Hello and advice please!

by Super Domestique   June 7, 2010  

Hi all.
I have been following this site over the past couple of months and thought it was time to join in.

I have had an interest in bikes and cycling most of my life. Although mainly offroad, starting on a BMX and then MTBing since the mid-80's.

I had an 'enforced' timeout due to injury and am now returning to 2 wheels.

I am looking for my first road bike and want one that is light enough to feel quick (I need all the help I can get!) and yet comfortable (due to the after effects of the aforementioned injury!)

Given my budget is tight (sub £500 ideally) I am thinking Specialized Allez. I haven't been a fan of Speccy or red bikes in the past but for some reason really like the look of that one and a recent test I read seemed to indicate it could tick the boxes I need ticking.

Another option is the Dawes Giro 300 which is on sale from £430 down to £365. Which seems a fairly large saving given my budget restrictions.

So, any advice please. Should I go with heart = Speccy or head = Dawes or can you throw some others into the mix?

It is purely for recreational riding, etc.

Any other newbie road advice also appreciated.

Thanks.

9 user comments

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we've got an allez in on test at the moment, so look out for a review soon...

if it's just for recreational riding, are you sure you want drop bars?

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7252 posts]
7th June 2010 - 20:15

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The Dawes Giro certainly wouldn't let you down, but the Allez is a great bike for the money so it would be a good head and heart choice I reckon. Over the last decade or so Specialized and Giant have been the benchmark setters at the entry level road price points and something like the Giant Defy 4 or the the Defy 3.5 would definitely be worth a look- the Defy frame gives a very nice ride and you get an awful lot for your money with Giant - if you can stretch to £525 the Defy 3.5 looks an especially good deal (shop around and you'd probably find it within your budget too). The only thing not to like about the Defy are the tyres.

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-GB/bikes/model/defy.3.5/4861/38961/

The Defy also has the advantage of having a triple - which if you live anywhere hilly will save your knees. Triples are a good thing.

If you live near a Decathlon their bikes at this price point are always worth a look, again like Specialized and Giant you get a lot of bangs for your buck, the B Twin Sport 2 might be worth a look.

http://www.decathlon.co.uk/EN/sport-2-51-63-69567479/

Taking a more leftfield approach, what about something like a Cotic Roadrat? If you've got some bits to build it with the frame and fork option might be worth a look, your budget would probably stretch to a frame, fork, headset, wheels & bars if you already had the rest of the bits and it would have the advantage of being an extremely versatile machine which would let you adapt it to the type of road riding you want to do.

http://www.cotic.co.uk/product/roadrat

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
8th June 2010 - 9:17

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There are other bikes in that price bracket and they will probably have similar specs. As Tony has suggested, Specialized and Giant both produce consistently excellent bikes so I'd suggest you'd be more than satisfied with either. Did you consider the Specialized Secteur, which apparently has a more upright riding position? Best you visit a couple of bike shops and have a sit, chat with the staff and see what suits you best.

But as far as the decision is concerned it's entirely personal - you really ought to like your bike regardless of what anyone else thinks. I suggest you go with your heart, it will surely be rewarded with many happy miles.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1906 posts]
8th June 2010 - 10:30

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Thanks for the replies guys. I want to go with drop bars for sure. I just don't really like hybrids as much as they make sense in many respects. I like my mtb for offroad and would like a road bike for road, etc.

I had looked at the following bikes after reading a test in a mag. Forme Rapide, Claud Butler Roubaix, Trek 1.1 along with the Speccy and Dawes.

The other bike I saw yesterday (online) to rival the Dawes would be the Raleigh Airlite 100. It was reduced from £499 to £390. It had the carbon fork the Dawes was lacking. Any idea if it is any good?

That said my heart still goes back to the Speccy, even if it means I might have to wait an extra month perhaps to get it. I will check out Giant too as I hadn't thought of them.

The Secteur range is that bit more expensive from what I have seen. In fact a friend of mine has just purchased the Elite version and has offered me the chance to take his new pride and joy for a spin when he returns from holiday. Judging purely from the pictures the Allez seems to share a similar set up in terms of frame design.

I will try and visit a couple of shops over the next week or so in order to sit on some candidates.

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
8th June 2010 - 10:48

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A colleague of mine bought the Secteur Elite after comparing with the Allez at the local shop. Very similar bikes, but you need to 'try them on for size' to make an informed choice. You can compare specs & geometry at specializedconceptstore.co.uk

You can get an Airlite 100 for lot less than RRP but I suspect that's because it isn't worth the full price in the first place. You do get what you pay for. And mag tests are all well and good but it's still only someone else's PoV, with which you may not agree.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1906 posts]
8th June 2010 - 13:25

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Because I want to ensure the size and feel is right I won't buy over the 'net now but rather try and build a rapport with a lbs. Sadly the one I'd choose does not have the size I need in stock. Another lbs does but has less of a 'feel' to it for rapport building tbh. Typical.

Anyway, can I also ask, as it has been so long since I purchased a new bike what is the situation regarding doing a 'deal'? Is that still done?
When I purchased bikes years ago I was often given 10 percent of the purchase price in accessories or even a discount for paying there and then, etc.

I know the game has changed with the power of internet shopping and like but can you still barter for a bit of movement on the price? Or freebies?

Just want to be prepared. Thanks again.

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
10th June 2010 - 19:57

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I'm pretty sure you can still barter… no harm in trying either way Smile

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
10th June 2010 - 20:49

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Went and sat on an Allez yesterday and it felt perfect tbh (56cm). The shop also said they would do 10% of the purchase price in freebies too.

Waiting to get paid now!

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
15th June 2010 - 9:24

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To add a little update:

My mate is back from holiday and loving his new Secteur Elite. So much so he is letting me take it for a spin on monday night in order to win me over.

Can anyone help me understand the differences between the basic Sectuer and Allez apart from 10mm in the headtube and more gears (plus £50) with the Secteur.

Thanks.

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
17th June 2010 - 15:14

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