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I realise there are hundreds of posts like this but I really would be grateful for people's advice who've ridden the bikes I mention.

I'm currently deliberating over the choice of my first road bike having taken up cycling on a hybrid last year. I can do 40 miles or so on it but its so heavy I'm knackered afterwards and think its time for something lighter.

One of my difficulties is that I have chronic health problems which mean frankly there are times when I have little energy; and I really struggle with hills as I'm anaemic and just cannot get enough oxygen to my muscles to do intense efforts or clear lactic build up quickly. I'm never going to be speedy or doing races. I enjoy rides by myself and have entered a 60mile sportive this summer. I'm looking for a bike that is light, as I think this will be less draining for me and help me climb better, and something that is comfortable - no 14 cm headtubes for me!

My wife is encouraging me to get a Specialized Roubaix as she loves the brand and the prices dropped this week to £1400. I know this is renowned for a comfortable ride.

My heart belongs to the Genesis equilibrium as its simply beautiful. I much prefer the look of the steel bikes. The massive downtubes of the carbon bikes aren't attractive but I could learn to live with them. But is the Genesis too heavy and how would they compare to ride?

My problem is that its impossible to find anywhere to test ride them so I'm having to make a buying decision based on written info only.

If you've ridden these bikes what's the difference in the way they ride? Have I missed any other bikes which might be suitable?

Advice gratefully received!!
If you've ridden these bike

27 comments

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pjay [249 posts] 4 years ago
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I can understand why you don't like the look of the Roubaix. IMHO it's a particularly ugly bike, but there are better looking carbon bikes!

I wouldn't get too hung up on frame material, just test ride as many bikes as you can and find one that fits you and is comfortable. Then take into account aesthetics. Bike choice is a very personal thing, what suits one person won't suit another.

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Lance Bumstrong [21 posts] 4 years ago
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I see you are deliberating between 2 very different bikes, and I see you have limitations within yourself which will help govern your choice. I can tell you that a well set up Roubaix, with a triple chainring will beat HANDS DOWN the Genesis on climbing, comfort, handling, pretty much EVERYTHING. However, the one thing to consider is- Would you park a carbon fiber, 17lbs bike up against a lamp post and do your shopping? NO! So utility wise, you need a beater, climbing, choose an ergonomically correct, lightweight, vibration dampening wonder...and Good luck !

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 4 years ago
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Ok I will openly admit to being strongly Spesh biased.

Have you checked for any Concept Stores near you as they run a test fleet usually?

Also, if you are unsure of carbon, then what about the Alu Secteur. A good friend of mine has one. He loves it and was responsible for encouraging me to give the brand a try.

Sorry to hear about the health issues and hope you get plenty of good rides on the new bike, whatever it is.

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Pisiform [47 posts] 4 years ago
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Thanks for the reply.

It won't be a utility bike, I'll still have the hybrid to go to the shops on.

I was thinking the Roubaix was very underspecced compared to other bikes. The money all seems to go on the framme rather than other components.

Its full Tiagra - what's the difference practically between this and 105 when riding? The salesmen was telling me its purely in weight of components - is this correct or is there some more practical difference.

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 4 years ago
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The Equilibrium is one of the most comfortable bikes I've ever ridden, and it handles beautifully. you can get the 105 version for £400 less than a Tiagra Roubaix, leaving you with £400 to buy some nice lightweight wheels which will make *much* more difference than a an extra half kilo of material in the frame

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 4 years ago
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Quote:

The salesmen was telling me its purely in weight of components

naughty salesman. 105 is the cheapest of shimano's groupsets to use essentially the same lever design and mechanicals as dura ace, albeit in a much heavier build. Tiagra is entirely different internally

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 4 years ago
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Agree with the above on the 105.

