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  1. #1
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    Clyde on a Road bike, Help me find one...

    So after a year of riding my mountain bike, we(my wife) find ourselves riding more road and hike/bike trails. I have been traveling more so making it out to the trails has been hard.

    I am thinking about getting a road bike for both of us, I am 5'11" around 280lbs and shrinking every week. I am not really worried about my wife's bike, she is small frame and in a lot better shape than I am in. My plan is to buy them next month when my local shop has there big tent sale. So I want to do all my research now and be prepared to find the right bike for me.

    What do you guys that have road bike suggest for me? My main focus will be long rides for fitness. On average we ride 12-20 miles right now and looking to go further.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    do you have a budget in mind? I could tell you how happy I am with my Madone, but if you aren't looking to spend what I spent, that's not helpful,

  3. #3
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    Sorry about that Joules, my budget for both bikes is around 3k. My wife's will be lower end, she is not looking for anything buy riding with me. My brother has been trying to talk me into riding a Century race in August. So I will want something a little higher end. I was thinking around 1k for my wife's and 2k for mine. These does not include pedals, shoes and other stuff.

  4. #4
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    The first thing is to decide what type of geometry you want. Unbeknownst to me when I bought my road bike, there are different 'styles' of road bikes, kinda like xc vs am vs dh bikes in the mtb world (although the differences aren't as noticeable, obviously). Race geometry will have a flat top tube, and will have more of a drop from the saddle to the bars. An exampe of this is a Specialized Tarmac. "Plush," "endurance," or other names for bikes with more of a sloped top tube, and less or no drop between the saddle and bars, eg, Specialized Roubaix. There are some handling and comfort differences between the different styles. I'd recommend riding a few and finding out what works best for you.

    You also have to decide what frame material you want. I can't give much of an opinion on this, having never owned a full carbon bike, but my next one will be a carbon frame. Carbon is supposed to give a more comfortable ride, killing some of the 'road buzz' that aluminum transmits.

    As far as components, you have to familiarize yourself with the different levels from Shimano and SRAM; just something else to memorize. You also have to become familiar with the differences between standard, compact and triple chain ring setups -- I'd recommend compact (50/34 tooth rings), as most people can't push a standard ring on flat ground anyway, and the extra gearing is nice for climbing hills (the granny combo on a standard setup is not very low, esp. compared to what you have on a mountain bike!).

    In my experience, I've been quite happy with my Jamis Ventura Race. It is closer to race geometry than endurance geometry; my next bike will have a slightly more relaxed geo for sure (Roubaix, Cannondale Synapse, Felt Z-series, Cervelo RS, or something like that). That said, I only paid $1000 for it on a year end closeout, so I can't complain about the price. The 105 components have worked very well. I've put over 4k on the stock components, including wheels, w/o a problem. I've been as heavy as 265 on the bike, and it has held up very nicely.
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
    '13 Felt Z4 for the road

  5. #5
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    Thanks Tystevens!

    The insight on the gearing will be helpful. The components is were I'll need help on later down the road.

    I will be taking some for test rides next month, and will be trying different types. We have some free rentals from when we bought our bikes last year and plan on using them to see if a road bike is something we really want to get into.

    My LBS only carries Specialized, Trek, and Cervelo. There are other bike shops, but this one I trust more than others.

  6. #6
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    I am 6'4'' and 250-260. I have a 2009 Specialized Roubaix and it has a more relaxed geometry, carbon fiber, and 105s. I havent had any issues with it and love it. It was about $1700 or so new.


    Edit: Holy cow have prices changed! I just looked it up to link you and a comparable one now says $2750. Maybe find a used one? There is also the Secatur which is about $1800 MSRP.

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=widetrack;8977240]Sorry about that Joules, my budget for both bikes is around 3k. My wife's will be lower end, she is not looking for anything buy riding with me. My brother has been trying to talk me into riding a Century race in August. So I will want something a little higher end. I was thinking around 1k for my wife's and 2k for mine. These does not include pedals, shoes and other stuff.[/QUO TE]

    I'm of a similar size and riding habits. Have a look at the Salsa Fargo, I put 700c tires on the rims and it's great for roads and hike/bike trails. The triple butted steel rides very well and it holds up well to my size. Steel might be not have the bling factor, but it still is one of the best frame materials and I trust it. The Salsa forum on this site has a lot of discussion about it.

  8. #8
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    Thanks edsterra, but my plan is to ride a century come August and I am wanting a specific bike for road. I also thought about buying another wheel set with road tires on it for my MTN bike, but choose not to go down that road for now.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mds2004 View Post
    I am 6'4'' and 250-260. I have a 2009 Specialized Roubaix and it has a more relaxed geometry, carbon fiber, and 105s. I havent had any issues with it and love it. It was about $1700 or so new.


    Edit: Holy cow have prices changed! I just looked it up to link you and a comparable one now says $2750. Maybe find a used one? There is also the Secatur which is about $1800 MSRP.
    I stopped by the LBS yesterday and looked at the Roubaix, the sales guy recommended it to me as a starter or the Secatur. He did say the Roubaix would have a little bit smoother ride and it would be a good bike to have for a long time. The one he should me was at $2000, it had SRAM Apex components. He did say that if I could swing it the one at $2700 is a much better deal with the 105 on it.

