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Advise on buying a new road bike, Specialized Roubaix


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#1 of 93 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted July 10 2009 - 12:57 PM

 Hey guys-

I know there are cyclists here. I posted about cycling before.

I had a bad wreck almost 2 years ago. So I've been off the bike since then. With the exception of a few rides a few weeks ago on a mountain bike.

I want to ride again! This last wreck destroyed my frame. I had been looking for a new frame to transfer my components to or buying a whole new bike. Perhaps my wrecked bikes are cursed.

There's a bike shop near me that has 2008 model year close-out deals. They've got the Specialized Roubaix, Elite, Expert and Comp. I'm leaning towards a Comp. My last bike was a Specialized Allex Pro, Cromoly frame sized 58.

With these new carbon fiber frames, it's hard to tell how to size a bike these days! And they often have sloping or curved top tubes. I think my last frame might have been a tad too big. Perhaps I could have been more nimble on a smaller frame, I don't know. From what I've read, seems like sizing these days is going on the smaller size, so I might try a 56 and a 54. I'm 5 ft 10 with a 32 inch inseam. 

I'll test ride these bikes, I've never ridden carbon fiber before. The feedback I've found is the Roubaix is a very comfortable geometry for long rides. I hope it's still fairly agile. This particular frame was described like a Mercedes SL verse a Porsche. Both sporty and highly capable, but one is a tad more comfortable to ride. And maybe it's slightly more upright.

So what do you guys think about this bike? 105 components verse Ultegra? I have 105 now and I have no complaints. Is carbon fiber pretty strong now? I'm sure it is or they would not be selling them to consumers. The only down side I can imagine is if I crash, the frame is probably going to either crack or disintegrate.

I thought I might save a few bucks building a bike with a new frame and my old drive parts and wheels which are all still good. But the prices of these Roubaix close-outs are really good and I'll have a new bike all ready to go.

Any insights appreciated and advise on these bikes. And maybe some advise on how to ride more defensively! Thanks!

#2 of 93 OFFLINE   ChrisHeflen

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Posted July 12 2009 - 05:20 PM

I would go for a whole new bike. It's a good value and you'll be current with the newest in components.
Also, unless your racing, I wouldn't worry about carbon fiber being weak. If it's good enough for the Pro's....

I don't know what your budget is, but I wouldn't limit myself to just one brand. Sure Specialized and Trek are the most popular, but that doesn't mean they're the best, nor the best for you.
I would get out there and ride everything you can. Think about the riding you're going to be doing. Club rides? Rec Riding? Hill climber? Hard sprinter? Or just All Around'er?

Is 32" your pant inseam, or your real inseam? Stick a tape measure up where a saddle will hit you, press, and then measure to the floor. What about your reach? Long arms? Short torso? Opposite? There's alot more to what bike size is right for you than your pant inseam.
Most importantly, go out and ride. Don't let others tell you what the bike rides like. YOU decide.

If you don't know of this site already, there is a ton of help here. http://forums.roadbikereview.com/

Good luck with whatever you decide.




#3 of 93 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted July 12 2009 - 06:08 PM

Thanks for the feedback. And the website link, I have not seen that one.

I'm definitely open to other brands. My first bike was a Bianchi and I had a dream to someday get a proper Bianchi with Campagnolo components. But I think for the price for that would be a tad higher then my budget and also way more then I need. I don't race, I might climb as I get back into riding. Where I like to ride, it's mostly flat. Hills are nearby, a lot of the local teams train up there.

I've been doing mostly reading and research, so yes, I need to go and try some bikes and find what I like. The local shops all have Specialized. Few to none have Bianchi, one shop near Stanford has a broader range. I'll see.

#4 of 93 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted July 13 2009 - 12:20 AM

If you're prone to crashing, you'll have to be extra careful with the CF, the pros can get new ones on the whim!.  Carbon Fiber is really nice, almost the best of both words, mixing the road smoothing abilities of Titanium with the stiffness/lightness of an AL frame. The penalty is cost and also a bit of care when dealing with any crashes.  CF tends to fracture and also there have been some recalls with microline fractures in the CF matrix due to mfgring or crashes so you'll have to look closely after an incident.   

