Latest on my hunt for a new bike. It's not easy. The bike market is quite complicated, there's a lot to take in. Most bike shops are trying to flog what they've got in stock, websites are of varying quality (see earlier post), it seems to be taking a huge amount of my time (unnecessarily). Primarily, as there are a lot of technical things to consider, every manufacturers geometry is different and unless you know what you're talking about you can easily walk out of a shop with an overpriced bike.
Magazine reviews are helpful, Cycling Plus have just published their "Bike of the Year" review, where the Cannondale Six Carbon 105 took the honours. What? A bike with a 105 groupset and an alumnium frame. Not a piece of carbon or a Dura Ace groupset in sight. See what I mean about confusing?
Here's what I would do if I were a bike manufacturer. I would allow someone to enter their measurements into my website, then I would recommend the right frame size to them based upon those (step 1 sorted). I would provide some slider buttons to allow the user to set a from/to budget (step 2). I would allow them to click some other key settings about what they are going to use the bike for, such as outright racing, sportives, commuting etc (step 3). I would then deliver the results of the bikes in the range and allow them to further filter them by things like groupsets Sora, 105, Ultegra, Dura-Ace etc or any other criteria. (step 4). It would basically get you to the bikes that are in your budget, size and spec so much more quickly. So, if there are any bike manufacturers reading this, send me a comment and I'll come do some consultancy with you to show what hoops a buyer has to get through to get to your product. You're not making it easy!