First Bike Advice


I am starting into road biking, and I am looking for my first bike. I am thinking of gettting a used Fuji Sportif 1.5 (2013). It appears to be in good condition. Is this a good bike for starting out, or is it cheaply made?



Hi RGRider,
The Sportif is a good introductory bike; you get a lot of bang for the buck when you buy used. I’ll guess it’s priced around $250-350 US; much more than that and they’re taking you to the cleaners.

The 2013 edition is a basic, reliable, road bike. There are two models, a two-ring and a three-ring, both pretty much the same, aside from the extra ring in front, which you probably won’t find much use in if you’re not in the mountains, but won’t cause any harm. It’s quite rideable, basic maintenance doesn’t require anything unusual, and it should be a comfortable way to get used to the road. There won’t be much point upgrading individual bits and pieces; the Fuji parts are perfectly adequate, and much of a piece with the Shimano gearing - heavy and durable. I should say, ‘heavy’ is a relative term. In the general scheme of things, its under 22-pound weight is quite manageable and should be fun to ride. Heck, it’s lighter than the latest Sportifs, which are equipped with disc brakes and are a good pound or more heavier.

I vote thumbs up; Fuji in general builds quality bikes, and this one is a good choice.


Thanks for the advice, Thomas. The person is asking $330 for the 2013 Sportif 1.5, which seems like a good deal. I also saw that there is a Sportif 2.7 on sale (brand new 2016 model) for $339 at Performance Bike. Do you think that U should get the 2.7 brand new or the 2013 2.7 used? Is the Sportif 1.5 a lot better than the 2.7? Thanks!


In full working order, $330 is fine. The older 1.5 is a much better road bike; the 2.7 is really a recreational bike with drop bars - it’s burdened with a chainguard, some monstrous foam saddle, lower gears, and a lot of steel. Perfectly enjoyable for a few kilometers, but not really suited for the road. Definitely vote for the 1.5.


Hello I am new to road bikes and considering a beginner bike, the endurance frame has 28C tires the traditional frame has wider rims that inflate the tire to wider than 25.
Would it be okay to show up with the EnduranceWith 28C tires to beginner to intermediate level group rides (bike shop or clubs)
For 20 or 25 mile rides. Here are the two bikes 28C and 25C+ respectively.

$600 discounted from $1K
Diamondback Century (Endurance geometry which is what attacts me to it) 28C tires

$900 discounted from $970


Hi riojaguar,
Relaxed geometry is only one part of the picture. In this particular case, the quality of the bike is going to make the biggest difference; the Specialized is going to be more comfortable, even though it’s more aggressive. A carbon fork is going to absorb more road vibration than an aluminum one, operating the Axis caliper brakes is going to ask less from your hands than the low-rent disc brakes on the Diamondback, and, of course, you get Specialized tires on the Specialized bike, which, in this case, are a big step up from the Michelins.

I would definitely recommend the Specialized, if you don’t mind spending the extra money. I think you’ll be more comfortable, and the Allez will comport itself with dignity at club rides that length.

This is all specific to your available bike choices; in general, an endurance bike is a fine choice for group rides. Unless they’re rabid roadies, softer angles and a few mm wider tire will be more than welcome.


Thank you. Your response was very helpful. Particularly in regards to geometry. I purchased the Specialized Allez E5 Sport in blue. On Saturday, I showed up at the beginner ride for 1 hr, then on my own another 1 hr. On Sunday I showed up at a club’s novice ride for 1.5 hr. The diamondback would have been perfectly fine this weekend, and actually preferable because I think I would have had a better workout then on the Specialized which feels too good. I will move up to the next level next week. I feel very happy with the specialized.
I have a bad lower back (all the way down) in that sitting a short while working on the computer is very uncomfortable, so I was worried and focusing on the geometry because I ride my MTB with no issues. I had zero issues on the Allez and felt great.


That’s ace! An excellent problem to have. I hope next weekend is as enjoyable on the Allez. Maybe more so, since you can take it up a notch.


Looking for some advice on a flat bar road bike. Entry level is where I’m at so no carbon forks for me!
I’m looking st the Merida Speeder 100, Trek FX1 and the Avanti F1 or Cannondale.
They all seem about the same but I don’t really know. I’m open to other brands/ models as well. Maybe the Giant Cross City 2? I’m happy(ish) to spend a bit more if there is a substantial difference but there has to be a limit, right?
I would only be doing city commutes over very benign streets.
They are all very coy about their weight for some reason
I won’t be racing the bike so a more relaxed posture rather than aggressive works for me. I’m 5’ 11’’ if that helps.


Hi Qf400,
All these bikes are substantially similar, kit- and frame-wise. Starting from the lowest price and going up, you’ll notice fairly dramatic improvements for small increments of cash; the Cannondale Quick series is a good example. The cost difference between models from the 8 to 7 to 6 etc. are below $100, and the ride quality changes measurably. One money-saving effort is to look at a previous model year. The prices are usually discounted, and last year’s bikes were pretty much the same as this year’s.

I’d suggest you try out the low end of your price range, and the next one up, and see if it’s worth the difference to you; don’t try out the one ‘just above’ your price range, because that way lies madness. The ride you can afford is perfectly adequate these days - the cheapest Shimano group will shift and brake just fine.
What will matter among brands is the fit. If you sit comfortably aboard the Malvern Star Sprint, you’ll be much happier over time than if you choose a less comfortable, say, Giant, with better componentry.

They’re all reticent to tell you the weight, because they’re all heavy. There may be an alternative for you; if your commute is mostly flat, it might be worth considering a single-speed bike, like the Raleigh Back Alley, which will cost about the same for a substantially lighter bike, if you can manage with a single gear.

Hope that’s some use. If you’d like specific model recommendations, I like the Cannondale Quick 6 or above if it’s not outside the budget, the Merida for the middle range, and the Trek is the best of the cheapest.


Thanks heaps Tom. Very informative.
I will take your advice on board!


Sorry for the late reply , wrote the reply but didn’t upload it. Apologies!
I went with the Merida by the way. A RED one, cos everyone knows red bikes go faster!