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What to buy, £4k to spend!

pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 1,981
edited March 2010 in Road beginners
First post, go easy on me! I have been researching for months awaiting my employer to sign up to one of the cycle to work schemes, which is finally happening on March 1st. I am praying they don't limit it to £1k as some do.

I am returning to road cycling after many years of doing other sports and need some opinions on which way to go before commiting my cash. I am 42, 5'11" and have a strong heart and legs. I want to train for fitness and perhaps in time do a few sportives. I am not sure if I should go for a more out and out race bike and something much more conservative. I tend to train hard rather than 'take in the views' though.

Having looked about I love the unobtainable in my price range - Pinarello Dogma/Prince, Willier Cento Uno, Basso Astra etc.

So, the dilema. What should I do with my £4k (which will cost me about £2k under the cycle scheme)? Is the money best spent on frame and wheels with a cheap groupset? Where should I compromise?

I have seen Ribble Bikebuilder and can seem to put a great package together for just over £4k, but read horror stories about wait times and customer service! I have also read that their frames aren't that strong, but I have also read that Dedacciai (sp?) are great frames!

Help! What would you advise with that budget? Thanks in advance.

PP

Posts

  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    I think you are hopeful wanting 4k, not to be a pessimist, just check it out. As far as I know you have to have a seperate agreement of credit your company signs for anyhting over the 1k mark. I think you need to prepare for the worst.
    When you know your budget, test ride as many as you can if you are new, there are lots of subtleties on bikes, you need to spend wisely. :D
  • dont think you get tax relief over 1k either
    Burning Fat Not Rubber

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  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    stokepa31 wrote:
    dont think you get tax relief over 1k either

    Think you do.
    More problems but still living....
  • Slow DowncpSlow Downcp Posts: 3,041
    You can only go over the £1k if your company has a consumer credit licence. If they do, then you get full tax relief on the whole amount.

    Luckily my employers do have a licence, and I run the scheme, so the limit is set at £3,600 :D
    Carlsberg don't make cycle clothing, but if they did it would probably still not be as good as Assos
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    What do you currently ride on the road? What do you like about it?
  • willbevanwillbevan Posts: 1,241
    your company will have to apply for a credit agreement to get over1k, its not that they will limit it to 1k, they just have to actively unlimit it from 1k :S

    anyway going to your question.

    Personally I think spend the money on the frame first, then the wheels/tyres, sadle then groupset.

    I was facing the same issue and was looking at planetx, cube, ribble etc. In the end I found a last years model trek maddone reduced and decided to go with one of the bigger brands, not down to snobbery but due to the fact that I had seen a planetx being used just before and the back end was flexing in a sprint, noticebly flexing to the bystanders. Maybe a lot better now, but I thought if the frame (madone 5.2) was good enough for lance to ride, its going to do me for years!

    You can always upgrade the groupset in the future when it wears out, but except for weight reduction it isnt going to make you faster, just feel nicer. Have ultegra sl, 6700 and 105 on some bikes. Way prefer the ultegra(new or old) to 105 for smoothness, but if it meant the differencve in having the frame and wheels I wanted I would drop down the groupsets straight away.

    Upgrading my TT bike at the moment, and well gone for a cervelo p3. Can't afford to upgrade the wheels so put the money into the frame first. wheels maybe next season

    Don't get me wrong I would love dura ace or super record, and if you can afford it I wouldn't blame you but to me its one of the lower priorities with one exception, you dont want a chainset made out of cheese :)[/b]
    Road - BTwin Sport 2 16s
    MTB - Trek Fuel 80
    TT - Echelon

