Which bike for £550?

Throlkim
Throlkim Posts: 94
edited February 2009 in Commuting chat
Upped my budget a bit after looking at my options! :D
I've had a look around my local shops, and I'm down to a few options:
    Trek 1.2 - £550 - this is from my favourite of the LBS, excellent service and on my road. I believe I can get them to order in any of the other bikes, however. I would get a few extras thrown in for free with this, such as free first service and SPDs. Giant Defy - £475? - I don't know too much about this one, not as big a fan of the shop. Bike looks good for the price. Specialized Allez - £535? - Looks good, how does it compare to the others? A bit harder to find, but I could probably request it in up the road.
I'm also open to any other suggestions, looks like one of the shops also stock Orbeas, but I don't know anything about them. The nice LBS also stocks a couple of singlies, a Kona Paddywagon and a Charge Plug. Both very fancy looking, but maybe a bit expensive for what they are.

One thing I am worried about is knackering my wheels quickly. I've been used to riding a small, insanely heavy steel mountain bike, which you could not demolish with a sledge hammer (and I'm not even joking there). How sturdy are these modern road bikes? Obviously, I'm not going to go around riding it into curbs, but I'm still curious. :)

Comments

  • cjcp
    cjcp Posts: 13,345
    Which LBS is selling the Trek? Cyclopaedia on Crwys Rd?

    Have you test ridden any of them to see how they feel, although I imagine they'll all feel a little strange if you've ridden mtbs previously?

    The first service should be free as standard. It's usually abt 6 weeks after your purchase - the gears will have settled in and need a re-tune after that.

    Orbeas are from the Basque country (I hesitate to say that they're Spanish bikes :) ).

    The bikes will be sturdy enough for the job :) Just see how you get on with the wheels. If you're a big rider though, ask the LBS whether the wheelset will flex a bit more under your weight.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • The Treks are being sold by Sunset MTB on Woodville Road, who specialise more in MTB (obviously), but are very helpful. The Giants and Orbeas are in Cyclopedia, who aren't bad, but it's a bit hectic in there and hard to get a chance to speak to anyone.

    I'm planning on taking a few for test rides in the next week or so. I'm not huge, I'm 5'11"/6' and 15/16 stone, so it shouldn't be too bad. Any idea how durable the standard wheelset/tyres on the 1.2 are?

    As a note for anyone else in Cardiff, Cyclopedia have a 54 or 55cm Orbea Enol 2008 they'd do for under £400. Can't remember the exact price, just that it was a size or two too small for me. :D
  • tailwindhome
    tailwindhome Posts: 19,266
    I'm no expert but this seems like good value. At £625 it stretches your budget, but includes £50 of free kit.

    I'm sure others will chip in with greater wisdom.



    I have a second interview for a new job this week, if I get the job I'll be investing in one. 8)
    “New York has the haircuts, London has the trousers, but Belfast has the reason!
  • cjcp
    cjcp Posts: 13,345
    Don't know anything about those rims other than I'm sure my sister has them on her Spesh Dolce from 2005 and they seem to have lasted. She did a Ironman on them, so they can't be too bad.

    Might be worth checking over on the Road Gear section.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • I'm no expert but this seems like good value. At £625 it stretches your budget, but includes £50 of free kit.

    I'm sure others will chip in with greater wisdom.



    I have a second interview for a new job this week, if I get the job I'll be investing in one. 8)

    That does seem like a very good deal, but after large amounts of faff with a recent internet order bike, I'm only going to be buying from a local shop. :D
  • AndyOgy
    AndyOgy Posts: 579
    I purchased a Specialized Allez last year and I've been really chuffed with it.

    Like you, I'd only ridden mountan bikes before. I got the bike to commute 22 miles a day and I did initially have concerns about using such a skinny lightweight bike on the rough cycle tracks, pothole'd roads, cattle grids and other generally bad road surfaces. The bike has stood up to all of this with almost no problems. I say almost because the stock tyres that you get on any road bike for this sort of money will never be any good. I got more than a few punctures in the first few weeks of riding. Easily solved though, ftted some 25mm Conti Gatorskins which have improved the ride quality massively and also, so far, they haven't punctured. God, I'm going to regret saying that. Even if they do puncture now, I've had about 1000 miles out of them so far.

    Having ridden big heavy mountain bikes up until now, the speed of any road bike will blow you away. Also, things like the gear changes will seem silky smooth in comparison. Especially if you go for a double setup with a short cage rear mech. My first ride on the Allez scared the crap out of me. But in a very good way.

