Re: Road Bike buying advice

by virginracer   August 1, 2013  

I'm currently in the process of trying to choose a road bike.
I used to ride MTB, and now have taken the decision to get fit again!

My budget is £1000, (on the cycle2Work scheme) and i'm becoming increasingly confused on what's good/bad and what to avoid!

I would really appreciate some help/advice on what to get.
Once i've gotten used to riding a road bike again, i will be (hopefully) putting a lot of miles on the bike, so want to make sure that i get it right first time (choosing the bike).

I have looked at:
Cube Peleton Race
Felt Z85
Mekk 1.5
Scott Speedster 20

I've been advised by friends to avoid Sora, make sure the bike has carbon forks, and try to get the best kit (frame aside) that you can.
But, because i know so little (other than, that looks nice!) i have no idea if what i'm liking, is actually any good.
I don't care about bike envy, or the kudos it'll generate (or not) just want to make a sound purchase and investment.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!

23 user comments

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Have a look at PlanetX and Boardman, maybe Ribble too - they all make bikes for that £1k cycle scheme budget. There's a good few threads lurking with similar questions too, so have a browse through past pages on this forum.
It's really intimidatingly complicated, getting into road bikes, but the more you ride with people and endlessly discuss groupsets and gear ratios, the more you will know. It's endless geeky fun!

posted by bashthebox [594 posts]
1st August 2013 - 16:48

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Gonna go again and recommend Canyon Roadlite 6.0 AL, which I own. Sports a Shimano 105 set, weighs 8,15 kg, has carbon fork, can't fault my choice so far.

Not being from UK, I don't know about the cycle2work scheme though, what that even means haha.

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posted by ricolek [37 posts]
1st August 2013 - 16:54

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Oh yeah, the Canyon is lovely too. But seeing as it comes from Germany, I've a feeling you might struggle with the cyclescheme.

posted by bashthebox [594 posts]
1st August 2013 - 17:13

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Would recommend one of these (from this store too!):

I got the 20, but the 10 looked great too. Hope that helps.

posted by jug_23 [22 posts]
1st August 2013 - 17:16

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Hello! Clearly, I work for Trek, so that's what I'm going to talk about.

We've just introduced our new 1 Series bikes which have a redisigned frame for this year, and carbon forks. There are 3 models in the 1 Series, the most expensive of which is £875 (which leaves you some room for kit with Cyclescheme, if you need it).

If what you want to spend is £1000 on the bike only, then that puts you into the Domane 2.0. There are several reviews available on this bike (this fine site reviewed the 2.3 which has the same frame: It's pretty safe to say that the Domane is a bit of a game-changer.

I would highly encourage you to take a couple of test rides, as the bikes already mentioned won't fit you the same as others. Fit is absolutely essential.

Also, please don't be fooled into buying a bike based on the components. You want to invest your money in the best frame you can get. The components are the moving parts that will wear out and eventually need to be replaced. You can always upgrade them later on. There's no point in having great furniture if your house isn't built that well.

Happy to answer any questions you have.

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posted by TrekBikesUK [90 posts]
1st August 2013 - 17:43

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Thank you both for your advice.

BashTheBox, i'll look at past threads and hopefully will get more ideas!

Ricolek, I will google the Canyon and see what you're so excited about!
The cycle2Work scheme is another way of purchasing a bike, will help from your employer.

When i've finally made a choice/decision i'll post it here!
And so the search goes on...!

posted by virginracer [10 posts]
1st August 2013 - 17:45

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Thank you to TrakBikesUk.

Your final paragraph is outstanding advice, and if i'm honest the best advice i've received so far!

Never really thought of it that way, and a great analogy!

Seems i got caught up in the Sora/Tiagra/105 argument, then of course there was the bike envy, apparently some brands are "cooler" than others! Thankfully i didn't buy into that, just got confused with the components etc!

