside with a load of massive hills!
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Braking on the hoods:

    With the shifters on modern road bikes you can spend a lot of time riding holding "the hoods" - these are the rubber covered tops of the brake / gear levers. the rearward part of the hoods goes in the crook of your thumb, and your palm and fingers wrap round to hold the levers. The "heel" of your hand rests on the bar just behind the hoods. From this position you change gear and brake. Unless going down a fast descent you can get plenty of leverage from that position and generally don't need t hold the drops to brake. I ride maybe 95% of the time holding the hoods, the other positions(tops, drops) give a change of position for greater comfort or in the case of drops, for descents or when I am really trying to ride fast, and in that position you will be more aerodynamic - less wind resistance slowing you down.

    This shows how you ride on the hoods and how you can grip the brakes or change gear

    hoods.jpg
  • SoniSoni Posts: 1,217
    alfablue wrote:
    Braking on the hoods:

    With the shifters on modern road bikes you can spend a lot of time riding holding "the hoods" - these are the rubber covered tops of the brake / gear levers. the rearward part of the hoods goes in the crook of your thumb, and your palm and fingers wrap round to hold the levers. The "heel" of your hand rests on the bar just behind the hoods. From this position you change gear and brake. Unless going down a fast descent you can get plenty of leverage from that position and generally don't need t hold the drops to brake. I ride maybe 95% of the time holding the hoods, the other positions(tops, drops) give a change of position for greater comfort or in the case of drops, for descents or when I am really trying to ride fast, and in that position you will be more aerodynamic - less wind resistance slowing you down.

    This shows how you ride on the hoods and how you can grip the brakes or change gear

    hoods.jpg

    Thanks for that descriptive explanation Alfablue, i understand what you all mean now - and it seems pretty easy.

    I'm presently googling to try and find the best deal i can get on a new bike - not necessarily this years model - but don't fancy paying nearly new price for a used bike...
  • ....thats a smart border collie..

    got to agree - spend as much as you can afford even if it means waiting a couple of weeks to get an 08 bargain .. the more you get just now might mean you get through the next year without upgrading..

    regardless you will find yourself looking/wishing/wanting

    until you

    pop

    your velcro strapped carbon soled errr clogs...its inevitable

    give in now


    enjoy
  • LagavulinLagavulin Posts: 1,688
    Soni wrote:
    Is that the 06 of what i'm considering getting? Or is it top of the range?
    Not quite. Mine is the 2006 Allez Sport Which has a slightly better groupset. I assume the £550 bike you're currently looking at is the 2009 model which comes with Shimano Sora. Specialized have changed the Allez frame for this year. It now has a bowed top tube (which looks better IMO) but I'm unsure whether they've changed the frame properties.They might've made a it a bit stiffer but I'm a bit of a lightweight at 66KG's and have never detected any flex in the old frame.
    Soni wrote:
    I'm not trying to be difficult here, but don't quite fully understand due to lack of experience with racers, but i would still need to hold onto the 'Drops' when i go to brake though wouldn't i?
    What Alfablue said. Good post that.
    Soni wrote:
    Can you still purchase that bike of yours new from a shop?
    I wouldn't think so. Not many people have 2006 models for sale and those that are available or probably rare sizes. The images in my signature aren't of the stock bike either (I've changed wheels, saddle, stem, tyres etc.).

    Just make sure you get properly sized for which ever bike you buy. I make a mistake with my Allez first time around and even with a 90mm stem on it's a little ill-fitting. Due to my own haste in the sales I ended up with a 56cm Allez and should be on a 54 (or even a 52cm).
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    What about the Giant SCR 1.5? £550 (£100 off) from Wiggle, or available at £500 from a few places. It has Tiagra rather than Sora which most bikes at this price have, and personally I would prefer the Tiagra shifters. It got 9/10 in Bikerader's review.

    EDIT - I see the 1.5 has already been suggested. You can get it for £500 from the likes of Ashcycles or Whinstanley's, I would have a slight preferance for a possibly more reliable purchase experience from Wiggle for the extra £50, but that's just my preference, you would probably be fine with Ashcycles (though I did once buy a bike from them online and only found out it wasn't in stock after I phoned to follow up my purchase). Whinstanleys has, I understand, also been prone to this sort of thing - nothing to say you won't be lucky though.

