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Old 05-17-10, 08:59 PM   #1
MinnMan
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n+1 is beginning to get to me....advice invited.

I've been riding for about 10 months and I've put about 2500 miles on my basic (KHS Flite 220) steel touring bike, which is not bad considering that there were no miles between Thanksgiving and mid-March (I'm not a winter rider).

Now I ride about 100-120 miles/week, with average speeds of 16-17 MPH (with toeclips, no clipless pedals yet), including about 1 "B" ride/week with the local club. I'm beginning to get really envious of the beautiful hardware my fellow club riders have.

So, you know what's coming, right? I'm thinking about spending a bunch of money for something I don't really need. My current one is totally adequate. I could just upgrade to clipless and get quite a boost. And my daughter will go to college in 5 years, so I should be frugal. (Yes, I'm at the very young end of 50+)

If I do take the plunge, I don't know how much of a step up would be right. There's no way I'd pay for (or even really appreciate) a first class full-carbon bike. But I was in a local shop over the weekend, panting over a Trek 2.1 compact (Al frame, C forks and seat stay, Shimano 105 shifters and derailleurs). Would that be reasonable, I ask?

I invite any and all advice. Be sensible and save my money? If not, how much "bike" does someone like me need?
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Old 05-17-10, 09:11 PM   #2
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So...you have found you love cycling. Your daughter is young. Cycling = healthy. Young daughter = long time to spend with her. If, you remain healthy.

N+1 is your daughters best friend. See?

BTW - I live in Dunn Co. WI, about 60 miles east of Minneapolis. our blacktop farm roads are wonderful to ride. Maybe take your daughter.
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Old 05-18-10, 12:43 AM   #3
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Dunn Co. sounds nice . It hasn't escaped my notice that the terrane gets more interesting as soon as one crosses the St. Croix. Have you got any recommended routes?
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Old 05-18-10, 01:02 AM   #4
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You've come to the wrong place if you're looking for sane advice.

You're right in the sweet spot, where you get a lot of bang for the buck -- upgrading from your $500-ish price level (where you are) to the $1500-ish price level (where you are going) yields a pretty big improvement.

In my opinion, if you're riding 100+ miles a week all season, you're making a pretty solid commitment to this activity, and an upgrade is worthwhile if you can afford it. Two pieces of advice:

- Enjoy the time shopping; plan rides to multiple bike shops on weekends and ride a number of different bikes in your price range. You'll learn a lot as you shop, and change your mind.
- If you're comfortable of your mechanical skills, and/or know a mechanic you trust, consider a used bike. You can get a *lot* of bike for $1200 to $1500 used, as lots of folks have upgrade fever.

Even if you don't upgrade this year, if you stay at it all summer you might want to watch for sales and upgrade some of the other stuff you bought to start out -- a better class of shorts; clipless pedals and great shoes; good gloves; a saddle you love; etc. The costs add up, and you can always use this stuff on your next bike.
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Old 05-18-10, 06:06 AM   #5
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Dunn Co. sounds nice . It hasn't escaped my notice that the terrane gets more interesting as soon as one crosses the St. Croix. Have you got any recommended routes?
I really don't have a particular route. We have two local LBS's and each would have maps. In June there will be a leg of a professional race that begins and ends in Menomonie. The 2010 Nature Valley Grand Prix National Bike Race is June 19th. I believe that route is mapped as well.

Also, you can get maps and info at the trail head of the Red Cedar Trail in Menomonie.
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Old 05-18-10, 07:35 AM   #6
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Get a full carbon bike with at least 105 components. If it's a good fit you'll be happy for the rest of your life.
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Old 05-18-10, 07:53 AM   #7
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I had ridden a heavy 10-speed since the 70's. In the 80's I bought a mountain bike. In the 90's I bought a cheap tourer. About 3 years ago I bought an LHT - wonderful, but still a heavy tourer. Then, about a year ago I bought a used Specialized Allez - aluminum frame (including stays) and carbon fork. It's wonderful! It's light and sporty. I also drool over full-carbon, but doubt if the improved ride would be worth the expense. Maybe someday, but for now, I love the Allez. (I'm a slow, old guy, so I really have no inclination to go faster.)
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Old 05-18-10, 09:17 AM   #8
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Get a full carbon bike with at least 105 components. If it's a good fit you'll be happy for the rest of your life.

Patently false statement and you know it TWL!

