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For Crits - CAAD12 vs Allez Sprint vs Propel Advanced 2

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For Crits - CAAD12 vs Allez Sprint vs Propel Advanced 2

Old 06-07-17, 08:50 AM
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JimShep
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For Crits - CAAD12 vs Allez Sprint vs Propel Advanced 2

I just started racing criteriums and am thinking of buying a new bike. The new bike would mainly be for crits and shorter fast paced group or training rides. My current bike is getting a little long in the tooth, a A 10 year old Giant TCR C3. It was an entry level carbon fiber frame 10 years ago.


Right now at cat 5 crits I can hang with the pack and make some moves but I still have a ways to go before I can seriously challenge for a win. I did manage to score a Prime at one race. On fast group rides I can hang very well on the flats even when taking pulls or sprinting solo. I always fall way back on hills, one reason I think I am well suited for crits. While I would like to improve my hill climbing I subscribe to the theory that it is better to be great at one thing instead of good a several things.


I am fully aware that fitness and tactics are the biggest factors in racing or keeping up on a group ride but I can afford a new bike and would like to buy one. And I will take any advantage I can get no matter how small. No matter what I ride I will try to be as fit as my time and genetics allow.


I was originally looking at the caad 12 (Rim brake) based on great reviews. I have also heard that aluminum is better suited to criteriums and at lower price points aluminum is often a better choice than carbon fiber.


Then the Specialized allez Sprint caught my eye, Great reviews, aluminum frame and aero to boot. All else being equal I will gladly take whatever small advantage there is from an aero frame.


I also came across the Giant Propel 2 in the same general price range, Carbon fiber and probably more aero than the Sprint.


The propel is slightly more expensive, for the same money I could probably get the CAAD12/ Allez with ultegra vs the Propel 2 with 105. But my main focus is the frame/ fork, I already have decent race wheels and from what I have read the difference between 105 and ultegra is not a huge deal.


I will try to look at and ride all these bikes in person, unfortunately there is not a local bike shop that even carries two of them so I would have to go to three different shops. I am open to all opinions on the three bikes. I do have a decent Tri/ TT bike (Cervelo P2) so I am used to a more forward seat position if that makes a difference.

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Old 06-07-17, 09:01 AM
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rubiksoval
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Originally Posted by JimShep View Post
I just started racing criteriums and am thinking of buying a new bike. The new bike would mainly be for crits and shorter fast paced group or training rides. My current bike is getting a little long in the tooth, a A 10 year old Giant TCR C3. It was an entry level carbon fiber frame 10 years ago.


Right now at cat 5 crits I can hang with the pack and make some moves but I still have a ways to go before I can seriously challenge for a win. I did manage to score a Prime at one race. On fast group rides I can hang very well on the flats even when taking pulls or sprinting solo. I always fall way back on hills, one reason I think I am well suited for crits. While I would like to improve my hill climbing I subscribe to the theory that it is better to be great at one thing instead of good a several things.
That's not a good subscription, in my opinion. You can't do things you're great at if you get dropped on things you're not.

I see so many guys that can crush me in a head to head sprint that never even top ten a local crit because their threshold/aerobic capacity is too low to get them to the end of the race.

As for your query, any of those bikes would be great. Saying one frame material is better suited for one type of racing over another is false. Ride what you want to ride. Racing, especially crits, is such a small overall part of total ride time it's silly to justify something specifically because it'll be used in that situation.

Anyway, I'm partial to the Allezs, myself, though they're apparently a bit tougher to get in specific color schemes. I don't feel any of those bikes are significantly aero enough to justify one over another. At the end of the day, I'd probably just go with the one that's either the cheapest or looks the coolest.
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Old 06-07-17, 09:10 AM
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all of these bikes will be more than sufficient for your needs. personally, I wouldn't buy a propel because of the silly proprietary brakes. i've never ridden either but I imagine the caad12 and the allez sprint are very closely matched. I'd probably get the allez as i've had good luck with specialized bikes in the past, but honestly get whichever you like better.
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Old 06-07-17, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
At the end of the day, I'd probably just go with the one that's either the cheapest or looks the coolest.
I agree with that, especially the coolest part.
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Old 06-07-17, 09:45 AM
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To be honest, there's really nothing wrong with your current bike. It's not holding you back at all.

