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  1. #1
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    Trade up to carbon or hold?

    I have a Specialized Allez Elite bought 3 months ago. I've put 700 miles on it. It is my first road bike and I really like it. However, now that I've learned more about bikes, I'm wondering if I should take my dealer up on his offer to refund my purchase price on the purchase of a new Roubaix SL4 Sport.
    It's NOT the upgrade from aluminum to carbon fiber for its own sake. I am looking for ways to keep me from always being at or near the back of the pack, or falling off the back for that matter. As yould expect, climbing is the biggest factor.

    My Allez weighs 23 lbs. and I think the Roubaix comes in somewhere around 17 (?). My performance may be somewhat compromised by the meds I take (2 beta blockers) but even if that's a factor, it's a "given" and something I'll just have to deal with. Climbing is tougher.

    I'm starting to toss and turn over this decision and would love your opinions. Will I notice THAT much difference with the 5 or 6 pound lighter carbon frame (plus the upgrade from Tiagra to 105 components) ??? The very least I will do if I keep the Allez is change my 12-28 cassette to a 12-30 or 12-32 to help me with the climbs. But I'm torn over this upgrade offer.

    Many thanks for your counsel.
    Last edited by casjr2171; 09-17-13 at 04:21 PM. Reason: Misspelling

  2. #2
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    Bike weight isn't completely irrelevant, but it's close. You have to get you, bike, water bottle, and anything else you carry up the hills. Say you weigh 150 pounds (fill in your own weight), and you carry 2 pounds of water, bottle, flat kit, multi-tool, etc. To calculate your time improvement, assuming everything else remains constant:

    (150+18+2) = 170
    __________ ___

    (150+23+2) = 175

    or 97%. You'll reduce your hill climbing time by 3% at most. Time yourself up those climbs, figure out how much you'll have to improve to stay with the pack, and figure out if the new bike'll make the difference.

    I suspect it won't.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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    Full refund?
    Just do it. You have nothing to lose.

  4. #4
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    That's a generous offer.

    There are a lot of reasons to upgrade to a nicer bike. Lighter weight is only one of them. I'd advise you to take carbon bike on a test ride and see what you think. You might prefer the ride, the fit, the feel of the components. Those are also good reasons to upgrade.

    Going faster uphill is a matter of training and losing engine weight, for the most part. My guess is that you'll still be at the back of the pack or pretty close to it.

    But you'll be on a nicer bike, and enjoy it more. And if you keep riding, you won't stay there for long.
    Last edited by Biker395; 09-17-13 at 05:54 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Definitely take a test ride. If you like the bike after a test ride, and the extra funds are not a strain or very disposable, I would take the deal. A Carbon bike should at least make the ride less jarring as Carbon doesn't transmit the vibrations to your body like Aluminum(or for the world outside the US, Aluminium).
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  6. #6
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    You have a very nice bike and the potential upgrade is an even nicer bike. If you can readily afford the difference in price and if you would like to have a better bike, go for it. The full refund is a very generous offer. You may climb a bit better with the lighter bike, but that is a much less valid reason for the upgrade than the more emotional and less technical enhancements.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  7. #7
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    I agree, if the offer is for a full refund you have nothing to lose. You can save aluminum and steel that matter for a future N+1 because more than likely you are somewhere down the line going to want a CF bike. I also agree the weight difference only makes a little difference even in climbing. But it makes a big difference in closing on the bike in front of you in a pace line. Plus there are very few road bikes that feel smoother than a CF Roubaix. Take that test ride but remember a bike that is a little smoother over 10 miles is a lot smoother after 100. Speaking from experience, you will always think of getting a CF bike because to date that is the material that is getting the most attention and R&D. Also you will always be able to get a deal on Aluminum or Steel if later on you want one. JMHO
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    When I went Alum to Carbon, I increased my speed by 1 full mph. I don't think it was the weight as much as the stiffness of carbon. You can feel the carbon accelerate. I am glad I made the upgrade. If you are thinking about upgrading after three months then do it. You'll only think about it more down the road.

    However, don't expect miracles. Ride more mileage but more importantly increase your aerobic capacity by hills or intervals.

  9. #9
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    As my wife and I are saying more often, why wait?

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    IMHO - the trade offer is nice, but the bikes have slightly different geometry. The ALlez geometry is slightly more race orientated, Roubieux geometry is more relaxed. Get the bike that fits better and fits your riding needs better.
    ride long & prosper

  11. #11
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    I was very skeptic of carbon fiber, and finally (after 35 years) I bought a carbon fiber and it is superb, much less tiring, no bouncing, it absorbs the bumps incredibly well, and you feel the lightness particularly when accelerating or going up a hill, you feel more of your effort being transmitted directly to the wheels.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by casjr2171 View Post
    Will I notice THAT much difference with the 5 or 6 pound lighter carbon frame (plus the upgrade from Tiagra to 105 components) ???
    Your dealer is making a very generous offer. I'm with the others saying take it, if after test riding you like the new bike.

