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Help me find a road bike!

By garyinoz - Posted on 23 June 2009

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

I'm in the market for a road bike as an alternative for my constantly breaking stumpy. I only want to spend 2k as I intend to stick to the trails most of the time.

I would like a 105 groupset (hopefully) and I have been looking at all the usual suspects, Trek, Scott, Giant, Cannondale etc but it seems almost impossible to get a 105 groupset on these bikes under 2k. Should I look at Cell/Felt or any others? I've yet to ride any as I realise 'fit' is very important but I would like a bit more knowledge first. Where can I find some decent reviews on budget roadies????

Any opinons on any of these? I'd rather go new than second hand too.



Hey Gary,

There are plenty of good 2nd hand deals out there (my first roadie was 2nd hand and I still have it as my work commuter - I have done well over 15000kms on it).

105/Ultegra, Rival/Force (SRAM) or Centaur/Chorus would all be great choices of groupsets and definitely achievable on a 2nd hand bike. I managed to get Dura Ace on my first bike for $1500...

Are you wanting a commuter or are you going to spend a few hours in the saddle training?


Definately looking at spending some time in the saddle, don't fancy the commute with a laptop on my back so weekend scenic riding seems to be the way to go and the occasional morning ride before work.

What would be the key things to look for in a 2nd hand bike?


Gets brilliant reviews and you can have it landed in Oz for $1,950, but may get hit for another $200 in duties. I have been buying from Wiggle for about 5 years when living in both the UK an Sydney.

Great value for money on a well regarded frame. I was looking at the Cell bikes as well, but there is just no reliable reviews to judge the ride quality etc by, so unless you know road bikes, it is hard to make the leap.

Make sure you hit the reviews tab and then scroll down for the professional reviews.

Good reviews and good value but how could I be sure of the fit without trying it? Compare all it's geometry to something I can ride? But then there is still the actual feel due to the frame? At this price how much of a concern should it be especially seeing as I'd probably ride it 5/6 times a month or so depending on weather.

I can be tempted!!

Are you after carbon, carbon/alloy or aluminum?

You may be able to score deal on a giant defy comp atm.

...answered your question..."Compare all it's geometry to something I can ride". The fit is an issue, but if you go into a bike shop, they have a gadget you stand next to and pull a level stick into your groin and another into your throat at the top of your rib cage and it gives you an idea of sizing. Still clearly a risk and would be better to be able to try one, but that is your call... other alternatives are pay more for a known brand locally you can try out or try go with a Cell bike.

Without knowing all your measurements (see or or get a pro bike fit done) you are going to be guessing as to what frame you should be looking at and even then you aren't guaranteed a good fit without getting on the bike and getting a feel for it. Remember, each brand varies in sizing/geometry.
On paper, you can get really technical with your bike fit, and still not be happy with the overall feel.

Frame size and geometry is only part of your overall bike fit... you should remember to incorporate stem length, handlebar height/width, crank length etc. If you happened to get a frame that was slightly too small/large, you could compensate by swapping component sizes... not ideal, but it does provide a solution.

I would recommend trying out a few bikes first just so you get a better idea in relation to the bike fit calculator readings before you make your purchase.
Comparing overall height (with another rider) doesn't mean you will be suited to their bike's setup.

Id be happy with carbon forks and alluminum frame, seems to be the go at this price. Fit is looking like a bit of a black art but given how much my body complains on the mtb I'd better pay some attention to it. I'll aim to have a look at a couple this weekend and see how there geometry compares to the focus. I bought the Dura ace version called the kaze and I'm very impressed with the whole package. Ultegra with carbon frame for under 2k is a steal.

I spent a month trying to find a new road bike with this sort of kit for that kind of price, and ended up rebuilding my oldie. (
If only I'd seen this deal I would have reconsidered!

The shogun on offer has cheap wheels, and that's where they seem to be saving some $$$. The Ultegra groupset has better longevity than 105, (they all shift pretty much the same when they are new). The wheels can be upgraded down the track, there's always a bargain on CRC. Overall, it is amazing value (imho)!