You're almost really good to try to buy a bike from any of the major hitters, one 1)fit and 2)the bike shop. A good bike shop is worth it's weight in gold. IF you have no problems with #1, I am a good believer that you really should almost just buy a bike based on #2.  It will be worth it in the long run. 

As far as the different between 105 and Ultegra...  Not terribly much from a practical standpoint, but 105 is probably the start/base of components which distinguish the rec cyclist from the serious.

Being a commuter, I would look for things like pannier/rack mounts which not all bikes will come with but that is just me.  Do consider this if you ever think you'll attach a rear rack. It can be done without them but it's a lot easier to do with them.

Jay

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#5 of 93 OFFLINE   ChrisHeflen

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Posted July 13 2009 - 04:25 AM

There are problems with any material bikes are made from. Ti, being the least likely to fail. Sure if you're commuting, your needs are going to be different, and you might want a stouter bike. It doesn't sound like that's the case here. Carbon fiber is the popular choice these days for a bike, because it's strong, rides well, and can last a long time if taken care of.

Of course there's a Sepcialized shop on every corner, just like you can get Monster Cable and Bose on most corners too. Go ride as many bikes as you can even if you have to travel. Also, there are deals to be had even in the upper end these days as they are starting to feel the pinch too.




Edited by ChrisHeflen - 7/13/2009 at 06:38 pm GMT

#6 of 93 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted July 13 2009 - 05:39 AM

 Yeah, when I started looking around at the bike shops, I was surprised by the changes in the market. I live in the SF Bay Area, where there are a lot of shops and riders. In Stanford, where I used to work, there are a lot of cyclist and one big shop there used to carry Bianchi and Speicalized, according to their website, now they've dropped them and kept Look, Ritchey, Trek, Lemond, Kona, Gary Fisher. A bit of a shift towards mountain bikes and fixies.

I had 2 road bikes up till 2 years ago. One was an older Bianchi, I got that in 1989, and rebuilt it in 2001 with new components and wheels. But it was totaled by a 250 pound rollar blader who kept swerving in front of me as he was coming at me. I tried to avoid him, I should have pulled way off the path, but we collided. That weakened the fork and it eventually folded in on another ride after I ran over a small lump on blacktop pavement. That was a steel bike! I think it was cursed as I had my first really stupid crash on that bike in 1990 on a decent.

My other bike, a 1994 Specialized Allez was nailed head on by another rider who came around a blind turn full on. I slowed and started to peak around and there was no time. My top tube was bent so bad, the front wheel could not steer anymore.

I learned a lot from those incidents. I have ridden a lot, and it seems like I am accident prone, but I think for the miles ridden, I got a lot of years from those bikes without a crash. I don't want to crash and try to avoid putting myself in a situation where there is danger, but sometimes it seems you can't prevent it. Random events seems to find me!

So I like the idea of a new bike! No history. CF does scare me if I have another crash. But I can't say I won't have another crash, and I'll do what I can to avoid one.

The bike shop that built up my Bianchi is a really good shop. I'll go there first and see what they got, but he has dumped Bianchi and is Specialized and Masi now. He did tell me that Specialized CF frames have a lifetime warrranty. I find that a plus if I go for a CF bike. But definitely will not limit myself. I asked him about Campagnolo and he suggested that Shimano is a better value. SRAM is very good too. 

My riding is for fitness and pleasure. So I've never had the need for panniers. But who knows, my riding may change, never say never! I may end up with a brand of bike I never considered before with SRAM components!

#7 of 93 OFFLINE   ChrisHeflen

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Posted July 13 2009 - 10:54 AM


Quote:
He did tell me that Specialized CF frames have a lifetime warrranty. I find that a plus if I go for a CF bike.

I would be surprised if the warranty covers crashes. Most likely not.



#8 of 93 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted July 13 2009 - 11:08 AM

 I'm sure a warranty would not cover a crash! I would not expect that. I was just worried about cracks that show up, defects, things like that.

I was curious what the riders were riding in the Tour and I didn't know Armstrong and his team are riding Trek. Not a brand I was considering. They're pretty nice, better looking CF frames then I expected and a bit more money then Specialized. The Madone line that is.

