Hi, it's been a while but I'm back in the saddle commuting to work now from the city to Bedford Park.  Loving the change and the opportunity to use cycle paths for 90% of my journey.

I'm looking at upgrading the flat bar to a road boke and am looking for some recommendations of brands/models to investigate further.  Budget no more than $2k so don't even both suggesting anything more expensive.

Also, I understand that any choice is very personal but I'd like recommendations on what to consider further or what to eliminate from my investigations (with real reasons too).

Main use will be the commute to work.  I'll keep my flat bar for casual rides around. 

Things I'd want to include for consideration/specifications would be:

  • Need to ride over uneven/crap covered paths.
  • Would like to be able to add a mudguard (but not critical) and will carry loads using a back pack.
  • I don't intend to be a competitor in the TDU (or TDF) so no need for the 'best' of everything.
  • There may be some longer rides at weekends, but generally  I ride approx 35kms per day.

Thanks for all your help

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Look at CX bikes as an alternative to a roady for commuting. I've had a Trek Crossrip for just over 12 months for commuting (32 k's round trip). I've got it fitted with mudguards and rear rack. Use saddlebags which hold my laptop, clothes, lunch, spare tube etc. It's not as light or fast as a roady, but it's still pretty quick and very tough. I commute a mix of road (broken glass etc), and off road (gravel and dirt potholes).

Any chance you'll want to do community rides like Amy's Ride or the Bupa Challenge?

Maybe......  Never really considered that before now.  I guess I'm looking for flexibility and versitility. 

The Trek does look nice!

that was part of my criteria. Commuting was the main use, but it's fast and light enough that I can use it on something like Amy's ride... I think, haven't got around to doing something like that yet. Mines 12kg with the rack and mudguards on.

There was also a really nice Merida and Focus I looked at too, that were comparable, can't remember the price difference, but they were similar.

 

I would say that if you really, really want a road bike and think that that will suit your purpose best, for $2k your minimum requirements should be ...

  • Full carbon frame and forks
  • Shimano 105 (or equivalent) level components

When you say "longer rides at weekends" though, what do you mean? I think this is probably the key to whether you get something more suited to touring or commuting. Are you interested in riding in the hills or with groups?

I once looked at upgrading my commuter, but I decided that actually it's still a pretty good commuter so why don't I get a road bike instead? Two years later ... Three Peaks - it's a slippery slope.

The needs for a year-round commuting bike are different to the needs of a weekend long-ride/fine weather bike. From what you have said this bike is going to be used mostly for commuting so this should be your priority.

Something with good tyre clearance. For commuting over poor roads I’d be running at least 28mm wide tyres and room for mudguards.

For year-round commuting I’d highly recommend a frame with eyelets/mounting points for mudguards. You can’t beat traditional full length mudguards for commuting in the wet. The clip-on mudguards are rubbish in comparison. 

Disc brake bikes are a great option. You get good clearance for wide tyres and mudguards. Stopping in the wet is better than rim brakes.

As already mentioned a CX bike may fill your needs well although there are plenty of other road bike options too. Look at some of the Giant Defy Disc models as a starting point but most manufacturers have similar bikes. Above all, make sure you get a bike that fits you well. 

For under $2K you will easily find an aluminium frame bike with Shimano 105, disc brakes, carbon forks from a well-known manufacturer. You may also find a full carbon bike in your price range but may need to shop around or look for specials. Stores are usually clearing stock this time of year to make room for 2016 models. But don’t buy a bike just because it’s a bargain, better to buy a lesser bike that fits you well and meets your criteria.

 

See if you can work out the saddle to handlebar drop you like. Some race bikes have headtubes too short for many people to get the bars high enough, without dodgy or ugly stems or adaptors. Some touring/endurance road bikes won't allow some people to get them low enough.

When I chose my last road bike I picked it on the fact that the bars would be at my preferred height with no spacers. Having no spacers isn’t at all necessary, or even desirable because you then can’t go any lower. A proper fitting frame will have less than 50mm of spacers in my opinion. Having too many spacers looks funny, and many carbon steerers won’t be that long anyway.

 

Firstly, consider Reid cycles if you are addicted to the thought of new.

Secondly, consider second hand. $2k buys you a 4-5 K bike.

Gum tree haven't disappointed me every time I've gone looking.

But, also consider contacting bike shops to see what they might have had traded in.

2nd hand can also get you a cracked, crashed, bent or stolen bike if you don't know what to look for.

Yeah, I really wouldn't plan to get 2nd hand as I'm just not knowledgeable or experienced enough.  Hey, at least I'm self aware enough to know that :)

There are some deals on used bikes but many can be dangerous. You also don't get a decent bike fit so getting the wrong size is easy if you don't know what you need.

I always recommend buying new.

I bought the Emonda the other day to review it. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItqtlXTd4EE

I do to and from the city to almost Bedford Park on cx bike most of the time or my mtb. CX gives great options for setup and routes.

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