Am I over-analysing this?

by PurpleDog   July 10, 2014  

First of all, hello everyone - I'm a fresh-faced newbie around here Smile

And secondly, apologies for starting with yet another "I want a new bike" thread!

I've ridden bikes all my life, but all my competition has been in other areas - running, volleyball, football, tennis etc. but now I'm old, fat and injured, cycling is the one thing I have left.
I currently ride a 2010 Trek Pilot 2.0, which I enjoy (and which took me coast to coast on the way of the roses a couple of years ago), as well as a 2013 Trek X-Caliber MTB (it's a coincidence - I'm not a Trek-fanatic!).

Now I've decided to buy myself a present for my 50th birthday coming up, and that means a proper carbon Ultegra-equipped endurance bike. Fun to go fast, eager to climb, but soft on my aging and often aching body.

I've read almost everything there is, and have it down to:

Trek (yes, them again) Domane 4.7
Scott Solace 20
Giant Defy Advanced 1

On the verges perhaps a Cannondale Synapse, Specialized Roubaix... and I'd love to try a Volagi Liscio but the dealer seems unwilling to reply to my emails so I won't bother - I'm not shelling out this sort of cash without the promise of some serious customer care!!

A friend suggested a 2013 Felt Z3 (with lovely Di2 gears!!) at a knock-down price... but I can't test-ride it so I'm not sure about that.

Well I'm looking for comfort without compromising speed, light weight (though I suspect at 15 stone I'm wasting my time looking for lightweight bike?), decent wheels...

I'm heading off to the LBS at the weekend to try as many as I can find (and perhaps a Madone to compare with the less "endurance" types)...

The rational part of my mind suggests that in the £2000-£2500 endurance space, whatever I get will be fantastic and I should forget the reviews, spec. sheets etc., but I just can't stop myself!

So... is my rational mind on the right track, or are there big differences between these bikes that mean I need to find the right one or I'll be forever regretting it?

15 user comments

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...oh, forgot my other question:
Is an endurance bike like those I listed 'better' in any way than sticking a suspension seat post (Ergon CF3, Specialized CG-R) on, say, a Madone H2?

posted by PurpleDog [40 posts]
10th July 2014 - 21:50


I know this keeps being my standard answer, but trust me I am not related to planet x at thats out of the way, for the money you are looking at, you will get 2(ish) x Planet X Ultegra.

This was actually a discussion point the other week with some friends, everyone tends to go towards the big name brands, and when you compare what you get from a smaller name, well, the differences are astonishing. One of my friends, against all advise spent nearly £2k on a Scott that was 1/2 fitted with 105 kit, a FSA crank, and tektra callipers. A fair comment was made in the conversation that you get what you pay for, and in most cases this is true, but when you analyse what you are getting in a bike, its basically a frame, wheels and groupset, so we compared the Planet X with the Scott, both carbon frame, both had basic wheels, the Scott has part 105 groupo, and the Planet X has a full Ultergra. OK so the people I was talking to all agreed that thew Planet X must have a rubbish frame/wheels, so we all agreed to go to the local Inter Club TT and see what people were riding.

Guess what, very few people in big name bikes (those not riding ridiculously expensive TT bikes), probably 1/4 were on Planet X or Dolans, a few canyons and then a mix of everything else.

My point is, dont assume that because the have a big name, they are the best quality/value

posted by jason.timothy.jones [305 posts]
11th July 2014 - 8:37


I ride a Domane (5.2) and love it, I also test rode the Madone at the same time, and have to say unless you're racing I can't see any point in getting one of those instead. Too Stiff, too uncomfortable, and just plain painful.

as for Planet X - I'd like to say I like them as I'm from Yorkshire, but tbh I went off them after a visit to their shop in Rotherham where they couldn't be arsed to help - were too busy "being cool" and I left with a few grand still in my pocket. Oh and when I did finally get them to break up their cosy chat they said - "all the bikes are on show but we don't do bikes that will fit you" - I'm 6'3"

And as far as I'm aware (and someone will come and correct me if I'm wrong) Planet-X just buy in the frames from the far east and build them up - so QC could be (allegedly) an issue

posted by keirik [30 posts]
11th July 2014 - 9:07


oh and as for your comment about weight - I'm nearer 16 stone - and in my view when you're that heavy every little ounce off the bike is one less ounce to shift up a hill Big Grin

posted by keirik [30 posts]
11th July 2014 - 9:10


Certainly the Planet X SL Pro wasn't 'open mould' but was designed by Dave Loughran I think. Just be aware that whilst its a great bike, it's perhaps a more racy geometry than you are looking for, judging by the other bikes you list.


