Dead keen newbie seeking sensible advice...or kick up the backside

by catbox3   June 17, 2013  

Hi all,

as the header says I have well and truly been bitten by the bug and desperately wnat to get my first road bike.

I have narrowed it down by test riding about 10 new steads with the Giant Defy comp 2 and Caad 8 making it to the finals.

Have ridden both, loved both, like the colours on both.

Is it worth spending the extra on the Giant as im looking to really "get into it" in the future.

or

Do i go with my head and go for the cheaper (-£350) Caad8.

I fear a second test ride may be in order, but any helpful comments to a confused but keen newbie would be sincerely appreciated.

Cheers

Giant Comp 2
http://www.wheelies.co.uk/p56270/Giant-Defy-Composite-2-2013-Road-Bike.aspx

Cannondale Caad 8

http://www.evanscycles.com/products/cannondale/caad8-5-105-2013-compact-...

14 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

In this sort of situation I would advise going with what you really want (assuming you can afford it). If you love the bike you buy then you'll ride it more and very quickly forget the extra money you spent.

Having said that, the CAAD appears to be better specced out than the Giant and 105 is an great starting groupset to have.

posted by pirnie [198 posts]
17th June 2013 - 13:38

1 Like

Personally I'd go for CAAD!

posted by Cycle_Jim [282 posts]
17th June 2013 - 14:04

1 Like

Advice that I've heard newbies appreciate is to choose a bike and then get the one level up.

I think it's arguable about whether the the spec on the CAAD is better - it probably just comes down to Sram v Shimano preference and if you're new then you won't care.

The biggest difference is that the Giant is a carbon frame, and you may find that on longer rides it is more comfortable.

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [567 posts]
17th June 2013 - 15:25

0 Likes

I was well impressed with the cad I have to say, i rode that back to back with a spesh roubaix and trek domane and the caad 8 105 was defo the smoothest with nippy handling.
Ive see the well favoured review on roadcc for the caad8 tiagra and have to agree with everything the review said.

Good advice about going one up from abudhabichris, thanks- im now finding myself being drawn into "well for that money i could get a carbon frame..." and the greedy little monster inside kicks in...the cad 10 beat the Giant in a recent round up in Cycling Plus mag.

The Giant also really impressed me- the ride was super smooth, and i have to say the SRAM was the smoothest gear change out of the lot. Its also carbon- from what I have read even "cheap" Giant carbons are very high quality.

Or I go for the Canonndale Synapse Carbon Tiagra....this may well scratch my "carbon" itch.

http://www.wheelies.co.uk/p56473/Cannondale-Synapse-Carbon-Tiagra-2013-R...

I would say £1500 is my total max- not really interested in mail order bikes I want to buy from a shop and appreciate good advice.

Please forgive the ramblings of a new disciple to the road cycling convert- it seems to have consumed me.

posted by catbox3 [5 posts]
17th June 2013 - 16:58

0 Likes

Speaking from experience: Cannondale Synapse is nice, but road.cc is very accurate in their review. The wheels are meh, it's significantly heavier, and less aggressive a position. Unless you plan on doing mostly long rides, I'd suggest doing the CAAD. I just got my CAAD10 fitted, the bar tape goes on tomorrow!

In the Synapse's defense, RIDICULOUSLY smooth ride. Truly the Lexus/Cadillac of the Cannondale range.

[custom] '12 Cannondale CAAD10 - Rival

badkneestom's picture

posted by badkneestom [129 posts]
17th June 2013 - 19:41

0 Likes

Let's complicate the issue just a little further http://road.cc/content/review/79975-giant-tcr-sl-2-2013
You're at that price point where you'll either get a good alloy frame and decent finishing kit or mediocre carbon. That said, if you can do £1,500 you could do much worse than http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/category/bikes/road/product/review-sp...
At the risk of asking the obvious, if you're a newbie, have you factored in the cost of helmet, glasses, jersey, bibs, socks, shoes, pedals, cages, bottles, multi-tool etc.?

posted by Al'76 [126 posts]
17th June 2013 - 20:54

1 Like

Carbon isn't always better than aluminium but Giant are probably the best at building great carbon frames inexpensively.

If you really like the Defy and CAAD 8 then don't look any further, they are both superb bikes. Just toss a coin. If it lands 'wrongly' then you know which one you really wanted all along.

Though the money left over from the Cannondale gives you scope to get SPD shoes, nice bibshorts and a few other goodies...