Bikes are no different than boats. You always want bigger, better, faster etc. Pick a comfortable price, a shop you are comfortable with and buy the best components your money can. The frames in your price range will all be similar. As mentioned above, consider waiting until fall to take advantage of off-season pricing.

I own a full carbon Roubaix, an aluminum Tricross and Titanium Lynskey all with mid to top of the line components. I still drool over other bikes but have my bases covered for the moment. Oh yes, I have two daughters in college so that tempers my bike expeditures a little.

Long story short, wait till off-season, buy the best bike you can afford.
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Old 05-18-10, 09:23 AM   #9
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Buy a new bike. You won't regret it.
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Old 05-18-10, 09:46 AM   #10
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If I do take the plunge, I don't know how much of a step up would be right. There's no way I'd pay for (or even really appreciate) a first class full-carbon bike. But I was in a local shop over the weekend, panting over a Trek 2.1 compact (Al frame, C forks and seat stay, Shimano 105 shifters and derailleurs). Would that be reasonable, I ask?
I invite any and all advice. Be sensible and save my money? If not, how much "bike" does someone like me need?
I think you would appreciate full carbon but the price may not justify the expense. The 2.1 is a great bike. I ride a 2010 Trek 2.3, 80-100 miles per week. The 2.1 has the same frame and if the one you're drooling over is a 2010 model, I think the frame is all aluminum. There's a carbon seat post (and fork). Prior year models had carbon chain stays. The bike is stiff and pretty light for aluminum (about 21 pounds with steel pedals, 60 cm frame). Be prepared to replace the saddle. If you wanted to step up a few hundred bucks for the low-end carbon frame, it'll probably ride a little softer but all the Trek road bikes share the same "Lance" geometry, solid with quick steering compared to your touring bike. Take a test ride if you can. It'll steer a lot quicker and probably ride a little harder than what you're used to. I'm sensitive to the stiff ride because of a recent shoulder injury, but I think it's fine. I figured the 2.3 was a great value and would not hold me back. The 2.1 is the same except for wheels and a couple components. If I want to get significantly faster, it's the motor that needs an upgrade.
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Old 05-18-10, 10:36 AM   #11
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One other consideration with the 2.1 ... I double checked the Trek web site and they come with non-standard 650 wheels. Not a big deal really, but you should be aware before making the purchase.
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Old 05-18-10, 11:27 AM   #12
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One other consideration with the 2.1 ... I double checked the Trek web site and they come with non-standard 650 wheels. Not a big deal really, but you should be aware before making the purchase.
Oh, that's an important point that I had not noticed. Thanks. But as you pointed out earlier, if I do take the plunge, I need to do a bunch of test riding before I pick a particular bike.

You guys collectively are speaking with one voice - buy a bike, buy a bike, buy a bike - and it's not so different from the voice in my head. I'm guessing that it won't be too long before I break down.
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Old 05-18-10, 11:53 AM   #13
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Get a full carbon bike with at least 105 components. If it's a good fit you'll be happy for the rest of your life.
C.F.can be quite cheap nowadays but the 105 is the Minimum to get. Look at Giants- Specialised and the Trek Madone. Others I would recommend are way above us mere mortals price range but look at All the manufacturers within your price range.

Only thing is Test ride. This next bike should last a while so get the best you can afford. I would also add the caveat that C.F. does not suit everyone. I have a good C.F.bike in a Giant TCR-C. But for me I have a better aluminium bike in the Boreas Ignis. Just personal preferences.
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Old 05-18-10, 12:16 PM   #14
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If you ride with a group regularly, let the know you are interested in a better bike. If someone trades up, they can sell you their old bike (which may be an improvement over what you've got) at a used bike price. That way you get a new toy and can still say you're being frugal.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 05-18-10, 12:44 PM   #15
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If I do take the plunge, I don't know how much of a step up would be right. There's no way I'd pay for (or even really appreciate) a first class full-carbon bike. But I was in a local shop over the weekend, panting over a Trek 2.1 compact (Al frame, C forks and seat stay, Shimano 105 shifters and derailleurs). Would that be reasonable, I ask?

I invite any and all advice. Be sensible and save my money? If not, how much "bike" does someone like me need?
My second new road bike is a Fuji Roubaix RC. AL frame w/ CF fork, seat stays and seat post. It has mostly Ultegra groupset (FD is 105). I love this bike. I think a bike in this range would be a good choice. It will also make a great back up bike to the full CF one you'll be needing in a few years.

I'd also suggest giving clipless a try. It really does make a difference.

