Read lots but more confused!? (big guy)

by musgrum   April 8, 2013  

I want to buy my 1st Road bike.

Yes there are a lot of these threads but I’m still not able to answer some things… (partly as there is no right or wrong answer!).

I’ve been riding fixed for 4 or so months, love it and will keep that bike, Alu Leader 725, Mash Bullhorns, Thomson blah blah blah. Was going to swap frame to a Mash Bolt or Dodici but instead of that I’ll put the money towards a new Road bike.

I will be using the Road bike to get in shape riding around Richmond Park and heading out from Chiswick area to wherever. On the fixed I’m doing 20-50 miles rides easy around London (avoiding hills) and am at about a 100-150 miles per week level.

I will do some London to Reading/Oxford type (charity) rides for fun and a Marlow event but primarily it’ll be used for riding around purely because I enjoy it (got through winter) and need to get in shape. 6’4” (193cm) & the wrong end of 16st (230lbs) but will be below 15st in a couple of months. I’ll be ‘touring’ more than ‘racing’ I suppose, give or take Strava banter at work! Therefore I’m leading towards Shimano MTB pedals and Sidi MTB shoes… for coffe stops and lunch! Hypothetically.

I have read a fair amount (on the interwebs) and know for a fact I won’t be able to test all the bikes I am considering because I want it asap due to the Reading-London ride on April 28th 2013 and I doubt I’ll manage it fixed (even with a bit of MTFU). General questions:

1. Buy a cheap bike, upgrade wheels or go straight to a more expensive bike?
2. Buy a cheap bike, lose weight, and then get a more expensive bike?

I typically like to avoid going too cheap as I will not be totally happy and end up spending £1000 only to buy another bike for £1,500-£2,000 12 months later (wife get mad blah blah blah) so I have been looking at bikes from £900-£3,000! and am starting to annoy myself…

If you’re still reading. Here is where I am. I know they are all very different. I know I will probably be happy with any of these but still actually have to pull the trigger so if any of these bikes are a no no for a big guy or if 10r carbon is a better option over better groupset I’d be interested on feedback.

Bikes – all 61cm (ish)
1. Specialized Roubaix Comp Compact 2013 - £2,500 FACT 8r, Ultegra/105
2. Wilier Montegrappa Xenon 10sp 2013 - £899 Alu, Campag. Xenon, Tektro etc
-with Mavic or Rolf type wheel upgrade ie. £900 Mavic 2013 Ksyrium SLR Clincher
3. Wilier Gran Turismo Centaur 10Sp 2013 - £2,499 Full Carbon Monocoque, Centaur Red/FSA Gossamer

Wildcards
1.Van Nicholas Ventus (or Chinook) Titanium - £2,800+ with wheel upgrade
2.Specialized Venge Comp 2013 – Originally wanted this but think I’d like a better groupset over FACT 10r carbon for £2,500 – based on absolutely nothing!!! And the reviews say a wheelset change is needed…
3. I think Condor type stuff is our of my league and decided to post here before looking at brands like Canyon...

Thanks to anyone who actually got through all this,
Cheers
J

Mustn't Grumble

24 user comments

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I just bought a PlanetX pro carbon SRAM Rival for £1k.

I was in the same boat as you albeit have upgraded from a hybrid. Best value for money given the group set and I'll upgrade the wheels in a year...

Deffo worth a look

posted by Sandip J [12 posts]
8th April 2013 - 18:13

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Hmmm... I discounted options like PX, Cinelli, Spesh SL4 Disc etc because they only (seem to) go up to 58cm frames but it does seem as though that particular PX is big enough cheers!

I'll play with the customise button later and see how I get on. Would you say you put groupset above frame in importance when you chose?

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posted by musgrum [8 posts]
8th April 2013 - 19:15

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buy something that is the right size for you.

All of these bikes may not necessarily be the same size and some may not work well for a guy of your size.

