• Hi all, hope you don't mind me posting in this forum for a bit of advice...

    Hoping to one day join you all on the roads, but for now that will be tricky - I only have a Trek hybrid. While it's certainly more than capable for the sportives I do, it's not really a group bike! So, time to upgrade and throw some money around, I figure... but I'm a little torn on exactly where that money should go. I'm looking for recommendations on both bike shops in London that can give me good advice and options, and also bike recommendations in general.

    A little about me:

    I'm fairly new to road cycling - I got into it this year and have seriously caught the bug. These days a typical ride is about 3-4 hours and 40-60 miles. I'm getting more and more into sportives as well. I'm looking for a bike that is going to let me push myself, but will also remain comfortable for more leisurely rides - I tend to also enjoy a slower ride some non-serious cycling groups for social events.

    Currently, I've got somewhat convinced that I want a Canyon because a) they look gorgeous but more importantly b) the spec seems killer for the price. I've also considered a Canondale CAAD. Beyond that, I'm not sure where to even beginning looking.

    I think I'd like a carbon frame, but honestly not sure about the exact pros and cons.
    What would you suggest? My budget is roughly £1500, which seems reasonable for a first road bike - I'm willing to go higher though if it's worth it. Will also be spending whatever it takes to get a good quality fitting done (I'm in London, so if you have suggestions, I'm all ears!)

    Let me know if there's any more info that could help :) I'll be popping down to Swift Cycles this weekend hopefully, so we'll see what they say.

  • Join the club and it opens a whole hosts of benefits including discounts at a lot of retailers....

    Other than that its totally up to you. There were some good deals on canyons with Ultegra Di2 if that is your bag. Aluminum though.

  • Hey Ollie,

    I can't give recommendation for bike shops as I took my own bike with me from a different town, but I am sure others can do.

    From the description of your current miles and experience you would benefit a lot from a road bike and I am sure you will love it.

    Somethings to keep in mind when buying your first road bike

    • Go to shops where a bike fit is included with the bike price (or negotiate a deal). Bike fits are absolutely essential for comfortable riding both in leisure rides as in more challenging sportives/races. I am not a fan from buying from the internet, especially not for your first bike. Bike fits and small personal adjustments can make a huge difference, and shops have experience with this. Also if something needs tweaking after a few rides they will easily help you. So I would approach a few shops and ask for the price including a full fit and checkup.
    • Arrange for a 2nd check after 2 months as your position on the bike will change a bit when you just started riding seriously.
    • Go for something that feels good, rather that looks fancy. I for example didn't fit on a female frame, but perfectly on a specific male frame. It is all about your body dimensions (hence the importance of the bike fit).
    • For that price range you should be able to find something nice.
    • Many people look at weights but I would start with the Gears Groupset first. So if you can get an upgrade from Shimano Tiagra to 105, but a slightly heavier bike, I would go for the group. This will make an large difference how easy you change gears and therefore how quickly you can react to a change in elevation, speed, wind etc. Note that I am not saying you should go for Shimano, Campagnola have some really nice sets as well.

    Hope this helps. Good luck and hopefully we will see you soon on a ride.

  • good points of @The_Other_Rob The club gets quite a lot of discounts in local shops, so you might want to be member first.

  • Oh, I hadn't thought about joining before even having a bike. I like the sound of getting some discounts :) @Martine, that's some solid advice - thanks! The online bikes are usually stocked with Ultrega, but the in-shop bikes all seem to come with 105 standard, at my price range. I can't really find much of a difference between Ultregra and 105 online, other than shaving a few hundred grams - which seems irrelevant at my level.

  • I have the new 105 on one bike and a 4 year old Ultegra on the other, and they are very similar (I am really happy with them). But calling on other members that have the new Ultegra to give feedback on that.

  • Love questions like this and I'm sure others do. It's like virtual shopping without spending any money!

    Unless you know how to fix everything on your own bike, are fully committed to road cycling and looking after the bike, I'd look for a bike with an aluminium frame and a carbon fork as you're less likely to damage it by overtightening something or knocking a hole in the frame with a lock etc. Unless you plan on racing in the future, I'd get something with disc brakes (not currently allowed in road racing).

    Check out bikes with a shimano 105 groupset (shimano ultegra is higher spec but it's better for your budget to go on a good frame than better components as they can always be upgraded later). Other groupset manufacturers are available but shimano is the most widely available so better for sourcing replacements.

    It's important for morale to have a bike you like the look of but, unfortunately, a bike which fits well will mean you enjoy riding it more so try to get a few test rides in on different bikes and find out what you are comfortable with in terms of size and shape.

