Bike & Gear Reviews Archive

0

Best Road Bikes Under $2,000


With $2,000 set as your budget, you’re looking for the best road bike for the buck. You are, after all, spending more on this bike than you did your first car. It’s a shame the smug salespeople at your local bike shop don’t hold your same belief that for $2,000 you should get everything you want in a road bike…and more.

At Road Bike Mike, we share your belief that $2,000 is a ton of money to spend on a bike. We also hold firm to your dreams of getting everything you want in a road bike for $2,000. Enter the showdown of 2012 road bikes priced at, or around, $2,000.  While we tried to keep things under $2,000, we couldn’t help but notice that a 10% uptick in budget actually bought you the best road bike you can possibly get for the money.  Hey, it could be worse…we could be that smarmy sales guy at the local bike shop that steered you towards a $5,000 Cervélo.

As with all of our road bike reviews, we stuck with “non-brand name bikes” from internet retailers to stretch our dollars.  Why pay extra to cover the costs of pricey marketing and branding campaigns, expensive pro-teams and greedy middle-men?! Based on hours of testing, these three road bikes stood head and shoulders above the rest:


2011 Marin Bikes Stelvio Ultegra Road Bike – $1,999

For the first time in Road Bike Mike review history, we had a unanimous winner among our tester team and it’s not hard to see why.  The Tommaso Superleggera is the complete package with Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 components strapped to an incredibly sexy 12K Monocoque carbon frame, full carbon fork, and adorned with an FSA Gossamer Pro 53/39 aluminum crank, Mavic wheels, and a Tommaso Racing Series saddle. While the Ultegra 6700 adorned Kestrel and Marin bikes showed well, it was uncanny how much better the Superleggera performed and looked!

Then again, if you’re stuck on  brand names and think that Dura Ace is overrated or reserved for Cat1 racers, check out the $2,000 offerings from Trek and Specialized.

Bikes have specs…

specs are easily compared…

value is easily discerned.

This one’s a no-brainer.

Conclusion:  Road Bike Mike Likes the 2012 Tommaso Superleggera Road Bike for $2,220

This bike has the frame and components of brand-name bikes that retail for $3,500+, has a compact geometry that lowers the center of gravity and increases the responsiveness and handling, and gets compliments wherever you go.  Once again, of all bikes we tested, this bike garnered more attention than all other bikes combined.

Be like Mike: Buy the Superleggera If it sucks, send it back and tell us how much we suck for telling you to buy something that sucked so much.  If it doesn’t suck, and it won’t suck, you can tell us how much we don’t suck for telling you to buy something that definitely doesn’t suck.

Don’t forget to follow our 10 Steps to Buying Your First Road Bike, make sure you know What Size Road Bike to Buy, and don’t forget the Pedals!

5

Best Road Bikes Under $1,500

What’s in a name?  When it comes to road bikes, a name is worth $1,000 or more!

What your local bike store won’t tell you is that nearly all road bike frames are made in the same factories in China and Taiwan and often come from the same molds.  Combine this with the fact that manufacturers outsource nearly every component of the bike and what you’ll discover is that the paint scheme and logos are often the only difference between an off-brand road bike and a name-brand road bike.

Tone out the marketing machines that have ingrained any bias and let’s start shopping based on tangible benefits.  At the end of the day:

Bikes have specs…

specs are easily compared…

value is easily discerned.

Boom!  The mystery of road bike shopping has been solved.

To help you make the best decision with your budget of $1,200 to $1,500 we’ve shopped hundreds of road bikes, tested dozens of road bikes and narrowed the field down to 3 options that won’t let you down!

2011 Motobecane Immortal Pro – $1,295

2011 Immortal Pro

2012 Tommaso Aggraziato Pro – $1,555

2011 Scattante R-670 - $1,499 $1,299

2011 Scattante r-670

Bikes have specs…specs are easily compared….value is easily discerned.  Click the image below for Road Bike Mike’s review of the specs and value:Best Road Bikes Under $1,500

Overall, the 3 bikes compared very similarly across the board.  The difference between 1st and 3rd was minimal.  From beginning cyclist through competitive cyclist, those road bikers with budgets limited to $1,500 will get tremendous value from the Tommaso Aggraziato Pro, Scattante R-670, or the Motobecane Immortal Pro.  Ultimately, we had to pick a winner.  For riders looking for the latest carbon fiber and Shimano Ultegra components, look no further than the Tommaso Aggraziato Pro.

Bikes have specs…

specs are easily compared…

value is easily discerned.