Start with the geometry and go from there.

posted by mathewshotbolt [98 posts]
8th April 2013 - 19:18

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Spend £3k at Canyon and make us all jealous. You won't regret it. Your wife might.

posted by bashthebox [466 posts]
8th April 2013 - 19:58

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I had a Grand Turismo. Rode Lejog on it and Flanders. Great bike, very comfy but the standard seat clamp kept cracking. 3 replaced under warranty. You said you're heavy so something to watch out for. I eventually bought a cheap double BMX type clamp for it.
Oh, watch out for Fulcrum 5's bearings if the GT is still equipped with those?- un-greased and not sealed so soon seize in wet weather.

posted by Gero [14 posts]
8th April 2013 - 20:11

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Simple answer is don't rush it...really, if you're thinking of spending £2.5k + make sure that you're getting the bike that is right for you.

Just from taking a quick scan through your mail, you've got both ends of the Specialized spectrum in there; super stiff sprinter's special (Venge, as ridden by Cav et al.) with a fairly harsh ride and aggressive geometry and, at the other end, the Roubaix, designed for the cobbled Spring Classics, with much more relaxed geometry and a more compliant ride. Just check out the thickness of the seat stays on each and that will tell you a lot about the bike's intended purpose.

To save you making a costly error, why not shorten the list a little, lay down a £50 deposit for a 48hr test ride (on a Giant Defy Advanced? [highly rated bike, full Ultegra, good finishing kit, fits somewhere in the middle of the earlier mention spectrum]) and that way you will know for sure if you like it.

You could schedule the test ride for April 28th Big Grin

Deposit is refunded if you buy the bike. I know Giant and Spesh offer this; not sure about the others.

Stop reading and start riding; 'tis the only way you'll know for sure Thinking

posted by Al'76 [114 posts]
8th April 2013 - 21:05

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bashthebox wrote:
Spend £3k at Canyon and make us all jealous. You won't regret it. Your wife might.

Well having now had a look around the Canyon site it seems they have some really nice options for way under £3k. I don't quite know what the catch is at the moment but I can't seem to see a dealers list so maybe that's it. You have to buy direct from them...!? or they are old models maybe but well spec'd. I'll def have a look further into what they've got. Blimey, just what I needed, a bike not on the list haha

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posted by musgrum [8 posts]
8th April 2013 - 21:50

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Spend as much as you can afford and keep on riding. I don't think that you can go wrong with the Van Nic, I have one and love it. I have mates with Canyons and Wiliers and they all rate them very highly indeed. I think that you know that you'd like a really well specced bike and you're planning on doing a lot of riding on it. What's stopping you? Go out and get one and get riding!
As you are London based, SPD pedals make sense, you could wreck road cleats just with the constant unclip and foot down that you have to do to escape the big smoke. I like the single sided A600 but you may prefer double sided for ease of use in the city. I'd watch for toe overlap too, it doesn't matter at all on the open road but it is a pain navigating through traffic.
150+ miles a week will see that weight flying off you. Good luck on all your cycling adventures.

Buy an expensive bike and enjoy it.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [301 posts]
8th April 2013 - 21:57

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Al'76 wrote:
Just from taking a quick scan through your mail, you've got both ends of the Specialized spectrum in there...

...Stop reading and start riding; 'tis the only way you'll know for sure Thinking

Yeah for sure. I think the Roubaix Comp is a better fit over a Venge for where I am right now although everyone seems to have them at the warehouse not in store. I'll get one delivered to have a look. I was nervous about going Specialized because they seem to hide weights and folks at work say their low spec bikes are very heavy.

Thanks for your help though. I'll look at a test ride and won't google Giant because as you say I need to get the list shorter. Wilier is out too because of another comment. See progress!

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posted by musgrum [8 posts]
8th April 2013 - 22:15

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Genuinely not trying to be rude here, but at this stage, the weight of the bike should not really be much concern to you.

By your own admission, you are a big fella and will make up for over 90% of the rider+bike weight.

Best thing to do is pick the bike that fits you best. If it is comfy, you will be more inclined to get the miles in and get the weight down. That will make a huge difference.

If I was you, I would not spend a great deal just now. If you spend 600 - 1000, you will find it very difficult to get a bad bike. Even the basic Shimano 2300 groupset is actually really good. That's what i use on my commute - 200 miles a week in all weathers and it never misses a beat. £600 would get you on a nice frame with either 2300 or sora with a strong and reliable set of wheels. Good shout on the SPD.

