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  1. #1
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    I hate to ask, but...good budget road bike?

    I got talked into riding a century with some friends in September. I'm not worried about the distance but I don't own a road bike.

    I've thought about getting one in the past. I have a 20 year old beater on my trainer in the basement that's on it's last legs even for a trainer bike. And on those days when the trails are closed...a road bike may not be a bad thing.

    But I don't even know where to start looking. Craigslist and Ebay didn't reveal anything inspiring so I'm wondering what my options are.

    I'd love to build up my own but want to keep the price at around a grand so that's probably not feasible.

    Suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Your friends, craigslist ?
    Round and round we go

  3. #3
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    Grrr whats a road bike.... try bikesdirect.com

  4. #4
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    Roadbike?! Roadbike?! Neg rep for you!!!

    J/K

  5. #5
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    Yeah yeah, I know...part of me wants to put slicks on my Yeti ASR-5 and kick their roadie asses on my mountain bike. Maybe I'll put slicks on my singlespeed and really show them how it's done...

    ...or maybe I should just borrow a road bike!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Yeah yeah, I know...part of me wants to put slicks on my Yeti ASR-5 and kick their roadie asses on my mountain bike. Maybe I'll put slicks on my singlespeed and really show them how it's done...

    ...or maybe I should just borrow a road bike!
    In reality, there is nothing wrong with having a second "road worthy" wheel set for your bike. It's been working for me.

  7. #7
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    I wouldn't knock riding a road bike. It's AWESOME for fitness, much better than mountain biking I've found. I gained more biking fitness in a couple months of road cycling than I did in two years of mountain biking. It's also a lot of fun especially if you ride with a good group. There's certainly room for both disciplines in a cyclist's life.

  8. #8
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    Road riding is key to being a well-rounded cyclist and will give you the fitness you need to be faster than those that nay-say it. What is your budget? You will want at a min. a carbon fork to help dampen the road vibe a bit. The Bikes Direct bikes are nice; I have experience with the Vent Noir (good friend had one and I built it for him). That should be right around $800 and be a great starter bike. Your LBS will also have big-name bikes that are comparable but likely will be a bit more $$ for the same spec; road bikes are much more finicky about fit so buying one at a shop and having someone who knows how to get them set up is important.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I wouldn't knock riding a road bike. It's AWESOME for fitness, much better than mountain biking I've found. I gained more biking fitness in a couple months of road cycling than I did in two years of mountain biking. It's also a lot of fun especially if you ride with a good group. There's certainly room for both disciplines in a cyclist's life.
    It's also far more dangerous if you consider that 95% of the drivers out there have no business owning a drivers license.

  10. #10
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    Domane 4.0 Disc - Trek Bicycle
    Decoulped seatpost and disc brakes. If you can work 18% off for cash talking to an owner- not so bad.

  11. #11
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    I find the two totally different yet complimentary and go back and forth between them depending on my mood.

    One option if you are on a tight budget is train on the beater and rent a nice bike for the day of. Probably about $100 bucks or so for something carbon frame with 105 or better components.

    If you want to buy, and I don't know what your budget is but try and look for something in 10 or 11 speed with Shimano 105 or better components (105 is pretty rock solid though) or Sram Rival or better.

    If you do buy, sizing is super critical and one thing that would make it hard to buy sight unseen so you might want to test ride a few from your LBS (although, if you do, you should consider giving them the business).

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    It's also far more dangerous if you consider that 95% of the drivers out there have no business owning a drivers license.
    Oh well. I still do it and know a lot of people that do. I'll take better fitness at a slight risk than sitting on my ass all day when I'm not able to make it out to the trails. Road cycling is fun in it's own right but also increases the fun I have on the dirt exponentially.

    That always seems to be the argument that mountain bikers use against riding the road and honestly, it's pretty lame.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HyperSprite View Post
    If you do buy, sizing is super critical and one thing that would make it hard to buy sight unseen so you might want to test ride a few from your LBS (although, if you do, you should consider giving them the business).
    I've found fit to be much more important on a road bike than a mountain bike.

  14. #14
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    OP,

    For a grand I'd look for a used bike with Shimano 105/ultegra or SRAM Apex/Rival group.
    The bikesdirect suggestion isn't a bad one either. A friend of mine picked up a Vent Noir around the new year for ~$800 (105 group). The frames are supposedly built in the same factory that supplies Trek with their $1500 spec road bikes.