    I guess it's going to come down to the ride when I get there.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tystevens View Post
    The first thing is to decide what type of geometry you want. Unbeknownst to me when I bought my road bike, there are different 'styles' of road bikes, kinda like xc vs am vs dh bikes in the mtb world (although the differences aren't as noticeable, obviously). Race geometry will have a flat top tube, and will have more of a drop from the saddle to the bars. An exampe of this is a Specialized Tarmac. "Plush," "endurance," or other names for bikes with more of a sloped top tube, and less or no drop between the saddle and bars, eg, Specialized Roubaix. There are some handling and comfort differences between the different styles. I'd recommend riding a few and finding out what works best for you.

    You also have to decide what frame material you want. I can't give much of an opinion on this, having never owned a full carbon bike, but my next one will be a carbon frame. Carbon is supposed to give a more comfortable ride, killing some of the 'road buzz' that aluminum transmits.

    As far as components, you have to familiarize yourself with the different levels from Shimano and SRAM; just something else to memorize. You also have to become familiar with the differences between standard, compact and triple chain ring setups -- I'd recommend compact (50/34 tooth rings), as most people can't push a standard ring on flat ground anyway, and the extra gearing is nice for climbing hills (the granny combo on a standard setup is not very low, esp. compared to what you have on a mountain bike!).

    In my experience, I've been quite happy with my Jamis Ventura Race. It is closer to race geometry than endurance geometry; my next bike will have a slightly more relaxed geo for sure (Roubaix, Cannondale Synapse, Felt Z-series, Cervelo RS, or something like that). That said, I only paid $1000 for it on a year end closeout, so I can't complain about the price. The 105 components have worked very well. I've put over 4k on the stock components, including wheels, w/o a problem. I've been as heavy as 265 on the bike, and it has held up very nicely.
    Lots of great advice here!

    My first road bike back was/is a roubaix triple with ultegra Shimano components. It has a more relaxed geometry than a Tarmac. The head tube is a bit longer and the head tube angle is a tad slacker. Thus it isn't as aerodynamic while riding the drops and it's handling isn't quite as crisp. So descending it's giving up a tiny bit. My thought process was that I'm definitely not going to be a racer. However, long road rides are fun. Thus it was the right choice for me...

    Quote Originally Posted by widetrack View Post
    I stopped by the LBS yesterday and looked at the Roubaix, the sales guy recommended it to me as a starter or the Secatur. He did say the Roubaix would have a little bit smoother ride and it would be a good bike to have for a long time. The one he should me was at $2000, it had SRAM Apex components. He did say that if I could swing it the one at $2700 is a much better deal with the 105 on it.

    I guess it's going to come down to the ride when I get there.
    I don't know how old you are... Frame choice is important. Steel is the heaviest. However, it's durable and flexes some which will function well in removing road vibration. Aluminum can not flex without fatiguing and breaking. So manufacturers make them with wider tubes and they are extremely stiff. This is very good for a stiff frame that is efficient. However, it has no vertical compliance. Your body will take a beating with and aluminum frame. If your young you can probably take it. As you get older you'll notice it on longer rides... Carbon, I love mine, They can shape the tubes and play with materials to give vertical compliance while maintaining lateral stiffness. The frame is also light... Very nice!!! Still, it's a tad expensive. Your body will like this choice in the long run. Your wallet... Not so much.

    Second and very important... Get fitted for your bike. I made sure part of the deal for me was two fittings... One for when I started riding and one after I dropped a bunch of weight...

    A couple of other notes:
    Wheels, you're a big guy. The stock wheels that you get with your bike will take a beating for a while. Depending on how much riding you do, the quality of your roads, how aggresive you are and you ability to get light (or bunny hop) when hitting road imperfections will dictate how long your stock wheels will stay true. Mine lasted about a year and ~2500 miles. I still eeked out another 6 months before replacing them.

    Components... I would shoot for 105 or better.

    Lastly, do not shift under heavy load under any circumstances! You're not a 100lb shot nosed kid and high end bikes optimize a bit for weight, sacrificing durability. If you shift under heavy load you'll pretty quickly break teeth and/or damage your hub and chain... Don't ask me how I know! ... Okay I'll tell you. I did this to my new mountain bike when I first started riding it. I mis-shifted the wrong way why stalling on a hill... That shift ultimately only cost me ~ $100 or so dollars. However, a some rides were impacted by a bike not performing right for a while...

  11. #11
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    Thanks dadtorbn!

    I am pretty sure I will be going with a carbon frame, just to help with road noise. I will be riding some different models when I am ready to buy, my LBS does a mini fit before each ride. I don't want to take up their time unless I'm ready to buy.

    I am pretty set on the components at 105, don't think I can go much higher unless my wife finds a cheaper bike or we push her's out a couple of weeks.

    I have not broken any teeth yet, but I did break a chain. I shifted a little late going up a hill and my first power stroke "snap", and that was my second fall with clipless pedals.