Why not set yourself a target weight and use the promise of a lighter, racier machine as a motivational tool?

Good luck on the search.

posted by Birney29 [5 posts]
9th April 2013 - 8:03

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musgrum wrote:
bashthebox wrote:
Spend £3k at Canyon and make us all jealous. You won't regret it. Your wife might.

Well having now had a look around the Canyon site it seems they have some really nice options for way under £3k. I don't quite know what the catch is at the moment but I can't seem to see a dealers list so maybe that's it. You have to buy direct from them...!? or they are old models maybe but well spec'd. I'll def have a look further into what they've got. Blimey, just what I needed, a bike not on the list haha

Aside from having to buy direct, there is no catch. If I was buying a new bike (I tend to like faffing about looking for second hand bargains - something that's not really advisable unless you really know what you're looking for) I'd go straight to Canyon. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I replace my frame with one of theirs at some point.
In their Outlet store there are incredible bargains to be had. Three of my friends have Canyons, and they are astounding things (the bikes, not the friends).

posted by bashthebox [466 posts]
9th April 2013 - 8:28

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I went with carbon for first bike, and less than 2 years later am hankering after something really swish that is precisely what I'm looking for, rather than the current one which is merely 'fine'. I should have:

1. Gone for alu so I could keep this as a winter bike.
2. Kept the budget at maybe £800, letting the missus know that I would be spending more in time.
3. Good aluminium is better than cheap carbon, and that's the space you're in at under £1.2k-ish.
4. Over the coming 12-24 months you will change. Flexibility, riding position, riding style, body weight, pedaling style, joining a club, getting faster, going further, preferences of stiffness/comfort and how they are affected by slight changes in components/clothing/position, discovering you can/can't climb/sprint/descend/power along on the flat. Or even (heaven forbid) deciding that you're not that keen after all (burn the witch! Big Grin ) All these will affect what kind of bike you *really* want.

All this is before you've ended up buying clothing and kit for different weather. Summer base layers/jersey/ shorts/socks/gloves, winter base layers/jersey/jacket/gilet/tights/socks/overshoes/gloves/liner gloves, pedals, shoes, eyewear, helmet, helmet liner, track pump, little saddle bag with tools, home toolkit, turbo trainer, sufferfest videos, workstand, GPS device, diamond ring to keep the death stare off the wife's face... you get the idea!

Oh and don't forget you'll also have maintenance costs. Maybe twice a year I end up with new tyres/tubes/bar tape/more cleaning products etc, plus at least an annual service off the club mechanic.

Above all, though, have fun. The freedom and the scenery, and the combination of sociable clubmates, fitness, fresh air, techie kit and gadgets can't be beat!

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2517 posts]
9th April 2013 - 10:07

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If you're looking at a £2500 top budget then I'd suggest a trip to Condor. Ask them what a 105 build on a Squadra frame would be and I suspect you'll be in budget (I'd also look at the Super Acciaio if you can).

The Canyon etc will be cheaper but for your first bike, especially if you're spending a lot I'd really recommend going to a shop and focussing on getting the fit right, it makes all the difference.

Also worth considering that if you get really stuck in to it and 2 years later find yourself a stick thin racer type then you'll need to change your geometry again anyway as your core will be stronger, your flexability better etc. The same person riding 3k per year and looking at sportives has very different needs than if they are an 8k per year 2nd Cat racer.

posted by racingcondor [101 posts]
9th April 2013 - 11:51

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I'd go against that advice. Condor make lovely things, but my oh my that's an expensive route for your first bike. And this is coming from someone who did go down that exact route!

posted by bashthebox [466 posts]
9th April 2013 - 12:12

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bashthebox wrote:
I'd go against that advice. Condor make lovely things, but my oh my that's an expensive route for your first bike. And this is coming from someone who did go down that exact route!

