As the title says would like some opinions,advise on a bike purchase.

About me. I'm 46 215lbs 6'1" love long walks on the beach just kidding but I do who doesnt? I live in Chicago and am in need of a new bike. I'm currently on a 10 year old Schwinn hybrid. I will be using for my main mode of transportation year roun and would love to hit some trails as well. B

I've read about all I can stand on this subject and from what I'm seeing everyone seems to concur that Raleigh builds some darn good bikes. They seem to have what I'm looking for better speed than what I have now,comfort with options to hit trails ride through Winer conditions and the bike anyway be appealing.

I'd love to have a bunch of expendable cash but need to be around $1000 or I would just buy the new Track Checkpoint alr4. Bike to me is just sexy as hell. Black like my coffee. And the wife would suit most importantly.

I'm pretty positive that I'm going to get the Willard 4. With discounts and all close to the other Willards.

So I'm no bike genius but all I can really tell the biggest difference is the 105 hearing and what not. Excuse my ignorance but assume there are more upgrades but not sure.

Is it worth the extra bucks to get the 4 vs. 3,2.... Anything I gets going to be a big improvement. Oh I'm in or close to the city in Chicago and recently moved here. Any input would be super helpful Thanks!
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I love these posts....I am 49, grew up near Chicago (now live in NH), and started on a Specialized Hybrid. Ironically, I also prefer my bikes to be all black, also like my coffee.  

Go to every LBS you can and ride whatever you can to fee the differences. I have Carbon Crux that was built for racing 'cross. I tried that, but found I like riding mellow longer gravel more. I recently bought a second bike to store in FL where I work 14-days a month. It's a Salsa Vaya Tiagra. I really like it. The change in materials and geometry really stood out to me. I was hoping to spend $1000 on my FL bike, I ended up at $1500 on the Vaya. I looked closely at Raleigh, Surly and Salsa as I leaned towards a steel frame.  In fact, I am probably going to sell my Crux this Fall and buy something more suited for the riding I find enjoyable.  Good luck, there are a ton of opinions on bikes.

Ride on! [cool]
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Fikeman I don't know a lot about the Willard line but I do know some about the Raleigh bikes. I have never owned an aluminum bike. I have a 2016 Raleigh Tamland 1 and a 2017 Raleigh Roker Comp. The Tamland 1 was a great bike but was too heavy for  me at 25 lbs to race here on the East Coast. I wouldn't overlook the Tamland 1. I like the Tamland 1 over my Roker because it has the Shimano 105 2x. I have been riding the Roker for over 500 miles now I think and still haven't been comfortable with the 1x Sram Rival 1. If you are going to buy a bike with 1x I would suggest you take one out for a test ride before you buy one. Not matter what you buy Raleigh I think you will be happy with it. You do know about the Corporate discount right? Raleigh will help you set it. Good luck

If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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Grade was one of the first attempts at a gravel bike – last time I looked it didn’t have great tire clearance.  For me that was a deal stopper.


I love Aluminum.  It is light, responsive, fast, and fun.  The carbon version of that specific bike is a lot smoother riding though.  I found one for $1500 (returned to the store) – probably should have bought it, but I do love having 40mm+ tires.

Steel is nice.  I have a couple of steel bikes.  But my aluminum bikes are lighter and more responsive.  A good seat, seat post and tires more than make up the difference in ride quality on my bikes.

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Thanks for all the imput! Yummy you're correct. I need to get my meat in the seat and test test test. And Am an i figured out my account. I wasn't logged in duh. And Chad i do want aluminum at least I tried to weigh my current bike and was between 35-40 lbs not accurate had to use bathroom scale as I can't find bike info.

Is a bike that's a bike with 105 components worth a couple extra hundred bucks vs Sram or Tiagra ? Thanks!!
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Fikeman wrote:
Is a bike that's a bike with 105 components worth a couple extra hundred bucks vs Sram or Tiagra ? Thanks!!

Sorry but there isn't a simple yes/no answer.

