most important aspect of a race bike?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by ccrnnr9, Mar 11, 2006.

  1. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9 New Member

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    am in a dilemma. I have been looking for a new bike around the 2000$ price range and after looking a lot I have found quite a few bikes that I like yet it is hard to find one bike that has everything I want. This leads me to the question of what is/are the most important components? I have been shopping and riding non-stop for the past month and really have not made much headway. There are a number of components to be considered and it seems like in this price range you cannot find one bike that has all of everything. The main components I am speaking of are wheels, main componentry (shifters, dereilleurs, etc), and frame. Is it better to buy a bike with say a nice CF frame that fits well (obviously) and is very light weight and have it be equipped with say 105 10-spd as opposed to ultegra and have shimano 550 wheelset as opposed to Kyseriums or other wheel of similar calibar? On the other hand, bikes like the Bianch Virata and Vigorelli weigh more but are equipped with these components. All of the bikes I am considering I have ridden and all fit me well with the proper adjustment:
    Specialized Tarmac Comp
    Bianchi Vigorelli and Virata
    Felt F4c
    Felt F55
    Orbea Vuelta
    Cannondale Six13 Pro2

    For me specifically, I am just getting into racing for my college team and I will ride for a team this summer. Is it best to find a bike with the best frame and get what I can get with respect to wheels and components and plan on upgrading later? On the other hand, I can get a heavier frame with some CF mixed in and get awesome components, as is the case of the F55, and Vigorelli. I don't want to be a weight weenie but especially since my strength is in the hills, I think every bit helps. I prefer to have as stiff a frame as possible so that I dont get a lot of flex when climbing or sprinting. I am still new to a lot of this so if any of you can give me advice as to what is most important, please tell me. I am not looking for advice of which bike to pick or what experiences are w/ each, although they are welcome. Thanks!
    ~Nick
     
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  2. Fat Hack

    Fat Hack New Member

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    Most people would say the frame is the most important, but I think it depends on what you really want. If you really want a carbon bike, then you might have to go for the cheaper componentry, such as 105, or whatever. So, you've got to decide if you want carbon or aluminum.

    Other than that, I would would go for better group-set (STIs, derailleurs, etc) rather than wheels, because wheels can be quickly trashed and are the easiest component to update and switch over . :)
     
  3. John M

    John M New Member

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    Of course the motor is the most important thing, but regarding the bike, fit is the most important thing. Then wheels. 250gm more on the frame will not slow you as much as 250gm on the wheels.
     
  4. moggy

    moggy New Member

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    easy choice....the cannondale or the specialised

    pick between the two based on your test ride
     
  5. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9 New Member

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    Actually of all the bikes I rode, those were my least favorite of the ones I am still considering.
     
  6. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    If you are on a budget, get a nice frame and equip it with 105/veloce level components. This stuff is fine to race on, and whatever you break in a crash can be replaced easily at relatively little expense.

    Later, when you are hooked/have the cash, you can always upgrade the parts with the latest, greatest and lightest piece by piece, on what is a good quality frame.

    Same story for the wheels...

    Happy shopping and racing!
     
  7. njeitner

    njeitner New Member

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    Let me first say that you've done the best thing you can by trying before you buy. Having said that asking people on the web for aknoweldgement of you choices or options is fraught with danger and religious zeal!

    There's an established idea (at least in computing) that you get the best that you can afford, because it will become obsolete in 3 months. The same can be argued for cycling. Perhaps not to the same extent.......

    Of the bikes that you've ridden, which one feels best TO YOU in the situations that you expect to use it. From there, start looking at the "upgrades" that you believe that YOU would want to make in the longer term. It is "cheaper" to kit you bike out how you want when you purchase it. But there are corners that you can cut. So perhaps it's best to ask "What things you you upgrade first and which would you upgrade last?"

    My personal opinion would be as follows:

    1/ frame that handles, feels and responds in a fashion that gives a rider the confidence to perform well! (period)

    2/ Wheels...

    3/ saddle, pedals and bar tape. These are the five contact points that you will have intamite (sp?) knowledge of at any time during your riding. They will make or brake :) a ride/race.

    4/ Group set.. religious argument with no founding.... enough said!

    5/ wheels, I know that I've mentioned this already, but IMO it's the biggest performance improvement.

    On a personal note, if you plan to race and want performance... forget the labels and think about the ride. The labels don't mean shit!..... honestly. What brings out the best in YOU is the important thing. Not whether the label says made in [Italy|USA etc]
     
  8. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Well, at least you can make your decisions with facts rather than myths. Here are some comments and data relevant to your questions.

    Frame deflections under load http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard_frametest.html. Form your own opinion.

    Speed differences of aero wheels and frames http://www.cervelo.com/content.aspx?m=Engineering&i=Aerodynamics. Form your own opinion.

