Hi all,

I'm sure you're all fed up of these types of posts but I figured you're the experts out riding so who best to ask. This isn't complete laziness on my part as I have done some research but it's an extensive range out there with a myriad of jargon I don't understand and I'm sure I'm not going to get a consensus but I've at least got to try. So....

I haven't been on a bike in years and would really like to start getting into it again. My work is 35 miles away from home over fairly hilly terrain and my goal is to be able to ride it there about once a week with shorter recreational distances at other times. I'm looking to buy using the bike to work scheme but willing to put another £500 to it making an "on the road" price of £1,500 (Excluding accessories, clothing etc)

I know you should buy the bike you want and the one that feels best on the test ride but I'm looking to narrow the field a little bit. One current front runner is the Felt Z5 at £999 (http://www.merlincycles.com/felt-z5-road-bike-2014-71850.html) but I'd be interested to hear what upgrades you think I might want to make if I did?

The Shimano 105 groupset appears to be my target for what I want to do and I have already looked at a number of big names Bianchi, Trek, Specialized,Giant as well as more "own brands" such as Merlin and Ribble and I guess my first question is "do you pay a premium just for the name or is it worth it" since I've seen a Bianchi Sempre 2013 for £1,500 but specs looks similar to other names at a cheaper price.

My second question is whether it's worth waiting til September? A number of sites and friends have suggested September is a great time to buy a bike as the shops are trying to get rid of their old stock ready for the new season?

My third question (I know I'm pushing it for a newbie) is the age old question of carbon v aluminium. At first glance it appears everyone shouts carbon at the price bracket considered here but conversely, given the roads 'up north' are full of potholes I've seen suggestions that the carbon frames would be more susceptible to cracking and therefore expensive repairs.

In summary It'll mainly be used for long(ish), fairly hilly bike rides and even if I ever choose to compete those fractions of a second are unlikely to matter to the guy at the back  1

And therefore my final question is any recommendations?

I'm aware the answer is unlikely to be this bike or that bike but more this component set, this frame etc but any steer in the right direction is appreciated.

Again apologies for asking the age old question but I appreciate your experiences and the time you've taken to read my plea.




arfa [847 posts] 2 years ago

Welcome to the forum.
I commute on a felt f85 and a fine bike it is for the money.
The z series is a little more relaxed in terms of geometry and would suit your planned riding fine.
Carbon - go for it. Lighter, more comfortable, better performance etc. Nowt wrong with aluminium but carbon is worth it if in budget.
105 groupset is a good one and will do you proud.
In terms of bike choice, I would test ride several before reaching conclusions.
Trek domane, specialized roubaix, cannondale synapse all similar and worth a look.
On deals, if you want to start riding in good weather buy now, if you can wait, deals usually start to appear now - eg evans are discounting cannondales right now.
Good luck !

andytaylor98 [1 post] 2 years ago

Thanks Arfa, appreciate your time and your comments.

Shades [328 posts] 2 years ago

Check out Genesis (steel frame/carbon fork) who have quite a lot in your price range, including disc brakes on some models. I have an Equilibrium 20 (105 spec) and a random LBS (not the one I got it from) described it as the best all round bike for UK roads. Clearance for mudguards and you can put a rack on it as well. 'Bounces' over all the bumpy Brit roads we have to put up with. Steel isn't slow either; you'll be flying uphill past some 'chubber' on his £2500 (or more) carbon dream machine!

DrJDog [407 posts] 2 years ago

I've just built my £1500 machine with a Kinesis Aithein frame, H plus Son Archetype rims, and SRAM Force groupset. It is brilliant. I don't know if you can get bits like that on the bike to work scheme though.

Joeinpoole [441 posts] 2 years ago

I think £1500 is quite a lot to spend on a 'first bike'. You can get a perfectly good bike, for the purpose you describe, for much less than that. You could get an off-the-peg popular bike, like the Allez for example, use it for a year then sell it on eBay (probably for 2/3's what you paid for it) if you then wanted to upgrade. By then you'll have a much better idea of what is really important to you on a bike.

Security is important too if you are commuting. The more you spend on a bike the more attractive it is to bike thieves. I wouldn't leave a £1000+ bike out of my sight for more than a few seconds. For commuting and shopping I use a Piccadilly Vertigo that cost £125 from Tesco.

Don't dismiss Tiagra in favour of 105 either. Tiagra is absolutely fine for recreational and commuting rides. It may be slightly heavier but then it is more robust than 105. 'Lighter' often means less longevity and more maintenance.

My current cyclocross bike has Tiagra and when I also had a Roubaix Expert with Ultegra I could barely tell the difference between them as far as changing gear was concerned. They both worked extremely well. The Ultegra looked nicer though.

The new 'big thing' is of course disc brakes. The ability to stop quicker in all conditions would be more important to me than say carbon over ally or the fancier group-set. My next upgrade will be primarily motivated by my desire for disc brakes.

Always consider the possible resale value of a bike too for when you might want to upgrade later. The 'big name' bikes will probably hold their value better because there is likely to be more demand for them. What you save on buying something obscure now, which appears to be 'great value', may well be lost when you sell it on. Think depreciation rates for Audi and BMW against those of Vauxhall for example.

Good luck with whatever you choose.

arfa [847 posts] 2 years ago

Horses for courses really. Ultimately if you like the look and feel of your bike, you'll be more inclined to swing your leg over it and get out there.
My felt is tiagra group set and is fine but if buying a carbon frame, I personally wouldn't settle for any lesser groupset than 105. I have just spent the week on a hired Boardman bike which was fine, apart from being let down by a sora groupset - no way you could change down to the granny ring under force which is a bit of a problem in a hilly area.
Test rides are important though as bikes all ride differently eg my felt is stiff and accelerates quickly (aluminum) heavier than my roubaix (carbon) which is comfortable and more stable and comes into its own on longer rides.
Good luck with your choice