First road bike help

AlspPolar Posts: 5
edited October 2012 in Road buying advice
Hello forum,

Standard first road bike thread. I've just left uni and really want to dedicate myself to a sport, always enjoyed cycling on a rusty old mtb but got really into it this summer (for obvious reasons) and tried out a road bike for a few days on holiday in Mallorca. Of course it was incredible and I've been fixated with road ever since.

I'm normally pretty good at taking my time and researching online before committing to spending but with road bikes I am stumped by the massive amount of choice and small amount of reviews/feedback on manufacturers. Bikes really are a completely new area for me and I'm learning fast but there's a lot to think about. BikeRadar has been a helpful source of info so thought I would sign up and ask some stuff.

My budget is £700. I'm starting to realise that most entry level bikes for this price will be of good standard and it's more about how it feels when riding. That said, my first LBS recommended the Trek 1.2 and the next two I went in said the opposite, saying it wasn't as well specced as it could be for the money and that the geometry wasn't all that racey. I don't want to fall for sales bull.

The third LBS did seem pretty knowledgable guys with road bikes and knew their stuff without being forceful, they showed me Merida bikes and claimed they were good bikes in that price range.

I'm looking at this model -

I wondered if anyone had experience with Merida? I've become aware that they are a large manufacturer/supplier for other makes (specialized) but I can't find all that much on their own entry level bikes.
The 2013 Sora has the same shifters as what I rented on holiday I've been told. That was an Alloy Ambrosio Guido, which felt great but I can't find it anywhere around my area.
Any other recommended first bikes at the £700 mark? I know of Specialized, Trek, Giant Defy, CAAD8 Sora... I love the look of the Bianchi's but they don't seem to stock those in my area and the entry level is a bit pricey. Look isn't massively important but the colour scheme in the picture of that Merida is a bit meh for me tbh.

I am reluctant to buy online as it's the first bike and I'd rather go through the LBS and get everything sorted by a guy who knows what they're doing. I realise that might limit my choice a bit but hey ho.

Thanks for any response, and great forum btw!


  • ..standard first road bike reply ;-)
    ..not familiar with the Medrida but it seems standard spec for the price point. All the big boys - Trek, Specialized, Giant make fine bikes...any one will do you a treat, you just have to try as many as you can and go for the one you feel most comfortable on. It may help if you can explain to the LBS what you want the bike you really want something racey, or something more comfortable for long days in the saddle, 4 -6 hours?
    When i was choosing my first bike, it came down to the Giant Defy and Orbea Aqua, both similar spec and price form my LBS...went for the Orbea because I felt less "stretched" on it. Sora shifters are ok but most prefer the paddle lever on Tiagra shifters over the thumb-operated buttons on Sora, so if you can find Tiagra at your price point that may be worth considering.
    After the winter, you could think about upgrading the wheels (btw, the very first thing to do when you do get your bike is change the tyres!)...Mavic Aksiums and Fulcrum 7's are popular first upgrades. This will give your bike a new lease of life! of luck and have fun..!
  • Thanks for the reply :).

    I liked the look of the Orbea Aquas but can't find any who stock them in my area.
    I was told that the new 2013 Sora shifters will have the paddle lever like the tiagra and ultegra models? I hope this is true, I dislike the idea of the old thumb shifters, but haven't found much better than Sora in my price range in the shops at least. The shifters is a big reason why I'm waiting for the 2013 models.

    I'll be going to my LBS once they get the Meridas in and getting fitted for size etc. I keeping reading that online is the way to go as you get more choice and better deals but then hear that every bike feels different and might be right for you etc etc. It's annoying having to wait for all the LBS to bring in stock, seems to take forever this time of year cos of the new models coming in.
  • ..must admit I've not heard that about the Sora shifters being upgraded. However, Tiagra has already been upgraded from 9 speed to 10 speed....I got a pair of 9 speed shifters at the start of the year new from Merlin for about £120 including all cables, then sold the old Sora ones for about £50!!
    If you can live with the old Sora for a bit and are handy with bikes ( ever played with Meccano?) you could try that.... online, I'm reluctant to go that route, even though I'm now familiar with sizing, geometry etc and could make a better judgement as to what would suit me... very tempted by Canyon, though - they are stunning value and very well rated. I guess the trick is to find somebody local who has your online bike of choice in your size and who's prepared to give you a go..!
    I think, for a first road bike, you're going about it the right way, your LBS should look after you and they'll tweak your bike for free once its "broken in".
  • unixnerd
    unixnerd Posts: 2,864
    Sora is being upgraded to paddles.

    For 700 you'd get a very nice used bike. Have a look around ebay and gumtree, just keep your wits about you. Also have a look at 2012 models over the next few months, last years bikes often get a heavy discount. My mate got an 1100 quid bike for 700 that way. - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • Okay guys thanks for your help. Still waiting for LBS to get back to me, but I have started checking the deals on 2012 bikes and will see if anything comes up. There's a Moda intro with Tiagra for 700 and Moser speed 105 are on sale at Wiggle for 715, but I still think I'm better off being fitted properly locally, buying the wrong size would be annoying to put it lightly.
  • arlowood
    arlowood Posts: 2,561
    Hi there

    Sorry to muddy the waters but have recently spotted a review in Cycling Plus on the Dutch manufactured Sensa Romagna Special. ... l-12-46600

    This comes with 105 groupset and FC 560 chainset. Got rave reviews from the guys at Cyling Plus. Currently discounted at Merlin to £724 so just about within your budget. Comes in white or black if you prefer. ... -2013.html

    Might be worth considering for the better groupset alone.
  • Okay I'll look into that as well thank you arlowood :)