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£500 budget, entry level road bike required, but which one?

DRL.1975DRL.1975 Posts: 24
edited September 2009 in Road beginners
Hi all,

I'm interested in buying a new road bike. I have a £500 budget and would very much like to stick to it, as we all know money is very tight these days and the firm that i work for do not operate the C2W scheme.

I live in London and have a 1hr 30 min round trip (45 min each way) to and from work (I work in Central London), I presently ride in on a mountain bike 2 to 3 times a week, but would love something lighter and faster and think a road bike is the way to go.

I've been into so many bike shops, that the decision has become a very confusing one, i would like something sturdy, well built (won't fall apart within 12 months!), easy to use and a solid base for any future upgrades (quite important). The two i'm looking at are:

Giant Defy 4 (2010 model) £475
Specialized Allez 16 (2010 model) £499

I have been told that both are entry level models, but most of the bike shops i went into didn't have many positive things to say about either bike. I test rode the Specialized and had a blast, it was real fun.

Does anyone out there have either of these bikes? If so, please let me know your thoughts.

If not, does anyone have any thoughts on which bike would be better for my needs? Remembering that future upgrades are important. Or suggest another bike to look at?

Thanks for your help.


  • Hi i got the Specialized Allez 16 and love it ,suits my needs.
  • cw42cw42 Posts: 205
    +1 for the specialized. Coming from an mtb myself and rediscovering road riding recently, I researched the options at exactly the same price point. I was tempted to stretch to the trek 1.5 at £675 but glad I didn't. The specialized is a fantastic bike for the money. I went out for the first time on it Sunday, and did a 3.5 hour 50 mile ride straight away. No side effects, no saddle sores no aches and pains. Comfortable bike and very easy to ride fast. Looking forward to my second ride tomorrow. :)
    live long, eat biscuit
  • geoff93geoff93 Posts: 190
    Again, +1 for the Specialized, I don't own one as I opted for a slightly more expensive bike, but I test rode the 2009 Allez and I found it to be a very good bike. Comfortable, pretty light, and well equipped for the price.

    Trek Madone 3.5 (RS80s, Arione)
    Trek Madone 3.1 (Upgraded)
    Ribble TT Bike
    Trek Mamba (Garry Fisher Collection)
  • Decathlon b'Twin are very well specced for the money
    Cannondale Supersix / CAAD9 / Boardman 9.0 / Benotto 3000
  • brh77brh77 Posts: 242
    I bought a 2009 Defy 3 which is great- really pleased with it. You should be able to get one for £500 or less now that the 2010 bikes are on their way....
  • Hi guys,

    Thanks for the feedback, most helpful (cw42, seen the picture of your red Allez, gorgeous looking bike, i'm glad your pleased with it). Are there anymore opinions out there?

    I've been told by a large bike store chain, that the 2010 Allez 16 is selling pretty well, therefore some more of you out there must own one? Please lend a hand and share your views and opinions on my dilemma.

    Unfortunately i missed the boat on the Defy 3, and all the ones in my area were sold out a few weeks ago and i understand it may know be almost impossible to get hold of one for £500 now. :(

    Any Giant Defy 4 riders out there? What do you think of your bike?

    I know the b'Twin sport maybe better speced, but i've heard some real horror story's about buying from non specific bike stores/retailers and build quality, together with after service care is pretty important to me.

    Thanks all.
  • cw42cw42 Posts: 205
    It is a gorgeous bike :)
    I've done another 41 miles on it yesterday, and it's still as comfortable as my first 50 on sunday :) I'm very pleased with it. I'm a bit of a bike snob, and would of loved a 'dale or other named bike, but I just can't fault the bike for £500, it truly is a bit of a bargain.
    However, my ride yesterday did develope a squeek, which I suspect is probably lack of grease in the wheel hubs. Easily remidied tonight :D
    live long, eat biscuit
  • Hi cw42,

    Again thanks for your input, your definately swaying me towards the 2010 Allez 16.

    I wouldn't say that i'm a bike snob, but like you i would want a name brand and would try and avoid something like a Halfords Carrera road bike at all costs, although i hear the Vanquish is a pretty decent bet, but just don't trust their mechanics to put it together properly and have visions of it falling apart and spending weeks going backwards and forwards to Halfords trying to get it sorted out! :(

    If i can just ask you, how are you finding the Shimano 2300 groupset?