Here is what you could look at leaving a bit for some extra kit
http://www.specializedconceptstore.co.uk/detail/12secteur/secteur/

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alotronic [463 posts] 4 years ago
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Yes, 105 Ultegra and Dura ace all kinda fit together in one group with more or less interchangeable 10sp transmissions levers etc. You give yourself a lot more options in the future with 105 over Tiagra, and actually, it's just better. Shimano kit does actually get better as you go up, it's not imagination - it works better, lasts longer and is lighter. This BS about 'being the same' is sales talk, they want you to buy the bike on the day.

Daves advice re Equilibrium seems good, I have a 'better' carbon bike but find myself choosing my steel bike 9 times out of 10 purely because I love the look and feel of it - there is value in the aesthetic experience and if something looks right to you there's a reason for it! Either roubaix or Eq would make a great first bike and will feel very fast after a hybrid, but a Eq with a set of RS80s or similar on it will AMAZE you at it's speed, comfort and poise...

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Pisiform [47 posts] 4 years ago
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dave_atkinson wrote:

you can get the 105 version for £400 less than a Tiagra Roubaix

Thanks for the comments Dave, I'd hoped you'd reply being the resident expert on steel frames

Where can you get this? At present the 105 genesis is 1300,
and the Roubaix tiagra is 1400.

I haven't seen any deals yet for the genesis but there were several at the end of last year. I've been hanging on waiting for the sales.

Also do Tiagra and 105 ride differently in practice? Is the shifting better on 105?

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netclectic [134 posts] 4 years ago
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You might want to check out the delivery time on the Equilibrium. I ordered one in April last year and had a three month wait for it  7

That aside, it is a lovely bike. Fast and comfortable. Last years model came with full 105 which I don't believe is the case with this year's.

It weighs in around 10Kg which I wouldn't say was "too heavy" unless you are looking to climb some BIG hills. Also on that front... last years model came with a 25t which can be a struggle on the steeper hills, although I think they've changed it for a 28t now.

Steel is real!

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alotronic [463 posts] 4 years ago
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About 3 years ago I changed my commuter from Sora to Ultegra STI and the difference was dramatic. That's a big jump in spec and to be fair the soras were just as reliable, but they felt like sponges in comparison.

If you haven't used STI levers before then Tiagra will feel great, I'm sure.

I know that Specialised concept store do a trial scheme where you can 'rent' a bike for a week for £100 and then that comes off the price... might be worth a drive to take one for a spin.

It will be hard to pull off but riding both bikes is really the only way you're going to solve this one!

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Bedfordshire Clanger [344 posts] 4 years ago
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Go with your heart - if you love the bike then you are much more likely to go out on it.

The 105 shifters look nicer because both cables are routed under the bar tape.

I swapped a hybrid for a steel Condor Fratello and was amazed by the difference - there is no way that the Genesis will feel slow and heavy in comparison to your hybrid. Find yourself a good LBS that is prepared to spend time working out the best gear ratios, frame size, crank and stem lengths for you. The chain stores often won't have the time or expertise to do this with you.

+1 to the advice about using 105 over Tiagra - the frame will last you forever so if you ever decide to upgrade the groupset you'll be able to do it bit by bit if you start out with a 105.

+1 for the advice about getting the best wheels and tyres you can afford. Manufacturers often spec bikes with cheap wheels and tyres that puncture easily to keep the price down and margins high. A good LBS or online dealer will allow you to spec these components for yourself so that you don't waste money on kit that you don't want.

Whatever you get I hope you enjoy the new bike.

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 4 years ago
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Quote:

Where can you get this? At present the 105 genesis is 1300

winstanleys had it listed as £1040 but i see they don't actually have any in stock. seems to be £1169 at http://www.southwatercycles.com/ and £1,299 most other places. they don't tend to be heavily discounted because genesis don't make a huge number and they sell pretty well, for obvious reasons

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pjay [249 posts] 4 years ago
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I have just bought a Condor Fratello. Mine is set up as a tourer/commuter, with SRAM Apex, 32-spoke wheels, rack, mudguards and 28 mm Gatorskins, but it still feels plenty fast when unloaded. The frame is great, stiff and compares very well to my Carbon Ribble Sportive Bianco. I spent last week on the Isle of WIght with panniers on and have been commuting in London this week.