    Unsolicited advice:
    100 miles is a long way. On the day of the event ride what you trained on or things could get real bad late in the day. In my experience if one can ride 30 miles one can gut out 60 miles; however if one can ride 60 miles, 90 can be really difficult. Ignore my 0.02 if you're confident a road century is within your ability.

    Regardless, sounds like fun! I've decided to start riding more to be able to do the Belgian Waffle Ride next year, here in north county San Diego.

  15. #15
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    I agree with Nubster on both counts.

    Yes, if I get hit by an automobile while on my road bike I will lose, badly. However, I think the chances of that happening are small given where I ride and my riding habits. Locale and how one conducts themselves on the road play a big factor in the risk assesment.

    On the other hand, every time I get on my mtb I assess how I feel about pushing it in the first mile or so of a ride. Because I've sustained far more, granted relatively minor, injuries and experienced many more near catastrophies mtbing.

    And yeah, road bike fit has tighter tolerances for most people.

  16. #16
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    What size frame are you looking for? I have a 60cm Trek Madone in California that I have been wanting to get rid of but I am terrible about selling stuff...

  17. #17
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    Don't discount steel. Long standing and we'll earned rep for soaking up road vibration.
    My old road is steel/aluminum (top, down, seat tube is aluminum. Rest of frame & fork is steel).
    Don't "need" 105 components especially since it sounds like a occasional ride.

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  18. #18
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    Nothing on Craigslist? I found a very nice Kona Zing a couple years ago on craigslist with Shimano 105/Ultegra group set and carbon fork. Practically brand new for $700. Awesome bike for training and everyday road riding. I am in Socal however so the used bike market is quite large. I personally wouldn't go less than shimano 105.

    And As for , Hawg C'mon Man!- strap on some lycra and hit the roads you know you want to. I hear you about drivers though. That's why i stick to L.A. River and Griffith park for most of my rides.

  19. #19
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    I'd suggest you consider a cyclocross bike instead of a pure road bike. The frames and wheels are typically tougher, there's more clearance for bigger tires and if you want to use it on relatively tame singletrack just for the hell of it, you can. Cyclocross bikes can handle bumps, jumping curbs and general road hoolaganism a lot better than a skinny tire twitchy road bike. If you put a set of road tires on a cyclocross bike it transforms into a capable road bike. Cyclocross bikes are the most versatile of road style bikes and some even come with all the touring friendly features as well. With the right tires, I have absolutely no problem keeping up with "road" bikes. You should have no problem at all finding a good used cyclocross bike around $1,000 or even a decent new one on the discount internet sites.
    Are you really sure about that?

  20. #20
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    I'd keep looking on CL, until I found something. Of course, knowing what size you need is critical in the search. Several years ago, I decided to get a road bike, and I found a completely decked out one, that was hardly used, for 1/3 the price. Since a roadbike doesn't take much abuse, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a used one, as long as it passes inspection.

  21. #21
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    I owned a Hybrid for about 2 months, I just found it real boring compared to mountain biking. I got lucky and sold it for 100 bucks less than what I paid for it.

  22. #22
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    Riding a hybrid and a proper road bike are quite a bit different.

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Riding a hybrid and a proper toad bike are quite a bit different.
    whats a toad bike?

  24. #24
    meh... whatever
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    the surly pacer is a great bike. good geometry (i.e. not ricky racer), nice ride, good components, room for big tyres, and eyelets for racks and fenders.

    same with the cross check, only with room for even larger tyres.

    i see them on ebay all the time in your price range.

    don't discount good steel bikes. my steamroller was far more comfy than my roubaix expert and is as comfy as my scott cr1-sl.
    "Knowledge is good." ~ Emil Faber

  25. #25
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    I picked up a nice used road bike a couple years back. I had a $400 budget and was looking n craigslist and had a hard time. Then a local guy on MTBR told me about his. I went and checked it out. $500 for 2002 Trek 5200, Carbon with Full Ultegra group. I have been very happy with bike. Pretty much zero maintenance as compared to the mtn bike and is so much smoother and faster. A 100 road ride is about 6 hrs so you will need time to trail and get comfortable on the bike, It can be done any just about any bike so long as the fit is good. Road bike sizing is alot more particular than mtn bikes.

