Thursday, June 12, 2008

Swimming With Bicycles

If the title of this entry has attracted your attention, I'm sorry to say you're likely to be let down. This isn't a post about a new tri competition or about a new exercise to tone your abs and buttocks. This entry is about my state of mind.

First and foremost, I must give mad props to the guys at Epic Bikes in McDonough, Georgia. Hands down - these guys are nicer than any other bike dudes I've ever met. As I compose this entry - I'm sorting through the two hours of information (yes, TWO HOURS I was at their shop - and they didn't even try to throw me out once!!!) given to me by Tim and Mike. So, I'll skip the jibber jabber and get right to the problems...

The Overarching Problem - HOW DO I PAY FOR A BIKE??!?! I fear this is going to be one of those financial decisions that my sweet husband and I just can't find a compromise on. That's what happens when you have yin and yang...

The Jamis Quest that I looked at would cost me either $1100.00 for the 2007 model or $1300.00 for the 2008 model. The only difference being the color - a tealish blue and white vs dark blue and white. As a matter of fact - the 2007 may not be an issue b/c I'll have to revisit what size I rode. I may have been looking at a 51 cm and if so, it's too big. So let's go with $1300.00 as a good price point for the Jamis Quest.

At Epic today I checked out (essentially) three different bikes. I actually rode the Specialized Dolce and the Specialized Ruby Comp. BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO IN PRICE...The Dolce comes in around $850.00 and the Ruby Comp is somewhere in the $2400.00 neighborhood. Now - there IS something between - namely, the Dolce Elite, Dolce Comp and Ruby Elite.

Oh...and I bet you want prices on those...Dolce Elite runs about $1250.00, the Dolce Comp comes in at $1600.00 and the Ruby Elite runs about $1950.00. For those of you who must know how they are the pics from cheapest to most:

The Dolce

The Dolce Elite (this is the only bike I didn't ride...I hate the idea of a white bike)

Dolce Comp (ok, I actually didn't ride this one either but this is the cheapest Specialized model with the same components as the Jamis Quest Femme). This is a pretty bike!

And then comes this bike:

And Finally....The Serious bike....The Ruby Comp. This was a sweet ride!!! I actually rode this one with Mike from Epic - he was really sweet and showed me all about shifting.'s what I do know: I DO NOT WANT SORA SHIFTERS...They were uncomfortable and akward to get to. Sora shifters have a little thumb button that I found very difficult to reach. I loved the Ruby Comp, which had Shimano 105 shifters - same as the Jamis Quest. The Specialized Dolce Elite (the red one) has Tiagra shifters which are the same style as the 105s but are considered a step down with regards to quality. If you are following all of this and you've looked at my links, you can see that the price difference in the bikes is absorbed by the shifters alone in most cases even though there are more upgrades between models than just the shifters.

Here's what I don't know: Comp or Triple? If you don't know a lot about bicycles (then you are obviously a family member or friend b/c there is no other reason you'd be reading this...) then I can explain this best by saying a comp (compact) has two chain rings in the front (which loosely translates to gears) and a triple has three (duh!) chain rings in the front. Basically, as it was explained to me...a triple gives you an "in-between" ring for a wider range of gearing possibilities. A triple is also referred to as a granny gear....basically...think of a big hill, with two rings you've got two options for how to climb the hill. With three rings, you've three options for how to get to the top. As Tim explained it to me - at first, I might need a triple so that I have a wide range of options for climbing (w/ speed) up a reasonably steep hill. Later, as I become more competent - I would probably work myself away from needing that gear. I hear a lot of pros and cons/philosophies on "the granny gear". Hopefully I didn't butcher that lesson that too badly...

In the end, I think I love the 105 components and to get straight 105s - I'd have to go with either the Jamis Quest Femme or the Specialized Dolce Comp. There is a $300.00 price difference between the two bikes but VERY similar geometry and other components. As far as looks go...I really don't know that I have a preference. I like the red but it's definitely a more feminine looking bike. I'm not sure if that's a good thing. I'm Woman, hear me meow...but I don't like the stigma of a "chick bike".

And there's always the question...steel vs. aluminum w/ carbon seat stays and fork zerts because that really is the big frame difference between these two bikes. I really like the idea of steel. Steel is said to give a more comfortable ride while aluminum is lighter (although only slightly).

Tim said that Epic bikes is technically still an authorized Jamis dealer...he said he could order me a Jamis if it's what I decide on in the end. I just feel weird asking them to order me something special that they don't typically carry... I guess their willingness to do so is a good indicator of their commitment to their customer's needs.

All in's been a pretty good day of bicycle fun. Now...back to the fundamental do I pay for the bike???

1 comment:

  1. So, on, I posted the specs on each bike and so far the votes are 50/50. The only actual negative comment I've gotten is that "one might think the wheels on the dolce comp are a tad better".