Buying first road bike advice needed, Brit living in Germany

biked123 Posts: 16
edited September 2010 in Road beginners
Hi Everyone,
My first post to the forum, I recently did a sprint triathlon on my mountain bike, I wasn't super fast but I loved the experience and now think I can justify getting the right equipment for it all.

I already have the swim stuff sorted (a keen swimmer), I have running stuff but need to get the bike sorted, I've never owned a road bike but have been looking around and wanted to get your advice.

Here's my thinking:-
* Buy the best bike you can afford, otherwise you out-grow it and end up having to sell it at a vastly reduced price (used bikes don't hold their price)
* As long as I buy a bike with a decent frame I can upgrade the components around it, as when I want (add aerobars etc.)
* Buy a bike that is going to last me many years so I can really master it (not constantly swapping bikes again and again)
* I don't want to buy second-hand, I wouldn't know how to check it over, don't want the troubles that come with used hardware (I also fancy treating myself)

At the moment I was looking at the team carbon boardman bike as the one to get:

The frame is completely carbon so it's strong/light/stiff, components are pretty high spec'd from what I understand, although I've heard that the first thing I will want to upgrade/after some use will probably be the wheels/tyres, but that's later on, I'm sure these are more than fine for me now.

Can anyone recommend any other bikes that maybe I should be looking at, or if/where I'm going wrong either in my thinking or my choice of bike, as I'm open to the experts here.

The other questions was I really don't understand how there can be so many different types of pedals out there, about five types from what I understand, I would prefer some easy clip into ones with shoes that feel like trainers so I can walk to the train in them and not feel like I'm walking in ski-boots or whatever, do most use SPD's? And is there any fundamental differences in the types of systems, how they work, why you choose one over another; I would have thought 1, maybe 2 systems of clipping your feet to the pedals.

The last question really is logistics. Undfortunately the snag with the boardman bikes is the location, I live in Berlin and the bikes only ship from Halfords and they only ship to the UK. I thought I could ask my brother to pickup the bike, make sure it's setup right and I could get it FedEx'd to me, I was wondering if FedEx'ing it would be the cleverist/cheapest way to get it to me? (As I understand the bike is great value for money so it's worth the extra hassle of getting it FedEx'd over, rather than purchasing another bike that could be shipping directly to Germany)

That's about it for now, I think the biggest issue for me right now is trying to short list some bikes, but the problem is one of too much choice and not understanding all the different terminology, so excuse me if I have this all arse-about-face.

Many thanks in advance!


  • term1te
    term1te Posts: 1,462
    HI there.

    I don't think you need to import a bike from the UK to Germany to get a good bike or deal. Have a look at these people They are based in Germany, generally have good prices and the service I've received has also been good. I haven't bought a bike from them, but I see a lot of their Redbull bikes on the road over here. Maybe worth a look?
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Canyon. Get a Canyon. Yes. Caaaannnnnyyyyoooonnnnnn.

    They are a German company who make reputedly fantastic bikes at a very good price....
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Since it's your first bike I'd reccommend getting it from a bike shop so you can be fitted properly. Sprechen Sie enough Deutsch to get by in a local bike shop? (when I lived in Berlin most people seemed to want to practice their English anyway) Don't be afraid to consider some German brands like Focus and Cube, which over here are only available mail order.

    Tell them what you'll be using it for. Do you want a Time Trial / Triathlon specific bike, or a road bike to which you can fit clip-on aero bars? Do you have a budget?

    Biggest plus about buying locally is that you can take it back if something goes wrong. I wouldn't fancy trying to pursue a warranty claim through Halfords with the bike in Berlin.
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    If you can, I'd say buy the best bike you afford. It's nearly always cheaper to buy a complete bike than the buy a bike in bits. I'm sure it can be done but requires a lot of effort searching round looking for deals and of course takes time. The frame is key to the bike so I would say that was the most important thing too look at but don't get a really expensive frame with cheap components.

    Shimano make SPD-SL pedals for road and SPD for off road although there's nothing stopping you using the latter on road. This summer I even saw someone with SPD-SL on a Mountain Bike but I wouldn't recommend it! SPD cleats are metal with a 2 hole fitting and can be fitted to cycling shoes with a normal tread so that the cleat is recessed and you can walk normally. SPD-SL cleats are plastic with a 3 hole fitting. You can walk on them, but it's not as easy and the cleats will wear out quickly, so only short distances really. The shoes you buy need to be compatible with the 2-3 hole. Some shoes are drilled for both.

    Look are like SPD-SL, in fact Shimano copied Look.

    Then there are Time, Crank Brothers, Speedplay, Campagnolo amongst others which all have their own system which is a thread is its own right to discuss the pros and cons!

    If you are in Germany try or The sites are available in English and may be a simpler solution than a courier from the UK.

    For accessories try:
  • Ben6899
    Ben6899 Posts: 9,686
    Just don't mention the war!

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
  • biked123
    biked123 Posts: 16
    Wow! Thank you for all that information, I'll be sure to look at the other makes/sites you've mentioned, I'll let you know how I get on, hopefully I can get some feedback when I've shortlisted a few if you don't mind.

