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Old 03-03-14, 08:45 PM   #1
gruveb
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Best Bang ...

I'm new here and new to racing, but I did search before posting ...

Here's my question: Based on your experience, where will my money be best spent: A new road bike, new wheels, new TT bike?

Background information: I have a decent bike, Lapierre senssium 400, but it's not fast. I have a set of carbon clinchers, but they can't seem to handle my weight/power. I ride about 200 to 250 miles a week and am loving racing. Where I live is quite hilly and even though I'm a very heavy rider, I climb well, because I work on it all the time.

I'm just starting out with racing, but really enjoy road racing and time trials. Although I'm a very heavy rider, I climb a lot and climb pretty well.

The bike I'm looking at would be a Venge, the wheels Zipp 303 ... and the TT bike...don't have anything in mind. I've done well in time trials on a road bike with clip-on aero bars, finishing 1st and 3rd in smallish races and 5th in the Valley of the Sun stage race two weeks ago, all category 5 of course.

I can't think of what else I am not mentioning. Thank you for your time and input.
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Old 03-03-14, 08:57 PM   #2
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None of the above.

I'm 99.9% certain that it's not the bike that's holding you back, as long as it works.
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Old 03-03-14, 09:16 PM   #3
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First off you mention heavy several times, define heavy...

Second at this point equipment is not going to be your limiting factor. Save your money and put in the miles.

Your best bang for the buck if you have money burning a hole in your pocket? Get a coach.
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Old 03-03-14, 09:25 PM   #4
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I'm surprised no one has said the best bang for your buck is a power meter yet. They'll come soon. I would say it myself, but that'd be hypocritical because I haven't put the scratch together to buy one yet myself. Not that I'm in the shape to need one. Just curious, what do you consider to be a "heavy" rider?
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Old 03-03-14, 09:34 PM   #5
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Best bang for your buck is a proper bike fit.
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Old 03-03-14, 10:34 PM   #6
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I'm surprised no one has said the best bang for your buck is a power meter yet. They'll come soon. I would say it myself, but that'd be hypocritical because I haven't put the scratch together to buy one yet myself. Not that I'm in the shape to need one. Just curious, what do you consider to be a "heavy" rider?
I agree, power meters are a great tool.
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Old 03-03-14, 11:12 PM   #7
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best bang for your buck is a padlock on the fridge until you stop defining yourself as heavy. then a book on sports physiology and training theory, then a power meter, then maybe a fit or a coach depending on what your weakness is, then maybe gear. Buy gear if you want it, but none of us really -need- it.
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Old 03-03-14, 11:48 PM   #8
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I'd go with a power meter, then a coach. I know you didn't come here for it but lose the weight. If you like to climb, regardless of how much better you are getting, the drop in weight will help tremendously.
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Old 03-04-14, 01:35 AM   #9
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You should read "The Cyclist's Training Bible" by Joe Friel.


Next, do a few races & see if you still like it. Then evaluate yourself based on the self evaluation criteria in Friel's book.


The power meter is definitely an effective purchase, but I feel that it can be overwhelming to new racers without a coach. And I think it takes a while to figure out if you like racing enough to decide to get a coach.


Get the thing that will make you happy and keep you riding. If you are questioning your equipment, chances are you'll lose motivation or interest.
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Old 03-04-14, 07:04 AM   #10
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You love racing, you are placing well and you have some funds to use. While powermeter,coaching,fit are all excellent suggestions I am going to say... Race a bunch and upgrade. Travel, hit a bunch of races, race every weekend. That should cost a bit depending on where you live.
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Old 03-04-14, 07:45 AM   #11
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I agree that you don't need to spend money on equipment. If you've got money to spend, above race fees, and travel expenses, then I'd say power meter and wheels.

It's really helpful to have a second set of wheels for the wheel pit, wheel truck, and as a backup so you don't miss training if you have an issue with a wheel.

So new wheels with a powertap hub would be a worthwhile expenditure.

Caveot is that a power meter is only good if you use it. So first expenditure should be the book Training andRacing with Power by Cggan and Allen.

Read that, and you'll have a pretty good idea if a power meter is for you.
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Old 03-04-14, 08:02 AM   #12
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His post in the "Introductions" thread is here. Right now he's 5'10", 215 lbs., but "a healthy weight". (ETA: His photo is here.)

My recommendation would be to get a set of aluminum clinchers built to last with his weight, but for the purpose of dependability rather than speed - full stop. Any other expenditures would be directed toward improving the engine rather than the bike.

Last edited by revchuck; 03-04-14 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 03-04-14, 08:06 AM   #13
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Nothing really much to add, but all the advice above is good. Only equipment advice would be a power meter, and bang for the buck would be a ~$300 used wired PowerTap. Don't get a PM unless you are ready to either hire a coach or take on coaching as a hobby though, at least at some level. Self-coaching is going to add time off the bike that needs to fit into your week. After the first few months, and especially after the first season, self-coaching with a PM will take less time, but initially it's a time investment.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:07 AM   #14
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I'm going to be a contrarian. If you can afford it, and it keeps you motivated, buy the bike. But realize it's not the bike, but the engine that makes you fast.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:38 AM   #15
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I think a good fit is the best investment. However the picture linked says to me that the fit is decent so not totally wrong/whatever.

The next thing would be wheels, but you have them.