On fit this is the most important factor in choosing a bike. The top tube length is the most important dimension, and everything else revolves around that.
As an example, I've got a long back in relation to my height (1.8m), and need a 58-59cm top tube on my bikes. This always puts me on a large frame.
Next is the seat position, relative to the crank (seat tube angle), and is related to your femur. After that you look at stem length to fine tune the reach, and then seat tube length is really a resultant of everything else. The funny thing, is seat tube length (or more importantly 'effective' seat tube length) is how bikes frames are classified for size!

It is REALLY worth spending $150-300 on a bike fit session, then buying a bike on a deal like the one above. I've had bike fits done several times in the last 20 years, as my body and riding style has changed, and am really metiuculous in setting up to suit.

btw, I've tried the bike fit calculator at Comptitive Cyclist as mentioned above by Junkie. It's comprehensive and will give you a really good idea where to start in choosing a frame size.


Some good info guys, thanks all. I'll try and have a test ride at the weekend and get a feel for sizes and use the sizing chart too to see how they compare.

The Shogun is very good value (It's hard not to make an impluse buy) my only question about carbon frames is something that was raised when looking at bike racks, from what I was told not all bike racks are too kind to carbon frames? The rack in question is the Thule Euroway 945,



I've got that Thule Eurorack, and IMHO it works fine with my carbon frame MTB.

There is no real "lateral" load as the main weight of the bike sits on the wheels, not on a contact point with the frame. The only thing touching the frame is a "grabber" to stabilise the side way movement of the bike, and you can just hand tighten it.

Where did you hear that it wouldn't be good with carbon? I guess if you over-tighten it it could "squash" a thin scummer carbon frame problem with the burly frame on the Enduro. Plus you could put the "grabber" on the seatpost, too.

Rgds, Hans

May all your lines be the right ones...


I just remember the sales guy making some comment about carbon frames but I'm sure he said it was ok (assuming you can attach the grabber to some other alloy part), just wanted to check as I'm sure there are loads of people using bike racks with carbon bikes.

Don't worry about the rack, once you get a roadie I think the tradition is to ride to the meeting place Smiling

Cheers Brian, I may be some time in getting my road legs.

On a Giant TCR 2 and a Specialized Roubaix Elite 2008 both pretty much the same price except the giant comes with pedals.

I have to say I found it difficult to find much between them, I would say the riding position was perhaps slightly more relaxed on the specialized which is good for my back. I only had a short ride on each although I took the specialized out twice as the first time the seat was too low and second time around it seemed a lot quicker.

The Giant is a full 105 groupset where as the specialized is full carbon and mostly 105 with the exception of the brakes and crank.

Anybody have an opinion on either of these bikes, both are discounted between 800-1k which is nice. I'm hoping to try a few more yet.

Is it the TCR Advanced or TCR Alliance? The Advanced has a much better wheelset and a few other goodies, plus its full carbon.

The Specialized is well equiped but I haven't riden one.

So not quite fully carbon.

The Specialized is probably the better of the 2 then.

The Specialized frame has exeptional vertical compliance (for comfort), and is a full carbon frame. It is still laterally stiff (for performance), but will be far more comfortable on long rides, particularly on the variable surfaces of Sydney roads and the surrounds than the Giant.
What you will find if you research into the style of the frame, is the Roubaix has a higher (longer) headtube, giving a more relaxed riding position. The really interesting thing, is they recognise this will move your centre of gravity (CoG) slightly rearward. On a 'normal' frame, this rearward movement of the CoG can introduce a bit of wandering or vagueness in the steering. To compensate, they've lengthened the rear chainstays by about 1 or 1.5cm, and this maintains the appropraite front/rear balance.
If you want to do some serious road racing and want a more snappy feeling bike and are prepared to sacrifice some (relative) comfort, the Giant would be the better bike, or consider the Specialized Tarmac. I'd have either very happily!