    Thanks guys for all the insight and advice. If you have anymore keep it coming, I'm soaking it all up!

  12. #12
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    Im riding a 2011 Jamis Ventura Race, Paid 999 for it. I got it primarily to get my ass out of my computer chair in the winter. Its a ton of fun, Shimano 105, full carbon fork and carbon seat stays & post. A lot more fun than i thought it would be.

  13. #13
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    Rome that is one of the reasons for getting another bike, plus I am looking forward to taking some long rides. Right out my door is nice ride after you get through about 3 miles of traffic it's a nice 50 mile round trip. So I've been told, only been about 20 miles of it on my MTB.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by widetrack View Post
    Thanks dadtorbn!

    I am pretty sure I will be going with a carbon frame, just to help with road noise. I will be riding some different models when I am ready to buy, my LBS does a mini fit before each ride. I don't want to take up their time unless I'm ready to buy.

    I am pretty set on the components at 105, don't think I can go much higher unless my wife finds a cheaper bike or we push her's out a couple of weeks.

    I have not broken any teeth yet, but I did break a chain. I shifted a little late going up a hill and my first power stroke "snap", and that was my second fall with clipless pedals.

    Thanks guys for all the insight and advice. If you have anymore keep it coming, I'm soaking it all up!
    Sounds like you're on the right track. I'd go with 105 components. Most on RBR seem to feel that 105, which I understand is the functional equivalent of the top of the line from just a few years back is perfect for the rec rider. I've never ridden a higher-spec bike, but I can tell you that my 105 stuff works just great, and has been very durable.

    That carbon Roubaix w/ Apex is probably on top of my list. I've never tried Apex, but I've read that it is on par w/ 105, and I could use a little lower gears to bail me out when trying to climb some of the incredible, but long and steep, canyons we have here in Utah. I plan to give it a good test ride when I'm ready to buy again. If I don't like it, I'll certainly stick w/ 105 on my next bike -- I see little need to spend more for components.

    The slightly more relaxed geo is attractive as well. I bought my road bike on an impulse -- I had taken up commuting on my full-sus mtb, and after a few weeks, decided I wanted to set up a slick tire/wheel setup for riding to and from work. The LBS mentioned they had a left-over road bike in about my size that would be a lot more fun to ride on the road than my AM bike, I rode it around the block, and handed over my card. I have ridden my Ventura on a couple of centuries and such, and it has been just fine, but I think I would be happier on a bike like the Roubaix. The Felt Z-series and Cannondale Synapse are also on my radar, and both have a carbon-frame bike w/ 105 or Apex components for around $2k.

    Last thought -- I think you're on the right track looking for a true road bike instead of a hybrid. The efficiency of a good road machine is surprising (which is what sold me on a ride around the block). If you're gonna give road riding a shot -- and you should -- you'll have more fun on a bike designed to do the job. They work great for us big guys as well as the toothpicks out there!
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
    '13 Felt Z4 for the road

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    I have read a little about the Apex components, but what I have was good.

    I wish I had more MFGs to choose from, but either the shop is too far or they lost me business when I was shopping for my mountain bike. So I think between the two brands that will be in my budget Trek/Specialized I should find one that works. I also think the shop will work with me to get the components I want.

    I almost want to start shopping now!

    Thanks again guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by widetrack View Post
    I wish I had more MFGs to choose from, but either the shop is too far or they lost me business when I was shopping for my mountain bike. So I think between the two brands that will be in my budget Trek/Specialized I should find one that works. I also think the shop will work with me to get the components I want.
    I'm not sure what the general consensus is on them, but something in the Trek FX series is probably worth a test ride for you. I'm 5'11" 245lbs and picked up a FX 7.5 last week and have been loving it so far. Very light and very sturdy. I can mob it hard from a stop and there's no noticeable flex anywhere. I checked them out after riding with my buddy who is 6'3" 320lbs and has been happy with his FX for over a year now.

  17. #17
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    Thanks jkorbes, but for now I am looking for a road specific bike. I do plan on doing some rides on it and would like to be able to ride for at least 100 miles.

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    Have you considered a Salsa Vaya? Just an idea...

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    Couple of things if you go down the Trek route..

    Trek 2.1 series - ~$1350

    It's has the H3 geometry.. meaning it's made for more of a comfort position in riding. H2 more aggressive, etc.. The Madone series are H2's or H1's. Carbon is much better on chip seal than aluminum.. so consider where you plan to ride.

    Also, there's more $ involved with the Helmet, pedals, shoes, computer, cages, water bottles, shorts, gloves, etc.. Keep that in mind.

  20. #20
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    Thanks Jfdawson, I pretty much set on a relaxed geometry. I just need to ride some different models to get a feel for them.

    On the other items, I plan on using my SPD pedals and MTN shoes for a little bit. All the rest of the stuff I am not really concerned with in my budget.

  21. #21
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    So after a month or so of Test riding all the different road bikes available to me in Austin. I found the Specialized Roubaix Elite Rival to be the best fit overall.

    Thanks for all the insight and info!

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