    Answering your question, fill both your water bottles, take a ride. Take off both water bottles. Take the same ride. There's your difference. Not much.

    Same with the Tiagra to 105.

    The difference will be in comfort, ride and handling of the frame. Pay attention to that. If it works for you, do the deal.

    As for your performance, the beta blockade is part of what's holding you back. Having only 700 miles in your legs is the other part.

    You're off to a great start, just keep at it. In time--not this year, and probably not next either--you'll notice faster and faster times. The exercise may also put you in the position of reducing the dose of betas, or eliminating it. Maybe a substitution for something else? In any event, better health from cycling will eventually impact your BP, which will impact your meds.

    It was my third or fourth year that I really came into my own and was staying with the pack, and doing it easily. Now in my eighth year, I'm generally towards the front of the fast group, sometimes leading it. Give time time.
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  13. #13
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    Without a doubt, at least ride the Roubaix. If you like the way it rides better, trade up.

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    The bikes are different but the offer is good. Ride the Roubaix more than just in the parking lot. See if you can get an hour or two on it. If you like it, go for it.
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  15. #15
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    Hell yeah do it....
    BE THE PERSON YOUR DOG THINKS YOU ARE.....

  16. #16
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades.

    Well someone was going to say it sooner or later, so thank me for getting it over with.

    My physical therapist told me that, as a rule, the more carbon fiber you have between the road and you, the more your joints will appreciate it.

    To address your specific question: no, the upgrade will not help you keep up with the pack.

    Sorry.

    But if you enjoy riding the bike, you'll put more miles in, and that will help you keep up with the pack.

    No component will help you keep up. For that you need to offer up blood, sweat and tears to the gods of cycling.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by casjr2171 View Post
    I have a Specialized Allez Elite bought 3 months ago. I've put 700 miles on it. It is my first road bike and I really like it. However, now that I've learned more about bikes, I'm wondering if I should take my dealer up on his offer to refund my purchase price on the purchase of a new Roubaix SL4 Sport.
    It's NOT the upgrade from aluminum to carbon fiber for its own sake. I am looking for ways to keep me from always being at or near the back of the pack, or falling off the back for that matter. As yould expect, climbing is the biggest factor.

    My Allez weighs 23 lbs. and I think the Roubaix comes in somewhere around 17 (?). My performance may be somewhat compromised by the meds I take (2 beta blockers) but even if that's a factor, it's a "given" and something I'll just have to deal with. Climbing is tougher.

    I'm starting to toss and turn over this decision and would love your opinions. Will I notice THAT much difference with the 5 or 6 pound lighter carbon frame (plus the upgrade from Tiagra to 105 components) ??? The very least I will do if I keep the Allez is change my 12-28 cassette to a 12-30 or 12-32 to help me with the climbs. But I'm torn over this upgrade offer.

    Many thanks for your counsel.
    If you want to get a better bike, there no reason not to get it. However, the difference in weight will not make that much difference. Now, if you were going from a 35 pound Sears bike, you would see a difference. The reason you are slower is due to the beta blockers. A slow heart rate is good for some things, but ride performance is not one of them. You might talk to your cardiologist about taking the beta blockers after riding, or half before and half after. I take mine after, but they are given for various reasons. Only your cardiologist can tell you if timing variations are safe for you.

  18. #18
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    at least ride the roubaix.
    in my opinion there is a SIGNIFICANT difference between the ride quality between a aluminum framed bike, with a carbon fork and seat post to a full carbon bike. the geometry difference between the roubaix and tha allez makes it that much more comfortable.
    as others have posted the power transfer not the weight difference between the 2 will make you faster.
    i went from a 2010 trek 2.1 to a 2008 roubaix elite to a 2012 roubaix elite sl2. the ride quality between the 2 roubaix's was very significant.
    i almost bought a 2013 roubaix instead of the 12, i couldn't justify the price difference between the 2 at the time. after riding a friends 13 on a 30 mile ride i wish i bought the 13.
    Last edited by mrt2you; 09-17-13 at 08:40 PM.

  19. #19
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    My main bike has been carbon since Trek started using it, and I really recommend it. I'm on my fourth carbon bike. The comfort is the bigger difference, but the weight while a slight advantage is good too. And yes, better components are BETTER. So upgrade if you can afford it.

