Join Date: Jun 2006
Bikes: Cannondale: '94 R400; Lemond Poprad '06; Specialized Epic Marathon '06; Specialized Stumpjumper '89; Redline Proline Pro Cruiser '10
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You'll need a lot of cash, first and foremost. Unless you swing a super-sweet deal on used equipment.
I've had my 'cross bike though about a season and a half of racing and have never had a big crash. A couple of slide-outs. The left lever has already developed outboard play in the lever.
Compared to bar-end shifters and brake levers, "brifters" are more fragile, heavier, and far far more expensive.
Soon as my 105 STI's tank-- that's it. On to bar-ends.