I did too. No regrets though, I worked out what I wanted and it does well over 10k per year.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [301 posts]
9th April 2013 - 12:22

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I'm 6.2 weigh 15.7 and have a canyon SLX with Camp Record its a great bike. Super Stiff with decent running gear. I would/will buy another. I have an entry level Willer as well, good bike but you get pretty basic gear with the Frame.
The only thing I'd do different next time is drop, the Canyon, straight into a bike shop and get it stripped and regreased as they were a bit stingy on that front. And maybe go for Dura Ace spec one as alot of shops " Don't touch Campag Mate"

posted by Dog72 [108 posts]
9th April 2013 - 12:35

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Bedfordshire Clanger wrote:
bashthebox wrote:
I'd go against that advice. Condor make lovely things, but my oh my that's an expensive route for your first bike. And this is coming from someone who did go down that exact route!

I did too. No regrets though, I worked out what I wanted and it does well over 10k per year.

Oh, definitely not saying they sold me a bad bike - they didn't - but it was certainly an expensive way to work out I'd bought the wrong bike for me.
One bonus of Condor though - they keep their value a little more than many other brands on the second hand market.

posted by bashthebox [466 posts]
9th April 2013 - 12:41

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Picking up on the 'weight of the bike' point, I'd go so far to say it should be a concern, - but not in the way you think - you should specifically AVOID super light bikes.

Possibly I am being unduly cautious but its based on my recent experience of having several aluminium bikes break on me. I am also big, having gone from over 16 St to under 14, but at 6'2 I'll never be a whippet. As such, I've opted for titanium, which is heavier than equivalent priced carbon and aluminium, but is certainly strong, with a decent warranty as well.

posted by 700c [476 posts]
9th April 2013 - 16:19

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Did you end up selling your Baracchi? What was it that you didn't get on with? I quite fancy getting one myself one day.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [301 posts]
9th April 2013 - 20:46

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Bedfordshire Clanger wrote:
Did you end up selling your Baracchi? What was it that you didn't get on with? I quite fancy getting one myself one day.

+1, I so wanted to buy that blue and yellow Baracchi off you, but wrong timing.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2517 posts]
9th April 2013 - 22:33

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Haha, yeah I sold it - probably for less than it was worth, but I did sell it off season and wanted to get a more appropriate winter bike. I ended up getting a trek 5400 for a steal... alas it's even less appropriate a winter bike, but I'm an idiot so it doesn't matter.

The Baracchi's a more relaxed sportive frame - quite comfy, but if you stand up and put power through it, you can feel it flex. It also wallows when descending or taking corners fast, which isn't great news for a slightly nervy handler like me.

Despite all that,I loved the bike and was sorry to see it go. I do follow the new owner on Strava though, and am content in the knowledge that the bike's getting ridden properly.

posted by bashthebox [466 posts]
10th April 2013 - 8:12

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Smile Smile Smile

Birney29 wrote:
Genuinely not trying to be rude here, but at this stage, the weight of the bike should not really be much concern to you.

By your own admission, you are a big fella and will make up for over 90% of the rider+bike weight.

Best thing to do is pick the bike that fits you best. If it is comfy, you will be more inclined to get the miles in and get the weight down. That will make a huge difference.

If I was you, I would not spend a great deal just now. If you spend 600 - 1000, you will find it very difficult to get a bad bike. Even the basic Shimano 2300 groupset is actually really good. That's what i use on my commute - 200 miles a week in all weathers and it never misses a beat. £600 would get you on a nice frame with either 2300 or sora with a strong and reliable set of wheels. Good shout on the SPD.

Why not set yourself a target weight and use the promise of a lighter, racier machine as a motivational tool?

Good luck on the search.


Best advice on here me thinks.

big mick

posted by big mick [162 posts]
10th April 2013 - 11:28

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big mick wrote:
Smile Smile Smile
Birney29 wrote:
Genuinely not trying to be rude here, but at this stage, the weight of the bike should not really be much concern to you.

By your own admission, you are a big fella and will make up for over 90% of the rider+bike weight.

Best thing to do is pick the bike that fits you best. If it is comfy, you will be more inclined to get the miles in and get the weight down. That will make a huge difference.

If I was you, I would not spend a great deal just now. If you spend 600 - 1000, you will find it very difficult to get a bad bike. Even the basic Shimano 2300 groupset is actually really good. That's what i use on my commute - 200 miles a week in all weathers and it never misses a beat. £600 would get you on a nice frame with either 2300 or sora with a strong and reliable set of wheels. Good shout on the SPD.

