New to road racing...need bike advice??


New Member
Feb 27, 2014
So, I am very new to road biking. For the past few years, I've been mountain biking leisurely whenever I get the chance. However, next month I plan on racing in Cat 4 domestic road races throughout Ohio. The problem is that I don't know what to do when it comes to which bike to use or buy for racing.

I have several options for which bike to race with:

1) 1970's C.Itoh. It has a high-tensile steel frame. Bought it at a garage sale for a few bucks. I use it to commute & ride around the city. *I highly doubt this bike would be a good it would likely break down within the first 20 miles of racing. But after all, it is a bike.

2) A relatively new 7 speed Diamondback hybrid with an aluminum frame. I could try to convert it to a road bike. Is it worth the hassle to convert it? How much do you think this conversion would cost.

3) I can buy a new road bike. The problem is that my budget is $400. There's no way I can go over that (i'm currently in school and money's a problem at the moment). I've found several bikes within this price range on different websites. Do you think a bike of this price could last me a year or two of training and racing (until I save up enough money for an actual good-quality racing bike)?

So, what do you think is my best option?

Any advice on this subject is highly appreciated.

Thank you!!
I hate to burst your bubble here, but if you've been "mountain biking leisurely" for a few years, you are nowhere near ready to race even cat 5, let alone cat 4. But if you insist, look for a used Specialized Allez, which you may be able to score in the $400 ballpark. You're going to get spit out the back of the pack in the first 2 miles anyway, but you won't hang for one mile on a hybrid.

Before you think of racing, take the better part of a year to work on handling a road bike, then after you can hold a line, go for some group rides and see how you can operate in a paceline and in tight packs, in close quarters. Cat 5 races are demolition derbies even with guys that have some handling skills. You've never ridden in a group on the roads before, I take it. You'll be a hazard to yourself and other riders, especially if you start all balls-out and start gasping and weaving trying to hang on.

You really have no conception here of what you're trying to take on, starting racing next month without ever riding a road bike before. Handling in tight packs is key to staying out of the hospital. You need to develop your racing skills over the next year. I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but you need a heavy dose of reality.

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