We have in store a SW Tarmac Di2 in Saxobank livery. $17500. So that's the new electric Dura Ace shifting and Zipp wheels, for those not in the know.
We also have the cheaper version for those who are finding the economic times a bit tough. It's the same bike with regular Dura Ace that you have to shift all by yourself, a snip at $13500.

After I win the 90 million Eye-wink

That's the spirit.

as the 90 mil is coming my way Eye-wink

I think the Specialized would suit my needs better due to the more relaxed riding position so I might actually be able to stand up straight after a ride. Those thin wheels and lack of suspension will take some getting used to.

Not swine flu - scumming
Yes. I intend to buy a scummer around December-January (as this will be my bday and xmas pressy combined)
How did it come to this?
Lots of advice as to the benefits of real scumming rather than closet scumming using lock out on a 140mm MTB
I'm looking for endurance rather than race - gotta get some distance on these chicken legs

So, I'm learning as much as I can about these odd contraptions before then as possible
Because I am looking at second hand rather than new (around $1500 max)

So firstly, Gary. Did you get your bike?
How do you find it etc
Any tips you learned when researching/ buying

Most importantly, what type of hair removal do you use on your legs
Is it just legs, or B, S and C as well

I wish you had Schwein flu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Andy said:

Lots of advice as to the benefits of real scumming rather than closet scumming using lock out on a 140mm MTB

What are they then Andy?

More fun and fast on the road
Can still ride in wet weather
Easier to perfect technique
Most of the fittest MTB riders seem to train on their roadies

And I want to keep my mountain bike for it's intended use
I have fat tyres on my bike that squirm and are slow (and expensive). It's just not that fun riding on the road on it - I've built it up for rough terrain, not as a road bike. And switching tyres and wheelsets is just not gonna happen.

It was this thread on farkin that really convinced me

I have a GT Zascar that my wife occasionally uses. I bought it new as an ignorant noob.
Being a hardtail race bike, she finds it uncomfortable. I thought I would convert this to a bike I could ride on the road and buy her a pootle bike.
But for all the fart arseing around, I would still have a bike that is not used for its intended purpose and she's not really fussed what sort of bike she has

It's really only the cost of a decent roadie that has stopped me
But I think I can score a good one second hand for $1500 if I'm patient and learn as much as I can
I'm hoping/ am determined that it will open myself up to new places and ways to ride

there are reasonable first roadies out there at the moment alloy / 105 at around what you're limit is new. It's also time for the new 2010 models to come in and amazing bargins are to be had. I'd check out a few shops and see what's around.

I still don't get it....

I reckon that my old clunky MTB with slicks is great for training. It's way heavier and slower than a roadie but it means that I need to work harder to keep up with roadies, which makes for good training. As I do my road training and commute on my own speed is not usually a problem anyway. Plus I don't have to get used to another riding position, or buy another expensive bike, or a second set of shoes with the larger cleats.

Chris Eatough said in "24 Solo" that he used to train on a road bike but now trains with a MTB on the road.

That said I see everone is getting them... soon I'll be the only nobber without one Eye-wink

I think it'll be a close call between Dylan and Liam for last one to get a road bike Laughing out loud

And Mark Weir used to train by climbing on his freeride bike with a chainguide
But I think mountain bikes are for terrain and road bikes for tarmac

I don't think I've ever spoken to a mountain biker who regrets getting a road bike
And most of them say it has made them fitter for MTB
For me, I reckon I would tire of riding an MTB on the road - slicks or not
But if I buy a good road bike, I will have it for life
To me it seems like a natural progression and a whole new skill to develop

But to each his own
Like I say, I seem to have caught the virus. Bloody scummers.

go and get that Schwein flu!!!


Resistance is futile Dylan!

