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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016

    First nicer road bike - Specialized Amira, Ruby, Cannondale Synapse, Scott Contessa?

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    Hello everyone,

    I'm in the process of purchasing my first "real" road bike. I currently have a 1981 steel bike that is indestructible and solid yet too tall for me and limited gears. I went around to 6 local bike shops and REI in the last few days, and I don't know what to choose!!! I've been leading towards buying slighter end components than what I need. Right now I want something smooth and light (preferably carbon) that can do long rides and a good bike for racing. I really wanted to stay under 2000$.

    I liked the Cannondale Synapse fine, it wasn't the most or least comfortable but the reach felt good, components were lesser quality. One local bike shop recommended the Scott Contessa Solace 35, but they're a small independent shop and don't have it in stock. I'd have to order it and pay to be able to try it and no one else carries the bike in the area I live in (San Francisco Bay Area). Then I went to a larger local shop and I tried out the Specialized Amira and Ruby. I am in LOVE with the Ruby Comp with disc breaks and it's carbon and so smooth and perfect reach and everything. It's so comfortable and fast and fun. Yum. The Amira is great but a more aggressive and aero seat position, which is nice for racing but less so for touring and casual rides. The problem is, the Ruby I want is 400 dollars over the maximum I was prepared to spend. It's actually 800 dollars on sale right now and will be for another week. What would you do? Are the better components and disc breaks worth the money? And do you have any suggestions on other bikes to try out?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Black Hills of SD
    If there's any way you can make it work, you will be happier longer with the better bike. I've made do a couple of times and it never really works out. I'm not sure I can answer anything about component groups. You don't really need top-of-the-line but better will be smoother and more reliable. I also love disc brakes.

    2016 Kona Rove ST (M/L 54) WTB Volt
    Camp Stove Green Surly Karate Monkey (M) WTB Volt
    Kona Dew Deluxe (54cm) Brooks B67-S

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    West MI
    I'd totally go for the Ruby. Right now I'm struggling with what to do with my beloved Cdale SuperSix. My original Rival/Force components have 14k miles on them...contemplating upgrading the entire thing to SRAM Red...or maybe look at a new road bike with disc brakes, but that would cost SO much more -- and I LOVE my white and orange bike. I don't like any other color schemes nearly so much.

    Disc brakes are worth every penny. I did a rainy century this weekend. The first 40 miles were in pouring rain. Braking on wet rims is scary.
    run/bike log

    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    north woods of Wisconsin
    I don't race, so can't give you advice in that direction. However, I have spent many, many thousands of miles on road bikes, both for fun and commuting. The advice you've gotten from everyone else, so far, is spot on.

    Components are important, yes, and they do make a difference, but not equally from the standpoint of performance. Some make more of a difference than others.

    When shopping for a bike, I start with the frame. You can always upgrade bolt on components like shifters, derailleurs and so on, but the highest end components can't turn a lower or mid level frame into a top end frame. I'd rather have a better frame with lower end components than the cheaper frame with higher end components. The frame is really the heart of the bicycle.

    Next I look at the wheels and hubs. Derailleurs and shifters get most of the attention from folks shopping for road bikes, but actually, one of the most important components on a road bike, in my experience with upgrading, are the wheel sets. Huge difference in performance between an entry level set of rims and hubs and the good stuff. Would rather get a new bike with top end wheels and save money on the derailleurs and shifters, but new bikes aren't sold that way. Upper level wheel sets aren't found on entry or even a lot of mid level bikes.

    Then, I look at the shifters and derailleurs. Have only used Shimano on my road bikes (but love SRAM on my MTBs). My minimum on shifters and derailleurs has always been 105 and for good reason. I've probably have north of 20K miles on 105 and have never had a single failure. The new Tiagra, though, is actually pretty darn good, very comparable to what 105 was in the old days. I love Ultegra, though. It really is smoother and quicker. You'll never regret going Ultegra.

    Brakes? Well, I still like traditional caliper brakes on road bikes, but you just can't beat the practicality and performance of disc brakes for a multi use, all weather bike. Quicker and easier to change wheel sets, too.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    northern Virginia
    I would buy the Ruby Comp Disc that is $400 more than you planned to spend. Comparing the bike Muirenn linked to and a Ruby Comp Disc that is $1950, the components on the more expensive bike are two levels better and in my opinion are worth the investment. And it's comfortable for you, which is very important.

    I can't speak to disc brakes vs rim brakes, since I've only used the latter. There is a thread or two discussing the advantages of disc brakes somewhere on this forum, should be something you can find by searching.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    I love my ruby comp disc. I loved my previous Ruby that was stolen - they are super comfortable and you will own the bike for a long time. Go with what is most comfortable and suits your needs.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2016
    I just bought a Ruby Comp 2 weeks ago and I love it. I was going to buy an aluminum bike but after test driving the carbon there was no going back.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Canberra Australia
    I would definitely buy the Ruby even though it is slightly above your price preference. Just one question - are disc brakes allowed in the racing you want to do? I live in Australia and for criterium racing, for example, disc brakes aren't allowed. And in some categories of Sportives they aren't allowed either. It's a lovely bike, though.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Check this list and try to figure out which bike is nicer for you, according to your budget and your personal preference.
    For beginners, I would recommend Schwinn Phocus 1600. It was my first bike, and it was great. It rides smooth, and components are also good for its price.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Bolingbrook, IL
    Go with the Specialized Ruby. I purchased the Dolce Elite almost 2 years ago. I thought I wanted the Ruby (based on my initial research), but for the type of riding I do and my budget, my bike shop recommended the Dolce Elite. I rode it and fell in love instantly. The bike is amazing - each time I ride, I discover something new - about my riding capabilities and the bike's ability to respond to my needs. Follow your instincts and go with the Ruby - you will be so happy.
    2012 Fuji Cross 3.0 Cyclocross & 2016 Specialized Dolce

    Choose the road you always wanted.



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