On a side note, I just made a great sacrifice and am now N-1. I have wanted to get my wife a vintage MTB to replace her comfort bike (used mostly for riding fire roads and mild trails). I found a NOS 1992 DB Ascent EX on eBay in her size matching exactly the one I purchased for myself a couple of months back. She only OKed the purchase if I got rid of our vintage Schwinn Le Tours. They've been sitting in her mom's garage for over a year where she's ridden hers occasionally but I haven't touched mine. I sold them over the weekend and moved her comfort bike over there for her use. We now have room in the garage for her new MTB that arrives today.

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Old 05-18-10, 06:15 PM   #16
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Get a full carbon bike with at least 105 components. If it's a good fit you'll be happy for the rest of your life.
+1000, ABSOLUTELY! Been there, done that and don't regret it AT ALL. Bought a 06 Giant OCR-C3 with full 105, added Ksyrium Elites this year along with Michelin Pros and love it. I actually landed up buying a second, vintage CF Lemond Maillot Juane. Do it, you won't regret it.
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Old 05-18-10, 07:46 PM   #17
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N+1 must be obeyed if you don't have a Backup Bike. Gotta have a Backup Bike.
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Old 05-18-10, 07:58 PM   #18
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Okay, so what's the justification if I have 5 backup bikes?
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 05-18-10, 08:32 PM   #19
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Okay, so what's the justification if I have 5 backup bikes?
N+1 would explain that.
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Old 05-19-10, 10:16 AM   #20
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Just the fact you are asking tells me money is a concern. You will get the most return for your dollar on purchasing good wheels and tires, if you don't already have them. Test ride lots of different new bikes but also try new wheels (you might be able to try them from friends or a bike shop you have a relationship with) on your existing before deciding. Pay attention to tires and air pressure. I don't think frame material is as big a deal as fit. Carbon, steel, Ti, aluminum all have their supporters. I also found as my miles increased, my fitness and flexibility changed. So what fits ideally now may not fit as well at the end of the season.

And do your buying after Christmas.
Learn how to do your own wrenching and save more money.

If money is not a big concern, get a new bike now. Whoever dies with the most toys wins.
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Old 05-19-10, 10:23 AM   #21
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Okay, so what's the justification if I have 5 backup bikes?
It's not just backup that is needed. You need more different kinds of bikes, each best suited for different kinds of riding. Once you get bikes of a dozen or so types, you can pull out the "backup" justification again. That should hold you for a while.
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Old 05-19-10, 10:55 AM   #22
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Good afternoon, mr Minnman

I think you've got the tempo of this site. It's about like asking beer.com if malted barley is a possible basis for a refreshment.

I think the key line in your enquiry is about 'envious of the beautiful hardware'.

And, of course, that's the entirely subjective dividing line between 'fully efficient bike' - which, according to your ride statistics, you have already - and 'inexplicable love affair'

I bought my bike-related inexplicable love affair, sight unseen, from a website. Mail order bride stuff - and it's the best possession I have.

The previous, still ridden, good bike is as good as it ever was - but affairs of the heart, eh?

(Oh, and - as a Brit I have the utmost admiration for our Olympian, Chris Boardman, who sells bikes he designs with comparable specs at about 33% of Trek prices . Boardman.com should find)
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Old 05-19-10, 01:32 PM   #23
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I know N+1 is for now- but choose carefully- Give yourself a good while to check out the current bikes- but go a grade above what you are thinking of pricewise. Good reason for that- give yourself about 3 or 4 months to check out the bikes- the make and grade you want and sizing. It will also give yourself a good chance to find the "Good" LBS. Why wait that long???????

Around August or September- the new 2011 models will start arriving in the shops- Those 2010 bikes will be discounted. Hence the reason for also looking at the grade above on the bikes.

But if you can't wait----N+1 is required-----now.
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Old 05-19-10, 09:53 PM   #24
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N+1 must be obeyed if you don't have a Backup Bike. Gotta have a Backup Bike.
True indeed... resistance is futile. And don't forget the "test bike" factor, i.e. bike(s) needed for testing new products and setups!
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Old 05-20-10, 06:31 AM   #25
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I highly recommend N+1, but I also always recommend used. Why pay $1500 for a new Shimano 105 bike, when you can find used Ultegra bikes for around $600? And if you are handy, and do some shopping, you can do better than that.

I have about $325 into this bike (I built it up myself, all Ultegra 6501, except for the Bontrager Race wheelset). It is rare for me to buy anything new.

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