Yeah, it will probably get me in the end but I just want to understand how you can get fitter riding a road bike over a MTB on the road.
Everyone is saying you do but I can't see why. As far as I can see you put the same amount of effort into what ever you ride, you ride to your level. I know the road bike is much faster but that makes no difference to training if you are on your own. In fact I like the challenge trying to keep up with roadies, so if anything that's more of an incentive to go hard. I'm not being difficult, I'm just curious.

As a side note I just finished putting a SS together to commute on and have just come back from a quick spin down the road. Right now I hate it, I hope my opinion will change tomorrow when I actually ride it to work and back.

You can see I'm really an old fart who is stuck in his ways can't you Smiling

You're nearly there mate

You will get fitter for the following reasons:
You dont stop for any reason and if you're mete breaks down on the road bike you generally point him in the direction of the nearest train station and ride off.
You're more interested in passing any and every cyclist you meet.
You just have to beat the guy in the geared bike ahead of you when you are on you're SS.

However beware of the Dark side
You forget the sngletrack is trees not cars
Can't climb hills on the MTB as they are too steep

Luke Skywalker

Dylan, you will spin out way too often if you ride your MTB on the road on any descents - MTB gearing is just too low (as it should be - rolling resistance off road is way more). And you have to ride the descents to find something to climb up for training.

I only have a 48 big ring on the crosser (although I have a 53 spare I really should put on) and spin out all the time Sad

You need road gearing on the road for the speed. Riding on the road is boring, but going as fast as the traffic is vaguely entertaining (plus, if you flow with the traffic they can't push you into the gutter).

I reckon that my old clunky MTB with slicks is great for training. It's way heavier and slower than a roadie but it means that I need to work harder to keep up with roadies, which makes for good training

Not really. Most of your training should be at easier levels rather than working hard all the time. You want to spend most of the time at lower heart rates training your muscles how to work efficiently before you stress them to build strength.

A roadie allows you to control those heart rate zones a lot better.

All that said I just ride my MTb and have fun

OK, so I rode my SS to work this morning and sure enough was spinning out all the time, even on the flat. The good news is the bike is pretty good, certainly much lighter than my old horse.

I need to be able to ride all the hills up to Frenchs Forest, but I also need to be able to ride on the flat, something I can't currently do! I'm running a 32/17 which I assume is probably not far off for off-road. What should I be looking at for the road? Should I change the front ring to the big?

BTW, sorry for hi-jacking the thread, and thanks for all the input.

I run 42/16 on my SS, good for 25-30km/h with a nice cadence, above 35km/h is where im spinning like a crazy dude.
Hills are okish, upto 6% gradient i can do them in the saddle, above 7% im out of the saddle cranking away, above 13% is tough going but doable.
I commute in the Hills district, Castle Hill/Kellyville/Rouse Hill/Quakers HIll etc, not massive hills out here but some short pinchs here and there.


Coming into this thread pretty late.... a few comments about the relative merits of the different bikes for training

I love the rhythm I get into on the road bikes compared to slugging it out on my mtbs on the road. I've got a ss running 43*16 (on 26" wheels), and an old nine speed road bike. I usually do about 100k+ of road training a week, and up to 60k off road. this keeps my 'old bones' in shape to 'do battle' with the 100k & team mtb events.
The beauty of the road bike/s is I can go out and do a consistent 1 1/2 to 2 1/2hr ride before work twice a week, keeping to my training goals, keeping in my target zones, or adding in a few intervals as required. This builds really good endurance, and makes mtb riding so much more enjoyable, particularly if I want to go out and do a 3-4 hr ride on the weekend. When I was just training on the mtb, I spent too much time peaking above my target zones, and didn't really ever get a chance to set up my base fitness properly.

So, in regard to training, when I want to build strength, or work on my cadence (or want to have the max fun), I take the single speed. When I want to do more targeted zone training, or I'm feeling a bit flat, I take the roadie. If I want to get a whole body workout, and want to push myself the hardest, I take the mtb (I seem to be incapable of riding it 'slowly').

for those that haven't seen them, some stories from my blog:
the single speed:
100km and 4 gorges on the SS:
the scummer rebuild:

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