First, companies mix so many components in making a product line based on a frame.  For example there might be 4 models based on the same frame and sell at different price points spanning over $1,000.  For example the entry model will have 10 speed Tiagra shifters with no-name cheap wheels, crankset, mechanical disk brakes, bars & seatpost.  The next model could have SRAM Apex 11-speed with upgraded wheels needed to support 11spd and most other components unchanged.  Moving up to the next model one gets Shimano 105 drivetrain, better wheels & tires, and Shimano hydraulic brakes. The top of the line model could be SRAM Force with branded wheels, carbon bars and seatpost, etc etc.

So one needs to look at the entire package and decide what one really wants, needs, and can afford.

My all carbon Raleigh Roker was only $1.5k -BUT- it has a 2x10 Tiagra drivetrain and will require new wheels should I decide to upgrade to 2x11.  This would be a major expense.  BUT I bought the bike for the carbon frameset and because I didn't want hydraulic brakes or a press fit bottom bracket (it's a religious thing).  I also have a 2x10 SRAM Red drivetrain which will go on in the near future.  A 2x11 drivetrain would be awesome but 2x10 will work just fine for me (read: when I get dropped it isn't because of the drivetrain).

Shimano 105 is (IMHO) a huge upgrade over Tiagra.  Ultegra is an incremental improvement over 105 and IMHO not worth it.

Moving up a product line SHOULD result in a lighter bike but not always.

Other times the upgrade provides functional improvement and little or no weight savings. For example moving from mechanical to hydraulic disk brakes, 10spd to 11spd, or to a frame with greater tire clearance or attachment points for the racks or other stuff one plans to use.

Wheels and tires have the greatest impact on performance.

When upgrading based on a $$$/gram perspective, the parts which I look at first include: tires, saddle, cassette, crankset/bb.  Derailleurs and shifters typically have very poor $$$/gram returns.

Lastly, look for the bike configured closest to how you'll use it.  Consider tire width, gear ratios (Is the range too narrow or wide? Are the highest/lowest appropriate for your use?).

I prefer buying a bike with as good a frame/fork as possible and then plan to upgrade parts as necessary.  Conversely one can look to get into something with a plan to upgrade to a new bike in a few years.

Hope this helps,
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Yeah, what Greg said.

I’ve typically gone for 105 or better as there isn’t much functional difference between 105 and the top two tiers (mostly a little weight and materials).  I would pay a couple hundred for 105.

Certainly, nothing wrong with Sram Rival – well if you are not too hooked on the mechanics of shifting the Shimano way. 

Like greg said – there is more than just the name on the derailer.  I would pay a lot more for good wheels, because I don’t want to sell bad stock wheels for only $100 (although ( like having two sets of wheels on my gravel bike).

I have a lot of bikes from the ‘90s (they don’t make them like they used to, lol).  Steel is just now coming back into favor, and it aint cheap.  But for my new bike I didn’t want to upgrade (the single biggest reason I didn’t get a Roker).  I wanted to have it perfect out of the box as I’ve dinked around with maintaining bikes enough.  There is something to be said for a well thought out complete package.

(P.S. – if it has good tires and wheels, they probably haven’t skimped on anything).

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I hated the old Tiagra.  When they came out with the newest series in 2016 it improved tremendously.  I like it much better than 6700 10 speed Ultegra.  The shifting is so smooth and it's very rare that I drop a chain on my Tiagra bike.  I ride mostly solo.  No club rides.  No racing.  For someone looking to ride a bike at their own pace Tiagra is absolutely fine.  Same with Apex on the SRAM side.  If you are racing then 105 or SRAM Rival are where you are going to want to start.  It all depends on what type of riding you do.

Like others here I've had so many different drive trains over the years.  The road stuff they have now is really awesome.  Honestly I would go with the best deal and run what it came with for a year and then upgrade.  It's not like it's tough to find good 10 speed wheels.  Are they going to be $2,000 carbon wheels?  No but if that's what you were looking for then you aren't going to buy one of these kinds of bikes in the first place.

One other thing to consider is that gravel is not the same as road.  You might find that a compact crankset is still too high and want to switch to a sub-compact.  You might have problems in the mud and go for Gevenalle friction shifters or some high end Paul brakes.  The big brand components aren't always the best options when you ride gravel.

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