Perhaps the ultimate decision factor for you is the color and graphics packages. Having done your homework for you, the team at Road Bike Mike fully supports your ultimate selection based on superficial looks.

Hey, you wanna look good while riding, right?

Conclusion: 

Road Bike Mike Likes the 2012 Tommaso Aggraziato Pro for $1,555

This bike has the frame and components of brand-name bikes that retail for $3,000+, has a lightning quick ride, is paltry in weight, yet supple in ride, and gets compliments wherever you go.  Of all bikes we tested, this bike garnered more attention than all other bikes combined and this was the only bike that actually had our testers considering trading in their Cervélos and Pinarellos.  If that doesn’t say something for the Tommaso…

 

Don’t forget to follow our 10 Steps to Buying Your First Road Bike and make sure you know What Size Road Bike to Buy and don’t forget the Pedals!

3

Best Road Bikes Under $1,000

You’ve scrimped and saved (or flexed your American patriotism by going into debt) to buy a new road bike.  The good news: you have $1,000 at your disposal.  The bad news: you don’t have $2,000 at your disposal.  While $1,000 bought you all the sweet gear you needed last summer to dominate the local urban landscape as you explored the world of parkour…it suddenly feels inadequate when you search for the latest slab of tubes, gears and rubber capable of carrying your BMI of 25 around the local 20 mile bike loop.

Fear not, the crack team at Road Bike Mike kicked the tires on dozens of road bikes for $1,000 or less.  After being forcefully removed from every local bike shop for kicking their bikes, we rushed back to our Mom’s basement to write our review and help you save time and energy in selecting the best bang for a grand.

After kicking the tires, we got serious and actually rode the bikes to give you an unbiased review based on price, specs and ride quality.  We narrowed the top bikes for under $1,000 down to the following 3 bikes:

2012 Tommaso Mondial 2.0 – $999 (Mondial 1.0 – $1055)

2011 Motobecane Sprint – $1,095


2010 Scattante R-570 - $899$749 (2011 R-570 – $1,199)

Overall, the 3 bikes compared very similarly across the board.  The difference between 1st and 3rd was minimal.  From beginning cyclist through competitive cyclist, those road bikers with budgets limited to $1,000 or less will get tremendous value from the Tommaso Mondial, Scattante R-570, or the Motobecane Sprint.  For riders looking for a compact frame geometry, high-end components and a graphics package that turns heads, look no further than the Tommaso Mondial.  For riders that appreciate the upgraded componentry but don’t want a compact geometry and want to blend into their surroundings, consider getting the Motobecane Sprint.  For riders that don’t mind scouring for a 2010 close-out, or dropping the additional $200 to buy the 2011 model, pick up the Scattante!  Then again, if you’re stuck on  brand names, hate carbon, can’t stand crisp shifting and abhor high performance components, check out the $1,000 offerings from Trek and Specialized.

Bikes have specs…

specs are easily compared…

value is easily discerned.

Now that we’ve discerned value from all 3 bikes, perhaps the ultimate decision factor for you is the color and graphics packages. Having done your homework for you, the team at Road Bike Mike fully supports your ultimate selection based on superficial looks.

Hey, you wanna look good while riding, right?

Conclusion:  Road Bike Mike Likes the 2012 Tommaso Mondial 2.0 for $999

This bike has the frame and components of brand-name bikes that retail for $2,000+, has a compact geometry that lowers the center of gravity and increases the responsiveness and handling, and gets compliments wherever you go.  Once again, of all bikes we tested, this bike garnered more attention than all other bikes combined.

Be like Mike: Buy the Mondial.  If it sucks, send it back and tell us how much we suck for telling you to buy something that sucked so much.  If it doesn’t suck, and it won’t suck, you can tell us how much we don’t suck for telling you to buy something that definitely doesn’t suck.

Don’t forget to follow our 10 Steps to Buying Your First Road Bike, make sure you know What Size Road Bike to Buy, and don’t forget the Pedals!

1

Best Road Bikes Under $600

It’s your first real foray into road cycling.  You haven’t come to grips with wearing spandex, but you have come to grips that the current ride, be it that ridiculous looking hybrid or that supple microsuede couch your ass has been riding, is in need of an upgrade.  You’re not quite sure if you’ll love it or hate it and you’re not willing to break the bank in this little experiment.  Lucky for you, today’s technology advancements and loose international child labor laws allow you to get a ton of bike for under $600.