If you're a new convert you'll need some comfy padded shorts. At the budget end I find Lusso great VFM, though the choice is vast. You don't have to spend a packet but comfy clothing does help on longer rides.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2057 posts]
17th June 2013 - 20:57

1 Like

With Simon on this one. Personally I would lean to the CAAD. You will then have a great frame that you can upgrade as you go along. I'm still on my old Cannondale R800. And love it to bits. I just put new bits on as and when I need it. Or on a whim! It's also lighter than some carbon frames knocking about, and yes it's pretty stiff and gives an aggressive ride but who cares. And as Simon says. You can put some money into some kit as well.

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1068 posts]
17th June 2013 - 21:17

1 Like

abudhabiChris wrote:
Advice that I've heard newbies appreciate is to choose a bike and then get the one level up.

I think it's arguable about whether the the spec on the CAAD is better - it probably just comes down to Sram v Shimano preference and if you're new then you won't care.

The biggest difference is that the Giant is a carbon frame, and you may find that on longer rides it is more comfortable.

Good advice about the level up. I did that on my bike and haven't had to buy a new one. The thinking is that you will start to envy the things you didn't get, and you end of paying more when you make that next leap.

My GF bought an ALU bike. It road well, but once she got her carbon bike she wished she hadn't spent the money on the first - you immediately lose roughly £250-300 just by taking the bike home. If you buy it full price you might find that by the end of a year it's lost more if a sale version can be purchased for even less. So if you think you'll be moving up to another bike in a year or two, you may as well get that bike NOW and not waste the money.

Get the bike pretty much spec'd out if you can afford it. Personally I went for Ultegra rather than 106, Dura Ace is just too expensive for me, and so I don't feel like I have had to add anything to it....except wheels.

If you are happy with 106 (and actually, I think I could have been) then fine, but if you see yourself eying up the next spec, then you will probably look jealously on and sort of wish you'd gone that bit further. Happy spins.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1200 posts]
17th June 2013 - 21:32

1 Like

Al'76 wrote:
Let's complicate the issue just a little further http://road.cc/content/review/79975-giant-tcr-sl-2-2013
You're at that price point where you'll either get a good alloy frame and decent finishing kit or mediocre carbon. That said, if you can do £1,500 you could do much worse than http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/category/bikes/road/product/review-sp...
At the risk of asking the obvious, if you're a newbie, have you factored in the cost of helmet, glasses, jersey, bibs, socks, shoes, pedals, cages, bottles, multi-tool etc.?

Thanks Al76- i think its just made my confusion worse. I already have some kit from my MTB so literally just want to blow the cash on a bike-all the bits and bobs i can change as & when. Ive got a helmet, glasses & bottle so that will have to do for now.

From what Ive read Cannondale know how to make a great alu frame, Giant appear to be one of the better brands to look at with a "cheaper" carbon. I live near a Giant store so may well head back for a ride on the TCR- the Spesh I wasnt so keen on.

I did also try the Merdia Scultura comp 903 @ £1500- that went like a rocket...

posted by catbox3 [5 posts]
17th June 2013 - 22:20

0 Likes

Thanks Colin, good advice. I also know that in a years/two ill wish i went all out rather than buying and selling/loosing money/time hassle.

I dont think I need to over egg my pudding to Ultegra/Dura ace- my enthusiasms writing's cheques my ability cant cash, so would be very happy with 105/SRAM, which personally i thought was very good.

Much appreciated advice though...

posted by catbox3 [5 posts]
17th June 2013 - 22:25

1 Like

Simon E wrote:
Carbon isn't always better than aluminium but Giant are probably the best at building great carbon frames inexpensively.

If you really like the Defy and CAAD 8 then don't look any further, they are both superb bikes. Just toss a coin. If it lands 'wrongly' then you know which one you really wanted all along.

Though the money left over from the Cannondale gives you scope to get SPD shoes, nice bibshorts and a few other goodies...

If you're a new convert you'll need some comfy padded shorts. At the budget end I find Lusso great VFM, though the choice is vast. You don't have to spend a packet but comfy clothing does help on longer rides.

cheers simon good advice...

posted by catbox3 [5 posts]
17th June 2013 - 22:28

1 Like

going to giant store tomorrow...tcr looks great!

posted by catbox3 [5 posts]
17th June 2013 - 22:34

1 Like

TCR 2 or SL ? Can't go wrong with any of the TCRs really - from sportive to serious racing.

I know several very experienced riders who will choose their TCRs over much more expensive bikes in their stable.

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [567 posts]
18th June 2013 - 6:23

1 Like