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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 05-25-14, 01:23 AM   #1
JakiChan 
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Upgradeitis - Go electronic vs a power meter

I feel like doing something to my bike. It's a 2013 Roubaix Expert. It started life full Ultegra but now it's got an XTR RD with an 11-34 cage. The setup has worked well for me and helped me climb hills and stuff.

For about the same price I could probably do one of these two things:

1. Go Ultegra 6800, with a long cage RD and an 11-32 cassette. So new brakes, brifters, cranks, FD, RD, cassette, etc. I like this idea because a) everyone I know with electronic shifting loves it and b) being able to shift under load would be great.

2. Quarq Elsa R + Praxis Works rings. I was thinking about giving training with power a try. Not sure how good that would work without having a dedicated coach (vs just a TrainingPeaks subscription).

If I hit the lotto I guest I could do both...but if you had to choose one over the other which would you choose?

Edit: The downside, of course, to the Di2 option is that I'd lose 2 teeth, going from 11-34 to 11-32. Forgot to mention that.
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Old 05-25-14, 01:35 AM   #2
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1. Go Ultegra 6800, with a long cage RD and an 11-32 cassette. So new brakes, brifters, cranks, FD, RD, cassette, etc. I like this idea because a) everyone I know with electronic shifting loves it and b) being able to shift under load would be great.
Umm, you mean Ultegra 6870, right? 6800 is the mechanical groupset.
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Old 05-25-14, 01:48 AM   #3
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I feel like doing something to my bike. It's a 2013 Roubaix Expert. It started life full Ultegra but now it's got an XTR RD with an 11-34 cage. The setup has worked well for me and helped me climb hills and stuff.

For about the same price I could probably do one of these two things:

1. Go Ultegra 6800, with a long cage RD and an 11-32 cassette. So new brakes, brifters, cranks, FD, RD, cassette, etc. I like this idea because a) everyone I know with electronic shifting loves it and b) being able to shift under load would be great.

2. Quarq Elsa R + Praxis Works rings. I was thinking about giving training with power a try. Not sure how good that would work without having a dedicated coach (vs just a TrainingPeaks subscription).

If I hit the lotto I guest I could do both...but if you had to choose one over the other which would you choose?

Edit: The downside, of course, to the Di2 option is that I'd lose 2 teeth, going from 11-34 to 11-32. Forgot to mention that.

Are you a recreational rider who mainly rides to stay healthy or serious about riding and constantly wanting to make gains?
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Old 05-25-14, 01:58 AM   #4
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Umm, you mean Ultegra 6870, right? 6800 is the mechanical groupset.
Yeah, thanks for the clarification.
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Old 05-25-14, 02:00 AM   #5
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Are you a recreational rider who mainly rides to stay healthy or serious about riding and constantly wanting to make gains?
Define "serious"? I'm mostly a recreational rider. I'm not a racer, but I do want to get faster/stronger.
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Old 05-25-14, 04:10 AM   #6
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Unless you're climbing HC mountains, if you're using a 34 cassette, getting stronger at this stage of the game for you just means riding more. If you're hellbent on buying SOMETHING, just get the electronic gruppo. A PM and coach at this stage of your game is likely to just discourage you and to make cycling less enjoyable in the sense that "training" winds up turning cycling into a chore rather than something you do for enjoyment. I should also tell you that I have the Quarq + praxis rings on all of my bikes and "training" and a coach became a chore for me. Also, I don't have any plans for going to electronic in the foreseeable future.

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Old 05-25-14, 06:40 AM   #7
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If your current groupset is near end of life it may be worth considering an upgrade to 6800, or 6870 if you want Di2. Otherwise, you're replacing good components with only slightly better ones. If you're hellbent on picking one over the other, I'd go with the power meter or possibly Stages power. Depending on how you ride and what your goals are, a power meter will help you focus on training. You can also do this with a heart rate monitor, but a power meter gives more accurate information.
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Old 05-25-14, 06:59 AM   #8
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Get the book Training and Racing with Power Meter by Coggan and Allen. Read it. If you still want a power meter after that, and you are ready to either buy or build yourself a training plan and follow it, then go ahead and get a PM.

