I'm buying my first road bike. I don't plan on racing, but riding long distances, and comfort is one of my top priorities with quality. I tried a 58 Allez in my local shop and it felt like a dream but I only rode for a few minutes. They didn't have a 58 Secteur, so I had to try a 56, and it didn't feel as good because it was too small. They say they can't get the 58 Secteur unless I pay for it. So I don't know what to do ... I don't want to buy the secteur without trying it but I am afraid I might pass on a more comfortable bike. Any tips? Also, would sport (sora) vs. elite (tiagra) make a big difference on these?
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Some possible do's:
And some possible don'ts:
As regards which groupset - go for the best one you can afford. The reason for this is that groupsets cost a lot less when they're bought as part of a bike rather than separately. If you get a lesser groupset now, and want to upgrade parts later, it will work out expensive. That's just down to the manufacturers' ability to bulk buy.
Note also that while Tiagra is ok it is definitely not "elite". I have a bike with an old 9sp Tiagra group, which I would say is acceptable, but if you want "elite" you're looking at Dura Ace or Ultegra, which puts you in a different ball park with regard to cost. My only experience of Sora was testing a bike a few years back - the big limitation then was crappy shifters - although I believe the Sora range now has the same style shifters as the higher ranges. I suspect if you tested Tiagra and Sora side-by-side you'd find either to be acceptable but neither would be brilliant. If you can go higher (105 or Ultegra), great, but be wary about choosing anything lower than Sora.