Bike advice

by Pisiform   May 18, 2012  

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

26 user comments

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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.

posted by pjay [229 posts]
18th May 2012 - 8:13

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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 !

Lance Bumstrong's picture

posted by Lance Bumstrong [20 posts]
18th May 2012 - 8:32

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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.

posted by Super Domestique [1655 posts]
18th May 2012 - 8:50

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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.

posted by Pisiform [52 posts]
18th May 2012 - 8:50

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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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posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
18th May 2012 - 8:53

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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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posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
18th May 2012 - 8:56

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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/

posted by Super Domestique [1655 posts]
18th May 2012 - 9:33

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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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posted by alotronic [305 posts]
18th May 2012 - 9:59

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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?

posted by Pisiform [52 posts]
18th May 2012 - 10:01

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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 Confused

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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posted by netclectic [121 posts]
18th May 2012 - 10:33

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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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posted by alotronic [305 posts]
18th May 2012 - 10:41

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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.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [329 posts]
18th May 2012 - 11:00

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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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posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
18th May 2012 - 11:05

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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.

posted by pjay [229 posts]
18th May 2012 - 13:06

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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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posted by andylul [414 posts]
18th May 2012 - 13:09

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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.

posted by mowatb [20 posts]
18th May 2012 - 13:17

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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

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
18th May 2012 - 13:59

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

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [329 posts]
18th May 2012 - 14:22

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I'm sticking with my secteur comp recommendation. Can beat a lifetime frame warranty Wink

posted by Super Domestique [1655 posts]
18th May 2012 - 15:20

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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.

posted by Pisiform [52 posts]
18th May 2012 - 16:46

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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) Smile

posted by russyparkin [578 posts]
18th May 2012 - 17:08

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Bedfordshire Clanger wrote:
Only buy Ribble if you like the Fawlty Towers approach to customer service.

Brilliant!!!!

Smile Big Grin Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Laughing Laughing Laughing

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

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

Trikeman. Wink

Grunt, puff, pant and groan goes the old man - but he gets there in the end. ;o)

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posted by trikeman [387 posts]
18th May 2012 - 18:46

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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?

posted by paulfg42 [379 posts]
18th May 2012 - 21:42

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Bedfordshire Clanger wrote:
Only buy Ribble if you like the Fawlty Towers approach to customer service.

Such as?

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [414 posts]
21st May 2012 - 11:15

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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.

posted by bashthebox [647 posts]
21st May 2012 - 16:15

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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.

posted by Pisiform [52 posts]
8th June 2012 - 8:01

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