Is there a problem with your drive train you are trying to solve? If there is, is Di2 the solution?

Other than that... if it's just upgradeitis, the best cure for that is to step away from bikeforums and go for a ride. Spend the money on something else that you actually need, or save it for your next bike purchase. Your bike is only 2 year old!
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Old 05-25-14, 07:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Silvercivic27 View Post
Unless you're climbing HC mountains, if you're using a 34 cassette, getting stronger at this stage of the game for you just means riding more. If you're hellbent on buying SOMETHING, just get the electronic gruppo. A PM and coach at this stage of your game is likely to just discourage you and to make cycling less enjoyable in the sense that "training" winds up turning cycling into a chore rather than something you do for enjoyment. I should also tell you that I have the Quarq + praxis rings on all of my bikes and "training" and a coach became a chore for me. Also, I don't have any plans for going to electronic in the foreseeable future.
Hmm, I was thinking that for someone who wants to get-- yeah, 'needs' to get if they're running a 34!-- stronger/faster, then a power meter and training regimen is the only way to go, since Di2 ain't gonna do anything in that regard at all. However, your point that there's plenty of headroom for gains (presuming average, healthy male) from simply cycling more, is a good one, and yeah, why not do those rides with a slick electro shift system?

On the other hand, power training can really focus efforts and lead to faster gains in fitness, even when done without a coach, and while training can be a chore, it can also be enjoyable and rewarding. (I'm still in the enjoyable/rewarding phase!)

Most importantly, perhaps, is a that a power meter offers another opportunity to satiate upgradeitis via GPS head units! The new Garmin 1000 looks pretty juicy to this old 500 user anyway!
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Old 05-25-14, 07:37 AM   #10
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6870 with a mid-cage RD can probably work a 34T no issues... just don't know if there is a 34T cassette yet ? Maybe when 105 goes 11speed. My 9070 short cage RD can work with a 32T no problem.

One of the cheapest power meters is stages... I'd start there for basic power meter training.
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Old 05-25-14, 08:16 AM   #11
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Nope- downgraditis to thumb and finger.
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Old 05-25-14, 08:29 AM   #12
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I'm mostly a recreational rider. I'm not a racer, but I do want to get faster/stronger.
To get faster you either need to increase your power or reduce your drag. To increase your power you either need to increase your time on the bike or increase your intensity while on the bike. Whatever you buy, if you don't increase your time or intensity, or if you don't decrease your drag, you won't get faster. Buy things that make you want to ride more, or make you want to increase the intensity, or help you reduce your drag.
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Old 05-25-14, 08:30 AM   #13
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thumb looking better and better.
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Old 05-26-14, 11:09 AM   #14
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I'm like you in terms of self description and goals. I'll never race (56 years old) but love riding and like to know how I'm doing. Got a Stages power meter, and I'm enjoying it. I suppose if I obsessively compared myself to more serious cyclists, I might get discouraged. But I compare myself to myself. That said, intervals are both necessary and sufficient for improving, assuming you haven't started them. I don't interval until puking, but I do push myself. And have gotten faster. In any case, power meter is useful in all this. But next bike will probably have electronic shifting too.
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Old 05-26-14, 12:19 PM   #15
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Unless you're climbing HC mountains, if you're using a 34 cassette, getting stronger at this stage of the game for you just means riding more.
Hardly. When my office moved from 3 to 10 miles from my home and I was just riding around ( 4000-5000 miles a year) I was slower commuting than the last century I rode because once you have a little fitness (perhaps a thousand base miles) riding more doesn't make you significantly faster.

A training plan with heart rate made a big difference. Power made it simpler to ride as hard as practical on hard days and boringly slow on rest days for bigger gains.

