1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Giant Roam - My Next Bike?

    So, today I decided to try and be sneaky to test ride a bike that had similar geometry to one of the bikes at I was looking at Bikes Direct (the Gravity 1.0 - 3.0 series if you must know, and no, this is not a shill).

    I had to drive an hour to get to this store - I live in Omaha, and this store is in Lincoln. The bike store in town that I called didn't have this model in stock, and the other two stores that carried Giants that I had recently visited had cobb webs and dust on their bikes, which was kind of a turn off.

    The first thing I noticed about this store was that their prices are $50 cheaper than what the Omaha stores were selling their bikes for. Then I took the Roam for a test ride. It was awesome!

    I have been trying to figure out what kind of bike to buy for weeks. I thought about Bikes Direct. At one point, I was going to get a cyclo cross, and then I was considering a cheap Motobecane mountain bike. I was also checking out bike shops around town to see if I could get a cheap leftover 2010 model at a reduced price.

    Then I thought about some of their other models, then ran into a Giant bike online which had eerily simlar geometry to what I had seen on Bikes Direct, so I Googled something like "Giant bikes head angle 71". That's when I ran into the Roam.

    When I took it for a test ride, I thought "wow", this is awesome" - it fit pretty well, was fast, felt much more comfortable than a cyclo cross, and seemed a lot less flimsey than a hybrid. Since I do a lot of street riding, the skinner tires seemed to be ideal, yet were rugged enough to take off road. I also liked the 48/38/28 crankset, and I liked the idea of a front suspension, which is hard to find on a hybrid that I like.

    So, I "think" I'm going to buy one this Friday. I'm still very intrigued by Bikes Direct - almost "curious", but the potential drawbacks seem to outweigh the benefits at the moment. It seems like "knowing" that a bike will fit you well is more important than the component group on that bike, even if you have to pay a few dollars more for that bike.

    I'm a little torn between the Roam 2 and the Roam 1 - the price difference is only $100, but I'm really pushing it with my budget - I'll end up paying at least $483 after tax for the cheaper model, so I'd be looking at about $579 for the more expensive model, but I suppose I could squeeze it in and just call it a good investment.

    And I HATE the Sram shifters but I suppose I could just try and get used to them for now and then shell out some extra cash in a month or two for a Shimano Derailur and Rapid Fire Shifters.

    Anyway, just thought I'd let everyone know about the Roam series - seems like a very versitle bike for the money, and about half the price of a low end cyclocross. Feel free to share your thoughts.

    Here are the links to the Roam 1 and Roam 2:

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/....1/7507/44080/

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/....2/7507/44081/
    Last edited by getagrip; 01-25-2011 at 08:49 PM.

  2. #2
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    Well, since you have posted this on a mountain bike forum I feel obliged to say that these bikes are not mountain bikes. What I mean by this is that while you can take them on some dirt roads or probably even a bit of trail riding, they are not designed to hold up for mountain bike riding. If you're looking for a fun around town bike that you can hop off of a couple curbs with or a cyclocross bike with upright seating position then those Roams look like they would be perfect, but a trail worthy bike they are not. BTW, the Roam 1 looks like a better deal to me, brakes are probably worth it.

    If you want a good bike to trail ride, then you need to look at a proper mountain bike. Might I suggest a 29'er mountain bike, you could always upgrade in the future to two sets of wheels that you can switch between. One with mountain tires and one with narrow slick tires for roads. Not cheap, but it's much easier to get used to riding a mountain bike on pavement than it is to get used to riding a pavement bike on trails.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  3. #3
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    That's exactly why it appealed to me - I do most of my riding on paved trails and dirt roads, so a mountain bike doesn't quite make sense for me. I had been doing all of my riding on a mountain bike because I don't really like the feel of road bikes - only problem was that I wasn't taking it off road! I was getting ready to purchase a cyclo cross after someone in this forum recommended that style of bike for me based on the kind of riding I do, but I didn't like the way the geometry felt, so I was thinking I would just go with another mountain bike, but that's when I discovered the Roam and I was like "wow". You would be amazed at how many threads I read where people are doing most of their mountain bike riding on roads!

  4. #4
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    The Roam definitely sounds like a good fit for the type of riding you're doing. I'm actually looking for a similar bike to ride around with family, as my trail bike is really unfit for flat trails and pavement riding.

    The Roam 1 is worth the extra money as you do get good Avid disc brakes as well as a better drivetrain and a lockout for the fork.

  5. #5
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    Just purchased the Roam 2. They didn't have the Roam 1 in stock in my size, but I'm kind of relieved because of the budget factor - ended up paying $513 after tax with an odometer added on. Will post pictures later!

  6. #6
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    Well, here are some photos. So far, I really like the bike. Its really fast and kind of nimble. It feels really solid as well. Geometry is awesome - I like the feel of it much better than a road bike, and its much more aggresive than a hybrid.

    Only thing that stands out that I'd really like to change is the front derailer. I've gotten used to the SRAM shifters, but does anyone know if they make smaller ones? Seems like there is not much room between my hands and the shifters.

