Which Bike Would You Recommend?

Further to my bike quest… I am thinking to buy a drop bar road bike (already have a flat bar)

This is my favourite However, it is close to 2K.

Another bike which I can get for ~$700 is

Of course the first one has disc brakes and 105 groupset.

Is there any other major difference or a good condition second hand bike (the second one) would be sufficient.

Update: The second hand bike got sold. :(


  • I'd go for the the carbon scultura 400, after going from a alloy to carbon bike i've never wanted to go back.
    It's more comfortable, somewhat lighter, plus resale is much better.
    The added bonus is discs which are great during winter.

    Otherwise you could pick up a rim brake, previous gen scultura, Giant TCR or Trek Madone for around $1000-$1500

  • What's the other difference between your current bike? Are you gonna use the current for quick trips around, and the new one for longer distance exercise?

    • Are you gonna use the current for quick trips around, and the new one for longer distance exercise?

      The current one for ride with the kids when they ask me to go for a ride with them.

      Also can give it to my elder son who currently has a mountain bike.

  • Those bikes are chalk and cheese in specifications, no wonder one of them is about 2x the price of the other.
    Shimano Tiagra is an entry level gearing mechanism - if you've ridden before and want a bit of quality, go for the 105's

  • Check out gumtree for second hand bike that you want.

  • If you just want a bike to coast around the neighbourhood and down to the shops on - the $700 will be fine

    If you want something with a bit more longevity and you want to get into cycling and ride some decent rides - I'd get the Scultura. Disc brakes are awesome, and the current 105 gear runs like a dream. Not to say that Tiagra is garbage, because its still a great groupset for the price.

    But my biggest tip is - Ride it - As you're going from a flat bar to a drop bar - you might find the geometry alot different. so the Scultura might be a bit too aggressive.

    Something like a Giant Contend might be a better option with wider tyres for better comfort. I dont think I'd ride anything smaller than a 700x28

  • I dont necessarily agree with people re: disc breaks, they can often be used by salespeople as some sort of massive upgrade of a rim break (its newer so must be better!). yes, if you are riding around in the rain in winter all the time, the disc breaks will probably help a bit.

    I started out riding on a pretty heavy road bike from reid that I bought for about $700 and rode many thousands of KMs on, and have since upgraded to a much nicer, lighter carbon road bike. The difference is very noticeable, but it really comes down to what you want to do. As others have mentioned I strongly recommend that you give both a ride, but if you are riding around with the kids and just topping out at 30-40km distances on relatively flat rides, a $700 bike is totally enough.

    • Agreed.
      Also, if you are going to ride regularly then go for good quality gear atleast 105 otherwise trip to bike shop for fine tuning etc will be frequent and they are expensive. Was the reason i sold my entry level bike and bought nicer one.

      Speaking of that a used good quality bike can be had for 1-1.5k as well.

    • As others have mentioned I strongly recommend that you give both a ride, but if you are riding around with the kids and just topping out at 30-40km distances on relatively flat rides, a $700 bike is totally enough.

      Currently topping out at 60-65 kms on the weekend. Would like to increase it eventually.

      • Currently topping out at 60-65 kms…Would like to increase it eventually.

        Then definitely go for the carbon frame with 105 group-set.

        • Agreed, I was getting up to 60-70km rides and was really feeling it on the older, heavier road bike. Would probably recommend a nicer bike, especially if you are looking to up it to the 100 mark.

          Before you know it youll be looking for a $7000 weapon too ;)

  • The more expensive one is clearly a better bike, but I'm surprised by the difference in price between the two. Not sure if this is still a supply issue, but the difference seems overs.

    I'd do a bit of shopping around. You may be able to find a full 105 rig for a few hundred off this price. Last time I looked (admittedly this was a while ago) I thought the 105s were running more around the $1,500 - $1,700 mark (with Ultegras starting to get down to about the $2k mark), but more like $2k may be the current going rate.

    Based on your current (and desired) use case though, I'd be looking at a 105 bike for sure.

    • The other one is used. Put the link just for the specs.

    • You're pretty lucky to even get a 105 for $2k at the moment, bikes are still pretty enormously expensive, and when you speak to bike shops (if they even have stock of anything) they are mostly only interested in selling the more expensive kit.

      If you've got the confidence buying second hand is absolutely the way to go right now, let someone else buy an expensive new bike and swoop in on the one they are getting rid of.

      • Been checking the Facebook market place and it is so confusing… For a second hand bike, I don't want to spend more than $800.

        The bikes under that amount are quite old (avg around 10 yrs).

        • Yeh it can be hard to navigate because often people selling older high-end bikes arent using all the parts of a single groupset so its a bit all over the place, as with anything you can only do the research you can do and then hope that they arent messing with you

  • I've been waiting for these to come in to stock at 99 Bikes.


    Sure it's not 105, but the price seems good for spec offered.

    Looks like an extremely versatile bike.

    • That looks pretty good, and I'm interested as a commuter bike, but there's a strange statement in the description that should be taken with a pinch of salt (I suspect they've cut-and-pasted it in from a review). They suggest it would benefit from a brake upgrade but that's non-trivial at this price point. That would need new shifters as well as brakes and lines - the shifters alone are $350-$400 at retail.
      If that appeals, you might want to do it in the initial build (get your LBS to do it for the delta against the mechanical set)…

  • 105 opens up the options to upgrade to ultegra or higher later on.
    Hydraulic Disk, you will have to bleed air when checking the brake fluid. you may find it little annoying/challenging if you've never done one.

    also if you ever going to use smart bike trainer some supports 11 speed out of box but not 10 (need to change parts,etc).