To help us rate three bike options in the sub $600 range, we unbolted the door to our broom closet and let our indentured servants, errr…interns, ride and rate these bikes.  After a short debate and a tie-breaking thumb war, we settled on the following 3 bikes for our review:

Tommaso Imola with Carbon Fork – $555

2011 Motobecane Grand Record – $599


Schwinn Carbon Fiber-1000 – $549

Admittedly, we stretched to find 3 bikes worth comparing head-to-head.  On paper, the Schwinn appeared to be comparable; in reality, the Motobecane and Tommaso were lightyears ahead of the Schwinn in terms of technology, build quality and value.

For beginning cyclists looking for an entry bike that performs on-par with most major manufacturer’s intermediate level bikes, the Tommaso Imola and Motobecane Grand Record have what you’re looking for.  For riders looking for a compact frame geometry, good components and a graphics package that turns heads, holla at the Tommaso Imola .  Riders that appreciate the upgraded componentry and have dreams of becoming, or at least looking like a racer, will fall in love with the Motobecane Grand Record .  For riders that hate supporting small companies and can’t stand quality in products, pick up the Schwinn next time you run to Wal-Mart to buy that styrofoam cooler and buckshot.  Better yet, grab that short stack of benjamins and see what a joke $600 buys you from Trek or Specialized.

 

Bikes have specs…

specs are easily compared…

value is easily discerned.

 

Conclusion: 

Road Bike Mike Likes the Tommaso Imola with Carbon Fork for $555

This bike has the frame and components of brand-name bikes that retail for $1,000+, has a compact geometry that lowers the center of gravity and increases the responsiveness and handling, and gets compliments wherever you go.  Once again, of all bikes we tested, this bike garnered more attention than all other bikes combined.

Be like Mike: Buy the Imola.  If it sucks, send it back and tell us how much we suck for telling you to buy something that sucked so much.  If it doesn’t suck, and it won’t suck, you can tell us how much we don’t suck for telling you to buy something that definitely doesn’t suck.

Don’t forget to follow our 10 Steps to Buying Your First Road Bikemake sure you know What Size Road Bike to Buy, and don’t forget the Pedals!

3

What Road Bike Pedals Do You Need?

Clipless road bike pedals will simultaneously bring your road biking and your humility to brand new levels.  From a performance perspective, clipless pedals will reduce inefficiencies and help you put more power through each pedal stroke.  In terms of humility, every new road cyclist will contend with the dreaded slow-motion fall: the routine stop that turns a bit more interesting when you find yourself falling to one side while both feet remain clipped into your pedals.  The good news: slow-motion falls only happen one or two times whereas the power and efficiency gains last the entire life of your new clipless pedals.

 

Rather than promote the clipless pedal, we’ll jump to the conclusion that you’re set on adding some clipless pedals to the new rig but need a bit more direction in terms of what pedals (and associated shoes) to buy.  In classic Road Bike Mike fashion, we’ve scoured the web and the bike shops; tested dozens of clipless pedals; and distilled the selection process into a simple choice based on your riding style and budget.

 

If maintaining a budget is your primary concern: Pick up the Look Keo Easy Ride Pedals



Description:
 The Look KEO Easy Pedal is exactly that – easy! Look has designed the easiest pedals to get in and out of, in addition to a wide platform to give excellent power transfer. The Look KEO Easy pedal is for anyone starting to cycle or Looking for a simple, reliable system


Weight:
230 grams

Price: Under $60

Bottom Line: 90 grams heavier than the Look Keo Classics and $45 less.

If you want the best performance bang for the buck: Pick up the Look Keo Classic Pedals

 

Description: The large base makes it easy to enter and exit the pedal and the slightly heavier weight help makes entry a bit more manageable. . The Look Keo Classic maintains adjustable spring tension, low stack height and overall lightweight construction (140g) thereby helping the new rider grow comfortably with this quality clipless pedal.

Weight: 140 grams


Bottom Line:
 Look is to road bike pedals as Kleenex is to facial tissue.Price: About $80

 

 

If you simply want the best: Pick up the Cycle Keo 2 Max Carbon Pedals

Look Keo 2 Max Carbon

Description: People loved the weight and function of the Look Keos, but found they wore out the carbon fiber pedal bodies. To combat this, Look added a stainless steel wear plate atop the center of the pedal body that will never wear out. In addition, the shape is wider (amongst the widest clipless pedals around) which helps increase the surface area that contacts the cleat. All this platform width is coupled with a narrow bottom that helps these pedals corner better than the older Keo design and better than Shimano Dura Ace.

 

Weight: 122 grams

Price: About $175

Bottom Line: You’re going to love these pedals.