    All bikes at this budget will come with cheap stock wheels so you might want to consider spending £1000 on the bike and use the remainder for some better wheels. You may also want a saddle which fits you better, some bib shorts, gloves (assuming you already have a helmet!), tyres, pedals, shoes, cleats and of course ICC membership ;-)

    Pretty much anything can be upgraded if, in the future your interest in road cycling reaches the obsessive level that we are all guilty of.

    Finally, welcome! Look forward to meeting you and your new bike.

  • Interesting that we hold opposite views over frame vs groupset...

    I currently have a full alloy winter bike that I upgraded to run full ultegra. I don't think it's really any better than it was with shimano 2300, just looks more pro (and means I have the same components on both bikes for when I break something and need a donor for the race bike!). I really really want a new winter frame now though and wish I'd done more research before buying a full alloy bike!

  • @SamuelD - haha, yea. Just don't go overboard ;) Thanks for the tips, I think I am looking for something that will grow with me, and seeing as the frame is the hardest to replace, you're right that that is where money is probably best spent. I've heard a lot of people tell me that wheels would be my first point of call for upgrading, but I think I'll still be OK with stock wheels for a few months after the bike. After that, I'll have recharged the bank account, so think I'm still OK with spending £1500 on a bike with stock wheels for now, though maybe £1000 on a bike and £500 will ultimately work out better. Have to see what the LBS says about that.

    All stocked up with clothing, I ride with some basic Shimano R540 pedals, and have some basic bib shorts and a jersey for now. Obviously the jersey gets replaced with an Islington CC one :)

    Look forward to meeting you soon, hopefully be all set by July!

  • @SamuelD makes a good point - hi end Alu is better than low end carbon.

    I am biased but have a look at Decathlon.

  • I find the difference in shifting between the groupsets very noticeable when climbing. The tiagra which I've got on my winter bike is very clunky compared to 105 and that feels clunky compared to Ultegra. The newer 105 probably less so due to the trickle down from the better groupsets.

    My alloy bike has been serving me well since I broke the carbon one. Its heavier, but it saw me through the Tour of Wessex and the Tour of Cambridgeshire. I would've been a bit quicker up the hills on the lighter bike, but the only thing that I missed was the smoothness of Ultegra shifting.

  • If you get 105 makes sure it's the 11 speed version, as that's basically the same as the current Ultegra. There are still a lot of 10 speed 105 bikes in shops, and that's a very different beast.

    I'd be quite wary of buying a Canyon (or anything else online) as your first road bike. You really need to try some out and work out what size you need - bike fits can only go so far.

  • Funny to see the difference in preference @DanM and @SamuelD I have a high end Alu + carbon fork etc and I did just like @DanM quite well.

    I am more on @DanM side, I would like my shifting to be very smooth. If there are small hick-ups during climbing, this distracts (and annoys) me a lot, so a good groupset really helps me with the climbs.

  • To complicate matters further, the new bike is going to be Ti with a carbon fork and alloy clincher wheels, with the Ultegra groupset.

  • agree with @GrahamP I have the new 105!

  • This bike fit calculator should help give an indication of which bikes might be a good fit for you.

  • Also do not discount sram groupsets, the gear changing mechanism if different to shimano and I prefer it. The brake lever doesn't move, instead it is all done with the paddles.

    I have apex on my commuter/winter and rival on my carbon. Not really much difference, rival is a little smoother.

    Apex ~ 105/Tiagra
    Rival ~ 105/Ultegra
    Force ~ Ultegra
    Red ~ Dura Ace

  • If you want to spend your entire life being subject to recalls... ;-)

    @Ollie - you've opened our favourite discussions here.

    My only recommendation I ever really make is work out your budget and stretch it by 10%. You'll ride the bike more, if only out of guilt at having spent more than you should have. ;-)

  • @Ollie push the boat out and drop 10K on a dream bike

  • @Ebrahim Why stop there? Might as well spend 10k on wheels and get the bike later.

  • It's just your winter bike is spoilt :) nice though, I run tiagra on training bike as you know and its fine, the whole thing wheighs a tonne but it's good for training, right?

  • just to provide another contrary opinion :) don't overthink it - you're new to road bikes so the position will take some getting used to and you might end up wanting/ needing a different position in 6 months as you want to drop the bars, get a longer stem and raise the seat...
    jus find one that looks good and fits well enough.
    £1,500 will get you a nice bike. I would personally choose from:

    • Cannondale Synapse 105
    • Canyon Ultimate AL or Endurace CF
  • Good options, also check out the Rose bikes. Similar ilk to the Canyons. I think the XEON Carbon is around £1500

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Want to join, but need a road bike first! Suggestions for bikes/shops in London

Posted by Avatar for Ollie @Ollie