#9 of 93 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted July 13 2009 - 11:46 AM

Campy is nice but surely you'll have much better value with Shimano..  I actually own both (on two bikes of course), there is flash and pizzazz with campy but I find both to be functionally fine, it just depends on if you like the thumbshifters to shift to the smaller cog/ring or the Shimano STI.,...

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#10 of 93 OFFLINE   ChrisHeflen

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Posted July 14 2009 - 10:04 AM



Quote:
I was curious what the riders were riding in the Tour and I didn't know Armstrong and his team are riding Trek. Not a brand I was considering. They're pretty nice, better looking CF frames then I expected and a bit more money then Specialized. The Madone line that is.

You do know that there are teams riding Specialized in the Tour as well, and that they "cost as much as a Trek?" The Madone line is started to be "bastardized". Meaning they are bringing the price point lower and thus losing the exclusivity of it.



#11 of 93 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted July 14 2009 - 10:56 AM

 Chris- I should have been clearer and said the Madone 5.2 is a bit more money then the Specialized Roubaix model I had my eye on. The Roubaix's I was looking at were at close-out prices. Plus I was looking at a Roubaix with 105 and the Madone was Ultegra. I'm considering the Ultegra group now, even though I think the 105 will probably do just fine.

Too bad the Madone line is losing it's exclusivity.

#12 of 93 OFFLINE   ChrisHeflen

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Posted July 14 2009 - 03:08 PM

Do you know how much riding your planning on doing? If not alot, then 105 might be enough. When Shimano came out with Ultegra SL it was really close to Dura Ace 7800. A year or so later they released DA7900 and the gap widened a little again. I have heard that they are/have redone 105 and it is supposed to be pretty good.
Again I don't know what price point your looking at, but there's alot of good to be around $2-3000.00 Most likely you'll be fine with 105.
My friend has a 5.2 Madone, he loves it, fits him like a glove, and is a great looking bike, but alas it's a Trek.

Good Luck with whatever you decide.


#13 of 93 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted July 15 2009 - 03:55 AM

Chris, your last comment about Trek interested me. You have a less then good opinion of Trek?

Thanks for the info about the state of 105 verse Ultegra, I have been really out of the loop. My riding will be pretty easy as I ease back into it. Probably start with 10 mile rides and move on to a 20 mile ride I used to do. Mainly on flat, but will be against a strong headwind where I ride along the San Francisco bay.

I wanted a bike that is capable of longer, perhaps day rides and climbing should I feel enthusiastic enough./img/vbsmilies/htf/smile.gif

Price range? Well, as I look at bikes out there, the prices for what looks like a good bike I'd like is over $2000.00! One Roubaix close-out is under $2K and one is $2400.00. I initially was open to the $1500.00 to $2K because the cost of a new frame to build-up from my old parts was in that range. So why not get a new one. Now I am considering $2500.00 to $3K. I see that Madone 5.2 is on sale for $3200.00.

And I'd like to try to find a dealer that would have a Bianchi 928 C2C. But overall, the Roubaix might be a fit for my body and type of riding. So with the research I'm doing, the bikes I named are ones I'll start with when I go to a LBS to try them.


#14 of 93 OFFLINE   ChrisHeflen

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Posted July 15 2009 - 04:20 AM

I probably shouldn't be replying to your posts as I'm too opinionated.
I think Trek and Specialized make fine bikes. I'm just sick of seeing them. I live in Portland and they are everywhere. There's a shop on every corner selling them. I think people buy them because they are popular and they think that equals good. There are so many other good bikes out there that people don't bother to try and they don't know what they might be missing out on. It's a case of the uneducated public...

If you are shopping in the 2500-3000 range, you have a lot of options that are very good. Most likely you can get into Ultegra SL and that will save you some weight and work very well.