If you can get to Condor (when they aren't busy) they'll sort you out with a bike fit etc.

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andylul [410 posts] 4 years ago
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Oh Dave - how could you not big up the Jamis Quest?

I might be tempted by the Ribble Sportive Bianco, if I wasn't so besotted with the Stealth...

http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/assets/images/SportiveBianco_Review.pdf

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mowatb [20 posts] 4 years ago
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Ribble are doing a deal on a 105 specced New Carbon Sportive for £999.

Cycling weekly voted it one of the best bikes of 2012 & must be worth a shout. I have the old sportive racer specced to Ultegra groupset & love it.

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 4 years ago
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andylul wrote:

Oh Dave - how could you not big up the Jamis Quest?

I might be tempted by the Ribble Sportive Bianco, if I wasn't so besotted with the Stealth...

http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/assets/images/SportiveBianco_Review.pdf

quest also lovely, especially for longer rides. not quite as sportivey as the genesis

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Bedfordshire Clanger [344 posts] 4 years ago
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Only buy Ribble if you like the Fawlty Towers approach to customer service.

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 4 years ago
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I'm sticking with my secteur comp recommendation. Can beat a lifetime frame warranty  3

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Pisiform [47 posts] 4 years ago
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OK I've managed to get a test ride booked in through Evans of the Roubaix but they don't have any stock of the equilibrium

Anyone know of any good shops in the North-East (Newcastle preferably) who do test rides?

I don't know of any good local bike shops here. They're mostly chains. The one decent bike shop only does Specialised and Trek and doesn't do test rides.

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Pisiform [47 posts] 4 years ago
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OK I've managed to get a test ride booked in through Evans of the Roubaix but they don't have any stock of the equilibrium

Anyone know of any good shops in the North-East (Newcastle preferably) who do test rides?

I don't know of any good local bike shops here. They're mostly chains. The one decent bike shop only does Specialised and Trek and doesn't do test rides.

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russyparkin [570 posts] 4 years ago
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dave isright about the wheel side, you can trim kilos off a bike with the right wheels, for instance fsa vision trimax (£250 planet x 1500g) schwalbe ultremo tyres (180g each Around £20 each)

300 quid that would probably knock 1.5kg off the whole bike weight (it did for my bike)  1

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trikeman [309 posts] 4 years ago
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Bedfordshire Clanger wrote:

Only buy Ribble if you like the Fawlty Towers approach to customer service.

Brilliant!!!!

 1 4 24 24 21 21 21

"A satisfied customer, we should have him stuffed."

Great images just came to mind - sorry.....

Trikeman.  3

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paulfg42 [387 posts] 4 years ago
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I really like the look of the Cube Peloton SL for my first foray into road biking. Spec looks decent. Would this be a good choice?

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andylul [410 posts] 4 years ago
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Bedfordshire Clanger wrote:

Only buy Ribble if you like the Fawlty Towers approach to customer service.

Such as?

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bashthebox [751 posts] 4 years ago
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Have a look at Canyon - really great bikes, not just for the money, but great bikes full stop. Will be getting cheaper and cheaper as the Euro tumbles too.

I love my second hand Planet-X. Not very glamorous, but fast, light, stiff and responsive.

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Pisiform [47 posts] 4 years ago
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Just a quick update on this to say thanks for the advice.

I test rode both the Roubaix and the genesis and was astounded to find how the genesis absorbed all the road buzz and noise compared to the carbon frame. It was so much more comfortable than the alloy bike I'm used to. The carbon by comparison felt slightly noisy and uncomfortable.
I decided that the comfort on the bike was more important to me than the slight weight penalty as I'm no racer

Anyway, I went ahead and bought the genesis and have been out on some rides and am thoroughly enjoying the bike. Can't wait to get out some more this weekend, hurricanes allowing.