    If you are used to shimano Mtn bike component groups then LX/Deora= Tiagra SLX = 105, XT = Ultegra, XTR = Durace,
    Modern (last 3 years or so) Tiagra is about the min spec I would get. Older than that looks for 105. 105 is a good "work horse" component group. Not refined as the others, but very useable. I don't know much about sram groups.
    Joe
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  26. #26
    meh... whatever
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    btw, what size are you looking for? i have a few NOS closeout bikes i could work you a VERY good deal on.
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  27. #27
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    Re: I hate to ask, but...good budget road bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    whats a toad bike?
    Edited.

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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by monogod View Post
    btw, what size are you looking for? i have a few NOS closeout bikes i could work you a VERY good deal on.
    Probably a 52cm. Could probably fit on a 54cm if I had to but I think I'm pretty close to a 52. Whatcha got?

  29. #29
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    Lots of advice to try to avoid a road bike...don't be scared...get the right tool for the job. I know several folks who did just that and ended up selling their cross bike for a regular road bike...cross bikes are best for cross and it is unlikely you will choose your cross bike over your mountain bike for offroad.

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  30. #30
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    For what it's worth, I've got thousands of miles of experience on a road bike. I raced triathlons for 5 years, including a half ironman, and did several centuries. The only issue with this century coming up is that I no longer own a road bike.

    well...that and the fact that I did the vast majority of my road riding in California, where roads are built for bikes. Here in GA, road bikes are targets.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajdonner View Post

    The bikesdirect ...The frames are supposedly built in the same factory that supplies Trek with their $1500 spec road bikes.
    Treks are made by Giant.
    BD bikes are made by either Fuji (Ideal) or Kinesis, depending on model.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Probably a 52cm. Could probably fit on a 54cm if I had to but I think I'm pretty close to a 52. Whatcha got?
    I am 5' 7" and ride a 17 inch Mtn Bike, but 52 cm road bike with a slightly longer stem. I once rented a 54 cm specialized Allez Race and seemed to fit fine. I bet I am somewhere in between. If you are the same height I am then a 52 or 54 could work, but it is best to get on the bike first as not every 52 frame fits the same way.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", '06 Rocky Mtn Switch 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  33. #33
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    I hate to ask, but...good budget road bike?

    5'6" with a 29" inseam. I fit perfectly on a small Yeti ASR5 with a 70mm stem. I also fit comfortably on a small Niner Air RDO.

    I think 52 is spot on but I'll demo to make sure.

  34. #34
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    5'6" with a 29" inseam..I ride a 52.

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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    For what it's worth, I've got thousands of miles of experience on a road bike. I raced triathlons for 5 years, including a half ironman, and did several centuries. The only issue with this century coming up is that I no longer own a road bike.

    well...that and the fact that I did the vast majority of my road riding in California, where roads are built for bikes. Here in GA, road bikes are targets.
    With all that experience, why are you asking a bunch of mountain bikers what road bike to get? I'd think you should know what you're looking at/for if you have thousands of miles under your belt on a road bike.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    With all that experience, why are you asking a bunch of mountain bikers what road bike to get? I'd think you should know what you're looking at/for if you have thousands of miles under your belt on a road bike.
    Because it's been about 15 year since I've ridden one. My last road bike had a quill stem, 12 speeds, and was all aluminum.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Lots of advice to try to avoid a road bike...don't be scared...get the right tool for the job. I know several folks who did just that and ended up selling their cross bike for a regular road bike...cross bikes are best for cross and it is unlikely you will choose your cross bike over your mountain bike for offroad.

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    Cross bike with road tires = 90% road bike and probably more comfortable for non racing cyclists.

    A Road bike is limited to skinny tires. A cross bike is much more versatile and a VERY CAPABLE road bike and can be a lot of fun on smooth single track.

    If you're a serious road biker, like to ride in pelotons and race, then, by all means get a dedicated road bike. If you want the option of much smoother riding tires and a lot less vibration on the road along with the option to hit light trails, get a cross bike.
    Are you really sure about that?

  38. #38
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    If you're not married to the idea of a carbon frame, a used, 105-equipped CAAD10 would make a good budget road bike.
    Speed solves all problems, except for those things it makes worse.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Lots of advice to try to avoid a road bike...don't be scared...get the right tool for the job.
    +1


    Wide tires and fenders are great for commuting and touring but a true road bike is faster, better handling, and more fun for playing on pavement IMO.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Because it's been about 15 year since I've ridden one. My last road bike had a quill stem, 12 speeds, and was all aluminum.
    Gotcha.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    Cross bike with road tires = 90% road bike and probably more comfortable for non racing cyclists.

