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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For too long I have been "shopping" for a road bike, my first in about 40 years. In fact, I am probably suffering from "analysis paralysis" trying to make a decision. The first bike I rode, a Bianchi C2C, was a sweet ride! The next two, a Masi and a Specialized, were ok, nothing memorable (neither of those were sized to my height). I am now wanting to ride a Fuji and then make the final decision.

But, in all of this, I really question:
1. For a new road biker, is the difference in Sora vs Integra vs 105 vs etc really something that is noticeable and of significance? The three I have ridden all had different group sets and I could not really appreciate the upscale more than the low end!
2. I really am picky about the aesthetics of the varying brands. When you break them down into 1's and 0's, is there a real reason to pick one over the other, that is, assuming the ride feels comparable?
3. The Fuji I have my eye on is a Roubaix ACR, 2010 model. Carbon fork and seat stays. Any words of wisdom on this particular bike?
4. Would anyone lean more toward Bianchi? Masi? Fuji? And, why? I am not wanting to race, just try to get this 60+ year old body to hang in there for a long time!

I am sorry for the litany of questions! I expect others have gone through this conundrum before me and have come out of it happy and fit. From my days on my Harley, the old saying "It's the ride, not the destination". Seems it fits my situation!
 

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I have just two comments and don't worry about questions here. Anyone that makes fun of someone asking a question will find the entire group after them not the newbee. We are just glad you are finally making the move.

Now the two most important things to consider is fit and comfort. You are a few years older than I am and we are both long past our racing days, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy riding. Getting the proper fit to begin with is a real key. As we get older, I believe (though I don't really have data to back this up, but its my theory) that our bodies are less tolerant of a bike fit that isn't right. Knees that might have taken just a bit off when we are younger, are just not as flexible as they once were and I believe the fit needs to be better to keep a comfortable ride. So take your time with the fit and if it doesn't feel right, do something about it. If the shop you get the bike from has a fit service, I'd advise you to take advantage of it. For most people its money well spent.

Outside of making sure you have a good fit, get what you like. You will ride it more. If the red bike makes the heart flutter more than the blue one, get the red one. Don't let age stop you. Ride because its a joy, but remember to enjoy the ride.
 

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Yesterday tired old man, Today retired old man
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I have bin thinking the same thing, Do I nead Dura-ace or is Ultegra good enough for me. I look at the cassette a maintance item, Dura-ace $265, Ultegra $99. I have a bike with 105s that shifts just fine so how why do I nead better. Yes I would like that Di2 Dura-ace, I dont think so. I nead help too.
 

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As far as componentry goes, I think that at the recreational rider level, there won't be too much difference. My primary road bike has 105 and it is fine for me and my intended ridiing (80 miles a week, 2 days at a really hard pace with climbs, 1 day at a casual pace plus time on the trainer). My wife has Sora/Tiagra and there is a noticeable difference in quality between those and 105. Ultrega is good stuff, but a higher end component. The main difference from those groups is weight (negligible unless you're a 135 pound flyweight racer looking for every possible advantage) and tolerances. I feel that any groupset that is well maintained will do the job, but for my $ I would go with 105 and maintain it well. It's a workhouse group and won't let you down. Remember, if down the line you want to upgrade, you can always upgrade your components on your frame. Di2 is nice, but from what I'm reading, the upcoming Campy electric offers a lot more features that may be useful to those with hills in their locale.

Masi, Bianchi, Fuji... All good bikes IMHO, but Specialized is a major player and gets a lot of attention. The new Bianchis are pretty sharp, both Bianchi and Masi have a rich heritage.

As mentioned, fit is the most important thing, a bike that doesn't fit right is a bike that won't be ridden. Don't be shy about spending the money to get a true fitting session and don't be afraid to replace saddles and stems. In my experience the most comfortable saddle for me is the Selle Italia Max Flight. It took a while but it is pure bliss for me. As a ast note, SRAM Apex may be helpful too, the range of a triple but the mechanical reliability of a double.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the excellent responses and the information! I really don't have a LBS that is "local". The closest is about 50 miles away. In visiting that one over the weekend, the recommendation was to not pay for a full fitting session until I had ridden for a while since I would have nothing to compare the fit to. I found that as an interesting take on the process! It seems like a good fit would make the initial impression much better! But, the question of proper fit is surely important as everyone has mentioned.

Yep, the Bianchi's are nice. I rode a Specialized and it was pretty good. I am just not sold on the sloping top tube that Specialized and a lot of others are going to. I guess I am a classic look fan.

