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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    3

    Wink First road bike shopping

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    Hello everyone!

    As the title suggests, Iím currently looking into buying my first road bike. I currently ride a fixed gear Crit bike, and use it primarily as a training bike for Fixed gear racing. Unfortunately where I live (Vancouver, Canada) the hills and mountains can be a bit too much for my one gear; Plus it gets pretty old riding the same city roads everyday trying to cram my 60kmís a ride. Iím looking to start doing mountain climbs and 200+ km training rides, with the odd club ride and road race sprinkled in eventually. Iím not really looking for a bottom of the barrel road bike, but something a little more race-able.

    Iím currently eyeing up the Specializedís Allez Sprint and the Amari SL4 for possible bikes. They are both at the top of my price range, and have I heard they are both a good racing bike for beginners. I have read that some people find the Allez Sprint to be a harsher ride than the Amira SL4, due to a stiff frame and more aggressive racing geometry

    Has anyone had any experience riding either? What are your thoughts on either as a first bike?

    Thanks so much!
    Alexi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,578
    Those are both good, race style road bikes. I've tested the Allez and Amira. Both have good power-transfer and acceleration. The Allez is aluminum, and the Amira is carbon. You need to test ride if possible, and decide what road quality feels better to you. Also pay attention to handling and turning, responsiveness, stability, fit, and decide which will work better. For stability, ride without hands and see how fast the wheel turns unexpectedly. If the bike is very twitchy, that will happen quickly and unexpectedly. (More common with race). Try doing some fast turns and see if the bike handles well, or if you feel like you are going to fall because it doesn't turn well. (The Amira and Allez should both handle this well as they are race bikes).

    Also, don't limit yourself to those two. The Cannondale CAAD 12 and CAAD Optimo are race-ready aluminum bikes. (Optimo is cheaper, both are nice). The SuperSix EVO by Cannondale is Carbon. These are all comparable. CAAD 12 has a slightly lighter alloy frameset than the Optimo. Listing 105 groups as a baseline comparison. For the Optimo, the 105 is the highest end made. For the others, it's at the lower end because those are more expensive models. I have a Cannondale CAADX cyclocross. It's a prime frameset. Smooth and lively. Cannondale also makes women-specific geometry for these bikes. May or may not be a better fit. The men's tend to be easier to find, and the frameset lay-ups often stiffer. If you are riding a crit bike, I'm assuming men's geometry works for you. (I can use either, tend to prefer men's because they are generally stiffer. If both bikes you mentioned fit well, it's likely you can use either since the Amira is womens, and the Allez mens. Also, there is no Optimo in the womens, not surprising, fewer choices are standard. ).

    CAAD 12 Aluminum
    https://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/Bi...ntid=undefined


    Optimo Aluminum
    https://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/Bi...1-f5903c39c4ed

    Six Carbon
    https://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/Bi...ntid=undefined

    What make and model is your crit bike? And what size and year? I can compare geometry.
    Last edited by Muirenn; 08-10-2018 at 05:05 AM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles


    Surly Karate Monkey!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,578
    I couldn't get the Allez Sprint to come up on the regular website, just the Allez Sport, which has entirely different geometry. A google search brought up this bike, if this the one you are looking at? The geometry (body position) is aggressive. Very true.

    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/al...=239799-129269

    And here is the Specialized Amira I found. (These change year to year, and I also had to do a google search for it, it didn't display directly on the website, not sure if this is the bike you are considering).

    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/amira-sl4/p/129130
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles


    Surly Karate Monkey!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    3
    Im used to riding men's frames, as fixed crit bikes are almost never women's specific. Being on the short side (5'6") for men's bike sizes, I use a shorter stem and have my saddle a bit further forward, and I've never had an issue. But those are only for two to three hour rides, so I wasn't sure if I should look into women's specific bikes for longer rides.

    I have mostly been looking into Specialized as they are the more common brand in the area, or at least the stores have better stock of. Trek and Cannondale are really the only other accessible brands, but I'm less familiar with their bikes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,578
    Okay, I looked at the geometry closely for the Specialized Sprint and Amira, and then compared to Cannondale CAAD bikes.