    A Road bike is limited to skinny tires. A cross bike is much more versatile and a VERY CAPABLE road bike and can be a lot of fun on smooth single track.

    If you're a serious road biker, like to ride in pelotons and race, then, by all means get a dedicated road bike. If you want the option of much smoother riding tires and a lot less vibration on the road along with the option to hit light trails, get a cross bike.
    Why is everyone so hellbent on getting the OP on a CX bike? He wants to do a century road ride. ROAD RIDE!!! Not a gravel grinder. Not smooth trails. Road. Best thing for a road ride, especially one 100+ miles long is a road bike. Throw some 25c or 28c tires on the thing and it'll be perfectly comfortable as long as the fit is right.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Because it's been about 15 year since I've ridden one. My last road bike had a quill stem, 12 speeds, and was all aluminum.
    Uh, its road biking. Not that much has changed. I mean look how long it took for disc brakes on Cross and some Road bikes to really take hold. Finally got electronic shifting...that took forever. Road tubeless still isn't common. Good luck in your search.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Probably a 52cm. Could probably fit on a 54cm if I had to but I think I'm pretty close to a 52. Whatcha got?
    the only thing i have in that size is a scott speedster with tiagra. tiagra stuff isn't flimsy like it used to be. it's pretty much 105 of a couple years ago.
    "Knowledge is good." ~ Emil Faber

  44. #44
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    My suggestion would be to go with a cheaper bike until you are positive that road riding is part of your overall fitness plan. Nothing worse than laying down a grand, then later deciding, meh.

    There are bikes-o-plenty from the 90's with bullet proof groups like RX100, 105 and 600 (Ultegra), and parts are cheap. They go for $150-200, and I've come across more than a few that were still like new where it counts (bearing races). Whether or not you decide to continue to road ride, you can sell them for what you paid for them, or more.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flamingtaco View Post
    My suggestion would be to go with a cheaper bike until you are positive that road riding is part of your overall fitness plan. Nothing worse than laying down a grand, then later deciding, meh.
    I am of the opposite opinion, I say get a good bike with modern carbon seat stays and fork and decent group. There is a world of difference in feel, speed and comfort from what was available even five years ago.

    Easiest way to lay down cash and decide "meh" on road biking (or MTB for that matter) is to buy a bike that is not inspiring or feels like you are hauling around a boat anchor. Either way you end up with something sitting around you don't like. So it is not how much money you spend, it is getting the most value out of whatever that amount is.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Why is everyone so hellbent on getting the OP on a CX bike? He wants to do a century road ride. ROAD RIDE!!! Not a gravel grinder. Not smooth trails. Road. Best thing for a road ride, especially one 100+ miles long is a road bike. Throw some 25c or 28c tires on the thing and it'll be perfectly comfortable as long as the fit is right.
    I agree. I have a mtn bike for the dirt and road bike for the road. I like them because they are different. I even run old school. 700x23 tires on the road bike and like it for what it is. If I need to ride on the road the road bike it is. When I get to the dirt it is mtn bike. The only time I would consider a cross bike is if I wanted to do actual cyclocross or I had commute that included pavement and smooth gravel roads. Around here commutes can involve pavement and canal paths. I am not comfortable taking the road bike narrow tires on gravel as it will chew up the tires, but a cross bike might work perfect for a mixed commute. I don't mind giving up some road performance to get little dirt performance if have mix route I ride everyday. However short of that specific need I don't see the point.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", '06 Rocky Mtn Switch 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  47. #47
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    I went with a Giant Defy Advanced 3 .....Endurance geometry, Carbon frame, lower Shimano 105 group set. I am upgrading parts as the wear out. Works for me, glad I didn't buy a low end frame.

  48. #48
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    A road bike is the way to go if/when riding on the road. I love mine. I commuted for a couple months on my mtb, and the road bike was a huge improvement.

    Lots of decent aluminium bikes w/ carbon seatposts, seatstays, and forks out there for $700-800. Not sure what you consider 'budget,' though. My first bike fit that description, and I quite liked it. I like my current all-carbon bike better, of course, but the difference in materials isn't huge.

    If you haven't been looking at road bikes, the bigger difference might be in frame geometry. "Endurance" or "plush" or whatever bikes have really taken off in the last few years, it seems. Examples are the Specialized Roubaix or Trek Domane or the Felt Z-series in my signature. A few centimeters more upright on the bike really has been a welcome change from my prior bike, which had more traditional or compact (ie -- flat top tube) geometry.
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
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