First road bike questions

philbowell Posts: 9
edited March 2013 in Road beginners
I've decided to sell my Marin Shoreline Trail Disc (2011) and buy a road bike, should've bought a road bike originally but ah well. I've been reading up and seems that the Triban 3 is probably the way to go, but just had some questions I was hoping you guys could help with.

What's the difference between the Triban 3 Red and the Triban 3a white, which IMO looks better visually (I'm a designer so these things matter to me)?

I was in Halfords tonight and saw this offer on the Carrera Zelos limited edition and wondered how it compared to the Triban?

I'm totally new to this side of road cycling, but have been following it since 2011 when I bought my Marin (went with a MTB as it was familiar after riding them in my teens), so appreciate the advice on this. Thanks.


  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 72,586
    To get the ball rolling it might be worth letting us know what your budget is.

    There's a lot of knowledge on the forum that csn point you in directions you'd never have considered.
  • Sorry, should've included that. Budget is pretty limited, might be able to push it to about £400, but I'm aware I'll need to buy other bits of kit on top of the bike (some proper shorts seem to be important but advice on the other bits would be appreciated too). That's why I was looking at the Triban and then the Carrera caught my attention due to the sale price.
  • hipshot
    hipshot Posts: 371
    For the money the Triban 3a is ok but it has a steel fork and cheaper shifters: not really worth skimping on. The Carrera doesnt look as good as the Triban to me.

    Keeping it simple, if I was in your position with your budget I would stick with the Triban 3 and put up with the colour. Invest in bibshorts, clipless pedals/shoes (or your mtb spds if you have them) and at some point better tyres and you are ready to roll with the best of em.

    There are great deals 2nd hand too if you have the inclination.
  • Thanks. I'm presuming the carbon fork on the 3 gives a slightly better ride compared to the steel of the 3a which makes it worth the extra £20?
  • There's nothing wrong with steel forks; there's a reason why so many of us continue to use them. Carbon ones are lighter and do mute road vibration well, but there are no real absolutes here; forks are not created equal. If anything it's aluminium forks that are generally avoided, hence most aluminium bikes don't come with them.

    If you get the 3a, you should have enough left over to buy a basic jersey and some shorts. You could also do with some better pedals if you don't already have them (SPDs are fine); I don't know why anyone uses clips without straps.
  • hipshot
    hipshot Posts: 371
    philbowell wrote:
    Thanks. I'm presuming the carbon fork on the 3 gives a slightly better ride compared to the steel of the 3a which makes it worth the extra £20?

    Yes, although plenty of people, as Simon mentions, swear by steel. Nothing wrong with them, although they are unusual on an alloy bike. The steel fork will probably be heavier and the 3a's microshifters are a downgrade. Not really worth it for £20, unless you really want the white

    I would still go for the 3 personally.
  • Thanks guys, I'll have a look at them both and see how they feel. My guess is there won't be much difference between them when actually sat in the saddle? I'll have a look into the pedals and see how much that will be—I had flats on my MTB but am keener to get out on the road than I was on the trails—as you've advised they are worth looking at, they may influence my decision as budget is tight. Any recommendations for someone who has only ever ridden flats?
  • You are right that there won't be much difference. I have to concur with hipshot though; for £20 you may as well go for the better shifters.

    As for pedals, it really depends on what you want to do with your bike. You could get some better clips and straps, which are a nice choice for getting used to having your feet attached to the pedals; you can loosen the straps all the way, which makes them very easy to get out of whilst giving you the essential benefits, and tightening them gives you the same effect as with clipless. Some MKS clips and some basic leather straps wouldn't cost you much money, though cycling-specific shoes are much nicer to cycle in. If you wanted to go with clipless and wanted to be able to walk then SPD shoes and pedals are a good choice; being double-sided the pedals are also very easy go get into. Otherwise you could try the SPD-SL system. Both would be fine, and are available cheaply.
  • I'll have a look, I think you're right and will go for the 3 over the 3a so long as I can find one (I hear they're discontinued now).

    Pedals wise, I'd like to use the bike for two or three rides per week for fitness and fun along with using it to get around Cheltenham rather than drive. If I went with clip less maybe some that have flat one side would be worth looking at although I might go with some straps to begin with as you suggest.

    Thanks for the guidance on all this, very helpful.