posted by arrieredupeleton [586 posts]
11th July 2014 - 9:55


I have a Canyon cf slx and it is great. Fast & comfy and I am nearly 15 stone too.
They have recently brought out an endurance range with huge spec for your money. I was lucky enough to pop into their Kingston office to chat about sizing and the guy was great. It is a minefield but Canyon offer a great service and without an importer and dealer you win on the equipment. Good luck!


posted by Bigmck64 [11 posts]
11th July 2014 - 10:15


I own or have owned a PX superlight team (aluminium), nanolight, N2A, On One Inbred, a carbon 29er and an XLS; and Canyon Ultimate CF, Ultimate AL SL, SLX. I have never had any problems with PX that they weren't happy to help fix (including crash replacement on my nanolight, which was how I ended up on the N2A) and I liked all of their bikes, although the nanolight was my favourite. I am on record as being a big fan of Canyon bikes - all of the ones I've owned have been superb to ride. Both PX and Canyon are fantastic value for money - compare, for example, how much it would cost you to buy the bike that won the Giro (Quintana's SLX) against the cost of buying the one that came second (Spesh). If you are just buying a frame I think PX probably wins (just, although there are some bargains to be had at the Canyon outlet and I think the Canyons are a little bit more refined), but if you want a complete bike I think you get a better deal (mostly through better components) with Canyon.

Based on my experience to date and some pretty simple math, if I was in the market for another bike (with the exception of a CX bike, where I think the trick will be to wait for them to bring out an Inflite CF), I couldn't imagine buying anything other than a Canyon.

posted by surly_by_name [254 posts]
11th July 2014 - 10:52


Generally, anything you buy at that price will be really good. If you buy a bike, ride it once a week, don't fuss over small details and just generally try to stay healthy, then yeah, maybe you're over-analysing it. But hardly anyone does that. Cycling is like crack - addictive, expensive and keeps you skinny! You get hooked, you ride more, you read too many reviews (sounds like you're already guilty of this one!), you find out through trial and error what position you want, how you like the bike to handle, what your preferred kit is (and believe me, the small details will matter!) etc etc ad infinitum. Before you know it, you're drooling after stuff that you don't have and you wish your £2.5k had been spent on 'that bike' because you realise that you can have a faster bike that's stiffer where it should be but comfortable where it needs to be.

Personally, I wish I'd gone cheaper initially. I spent £1000 on my bike when getting back into cycling, but that kept creeping up as I found out that the bars were the wrong shape, the stem was too short, the saddle was no good for more than a couple of hours, blah blah blah, even before deciding what tyres/saddle/pedals/shoes/clothing etc etc I liked. Then I spent more on a second bike when I knew what I wanted (Trek Madone as it happens). I should have spent £500 on an Allez or a Defy to start with.

So no, take your time, test ride as many as you can, and don't be rushed. The sale season starts around October-ish, so don't give in to any pressure to 'buy it today' at a discounted price. Try making a shortlist of dealers you will buy from, consisting of the ones that will let you test ride AND will provide a bike fitting, preferably included with the purchase.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3710 posts]
11th July 2014 - 11:14


Personally, I wish I'd gone cheaper initially

Absolutely agree with this. It's SUCH a minefield of wheels, groupsets, frames and all. Quite honestly, your best bet might be to buy second hand, something that's good enough but doesn't cost the earth. You can find decent second hand carbon with 105 or ultegra for under £750. A year or so on that and you'll be ready to get your n+1.

posted by bashthebox [762 posts]
11th July 2014 - 11:44


Thanks for the responses everyone,

Can you test-ride Planet-X and Canyon? Maybe once I know what I prefer, I would buy the next bike online, but this time around I can't afford to buy something I haven't ridden - £500 saved for the bike turns into £1700 wasted if I don't like the way it feels, rides etc.

notfastenough wrote:
Generally, anything you buy at that price will be really good.

Thanks for that... I know it's true, but it's nice to hear it from someone else Smile

notfastenough wrote:
Cycling is like crack - addictive, expensive and keeps you skinny!
Love that! Applause

notfastenough wrote:
don't give in to any pressure to 'buy it today' at a discounted price

Er... the pressure is all from me! I've been building up to this for a year and I've reached the point where I can wait no more! The LBS I'm off to tomorrow has some good sale prices right now, but being happy with my choice is more important than the money.

posted by PurpleDog [40 posts]
11th July 2014 - 11:48


bashthebox wrote:
Quite honestly, your best bet might be to buy second hand, something that's good enough but doesn't cost the earth.

