Request for advice on first ever road bike (for commute)

grechzoo Posts: 49
edited August 2012 in Road buying advice
Im looking for a good quality road bike for someone who has never riden anything but a clunky cheap £99 mountain bike in his life before.

This will be for a work commute (10 miles), but I want to stress im still looking for the highest quality I can get with my budget of £500-£800. I want a bike that feels super-light and fast, and smooth. From someone who has ridden the cheapest of the cheap that you order in an Argos catalog in his teenage years, can you explain the difference these bikes give you, and basically get me more excited to take the plunge. :)

Overall I just want to enjoy myself more in my morning commute, get fitter and maybe as a side effect really get into road biking as a new (knowingly expensive ;)) hobby.

Also I have perfect logic for justifying a relatively high spend on this piece of equipment without experience. And thats a £30 per week cost on the train for my job already. If I buy this and use it for 6 months, then its paid off.

So, while im not totally clued up on all the spec aspects of road bikes yet (I will be soon ;)) I want to know what my choices are for the low end of my budget and how those compare to the high end of my budget.

While it will be for a commute and not racing/triathlon, I do plan to do longer rides if the bikes feels and rides as good as I'm hoping and I truly enjoy it (boss does London to Brighton every year for example). So I just want the best for what I can justify spending.

Hope you guys can help.

Bikes: CAAD8 105, CAAD10 105.


  • martylaa
    martylaa Posts: 147
    Best bet is to try your local bike stores near you have a chat and sit on a few to see what you think.
  • grechzoo
    grechzoo Posts: 49
    I'm off to my LBS tonight.

    Can I ask a few more questions:

    What brands sell well on ebay for example? Or are there other places where should something happen I can claim back say 60-70% of the bikes worth. (This is just something I have to know when spending this much money on something, so I dont mean it in a negative way.)

    How much do spare tires cost for a bike in my 500-800 budget?

    Is it worth spending an extra 200 or so going to carbon? even for a new rider?

    I will want to use my bike in the winter, does this mean going for the top end of my budget might not be the best idea? will I need to make sure my bike can handle mudflaps etc?

    Hope you guys can help. cant wait to try out a few bikes tonight.
    Bikes: CAAD8 105, CAAD10 105.
  • clarkey cat
    clarkey cat Posts: 3,641
    answering your questions in turn:

    resell: all the major brands. so specialised, giant, trek will resell easily. The classified section on this website is a good place to sell.

    tyres: £25 each roughly. Continental gatorskins or similar are good.

    carbon: no, not worth it - but if you want it, go for it 8)

    mudguards: plenty of road bikes have 'clearances' for permanant mudguards, although those that dont can fit 'race-blades' or similar. £800 is not an unreasonable amount to spend on a bike for year-round commuting, you will prolong its life by cleaning it regulalry and installing mudguards (to stop the spray from the front wheel killing your drive train - gears and chain)

    in terms of recommending bikes - you should just get the one that fits you best and you like the most. although things like the Specialised Allez / Secteur, Cannondale CAAD8, Giant Defy, Trek 1 series are all solid entry level bikes.

    I would go into why an £800 bike is better than a £99 argos jobby - but i dont want to ruin the surprise for tonight!!! :D
  • clarkey cat
    clarkey cat Posts: 3,641
    you could do worse than looking at this. £580, all in. If you want to stretch your budget choose better wheels. ... dition/1rw
  • MichaelW
    MichaelW Posts: 2,164
    Note that winter training/Audax style bikes get their extra tyre and mudguard clearance from using long drop caliper brakes rather than racing style short drop.
    Short drop brakes limit you to 23-25mm tyres with mudguards, long drop allow 28mm, a really useful feature in winter.
  • grechzoo
    grechzoo Posts: 49
    Thanks so much guys. I know I'm asking simple questions, but I'm reading the forums like hell too, to try and get as much info as I can. Your feedback is great.

    Anyway I felt very ill after work today so will delay the bike shop visit till Saturday, but they have a few bikes that are comparable to the Specialized Allez, and a custom carbon one for me to try when I go. (Just so I know what each feel like. Carbon is pretty much off my list now, I'll save it when I'm richer, and know I am "all in" with cycling ;))

    I have another few questions to follow up if that's okay.

