/ Road bike groupset options
I have a budget of about £800 and of the 5 or 6 bikes I've sat on/ridden in that price range, the Giant Avail was the one that made me walk away with a grin so I am pretty well sold on something from that range.
The question is, which one? My options are the Avail 3 with the Sora groupset, which would leave me some spare money for pedals etc, or the Avail 2 which is the same bike but with the Tiagra groupset which would eat my entire budget.
The question is, is the Tiagra worth the extra money? Will I notice the difference much? Or should I save the money for some accessories? I am riding mostly for commuting and weekend pleasure-rides with occasional light touring. I don't race and am not training for anything in particular.
There won't be a huge difference, but Tiagra will definitly feel better, most importantly you will get decent shifters rather than the silly little buttond on the Sora that are difficult to reach from the drops if you have smallish hands (I assume you do being a girly).
It's probably worth stretching to, as upgrading later will be more expensive
I was worried about the stupid little buttons too, but Shimano have changed the Sora shifters recently so they now have blades like the Tiagra (apparently they are changing the 2300 to that configuration soon as well).
Will I notice much difference other than that??
Personally i'd keep some money in the kitty for pedals / shoes / decent clothing.
My first bike had the old style Sora shifters and really they weren't as bad as people seem to make out. Yes my new bikes 105 is crisper and MrsD's Tiagra looks nice but really the biggest difference has been pedals / decent shorts etc.
I'd be tempted to say get the sora and use the rest of the money on some decent gear, especially pedals and shoes. They'll make a much bigger difference to your riding than a better groupset. Alternatively you could get the Tiagra and save up for some accessories at a later date. The noticeable differences in the groupsets while you're riding will be quite subtle.
If you join British Cycling (£15) you get 10% off at halfords. Given that they're currently doing 10% off anyway, it would basically give you a £1000 bike for £800ish, e.g.
The aluminium frame Road Team bike, is excellent value for this price (105 groupset, Mavic Wheels, BB30 bottom bracket): http://bit.ly/hJx3NL
One of the befits of going for a 105 groupset over Tiagra is that it's 10 speed, so you can upgrade to Ultegra or whatever in future if you really wanted to.
I've just bought the carbon version and love it. One word of caution though - the Halford's build isn't brilliant (bit loose, gears not properly indexed, etc), so it's worth budgetting an extra £50 or so to get a proper bike shop to set it up properly for you
Thanks everyone :o)
I actually quite like the Sora thumb-button. It works really well from the hoods and I don't often find not being able to reach it fron the drops that much of an issue. The bit I don't like (small hands) is that with the dual purpose brake/shift lever, when I'm in the drops and reaching for the brakes (a much more common occurance), the lever sometimes slip to the side off the tips of my fingers. Not what you need while hurtling downhill into a hairpin! I much prefer single-axis movement of the brake levers a la Campy or SRAM.
The 2013 Sora has lever shifters (like tiagra). They've done away with the button shift.
> The 2013 Sora has lever shifters (like tiagra). They've done away with the button shift.
Yeah, that's what I meant by "blades" above :o)
> The bit I don't like (small hands) is that with the dual purpose brake/shift lever, when I'm in the drops and reaching for the brakes (a much more common occurance), the lever sometimes slip to the side off the tips of my fingers.
I didn't have any problem with this in any of the bikes that I took for a test ride, but they were all ladies bikes and they all had a pretty short reach on the brake levers - I could reach the levers from the drops with the first joint of my fingers on most of them. I did occasionally have problems with accidentally shifting while braking and vice versa, but I suspect that is just general lack of familiarity with a road bike set up and something I'll get used to...
In that case i doubt you would notice much of a difference
It might also be worth bearing in mind that the 105 will give you 10-speed.
I've an old pair of SPDs (MTB style) you can have for a tenner if you can find shoes for your tiny feet? FB me if you're keen.
Defo got for Tiagra. I had Sora on my first bike (now my winter bike) No problem with the gear changers (although from above it looks like the rest have been superceded? However the other bits, particularly bottom bracket (bearings for peddle shaft) and deraileurs were very poor quality and broke or wore out - cost of replacing parts with upgrades was far more than if I had gone for higher spec originally.
Not sure whether that will help you decide with the other advise on the thumb downshifter as well.
I would go for the tiagra out of the two or find a bike with 105 if possible.
For what it's worth I have Ultegra SL but have used sora, tiagra and 105.
My next upgrade will either be to di2 or dura ace 9000 if I stay with shimano!
For those of you who have small hands these may be of some interest:
Not many folk know of their existence, but what they are are inserts which sit in the STI shifter, behind the brake lever. They draw the brake lever back towards the handlebar so when in the drops you can still reach the brake levers.
Thanks everyone for all the comments.
I did look at a couple of bikes with 105 groupsets, but none of the ones within my budget were as comfortable as the Avail and for me the comfort is far more important.
On balance, I think I'm going to go with the Sora and spend the spare cash on pedals and shoes. I don't think I'll notice the difference in the actual ride much (and it'll be better than what's on my hack anyway) and maintenance doesn't worry me particularly.
105 vs Sora is a nice to have, but nowhere near as nice as good shorts, shoes and pedals.
Thanks, that's worth thinking about. From what I can see looking at the specs of the bike I am after online, the shifters, front and rear mech, brake levers and crankset are all Sora so I should be ok on that front, however I will double check before I put my money down!
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