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I started road biking last year on an Alloy Tiagra Synapse and it is now time to purchase the next bike!! I mainly do 20-30Mile rides with occasional Sportives and am also doing the Yorkshire to Amsterdam ride this year

I always thought the upgrade would be carbon like a Trek Domane or similar but have recently had my head turned by Kinesis, Mason and Fairlight. My question is that I live in North Wales and most of my routes are hilly, I’m not chasing Strava times or KOM stats but don’t want to get stuck with something too heavy and wishing it was a modern  carbon frame. There are also quite a few trails and bridlepaths to explore so I was leaning towards the Mason Bokeh but I think I could manage these trails in summer on a normal road bike with discs and 30mm tyres

I would really appreciate anyone’s thoughts or advise on this

 

 

 

13 comments

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ricardito [35 posts] 6 months ago
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My situation is somewhat similar. I returned to cycling last spring, after an ankle problem prevented me from running and hence my usual sport of choice (orienteering). I've been riding my old faithful CAAD8, but come to feel that I'd like something that will take wider tyres (ideally up to about 35mm, to facilitate bridleways, towpaths, and so on), probably with disc brakes, preferably with mudguard mounts, all with a slightly more relaxed geometry.

In the "off the peg" ranges I've been eyeing up the Domane and Genesis Datum (both available via local dealers, which is my preferred route to purchase), and from the more "boutique-y" (OK, expensive) ranges, options such as the Mason Bokeh, J. Laverack J.Ack, and Enigma Etape and Escape (any of which would also involve more travelling to evaluate, particularly the Mason - plus the extra ££ would take a bit more justifying to myself!).

Comments welcome! (but please don't confuse me with too many more options ).

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alansmurphy [1851 posts] 6 months ago
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Ooooh that's a tricky one.

 

The common thing to do is to go carbon on number 2 and relegate number one to the winter bike or if you're looking at wider tyres and discs then have that as your trails/winter... There's a danger that if you get an all rounder it won't give you much more joy on a summers day than what you already have or you end up with 2 similar bikes.

 

Depending on budget and/or investment and resale on your cannondale, you may wish to sell that one and fund 2 new bikes - potentially look at a carbon that some 'golfer' has ridden twice and is selling at 60% off retail and a lower end gravel bike.

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peted76 [1129 posts] 6 months ago
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I have a racy carbon bike and a mason definition for winter/off road/touring... I've seen 35mm tyres on the mason (although they say it only takes up to a 32mm...)   and I've ordered some 33mm tyres but not come through yet - no actual experience offroad properley as yet with it.

The Mason is a pleasure to ride at all times on the road, apart from in when a fast group where I can feel myself being dialled back a bit when with a faster group mainly on the hills, but I'm usually that much on the limit that it's to be expected. The bike is fast on the flast it feels like it surges with minimal effort and is a dream downhill being planted and fast. 

 

Of course that doesn't help you... but hey that's my set up.

 

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mikeymustard [33 posts] 6 months ago
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peted76 wrote:

  on the flast it feels like it surges with minimal effort

Of course that doesn't help you... but hey that's my set up.

 

"Flast" noun: "fast on the flat"; you've just invented a new portmanteau - I like it!

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Canyon48 [1037 posts] 6 months ago
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My two-penneth...

I had been riding a cheap Alu bike; last year, I bought a Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 8.0 and upgraded that to R8000 in November whilst putting the RS685 onto my Whyte Wessex winter bike (which I built from a frameset).

My Whyte and Canyon are similarly specced (though the Whyte weighs nearly 1.5kg more!). I notice a massive difference between these bikes, the Canyon being far more racey and the Whyte being very very smooth and a great for churning out long distances. I really like this as I use the Whyte for commuting, so when I get on my Canyon in the summer (for 1-2 hour blasts), it feels like I'm on a rocket.

I don't think you need to go down the two bike route (of course, this is entirely up to you). The great thing about the Bokeh is it's so versatile, you can put mudguards and a rack on it if you want. It can also take 650b wheels. So you can have a set of 700c (possibly semi-aero 30-40mm) wheels for road riding and a set of 650b's for when you want to hit the trails. The Bokeh Force £3100 comes in at 9.4kg, which isn't especially light.

If you're looking for a lighter carbon road bike, then the Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 9.0 £3400 (though Canyon often do sales) is a fantastic option at 7.7kg. I wouldn't consider taking this off road however and the gearing is a bit harder (52/36 - so best suited to the road). For £2400 you could have an Endurace CF SL Disc 8.0 which weighs 7.6kg.

It really depends on your budget, but, if I were you, I'd either go for a Mason Bokeh with both 700c and 650b wheelsets or buy a very nice carbon bike (something like the Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 8.0 SL - £2700, 7.6kg & integrated bars and stem) then sell the Synapse and buy a second-hand cross bike for the trails and winter riding.