I would add the LOOK 566 to your search. You can get the Rival version for 2500 or the Ultegra SL version for 3200. It has more upright geometry for comfort and it rides very smooth, pretty nimble, and stiff in the bottom bracket and is a very good climber. So all day comfort with the stiffness to climb. The Bianchi C2C is another good choice. When I tested one a year ago, it was a little sluggish however. The Pinarello FP3 is another comfortable choice, but too me wasn't quite as snappy as the Look.
Check out these guys for info on some different options.
http://www.wrenchsci...kes/Frames.html

Again, if you are spending that kind of money do yourself a favor; take your time, ride as many bikes you can get your hands on, and go for something with some pinache.

Good luck.



#15 of 93 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted July 15 2009 - 07:48 AM

Not to start a thread drift, my baby is a Look 381 with Campy Record on it. Fantastic ride, I like it more than a Ti bike and I don't ride it enough but it is a very nice bike with some good racing heritage to it. 

With that price range, you'll have a lot of very nice bikes to choose from. Most of my friends are usually asking me, how can I get a $5000 bike for $50.


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#16 of 93 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted July 15 2009 - 05:25 PM

 Jay, no worries, it's interesting to hear what other are riding. Campy components is the dream set-up for me!

Chris, I had not considered Look yet, seemed on the higher end! It is a nice looking bike. I have to think hard if I go to that level. I shouldn't let the enthusiasm get out of hand here! I should probably try to keep the cost back towards sub $2K or $$2.5K. But I'm keeping an open mind so it should be fun to look at the whole range up to $3K.

#17 of 93 OFFLINE   Michael Harris

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Posted July 21 2009 - 01:28 PM

I have a custom built Trek based on a 1997 5500 OCLV frame.  It was initially built using my 16 speed Ultegra groupo from my old 2100.  Currently it has a 2008 30 speed Ultegra groupo.  This year I replaced the front threaded fork with a threadless carbon fork.  My frame is as sound as the day I bought it.  I've had a few spills but damage was sustained my me and not the bike.  I really like the ride of a cabon frame, which was brought home when I lived on a cobblestone streen in Spain.  This year I may finally break down and get a new bike as Trek is having a sale until the last day of the Tour.


#18 of 93 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted August 26 2009 - 02:48 PM

 I went to a couple of bike shops today and saw the new 2010 Specialized models. Tough to find a shop that doesn't sell Specialized. I have no issues with them.

I was surprised to see how nice the 2010 carbon frames are, not to mention the 08 and 09's too. I sat on Roubaix Expert 56 frame with the Ultegra group, didn't ride it, time was short. I was very impressed with how it felt, sitting still. I know, not a real test. I was impressed there was zero flex on the front fork.

I spoke to the sales guy and he said if it was him, he'd rebuild and get a new frame. This gives you the flexibility to customize and update as interest and/or budget allows. Then I spoke to a buddy who races. He asked me how old my components are. The 105's on my wrecked bike were installed in 2000. An 8 speed. He suggested that it might not fit a new frame as they're up to 10 gears now on the rear wheel and I might need to change out the back. Which would add more cost. I'd need to confirm this. I already need a new front derailler for a braze on, but that's not too much.

All the new 105 and Ultegra components are very sweet now! So it's swinging back to buying a whole new bike since it's al new and set-up. Or my buddy's racing and riding friends might have some used deals that could yield a really nice, fairly new bike.

The quest continues. But I think I might be a lot happier with a flashy new bike rather then using old components. I suppose over time, I can upgrade the components if I build.

#19 of 93 OFFLINE   Michael Harris

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Posted August 27 2009 - 06:53 AM


Quote:
An 8 speed. He suggested that it might not fit a new frame as they're up to 10 gears now on the rear wheel and I might need to change out the back.
 
Not sure what he meant by this.  On my '97 frame I went from 8 speed to 10 speed with no change to the frame or the rear hub.  You will require a 10 speed derailler for the rear as well as a compatible shifter.  Given that this is the end of the season, you may find some deals on these parts from places like Nashbar, etc.



#20 of 93 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted August 27 2009 - 07:17 AM

 Hi Michael-

Did you get a new Trek?

What my friend was concerned about was that an 8 speed and hub might not fit the new 2010 frame. The spacing of the old 8 speed might not be the same as the new 10 speeds. But it sounds like from your experience that an 8 speed and 10 speed gear set might be the same width and the old 8 speed would fit the new frame.