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.
mtn. biking 101
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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    Road Cycling Help

    I am looking to add a road bike to the collection however I am confused about race bikes vs the touring models.

    I am mostly looking at the Trek Madone 2.1 and the Specialized Allez Comp. I am leaning towards the Trek however my concern is will the "race" bike be practical for longer spirited rides?

    All of my riding will be mostly back road routes (maybe 30-50 miles)

    I don't plan on racing however expect to do some competitive group rides.

    Sorry I know this is a MTB site however it will be nice to be able to leave the house and ride w/o driving 30 minutes to the trail head.

    THANKS

  2. #2
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    I've been trying to do the same thing, just go and try bikes...i have tried a couple bikes, think i prefer touring style, u sit more upright less drop from the bars and a lil slaker, race style has bigger drop to the handlebars for aerodynamics i guess and more responsive front end... i tried the allez, sector(endurance type), and a tricross( cyclocross), I'm leaning more towards the CX style it was really comfortable and versatility of tires.. ride them all

  3. #3
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    There are very few touring bikes on the market right now. It's really more about whether you want to use panniers and maybe fenders. A criterium can run over 50 miles on occasion - if you set up a race bike to fit you well and use reasonable tire pressure, it should be plenty comfortable. Just to leave things confused, if you stick skinny tires on a touring bike and can tap out a halfway decent power output, you won't have any extra trouble staying with a group.

    Some racing bikes are overspecialized enough not to take 28 mm tires. 23 and 25 are pretty common sizes for the nicer racing/training tires, although there are some nice fatter tires on the market.

    If you'll ride in the rain, disc brakes and fenders are both nice.

    So, give a little thought to what features you might want beyond skinny tires, open wheels, and sidepull brakes. And ride a bunch of bikes, then buy your favorite.

    Are your back roads paved? Not that you couldn't ride a dirt road with skinny slicks, but it takes a lot of attention. 'Cross or touring tires are more forgiving.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    If you're not carrying gear, commuting, etc. a race oriented bike is more fun IMO and can be very comfortable for long hours in the saddle. The shorter wheelbase and steeper angles make for a much more spirited ride compared to sport and touring models.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 16k-rpm View Post
    I am looking to add a road bike to the collection however I am confused about race bikes vs the touring models.

    I am mostly looking at the Trek Madone 2.1 and the Specialized Allez Comp. I am leaning towards the Trek however my concern is will the "race" bike be practical for longer spirited rides?

    All of my riding will be mostly back road routes (maybe 30-50 miles)

    I don't plan on racing however expect to do some competitive group rides.

    Sorry I know this is a MTB site however it will be nice to be able to leave the house and ride w/o driving 30 minutes to the trail head.

    THANKS
    You may want to ask the same question at forums.roadbikereview.com. I am sure you will get more responses there.

  6. #6
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    If you're riding on less than perfect road surfaces, I'd really consider a bike that can take bigger tires than your typically racing road bike can. A good light cross bike is a great option as it can take pretty much any tire you want and can easily keep up with skinny tire bikes if that's what you want it to do. Personally, I find the fit and wheelbase of hardcore racing bikes undesirable and much prefer the ride of a bigger, higher volume tire.
    Are you really sure about that?

  7. #7
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    I had an Allez. I could have easily ridden that bike 100+ miles in comfort. Great bike. I'm now on a Cannondale Synapse. It's slightly more upright but still plenty fast and fun. It's more comfortable too so it'll be good for the century rides I have coming up soon. I ride on 25c tires and they do great absorbing the rough paved roads we have around here.

  8. #8
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    I can weigh in as well, I ride a race oriented road bike and put about 2500 miles a year on it.

    I started on a Giant Defy, nice alum bike but it had Shimano tiagra. My first upgrade was to 105 on the derailleurs. Then I traded the bike back in and went with a Giant TCR 1 (cabon fiber and Shimano Ultegra {XT version of road} ). Road that bike up until beginning of this year when I purchased a Giant Propel Advanced frame and swapped my parts over.

    If you even remotely think you will like and be interested in road riding then get the nicest bike you can afford up front, look into carbon if you can afford it as well. I will say Shimano 105 would be the lowest I would suggest or the equivalent SRAM version.