I think you might be better served spending your money on training books or coaching to help you maximize your training and efficiency.

As for carbon vs. aluminum for crits, that's kind of an outdated mindset. Aluminum was encouraged because aluminum frames are cheaper to buy and replace than carbon should you crash. And while that is still true, carbon repair is now a lot more common, and carbon can be repaired for a lot less than a new aluminum frame.
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Old 06-07-17, 10:06 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by JimShep View Post
I just started racing criteriums and am thinking of buying a new bike. The new bike would mainly be for crits and shorter fast paced group or training rides. My current bike is getting a little long in the tooth, a A 10 year old Giant TCR C3. It was an entry level carbon fiber frame 10 years ago.


Right now at cat 5 crits I can hang with the pack and make some moves but I still have a ways to go before I can seriously challenge for a win. I did manage to score a Prime at one race. On fast group rides I can hang very well on the flats even when taking pulls or sprinting solo. I always fall way back on hills, one reason I think I am well suited for crits. While I would like to improve my hill climbing I subscribe to the theory that it is better to be great at one thing instead of good a several things.


I am fully aware that fitness and tactics are the biggest factors in racing or keeping up on a group ride but I can afford a new bike and would like to buy one. And I will take any advantage I can get no matter how small. No matter what I ride I will try to be as fit as my time and genetics allow.


I was originally looking at the caad 12 (Rim brake) based on great reviews. I have also heard that aluminum is better suited to criteriums and at lower price points aluminum is often a better choice than carbon fiber.


Then the Specialized allez Sprint caught my eye, Great reviews, aluminum frame and aero to boot. All else being equal I will gladly take whatever small advantage there is from an aero frame.


I also came across the Giant Propel 2 in the same general price range, Carbon fiber and probably more aero than the Sprint.


The propel is slightly more expensive, for the same money I could probably get the CAAD12/ Allez with ultegra vs the Propel 2 with 105. But my main focus is the frame/ fork, I already have decent race wheels and from what I have read the difference between 105 and Ultegra is not a huge deal.


I will try to look at and ride all these bikes in person, unfortunately there is not a local bike shop that even carries two of them so I would have to go to three different shops. I am open to all opinions on the three bikes. I do have a decent Tri/ TT bike (Cervelo P2) so I am used to a more forward seat position if that makes a difference.
Never rode CAAD12 or Allez but had a Can supersix 13'. I just sold my 14' Propel adv 3 and longest bike i've kept, 2 yrs. I would ride this bike and smile just how great it felt, fun race bike although not the lightest bike but fast bike, super comfortable and looks sexy (comparing it to Can supersix, Venge Sworks, Ridley Noah, colnago clx, Cervelo S3, Dogma 65.1. I've heard great things about the Allez and know some guys who traded their venge vias for Allez sprint . Btw 105 11 spd on my CX bike feels exactly like ultegra 11 spd on my F8. Get what excites you and makes/motivates you to get out and ride and get a good fit.
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Old 06-07-17, 10:08 AM
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In this order

- fits you the best
- lets you afford a good wheelset
-leaves enough room in the budget to strip off the crap stock parts

A bike that doesn't fit never will. Good wheels are more important than good anything else. Everything else can be annoying but, given a decent fit, won't make much difference in the short term.
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Old 06-07-17, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by miyata man View Post
Good wheels are more important than good anything else.
Originally Posted by JimShep View Post
I already have decent race wheels
..
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Old 06-07-17, 11:50 AM
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Keep the old bike. Get a smart trainer and start doing stuff that invests in your engine.


