£1800 for a bike and what to buy????

by Chester Line   May 7, 2013  

I'm completely new to this site so be gentle with me. I own a 2007 Cannondale Synapse and want to upgrade to a carbon bike. The choice seems bewildering and having spoke to a number of people who work in bike shops etc I'm no nearer choosing. Perhaps that is part of the problem, at this point is there little to choose?
If it helps, I'm 5'10, weigh around 90kg, currently on a 53cm frame. Do mainly rides on a Sunday, 45 - 80 miles with an occasional longer trip. Comfort is key, I don't race I just love cycling. These are the bikes I've seen so far:
Cannondale Supersix 105
Specialised Roubaix
Specialised Tarmac
Kuota Kharma Evo
Planet X Carbon Pro
Cube Agree GTC
Felt F5 105
Focus Izalco 3.0
Basso Laguna 105
There are probably others I've missed, I'd like some unbiased advice, this will probably be a purchase that will last me some years. I have tried a few of these and liked them all. 105 is minimum groupset, that's about the only restriction.
Thanks for reading this, hope there's a wealth of expertise out there. Confused

24 user comments

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I have a Cube Agree GTC Pro and although I quite like it I wouldn't buy another one. I will be replacing it shortly.

I would strike that one off your list.

posted by andycoventry [120 posts]
7th May 2013 - 8:30

11 Likes

Starley bikes will give you 105, a free bike fit and custom paint job for that money. They're really nice looking bikes and have good reviews

posted by pdows47 [103 posts]
7th May 2013 - 8:38

14 Likes

having ridden a Kuota kharma Ultegra at the weekend, (as i am one of the local bike shops little magazine tester)i thought it was fantastic, a bit agressive so probably not fantastic for longer rides but maybe worth a go if you think consistant speed is better than arriving home and feeling relaxed.

The biggest chestnut is ride as many of them as you can.

Joe

bikemadjo's picture

posted by bikemadjo [53 posts]
7th May 2013 - 9:51

8 Likes

Can you confirm that you're comfortable on the Synapse? No aches/pains after 80 miles? How many headset spacers do you currently have under the stem (if any)?

If not, I'd suggest getting a bike fit sorted first. That will narrow your list down considerably. Admittedly this means paying cash up front (I paid £110 for mine in Manchester), but mine wasn't tied to a shop or purchase of a particular bike, so I have an unbiased baseline from which to work, and doesn't involve a shop trying to get me to fit the particular brands of bikes that they sell.

From there you'll know which ranges you can choose from, i.e. if you're comfortable on Cannondale's 'endurance' offering - the synapse - then perhaps a Focus Cayo (their endurance bike) should be on the list, and the Izalco (their race bike) scrubbed off. This may also imply that the Supersix and possibly the Kharma should be dropped. The Synapse is, however, a bit more agressive than the Roubaix, so you could probably drop the possibly-too-upright Roubaix and add a headset spacer or two to the racier-geometry Tarmac to achieve an equivalent position to the Synapse. See where this is going? It's all based on the presumption that the position you're trying to achieve is indeed the position you should be in. Bike fit first, then bike shortlist.

If you can do that and come back to us with a diagram provided by the bike fitter, then together with a budget and your other info re type of riding etc, you should be able to narrow it down to list of similar bikes, then you just need to pick the one that looks fast and will make you drag yourself out of bed early to ride the knackers off it.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3476 posts]
7th May 2013 - 10:38

10 Likes

How about a Giant Defy? Top quality frames, whether carbon or aluminium.

Like notfastenough, I too would steer you away from racers towards the 'sportive' geometry (and TBH anyone can race perfectly well on a bike with a slightly taller head tube).

I'd go round the dealers. Sit and, if possible, ride a few. The one that is best for you is the one that fits you and like the look and feel of it. Don't fret about spec details - bars, saddle etc - they are easy to change. Get the basics right first.

Also, do you prefer Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo shifting?

I would consider spending a bit less on the bike and try to angle for a deal on some lighter wheels - either instead or as well as those supplied. Nearly all bikes, even at this point, have inexpensive OE wheels. Further to this recent discussion, I'd seriously consider some nice handbuilt wheels. Those, and good tyres, will do far more for ride quality than a fancy looking carbon stem or seat post.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2063 posts]
7th May 2013 - 10:54

10 Likes

£1800 will get you a phenomenal bike from Canyon. In fact, if you're on a tight budget, you don't even need to spend that much.

posted by Tom Amos [246 posts]
7th May 2013 - 12:05

9 Likes

Trek Domane 4.3, nice.

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1088 posts]
7th May 2013 - 13:25

8 Likes

What components you got on the current bike? You could buy frame only if your current components are in good nick.

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
7th May 2013 - 13:42

9 Likes

Cheers, it's 1 less to consider.

posted by Chester Line [8 posts]
7th May 2013 - 14:27

10 Likes

Not a name I've heard of so will check it out, many thanks.

posted by Chester Line [8 posts]
7th May 2013 - 14:27

8 Likes

@Fringe - Agreed - I hired one this weekend in San Francisco and it's very impressive. The decoupler thing did seem to make a difference on the badly maintained roads over here.

If you want comfort/endurance then I would recommend it.

JaseCD

posted by jasecd [167 posts]
7th May 2013 - 16:45

10 Likes

If I'm honest I find my neck and shoulders ache after a long ride, and the usual rear end numbness!!
Head stem spacers 3 carbon.
I accept a bike fitting would be the best option as I bought the Cannondale purely due to the price at the time with the frame size for my height etc.
I do prefer comfort to speed so I see the roubaix v tarmac point.
Thanks for your help, if I do get a bike fit i'll share the results.
Cheers m8 Smile

posted by Chester Line [8 posts]
7th May 2013 - 17:28

7 Likes

Cervelo s2

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
7th May 2013 - 17:39

9 Likes

Chester Line wrote:
Not a name I've heard of so will check it out, many thanks.