Why not set yourself a target weight and use the promise of a lighter, racier machine as a motivational tool?

Good luck on the search.


Best advice on here me thinks.

I disagree. I have a bike with 2300 and while it does its job as a winter hack there really isn't anything inspirational about riding it. I don't like the front shift, and the rear shift needs the lever to travel a long way to get it to move, add that to some solid but cheap, slow wheels and it's enough to turn the quickest road into custard.

From all the different advice here I think that the only sensible conclusion is to follow rule #12. The ideal number of bikes to own is n+1

Go Van Nic Chinook, it's quick, comfortable and will last forever.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [301 posts]
10th April 2013 - 12:14

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Well gents. What a credit to the bike community you are. Thanks a lot for all your help, views and advice. Much appreciated.

Here's where I ended up.
1. Not sure on shoes, need to think about how much I'll actually truly be walking to warrant the SPD option. I'm going to look outside the world of Sidi. But will end up with road pedals & shoes at some point down the line even if I go SPD 1st.
2. I'm not really a fan of Evans. Generally.
3. I can't buy just any old bike. When I look at it I need to want to ride it.
4. Canyon was a great find. Probably would have had one but they don't take Amex. (hate myself for actually typing that!)
5. If you ignore all the tech & fitting stuff or overdose on too much info, one thing is for sure. Look at how Shim, Campag & SRAM shifters work. That is a real immediate thing to go and see in real life while trying to figure out if you spend most of the time on the drops or hoods. Hoods probably for most if not all so look at the systems based on how they feel in that position as it varies a lot.
6a. Not worried about all the extras. I already own a bunch of merino (Howies & Rapha). While I fly past all the hipsters trying to do breakless skids in my East Ldn garms I've secretly been wearing my cosy baselayers. I'm putting my front break back on and no longer hiding who I am.
6b. On that note you can't be everything to everyone so just be you. General life rule probably! MAMILs will be MAMILs, hipsters gonna be hip and bike messengers, well were they gonna like you anyway!? Honestly I feel you might need to go around in circles a few dozen times but in the end you'll start to find answers. Try not to over think things once you've already over thought them.
7. My wife won't be a problem. That's why she's my wife. She actually only gets mad when I ask her to choose between 3 bikes and then think she's made a poor choice once she finally picks.
8. When you're new you can be spooked. People who leave their LBS might think road bikes get punctures every two miles if they get help from the wrong person. Likewise, I felt a carbon frame will explode if I leave it locked in the bike rack. Of course bikes always do domino rally into any carbon frame that is near... in reality its not how it is.
9. If I thought I would only own two bikes (one being fixed) I was kidding myself. Possibly just a defence mechanism so the lie wouldn’t show up when the wife had me on the polygraph test. “Is this really the last bike you’ll ever ever need?”. “Yes. Honest.” Pass.
10. I feel there is a lot more I need to learn before I deserve to ride Ti. Need to go through some more pain before I take that step. Perfect is overrated. Making mistakes is part of the fun.

Anyway. Long story short(ish). Condor have been fantastic so far. Email support was fast and informative. Ended up going to the shop in town to buy steel - Condor Super Acciaio... and not too worried about changing (physically) over the next month or two as I lose weight because I reckon the adjustments could be dealt with a saddle height change here and a stem length or stack height change there…

...so it's funny coming back here and seeing the comments because I got a great deal on a Baracchi build. Julian was a diamond and his service blew the other places I went to out the water. I can't even put them in the same sentence to be honest. Loved the Condor shop and they had way more on display than any other place I went. Rims, tyres, shoes, helmets etc.

Thanks again all. Some truly great advice/opinions and I absolutely took it all onboard. I know Condor isn't everyones taste but I feel I'm very lucky to have this as my 1st road bike and they're going to get it built before my 1st (charity) ride.

I'll be sure to stay around here but now I've got to go and see what climbs I signed in blood to do as a Barachhi owner...

Oh and love "The ideal number of bikes to own is n+1"

Cheers
Mustn't Grumble

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posted by musgrum [8 posts]
13th April 2013 - 23:40

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