    I understand it is their new entry level groupset modelled on Sora components . Are you finding gear shifting and reliability ok? I suspect yes, as you have covered another 41 miles! :)

    Again, anyone else out there please feel free to share your opinion, the more the merrier! :D
  • speedospeedo Posts: 115
    Why not try a TREK 1.2 double ?
    I am only 8 months into cycling - tried a friends 2000 model TREK - SMITTEN
    Bought mine in Feb 2009 - (2008 MODEL) , good entry level bike
    Cost £450 with the pump / water bottle / small saddle bag
    Handles well,and feel confdent at speed during my 120 miles a week
  • Hi Speedo,

    Unfortunately, I can't get hold of a 2009 Trek 1.2 double (56cm) for love nor money! They appear to have been sold out a few weeks before i seriously started looking.

    I think i came into the market for a new bike at the wrong time, and have been told that my £500 won't get me what it might have got me 12 to 15 months ago.
  • bicebice Posts: 772
    i would not be too snooty about Carreras or Boardman (or Halfords, for that matter - bike chains can be just as lousy). Try them out and compare with Specialized, for which you pay a bit for the name.
  • Thanks Bice,

    I have had a Carrera in the past and my experience with Halfords wasn't that great, so i'm a little dubious about buying a Carrera road bike.

    The Boardmans on the other hand appear to be very well specced, but the cheapest of that range of road bikes start at £649.99 and that's out of my budget.
  • neilo23neilo23 Posts: 783
    Why not consider second hand? I got a great bargain 10 years ago for €500. Mavic wheels, full Campagnolo Chorus groupset. There are lots of bargains to be had and you'll get a lot more for your money.
  • Thanks for the advice neilo23,

    That is certainly an option i can look into.
  • neilo23neilo23 Posts: 783
    And with the current financial situation it's probably a great market for buyers with people trying to offload their "luxury" items.
  • There's a lot on eBay.... Newish bikes that people don't use/can't afford. I had a look at Bianchis on there and found a few but I bought new in the end
  • DECATHLON BTWIN SPORT 2 , these seem amazing value for money !
  • Thanks Lady Venom,

    I might give eBay a look and see what i can find, although i must admit that the 16 speed 2010 Allez is my preferred choice at the moment, simply because people who bought one are fairly pleased with it, secondly because i test rode one the other day and thought it felt pretty good in terms of comfort, speed and handling.
  • Thanks Markie Metal Hip,

    To be honest i have had a look at the bTWIN Sport 2, it is well specced, but have to admit to being a little dubious about buying from non specific bike stores/retailers.
  • bicebice Posts: 772
    If the Specialized feels right go with it. I went for a trek 1.7, having tested the Specialized. Both are really good, reliable, conventional choices. Go for something more exceptional next time.
  • Started road cycling for the first time 18months ago on the 2008 Specialised Allez .

    Fantastic bike for me as a beginner and it saw me through to this summer when I sold it.

    I am a big guy, and hammered out the miles around Central Scotland on it in all weather with little issue appart from the spokes on the wheels constantly loosening. I sorted this by upgrading the wheels early on. You have to be prepared for poor wheels at this price point.

    No bad things to say about it or the brand, believed me I gave it a hard time!


    (Now on a nice shiny Van Nicholas Titanium)
  • Couldn't agree more with KB above. Also bought Spesh Allez (triple) a couple of years ago and it has been great. Now updated to something a bit lighter and faster but keeping 'old faithful' as my winter training bike. Seen me through a number of sportives, but again, the wheels are the most frustrating part of the bike - (Alexrims?) Couldn't wait to change them, and got a pair of second hand mavics - infinitely better - no more loose spokes / buckles. Go for the specialized, but don't be surprised if you want to change the wheels in the not too distant future!
  • speedospeedo Posts: 115
    DRL.1975 wrote:
    Hi Speedo,

    Unfortunately, I can't get hold of a 2009 Trek 1.2 double (56cm) for love nor money! They appear to have been sold out a few weeks before i seriously started looking.

    I think i came into the market for a new bike at the wrong time, and have been told that my £500 won't get me what it might have got me 12 to 15 months ago.

    Try Mike Vaughan Cycles at kenilworth warwickshire, - 01926 853944 they will give you a good deal and will probably have what you want - looked on the web today and they have a treks in within your budget - telephone
  • Thanks for the advice KeeBee and grumpygrandad.

    I take on board your comments about the Allez and the wheel upgrade!

    I have to say that the Allez gave me a great feel, very responsive. Just to see what i might be missing, i've also test ridden the Allez Sport (2010) and the Trek 1.2 (2010), both lovely entry level bikes, retailing at £599.99 each (£99 more than i wanted to spend).

    The Allez Sport is basically last years (2009) standard Allez, i understand for this year (2010) Specialized have downgraded the Allez with Shimano 2300 components, with this years Sport getting the Sora/Tiagra (rear mech) mix, which was found on last years (2009) Allez.

    This years (2010) 1.2 Trek gets a Tiagra rear mech.
  • Cheers speedo,

    I'll give them a call.
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