Frame choice for first road bike?

Quizmate
Quizmate Posts: 97
edited January 2013 in Road beginners
After starting cycling and commuting on a hybrid for the last 6 months I now feel ready to branch out and get my first road bike. I'm thinking more all day comfort over longer distances on sociable rides (e,g. CTC, Sportive / Audax riding) rather than fast, twitchy chain gang club rides or racing. My well respected LBS where i recently had my Hybrid properly fitted suggested one of their own branded "high quality" alloy frames married to a carbon fork as a good place to start claiming they'd covered plenty of miles on it in great comfort. On the other hand I've read so much about the benefits of steel and with carbon bikes getting ever cheaper my head is now spinning. I could go off the peg but am very tempted to get something I can fit to me as knee issues and the ageing process suggest I ought to ensure comfort is a priority. I live in Nottingham so could easily visit Mercian or Dave Yates, but should probably set myself a budget of say £1500 ish. Any thoughts or advice would be a big help towards making a decision.

Comments

  • lc1981
    lc1981 Posts: 820
    I bought a Genesis Equilibrium 20 this year and have been very happy with it. The idea was to only use it for longer and hillier rides but I've ended up using it for pretty much all the time. It's light, feels fast and is very comfortable. £1500 would get you one with money spare for upgrading the wheels. Here's a review from a couple of years ago (since when the spec has changed a bit). It's possible to buy just the frameset and build it up however you want.
  • mattv
    mattv Posts: 992
    Specialized have a very good offering for that, with Secteurs and Roubaix models below £1500.
  • smoggysteve
    smoggysteve Posts: 2,909
    I have mentioned about people setting budgets on bike buying before on here.

    If £1500 is a top level you can afford then look for something closer to around £1000. The reason is you will surely need to look at getting extra kit be it clothing or just other items.

    In the £1000 bracket there are hundreds of bikes out there which are all pretty much the same. Different groupsets and wheels are maybe all that separates them. Personally for a first road bike I would go for a Alu/carbon fork for a grand if thats what you are willing to pay. Even steel or Titanium would not be a bad choice in this price band. technology in bikes is light years ahead of a decade or so ago. Just make sure you get a bike that fits you and is comfortable. Don't get caught up in the wheels, gears, brand blah that happens on this forum. Get what you like and save some cash for other items should you wish to branch out more. Tiny steps not big leaps.

    I set myself a budget of £1000 pounds for my first bike. After a year I had spent over double that on cycling including the bike. New wheels, tyres, clothing. It all adds up. Best to factor it in before you buy the bike.
  • unixnerd
    unixnerd Posts: 2,864
    Specialized have a very good offering for that, with Secteurs and Roubaix models below £1500.

    Try a Roubaix, it's so comfy it'll spoil you for anything else. Light and a real mile eater. I have steel, alloy and carbon bikes. The steel bike is comfy but not up the Roubaix's standard and it's heavier (it's a tourer in fairness). The alloy bike is almost the same weight as the carbon bike but it's not as comfortable as it transmits much more road noise.

    If you get a bike with a good frame then over time you can upgrade the wheels / groupset / etc to make a superb machine.
    http://www.strathspey.co.uk - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,490
    If you are looking for an all day bike for slow(er) touring / audax rides then I would suggest making sure you get something that can take mudguards and possibly a rack. Doubtless others will argue but I think steel is still the best frame material for that type of bike and if you can afford getting something made-to-measure from a reputable frame builder I would go down that route as comfort is the key for the type of riding you want to do. I haven't looked at custom steel prices for a long time though so I'm not sure if you could get anything built up within budget.
  • smoggysteve
    smoggysteve Posts: 2,909
    Can you realistically see a first time buyer going to a custom manufacturer? Think about it. They just want to get on a bike and go. No fuss, no fancy talk about things they don't even understand yet cos all this is new. They just want a bike thats going to be fun to ride.

    I would stick to what your LBS says, you seems to have built up a raport with them already if you had one bike fitting there. I doubt they would rip you off if you know them well. Just get something that suites you for size and comfort. No need to worry about better wheels or better gears, I doubt you even care at this moment in time.

    With that in mind, you want comfort so don't go looking for carbon, absolutely no need. Spend your money on something metallic and probably a bit more suitable for cruising than racing, a more upright position. Again as was mentioned, get one with fittings for mud guards. I am sure you would just as happy on any bike so long as it suits your needs and nothing more.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,490
    Can you realistically see a first time buyer going to a custom manufacturer? Think about it. They just want to get on a bike and go. No fuss, no fancy talk about things they don't even understand yet cos all this is new. They just want a bike thats going to be fun to ride.

    I suggest you re-read his original post then.
    Quizmate wrote:
    I could go off the peg but am very tempted to get something I can fit to me as knee issues and the ageing process suggest I ought to ensure comfort is a priority. I live in Nottingham so could easily visit Mercian or Dave Yates........