    But on the climbs, the beta blockers are a big hindrance. I was on them about ten years, until two months ago. I rode with a heart monitor, and any time my heart rate got up to about 125, would back off or pay for it later. I also made sure I stayed hydrated and didn't overheat, or paid for it more with the beta blockers. Not only did I climb slower than I wanted, I had to back off and recover after every climb. So with the beta blockers, you just have to accept some limitations. You need to figure out what those limitations are for you and adjust accordingly. Just be grateful you can ride at all. I learned some good things from riding with the beta blockers, however. One thing was I learned to spin up the hills rather than mash. Today my rpm's tend to increase when climbing, into the 90-110 range, where it used to drop back to the 50-60 range. So I use those bigger cogs.

    (To put my comments into perspective, I ridden seriously for about 35 years, logging between 2,500 and 4,500 miles a year except for the year I had five heart bypasses. I am 69 this week and weigh between 205-210, so bike weight isn't as important as comfort. ;-) )
    Last edited by Cychologist; 09-17-13 at 09:56 PM.

  20. #20
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    I agree with those that suggest you ride the bike first and if you like it go for it as it is a great deal.
    I'd guess that there will be some significant ride characteristic differences between the two bikes.
    I think the weight difference is also significant. Six pounds is quite a bit between bikes and personal weight is apples and oranges in this case.
    Ride the bike and tell us what you notice...while owning the first bike for only three months and 700 miles may not seem like much to many of us it may be provide a good base line to notice differences.
    Keep us informed...

  21. #21
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    The test ride is the main test for you. I have a good CF and I have top rate Aluminium. Not the run of the mill stuff used on most bikes. IF I have a choice -I ride the aluminium. The ride suits me better as it is more lenient on the body but that is down to my style of riding and the materials used. Test ride to see if you like the Roubaix.

    On weight- 6 lbs is a lot but what you may not notice is the difference in groupsets and the quality of the wheels.

    But that offer of trade up is good. Proividing you can feel the difference in the bikes----------------------go for it.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by casjr2171 View Post
    Will I notice THAT much difference with the 5 or 6 pound lighter carbon frame
    The weight difference of the frames is only about 1 pound, 2 at the most. The rest of the weight savings is in the fork, components, and most importantly, the wheels.
    I bring this up because you will feel the difference in weight and the lighter wheel will spin up faster. It's not going to make you fast but you will feel it.

    As tsl said, give it time, you are just getting started.

  23. #23
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Besides what everyone else has said, I've found that with every bike I bought, you'll have to upgrade the wheels. Maybe the saddle as well. I still would buy it. Sounds like a great deal.
    George

  24. #24
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by casjr2171 View Post
    I have a Specialized Allez Elite bought 3 months ago. I've put 700 miles on it. It is my first road bike and I really like it. However, now that I've learned more about bikes, I'm wondering if I should take my dealer up on his offer to refund my purchase price on the purchase of a new Roubaix SL4 Sport.
    It's NOT the upgrade from aluminum to carbon fiber for its own sake. I am looking for ways to keep me from always being at or near the back of the pack, or falling off the back for that matter. As yould expect, climbing is the biggest factor.

    My Allez weighs 23 lbs. and I think the Roubaix comes in somewhere around 17 (?). My performance may be somewhat compromised by the meds I take (2 beta blockers) but even if that's a factor, it's a "given" and something I'll just have to deal with. Climbing is tougher.

    I'm starting to toss and turn over this decision and would love your opinions. Will I notice THAT much difference with the 5 or 6 pound lighter carbon frame (plus the upgrade from Tiagra to 105 components) ??? The very least I will do if I keep the Allez is change my 12-28 cassette to a 12-30 or 12-32 to help me with the climbs. But I'm torn over this upgrade offer.

    Many thanks for your counsel.
    What the hell?!?! You like your bike that you just bought so what's your problems already!!!!! Get over being last in the pack and just be damn glad to be IN the pack at all!!!!

    You won't gain a damn thing by trading bikes since there is no measuable difference in them other than one is a (woooo weee!) carbon frame.

    Life is to short for this kind of foolishness...........
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  25. #25
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    Of all the many thoughtful and very helpful advice on how I, a novice at 66, could get the most out of cycling, yours is the only reply that sounded like, "Get off my lawn." I thought this forum was for sharing technical and experience-based information for the mutual good of all subscribers. To me, that doesn't seem like "foolishness." Sorry my post upset you like it obviously did.

    Why do you assume I'm not happy just to "be IN the pack? You're not aware of the thanks I offer up every time my usual ride passes by the local cemetary.
    Last edited by casjr2171; 09-18-13 at 04:27 PM. Reason: corrected verb tense

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