    Component sets. All component sets offered by Campy and Shimano are of high quality. There are some differences, however, and whether the differences are important to you is a judgment call. If you plan to race, you probably want a wide range of cassette options for different courses. There are differences. Check out each mfgr's catalog. The shifters are different. Try out both and decide which style you prefer. I prefer Campy shifters, but others prefer Shimano.
     
  9. PeterF

    PeterF New Member

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    ......I am not looking for advice of which bike to pick or what experiences are w/ each, although they are welcome. Thanks!
    ~Nick[/QUOTE]
    I race a local crit series and last year I bought a set of new wheels (Campy Eurus'). I raced today for the first time on the Eurus' and found that they improved my performance greatly. Obviously a proper fitting frame is most important, but I believe that a nice set of wheels will make a much bigger difference than components. Anything from Shimano 105 to Campy Record will work fine as long as you keep it in good shape. Keep it cleaned and lubed and it won't let you down.
     
  10. Hypnospin

    Hypnospin New Member

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    the fundamental most imortant aspect of the race bike is fit, your fit must be determined to be appropriate and then the bike you consider must duplicate to this, or all else is just a compromise.


     
  11. triguy98

    triguy98 New Member

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    Pick your favorite handling frame. Higher end components are nice, but wont make you faster. Nicer wheels make a bigger impact on your bike than a jump from 105 level to Ultrega or even DA level.
     
  12. achtervolger

    achtervolger New Member

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    Without hesitation, I will tell you that the 2 main factors that affect the quality of your riding experience are the frame (fit) and the wheels. Components come in a distant third.

    1. Get a frame that fits.
    2. Get a frame with the ride quality you want, stiff/comfortable/whatever. Don't worry about the weight too much.
    3. Get a very good set of wheels.
    4. Get decent, working components.
     
  13. Insight Driver

    Insight Driver New Member

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    By this time I think you have a good idea what the real priorities are. One little comment, when people talk about a good-handling frame, they are not quite correct. It is the frame plus fork plus wheel system that has a type of handling. The trail that results from head angle, fork rake and wheel size determines how, "fast," the bike seems to handle.

    In your price range get the 105 components on a decent frame that has better-quality wheels. I think you will have the better race machine as a result. I assume you will be properly fit on whatever bike you get, of course.
     
  14. rudycyclist

    rudycyclist New Member

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    I just bought a Madone 5.2SL with campy chorus on it. The one thing I love over anything else is the carbon frame. I didn't think carbon would be that big of a difference as compared to aluminum but it's incredible. It's so much more comfortable riding. I would rank the frame of the bike priority over anything because it's the most expensive and cannot be easily and cheaply replaced. Components and wheels can be replaced relatively cheaply and can be upgraded. There isn't much you can do with upgrading a frame to a better material. Also, I was looking at LeMond's earlier in the winter and they are reasonably priced. They sell a "Zurich" that's approximately $2k. It's got a half carbon half steel frame with ultegra and bontrager race wheels. The wheels aren't the best but it's hard to get all 3 of those aspects under $2k.
     
  15. guidosan

    guidosan New Member

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    Have you tried talking to the shop to see if they can make any changes? If you really liked one of those frames over the others but don’t like the wheels, then maybe the shop could upgrade for the difference in cost.
    Just a thought.

    Guidosan
     
  16. AmpedCycle

    AmpedCycle New Member

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    This was the same predicament I was in... or one similar, anyways... the choice between the 2000 dollar range road bikes for racing/riding. If you're smart like me, you'll go with the Specialized tarmac Expert... which retails around 2500. For that price, you get the best of all worlds:
    Carbon Frame
    Carbon Fork
    Kysyrium wheels
    Ultegra Groupset
    And my personal favorite body geometry saddle, which if you've checked on your winky lately, he'll thank you later.

    PS- it also comes in a cool blue color
     
  17. HT606

    HT606 New Member

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    Oh... dont forget to buy a red frame...they are definitely faster...:D :D :D
     
  18. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    If your racing will be largely crits, then you may want to consider the nature of the beast... crits can be a rough and tumble experience, especially with new riders that haven't spent that much time in a tight pack that accelerates a lot.

    Might be a good idea to start with a solid, easily rebuildable wheelset like Mavic rims on Shimano or Campy hubs - wheels can have a short lifespan in criteriums. (or is that criteria?) No point in blowing $700 on a good wheelset, only to have some newbie go down in front of you and take them out.
     
  19. unicos

    unicos New Member

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    Check out the Trek 5000 TCT. It gives you a carbon frame with good components and wheels for a little less than your price limit. Dont forget about pedals and shoes unless you already have those. You can easily spend another $200 - $300 on pedals, shoes, & helmet. Dont forget the fit. Make sure you get the proper size frame. Since most everybody falls between two frame sizes I usually recomend the smaller frame; especially if you plan to race.
     
  20. Retro Grouch

    Retro Grouch New Member

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    I wouldn't devote too much of my budget on the frame for a raceing bike. Actually, I think that I'd avoid carbon fiber entirely. That way you won't be quite so bummed when you crash and tear it up.
     
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