I am buying my first road bike and want to stay under $1000.00. I do triathlons and ride maybe twice a week so it won't be used excessivly. i am in the beginning stages and went to my first bike shop and tested out a FELT z100. she told me it is built a little shorter for comfort and it felt great. then again I have been riding a mountain bike for so long ANY road bike is going to be a step up for me! I was wondering if anyone has one of these or has an opinion on it? I liked the way it felt...some things were not the best like the shifting...wasn't very smooth. The clerk at the store told me it is because its a floor model and not tuned just right but I am skeptical...the last thing I want in a race is trouble shifting. Do the add on aero bars go well on this bike? The bike was $750.00 new. I need to have a 58 I am told but almost felt as though the bike was a little small...it still felt great riding it though. I'm about 5'10". What are "105" components? What makes the components better or worse? How do I know if the components on a bike are good? Is FELT a good brand? So many things to have to know....help!
I bought my first road bike, a Felt Z80 about 3 years ago. It's been a good bike for me. I do about 125+ miles per week, weather permitting, on relatively flat ground and some bridges. I don't need the triple crank, though it's nice to know it's there if I did. Tired of all the BS comments (granny gear) from the more seasoned riders though. The geometry has been good for me as I'm 48 y/o with some neck/back issues. I'm 6'1", 165 and ride a 56 frame, so I'm kind of surprised you need a 58. The more upright posture makes it feel smaller I think. The Z80 ('06 model) had Shimano 105 in rear, but the 09 doesn't. I'd go with the Z70 if you can get them down on the price. Also, my Z80 has the interrupter brakes where the aero bars would go - not good for you if they still come with it. I would go for better rust resistant components if I had to do it over. I ride near the beach and marshes every ride and salt is a problem. The only thing I don't like about current Z80 is the red color. I do like the Felt saddles. Hope this helps.
I just bought a 2008 Felt Z70 leftover for $699 ($1099 MSRP in '08) and took a short ride on it today and liked it. Like you, this is my first road bike since I had a Schwinn in high school (back in the late 70s). I rode a mt. bike for some time before switching over to a Trek 7300 hybrid which I have riden for quite a few years. This spring I bought a set of bontrager SSR wheels and 700x25 tires for the hybrid. That was okay but the weight and geometery wasn't really the best for road riding. So, I got the Felt road bike. The '08 Z70 is alloy frame with carbon front fork and carbon wrapped seat post as well as the 105 components. After being used to the brakes on the mt. bike and the hybrid I really like the interrupter brakes on the Z70. I think it will help me transistion to the road riding position.
The shop where I bought it took the time to do a fitting and put a shorter stem in for me. I am a 6' female and got a 61cm bike. I did read that you should be able to stand over the bike with at least 2" between you and the bar. Any reputable and reliable bike store will do a fitting for you. The salesman was very patient and thorough taking measurements of my body and watching me ride on a trainer while makin adjustments. I can also bring the bike back in within 30 days to get the gears adjusted. Again, any good bike store will offer you those services. So, if the shifting isn't working that good on what is supposedly the floor model the mechanics at the store should guarantee the shifting is smooth if you purchase the bike. My shifting was fine today when I took the bike for a ride. I just need to get used to as it is different than my hybrid.
You can google "shimano components" to read about the different components. Pretty much manufacturer will also have a website where you can check out most models and compare before you buy in the store. Good luck in your search for a bike. It is a big investment and there are lots of decisions.
I bought an '09 F85 last weekend. Like you, it is my first road bike; I've been riding an old Cannondale M500 mountain bike (with Ritchie 26 x 1.4 street tires) for the past year. It's a little over your $1000 price point (I paid $1250 for mine), but I felt it was well worth the price for a first road bike. I don't want to have to consider buying another bike for some time to come. I have 65 miles on my F85 already, and I'm really pleased with it. It's very smooth, has a quality look and feel, with solid components, and it performs very well. The drivetrain is Shimano 105, with a Shimano cassette, FSA crankset with two chain rings, carbon forks and seat post, Mavic wheels, 700c Vittoria tires, and Shimano brakes. I'm a small gal, so I have a 50cm frame which measured well for me, but I do think I may need a 52cm frame (I'm feeling a little cramped, but granted, I'm not yet used to a road bike). My dealer told me to put a 100 miles on the bike to give it a chance, and then come back for adjustments. I have done some adjusting myself to the rear derailleur, the seat post and the seat postion, and things have improved each time. I plan to do a mini tri next month, and I will ride the Felt (NOT the Cannondale), and from there...who knows? I do ride 60 miles per week, and I may increase that with this bicycle. Felt bikes have an excellent reputation, and I think I will have this one for a long time. I'm quite pleased with it!
