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£300 bike versus £1000 bike - what's the difference?

There's a lot of "How much should I spend on a bike?" or "What cheap bike" questions lately, probably because search is still broken, so I thought I'd add a few thoughts on my recent experiences.

I've spent the last 4 years on a £300 Halfords Carrera. [:o] I have made a few changes - planet-X forks made the front end a lot more comfortable and saved about 3 kilos, cheap shimano wheels improved the stock items a fair amount. Other than that, the bike is the old spec 7005 frame, Tiagra derailleurs and Sora shifters.

Anyway, last week saw delivery of a Dolan Mythos - carbon frame, forks, seat post, Mavic Aksium wheels, all the shiny bits are 20spd Ultegra and Ultegra brakes. Bought via Halfords Cycle2Work (I had no choice) for £1000, but ex-tax, ex-vat it comes out to about £550 interest free over 18 months. Yay!

To cover another point asked elsewhere: Its a road bike. I'm only getting one decent bike so I got a road bike.

So what's the difference?

First, this bike is lighter, particularly up top, so it whips from side-to-side when you grab the bars and sprint.

Second, it is sooooo much stiffer than the other bike - not uncomfortable, but you can feel the frame transferring power up a hill.

Next, at the merest sniff of a downhill it seems to eat the gears, right up to 55kph+. For medium uphills it holds speed in a way I am completely unused to.

Finally, there is a psychological advantage: it is very cool to ride. It just oozes quality, and the spinny bits are a clear improvement - gear changes are just 'click-click-click' even under full power.

One last big surprise for me... BRAKES. Bloody hell! I still can't get used to them. The bike stops as fast as it goes (although we all know that brakes are for losers [:D]).

I am sure this would apply to just about any bike in the £1000 category compared to just about any bike in the £300 category (assuming it fits you, is red etc etc). IT IS A LOT BETTER.

Now, if think if I went up to a £3000 bike I'm probably not good enough to really notice the difference - most probably the weight would be obvious. Also, we have discussed how you can get into diminishing returns and you have to work out if the benefit (which is dependent on your skill and speed) is worth the cost. For many of the fast guys here it is definitely worth the extra, for me: maybe not.

So, I'm not going to say 'spend more, more, more' because we each have our priorities and you shouldn't stress over not having the latest rocket-ship hand crafted from moon-dust. I am simply observing that this £1k bike is a surprising amount better than a £300 bike even to this rank amateur! [:)]

Anyway, just my experiences. Hope it helps.

I'm off to the garage to sneak another look at my Dolan.


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    Well said Bopo i agree with you all the way just take what you can afford to your limit.

    I did the same and paid 1000 for my Raleigh carbon Pro and it's great. Light, responsive feels good and of course it's Red.

    If i got any better at this game i woud certainly look at upgrading again but i am a firm believer that you got to be fit enough no matter what you ride.
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    GHarvGHarv Posts: 456
    Nice post.

    Bopo - shouldn't you be doing some work though!!

    D'oh me too.

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    nivaghnivagh Posts: 595

    You keep it in the garage? I'm surprised you're not taking it to bed with you [:D]
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    ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Well done and I am glad things have worked out at last for you.

    Similar experience for me, things just work so much better and right on about brakes - did a route on my new bike and old one the other week, went on the old bike second and almost went into a hedge as brakes were not on the same level.

    Smashing, glad you got things sorted out eventually.

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    TTX PROTTX PRO Posts: 225
    Dolans are brilliant for the money,Dont know about taking the bikes to bed with you,the girlfriend have somin to say.lol.I have an expensive wilier and it goes like JETMAN,Bloody fast but youve hit a good point tho.It does vary from make-make.Some are more higher quality in frames than others and others have better kit or bling than the ones with the higher quility frame,Also how much development goes into that model(you find that TT bikes have far more research done on them,in the name of aerodynamics).Its a tough one to answer,the way to find out is by looking at race results and model reviews than you get a good idia but then you hit anouther problem.One bike may suite that rider down to the ground but may not in another rider and to be honest it gives me a headache just thinking about,ive been trying to decide on a new TT frame to replace my wilier(wich hasn't changed for 2009).Still havnt decided.
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    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Well, bopo, have to agree. Same story here.

    The new bike (yes ,you know it's a cervelo[image]http://forum.220magazine.com/micons/m6.gif[/image]) , even though the previous one wasn't bad either, This one is so much better. Worth the extra cash, will get paid in big improved bike times and better runs off the bike for sure!!!

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    treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Bomopho, This is what I have been preaching here for 500+ posts! You've seen the light, spread the good news brother
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    treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
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    nivaghnivagh Posts: 595

    I ride a Dolan as well, or rather, I bought a Dolan frame as an upgrade for my Trek 1500, which was also a bit too big :) I'm now on a Dolan Pallotola and it's definitely faster than the Trek frame was, though I haven't been riding for long enough to pick up on any of the more subtle differences in handling.
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