I've yet to look at your bikes, and i will.
Thank you for your input.

posted by virginracer [10 posts]
1st August 2013 - 18:01

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I have a MEKK, its fantastic! Done about 2000 miles since easter. Joy to ride, fast and as trek have pointed out the frame is great so in time very upgradeable! My other choice was the canondale CAAD tiagra - both great bikes, mekk had a better deal.

posted by Cycle_Jim [281 posts]
1st August 2013 - 21:20

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frame then wheels then groupset

use that order for importance to help make your decision.

posted by billyman [122 posts]
1st August 2013 - 22:13

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Have read, and re-read all your comments/suggestions, and am trying to take everything on board, so much to consider!
Thank you to everyone for their input and ideas.
Have had a look at the Canyon, and it's a beautiful bike, shame they're only mail-order, don't think i can use my voucher to buy one, and, should i need any back up or (heaven forbid) any problems, they're not very local!
The Trek, although a lovely bike, with some good specs, it just didn't grab my attention, as some bikes can, that "love at first sight" effect!
Genesis, same really with the Trek, don't mean to be rude to Jug_23 and their choice of bike, it just didn't excite me, sorry Jug!
Have had a quick look at the Cannondale CAAD Tiagra and first impressions are, good, i can have a closer look at my LBS.
I'm still taken by the Mekk, i guess it's the "Carbon frame" which is helping, and from what TrekUK said earlier, and Cycle_Jim, if the house is sound, the rest can be upgraded.
Didn't really hurt Cycle_Jim adding it's fantastic either!
But it's a while to go yet before my voucher arrives, i'll probably end up going to Aldi and buying a Raleigh Arena.
Thank you all again.

posted by virginracer [10 posts]
1st August 2013 - 22:36

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Hello. Virginracer.

Get a bike thats comfortable for you, that fits you properly. There is no point in asking us we can only gave you advice and thee end dissension is yours.

Race and Performance - looking for the lightest and stiffest bike possible.

longer events and sportive – look for performance with an element of comfort


see which fits best ergonomically in your hands and which feels best for you when changing gear. Groupsets wear out. Below would be my chose of groupset under the £1000 mark to look for

shimano - Hard working, reliable and not too expensive


SRAM – new kid on the block, straightforward engineering, trashy appearance


Campagnolo - racing fraternity, speed and beauty .


My choses of bikes

Cannondale caad8 - halfway house,Good all round

claud butler Vicenza – good value for money, reliable

Kinesis TK3 – frame and fork developed highly

Norco Valence A1 – long ride comfort , limited bar height adjustability.

Ribble Winter Trainer- the best sub £750 for money

Scott Speedster 20 Compact - not cheap but stable

This is my choses and you can use them for your opinion, the bike need to be what you want and not others peples choses

posted by Ashleyhoaken [37 posts]
1st August 2013 - 23:18

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There's not a single bit of bad advice here. We're totally spoilt for choice. Go with the one that makes your heart sing and your legs fly!

posted by bashthebox [594 posts]
1st August 2013 - 23:46

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virginracer wrote:

I'm still taken by the Mekk, i guess it's the "Carbon frame" which is helping, and from what TrekUK said earlier, and Cycle_Jim, if the house is sound, the rest can be upgraded.

One word of caution about carbon frames: the process by which carbon frames are assembled varies greatly between one manufacturer and another. In addition to that, the raw material will also have a significant degree of quality variance. Carbon is very expensive to acquire, and is in limited supply, due to the fact that the sporting goods industry is competing with the likes of aerospace and defence. We're pretty far down the totem pole for the really good stuff*. If the price of a carbon frame looks too good to be true, it probably is. Sometimes, it's better to get a alloy frame of high quality, than a low quality carbon frame.

I would also like to stress again the importance of fit. Try to narrow your choices down to just a few bike models, and take a test ride of each. If you try too many different bikes, the differences between them can get somewhat muddled. If you feel that you are too stretched out on the bike, then consider that a giant red flag.

*For the record, Trek is one of the few companies in the world that has access to 'strategic material suppliers', which is a fancy way of saying that if you aren't a member of the UN, you can't get the stuff we get.

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posted by TrekBikesUK [90 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 9:03

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Cannot go wrong with a CUBE; and if you can ad a wee bit more cash to the Scheme you could get a Cube Agree Pro at Sigma Sport for just under £1260.00 on offer at present! Also look at Felt Bikes or a lightweight Ridley? Have a look on Wiggle they have some offers on at present, also Evans Cycles are doing discounts.

posted by Mostyn [400 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 10:20

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No Giant Defy, Specialized Allez, Trek Domane or Cannondale CAAD?

I read that Cube geometry is a bit more aggressive than most. If you're keen to "get it right" then there's no substitute for sitting astride a number of bikes. Look at this recent account:

I wouldn't discount Sora since it went 9 speed (effectively rebadged Tiagra). Don't chase small specification differences, they're all so similar at any price point. 10 speed doesn't make a bike any better than 9.