    Thanks for the info on the pedals as well I think I need some which I can walk around in no problems as I want to be able to get on the s-bahn with everything on obviously so I'm not having to worry about baggage.

    I agree I think I need to go visit a shop that can size me up properly and can let me sit on some bikes to get a feel for what I need, I will go and have a good look this weekend.

    Thanks again to all the replies!
    Have a great day.
  • You're in the right place for a good carbon bike already mate. As stated already, Focus (I have one, they're magic!), Canyon and Cube are VERY respected brands. No need to look further afield.

    All your thinking is absolutely correct too.

    Pedals are a bit like saddles. It's what suits, really. I like to use the Time RXS system as the cleats are (comparatively) easier to walk in, not too expensive to replace, and most importantly for me, have a good degree of "float". If you don't know what this is, then it just describes the lateral movement of the mechanism, so that your heel can move from side to side and not feel too rigid. Past this point of course, the foot simply clicks out.

    Decide what your riding style is, i.e. do your knees and feet move around a lot, then find one with the right degree of float. Then other things like budget and weight come into play. Sadly, all cleat mechanisms aren't fantastic for walking around in. You can get more recessed SPD systems, but these are compromises and the shoes won't be rigid enough to transfer power through to the pedal. So they're not worth it if you want to do a modicum of serious riding.

    Just go through loads of reviews. You could do worse than look at wiggle for this; ... d_Clip-In/

    I'm sure others will weigh in with more excellent advice than me....

    Herzlischen Gluckwunsch...!
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    I don't know where you are in Germany but Rose's 'Bike Town' might be worth a day out...

    Rose biketown
    Werther Straße 44
    46395 Bocholt
  • biked123
    biked123 Posts: 16
    Thanks schweiz, I'm in Berlin so that's about as far away as it could be hehe :)

    Thanks anyways
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    sorry, should've read your original post properly.

    Never mind.

    But like the others have said, there are lots of German brands that are very good value. Restating what have already been recommended...Canyon, Cube and Focus but there are others. It's the end of the season and 2011 bikes are out now/soon so you may pick up a bargain especially if you're tall, short or colour blind!

    EuroBike is in Friedrichshafen next Saturday but again that's bloody miles from Berlin
  • GraemeT
    GraemeT Posts: 155
    EuroBike is in Friedrichshafen next Saturday but again that's bloody miles from Berlin

    Are you going?
    Just Keep Pedalling
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    I had thought about it. Mrs Schweiz-to-be was wanting a road bike and we were going to have a look around but she bought a Trek 2.5 WSD from our LBS 2 weeks ago so now I'm unsure.

    It's 4+ hours with public transport each way or a couple of hours with the car.

    MeteoSchweiz forecast for the weekend is good too, so I'd rather go for a ride. If the weather turns I might still go just for a look-see.

    Are you going?
  • GraemeT
    GraemeT Posts: 155
    I plan to go all being well. I've been a couple of times in the past and its a nice day out, and there is soooo much to see. I even came home with a new bike last time :D That shouldn't happen this time as my Planet-X arrived yesterday, but you never know.
    Just Keep Pedalling
  • So I had a good look around, again thinking of something that is going to really last me, but I can't get away from the spec of the boardman team carbon, it seems to really outshine the other bikes I've looked at and here are the one's I was shortlisting, (I must have looked at about 80 bikes last night)...

    Here were the one's I looked at...

    These, but I realised they don't ship these to Germany: ... 360045299/ ... 360045298/ ... 5310/#more

    These do ship to Germany: ... elID=44405 ... elID=44404 ... 360045923/

    They don't seem to live up to the spec of this:

    Feel free to disagree with me, it'd be good to hear from other opinions.

    I also wondered what people think of riding a TT bike regularly; can you ride medium/long distances on it, on roads is it advisable. Personally I think I should get a racing "horns" (lol, sorry about the terminology if it's wrong) and stick some aerobars on it later if I want them.

    So unless I hear anything that really changes my mind, I think I'm going to go sit on some bikes tomorrow, get a good idea of my frame size (medium or large) and take the risk of buying the in the UK and having it shipped here, my brother is into bikes so he can check and make sure there's nothing obviously wrong with it, if something does go wrong, most things can be fixed without issue, as long as the frame isn't obviously buggered/scratched in some way then I can always fedex the bits back and get them exchanged.

    Plus I'll be the only boardman rider in Berlin! ;-)

    Any comments are welcome! Thanks everyone.
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    Maybe you can get a local dealer to price match the Focus or the Cube? Just print off the deals, add the postage costs and start negotiating!!

    I got CHF 1000 off my Cube MTB by doing that with the CRC price. In fact when I said I could get the bike from the UK for less he asked me 'From CRC?'! Then he went on about how he couldn't compete, then gave me the discount!

    Planet X ship to Germany too and have a good deal on a SRAM red equipped bike at the moment
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    Quick Google.... ... radstation

    They have some old Klein and Lemond bikes there. They're at least a couple of years old and still in stock. Go in with your Euros and see what you can do!
  • Focus, Cube and Canyon are all good brands and are all German, you'll easily find something
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • you've also got this one, SRAM Force, and the wheels are £400 a pair :-p ... 360049152/
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)