I hope to have my new ride by the end of the month and will post an update when I have my new toy!

Again, thanks for all the help.
 

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I don't know if you ever have occasion to make it over to Little Rock, but I got the best fitting I have ever had there at Competitive Cyclist. What was nice about it was they had nearly endless varieties and sizes of stems, handlebars, seats, etc to let me try out. I think the fit should come first. That way, you can start out with the right size stem and handlebars instead of having to buy them and swap at a later date.

I agree that you probably won't see much difference between the 105s and the higher end components, but I do think you would regret getting the lower end components.

I'm quite partial to Specialized. I'm riding an S-Works Roubaix. I've ridden an aluminum Cannondale, a Look 585 and two 595s in the past. The Specialized is without a doubt the best of them all for me. What I really like about the Roubaix is the relaxed geometry that seems to keep me fresh longer. I'm more into long, endurance riding than racing, and the Roubiax is perfect for that. That being said, it's not uncommon for me to be the first up the hills and win the city-limit sprints on the shop rides. So, how can I complain?
 

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Sixty, I have avoided getting into this because this gets personal when people start talking about this topic...along with a few others. I will say this, my first bike was a Specialized Roubiax Elite because I was angling towards a more comfortable ride. I ended up riding a few others and ended up with a Trek Madone and after having riden the Rouboiax it was a HUGE difference, the way the bike felt like it wanted to accelerate, wanted to climb and the responsiveness or what some consider a jittery bike. It's a bit more aggressive but I decided that is what I wanted.

I didn't really know what I wanted at first and in all honesty was very nervous about a road bike. My wife and I rode hybrids for a while and I decided I wanted a bit more and have never looked back.

If you can ,decided what you want the bike to do, find one that feels comfortable and roll with it :D
 

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I agree that the fit is one of the first things you should do. An ill-fitting bike will not get ridden and it can cause injury (ask anyone who had a bad fit how their knees felt). For my fit I had my cleats positioned, new saddle installed and an aftermarket stem put on. These part swaps transformed a bike that put me in agony after 6 miles (from a non-trained fitter) into a ride that only ends when I can't go any further due to exhaustion.

As my palindrome mentioned, the 105 and higher end components are closer in quality than the lower end (Sora/Tiagra). I'd pay for the components up front with a new bike rather than upgrade later; you'll have a much more rewarding experience upfront.

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Xela, strangely enough, both of my daughters lived in Little Rock and that is where if found the Bianchi. I visited several of the shops over there and the Bianchi was at Riders Ready in Maumelle. Seemed to be a good LBS and promised a great fitting if I had bought the Bianchi. But, both kids are no longer there, so it would be an adventure to go back rather than a visit.

I guess from all the talk about the various brands, bikes are sorta like wives - there's one out there for all of us, we just got to find the one we like and is comfortable!! :) I am really inclined to agree that a proper fitting should be the first thing and not an after thought! If the initial impression is bad, then I don't think the enthusiasm would last very long. I am a work from home project manager who spends hours a day sitting and typing or taking phone calls, so I have pains now that I want to cure by riding. I sure don't want to go ride and bring more pain home!!

I am sure that my looking is going to end and a decision will be made sooner rather than later. Looking forward to ending the search and enjoying the fruits of my labor!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
LOL!!! Look at his eyes! None of them are smiling either!! He would probably loan one or two to try out!
 

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Well, if you haven't pulled the trigger yet. I would suggest you get the best level of components your budget will allow. Even at our level of riding, IMHO, there is a certain level of perceived reliability that lends itself to feeling a tad more secure. I have ridden Ultagra and found myself on a bike with "lower level" Shimano set for a test ride. I did feel a huge difference in the mechanism, how it all shifts, etc. If selecting within Shimano, I would probably go with nothing less than Ultegra and really do not see a need for Dura Ace. However, what matters most is where you are in your comfort level. As others have said, the fit is the most important factor. This will make or break the experience. Enjoy the ride!
 

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Let me join in with the others and recommend going with 105 components. Some newbies want to go as cheap as possible, and for them Sora components work fine. But for those with room in their budget, the 105 components do have a much nicer feel. Especially in your location, I think a bike with a compact crank 105 would be a better choice than a triple crank Sora. Happy riding!
 

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May I ask why A compact over a triple. I sew someware Shimano is comeing out with a 50=30 crank set , that would be low enough for this old guy
 
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