I recently purchased a Felt zw30 and I absolutely love the bike. It was my first "big" bike purchase. I use it primarily for triathlon races and I hope to ride a century ride on it some day. (It's definitely comfortable enough.) The employees of the bike shop where I purchased this bike were very helpful and correctly fitted me on the bike. I'm 5' 2" (I think its a 47/medium) and my legs and torso are the same length (so I am evenly distributed over the bike). The frame will probably last me a lifetime, but I have already outgrown the large front chainring and had the shop put a 52 one on so I could get more power. The bike rides smooth and I love the extra set of brakes. With the womens specific design it makes reaching everything easier and everything just sits right. If had I bigger budget I would of went for another bike in the Felt woman specific family. I researched many bikes in the $1000 price range before coming to the conclusion that Felt really gives you the best bang for the buck. My friend spent over $2000 on a Trek Madone 4.5 and I am happy to report that I didn't have any trouble keeping up with her. Whatever you do I strongly suggest that you try a womens specific design even if you feel "good" on a "unisex" bike; the manufacturers have been trying really hard to make cycling as comfortable as possible for women I just wouldn't want you to miss out on a "great" ride. Please post what you do end up getting.
I, like some of the other posts, purchased a Felt (F70) after owning a Mtn bike for many years. I was very pleased with it. I got into road bike riding enough to upgrade to a full carbon bike and fully intended to buy another Felt. But after testing some other bikes and working with my dealer, I ended up with a Trek (also an excellent bike). I belive that if you like the test ride then you will be very happy with the Felt. As far as the components go Shimano 105 is the group you are going to find on most bikes in this price range and should function smoothly and last for many years with proper care.
If your main emphasis on cycling is triathlon, then you should be looking at a TT bike. The $1,000 you would spend on the Felt would be better invested in a used TT bike. You should be able to find bikes at great prices this time of year. Also, check with your local cycling/racing clubs for used bikes. Craig's List, EBay, etc. Wisconsin must have tons of Trek bikes?
If you find a used TT bike that you like, you can have a shop check it out before you agree to purchase it. That way you can negotiate any parts that may need to be replaced off of the cost.
I have two Felt bikes - an f35 road bike and an s32 tri bike (actually an s32 frame that I built up with my own components). I have around 10,000 miles on the f35 and about 5,000 on the tri bike. I've been very happy with both, although the tri bike has an all aluminum frame, which tends to sting a little on rougher roads. The f35 has carbon seatstays, which really improve the ride comfort.
105 components are the workhorse of the Shimano line and should work fine. The main differences between those components and higher end groups like Ultegra and Dura Ace are finish, weight and price. I suspect the shifting problems you experienced are due to adjustment issues, not the components themselves. Bike shops tend to throw their demo bikes together and worry about fine tuning after the purchase, since they may need to make small adjustments in order to fit the bike to the ultimate buyer. In addition, new cables tend to stretch a bit when first installed, which can cause shifting problems. That's why most bike shops offer free tune ups after you've had the bike for a month or so.
With regard to the Felt Z series, it is a "comfort" road design (most bike companies are marketing some version of this, i.e. Trek Pilot, Cannondale Synapse, etc.). Generally, that means that the top tube is shorter and the head tube is longer, putting the rider in a more upright position. This probably feels pretty comfortable to you since it approximates the position you're used to from riding your mountain bike. It is, however, exactly the opposite of the ideal position for a tri bike. For a (non-draft legal) triathlon, you are best served by riding with your upper torso as low and flat as you can comfortably maintain for your race distance. The more upright you are, the more air you push, and wind resistance increases as a square of your speed. If you can drive a mountain bike 17 to 18 mph, as you noted on your other thread, you can probably drive a road bike over 20. At that speed, wind resistance is a substantial factor.
You can lower your back position on a road bike by adding aerobars. The problem then becomes that your hip angle is compressed to the point that your stroke becomes inefficient - your upper thigh may even hit your stomach at the top of your stroke. That problem can be solved in turn by moving the seat forward, often by replacing the stock seatpost with a straight (as opposed to setback) or even a forward (curved toward the handlebar at the top) seatpost. However, while you can achieve a low, efficient aero position on a road bike by making these adjustments, you usually end up too far forward, so that too much of your body weight is over the front wheel. That results in twitchy handling, making it harder to relax on long rides and corner smoothly. It's also problematic, as I mentioned in an earlier post, in that you have to reach off the aerobars any time you want to shift.