    The Sprint is more aggressive than the Amira, but not greatly so. The main issue is the seatpost and overall style of the bike. If you look at the link, the seatpost is a proprietary model, meaning you won't be able to choose something else with more or less setback, and if Specialized does make something you can use, it may be prohibitively expensive. I wouldn't buy a bike that needs a special diameter seatpost (you are basically stuck with the stock model for the bike's life). Also, the style of the frameset is rather 'aero' and the geometry does not lend itself to multiple applications. You could do it, but it's not the best choice.

    A note, seatpost setback should be used to change your position over the bottom bracket and pedals, not to change the overall length of the cockpit. Otherwise, you compromise your knees and position. I'm just under 5'7", and a road bike my size should not have a stem shorter than 100 mm, otherwise, it affects handling (becomes twitchy). This is different for mountainbikes, which are sized with different sets of metrics.

    Suggestion: if you don't want to look at Cannondale, look at the other models of Allez, like the Elite. It is more upright, shorter reach, and has a standard seatpost. The Amira looks good overall.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I did this before you told me your height, and it's possible you would need the larger size of these numbers, but if you look at stack and reach, you can see that the Sprint is lower than all other comparable race bikes I checked. And the Cannondale CAADS are definitely considered aggressive. The Sprint could be fit the same way as the other bikes with more spacers under the stem, but that also affects handling. As does a too short stem. The Allez Elite I looked at is a little cheaper than the Sprint. When looking at a geometry chart, check stack and reach first. Stack is how much you can sit up, and reach is how far you reach with your arms. Higher stack means sit up more, longer reach means reach farther. Head tube height is a good way to compare road bikes with diamond framesets, but their lengths can be affected by other factors. Head tube length and top tube length are similar to stack and reach when just trying to determine overall size, but not exactly, I use them just to compare overall size after knowing stack and reach. Head tube angle affects handling. But that number is combined with other factors, and I can't remember the details enough to give a good opinion, but a lower number may tend to more stability.

    Of the bikes in the attachment, the more upright position is the first Allez, non sprint version. The others are quite similar, though the Sprint is very low in the front. Here is a nice Allez without the proprietary seatpost.. https://www.specialized.com/us/en/al...=239803-133817 It's more distance versus race, when compared to the Sprint, though.

    Honestly, if you want 'race bred' aluminum, I'd look at the Cannondale CAAD 12, and if you want carbon, the Specialized Amira. The Cannondale Super Six is nice for carbon, not sure how the price compares, though. The Allez Elite is a nice bike, but not as aggressive as the others. Comparing the Elite to the Amira and Cannondales should give a good idea of standard race versus slightly more relaxed geometry. Though the Allez is still considered a race bike. That Sprint looks like it is race only. But I'd still rather have a CAAD or Allez Elite if I raced (Yeah, I've had two cannondales. And they are famous for making the best aluminum framesets. That is fact).
    Last edited by Muirenn; 08-10-2018 at 02:15 PM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles


    Surly Karate Monkey!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    3
    Thanks so much for the awesome info! I hadn't actually considered it before you pointed it out, but I very much agree that the seatpost of the Sprint poses a big issue, especially for replacement options. With some poking around, the Amira SL4 seems to be the best of Specialized bikes for my needs. I will have to track down a bike shop and give your recommended bikes a test ride. They all look like great alternatives if the Amira doesn't work out. Plus more options are always better!

    Thanks again for being a fountain of wisdom! As a newbie to the road bike scene, its an immense help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,578
    I learned all of that here.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles


    Surly Karate Monkey!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    972
    I highly recommend going WSD if you can find a WSD bike that meets your requirements. If nothing else, it gets you a women's saddle, at least. Sometimes gets you a narrower handlebar, too, which is important for us gals. Looking back at the many, many bikes I've owned, over the years, the ONLY bikes I've ever bought that needed no mods were WSD bikes. The best fitting, long distance, all day ride road bike I ever owned was a Trek Domane WSD. Seriously, on the MTB and fat bikes I ride, there is next to nothing in WSD bikes, so I am always tuning a new bike to get it to fit me.

    Also, for all day in the saddle, I think you are way ahead with the endurance class of road bikes like the Domane WSD I had. Short and fast sprinty cyclocross or race specific bikes are fun for the first few hours, but when fatigue starts to set in, you'll be glad to be riding an endurance bike. I only ride flat bar bikes, now, so not familiar with the current market offering in drop bar bikes, but pretty sure Trek and Specialized offer WSD endurance class road bikes.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 08-11-2018 at 07:52 AM.

 

 

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