First road bike for about £1k

by Peter996   February 5, 2014  

Hi all,

Apologies for this very basic question... what is a good first road bike around £1k?

I'm a 46 year old male who got back into cycling about 2 years ago and have been riding a Specialized Elite Disc hybrid. I currently ride about 1200 miles a year max distance circa 40m usually at weekends. I want to get into some longer rides and I will get a bike through Cycle to Work scheme.

Trouble is, I don't really know much about bikes other than how to ride! I've started reading up, but after about 10 minutes my head is spinning... There are also so many reviews/opinions etc I don't know where to start.

Ribble bikes seem good value, but there are so many choice options! A colleague got a Planet X but I've read of customer service issues - and with my knowledge that probably isn't ideal!

Any thoughts gratefully received!

Cheers,

Peter

21 user comments

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For 1k you should be looking at a 105 groupset and at a push a carbon frame if you drive a hard bargain. Nothing wrong with aluminium but I find carbon lighter and more comfortable. The main question is what type of rider are you ? If we take just the manufacturer of your current bike, they make out and out racing bikes (venge and tarmac) or more endurance style bikes (roubaix) and the geometry is more "upright" than bent aerodynamically over the bars. It really is a matter of preference and every manufacturer has "horses for courses".
I would strongly urge you to go into the shops to ask questions as it is such a broad question that you will only find the answer after asking loads more questions !
I really would not take a flier and buy off the internet ! Good luck

posted by arfa [438 posts]
5th February 2014 - 21:30

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You can pick up a Ridley Orion 105 or a Giant TCR composite 2 at that price in the sales at the minute. Both absolutely brilliant bikes, look no further. The Ridley comes up big though. I've owned both, look into them.

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/ridley-orion-105-special-edition-2013/

http://www.rutlandcycling.com/155056/products/giant-tcr-composite-2-2013...

posted by ajmarshal1 [226 posts]
5th February 2014 - 21:36

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A decent bike shop should advise you and let you test ride plenty of different bikes. Last year I bought a Cannondale CAAD8 from Leisure Lakes - great bike, good service. Suggest you try a variety of types - e.g. "Sportive" bikes, standard road bikes etc from different brands.

posted by BikeBud [75 posts]
5th February 2014 - 21:37

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Agreed. A good way to approach this is to sit down and think about how you ride now, what types of rides/riding style (hills, touring, commuting, sportifs, ...) you want to incorporate into your riding, what you find comfortable/uncomfortable in your current bike, and a reasonable estimate of how much time you want to devote to riding and then go and spend some time a few different LBS talking with the staff and doing test rides. Don't feel bad if you haven't decided within 10 minutes what frame, groupset, wheels, ... you want. A good bike shop will answer your questions and point out potential pros/cons that you haven't mentioned as well as allow you whatever time you need to make a decision you're comfortable with. (My husband has been riding since he was a teenager and is well versed in bicycle-ese and he did 6-7 hour+ test rides on his current bike and spent hours talking with the staff. I'm a fast decider and chose my current bike after a couple test rides but my LBS would have been happy to chat with me for longer if needed and I like them so much I tend to stop by and say hi on rides anyway.) Hopefully this will be a long term investment in your leisure/exercise time that will translate into hours and years of enjoyment in the saddle. It's really frustrating to pick out a bike that ends up being uncomfortable or just can't do what you want/need it to do. How exciting. Love looking at new bikes Smile

Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

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posted by movingtarget [126 posts]
5th February 2014 - 21:51

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Thanks to the cycle-to-work scheme, at that price point you're spoilt for choice - there is an enormous amount of competition between brands to get a decently-specced road bike at a squeak under £1k. Boardman and the new Hoy bikes would be a good place to start looking (the Boardmans are unbeatably specced but the Hoys look nicer IMO), but there are so many strong alternatives that it may just come down to aesthetics for you. Test rides are crucial.

As others have suggested though, if you strike now you may still find a last-season bike with a big reduction taking it into your price range. This will be your best bet, but act fast!

Or you could think out of the ordinary and go for something a little different; a soulful steed of steel, for example: not the most popular material but will last forever and you'll stand out in sportives/club runs. You may still pick up a lovely 2013 Genesis Equilibrium 10 in the sales somewhere - fast and gorgeous.

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posted by Ghedebrav [1002 posts]
5th February 2014 - 21:57

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Ride lots of bikes, pick the one you like best.

Try and get the best frame avaliable for the money you have, every thing else will wear and get replaced eventually.

posted by mrkeith119 [85 posts]
5th February 2014 - 22:25

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Tifosi ck7 audax - campagnolo gearing and light aluminium frame with mudguard clearance for under 1k!

Cheers

Paul

posted by paulomac85 [6 posts]
5th February 2014 - 22:33

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paulomac85 wrote:
Tifosi ck7 audax - campagnolo gearing and light aluminium frame with mudguard clearance for under 1k!

I've seen them as low as £650 recently. Thinking of getting the Mrs one.

posted by ajmarshal1 [226 posts]
5th February 2014 - 22:52

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Perfectly happy with my Trek Madone 2.1 bought for this money, a quality bike from a well-established brand.

As per the comments above though, just get out to your local shops, do some test rides and listen to their advice. It's all about getting the bike that feels right for you.

Couple of points if you're buying through C2W:

1. Don't get too excited about possible 2013 sale bargains. Some retailers don't honour sale prices on C2W bikes due to the fee charged by the scheme provider basically eroding their margin to nothing. This was true of the majority of small independents I spoke to, larger chains like Evans may differ.

