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Discussion Starter #1
I know there's better sites for road questions, but I'm sure theres enough input here for my question so please post up if you can speak from experience.

I mainly ride mtn bikes, but a couple of years ago I picked up a Giant FCR (Rapid) to ride the MS150 on. Since then, my girlfriend and I have enjoyed many hours on the bike and are considering on getting into some entry level road bikes. I've test ridden some different bikes and have come to the conclusion that I need it to be setup more like a touring bike for me to make the jump. The Giant FCR is just too comfortable, I would like to make an easy transition so the geo has to be like that of the FCR.

I've test ridden the giant OCR, the Trek entry level bikes (1.5 or something) and the Trek Pilot. Out of the three, the Pilot has the best fit for comfort while making the jump. My question is, I've found some small brand/off brand bikes called Tommasso, and they have a entry level setup for $450 with a carbon fork. I'm not planning on getting into racing, we just want to be able to ride a bit more efficiently is all. I've compared the geometry of this bike to the pilot, and the biggest difference I can tell is that I will most likely need to replace the fork so as to get a longer steertube in an effort to have more of an upright position.

Is this feasible, and while shopping for forks, do I look for something in particular as far as offset goes? I've found some budget carbon forks made by easton and by rocky mountain for under $100.

http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.asp?id=96728
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/21...s/Accessories/Easton-EC70C-Road-Fork-2009.htm

Are road forks swapable like mtn bike forks? Is it hard to pop the headset piece off and switch over? Is this a viable solution to achieve a touring like geometry? Trying to keep pricing in mind, otherwise the pilot has a nice feel to it.

thanks in advance.
 

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Tomasso is basically a catalog frame bike. Meaning it is a generic frame made by another comapny and then they put Tomasso decals on it. They are decent bikes. However you might want to be careful about trying to covert a racing bike into a touring or comfort road bike. First off the geometry is going to be a lot more twitchey on a race bike, some might consider that a plus though. Second you want to be careful about using too long of a steer tube with lots of spacers to raise the bars. This can put a lot of stress on the lightweight steer tubes used on road forks and can break them. You would be better off using a stem with more rise. Ideally you would want to find a frame that has a longer headtube, like the bikes you mentioned so that you can use a minimal amount of spacers. Also race bikes generally cannot accept a tire bigger than 23c, so the ride is going to be punishing. I personally ride a Giat OCR Carbon 1 and it is the perfect blend of a race bike and comfort road bike. It allows for tires up to 28c, has a longer headtube and a less stretched out riding position.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
ljsmith said:
Tomasso is basically a catalog frame bike. Meaning it is a generic frame made by another comapny and then they put Tomasso decals on it. They are decent bikes. However you might want to be careful about trying to covert a racing bike into a touring or comfort road bike. First off the geometry is going to be a lot more twitchey on a race bike, some might consider that a plus though. Second you want to be careful about using too long of a steer tube with lots of spacers to raise the bars. This can put a lot of stress on the lightweight steer tubes used on road forks and can break them. You would be better off using a stem with more rise. Ideally you would want to find a frame that has a longer headtube, like the bikes you mentioned so that you can use a minimal amount of spacers. Also race bikes generally cannot accept a tire bigger than 23c, so the ride is going to be punishing. I personally ride a Giat OCR Carbon 1 and it is the perfect blend of a race bike and comfort road bike. It allows for tires up to 28c, has a longer headtube and a less stretched out riding position.
dang... i hear yah. I was considering an adjustable stem but not sure how much lift that will give me? I would love an OCR Carbon 1, but again, I'm looking to spend less.

The bike I'm looking at is here: http://www.giantnerd.com/tommaso-imola-road-bike-beginner.html If there's anyway I can make this work with more of a comfortable geo, I would love to make it happen. It comes with 700 x 25 size tires.
 

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ljsmith gives some good reasons not to try to modify the Tommaso. It also has a pretty crappy spec. Why not just go with the Pilot? Pretty much everything on it is better.

Carbon forks are expensive enough, especially if you buy a name brand (which I'd recommend) that you'd be a lot of the way to the Pilot if you bought the Tommaso and swapped the fork. And you'd still have a pretty yucky build kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
AndrwSwitch said:
ljsmith gives some good reasons not to try to modify the Tommaso. It also has a pretty crappy spec. Why not just go with the Pilot? Pretty much everything on it is better.

Carbon forks are expensive enough, especially if you buy a name brand (which I'd recommend) that you'd be a lot of the way to the Pilot if you bought the Tommaso and swapped the fork. And you'd still have a pretty yucky build kit.
Main reason is $450 vs $1350. I ride for exercise so the crispiest shifting and fastest rolling hubs, etc aren't that important to me yet in the road arena. My girlfriend and I hit up the road for exercise and fun, and to date the crapiest spec'd bike of them all, the giant FCR 3 I have, has been one of my favorite bikes.

Trying to find a road oriented bike with comfortable geometry in a sub $800 price range is hard to do. The Immola fits the bill for now, just need to make the geo a bit more friendly is all.

If you have other reccomendations, I'm all ears, but the $400 Immola has the same specs as an $800 trek or Giant entry level bike so why would I go that route? I have to spend $1300 to get the pilot and that's still entry level...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Attaching Geometry specs of the Pilot and the Tommaso Imola. Don't get me wrong, I would love to own a 105 setup aka the Pilot, but I'm on a limited budget when it comes to road bikes and this is my first road bike so I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two aside from geometry/comfort. The 55/M Pilot fits like a glove.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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People have been talking up Sora lately, but honestly, I think if you're getting anything short of the Tiagra group, as far as shifters, you may as well just go old school and get downtube shifters. Sora shifters don't fit my hands, which is part of why I dislike them, but it's true for a lot of people. Lower component groups start to have pretty inconsistent performance.

So the Specialized Allez Steel might be something to look at. Kona used to make a drop-bar road bike, but I think they discontinued it for this year.

Or shop used - plenty of people have already gone out and bought the appropriate bike for you, and a lot of them realize it in time to clear out the garage. Let someone else handle the depreciation on your behalf and the values get a lot better.

I also was just looking at the Pilot 2.0. $1150. Still more expensive, but not as much as the 2.1.

My 'cross bike, the Kona Jake sold for $900 when I bought it. There are some good values hiding out as 'cross bikes right now, and they tend to be built with a little shorter top tube and more head tube.

From a quick look at those geometry charts, the head tube on the Pilot runs about 40mm longer than the Immola at most sizes. That has even more effect on road fit than those 40mm do on MTB fit - there are no riser bars for road bikes. Although different bend shapes can help.

Comfort stems don't care what kind of bike you have, so that's also a fair amount of height, if you go with the Tommasino or a Trek 1-series bike.

If you're good with your hands, you might build something yourself, and cannibalize the Giant for parts. Nashbar and Performance both have house-branded frames to start with.
 

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For $450 I'd look used. Scour craigs list, check local bike shops, even good old newspaper classifieds. Road bikes change every year like mountain bikes, so also look for closeout 2010s and even '09s.

David B.
 
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