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Another 'which bike?' thread...

monkeydanmonkeydan Posts: 95
edited May 2012 in Road beginners
Dear Sir / Madam

I think I am going to buy a bike soon. I've been into cycling since the end of last year and have been commuting and doing some social rides on a Langster Steel, usually doing 80-100 miles a week. Having been cycling around the Netherlands recently (did my first 100km ride on a SS, thank god that country is so flat!) and having completed my first lap of Richmond Park over the weekend, I am considering getting a bike with gears and getting into some longer rides, doing some proper training and that kind of thing.

I've done a lot of research - focusing mainly on value for money (highest spec for the price, ignoring brands, etc.) - which has led me to the following bikes.

1. Ribble Sportive Bianco (specced with SRAM Apex or 105, comes in around £1,200 but only because I want all white components :) )

2. Planet X Pro Carbon Rival (£1,000) (or possibly the Gran Fondo for the same price?)

3. Canyon Roadlite, either 6.0 (105), 6.0SL (SRAM Apex) or 7.0 (Ultegra) (£809 / £1,009)

The issue with these is that I don't think I can test ride any of them. I've never had a bike fitting and obviously the geometry of all of these frames is quite different from my Langster so I don't know exactly what frame size, stem length etc. I should go for. So, I have listed some questions below, any advice / comments would be greatly appreciated.

1. If you had to get one of the bikes listed above, what would you go for and why?

2. Are there any other bikes between £800 and £1,200 which you would recommend over the ones I've listed?

3. Is it worth getting a bike fitting on my Langster and using their advice to pick the best frame for my anticipated riding position, flexibility, etc.? Or going for a fitting sans bike and telling them what I'm thinking of getting?

4. Not sure if this is a big factor but I am around 80kg, would any one of those bikes be more suitable for a heavier gentleman? (I'm only 5' 6, not as fat as you might think, but historically more of a powerlifter than a cyclist!)

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro


  • NavrigNavrig Posts: 1,352
    Phone each of the suppliers of your shortlisted bikes and ask their advice on suitable framesize. Be prepared with all your key dimensions (height, inside leg, trunk length, arm reach and so on). It's not in their interest to sell a bike which is the worng size - all that happens then is you are unhappy and tell the rest of the cycling world via Bike Radar.

    As for which one would I chose?

    I guess I may be biased. I've bought two Ribbles off the web and been happy with both. However I was advised to take a 56 in the Winter Audax and a 54 in the Gran Fondo. Both suit however I reckon I could have "gotten away" with a 54 in the Winter Audax.

    As for gearing etc, I've only used Shimano and have been very happy with it. Easily adjusted, cleaned and operated.

    Generally at 80kg weight is not a factor in bike choice. You are probably no heavier than most folks on here.

    Good luck.
  • monkeydanmonkeydan Posts: 95
    Thanks for the suggestion. I don't actually have my measurements so I guess that would be a good place to start. Good to know you're happy with your Ribble bikes, I think this is where my money's going to go. I have heard many terrible tales of customer service (although everyone seems to agree that the bikes are great) - what was your experience like?

    Haven't ridden either Shimano or SRAM as I haven't been on a road bike since the shifters were on the downtube... might see if I can get a test ride on a couple of bikes just to see which I prefer. The 105 vs. Apex debate has been done to death and really it just seems to come down to individual preference with regard to the shifting.

    Also good to know I'm not too far at the heavy end of the scale!

    Cheers for your help.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro
  • NavrigNavrig Posts: 1,352
    My experience with Ribble was a little mixed but mostly good and good enough I still buy kit from them when the price is right and would still consider buying a bike from them if I was in the market.

    The main issue I had was getting a replacement mech hanger for the Winter Audax after a spokes/derailleur tangle. It took much longer than it should meaning that I was off the road for a few weeks. In their defence the problem arose the week before Xmas.

    I also found that getting the phone answered was a challenge however I did find that emailing an individual elicited a more prompt response. So once I got hold of a contact I just emailed him and got good service.

    I once ordered the wrong item and had to return it. All done without fuss.

    I had to get my LBS to look at a wheel hub which was still under warranty. They charged me £10 to strip and regrease. Ribble refunded me £10.

    Overall pretty good.
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