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Newbie seeking advice... what would you go for?

acreboacrebo Posts: 16
edited June 2020 in Road buying advice
Hi folks,

I’m taking the plunge into road cycling, due to my shins simply not being able to put up with running any longer! However, in that regard I’m starting from scratch...

I anticipate that the majority of my rides will be comparatively short distances, maybe 20/30 miles with the occasional longer stint. Also, I live in South West UK where it’s relatively hilly... so climbs are to be expected whichever direction I head off.

I’m really keen to go with one of the direct-to-consumer brands as they seem to offer great value for money and I like the idea of supporting UK companies at the moment.

So, with a budget around £1,200 - £1,400, I’m considering the below. I’d appreciate thoughts:

Dolan L’Etape (105)
Merlin Nitro Aero (105)
Merlin ROC (Ultegra)

Any other suggestions (which I could feasibly actually have before the summer’s finished... availability is shot to pieces)

Thanks in advance!


  • shortfallshortfall Posts: 3,288
    I'd say any of them would be a good bike for you. You might want to upgrade the wheels at some point if you get the cycling bug but other than that, they all seem pretty well specced.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 11,746
    As shortfall says all 3 are decent bikes that will serve you well. The Merlin aren't the lightest but as your only just starting out that's no big worry. Ribble is worth looking at. Wouldn't bother with Canyon as mail order through them can be a bit of a lottery at times. Decathlons higher end Triban bikes are worth looking at as well. You need to decide if you want mudguards and choose accordingly. You'll need to decide what pedals you want and also cycling specific clothing / footwear.
    Personally I use SPD as I can walk easier than with spd-sl,s
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • arlowoodarlowood Posts: 2,561
    edited June 2020
    You could also consider Ribble - The R872 with 105 falls within your budget

    or if you can stretch another £200 or so the Endurance SL is a possibility

    The Endurance range has been well regarded in reviews.
  • acreboacrebo Posts: 16
    Thanks all, I have also looked at Ribble but lead times are stretching towards the end of August now so I’m a bit reluctant with waiting so long!

    I’m leaning towards the Merlin ROC. Probably the least ‘exciting’ of the three but the inclusion of discs and Ultegra is drawing me... but then I’m sacrificing carbon.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 11,746
    carbon isn't the be all and 105 today is yesterdays ultegra.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • teisetrotterteisetrotter Posts: 342
    edited June 2020
    Don't worry about the Carbon thing. Aluminium has about a 500g weight penalty but is a fraction of the price (half a poo or bottle of water in real life). You can get a disc Cinelli or Bowman Alu frame for £800 or less, Cinelli's can be bought as complete bikes as well from various places. However, if you want to keep it mainstream then the two main UK online racebike suppliers are Ribble and Planet X which has a good bargain here:

    The thing about those two brands is they have excellent UK based customer service and as a new person to the game you can phone them and chat through the bike best for you. If you are like most people you'll start doing more and then get a bit finicky about things as you notice bits which annoy or make you uncomfotable, think saddle and how far/low you reach from it to the handlebars. Gears - what ratios you will need? Compact, semi-compact 11-28, 12-31 and so on. Ribble and Planet X are as helpful as they can be over the phone and are not just online order, they are proper local bike shops with a long history of providing bikes to you and their own race teams. So they are like the German brands price wise, but have much much better customer service and they employ local people who are generally bike racers themselves. They just don't sponsor a big Pro team so have less cudos in the market. You can even go to them if you wish. Don't forget you'll need pedals and shoes etc. and they will advise you on those as well. My friends daughter races in GB Triathlon but her first sponsor was Planet X .... they were brilliant and as she grew in her teenage years they just changed parts on the bike to fit her. That will be the same for you, if you want to change something they'll advise you the best thing to look at and what the best buy is ..... far better than some faceless mega distributor.

    As it is your first bike, go for service first. I've been racing my bike for over 30 years and up until ten years or so ago the idea of not going to a race specialist and the idea of an off the peg bike was thought of as madness (still is in my view). I actually got my first completely off the shelf winter bike as an insurance claim 3 years ago. It's triggers broom, I'll never ever ever buy an off the shelf bike ever again it's a fake economy.

    You can add to the bargain list Tifosi and Forme both of which provide good bikes.
  • acreboacrebo Posts: 16
    Thanks all, that’s all really useful. Yeah am planning a trip to the LBS soon to at least sit on a couple bikes to work out some finer geometry details.

    I have an old MTB which I’ve used to give me a general feel as to what I’d feel comfortable on (albeit not moving anywhere...) but appreciate it’s chalk and cheese.

    Can’t wait for my first public outing in bib shorts...
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