I have a stock Giant TCR2 road bike with 105's all around. I want to start tricking it out. Where would you all start? I'm thinking of slapping some aerobars on it, but might go for some Ultegra pieces. Any suggestions?
i don't do tri's but some of my good friends do. i would get a set of aerobars, a foward seatpost, and defidently some sort of tri suit. you could also get some tri specific shoes. they might be worth it. also, i would consider some smaller stuff like the holder for your food/water that goes between the handlebars, aerobar computer mount, etc... aero wheels would be great, but thats some serious cash....
Keep your existing post & saddle and swap them out when you do different types of rides...use your "regular" setup for group rides and hilly routes...switch to the tri setup when you want to ride on your own for training purposes.
As much as I like gear (I personally have a full Dura-Ace set-up), I have to agree that you won't get any bang for your buck by uprading components from 105.
You can do everything above for around $200...if you want to go beyond that, the next best place to invest that cash burning a hole in your pocket is in your wheels. There are many, many options here and it's where the real difference will be noticed.
I agree with cjbruin. If you can't get the three things at once start with the aerobars, then get the seat post and saddle. Also consider an aero water bottle that mounts on your aerobars. That way you can drink while maintaining your aero position.
Instead of starting a new thread, I will tack a similar question onto the end of this one. I have a Felt S25 tri bike with most/all the suggestions listed above but it is otherwise an "off the shelf" tri bike. I have promised my wife not to break the bank (this year) with a really expensive aero set-up (like an all carbon Kestrel or even a Cheeta). However, I do have some cash to invest in upgrades. I am leaning towards a mid-price rear disc wheel and possibly a tri-spoke or deep rim front wheel. The two most important factors are that the upgrades must complement my "dream bike" (I don't want to invest a lot of cash just to have it collect dust when I get the new machine) and that it will provide noticeable improvement with my current Felt.
In case it matters, I completed a 1/2 IM last year and plan to do 2 this year. I stick to courses that are only moderately hilly.
...I am leaning towards a mid-price rear disc wheel and possibly a tri-spoke or deep rim front wheel. The two most important factors are that the upgrades must complement my "dream bike" (I don't want to invest a lot of cash just to have it collect dust when I get the new machine) and that it will provide noticeable improvement with my current Felt.
A mid-priced combo could be HED3 + HED DISK... but it really depends on what means mid-priced for you.
HED has really attractive prices on their close-out wheels (http://hedcycling.com/closeouts/)
A lower (budget) priced combo - Specialized 3-spoke + RENN DISK (the 3-spoke would be hard to find but it's worth it, being identical to the HED3)
The poor man's budget solution = HED CX (or Campy SHAMAL) + CH Aero covers over 32 spoke box rim
And finally, the rich man's gear = ZIPP 909 wheelset
Yes, wheels make the biggest impact as a single upgrade. A much better option over the rear disc/frt. tri spoke would be the Zipp 404's which can uses clincher tires for about $1,350. The problem with a rear disc (besides the fact that most use tubular tires) is handling issues in moderate to heavy winds (and the reason they are not allowed in Kona at Ironman). I used a disc in a 10.5 mile TT race in a 4-5 mph side wind which was gusty and it was a little difficult to maintain positive control......fighting the wind is no joy.
If wind conditions are a concern - the Zipp's 606 wheel set is the answer, in that they have almost the same "Aero advantage" of a disc without the same handling issues. The 606's use a deeper rear (the 808) than the 404 which is not as drastic as a disc, and has the 404 in the front. The upgrade over the standard Zipp wheel is to add ceramic bearings for $1,000 if you already own a Zipp wheel (something I did on one of my 404's wheel sets). You can also order the tubular set which uses special "Z-series" hubs and the ceramic bearings - the two define the Z-series option.
Advantages of Zipp 404's wheels (besides being the wheel of choice at Ironman Hawaii)
1. Can use clincher or tubular tire and also available in a clydesdale configuration
2. Can be used in more wind conditions
3. Very fast wheel, faster with the Z-bearings (maybe 1-mph added to your average speed over a 1/2 IM)
Advantage of the Z-series with tubular design
1. Lower in weight (a little more than a 1/2 lb).
2. A faster wheel set
I have Zipp 404's (clinchers) on both of my Tri bikes, and believe them to be the best all around wheel for racing (see my bikes in the hot TT bike thread). I am planning this year - to purchase a Z909 set, and a next year I will add the Z303 front and the Z808 rear which would give me even more options in various wind conditions (all of which are tubular wheels). The problem as I noted above - you never know what the weather conditions will be at a race, especially if you are traveling a great distance. In a race it is much easier (at least for me) to deal with clinchers in a race should a flat occur - but the tubulars are a faster wheel. My montra in every race during the bike is "no flats - no flats - no flats - no flats".
404's are a very durable wheel so they can be use for training as well, but better saved for race day.
Thanks for the info. I have yet to develop a full appreciation of the wind effects on various wheel designs. Winds can change dramatically from morning (i.e. race start) to afternoon (i.e. the end of the bike leg for a 1/2 IM) so I should go with a wheel that can handle most conditions. On a related topic, why do most guys train on one set of (cheap) wheels and race on another? I put about 1500 miles on my first set of wheels and with apparently only cosmetic wear & tear. Barring a horendous crash, what harm would I do using my race wheels for training? Training on race wheels would give me more experience in knowing how the wheels handle in all kinds of conditions.
I haven't tried tubulars as I have yet to hear a convincing argument for their benefits over clinchers. The added hassle and expense of having to replace the tire (not just the tube) with tubulars seems to make the choice a no-brainer. Can you offer any insights into this?
ooooo, 404 clydesdale wheels, sexy, oooooo...maybe I can get a set for my Ironman next year....
On the subject of training wheels and racing wheels. Typically your race wheels are lighter and more expensive than your training wheels and you want to protect your investment. Also, the extr weight of the training wheels make your race wheels seem that much lighter when you do ride on them. I like the wheels that came on my Equinox 7 but I bought a pair of wheels Rev. Chuck was auctioning on EBay this week that I'll use as my training wheels.
Zack why would you want clydesdale wheel - are you a heavier build?
Yes - I agree in saving your race wheels for race day for the following reasons:
1. As Zack noted protecting your investment is one reason
2. Training with heavier wheels that are less aero efficient makes you work harder to spin at a specific rate and maintain a race pace speed - adding the race wheels will make this seem easier (and is is by just enough) so you can focus on the race. Lance, as well as many other pro racers do this in training, using heavier bikes and wheels to build strength - saving the best for race day. As a marathon runner I tend to train in my heavy trainers - and on race day go with racing shoes.
3. Race wheels tend to go out of true a bit easier - so I would rather beat up my trainiers.
As far as Tubulars the advantages as I see it are as follows;
1. Allow for higher tire preasures - resulting in less rolling resistance
2. Are more "Aero" than clinchers (looking at the shape of the Zipp wheel and a tubular tire in a cross section you can see what I mean - the shape of wheel and tire just flow better).
3. Tubulars just ride so much smoother - It has been said that you can gain about .5 mph in your race pace with tubulars. It's also the reason why most every pro out there at Ironman Hawaii and the Tour de France use them.
4. With about 500 grams less weight at the wheels is a huge advantage.
I tend to mostly train with my road bike and my indoor lifecycle 9500 trainer - if I ride my Tri-bike I will put a set of Bontrager Race-x wheels on it, which are really too nice to train with. I really need just a set of $200 -$300 wheels for training so I can beat crap out of them and not worry.