    For a slightly lower spec (but still Tiagra shifters), and with a triple chainset Tredz have the SCR 2 for £436 (I have heard good things about Tredz).
  • SoniSoni Posts: 1,217
    I think i've shortlisted it to these two:-

    http://shop.devercycles.co.uk/product/4 ... _Bike_2009

    and

    http://shop.devercycles.co.uk/product/4 ... riple_2009

    I like the TREK as its quite colourful, whereas the Specialized looks a tad bland in black (imo).

    What would you guys go for out of the above two regardless of the colour?

    Which one would you say is the better bike? And going to last the longest?
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Soni, to be honest, neither, not when I could get a 2008 bike for the same price with better equipment. Personally, I think Tiagra shifters are a worthwhile improvement over Sora. Sora have thumb levers, whereas Tiagra (and above, in the Shimano lineup) have the shift levers behind the brake levers - they are slicker and easier to use. Sora is fine if it is the est you can afford, but right now you can, by getting 08 models over 09, afford better for the same price.

    Apart from that, both bikes will be fine, I wouldn't expect one to outlast the other for any particular reason. My friend has a Trek 1.2, seems like a fine bike, but then so do the Allez.
  • SoniSoni Posts: 1,217
    alfablue wrote:
    Soni, to be honest, neither, not when I could get a 2008 bike for the same price with better equipment. Personally, I think Tiagra shifters are a worthwhile improvement over Sora. Sora have thumb levers, whereas Tiagra (and above, in the Shimano lineup) have the shift levers behind the brake levers - they are slicker and easier to use. Sora is fine if it is the est you can afford, but right now you can, by getting 08 models over 09, afford better for the same price.

    Apart from that, both bikes will be fine, I wouldn't expect one to outlast the other for any particular reason. My friend has a Trek 1.2, seems like a fine bike, but then so do the Allez.

    Hi AlfaBlue,

    I'm not too up on the equipment side of things to be honest, i have a 12 year old Marin Palisades Trail which i purchased from new and paid a lot of money for it, it has shifters and they work a dream, i haven't had to spend a single peney on it in the 12 years i've had it not even had to replace an innertube.

    But when it comes to the spec and equipment i'm completely lost!

    I don't want it to sound like i'm taking the p*ss :oops: but was wondering if you would mind suggesting something? You mention a 2008 model with better equipment?

    Don't mean to sound ungrateful for your help - but don't really like the Giant bike posted above - not really any of the Gian to be honest, but the Trek and the Specialized look nice.

    Can you suggest a 2008 model with the better equipment? :oops: :)
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Hi Soni

    Yes, I fully understand, I too prefer the Trek and the Specialized over the Giant from a cosmetic point of view. It is whether you want better equipment over looks. For me, having used both Sora and better shifters, I would put equipment first, but it is a personal point of view. If you can find an 08 Allez Sport that will have Tiagra and may be in your price range, such as this one at Evans, or a Trek 1.5 you get the best of both worlds - looks and spec.

    But how about the wild card - a Focus Variado - highly rated by everyone who has one, 9/10 in review, and 105 components (2 above Sora in the Shimano range, even better than Tiagra) - £615 (20% off). Cycling Plus said "....the most highly equipped bike you can buy at this price and superb value for heavier riders." 8)
  • jon_e00jon_e00 Posts: 64
    I had a similar budget to yourself.

    I decided two weeks ago that I would want at least a Shimano 105 groupset. This made it harder to find a bike and also ensured that I had to buy second hand but I eventually found a Giant SCR 1.5 and got it for £400.

    I am absolutely delighted with my purchase and so glad I went for 105 above Tiagra and Sora.
  • SoniSoni Posts: 1,217
    Hi Guys, i've got even more confused over the last couple of days. :evil:

    I'm now considering out of the following:-

    Specialized
    Trek (like their colours)
    Cannondale (again they've got some nice colours)
    Scott

    I've got £430.00 saved allready, will have £550.00 by Sunday, so will be going out to view and test some bikes.

    I'm able to save until the end of the month at which time i'll have a max of £900.00 budget.

    Ideally i would like something of good meachanics and also something quite colourful and wihch looks nice like Lagavulin's Wilier in his post on Page 1! :lol:
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