    Unless you want a comfy ride and want to add bags and ride into the city and shop I would skip the touring bikes, but that is just me.
    2013 Giant Anthem Advance 27.5-1

    2014 Giant Propel Advance w/ Ultegra

  9. #9
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    FWIW, my current 'A' road bike is my cyclocross bike, a Kona Jake. I actually just put it back in road trim, with a little more drop to the bars, 23 mm slicks, and road pedals. It fits me better than my previous road bike did, so when I pared down for my last move, it's the one I kept. I do also set it up for dirt sometimes - I bought it to race. I find I appreciate the versatility, even if cyclocross doesn't really click with me as a racing discipline. And I still make it to a race or two every season.

    I also have a Trek Portland, which has some incredibly long chainstays. I commuted on it for a while. Stripped, it's a pretty fun ride. And I appreciate the disc brakes and fenders when the weather sucks. It's not as much fun as the Jake, though.

    I am curious to try a racing bike again, knowing what I do now about how to size them. My LeMond was medium-racy and a nice bike, but too big, and I could never quite dial it in.

    I do find that the longer I ride road bikes, the less I care about the components. I just want them to do their jobs and not whine. That can be a surprisingly high bar, but I'm increasingly a fan of Shimano's entry-level groups. The Tiagra bits on my Kona have done their jobs and not whined about it for years. The other-brand stuff that came on that bike hasn't survived. It irritates me that if one buys a bike with Tiagra shifters, it's likely to have someone else's crappy hubs, crank, brakes, etc.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    Today's Tiagra is 105 stuff from a few years ago. I'm a SRAM fan road and mountain, especially the Double Tap system. Some don't like it, I love it. But there's certainly nothing wrong with Shimano of course.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
    Friggin' coward. Give me a red chiclet instead of debating like a man. You don't deserve your green blocks.

  11. #11
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    You need to try each one out to see how they feel. Since you are going for performance, and if you like the way the bikes ride, I'd go with the Allez. If you ever want to slow down the steering and make it a little more stable, I think you can swap out the fork. But you can't go the other way.

    To echo what others have said, find out if you can put 28mm on either of the bikes as it will give you some options to go with a slightly larger tire. A race geometry with 28's may give you a little more comfort without losing the race geometry. Also, if the roads are a little too rough you can always stuff 28mm touring/mini-CX tires on it.

    John
    1995 Trek 970 - 80mm Atom Race
    1992 Serotta T-Max - 70mm Z3 Light
    1993 GT All Terra - 46mm Mag 21

  12. #12
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    I own the Allez Smartweld with Rival build and it's a great bike for long rides if it's set up well for you. I've got the fit on mine pretty dialed and regularly do 50+ mile rides on it and have done 3 centuries on it and have been comfortable on them. Smaller profile 28c tires are possible on the Allez, but the clearance between the top of the tire and the bottom of the brake arch is tight.

    I agree with the above statement...go with the nicest spec you can afford. I've owned a couple of road bikes...one with bottom of the barrel Shimano parts and the one with Rival and there is a noticeable performance difference. Shimano 105 performs much better than say Claris or Sora, as well.

  13. #13
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    I have a Madone 5.2 sl and I do long (60-90 mile) rides with it. I also commute with it. No issues.

  14. #14
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    Road Cycling Help

    I love my Giant TCR Advanced SL--the most comfortable and fun road bike I've ever ridden. Whatever you get, a pro bike fit is much more important than the brand and model. Read the previous sentence twice.

    I race Cat 3 road and also have a heavy steel touring bike. I put in 50 mile commutes on it but I guarantee it's not nearly as enjoyable as my nice road bike with road tubeless.

    Ah road tubeless! All the weekend warriors should try it because it eliminates pinch flats and increases riding comfort.

  15. #15
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    Finally made a decision after test riding a bunch of bikes. Decided to go with the giant tcr slr2.

    Anyway I am now wondering when is the best time to ride on the road to avoid traffic (weekend vs weekday). I figure weekends during morning or evening and weekdays during late morning and evening?

  16. #16
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    Early morning rides avoid the most traffic every day. Esp Saturday.

  17. #17
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    Road Cycling Help

    Great job on the road bike.

    I was in the same boat a while ago. I ended up with a Felt carbon (can't remember the model) road bike, but it was too "racey" for my liking.

    After a few months I ended up with a Giant Rapid 1. Basically a flat bar road bike with Tiagra components. Very comfortable and an easy transition from a mtb.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  18. #18
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    Road Cycling Help

    I was very impressed with the high end Domane; but ended up with a Cannondale CAAD10 4 Rival. And am VERY happy with it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  19. #19
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    Sweet Bike!!

  20. #20
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    I think I found my dream road bike specialized venge elite.

    Also liked the Cannondale Supersix for the money its so light.
    Last edited by Trail_Blazer; 07-03-2014 at 04:51 PM.

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