    I'd definitely recommend this bike to anyone who is looking to ride on the road and trails that aren't too rugged.

  7. #7
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    Ok, so not sure how to upload photos, so I will link to the photos below:

    http://gallery.mtbr.com/uploads/mtbr...29-11_1644.jpg

    http://gallery.mtbr.com/uploads/mtbr...29-11_1645.jpg

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip
    Only thing that stands out that I'd really like to change is the front derailer. I've gotten used to the SRAM shifters, but does anyone know if they make smaller ones? Seems like there is not much room between my hands and the shifters.
    Here's what I would do, you can probably move your brake levers and shifters in toward the stem a bit. Ideally, you want to be able to use your brakes by using one or two fingers right on the end of the brake lever. There's usually a little hook at the end of the lever and that's where you want to be gripping your brake lever when you pull. For me it usually means that my brake levers are about an inch away from my grips. Then I follow it up by moving the shifters in from there so that my hands don't hit the shift levers accidentally. Also, your brake levers look like they're set at too high of an angle. I would probably set them closer to a 45 degree angle downward. With brake lever angle, you're looking to maintain a nice straight line from your arms to your fingers reaching out to the brake lever so that you don't have to bend your wrists in order to pull the brake levers.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  9. #9
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    any update on the roam 2?

    I've been eyeing the roam 2 for about a month now. I want to pull the trigger and buy it (it would be my only bike) but I guess I'm not entirely sold on whether or not its the right bike for my needs. I ride in NYC on a bike path and the streets. I'd like to take it on some trails but such things aren't easily acessible in this city. I'm not saying it won't see any off road, it's just not going to be an every day or even every month event. So....bottom line, how do you like its ride on pavement? Do you feel the lack of a lock out makes its street performance suffer? How is the speed and weight?

  10. #10
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    Well...I sold it! LOL But that might have been partly because it was a little too big for me - I had the 19", and I'm 5'7.5" tall. I never did take it off road, but it did do well on brief stretches of crushed rock. When the ground was wet after the winter snow, and I was trying to go over grass, it didn't do so well because the tires were too skinny.

    I would say, however, that overall, it was a very good road bike, and it definately was fast. The front forks did bob up and down a little when going up hill, and also squeaked after 100 miles or so when I went over bumps, but I was able to fix that since the bike store mechanics were not smart enough to figure out how to do that.

    If you decide to get it, I would recommend going with the more expensive model because you get Avid BB5 disc brakes and a better drive train. Also, if you want to go offroad with it, you can put on fatter tires, but because of frame limitations, you can only go so big before the tire won't fit.

    It did feel a bit heavy, but it was definately a good bike - I might have kept mine if I had the smaller frame, but oh well. Its probably not the best bike for heavy off road use, but it was designed to handle light singletrack.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the reply. I'm about your height and I've been leaning towards the small frame. I love the way the b. ike looks....especially the beefy frame. I'm also looking at the giant seek and specialized sirrus (which seems more cruiser-like than the others). Honestly, what probably makes the most sense for me might be a straight road bike given my intended usage.

    What did you replace the roam with?
    Last edited by nikiddawg; 07-26-2011 at 09:13 PM.

  12. #12
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    Yeah, if you aren't going to take it on the trails, you might as well get a road bike. In my case, I felt better on the Roam on the road because of the suspension fork, which make me feel much more confident going up curbs and other obstacles because I wasn't afraid to break anything. Another option to consider would be a Cyclocross bike, such as this one:

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cross_cx3.htm

  13. #13
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    I went to my lbs and ordered the roam 1, size small. Really looking forward to getting it in a few days. I just hope I got the right size as I'm in between the small and medium, like you.

  14. #14
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    I think you will be ok, but just make sure to test ride it before you buy it - I don't know what the bike store's policies you ordered from are, but I would hope that they would let you change your mind if the size wasn't right. When I purchased my Roam, I was going through a phase where I thought that I couldn't possibly like a 17" frame, because I typically like 18" frames better, but that proved to be false after I got used to my 17" Windsor. I still remember that as I was handing the Roam over to the woman who bought it from me, I was thinking, "do I really want to do this?". After re-reading this thread, I was thinking that perhaps I should order another Giant Roam next year, one size smaller, and to purchase the Roam 1 instead of the Roam 2. So, I guess I'm saying that I think you will like it and not have any regrets!

  15. #15
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    My LBS told me today the 2012 Roams are just around the corner (like next week).

    For 2012, other than some nice color changes and the introduction of a new higher end model with hydraulic brakes and hydraulic lockout (Roam 0), they've changed around some of the components. Specifcially, with the Roam 1, they got rid of the SRAM X5 rear derailleur and Shimano Altus front derailleur combo and now went with all Shimano Acera components. All other components on the 2011 and 2012 Roam 1 look like they're the same. Which is a better combo - all Acera or the Altus/SRAM X5 combo? I know that the Acera is on the low end and Altus is even below that, but is the SRAM X5 better than the Acera? Did Giant downgrade components on their Roam 1 for '12? Note:They did put the SRAM X5 on the NEW Roam 0 and list it as an "upgrade" from the Roam 1 which is what got me thinking in the first place.