2. Some retailers, Planet X for example, pass the scheme provider's fee on to you, so you may pay another £100 or so to buy through C2W. Make sure you do your sums, as this can make the bike *more* expensive than just paying cash, depending on exactly what you do after the initial 12 month hire period.

Happy shopping!

posted by parksey [168 posts]
5th February 2014 - 23:13

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mrkeith119 wrote:
Ride lots of bikes, pick the one you like best.

Honestly, it really is that simple. There are no real lemons.

And buy from a shop whose staff treat you as a valued customer.

Also +1 to parksey's points.

FWIW:
http://road.cc/show/review-section/road-bikes/35
http://road.cc/content/buyers-guide/71216-2014s-hottest-£500-£900-road-bikes

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posted by Simon E [1888 posts]
6th February 2014 - 11:38

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Thanks for all of your comments and advice - very helpful to me!

Would it be worth visiting the London Bike Show next week or will I leave even more confused?! Doesn't take much to confuse me Smile

Cheers

Peter

posted by Peter996 [2 posts]
6th February 2014 - 13:17

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To avoid getting confused firstly decide what type of riding do you do now and what type would you like to be doing in a years time. Ultimately buy a bike that does what you want to do rather than you do what it's capable of.

You said that you do around 40miles and wish to increase. That suggests a more relaxed sportive rather than a racy set up. Do you want mudguards? Audax or winter style bike. Maybe something can handle the odd forray onto a canal towpath? Cyclocross or heavy duty commuter.

Then start to think about frame materials, don't get to hung up on the carbon/alu debate. The wheels and components are often just as important and a touch easier to change if you get it wrong. Each bike is a compromise.

Finally don't be too swayed by what others say. We all are biased and think our bike is the best in the world. I personally would reccommend the Planet X Superlight jobby as I still love mine after 5 years. There again I've just built a £3K Ridley and think it's light years ahead.

Starting at a good LBS is well worth it. They should listen and gently point you in a better direction, remember they can only sell what they stock. A bike show on the other hand will give you a good idea of what is out there, but the choice may seem like a minefield.

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [271 posts]
6th February 2014 - 13:52

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I am one of the people that had customer service problems with Planet X, but to be fair to them, they have sorted my problem out and offered a £30 voucher in return for my problems.

Again in their defence my experience with them was still astonishingly better than what I have got from the larger places, to the extent that I am still a customer of Planet X...even before the freebe.

That being said, I agree that for £1K you would expect a 105 groupo as a minimum, and a decent set of wheels. Everyone is skimping of the finishing kit now, so the other consideration is frame material. If you go with Aluminium for your price you should get better components than the same price on a carbon frame, except for the Planet X bike with Ultegra

posted by jason.timothy.jones [287 posts]
6th February 2014 - 14:11

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Kuota korsa lite, sram rival, r500 wheels.
1100 quid, lots of ex demo bikes going at the min for 750

posted by briano 55 [15 posts]
6th February 2014 - 17:19

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I was in a similar position a couple if years ago. I test rode plenty, did the research etc and in the end, on the advice of my LBS, simply picked the one I thought looked the best.

I now ride what I consider to be an excellent and well spec'd beauty of a bike.

No, honestly, I don't give a sh*t.

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posted by S13SFC [53 posts]
6th February 2014 - 19:20

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I add a vote for Boardman Team Carbon, at £999.99. I got one at the end of the summer and it is brilliant! Ali

posted by Ali Gibb [8 posts]
7th February 2014 - 17:09

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Don't overlook the Canyon Roadlite:

http://www.canyon.com/_en/roadbikes/bike.html?b=3191

Under your budget and from a top manufacturer? Well reviewed in these hallowed pages:

http://road.cc/content/news/93367-canyon-roadlite-al-70-2014-eurobike-fi...

One tip: the most important thing with frame size is the effective top tube length. Not the nominal frame size which is often the seat tube height. You can always put the seat down, but if the top tube is too long, you are stuck with a too-big frame (speaking as one who made this mistake once).

Competitive Cyclist has a good online fit calculator, that works for me:

http://www.competitivecyclist.com/Store/catalog/fitCalculatorBike.jsp

Happy cycling!

posted by drmatthewhardy [276 posts]
7th February 2014 - 21:45

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Giant Defy 1 , aluminium, 105. Absolutely brilliant bike and better than almost any carbon bike at that price, it was bike of the year when I bought it and it has not disappointed. easily upgradable with new wheels when you feel the urge.

posted by peterben [29 posts]
8th February 2014 - 14:22

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Canyon is out I think as they aren't part of the schemes being based in Germany, I found it best to try as many as I could

posted by TheGingerAce [3 posts]
8th February 2014 - 18:33

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I agree with drmatthewhardy about top tube lengthy being critical for getting a bike the right size. I've made the same mistake as him.

If you're looking for a £1000 bike that's comfortable, I'd recommend you test ride a Trek Domane 2.0. It's good a nice smooth ride and copes very well with poor road surfaces. It's a sportive bike rather than one for racing in and has a highish head tube to take pressure off the back. I prefer it to my specialized roubaix.

posted by Kadenz [31 posts]
11th February 2014 - 23:55

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For the money I reckon this is hard to beat, I don't have one but I wish it was available when I was buying my Focus Cayo 105, full Ultegra for the same money, you could strip this and flog the parts for a profit, I'm (almost) sure.

http://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CBPXSLPULT2/planet-x-pro-carbon-shimano-ult...

But then again I've never dealt with Planet-X so if their service isn't up to snuff, well, maybe that's where the bargain comes from.

posted by flathunt [9 posts]
12th February 2014 - 17:23

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