You may be right, but this is a one-off opportunity - I'm 50 this year, my divorce is almost final so I have an excuse and some spare cash from the settlement. In a year's time I'll have bought a house with my girlfriend (so no cash), and I'll be approaching 51 - which doesn't seem worthy of a big splash anyway! No more until I'm 55 at least Smile

posted by PurpleDog [40 posts]
11th July 2014 - 12:01


As good value as Planet X or second hand may seem to be, one of the factors to take into consideration is how the bike makes you feel.

Call me shallow but I'd rather pay twice as much on a bike that I love the look of and makes me want to ride it. This is why I don't drive Kias or Fords. They might be good but I don't care. Personally I want a bit more than a good subjective review in a magazine written by someone I don't know or a 'bargain'. It's not a Vacuum cleaner it's a bike.

Go to the shop. Examine the bikes, look at them from every angle, touch them, pick them up, ride them.

Choose the one that makes you smile.

posted by ajmarshal1 [402 posts]
11th July 2014 - 12:23


I too have a Trek Pilot 2.0 2010 and took forever to decide on a new bike. In the end I went for another Trek and the Domane 5.2. I test rode the Madone and also a Giant Defy Advanced before making my decision. I did really like the Madone and over the short rides I tested them on I could not really tell them apart but as most of my rides are 50-100 miles at the weekends I thought that the Domane would offer me slightly better comfort the longer the ride was and at aged 46 I am never going to be racing but the Domane doesn't feel sluggish at all to me so it was the best of both worlds I thought by choosing the Domane.
I also looked at Canyon bikes and I know you get a lot more bike for your money and could have saved several hundred pounds by getting a Canyon but I just wasn't confident enough to buy and spend that amount of money without actually sitting on the bike. I have slightly odd proportions with very long legs for my height so it was important for me to try out a couple of sizes which of course you cannot do with a Canyon.
So overall I am very happy with my choice of the Domane and do have the support of a LBS and the Trek lifetime frame warranty (which hopefully I will never need).
Good luck with choosing and I know how difficult it is trying to decide !
I spent hours reading reviews and just got myself more and more confused and probably wasted lots of time reading rather than riding.


posted by rando [2 posts]
11th July 2014 - 21:04

1 Like

I've been agonising over the type of bike - all rounder, MTB, endurance road, or cross - never mind the make and model. I've been using spreadsheets, for goodness' sake, trying to analyse which sorts of riding - urban, offroad, road, xc - I get most fun out of and how well suited each type of bike was. And then to the shortlist for each type of bike, and a whole new circle of hell opened up to play in.

I think an angel beat me over the head with a track pump, went with my gut, laid out the deposit on the way home tonight, picking it up tomorrow morning after Saturday morning run once it's got some proper pedals on.

Come sparrows Sunday morning, I'll be riding it until bits of me are bleeding and begging for cake. Go local, do as much due diligence as you can stand, and go with your gut. At over £2k, you're not going to be far wrong.

ajmarshal1 wrote:
Go to the shop. Examine the bikes, look at them from every angle, touch them, pick them up, ride them.

Choose the one that makes you smile.

This. So much this.

posted by Argos74 [345 posts]
11th July 2014 - 23:19


ajmarshal1 wrote:
Choose the one that makes you smile.

I spent 5 hours in the shop, test-rode a few bikes (including my own in the middle to serve as a reminder!), including...

I tried a Domane - smoothed out all the bumps, so smooth, but completely missing the fun factor.
They had a Madone 4.9 with Ultegra Di2 and a large discount - ooh those gears, so fast, so clean... so tempting...

Tried an Emonda SL 6, 'only' Ultegra, but just felt so encouraging to ride, eager to get up the hills, keen to accelerate and while not as comfy as the Domane, it was way better than my aluminium Pilot.

On to a Giant Defy Advanced 2 (they didn't have a 1 set up, but the same frame I believe) - competent, but unexciting...

Turns out I have my Pilot set up quite aggressively, and my position is better suited to the Trek H2 geometry than any of the endurance bikes. The carbon frames, particularly the 500-series Emonda, go a long way towards the vibration reduction I was looking for, and I narrowed my choice to the Madone with those lovely electronic gears or the Emonda SL 6 with the best ride (only marginally better than the Madone, but better).

The Di2 gears are amazing, and I love them, but lets be honest, Ultegra isn't bad either!! Coming from Tiagra it feels pretty amazing too, so I went for the best ride and picked up the Emonda - it made me smile!

Thanks for the excellent discussion Smile

posted by PurpleDog [40 posts]
12th July 2014 - 18:15