    The Roam 2 now has a lockout (new for 2012) and continues with the SRAM X4 components. I'd be happy with the Roam 2 for '12 now that it has the lockout fork (which is the main reason I'm going with the Roam 1) but Giant is not sure on pricing/availability yet on either the Roam 2 or the Roam 0. Because of that, I'm purchasing the Roam 1 as planned (I don't need the disc brakes but it comes with it so....).

    The LBS isn't yet discounting the 2011 Roam 1 any more than the 2012 model (they're both the same price). The question is: Should I buy the 2011 model OR the 2012 model? I like the color of the 2012 model (black) over that of the 2011 (white), but I'm not buying the bike based on color. Which has the better components, the 2011 or the 2012?
    Last edited by nikiddawg; 08-01-2011 at 09:34 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikiddawg View Post
    My LBS told me today the 2012 Roams are just around the corner (like next week).

    For 2012, other than some nice color changes and the introduction of a new higher end model with hydraulic brakes and hydraulic lockout (Roam 0), they've changed around some of the components. Specifcially, with the Roam 1, they got rid of the SRAM X5 rear derailleur and Shimano Altus front derailleur combo and now went with all Shimano Acera components. All other components on the 2011 and 2012 Roam 1 look like they're the same. Which is a better combo - all Acera or the Altus/SRAM X5 combo? I know that the Acera is on the low end and Altus is even below that, but is the SRAM X5 better than the Acera? Did Giant downgrade components on their Roam 1 for '12? Note:They did put the SRAM X5 on the NEW Roam 0 and list it as an "upgrade" from the Roam 1 which is what got me thinking in the first place.

    The Roam 2 now has a lockout (new for 2012) and continues with the SRAM X4 components. I'd be happy with the Roam 2 for '12 now that it has the lockout fork (which is the main reason I'm going with the Roam 1) but Giant is not sure on pricing/availability yet on either the Roam 2 or the Roam 0. Because of that, I'm purchasing the Roam 1 as planned (I don't need the disc brakes but it comes with it so....).

    The LBS isn't yet discounting the 2011 Roam 1 any more than the 2012 model (they're both the same price). The question is: Should I buy the 2011 model OR the 2012 model? I like the color of the 2012 model (black) over that of the 2011 (white), but I'm not buying the bike based on color. Which has the better components, the 2011 or the 2012?
    After all the research that you've clearly done. Shouldn't you know?

  17. #17
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    Actually, if I knew, then I wouldn't have posted the question. Remember....I posted this question in the "Beginner's Corner" for a reason.

    To make the question even more to the point (so you don't have to read my lengthy explanation above):

    Is the combination of a SRAM X5 derailleur with a Shiman Altus a better combination OR is the all Shimano Acera components a better combination? Is the difference between the two setups insignificant enough for a beginner not to even notice?
    Last edited by nikiddawg; 08-02-2011 at 12:13 PM.

  18. #18
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    I'd go with the one that feels best and performs best when you do a test ride. Shimano Acera isn't the best, but you could do worse. Also, Shimano and Sram shifters are a little different because you are using your thumbs with one and not the other uses trigger shifting. I personally prefer Shimano trigger shifting, but if Sram performs better on a test ride, then I'd go with Sram.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikiddawg View Post
    Is the combination of a SRAM X5 derailleur with a Shiman Altus a better combination OR is the all Shimano Acera components a better combination? Is the difference between the two setups insignificant enough for a beginner not to even notice?
    There is little difference between the two, you won't notice much of a difference.
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  20. #20
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    Thanks G and Z. I prefer the trigger shift/thumb combo of the Shimano. Also - just spoke with the nice folks over at Giant in Boston (they have the data on the new Roams). Turns out that the Roam 1 for '12 has 9 gears on the Acera vs. 8 on the '11 SRAM. Another difference.

    Just got off the phone with my LBS. Turns out he'd already placed the order for the '12 model which is fine by me.

    Now onto bigger decisions. This one has stumped me all day. Should I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or ham sandwich for lunch. Anybody have any suggestions/opinions on that one?

  21. #21
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    Definitely peanut butter, jelly, and ham. Not on rye bread, though.
    2012 Giant Roam 0
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  22. #22
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    See now I'm all gummed up again with making a decision. Should I get Virginia ham or maple smoked or crunchy or smooth peanut butter? Doh!

  23. #23
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    Definitely pepper ham.
    2012 Giant Roam 0
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  24. #24
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    From what I have read about the Roam 1 (no experience with 2) it is a great bike for light trail and commuting. Reports and friends tell me that the 1 is a great deal. If this is the terrain you are looking to conquer, I highly recommend these bikes; they are great on the budget and offer a lot.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by c21johnson View Post
    From what I have read about the Roam 1 (no experience with 2) it is a great bike for light trail and commuting. Reports and friends tell me that the 1 is a great deal. If this is the terrain you are looking to conquer, I highly recommend these bikes; they are great on the budget and offer a lot.
    Exellent. It should be here any day now. I understand it will look almost identical to Giant's home country version (Taiwan)...except with black crank and steel cage pedals included.

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