First Road Bike - Recommendations

Thebby

Warming-Up
Aug 28, 2009
3
0
0
Tokyo
#1
Let me start by saying I am a total n00b when it comes to riding, and that probably bears out in the stupidity of this question...

I have a basic cross bike that I ride every day and love zipping around town, but I also think I need to get out of the city. I'm an avid hiker, snowboarder and kayaker and when I'm heading out of town I see lots of people on the train with their bike bags and it's really piqued my interest.

I guess the first think I need is a bike. I'd love to get a nice road bike and head out into the country for some long rides, but frankly I don't know the first thing about what makes a good road bike. I'm really looking for something not too expensive (under Y200,000) but nice enough that I can feel comfortable riding for a while without wanting to upgrade after 6 months or so when I start to get more experience and know more about what I like specifically.

If not specific bikes and brands, any recommendations of what kind of things I should look for at the bike shop (materials etc.) would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,511
638
133
Kanazawa
#2
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/c/cycle/7/Road_Bikes/

Take a look there and go to the bottom of that page, where there are two Kona bikes listed. One has a compact crankset (50-34, slightly lower gearing) the other doesn't, and most of the components on the slightly more expensive one are a slightly better grade. Kona is a decent name, and note that those are both cro-molly frames, tho with one you get a carbon fork. Nothing wrong with steel, it's cheaper than carbon and rides better than aluminum. (Both have 23mm tires, my preference is for 25mm for longer rides and training.) And, uh, I guess you have to like orange or yellow... :rolleyes:

Wiggle ships here free for that price, just got my first order from them--order this past Monday, and the box arrived this morning (a rack and some panniers). No duty/customs, but for a bike (more money) there probably would be. On the wiggle page, upper right, you can adjust language, currency, and ship-to destination, and see prices in yen.
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
435
103
Tokyo
#3
Let me start by saying I am a total n00b when it comes to riding, and that probably bears out in the stupidity of this question...

I have a basic cross bike that I ride every day and love zipping around town, but I also think I need to get out of the city. I'm an avid hiker, snowboarder and kayaker and when I'm heading out of town I see lots of people on the train with their bike bags and it's really piqued my interest.

I guess the first think I need is a bike. I'd love to get a nice road bike and head out into the country for some long rides, but frankly I don't know the first thing about what makes a good road bike. I'm really looking for something not too expensive (under Y200,000) but nice enough that I can feel comfortable riding for a while without wanting to upgrade after 6 months or so when I start to get more experience and know more about what I like specifically.

If not specific bikes and brands, any recommendations of what kind of things I should look for at the bike shop (materials etc.) would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Nothing stupid about that question!

Frame/Fork and wheels are the key parts of a fast/comfortable bike. Make sure you get one that fits properly. You should be able to judge from your cyclocross bike what fits you; bear in mind that road racers tend to be a bit lower at the front than CX bikes for better aerodynamic performance. However, you should not be too stretched out to use the drops comfortably.

For your budget, you're probably going to looking at aluminium or (maybe) steel rather than titanium or carbon. All the materials can be made to ride well. Try to get a carbon fork if you can as they are significantly lighter than metal forks and ride more comfortably.
For wheels, the lower-end Shimano and Mavic are pretty good, and can be upgraded with a nice set of high-end tyres for an instant and cheap speed / handling improvement.

I strongly recommend a compact or even a triple chainset for Japan, because the mountain passes here are STEEP. With a compact you will be able to climb more comfortably, and unless you're a super sprinter, you won't lose anything at the top end.
If your budget can stretch to a bike with Shimano 105 it will be easier to upgrade because it's a 10-speed group. So as parts wear out you can change indivdual bits to Ultegra or Dura-Ace.

If you want a real road racer you could do a lot worse than the Cannondale CAAD 9. This used to be the top-end Cannondale racing frame before their move to carbon and was raced at pro-level. Now all the development costs and tooling are paid for, they sell for a real bargain price.

Happy Shopping!

http://www.greatlakescycling.com/2009/07/2010-cannondale-caad9-5/

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fvideo.cannondale.com%2Fimages%2F10%2FCUSA%2Flarge%2F0RA95D_0RA95C_gry.jpg&hash=efd9d818da2e7d30276e8b2e476aefd4

You may be able to pick up a 2009 model at an even better price.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#4
I just built my wife a bike from scratch, Full Ultegra SL group set and Carbon Frame, Forks, Seat Post, Seat Clamp, Stem and Bars for just over 110,000 JPY (This did not include the wheels).

The reason I can do the build so low is that my freind owns a Wet Carbon works and builds top of the line frames for several manufactures, Pro Teams and Individual Pro Riders.

