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spending £600... will I appreciate the difference?

mattward1979mattward1979 Posts: 692
edited September 2009 in Road beginners
hey all,

im upgrading from a very poor LBS MTB to a Spesh allez sport 16 which will wipe out £600 of my student loan. (ill pay it back I promise!!!! )

As a complete newbie to the world of road cycling, I was just hoping for a bit of assurance on the difference I will feel going for not only a new class of bike, but also something with far superior parts.

I weigh just over 17 stone.. so im no midget... but the good thing is that most of this exists in my legs. I have exceptional power but questionable stamina... Is this an issue?

My £160 MTB has taken me on a journey of 2500 miles in just over a year, and the recent London to Windsor I completed in 3 hours 6 minutes.. I actually finished before a guy on a Boardman road comp!!

I suppose all I want to know is, should I go for something cheaper that I can basically rattle the censored out of inside a year (Carerra), or go for something half decent that will ultimately improve my cycling, albeit at the expense of my bikes life?


  • You will notice a great difference! Speed being the main thing, going from a heavy bike with wide tyres to a streamline road bike!! You going to cycle to uni on it? If so, maybe spend less! And make sure you get it insured.
    Road: Felt AR0, Di2
    Touring/commute: Dolan Multricross
    TT: PX Exocet Sold because it was like a sail in the wind (sh*t)
  • Yeah this year its a 10 mile round trip 5 days a week ( that includes 2 days of work commuting ), but next year, its going to be a 30 mile round trip 3 days, plus the 2 days of 10.

    So I want something that can take the daily abuse!
  • I don't really have any experience of either of the bikes you're talking about, but, purely from a psychological point of view, getting yourself a nice Specialized Allez that you can value and treasure will give a huge boost to your motivation over getting something cheaper that you'll see as just a hack.

    Either bike will be a huge improvement on your MTB, because it will be a proper road bike (a difference you'll appreciate when/if you ride either). I would have thought that the Specialized would be a far superior bike to the Carerra; just because at the lower end of the bike price spectrum your money will take you a lot further. The difference in performance between a £2300 and £2000 bike is minimal, the difference between a £600 and £300 bike is marked.

    So I'd advise you to get the Specialized, because it will be something really special (pun not intended) that will give you the motivation to go cycling...

    ...BUT it you can't really afford it :wink:, then I'm sure the Carrera would be a decent bike too.
  • Grazy81Grazy81 Posts: 196
    You will feel like your on a rocket compared to your MTB as i made the same transition myself 2 months ago and have loved every minute of it
  • Sorry, I didn't realise you wanted a commuter. In that case, I'd get something cheaper. If you bought the Specialized then you probably wouldn't want to use it for the commute!
  • Depending on the Wifes mood on the day I want to spend money, the Spesh would be ok finance wise =P

    I really love every second of my ride to uni/work, so dont want to sell myself short performance wise, but also dont want to be the "all gear no idea" dude!

    Also, me being such a class A bike nerd has prompted my best mate to dust off his old Raleigh, so 60+ mile weekend runs will be on the menu!
  • GarzGarz Posts: 1,155
    Good luck matt on the purchasing, all I can add is once you spend £600 on a half decent bike the spending doesnt stop there!

    The good thing is though you get fitter and will definately be a sound purchase when you get out on it regularly. Win-win in my eyes!

    BTW I see your married so not a young student Im guessing, also where abouts in the country you based?
  • haha yeah i forgot to tell my wife that buying a Bike is like a new PC or a Guitar... its NEVER finished!! I will always want to change and add stuff!

    one more thing though, I have the decision to make between a compact or a triple chainset ( for a few quid more ), and seeing as im trying to ride "properly" and spin up hills rather than mash them, am I going to suffer heaps with a more restricted gearing?

    I walked up Ditchling beacon this year with my MTB and I feel immasculated.........
  • Grazy81Grazy81 Posts: 196
    I would say if your really unsure go for the tripple as atleast you have the extra gear if needed rather than going for a double and getting disheartened.

    Depends how hilly your area is as i was going through a similar dilema and went for the double in the end and have been fine but i weigh 9 1/2 stone
  • Great bikes by all accounts but,personally, i'd probably go pre-loved at that price you could get a pretty decent spec for that cash. That is, of course, providing you know what size you need, what your looking for etc etc
  • If you're going to be commuting on your bike no matter the weather, then you'll need something that can take mudguards, unless you want to be walking round uni with a dirt splattered back.....and I suggest panniers too.

    Panniers and mudguards...not sexy, but still a lot sexier than getting to where-ever wet/cold/dirty and miserable, and with the panniers you then have storage space for clothes/books/shopping etc, much more stuff than you could get on your back, and a lot more comfortable as well.

    Jam butties, officially endorsed by the Diddymen Olympic Squad
  • Thanks for the advice all! I have a lot to think about still it seems!

    Despite everything, I cant get the image of myself tearing up the miles on a pure white spesh out of my head =)

    in a years time I invite you all to say i told you so hehe!! =)
  • Grazy81Grazy81 Posts: 196
    Thanks for the advice all! I have a lot to think about still it seems!

    Despite everything, I cant get the image of myself tearing up the miles on a pure white spesh out of my head =)

    in a years time I invite you all to say i told you so hehe!! =)

    I use my Allez to commute too and aslong as you can change your top n trousers who cares how wet n dirty your back gets i think there is something primal about it, the thought is horrible but when you bite the bullet and get into it you simply dont care and just enjoy it.
  • I always wear padded cargo style shorts and carry spare clothes with me... adding 1% to my overall weight isnt an issue really hehe =)

    the truth be told I suffer from really strong bouts of nausea in ridiculous situations... one of them happens to be commuting on a bus. So my bike ride gives me a lot more freedom that it might otherwise,

    I really couldnt be without my bike... I imagine this is what 17 year olds feel like when they pass their test!
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