Tri bikes are built to avoid these issues with steeper angle seatposts, longer front-centers (the measurement from the bottom bracket to the front axle) and short head tubes. You can achieve a low, long torso position while maintaining your weight distribution between the wheels. Shifters are on the aerobars so you don't have to alter position to change gears. They are comfortable to ride for long distances since your weight is supported on your elbows, rather than your triceps.
I went through the entire evolution, starting with a cheap road bike, getting a nicer road bike (the f35), adding aerobars and a straight seatpost, then adding a dedicated aerobar with bar end shifters, and finally purchasing an s32 frame and building my current tri bike. Every successive step added a little speed and comfort to my bike leg. The question you have to answer is whether you want to stay with a road bike, go through the intermediate steps, or go straight to the dedicated tri bike. Since you're the only one who knows what you can afford and what you intend to do with your bike once you get it, you're on your own from here.
One suggestion I would make, however. If you decide to go with a road bike and add clip on aerobars, get the largest frame that will comfortably fit you. That should give you the longest possible front-center, which should make the conversion to aero positioning as comfortable and stable as possible. Be sure to let your salesman know that you intend to use your bike for triathlons, as that may affect his or her suggestion as to models and sizes.
I like the two bike option, myself.
A very informative and interesting post. Thanks. Now I know why the Z70 was a comfortable road bike fit for me coming from a hybrid. A good transistion that I hope will last me for quite a few years as I don't intend to do an triathlons and just fitness riding.
I've been very, very happy with my F55 and with Felt as a company so far.
I snapped the right chainstay on my '04 Felt F55 earlier this year, (after four years of use) and Felt replaced the frame with no questions asked or delay. My new frame's chainstays are slightly beefier than the original, but the ride is still very smooth and comfortable.
I resisted buying this bike, but now I'm glad my friend talked me into it. It's very, very comfortable, even compared to my old steel frame.
The ONLY thing I would change about it is the flat-black paint--it's like asphalt-camouflage and I'd like a little more visibility.
A 2010 f85 is $1,200! A bit out of the range that I want to spend or can justify to my family without seeming selfish! I was hoping someone who had a Z series could give me an opinion. How fast they feel they are on them vs. F series and what kind of sucess in races people have had riding them?
I ride a Scott CR1 Team and my wife just bought a Felt F85. I have not ridden it because I ruptured my left Achilles tendon and can't much of anything, but I am really impressed with this bike. It weighs about what my Scott weighs and my Scott is carbon fiber. She says the ride is smooth and she really likes the bike. The shop did an excellent job fitting her and with any bike that will be extremely important. The Garmin Slipstream pro team rides Felt, so you know they're pretty good bikes. If you're serious about triathlons, you will not be doing yourself any favors buying a low end bike. There is no way I would ever take a bike equipped with Sora components into a race. Now is the time to look for closeouts on 2009 models because the shops are getting the 2010 models in. Where I live some of the bike shops are ski shops in the winter and they REALLY want to get rid of the bikes this time of year.
I do not race but own two Felts, a 2008 Z35 and a 2007 Z65. My son rides a Felt F3. My Z35 is all dura-ace with an FSA SLK Lite compact crank and my Z65 is a triple ultegra setup which I consider my mountain bike and use it on rougher roads. I love both of them and ride anywhere from 100 to 200 miles a week. I'm an avid cyclist and do club rides several times a week and also do event rides (centuries) etc... I wouldn't buy anything with less than 105 level components. I'm 5'11" and ride a 56. The Z frames have a sloped geometry which causes them to spead you out over the frame even if you do sit more upright. They are rigid frames and great for sprinting and the only thing that would stop them from being just as fast as any other bike would your position in the wind. If you are going to install aero bars then it might just defeat the purpose unless of course you want slightly raised aerobars.
Gerry is right about the pricing. The shop where I bought my F85 just two weeks ago now has two 2009 F75's on closeout for $1200 (no, they won't give me any money back!). He's right about the level of bicycle, too. If you're going to compete, don't skimp on it. You'll end up regretting it! Then, there is the old mantra that mom always repeated - "you get what you pay for".