If you interested I would be more than happyt to offer my services. (I can also post Pics of the wifes bike)
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#6
But it's probably too uncomfortable for me. Skinny tires at 120+ psi. Ouch! If you're gonna do a lot of city riding, you'll want a bike with fatter tires, 28 mm minimum-32 better, with lower air pressure.
Probably true, but Thebby is specifically looking for a road bike:

I have a basic cross bike that I ride every day and love zipping around town, but I also think I need to get out of the city....I'd love to get a nice road bike and head out into the country for some long rides, but frankly I don't know the first thing about what makes a good road bike.
All the major brands have good bikes around your price range in aluminum. You can get carbon in that range, but it's a little harder to find and you'll definitely be ordering from overseas. Aluminum doesn't get a lot of love, but it's the best bang-for-the buck and light-for-the-buck frame material out there. Folks say it rides harsh, but tires, geometry, tube shape, etc have way more to do with that than material. My two alum bikes are loads more comfortable than either of the carbon frames I've owned.

I'd try to shoot for 105 groupset as Alan suggests, because that is the "good-enough-for-95%-of-us" level, imo, and it's an easy upgrade to Ultegra. Nothing wrong with Tiagra or Sora, though.

Most important thing is to get something that fits, especially for long rides. If your crossbike fits well, then you're halfway there. Some brands fit differently than others; for example, the Cannondale geometry I don't think would work for me, but Specialized does very well.

Problem is in Japan you won't be able to test ride much, especially if you are even the slightest bit tall. Maybe try to find a shop with one of those fitting bikes...that should help you get in the ballpark.

Good luck!
 

marc

Speeding Up
#7
For my first road bike (which I'm still riding 2.5 years later) I went to Y International in Akasaka and bought an Antares (their in-house brand) 201x. This was back when Aoyama-san was still doing all the fittings, so with the full custom fitting and a few extras the total cost was about 110,000yen. So far, it's been a great bike.

Aoyama now runs his own shop near Meguro, so I may go there when I decide to get a new one. I think Y still does custom fitting, but I have no idea how good it is.
 

Thebby

Warming-Up
Aug 28, 2009
3
0
0
Tokyo
#8
Thanks everyone for all the great advice.

I've definitely got a better picture of what I want now. I guess at a basic level I should be looking for:

- Aluminium
- 105 components
- A really, really good fit

I think now I just need to go into a store, check out some bikes and hopefully try some out.

Fareast, your offer sounds amazing (A full carbon setup with Ultegra components for around 10-man??). Would love to see some pics of your wife's bike.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#9
Well if you are going full 105, then of course the cost can be cheaper, please remember though that this did not come with wheels so your looking for another 30-40 man on top of that price.

I will take some pictures of the bike tonight as I have just finished the cabling and have finished the design of the Graphics that I've been toying with.
 

evan06

Warming-Up
Jul 23, 2007
103
0
0
Yokosuka
#11
FarEast

Beautiful bike and I like the red cable housing, nice touch. Is that Jagwire cabling and housing? I am looking at taking my bike in to have the annual tuneup overhaul and would like to swap out all my cabling. I like the multiple colors that jagwire offers, but then I have heard great things about Gore cabling too. Thank you for sharing the pictures. I wish I could get my wife into bicycling.

James
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#12
Yes it is Jagwire housing. I get it from Tokyu Hands as it seems to be the cheapest place to get just the housing. (I picked up some white and will be using the left over red and the white for my Pinarello)

I use it with DuraAce cables and put a little squirt of silicon spray into the inner housing to aid in shifting..... results are great both aesthetically and in performance. You might even notice the red cable stops as well :D

Im still trying to find out which company uses this frame though.
 

Thebby

Warming-Up
Aug 28, 2009
3
0
0
Tokyo
#13
Awesome looking bike! Thanks for posting the pics!

And thanks for your offer to introduce to your connections. It is REALLY appealing. I have a bit of my own research to do but I will PM you if it wouldn't be imposing to do so.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#14
Sounds good, I might also be able to help out with the wheels as I got a very nice suprise today... although right now Im not officialy allowed to say anything.
 

Kaffekata

Warming-Up
Apr 27, 2008
51
0
0
Tokyo, Jpn
#15
I saw someone riding a beautiful white Giant the other day. If you're still looking, you might check out the Giant home page for a TCX (yeah, a cross bike :cool:) or a TCR defy alliance. There's a Giant shop in Meguro IIRC.

(This is just a suggestion. That hand-built bike looks very light and formidable, Far East.)