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New to road biking, unsure what to buy.

v3x30v3x30 Posts: 2
edited April 2012 in Road buying advice
I am looking to get into road biking to keep up my fitness and to have something other than studying to do at university! I imagine my rides will be 1-3 hours on average, possibly with some longer trips in summer.
I went to my local bike shop the other day and got some helpful advice. I am looking to spend around £600 and don't mind if new or second hand. I am unsure what frame geometry to opt for, a couple of years ago I raced dinghies at a high level and this has done no favours for my back, I find my lower back gets a little stiff and painful after a few hours exercise. Obviously trying some bikes would be the best way to find out but I doubt many shops have 'demonstrators' (or am I wrong?). With an endurance frame as opposed to a race frame would I find it significantly more comfortable over the time periods I mentioned or would it take longer rides to feel the difference? I know this question is probably quite subjective but any advice or experience anyone could share would be greatly appreciated.

The bikes the shop showed me were the Specialized Secteur and Giant Defy 4 (both endurance geometry frames) and the Specialized Allez Triple (road racer geometry). I live in the lake district so would do a lot of my riding here and was advised to opt for a triple chainset to make it a bit easier up some of the hills. Does anybody have any opinions on any of these bikes or any others around the £600 mark? I'm not sure if its relevant but I'm 19 and just over 6'2".

Any other advice on starting road biking would be greatly appreciated!


  • Go to all your local bike shops on a dry day, they will be able to give you helpful advice and let you try everything they have in your price range that you like the look of (if they are a proper bike shop)! At the end of the day it all comes to which bike you find most comfortable and enjoy riding the most! I don't think I could buy a bike without test riding it first.
    You may be able to get a bargain second hand, but it's more likely that you will have to fit to the bike as opposed to having a bike fitted to you - if you get me?
    A triple chainset would be a good plan however a compact double would also be okay. It may be worth aiming for a bike with a high quality frame and lower quality components - this way you can upgrade the components as you get into riding. Both the giant and the specialized are good bets - but ride them to decide which you prefer!
    One other thing that I think a lot of people miss out on is riding in a group, or at least with one other person. You'll definitely enjoy it a lot more.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    As a recent graduate and now taking up road cycling, I would take the cheapskate (and perhaps slightly immoral view) of going to a large bike shop (Evans, Halfords, Cycle Surgery) and trying some out for size and getting an idea of what you want.

    Then go and buy it second hand from the classifieds.
    As you know your back is bad (I would have thought all that hiking would toughen you up - I still have my abs from the laser circuit back during A levels!) you might want a more 'relaxed' geometry, which the Secteur is.

    Yep, not ideal, but perhaps you can then buy your parts from said bike shop if it stops working
  • humpyghumpyg Posts: 50
    I have a Specialized Allez Triple (2011) and think it's great, so I do recommend it. But, it may be worth seeing if you can find one in a shop and have a go. Don't think there's much difference between 2011 and 2012 model, so you should be able to get the 2011 one brand new for a good price (well under 600) if you shop around.
    PS - I'm 5'10 and got the 54 frame.
  • notlongnownotlongnow Posts: 176 ... 7b0s6p3669 ... 7b0s6p3593
    Both sub £600 and I recommend a large in the Giant or a 58 in the Cannondale :D
  • rpd_steverpd_steve Posts: 361
    Every one of those bike that have been reccomended by the shops and above posters are good quality, reliable machines. The Allez is a road racer, but with the handle bar spacers all below the stem (as delivered) it is quite upright and will suit you - though the Sectour is more upright, I think the Allez is a better all rounder, and more common popular when you come to sell it on.

    Buying 2nd hand can be a great way to get a good deal if you have a little bit of mechanical knolage to check it over for common issues like worn chain, cassette and chainrings, worn brake tracks on the wheels, out of true wheels etc. If you end up buying a lemmon for £150 cheaper than new you can easilly spend that getting it back up to scratch. If you are unsure then ask here and lots of people will be willing to advise. It is good practice to stay on top of things on a bike, like as your chain starts to wear change it strait away and it will cost you £25 - leave it and it will also cost you your cassette and in time chainrings, costing a lot more...

    Anyway good deals can be found: ... /101366909 ... /100897475

    Neither have any link to me...

    Also dont forget that to start you will also need at least a helmet, couple of water bottles and cages and a punture kit (tube, patch kit and CO2 inflator or mini pump), a cheap track pump for getting the tyres to the 100 psi + is also a boon for £20 - the cheaper bontranger ones are great.
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