Hey all! I'm somewhere north of 50 years and entering some local crit and road races this year. I'm two days away from doing some test rides, spending a few "large" on an upgrade, and I need some opinions and advice.
I started riding again last January and figured I'd upgrade if still riding a year later and lost weight (20lbs so far, to 180). Currently, I'm riding a 2007 Trek 1000, entry-level with Tiagra components, a good second-hand buy with an upgraded Neuvation wheelset and saddle. I've found over 3K miles that I prefer 20-40 mile rides (avg 17mph solo, depending on hills), pushing hard to 90%+ of max HR, looking for hills to climb, descend and climb them again, diving into corners, and sprint intervals. I'm in no danger of doing any long MS benefits or metrics. Not my style.
I really, really like the 2014 EVO 5 (with 105 components) ($2,270 MSRP/$2,099 retail) at my LBS. It's aggressive and has great reviews. With the EVO, I figure I'm also buying the bike, the shop, the sales person, and the mechanic. It's a good place with good people. But, Performance Bicycle has a 2013 Fuji Altamira 2.0 LE (with Ultegra components) ($2,599 MSRP/$1,899 on sale). I don't care for the store, there's never a salesperson around, which is good, because they are clueless when asked the difference between the Altamira/SST/Gran Fondo.
Now I'm starting to think, at my skill level, do I really need carbon? I could get a CAAD10 ($2,270 MSRP/$2,099 retail) with Ultegra components at my LBS. It's also light and aggressive, but with better components. Same price as the EVO 5. I know, I know, I need to test ride. But what do you folks think is most important? Upgraded components v. carbon v. aluminum v. buying from local bike shop???