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"The 33"-Road Bike Racing We set this forum up for our members to discuss their experiences in either pro or amateur racing, whether they are the big races, or even the small backyard races. Don't forget to update all the members with your own race results.

View Poll Results: what frame material do you race with?
steel 8 9.64%
steel with rear carbon 1 1.20%
aluminum 28 33.73%
aluminum with rear carbon 12 14.46%
carbon 34 40.96%
Voters: 83. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-15-07, 04:12 PM   #1
nostromo
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what material frame and components do you race with?

Looking at some footage of previous Tours (youtube, etc.) it wasn't that long ago that racers were sporting either steel or aluminum bikes, and winning big races.

As the cost of current top level carbon frames are pretty sky high, I'm wondering how many of you that do racing (occasionally or more) have steel, aluminum, mixed (steel/cf or alu/cf) or full carbon frames.

What does the typical racer pay out of pocket (not sponsored) for a fully equipped, fairly reliable (more than one season) bike and which components are most used (DA, Sram, Campy (Chorus, Record))? And is this the same bike you ride each week to train with or do you use a different bike?
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Old 09-15-07, 04:19 PM   #2
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Most guys around here seem to be running aluminum or multi-material with DA. Surprise, surprise - so am I...

I spend 90% of the time on the aforementioned bike. The other 10% is spent on the 'cross bike, TT bike and MTB.
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Old 09-15-07, 04:19 PM   #3
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My first bike was an aluminum specialized with 105 components, used. $700. Worked fine for me and I even won some races as a cat 5 on it.
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Old 09-15-07, 04:48 PM   #4
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Custom steel with Record and a powertap.
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Old 09-15-07, 04:49 PM   #5
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Steel D/A. <thumps chest>
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Old 09-15-07, 04:52 PM   #6
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My first bike was an aluminum specialized with 105 components, used. $700. Worked fine for me and I even won some races as a cat 5 on it.
DrW would have won Cat 5 races on this bike too:

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Old 09-15-07, 06:19 PM   #7
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think you forgot something? titanium?
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Old 09-15-07, 06:44 PM   #8
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Full Carbon with Ultegra. It's my only bike.
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Old 09-15-07, 06:47 PM   #9
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think you forgot something? titanium?
You're right. How could I forget that?..
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Old 09-15-07, 07:04 PM   #10
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Steel D/A. <thumps chest>
+1

9 speed D/A at that.

You also forgot Ti/Carbon. Seven and IF both make that combo. I'd do questionable things to get an IF Ti/Carbon.

But it would never see a race.
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Old 09-15-07, 07:28 PM   #11
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aluminum, Shimano 105
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Old 09-15-07, 07:55 PM   #12
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Steel frame with Centaur components. Great racing bike, although it's only my second. I also raced a bonded aluminium frame (a la Vitus) last year. Carbon is very unusual in collegiate cycling. I feel like aluminium would make a better budget race bike anyway. Most of my student friends ride Lemonds or Cannondales without carbon stays.
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Old 09-15-07, 07:56 PM   #13
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aluminum, Shimano 105
Ditto.

And I think that the combo will suffice until I start getting close to upgrading to a 3.
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Old 09-15-07, 08:23 PM   #14
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My Specialized Allez Epic (circa '91) is full-carbon with Dura-ace of course. The cost of the bike is actually pretty minimal compared to other expenses like clothing, coaching, food, travel & housing expenses, not to mention entry-fees to races. All of these combined will cost more than a high-end bike in the 1st year alone.
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Old 09-15-07, 08:37 PM   #15
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9 speed D/A at that
Same here. I'll bet I have more spokes than you though (68).
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Old 09-15-07, 08:57 PM   #16
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I race on a Caad8 Cannondale with full 10 speed Shimano Ultegra. Pretty much your average bike. Almost the exact same thing that Cannondale sold, with the exception of the bars/stem/post which is all Ritchey WCS now, and the wheels are now Fulcrum Racing 5's which is the direct competition to the Ksyrium Equipe's; the wheels that the bike came with.
Even though I work for a Giant dealer and get Giants, Raleigh's and Salsa's at dead cost, I think I'm going to stay with Cannondale for my race bike, I really like them; either that or I'll just build my own.
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Old 09-15-07, 09:56 PM   #17
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i ride an aluminum caad 8 cannondale with the random stock mixture of ultegra and 105, it is the first and only 'real' race bike i've had, and it's been treating me well so far, just upgraded to cat 3 and don't plan to get a new bike anytime soon... also i'm a college student without tons of cash to throw around so that does limit my options a tad.
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Old 09-15-07, 11:52 PM   #18
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Full aluminium Scott Speedster with full 105.