    It really depends on how much you're going to ride and how often you're going to ride. $2k isn't a lot, I ride Merida bike too and covered over 10,000km in three years (it's not a lot but for a guy who's over 40+ and kinda overweight? hehehe)

    • Almost all bike trainers will support 9/10/11 speed cassettes with the simple addition of spacers where needed.

      I have run 9sp on my Elite Turbo Muin trainer just fine.

    • Hydraulic Disk, you will have to bleed air when checking the brake fluid

      They should hardly ever need checking. If the brakes work, it’s all good. If there is any sponginess in the lever, or they need pumping then you might need to bleed some air. Often just requires opening the reservoir and dropping a little oil in while flicking the lever.

      Bleeding can be a hassle, but it’s not overly difficult.

      • Absolutely - I have one with hydraulics that hasn't been bled in ten years and was recently given the thumbs up by the bike mechanic.

  • People upgrade their bikes when it's time for a new chain, maybe new cassette, brakes pads etc. and decide to splurge and get a new bike. If you're looking at buying second hand, you have to factor in the cost of a chain, cassette, brake pads and maybe cables to get anywhere near what you're getting with a new bike, plus the new bike will probably come with a bike fit and one free basic service. Oh, and a warranty—and that's two years on new Shimano components (speaking of which, don't go lower than 105).

    I'm not saying don't buy second hand, but it would need to be a LOT cheaper—like less than half the price—of a comparable new bike.

    • Pre covid they typically were 50% the price of new.

      A chain, cassette and brake pads shouldn’t cost more than a couple of hundred for good quality stuff if you can install yourself.

  • I got one of these for my first drop bar road bike: https://www.reidcycles.com.au/products/reid-granite-3-0-new-....
    Good value - carbon forks, disc brakes, Tiagra components. Good for both road and gravel riding if you don't want to go the full skinny tyre option. I didn't want to spend too much beyond $1k at this stage but it's been great so far and no issues. Staff at the store were good too and was able to test ride.

  • Since you're getting your first drop bar road bike, I would highly suggest that you look at second hand instead of a brand new one. If you increase your budget a bit to over $1k, you should be able to find a decent carbon bike, as long as the size you're after is popular. It's hard to find small bikes but mediums and larges are very common. It's also an opportunity to learn some basic bike maintenance skills and knowledge, especially if you want to incorporate cycling into your lifestyle long term.

    In terms of weight, I do agree that carbon bikes are much better, but at the end of the day, it really just comes down to fitness. I used an alumnium hybrid bike when I first started and it was heavy as, even a very small incline will freak me out but over time I got faster even on that bike. After switching to a carbon bike, obviously the improvements are vast, but you do need to continue to focus on improving your fitness rather than spending more and more money on upgrading your bike.

    With brakes, I have disc brakes on my bike but it's a gravel drop bar bike. I use it for everything, my original road bike is on the trainer now permanently. Disc brakes give me more confidence when I'm off road or when I'm coming down a big descend, but if you're mostly just doing city trails and road riding, then rim brakes are more than adequate. Gravel bikes are fun and versatile, you might not be able to go as fast as a road bike but I'm not a hard core cyclist and don't go over 30kmh anyway, so this gravel bike has been game changing for me. Maybe something for you to consider as well.

    I don't know if I'm of much help, I probably made it even harder for you to make a decision. Good on you for cycling, active modes of transport are so much healthier for the person and for the environment too, so good luck on your journey.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      I did a test ride of the Merida scultura 400 and it felt good. My thinking is that if I am spending over $1K, I might as well get a new bike. Carbon is good, but I don't mind the aluminium frame either. The weight difference (according to the shop) between the carbon and aluminium one is not more than 100g.

      I do get the point of gravel bikes, but that's for me to consider some time later. At the moment I just want to ride on the paved bike tracks.

      • I think the Merida you linked looks like a great bike. I don’t think there will be a huge difference between full carbon and carbon-forked aluminium at that price. Maybe if you were comparing with full carbon that costs twice as much, but entry level carbon bikes aren’t that light. The price isn’t a bargain, but is reasonable. As others have said, you might get a better deal by being waiting for the right one to come up second hand, but that could take a while and involves some risk and a bit of luck. For a new bike, my other suggestion would be to go to some local shops and look for new old stock or clearance models, though there might not be a huge amount around at present

  • Fyi 4000 vs 400 series weight is half a kg difference, not 100g like you got told

    • Still half a kilo is probably less than the difference of going for a ride before or after the ‘morning routine’ or a full water bottle.

      • Yup very true. But just wanted to make sure the OP knew the correct fact.

        • I pointed it out because too many people are hung up on the weight of a bike. The difference between a budget, but quality, bike and a good quality bike is often under 1kg. A super flash bike will be a few kgs at most.

          When you are talking about a 8-12kg bike it’ll normally be around 10% of the total weight of bike and rider - and it’s a lot cheaper to cut weight from the rider.

          A cheap bike will feel heavy to ride because of cheap, heavy wheels and tyres and/or poor bearing adjustment and lubrication.

  • And keep in mind all the different geometries every brand and model/version of model… And also your flexibility. And the terrain you're looking to commonly ride.

    Best thing to invest in is a bike fit, especially as a newbie. Some good fitters are physios too and some will recommend you a bike range and fitment package.

    Essentially you don't want a bike that you hate riding, so you will never ride it. No matter the cost.

  • If you're planning to eventually do 100km+ rides increase your budget because once you get hooked you will want to upgrade. I know its a lot of money to spend on a bike but increasing your budget to 3-5k will get you a very good bike.

    Go full carbon you won't regret it.