    http://www.rossonwye.cyclists.co.uk/
  • rjh299rjh299 Posts: 721
    Super Six hi mod SRAM Red 8)
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 1,981
    edited February 2010
    your company will have to apply for a credit agreement to get over1k, its not that they will limit it to 1k, they just have to actively unlimit it from 1k
    Well, they are a FTSE 100 company with more consumer credit licences than I could count! We have a forum where many of us have posted comments which have been passed on to those who are setting up the scheme - many of us asked for it not to be limited and even offered to pay money towards a licence if that was deemed necessary (about £750 I have heard?) The scheme rolls out tomorrow and the details will be available....fingers crossed. I have been saving for two years and have decided to use this cash to replenish my bank account each month as the payments go out...it has been a mighty wait for the last year as they announced they would be setting the scheme up, but with the credit crunch etc it was not a priority!!!!! Reading about bikes is just not the same..........!
    What do you currently ride on the road? What do you like about it?
    Well, nothing! As I mentioned in my first post I have not been cycling for 20 years. I became a runner, hill walker, then soldier, gym nut, swimmer and currently indoor rower....but I have got the bug back and things have moved on a bit since my Raleigh Rapide with Mavic GP4s!!!!

    I like the look of a carbon frame with something like Zipp 404s and was considering Campag Chorus groupset. A Ribble Gran Fundo so equiped comes out at £3k, which seems cheaper than many others. They are saying that they have sold out of many frame sizes until the end of March, and as I posted before you do read a few horror stories about their customer service, but then again many seem happy! I just get more confused! I definately need to visit a shop though to get properly measured and sized. I might sound niaive, but do shops all stock bikes which you can test ride that will be as per your spec? It sounds unlikely to me.

    Thanks all for your comments thus far, keep them coming.

    PP
  • incog24incog24 Posts: 549
    At that price, firstly get yourself a proper bike fit. If you're in the area perhaps Epic Cycles could be a good call as you get the bike fit for free if you get a bike from them. An Argon 18 Gallium Pro could be pretty tasty...Maybe with SRAM Red, a cheap training wheelset (Aksiums? or an Open Pro build?) and them some deep section tubulars for racing on? Possibly drop to Force and get nicer wheels? Stretch to some Edge builds?
    Racing for Fluid Fin Race Team in 2012 - www.fluidfin.co.uk
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    Pilot Pete wrote:
    What do you currently ride on the road? What do you like about it?
    Well, nothing! As I mentioned in my first post I have not been cycling for 20 years.

    PP

    If I were you I'd try a few bikes and work out what you want ccording to what you want it for. For £4k you coud get a race-ready lightweight wonder that you hate, or for £1000 you could get something comfortable you really like. I'd put the requirement first before the budget.
  • rakerake Posts: 3,281
    best think hard about what you want out of it. how durable and reliable you want it to be. mid range stuff usually lasts longer than cheap stuff and feels slicker to ride. spending a lot gives much more diminished returns as does the latest models usually with only slight tweaks and revisions. last years model parts can sometimes be had at a fair discount for not much perceptible difference, what ever you buy now it will be out of date within several months anyway so dont put too much stock in that although it doesnt sound like you have to be very carefull on price. high end race bikes are all about trying to shed weight rather than durability and as a result are higher maintenance. on of the most important places to start is the wheels in my opinion which can sometimes be an area where savings are made on ready built bikes. the wheels take the full force of bumpy roads, rider weight, drive force through the spokes, brake pads and rim wear. in my opinion unless you are compact and light weight i would use wheels with a few more spokes for less hassle and hardly any extra weight. 8 more spokes isnt much in terms of bike and rider weight. we all like to be flash but in terms of comfort and everyday useage an all out race bike may not be the way to go. carbon fibre is very nice but has a few disadvantages compared to quality alluminium or titanium frames, mostly accidental damage from impacts of any kind and abrasions, all bikes will suffer but carbon more so in that area. i hope i didnt cover things you knew already. :roll:
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Why splash 4k out on a bike ? I dare you to be able to ride a 1k bike and a 4k bike and tell me honestly that you can tell me theres a difference, and if you can tell me there is - thats its 3k worth of difference. Its diminishing returns.