I've placed in several Cat2 crist on this bike, and can use it to outclimb most people I know.

Hmm, maybe carbon with full dura-ace isn't really necessary.

If you haven't got the balls, then no amount of overpriced bike crap is going to make you a better rider.
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Old 09-16-07, 07:49 AM   #19
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Well so far aluminum and carbon are neck and neck. I'm glad to see steel is in there too. From some of the Crit races I witnessed locally I saw a good number of very high end, all carbon bikes and my thinking was that to race you had to have one to be competitive. But from the survey here it's not the case at all, even as some of you have moved up in Cat levels still using steel, aluminum and mid level components.

I recently read a few write-ups on some specific TdF bikes built to tackle the cobblestones and other treacherous terrain that were either steel or heavier than any 15lbs bike (some approaching 19lbs) so they could actually survive the race and without beating up the rider.

I just learned more about my own aluminum (Italian) frame which I thought was just some mid to low end model. But it turns out it was made specifically for a Tour de France team back in 1999-2000 only and was the company's highest end alloy and heavily tested frame to survive the Tour. They even had a steel frame (the Viper which they still sell) which had rave reviews on ride and race quality.

Earlier this summer I test rode an all carbon frame with almost the same componentry as my bike; not only did it also weigh the same (and I used my own pedals) but the slightly nicer ride was not that much different than mine, not to mention the bike cost 2x what mine did.

Makes you wonder if you can't afford a top brand carbon frame that you're not better off getting a top of the line steel or aluminum frame vs buying some more entry to mid level carbon one. You might even be able to afford Record or DA to boot.
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Old 09-16-07, 11:09 AM   #20
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But from the survey here it's not the case at all, even as some of you have moved up in Cat levels still using steel, aluminum and mid level components.
Unless you race a LOT of hill climbs, a person could get to Cat 2 in the US completely unhindered by a decent steel frame running Tiagra and $50 Alex wheels. It may not be as fun, based on your personality
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Old 09-16-07, 04:54 PM   #21
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aluminum, 8 speed sora
eh
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Old 09-16-07, 07:17 PM   #22
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Same here. I'll bet I have more spokes than you though (68).
You do indeed. I've been riding on a couple sets of Nuevation M28 Aeros for a little more than a year now. They have 20 +/- per wheel.
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Old 09-16-07, 09:14 PM   #23
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Aluminum framed Felt. D/A and Ultegra mix drivetrain, Ritchey WCS carbon tubular wheels. All the other components are cheap Felt and Tektro brand stuff.
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Old 09-17-07, 06:14 AM   #24
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Basically this is another thread that proves the bottom line, it's the MOTOR. My main racing bike is TI my older classic is SLX.
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Old 09-17-07, 06:51 AM   #25
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It looks like once you get past a certain point with a frame, material, design, and components, it's a diminishing returns for more bike performance vs cost. In essence it seems like you're getting slightly better ride quailty, a smoother (and possibly more durable) drivetrain, and overall lighter weight, but all at a pretty high cost.

Once you reach that ideal point with a bike it's really down to the rider; how much training he/she does, coaching they get, willingness to take on races, etc. So a more affordable aluminum bike with 105 or Ultegra can hold up in a race just as much as a full carbon framed one with DA or Record and Zipp wheels.

But a solid rider on the former will squeeze out all the performance on the cheaper bike than a mediocre racer can on a super expensive bike.
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