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Canyon48 [1037 posts] 6 months ago
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velochris [35 posts] 6 months ago
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Without knowing your budget.....

I recently got a Cervelo C3 Ultegra from Wheelbase on offer.

I use it with mudguards for my winter bike (I am lucky to have something this good for winter).

It is thr bike that convinced me discs are good for me (a personal choice. For me it is not discs or rims but what suits you best).

The bike weighs around 8.3kg as supplied. Not race light but still light enough for a bike with discs.

Importantly it has the feel of a best bike for me. It's not a race bike but excellent for all day riding. It is plenty stiff enough and will also take 30mm tyres without guards.

I will still use my Giant Defy SL in summer and there may be a marginal difference. The Defy range is excellent value for money if you buy a sale bike. However, it is still a road bike and 30mm tyres would fit but the clearance would be too tight.

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kil0ran [992 posts] 6 months ago
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My Fairlight Faran is utterly silent and very sure-footed but not exactly exciting. If I stripped the rack and guards off and ran lighter wheels it still wouldn't be a a race bike, but that's not its purpose. It's supremely comfortable and adaptable and the perfect stablemate to a racier bike, which if I'd wanted another disc bike would have ended up being a Strael 2. Have a think about what the Synapse doesn't do well and find a bike to plug that gap. I've had carbon bikes and just can't get excited by them. I've now got a Bowman Layhams on the way and can't wait to get it built up. A real head over heart purchase but that's what happens when the bike is that pretty. It'll get Tiagra with Hunt wheels and an 11-34 cassette which gets my middle aged carcass up most local hills.

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cyclesteffer [339 posts] 6 months ago
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This is a common first world problem I think. People often buy an entry level road bike, but then want something faster, but then the second bike doesn't quite do the winter stuff as well. Personally I would sell the Synapse, buy something fancy and fast for summer, and a gravel bike for winter. This ensures you are not stuck with the Synapse which won't be any good on the trails you want to do.

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John_S [65 posts] 6 months ago
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Hi wheelsrgood,

Glad that you're enjoying your riding and wanting to do more.

Whilst you're looking at bikes I'd get out there and try to get as many extended test rides as you can to see what you think of the various bikes that you're considering for yourself.

If it were me from the options that you've mentioned I'd definitely take something from the Kinesis, Fairlight or Mason ranges as opposed to a carbon bike but that's just me.  If you're not entering actual races then having the very lightest bike with an aggressive aerodynamic race position is perhaps lower down the priority list than all day riding comfort but then it's all down to everyones personal preference as to what they want from a bike and their own wish list according to what they want to use a bike for.

In addition to Fairlight, Mason and Kinesis all making some lovely bikes perhaps another one to consider could be the Spa Cycles Elan and if you're anywhere near Harrogate it's worth getting along to Spa Cycles to talk to them.

https://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/category/bikes/road/product/spa-cycles-elan-ti-ultegra-review-50955/

 

If you go for one of the Fairlight Bikes whether that be the Starel or the Faran one of the great things about them is that they have a proportional geometery offering with their frames whereby they offer a regular and tall frame so suit more peoples proportions as well as what they want from a bike fit wise in terms of both reach and stack.

Good luck finding the right bike for you!

John

 

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ru w00dsy [13 posts] 6 months ago
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I ride in North Wales a fair bit, normally base myself in Betws-y-Coed and ride around Snowdonia. To give you some context, I have a hill (mountain!) I ride a fair bit, my fastest time up that is on my heavier bike (approx 8.2kgTrek Domane Disc) compared to my approx 6kg Trem Emonda SLR.

The times up the 25 minute climb (up to 1500 feet with some 20% gradients) is very close, I think there is about 50 seconds between the fastest times on the different bikes.

So my summary is don't worry about weight. Get the bike you really want, if its heavier and steel thats ok, just make sure you have appropriate gearing. My race bike has 52/38 and 11-28, no good for me around North Wales, but the heavier Domane has 50/34 and 11-32 which is why my times are better on the heavier bike.

Personally I'd be getting a disc brake bike that can take 32mm tyres. My Domane can take 35mm tyres and I regularly use it for bike packing around Snowdonia, including a lot of off-road and gravel roads. I either use 35mm Scwalbe G-One or 33mm knobbly cross tyres depending on the ride.

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davel [2407 posts] 6 months ago
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Simplest option is relegate your Synapse to being your 'other' bike - including your trailrider. Sure you've already considered this, but you haven't definitively ruled it out in your post, so...

Is the Synapse no good for your local trails? What size tyres will it take - is 30mm definitely too big?

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CXR94Di2 [2161 posts] 6 months ago
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I've got a Kinesis Tripster V2. I like it a great deal, it takes upto 45mm tyres (700c) which I use for general riding. I also have 60mm deep aero wheelset which help it speed along a little quicker. A kilo or two won't make a great deal of difference. Get a bike that above all is comfortable and can do most if not all what you demand from it.