    The Allez has certainly given me all that I wanted and then some. The bike is still pretty much standard apart from the tyres and pedals and it still runs like a dream.
  • downfader
    downfader Posts: 3,686
    The Giant Defy's are quite good but you'll need new wheels inside a year and the frame isnt as strong as similar priced bikes as its only 6005 aluminium. Fine for lots of smooth flat roads, but if your area is anything like southampton then the potholes will chip away at it, lol!

    The Allez is supposed to be a good bike for the money, or indeed the chris boardman at the same price if you can get it.
  • I think Schwalbe Marathons will be on the agenda pretty quickly, not sure on how long the standard tyres will last in such a student city. :lol:

    @cjcp, thanks for the help, the wheels are my biggest worry on buying a road bike. :D

    @AndyOgy, thanks for the great review. I'll definitely take a close look at the Allez, though I will have to order one in to try out methinks.

    @downfader, some of the Cardiff roads are a bit...questionable, so a sturdier bike may be a better idea.

    Thanks for all the help chaps, any other suggestions and experiences would be great - there's no doubt more than just me looking for things in this price range.
  • AndyOgy
    AndyOgy Posts: 579
    I did consider Schwalbe Marathons. However, they are very heavy and I've heard people say that they are very difficult to get on and off the rims. Seen a couple of threads where people have said that they've broken tyre levers on them. However, they do get glowing reports for puncture resistance, even if they're not 100% bullet proof.

    I'd imagine that Conti Gatorskins with Slime inner tubes would probably still be lighter than Shwalbe Marathons. Although I've been fine (so far) with normal tubes.
  • biondino
    biondino Posts: 5,990
    The marathons seem to be slippery in the wet too?
  • AndyOgy
    AndyOgy Posts: 579
    biondino wrote:
    The marathons seem to be slippery in the wet too?

    Yup, I remember hearing that too now you come to mention it.
  • Do they eat puppies too? ;)
    I'll have to look around at people's experiences with them by the looks of it!
  • cjcp
    cjcp Posts: 13,345
    I'm using 23mm Conti Gator Skins (non-folding - 15 quid each from Wiggle at the moment) and thoroughly impressed with them. Had three p*******s in quick succession in the last two weeks, but I think this is because they're in need of replacement. Done about 3,000 miles before the first p******e. I've found them good in the wet too.

    Spesh Armadillos are supposedly very hard wearing, but check whether anyone thinks they too are a bit slippery in the wet. I've heard this previously, but it may no longer be the case.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • tardington
    tardington Posts: 1,379
    Could you upgrade your cycley stuff instead? Some fancy SPD shoes, and an Airzound? etc!
  • I'm planning on rushing to Lidl's this thursday for some of their SPD shoes! Might as well get cheap ones until I actually need fancy ones. :D

    I'll have a look at those conti gator skins, and I'll see what sorta price I could get them for from my LBS.

    Still undecided on the bike, looks more like a Trek 1.2 vs Spec Allez fight now. Might have to request the Allez in and compare it side by side with the 1.2
  • cjcp
    cjcp Posts: 13,345
    One way of looking at it is this: once you buy the bike, it won't be long before you start thinking "hmmm, how can I go faster?", "what can I upgrade?" (see other thread on the Allez). It's not a quantum leap from that thought process to "I need a new bike". :) So, in a couple of years' time, either bike you're looking at now will make perfect winter steeds.

    This is just the start. Just so you know. :):D
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • I'm already fully prepared for the temptation to upgrade things!
    However, my lady might object to me upgrading to a new bike too quickly. She may also be a little fuzzy on the price of this one. ;)
  • cjcp
    cjcp Posts: 13,345
    Make a big thing about selling what are in fact insignificant bike bits on ebay to create the impression that you are sacrificing something important to fund this purchase. :)
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • My cunning plan is to fix up my old invincible Raleigh MTB for her to use for going to uni, and to sell some non-bike stuff on eBay, such as a couple of old computers. Somehow, my plan will make her completely forget how much I'm thinking of spending. Bit fuzzy on the details, but it's a plan of sorts!

    This may inadvertently be purchased over our anniversary.

    ...


    "But honey! I bought it for us!"
  • biondino wrote:
    The marathons seem to be slippery in the wet too?

    i've not noticed it far from it really with marathon's in 26x1.5 and 700x38mm Pluses do take a bit of shoving off and on some rims though
  • cjcp
    cjcp Posts: 13,345
    Throlkim wrote:
    My cunning plan is to fix up my old invincible Raleigh MTB for her to use for going to uni, and to sell some non-bike stuff on eBay, such as a couple of old computers. Somehow, my plan will make her completely forget how much I'm thinking of spending. Bit fuzzy on the details, but it's a plan of sorts!

    This may inadvertently be purchased over our anniversary.

    ...


    "But honey! I bought it for us!"

    :lol:
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."