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What to spend my first bike bucks on - Frame or Components?

MikeAchillesMikeAchilles Posts: 5
edited July 2012 in Road beginners
Hi All, total newbie here and hoping for some tips on what is best to spend my first modest budget on(£850).....frame or components?

Looked around and seen the following two on CRC website, BeOne Mistral Race Road Bike 2011 with Ultegra at £839.00 or Corratec Dolomiti 105 Compact 2012 at £839.99

Or do I go for a carbon frame, such as a Ribble Evo Pro Carbon though my budget would only allow me to get Tiagra (I'd have to creep up to £875)?

Any advise what I should do?



  • Mickyg88Mickyg88 Posts: 289
    Go for the ribble, you could upgrade the tiagra later if you feel the need to, but will probably find it quite satisfactory for at least a couple of years, no contest.
  • ilm_zero7ilm_zero7 Posts: 2,213
    Wiliers: Cento Uno/Superleggera R and Zero 7. Bianchi Infinito CV and Oltre XR2
  • sungodsungod Posts: 13,207

    aside from minor differences in weight/stiffness/shifting, the groupset makes little difference

    if you know your size, have a look at secondhand, that can get you much better value than new - cycling weekly classifieds etc. (rather than ebay or thieftree) as i think ads there are more likely to be for decent bikes that've been well maintained and aren't stolen
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Thanks Mickyg88, ILM Zero 7 and sungod for your replies.

    got cycling weekly, but nothing my size in my budget which caught my eye (like eye candy if possible!) so went to two local bike shops this morning. Cheapest Carbon set up they had\was\£1500, way over my budget.

    Very friendly chaps in one shop, they really impressed me alot when I asked a whole load of stupid newbie questions, but all were answered in good humour and patience. Saw a beautiful Cervelo, but thousands of pounds over my budget. Dangerous shop to visit, could have thown my mortgage away for 6 months on it! :lol:

    I'm tempted to use the web to try to get and buy a Ribble carbon, but they get indifferent write up in some of the forums, especially on customer service......does anyone have an opinion on Ribble?
  • Simon MastersonSimon Masterson Posts: 2,740
    Rather than 'prioritise', 'balance'.

    A derailleur is a very basic thing. Primitive, even. So is the rest of the bicycle transmission. It has hardly changed in decades. I use Shimano 600; 30 years old. It still works just fine.

    One of the main things you pay for in a groupset - as with many things in cycling - is weight. And this is a legitimate concern; remove your cassette, derailleurs and chain, and swap for a single crankset, and your bike will lose you a good few grams. Since going fixed or singlespeed may unfortunately lose you the race (unless you've got superhuman legs), gears are a necessary evil. Therefore, it's necessary to make them as light as possible. Having a lighter crankset will also improve performance (I'm assuming) in much the same way as wearing lighter shoes. It does make sense.

    With the above in mind, it's therefore necessary to 'balance' the two priorities of 'groupset' and 'frame'.

    The frame is the most important thing. Framebuilders will make the frame perform well before they make it light, because you could make the lightest bike in the world and waste your time completely if it lacks the performance characteristics needed for the job.

    The groupset on the other hand, as somebody mentioned above, isn't that important. It's not like a cheap one won't shift gears.

    So the solution is to spend proportionately, hence 'balancing'. Diminishing returns applies to bikes much as it does to other things; above a certain amount you're primarily paying for your frame to be light. Therefore, if shedding 400g from your frame is worth £500 (example) to you, you'd be a bit silly to not spend accordingly on your groupset to take full advantage of that weight saving. Equally, a £2000 frame will hopefully perform better than a £1000 frame, but if you put on a pair of cheap heavy wheels you may as well not have bothered spending the money.

    With regard to the bikes you mentioned, I would personally worry - rightly or wrongly - about the quality of the rest of the bike if it can be that cheap and still have an Ultegra groupset. I have no experience of the bikes, though, so I can't comment on that.

    What I will say though, with all due respect, is that Ultegra is good enough for many seasoned professionals. There's really no shame in going for something more modest! I hope you find an excellent bike. As for Ribble, I think my next bike will be from them. They are very well thought of, so far as I can tell, and I've read plenty of excellent reports. :)
  • Thanks Simon, you answered quite a few questions I was going to ask so thanks for that. Like cars, is there a time when I might get a bargain on last years models? Which manufacturers should I stay clear of?
  • Simon MastersonSimon Masterson Posts: 2,740
    Thanks Simon, you answered quite a few questions I was going to ask so thanks for that. Like cars, is there a time when I might get a bargain on last years models? Which manufacturers should I stay clear of?

    My name's actually James (I couldn't be bothered to come up with a snappy internet code name...), but that'd be my pleasure. :)

    I can't comment on any manufacturers to no bother with, but Wiggle seem to do a lot of cheap deals on bikes. Now it's either a really good or a really bad time to buy, what with cycling being the hot topic at the moment...

    But you could do so much worse than the Ribble. Unless you can get 75% off a Pinarello or something they're among the best that you'll get for your money, so far as I can tell.
  • Mickyg88Mickyg88 Posts: 289
    MikeA, I think you have had enough posts telling you to go for the ribble, and as a first time buyer I'm sure you will love it,. I went along to Ribble and the guys were most helpful, sat on different bikes, got good advice from them, in the end I bought a Scott CR1 but only because I got a £500 reduction last December, otherwise it would have been a Ribble for me.
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