I did an experiment the other week where I rode my backup bike on a fast group ride. Motobecane, training wheels, fit is more recreational. Crappy tires, butyl tubes, 10 speed cassette instead of 11, and so forth. My legs weren't as good that day. But the same ride had me doing 20 more watts than usual, average. It made a huge difference.
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Old 06-07-17, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
..
wall of text + uninteresting bikes + first post = reiterating common sense hardly being a case for ...{snark**
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Old 06-07-17, 12:55 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
Keep the old bike. Get a smart trainer and start doing stuff that invests in your engine.


I did an experiment the other week where I rode my backup bike on a fast group ride. Motobecane, training wheels, fit is more recreational. Crappy tires, butyl tubes, 10 speed cassette instead of 11, and so forth. My legs weren't as good that day. But the same ride had me doing 20 more watts than usual, average. It made a huge difference.
That's fine for training, but not ideal for racing where conservation is huge.

Regarding the bikes in the OP, any of those listed would be fine. Considerations would include ability to run wider tires on the propel (i think it's pretty tight and 25's may be tough) and proprietary components on the propel and allez (seatposts, brakes, etc). All that said, I think the allez is a great race bike for both performance (see team "crit life") and budget.
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Old 06-07-17, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by miyata man View Post
Good wheels are more important than good anything else.
Disagree. Good tires/tubes are more important than good anything else, at least from a speed point of view.

Slow tires on crazy awesome wheels is actually worse than awesome tires/tubes on regular al wheels.

For equipment, I'd go with tires/tubes first, skinsuit or well-fitting kit second, good helmet third, then probably wheels fourth. That's assuming your seat/pedals/bars are all comfortable. Contact points are always important since they have a big impact on whether or not you're going to want to keep riding.
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Old 06-07-17, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by miyata man View Post
In this order

- fits you the best
- lets you afford a good wheelset
-leaves enough room in the budget to strip off the crap stock parts

A bike that doesn't fit never will. Good wheels are more important than good anything else. Everything else can be annoying but, given a decent fit, won't make much difference in the short term.
you... made total sense.

also, OP, giants suck. get whatever the other option was.
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Old 06-07-17, 07:11 PM
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I'd get a bike that amps you up. If it's the Allez, great. Aero, whatever, fine, if it amps you up and gets you stoked then you should get it. Don't go into debt, but, man, if it's cool then you should get it. There are only a few things in life where this comes into play for me, but when I had the chance to buy my current car, I bought it because it just amped me up. No other reasons necessary.

105 v Ultegra, save your money, spend it when you bend or wear out your 105 parts.

Get fast wheels. Big aero wheels in cross tailwind sprints are pure joy. Tubulars, if you don't have them already, because in a crit environment I think they have an advantage due to lighter rotational mass for a given durability level due to rim design.

If you're relatively fit then a skinsuit, else it's just an eyesore (I fall in the eyesore category). Aero helmet, for me, was a "why not" decision. I got it because I could and I was going to get a new helmet anyway. I wanted a MIPS helmet and I could get one from the sponsoring shop that was aero (Bontrager) so I bought it. Cheaper than some of the alternatives also.

Focusing on one aspect of racing is not a bad thing if you're truly limited (I'm the definition of that), but I don't know if you've had enough experience to categorize yourself just yet. A good friend of mine was a bit frustrated because he rarely beat me in our sprints; he worked a bit more on his superior threshold and he was soon finishing the less selective road races, winning sprints from non-sprinters. By climbing just a bit better he could stick with the field in slightly hillier races. Much easier for him to win a sprint that way, with all the "sprinters" not even starting the race. He upgraded to 2 when I could only dream of doing the same, about 15 years ago.
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Old 06-07-17, 09:21 PM
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I did attempt to head off the 'Train harder/ smarter' and 'Spend the money on wheels/ smart trainer' posts...
Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
That's not a good subscription, in my opinion. You can't do things you're great at if you get dropped on things you're not.