If you want to ride to be faster, go farther, or loose weight and are putting a reasonable (six hours a week?) amount of time into cycling you want a structured training plan although you don't need to be too parochial about it (sometimes substitute a sweet spot ride with friends for your 2x20 day, fit intervals between conveniently spaced traffic lights as opposed to trying for exactly 300 seconds of interval with 300 seconds of rest, whatever).

If you're not yet doing that experimenting with heart rate would be less expensive than training with power.

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Old 05-26-14, 01:52 PM   #16
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All depends on what your goals are. A guy cruising around with a 34 tooth cog on his cassette who is asking questions like this on an Internet forum is most likely not someone adept at training who has years of base. I just don't want anyone to think that 2x20s or sprint intervals and the word "fun" belong in the same sentence. There are training videos that allow you to do things like this. They're called "Sufferfest", not Funfest. also, most guys who are racing, even at the cat5 level are putting in 10+ hours a week when the weather is good.
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Old 05-26-14, 01:59 PM   #17
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OP, have you test ridden Di2? I took a Domane out for a 30-40 minute test ride with Ultegra Di2 and thought it was cool but wasn't exactly blown away by electronic shifting. I still may do that as my next upgrade but I'm going to give it a lot of thought before I spend $1500 to go electronic.

I got a Powertap G3 wheelset for Christmas and love riding/training with power. The Quarq is what $1500-2000? I don't know if I'd spend that much with cheaper options like Powertap, Power2Max and Stages out there.
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Old 05-27-14, 07:33 AM   #18
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Get the book Training and Racing with Power Meter by Coggan and Allen. Read it. If you still want a power meter after that, and you are ready to either buy or build yourself a training plan and follow it, then go ahead and get a PM.
Plus a gazillion. A power meter is a great tool, but like any tool it only works if you use it properly.

Used as a part of a structured training plan, the power meter will help you get faster.

But following such a plan is not everyone's cup of tea, as Silvercivic points out. The Book will help you get a feel for that.

As for whether a power meter is helpful without a coach, the book will also help there. To get the most out of a power meter, you need to track and analyze your data, and adjust the training plan accordingly. You can do this yourself, or you can pay a coach to do it.

Reading the book will give you a feel for whether playing with all the various metrics (TSS, CTL, ATL, FTP, etc.) is fun for you or a chore. If you enjoy it, and put in the effort, you can get a lot out of your power data yourself. If you don't want to spend time analyzing all that crap, then you need a coach, or just skip the power meter all together.
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Old 05-27-14, 08:11 AM   #19
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Other than that... if it's just upgradeitis, the best cure for that is to step away from bikeforums and go for a ride. Spend the money on something else that you actually need, or save it for your next bike purchase. Your bike is only 2 year old!
Best advice I've seen here in a long time.
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Old 05-27-14, 08:32 AM   #20
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Even without a strict training regimen, watching power numbers will tell you if you're getting stronger, and coupled with a heart rate monitor, you'll know if you're getting out there and doing the work to improve, or just putzing around.

Knowing that alone will act as a motivator, and it's quite simple to fix goals to drive progress, for example, to just hold a few watts more up a familiar climb, or push a little harder on your favorite flat.

Do those kinds of things regularly, and it adds up to something, especially for folks with an essentially lazy personality type like I have! I seriously can't tell, without metrics, whether I'm working hard or feeling lousy, so seeing the numbers during the ride really helps me go harder.
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Old 05-27-14, 09:21 AM   #21
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If you wanted the best of both worlds why not go Di2 and save some on a powermeter and go with a Powertap option? OR The new Stages Power Meter that you can attach as a crank arm. You might not get that crank PM bling factor but all are effective and much more cost conscience.
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Old 05-27-14, 09:25 AM   #22
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why not wheels?
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Old 05-27-14, 10:28 AM   #23
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Get both!!!!!
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