    Considering I live in south England, this winter bike talk has got me worried that, say if I didn't go for that Ribble bike and went with a Specialized Allez 2012 for example, how hard (and expensive) would it be to get it into winter riding shape, or would it even be possible?

    I don't want to buy something I will fear damaging when the roads are soaked come late autumn.

    Also any good links to places where I an get cheap bike clothing, padded shorts, long sleeve, gloves etc. Also any recommendation on a good value, light helmet with good airflow.

    Sorry if this is probably going into too much detail considering I haven't decided on a bike yet, but I want to get good quality stuff and overall get an idea of how much I will be spending.

    Thanks again guys/gals :)
    Bikes: CAAD8 105, CAAD10 105.
  • Then get the Ribble they are always bargains. It's put together and sold by blokes in Britain (if the parts are made here I'll faint) with a great reputation. Whilst they may not be your LBS, they are a great British brand.

    Clothes go to Wiggle on line ........... or your LBS.
  • IMO if your looking at your 1st road bike & its to be used for commuting I would go for the Triban3 from Decathlon and when your happy that the road bike is right for you look to spend out on a bike for your weekend/evening rides :) .

    Why spend alot of money on a bike for commuting when it will get knocked & ridden in all weathers, get something cheaper but still very good value which has cheaper components to replace (if/when they break).

    You still get a nice Alu frame and carbon forks on the Triban3 and Shimano's 2300 groupset which will be fine for your commute.

    If you don't have the space for 2 bikes then look at the Triban5 (same frame/fork as the Triban3) but you get Shimano's Sora Groupset which is still fantastic value for money.

    If on your test rides you find drop bars aren't to your liking the above bikes are also available in flat bars (Fitness3/Forme5). I love my Forme5 and glad I didn't go for the Allez or alike as I felt you were only paying the extra for the name.

  • MichaelW
    MichaelW Posts: 2,164
    Winter wont destroy your bike. The reasoning behind a "winter bike" are several:
    -To use up partially worn out bits from your Sunday best bike, on an old frame you used to ride.
    -To have a bike where mudguards and wider tyres can be fitted without resorting to velcro, zipties and clamps.
    Almost any entry-to-midlevel road bike can be winterized if you try hard enough but if your intent is to commute year round, it just makes sense to include that in your requirements.

    The bikes using short drop brakes vary considerably in the clearance they allow. If the brake blocks are set at the lower end, then there may well be room for 'guards. With long drop brakes you can be assured of clearance.

    Aldi and lidl bike sales are good.
    In winter, helmet vents are over-rated. My low end Met is cheap, comfy and effective. High end models have more air and less helmet.
  • grechzoo
    grechzoo Posts: 49
    Scratch my last post. Figured out most of the stuff through research and going to my LBS.

    anyway im too tired to write everything, but lets just say, the first time i started pedalling on my test ride, I could not keep a smile off my face. Someone mentioned a quote from his friend on the forum when he first tried a road bike: "it feels like you are flying" that's pretty much my sensation.

    The effort needed to get great speed on anything but a tough incline is unbelievably low, and sooooo smooth. and the bike i tested has a worse frame (general opinion of shop staff and from what i have read) than the allez sport too. so the bike i end up getting after this cycle to work scheme goes through should be even better.

    its not just the thin slick tyres, the unbelievable lightness, or great way the bike has no natural deceleration when not pedalling. its also the drop bars, there were so comfortable for me, and because of the balance of my weight was even over the whole bike, it meant i was pedalling with the force of my whole body, not just my legs as you would do in an upright position, which again meant so much less effort!

    anyway, could not be more excited, wished i could have test ridden that bike until my legs gave out. did about 5 miles in 40 minutes (on busy Saturday streets around the centre) and took it back, didn't feel remotely tired, wished i could have just ridden it all weekend :)

    truly cant wait now.
    Bikes: CAAD8 105, CAAD10 105.