If you mean the Canyon, here's the link.

https://www.canyon.com/_en/roadbikes/bike.html?b=3083

posted by Tom Amos [246 posts]
7th May 2013 - 17:40

9 Likes

Mix of 105 and ultegra groupset
105 brakes
Mavic Aksium Race wheels
Fi'is'k Arione saddle
Cannondale Fire finishing kit
Interesting suggestion on the frame front, I service my own bike so building it wouldn't be an issue, in fact I might enjoy it?? Smile

posted by Chester Line [8 posts]
7th May 2013 - 18:02

8 Likes

I have had Shimano and Campag and liked both TBH. As my Cannondale has Mavic Aksium Race wheels it rides smooth and with a 105/ultegra mix I see your point.
Plenty for me to think about, cheers! Smile

posted by Chester Line [8 posts]
7th May 2013 - 18:04

8 Likes

You could do a whole lot worse than this: http://road.cc/content/review/82718-stevens-izoard-2013

just to further muddy the waters Big Grin

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
7th May 2013 - 18:15

9 Likes

Chester Line wrote:
Mix of 105 and ultegra groupset
105 brakes
Mavic Aksium Race wheels
Fi'is'k Arione saddle
Cannondale Fire finishing kit
Interesting suggestion on the frame front, I service my own bike so building it wouldn't be an issue, in fact I might enjoy it?? Smile

Decent kit, and you will definitely enjoy building it and it gives you a greater sense of ownership (and it will be set up better).

With regards to the frame that's the tough question as I have not done much research on the sportive frame front .

Perhaps the Planet X RT-58 Comfort Sportive frame and forks? http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/FRPXRT58FAF/planet_x_rt_58_carbon_ro...

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
7th May 2013 - 20:52

6 Likes

Chester Line wrote:
If I'm honest I find my neck and shoulders ache after a long ride, and the usual rear end numbness!!
Head stem spacers 3 carbon.
I accept a bike fitting would be the best option as I bought the Cannondale purely due to the price at the time with the frame size for my height etc.
I do prefer comfort to speed so I see the roubaix v tarmac point.
Thanks for your help, if I do get a bike fit i'll share the results.
Cheers m8 Smile

Ok, so now it gets interesting - you cite a similar complaint to mine. I was expecting to need a taller frame with more spacers, but the opposite was true; removing spacers and a bit of Physio to mobilize my neck has sorted me out, increasing my comfort AND speed. The point I'm making is this: ideally you would want no spacers, which would lead you to a taller frame, such as the Roubaix. BUT what if you subsequently found that you needed *less* head tube, after you've blown the budget already?

Re the sore rear - the Arione is for racing snakes only; light body weight and narrow sit bones, I really can't see it working out for a 90kg rider. Try some others. You shouldn't be putting up with rear end numbness, that's where problems start, like impotence.

Re the parts list -seems like you already have the minimum groupset, so why not? In your shoes, I would buy a Cervelo R3 and some handbuilt wheels, then transfer your components across. Unless you want the Synapse as a winter bike, which is fair enough.

Seriously though, I realize you want to get stuck in with the cool stuff, but a bike fit is THE BEST upgrade you can buy to ensure both comfort and speed, and you'll learn a lot about making your bike an extension of your body, rather than an awkward marriage of the two.

Good luck and have fun, I wish I could liberate some cash at the moment! Big Grin

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3476 posts]
7th May 2013 - 21:30

8 Likes

The frame size is a bit of a red herring - you want to be looking at the actual top tube measurement

I'm riding a Focus Cayo (105 - 2009 model) at the moment and have recently had a fitting which (amongst others) gave me a flipped, 12 degree angled stem to raise the bar height. Made a massive difference - I can spend more time in the drops and my overall ride position is so much more smooth, powerful and comfortable.

I'm the same size as you and currently looking at the Focus Ergoride (which is their endurance model - not the Cayo) and two 2014 models that are out later this year - the Cannondale Synapse Hi Mod & Bianchi Infinito CV. Waiting full ride reviews and prices for those two with interest. I tried a Trek Domane and it didn't blow me away as much as I was expecting. I'm allergic to Specialized Smile

The to-tube lengths for these on a "54" are all 530-535mm which suit my shorter upper body and have taller head tubes that suit my preferred riding style

posted by VeloPeo [222 posts]
8th May 2013 - 11:50

5 Likes

@Velopeo - so it is, good spot. Ultimately I was just trying to point out that all the bikes on the shortlist weren't similar in nature.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3476 posts]
8th May 2013 - 12:15

5 Likes

@notfastenough - yeah you were right in your post. For once in my life I wasn't attempting to be a smart arse Smile

posted by VeloPeo [222 posts]
8th May 2013 - 13:26

4 Likes

Cheers, it's clear I need to get a bike fit and that's where I will start.
Then I may consider whether to buy a complete new machine or buy a frame and transfer components across, then I can change that saddle which has never been that comfy.
Lots to consider, it has certainly widened my view on what to do so this forum has proved invaluable, great stuff. Smile Smile

posted by Chester Line [8 posts]
8th May 2013 - 14:39

6 Likes

Given we are of similar size this is very useful, will check out the top tube measurement.
will also keep an eye out for the 2 models you've mentioned, may also consider another suggestion of building my own with a new frame/fork and transferring.
What is clear, a proper bike fit is an investment I need to get done first.
Cheers Smile Smile

posted by Chester Line [8 posts]
8th May 2013 - 14:43

6 Likes