I went to a custom frame for massive fit changes (+1-2 lbs total added weight to prior bike, moved components over, got lighter/faster wheels, but frame/fork were heavier) and lost, compared to the same time the year before, over 30 lbs, closer to 35-38 lbs (190+ to 155). I upgraded to Cat 2 the year I lost all the weight, with most of my places save one on uphill sprint finishes in crits, racing in the same races I've been doing for 25+ years and unable to earn points to upgrade. Your power won't change much, meaning you're not going to double your threshold power etc. The only way to get your power to weight ratio down significantly (meaning by more than 1-2 w/kg) is to reduce your body weight.

So for me I'd look at fit, wheels (immediately possible), and weight loss (long term).

On the other hand if you want to spend money then spend money. I spend money on my car but I don't even street race it. It's just fun to fiddle with car stuff. Likewise I enjoy the equipment aspect of cycling but I don't have tons of money so I spend my money where I really, really think it counts. Custom frame. Custom stem (geometry wise). Light AND aero wheels. I got a power meter but use it more for data logging than for training. Saddle that works for me, ditto bars. Maintenance items. Component group etc who cares, if it doesn't break it's good.

Finally I'd get some long finger gloves, summer weight. The first time you skin 8 finger tips on the pavement you'll regret not racing in long finger gloves, at least if you type regularly at all.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:45 AM   #16
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to prioritize your spending assuming your equipment is safe and in good working order:

1 - coaching.

2 - see 1.

you're welcome.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:49 AM   #17
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titanium membership to BF
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Old 03-04-14, 09:52 AM   #18
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Old 03-04-14, 09:53 AM   #19
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Excel sports has a Powertap G3 laced to a HED Belgium rim now for $889.
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Old 03-04-14, 10:09 AM   #20
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CAAD10 with Psimet wheels.

/ had to be said.
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Old 03-04-14, 10:14 AM   #21
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Excel sports has a Powertap G3 laced to a HED Belgium rim now for $889.
Since the G3 hub is $789 MSRP, this is an excellent deal. You could have them build a matching 28 spoke front wheel for $259 and you'd be set, other than busting your butt to get in shape.
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Old 03-04-14, 11:10 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by gruveb View Post
I'm new here and new to racing, but I did search before posting ...

Here's my question: Based on your experience, where will my money be best spent: A new road bike, new wheels, new TT bike?

Background information: I have a decent bike, Lapierre senssium 400, but it's not fast. I have a set of carbon clinchers, but they can't seem to handle my weight/power. I ride about 200 to 250 miles a week and am loving racing. Where I live is quite hilly and even though I'm a very heavy rider, I climb well, because I work on it all the time.

I'm just starting out with racing, but really enjoy road racing and time trials. Although I'm a very heavy rider, I climb a lot and climb pretty well.

The bike I'm looking at would be a Venge, the wheels Zipp 303 ... and the TT bike...don't have anything in mind. I've done well in time trials on a road bike with clip-on aero bars, finishing 1st and 3rd in smallish races and 5th in the Valley of the Sun stage race two weeks ago, all category 5 of course.

I can't think of what else I am not mentioning. Thank you for your time and input.


Based on your results in the VOS, you did well in the TT and improved your position in the GC two places after the RR and crit. I suspect if you would have had a TT bike (better aero position than your current road bike with clip on bars) at VOS and had trained on it, you may have improved your position in the TT one or two places based on the times. And if you had a crank based power meter on the TT bike, you may have managed your energy better over the course and improved your time. IMO, the best bang for the buck (equipment) is a TT bike with crank or pedal based power meter and deep section wheels for time trials. That would be followed by a road bike. I do not see a lot of benefit improving crit and RR results with better wheels or a new road bike over what you used at VOS.

You are already riding a lot and did well in what I consider to be one of the better stage races in the Southwest. So you have a pretty good aerobic engine. What I see holding you back is weight. You are too heavy for your height and IMO, do not want to spot competitors tens of pounds of weight advantage that converts directly into watts when climbing. If you are a good climber now, you will be a monster with less weight.
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Old 03-04-14, 11:21 AM   #23
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Hmm, I didn't notice that bit about the wheels not handling your weight well before. What do you mean by that? Flexing a lot? Breaking spokes? I wonder if a handbuilt G3 wheel will allow you to get a stronger wheel (assuming correct parts chosen - don't know if can get stronger and lighter, but maybe), get power data, and get that boost of motivation that comes from dropping money on a cool new toy. From what others are saying any weight lost in the wheels might be inconsequential compared to the overall weight of the bike/engine and possible loss from the engine, but that isn't a matter of dropping money and boom engine is lighter. Wish it were so simple.
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Old 03-04-14, 11:48 AM   #24
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best bang for your buck is a padlock on the fridge until you stop defining yourself as heavy. then a book on sports physiology and training theory, then a power meter, then maybe a fit or a coach depending on what your weakness is, then maybe gear. Buy gear if you want it, but none of us really -need- it.
Indeed!
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Old 03-04-14, 11:51 AM   #25
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Hmm, I didn't notice that bit about the wheels not handling your weight well before. What do you mean by that? Flexing a lot? Breaking spokes? I wonder if a handbuilt G3 wheel will allow you to get a stronger wheel (assuming correct parts chosen - don't know if can get stronger and lighter, but maybe), get power data, and get that boost of motivation that comes from dropping money on a cool new toy. From what others are saying any weight lost in the wheels might be inconsequential compared to the overall weight of the bike/engine and possible loss from the engine, but that isn't a matter of dropping money and boom engine is lighter. Wish it were so simple.
I was breaking the nipples on the rear wheel. They were alloy, had them replaced with brass. I'm not sure if the issue will be fixed by that or not, but we'll see.

As far as weight goes, I'm dropping about 2 to 3 pounds a week, while watching body fat percentage closely. The weight has to come off, I agree with everybody there.
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