On C2W you can include clothing (padded shorts, jacket etc), SPD pedals and pump, multitool etc to the VAT-free total.

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posted by Simon E [1888 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 16:43

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virginracer wrote:
Genesis, same really with the Trek, don't mean to be rude to Jug_23 and their choice of bike, it just didn't excite me, sorry Jug!

Well, obviously I'm hurt...

No - ofcourse not! That's what I fancied and it works for me. Hope you manage to find something that works for you and has sufficient wow-factor.

posted by jug_23 [22 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 16:54

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Hello Everyone, again!
Thank you all for your recent advice regarding bikes etc.
In the last two days i have ridden:

Giant Defy
Mekk 1.5 Poggio
Focus Cluebro
Cannondale Caad 8

The Giant, although a very pretty bike, just didn't feel right, ( i know that sounds odd!) but i didn't feel comfortable (or make me feel confident).
The Mekk, although a Carbon frame (and fork) was let down by Sora.
Never knew what the fuss was about regarding Sora Tiagra 105 etc.
until now!
The Focus was great, smooth ride, comfortable & the set up was Ultima (correct spelling?!) which was awesome.
I've now discovered a brand called Kuota, which i'll ride soon.
I'll keep you all posted what i finally choose!
Thanks again to you all.

posted by virginracer [10 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 18:09

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Imho the best route to go down is a 'direct from the manufacturer bike' from either Canyon or Rose. The value that you can achieve for a brilliant frame with carbon forks, 105, mavic wheels and continental GP4000 tyres. A friend bought one and the frame is stiff with lots of spring when you climb (He was very fast in the Alpes). The posting was also very fast and he got £25 off because of an optical defect that no-one at our club can find Smile Honestly worth checking out their website and outlet section and as they take your measurements, you'll get a good fit Smile


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posted by liam.cahill1 [41 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 19:45

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Thanks for the advice Liam, had i been buying a MTB, i'd have been happy buying mail order/through a website.
Looked at the Canyon bikes, and they really are quite special, wasn't taken so much by the Rose.

I'm getting my new bike through the C2W scheme, and not sure if that would work with Canyon.

THanks for advice all the same.

posted by virginracer [10 posts]
4th August 2013 - 17:58

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Before you start, think of the FIT FIT FIT....

FIT THE RIDING: What type of road bike do you need and for what? Club runs, fitness, audax, sportive, or competitions? This will sort out the comfort v performance issue.

FIT THE RIDER: What are your measurements? Get yourself measured at your LBS. or look at this: - in that way the bike will fit you. You can then look at Ribble, Planet X , etc IF the bike fits.

ALROUND FIT: Do not forget the wheels. Most packages boast 105, arbon forks, but rubbish wheels. I replaced 8 rear spokes at £10 a pop inc truing, within the first 6 months on my entry level bike, until I decided to get some enrty Mavics and i am now flying.

FIT THE BUDGET: Finally, if you become serious in the future, this very bike will become your winter trainer anyway, so make sure that you do not get dazzled or confused by the thousands of threads giving you all sorts of advice, and do not feel that unless you get the best of everything your bike is not good enough. Stick to £1k and upgrade in the future.

Hope this helps

posted by Konstantine [12 posts]
8th August 2013 - 7:44

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posted by lizzybrcc [8 posts]
14th August 2013 - 17:38

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I'm so pleased to see you actually test riding bikes before you buy. It's the best way to find out. Sooner or later one of these is going to feel perfect and that's the one. Now is a good time to buy, too, because everyone is starting to discount in anticipation of 2014 models.

posted by drmatthewhardy [276 posts]
14th August 2013 - 19:59

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Thanks for your comments.
I have been test riding, and thought i'd nailed it and chosen a bike.
Now, i'm not too sure!

My List, at the moment;

Specialized 2014 Allez Elite Road Bike
Kuoto Korsa Lite 2013
Focus 2013 Cluebro SL 2.0 20sp/30sp Ultegra

You make great sense, re discounts being offered, i hope (!) that when all the main players release their 2014 line-up, then any models still remaining from 2013, will be (again, hopefully!) be discounted further.

This choosing a road bike has been such hard work, and so much to consider!

Thanks again.

posted by virginracer [10 posts]
14th August 2013 - 22:18

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