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First nice bike, some questions

Apr 1, 2010
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Hello!

So I'm taking the plunge this year and buying my first nice bicycle. I just got into cycling two years ago after not riding since I was a teen, and have been using an old Schwinn Traveler that use to belong to my father. It's from the early 80's, made of pure steel, and weighs in at 34 lbs (!). I still managed to put in a lot of miles on it last summer (100-200 miles/week), but about 40 miles was the furthest I could go on a single ride before getting pretty tired.

Clearly it's time for something better!

I am a young professional and have only been out of college for a few years, so don't have a whole ton of money to spend. $2,000 carbon fiber bikes are out of price range, and I am not convinced I need a pure carbon bike any ways.

Currently, I am debating between the Felt Z85 and Felt F75. Around $1,400 is my max for the bike itself, because I still need to buy pedals and shoes on top of that.

This is my main question: are the current generation of aluminum frame/carbon fork bikes (like the two I am looking at) good for beginners who are not yet spoiled by carbon fiber? I hear a lot of talk about "road vibration" and such on this forum, but is it really that bad on a modern aluminum bike?

This is my main hang up, but since price is a limiting factor for me, I am trying to concentrate on what is "good enough" and not "what is the very best money can buy".

I plan on pairing the bike itself with Speedplay pedals, because I do cycle in an urban environment where mixing with cars and starting/stopping a lot on the way to the dedicated bike paths is necessary.

Also, if anyone has ridden those two bikes and can offer any feedback, I'd love to hear about it. Reviews of those models have been hard to find.

Thanks for any insights!
 
Apr 1, 2010
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Oh, I should also add that my main type of riding will be distance and recreation. I don't think I'll be racing other people competitivly any time in the near future, but my main goal for this summer is to ride in as many centuries (and other long rides) as I can. I have my first one on June 5th. I'll also be looking to post better and better personal times on distances as I progress in skill.
 
Jul 29, 2009
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Compare and contrast the bikes you mentioned with the comparably-priced Cannondale Caad 9. In a fairly similar situation last year, I went with the Cannondale, which I've enjoyed very much, but that might have come down to fit, feel, and gut.
 
Aug 16, 2009
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Yes,
The current Al bikes are very nice. I'd second the CADD9. Also, look at the entry-level BMC. I have not had a chance to ride one, but they certainly interest me.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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FWIW you will notice a difference in road noise/vibration between an aluminum frame and your old steel frame. It will be noticeable, but it may not actually be a problem for you. Time will tell on that one.

I don't know a whole lot about the Felts you mentioned in particular but as a brand they seem to be getting some rave reviews these days and I've never really heard anyone complain about them.

Someone mentioned the CAAD9 for comparison, and I also would throw in a the Specialized Roubaix (given that you want to do long miles and rec riding, the relaxed geometry of the frame may be more comfortable than full on race geometry). I personally went for from a Cannondale to the Specialized for that very reason...and haven't looked back. Don't race on the road, but do put in a lot of commuter miles and traing for mtb...probably won't ride a race frame ever again, but that's just me.

You'll get this pointer alot but I'll throw it out there anyway, ride all of them...that will count for a lot on your decision. Test ride as many of your choices you can. Some LBSs and some brands even have test programs where you can take the bike for extended rides (even for a few days in some instances). If you can do this I wholeheartedly recommend it.

My guess is that they'll all be similarly spec'd and ~1400 US that spec should be very solid...maybe not light, but solid. So ride feel and comfort will be a big part of your choice.

Good luck :)
 
Apr 1, 2010
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Thanks for the input everyone!

After a lot of thinking and some test riding, I went with the Z85. On the test ride, the aluminum frame felt very smooth while riding on street-quality asphalt, more so than my current steel bike. I also enjoyed the much more direct feeling of power transfer.

The slightly relaxed geometry should be good for my needs as well, though I do have to work on my posture quite a bit (I tend to arc my back, rather than bending more at the hips and keeping my back more straight...)