I see so many guys that can crush me in a head to head sprint that never even top ten a local crit because their threshold/aerobic capacity is too low to get them to the end of the race.
For racing I mostly do crits, my club time trial and the occasional triathlon. Being a poor climber doesn't hurt me at any of these.

Maybe I overstated my case a bit, I definitely feel you should work on a weakness if it's holding you back. But I still think once you are balanced and pretty good at everything it is still better to be great at one thing. The only reason I mentioned it was because one bike I was looking at had several reviews that said it was a poor climber. This lead me to think – Do I want a bike that amplifies my strengths and weaknesses or a bike that compensates for my weakness but blunts my strength. With the three bikes I am looking at that is probably not an issue.

I do need to improve my climbing some. I have a decent sprint but not so much after 30 minutes of going hard in a crit, another thing I am working on.


Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
To be honest, there's really nothing wrong with your current bike. It's not holding you back at all.

I think you might be better served spending your money on training books or coaching to help you maximize your training and efficiency.

As for carbon vs. aluminum for crits, that's kind of an outdated mindset. Aluminum was encouraged because aluminum frames are cheaper to buy and replace than carbon should you crash. And while that is still true, carbon repair is now a lot more common, and carbon can be repaired for a lot less than a new aluminum frame.
I already have 'Training and racing with a power meter', a computrainer, a power meter, a dedicated laptop for the trainer and a room it can stay set up in .

If I buy a new bike I will also have a bike that can stay on the trainer most of the time
As I mentioned in the OP I train as hard and smart as I can and put in as many hours as my life allows. Not buying a bike will not change that.







Originally Posted by miyata man View Post
In this order

- fits you the best
- lets you afford a good wheelset
-leaves enough room in the budget to strip off the crap stock parts

A bike that doesn't fit never will. Good wheels are more important than good anything else. Everything else can be annoying but, given a decent fit, won't make much difference in the short term.
As it has already been pointed out I have decent race wheels (HED Jet6 Powertap). I don't consider Shimano 105 to be 'Crap'. Any specific parts that I should consider upgrading? I was skeptical of the Praxis chainrings on the Allez but they get decent reviews, the axis brakes seem questionable but that's an easy fix.

I should have mentioned that I will take fit into consideration.



Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
Keep the old bike. Get a smart trainer and start doing stuff that invests in your engine.


I did an experiment the other week where I rode my backup bike on a fast group ride. Motobecane, training wheels, fit is more recreational. Crappy tires, butyl tubes, 10 speed cassette instead of 11, and so forth. My legs weren't as good that day. But the same ride had me doing 20 more watts than usual, average. It made a huge difference.
As mentioned above, I already have a computrainer.


20 Watts is huge, this seems like an argument for buying anew bike...


Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Disagree. Good tires/tubes are more important than good anything else, at least from a speed point of view.

Slow tires on crazy awesome wheels is actually worse than awesome tires/tubes on regular al wheels.

For equipment, I'd go with tires/tubes first, skinsuit or well-fitting kit second, good helmet third, then probably wheels fourth. That's assuming your seat/pedals/bars are all comfortable. Contact points are always important since they have a big impact on whether or not you're going to want to keep riding.
I run latex tubes with sealant and GP 4000s tires. I know I could save a couple of watts with faster tires but for me the GP4000s hits the sweet spot of great rolling resistance with good durability and flat protection. I have an aero helmet and good fitting kit.


Originally Posted by miyata man View Post
wall of text + uninteresting bikes + first post = reiterating common sense hardly being a case for ...{snark**
The snark wasn't me. I have been lurking here for a while. I usually post on Slowtwitch but that board is Triathlon focused. This board is not overwhelmed with new posts and this one got 13 responses in 8 hours or so - so I guess it's not that uninteresting. And here's another 'wall of text' for you.


Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
I'd get a bike that amps you up. If it's the Allez, great. Aero, whatever, fine, if it amps you up and gets you stoked then you should get it. Don't go into debt, but, man, if it's cool then you should get it. There are only a few things in life where this comes into play for me, but when I had the chance to buy my current car, I bought it because it just amped me up. No other reasons necessary.

105 v Ultegra, save your money, spend it when you bend or wear out your 105 parts.

Get fast wheels. Big aero wheels in cross tailwind sprints are pure joy. Tubulars, if you don't have them already, because in a crit environment I think they have an advantage due to lighter rotational mass for a given durability level due to rim design.

If you're relatively fit then a skinsuit, else it's just an eyesore (I fall in the eyesore category). Aero helmet, for me, was a "why not" decision. I got it because I could and I was going to get a new helmet anyway. I wanted a MIPS helmet and I could get one from the sponsoring shop that was aero (Bontrager) so I bought it. Cheaper than some of the alternatives also.

Focusing on one aspect of racing is not a bad thing if you're truly limited (I'm the definition of that), but I don't know if you've had enough experience to categorize yourself just yet. A good friend of mine was a bit frustrated because he rarely beat me in our sprints; he worked a bit more on his superior threshold and he was soon finishing the less selective road races, winning sprints from non-sprinters. By climbing just a bit better he could stick with the field in slightly hillier races. Much easier for him to win a sprint that way, with all the "sprinters" not even starting the race. He upgraded to 2 when I could only dream of doing the same, about 15 years ago.
I agree on the 105 (But the new ultegra that just came out looks sweet). I thought it might come down to personal preference or just what bike I lust after, but I still thought I would try to get some opinions.

Edit - Thank you everyone for your input (And keep it coming if there's more). Sorry for the weird spaces, I typed this up in a text editor.

Last edited by JimShep; 06-07-17 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 06-07-17, 10:00 PM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
also, OP, giants suck. get whatever the other option was.
Why do you say that?
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Old 06-08-17, 04:56 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by JimShep View Post

I run latex tubes with sealant and GP 4000s tires. I know I could save a couple of watts with faster tires but for me the GP4000s hits the sweet spot of great rolling resistance with good durability and flat protection. I have an aero helmet and good fitting kit.

That's a good combo. I run it as well. I've got some Michelin Power Comps ready to go that I'll put on in two weeks for the big, big races, but the latex/gp4000s combo has served me well so far this year.

As for 105, I have 105 shifters. I swapped out the 105 derailleurs when the front one stopped shifting well and the rear one had the jockey wheels randomly fall off. I can't tell a difference at all. As long as it shifts... The brakes are good as well, but I've since switched the front one for a tririg omega because its looks cool and is maybe more aero.
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Old 06-08-17, 05:18 AM
  #18  
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FWIW I think those Allez Sprints are hot. Get whatever bike fits and makes you feel the coolest. Really, there's not much else to it.
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Old 06-11-17, 08:25 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
That's a good combo. I run it as well. I've got some Michelin Power Comps ready to go that I'll put on in two weeks for the big, big races, but the latex/gp4000s combo has served me well so far this year.

As for 105, I have 105 shifters. I swapped out the 105 derailleurs when the front one stopped shifting well and the rear one had the jockey wheels randomly fall off. I can't tell a difference at all. As long as it shifts... The brakes are good as well, but I've since switched the front one for a tririg omega because its looks cool and is maybe more aero.
The 105 derailleur pulleys each have a bushing, replacing them with pulleys with a bearing is an easy way to save 1 watt. Other than that the 105 is fine. (Ultegra has 1 bushing and 1 bearing)

I have the tririg Brake on my Cervelo P2.


Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
you... made total sense.

also, OP, giants suck. get whatever the other option was.
Why do you say that? My current bike is a giant and has been pretty good to me for 10 years. I am not really brand loyal but I definitely have nothing against Giant. From what I have read they tend to give you the most bike for the money, in general I think you get more bike for your money with the bigger manufacturers. A result of being able to spread design costs among more bikes and economies of scale in general. Sorry if that makes my choices uninteresting...

I test rode the 105 and ultgra versions of the Propel advanced, 2015 model. The shifting on both is miles better than my current bikes 105. The 105 version they had was too big for me. The ultegra version fits and because it's a 2015 model they can work on the price a bit, about $2200 with a complete Ultegra groupset (except for the proprietary aero brakes). I think it was the older version of the brake everyone was complaining about, these seemed to have plenty of stopping power and great feel. Overall I really liked it.

I saw the caad 12 but didn't have time to ride it. The graphics turned me off a bit (I don't need to see 'CAAD12' in 5 different places). The other downside with the caad 12 is I feel like I am paying for a bike that was developed for disk brakes and the rim brake version is just an afterthought.

Last edited by JimShep; 06-11-17 at 09:48 AM. Reason: For clarity
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Old 06-11-17, 08:46 AM
  #20  
TheKillerPenguin
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All else being equal, aero is best. Why not save a few watts if you like the way it feels and cost is comparable?
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Old 06-11-17, 12:17 PM
  #21  
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i abide by the 'ride what you can afford to replace' rule, and hence ride a caad9 with a nice 5800 groupset in the cat 3's, and I don't feel I'm held back in the 1/2/3 races. your giant tcr is perfectly fine, especially with power meter and aero wheels. radishleg's experiment doesn't consider a lot of things, like wheel selection, tire selection, both of which are more important than having a nice frame. you put a motobecane, or your giant tcr with 11 speed shimano and good pair of wheels, it'd be really hard to tell the difference (performance wise) from a nice caad12, allez sprint, or giant propel.

the frame is the worst investment in terms of $/watts. If I were you, I'd first make sure the wheels, tires and groupset are good, updated quality, which they appear to be. Then, get aero accessories like skinsuit, aero helmet. Those will get you more savings performance wise than getting a new frame.

if you really want a bike for better performance, get a giant propel. otherwise, if you just want a new bike because yours is 10 years old, then like what others have said, just get what's the coolest.
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Old 06-11-17, 12:38 PM
  #22  
miyata man
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Is there any feasible reason, given your overall enjoyment and happiness with current GIANT, you have overlooked a to the frame rebuild? Subtracting the cost of buying and getting fit on a new bike + selling your old wheels opens up a pretty big budget to go full in on aero equipment and spare parts.

Food for thought.
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Old 06-11-17, 02:16 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by JimShep View Post
The 105 derailleur pulleys each have a bushing, replacing them with pulleys with a bearing is an easy way to save 1 watt. Other than that the 105 is fine. (Ultegra has 1 bushing and 1 bearing)
So yeah, the jockey wheels: Last year I bought a pair of those "forever spinning on sweet bearings" pulley sets off Ebay. Thought they were awesome. They were even red to match the accents on my bike. Rode them for a while. Middle of a crit right as I was sprinting out of a turn and about to make contact with the (turned out to be winning) break, I guess one of them fell off. Pulled my chain through a couple of drive side spokes and ripped off my derailleur hanger.

I feel like that could have been fixed by simply double checking the pulley screws, but that's not something I've ever had to make a note of before. So anyway, now I only buy Shimano pulleys...Have had no issues since.

And I have a spare derailleur hanger in my toolbox.
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Old 06-11-17, 03:54 PM
  #24  
caloso
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Put me in the category of proprietary parts suck. Otherwise, test ride them all and get the one that makes you want to ride fast.
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Old 06-11-17, 07:02 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Put me in the category of proprietary parts suck. Otherwise, test ride them all and get the one that makes you want to ride fast.
along this vein, all of the new frames use press fit bottom brackets. avoid avoid avoid!! get an adapter, whatever it takes.
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