    I'd get a nice bike for 1k or so, and then get a winter bike with full guards, wider tyres and lights for £600 or so. Save the rest until you've been cycling a bit more and know what you are enjoying these days.
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    I'd get a Force equipped carbon "race bike" for about £2.5k, and a Rival equipped titanium "winter bike" for about £1.5k.

    Job's a good un.
  • willbevanwillbevan Posts: 1,241
    Pilot Pete wrote:
    many of us asked for it not to be limited and even offered to pay money towards a licence if that was deemed necessary (about £750 I have heard?) The scheme rolls out tomorrow and the details will be available....fingers crossed. I have been saving for two years and have decided to use this cash to replenish my bank account each month as the payments go out...it has been a mighty wait for the last year as they announced they would be setting the scheme up, but with the credit crunch etc it was not a priority!!!!! Reading about bikes is just not the same..........!

    Fingers crossed for you :) would want a unlimited scheme myself :)
    Road - BTwin Sport 2 16s
    MTB - Trek Fuel 80
    TT - Echelon

    http://www.rossonwye.cyclists.co.uk/
  • willbevanwillbevan Posts: 1,241
    on another note, are you thinking of getting two bikes, a cheap winter hack for those nasty days you wouldnt want to take the nice bike out?

    As I understand (and a colleague of mine did), you can buy two bikes on the scheme... My nice bike is only a madone 5.2, so is lower than yout 4k budget but I wouldnt take it out now for example :S
    Road - BTwin Sport 2 16s
    MTB - Trek Fuel 80
    TT - Echelon

    http://www.rossonwye.cyclists.co.uk/
  • LillywhiteLillywhite Posts: 742
    cougie wrote:
    Why splash 4k out on a bike? I dare you to be able to ride a 1k bike and a 4k bike and tell me honestly that you can tell me theres a difference, and if you can tell me there is - thats its 3k worth of difference. Its diminishing returns.

    +1

    There was a recent thread on veloriders to this effect.

    http://www.veloriders.co.uk/phpBB2/view ... 89&start=0
  • bendertherobotbendertherobot Posts: 11,673
    Consider the final payment to own as well. A £4k bike would cost you a lot in salary sacrifice and is likely to be a £2k bike at least by the end. Getting that for a nominal amount would be a massive tax dodge and HMRC would not be awfully amused.
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
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  • Chris JamesChris James Posts: 1,040
    Just out of interest, why have you come up with the £4k figure?

    Do you have any specific wants or dislikes.

    Your questions comes across a bit like 'what motor vehicle should I get for £50k', the answer to which could be anything from a sports car to a motorhome!
  • rakerake Posts: 3,281
    if you want carbon fibre and zipp wheels you could do a hell of a lot worse than boardman pro carbon race prepared. top of the line sram red, zipp 404 wheels and one lightweight quality carbon frame all for £3300.
    http://www.boardmanbikes.com/road/road_ ... on_rp.html
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 1,981
    Thanks for all your input guys. No surprise that the bod in Human Resources who set the scheme up for our company knew nothing about bikes......she set up a £1000 limit and with Halfords..... :roll:

    I spent a day calling trying to find out what other bikes they would order in on request (which I have heard Halfords will do, but only if your employer agrees) and gave up as it all seemd too much effort for little reward.

    Took another look at prices online and found a 2009 Pinarello FP3 with Campag Centaur in my size at Evans in Manchester, with £500 of RRP. Took a drive up there and spent 3hrs with a very helpful Steve (thanks Steve if you read this), test rode the bike and compared to a few others. He kitted me out with bike, pedals, shoes, helmet, thermal tights, windproof jacket and gloves for £2800. All in all I am very pleased with the purchase and have clocked up about 60 miles this week over three rides, including 22 today in the Peak District (boy those hills are steep and covered in cow do-do!)

    Just settling in at the moment and waiting for the gear cables to stop stretching! One further question for you experienced guys; the brake levers seem a bit of a strech when I am in the drops, my hands are average, not particularly small. Can this be adjusted?

    Cheers for all your input, which was taken on board!

    PP
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