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Wisest use of money?

Old 05-05-08, 09:10 AM
  #1  
acorn_user
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Wisest use of money?

I have a bit of extra work over the summer, so I can afford to spend a little on bike stuff (<600$). What would be the best option? I currently ride an 853 steel race bike which I like a lot. Mix of Centaur and Athena parts.
1) Buy some tub wheels and tyres for cyclocross. I love cross! I also can get tubulars through a team sponsor.
2) Try and lighten up my road bike. It currently stands at 22lbs in race trim.
3) Aero wheels. I was thinking about getting a 2nd hand pair of old Campagnolo aero wheels (Shamal, Vento, that kind of thing).
4) Save up for ultimate goal: a made to measure frame.


So, what do you think?

p.s. I am a Cat 4, but mostly do mid-atlantic collegiate races and cross. I weigh 170 pounds and falling gently.
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Old 05-05-08, 09:16 AM
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Nothing has more potential to help you get faster than a power meter. A training partner of mine just landed a Campy PowerTap SL built into an Open Pro for $515 on ebay...
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Old 05-05-08, 09:17 AM
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Is racing your priority? If so and you are open for options I would recommend putting the $600 towards a coach. It's amazing how much faster one can make you. Either that or a powertap.
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Old 05-05-08, 09:23 AM
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if money is tight enough that you can only afford to put 600 bucks towards the bike I think you would be better off setting that money aside until you need it for repairs. you never know when you are going to need a couple hundred bucks after a crash.
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Old 05-05-08, 09:25 AM
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To get the most out of a coach you need a power meter of some sorts. Go with a used PT!
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Old 05-05-08, 09:29 AM
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Do my eyes deceive me?
You're spending more money on the bike???

Man...

And wait, you're racing cross on that roadie! You're a crazy man! Good luck though.
Lemme know what you decide to get, but for long term improvement, the powertap seems to be the only answer.
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Old 05-05-08, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by wfrogge View Post
To get the most out of a coach you need a power meter of some sorts. Go with a used PT!
no you dont. a good coach can train you successfully using perceived exertion, the power tap helps you give them unbiased feedback and gives the coach #s to play with, but is in no way necessary.

acorn_user: if you want bling, and focus on cyclocross, get your tubular wheels. if you want to improve your engine, which will help your bicycling more than anything else, go with a coach who works with athletes like you. this will take some research. If you race a bunch and are really strapped for cash to the tune of $600 will be all you can budget toward bicycling, listen to lithuania and bank the money for repairs. Would suck to have new wheels but no shifters/deraileurs, frame, etc. to put them on because you broke something and already spent your money.
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Old 05-05-08, 09:41 AM
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The fastest guys (all 1s) I know don't use power meters. it's really not that hard to learn to rest when you need rest and the bury yourself when you're supposed to do that. That isn't to say they don't have value, but it's not like you can't be competitive without them. I don't even have a computer on most of my bikes.
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Old 05-05-08, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
no you dont. a good coach can train you successfully using perceived exertion, the power tap helps you give them unbiased feedback and gives the coach #s to play with, but is in no way necessary.

Never said it was necessary.... The issue with using PE is not the coach but the athlete. There are many days that my PE feels one way but the PT numbers show a different result. Taking both numbers the coach can give you better direction.
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Old 05-05-08, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
The fastest guys (all 1s) I know don't use power meters. it's really not that hard to learn to rest when you need rest and the bury yourself when you're supposed to do that. That isn't to say they don't have value, but it's not like you can't be competitive without them. I don't even have a computer on most of my bikes.

You need to get out more.
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Old 05-05-08, 09:58 AM
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having done over 50 races last year I'd say I'd get out enough
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Old 05-05-08, 10:09 AM
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Wow, that's a lot of replies. I guess fantasising on spending biking dollars is fun!

I really enjoyed last cross season. I rode it on my commuter. When I went back home at Christmas, I found a lovely Raleigh cross bike with Campagnolo. Amazingly, it's about 2 pounds lighter than my road bike, and a full 15 pounds lighter than last years bike. I plan on doing much better this year and do the collegiate season.

I'll think about the powertap/coaching suggestions. I found that racing and fast group rides have helped my progress far more than anything else. I don't have road aspirations beyond scoring points in men's B (3/4) next year.

Thanks.

I'll have to resist the part of me that wants to blow it all on a Miche Supertype group
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Old 05-05-08, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by wfrogge View Post
There are many days that my PE feels one way but the PT numbers show a different result.
Indeed. The powertap is just as useful in the telling-you-that-you-need-more-rest phase as it is in the HTFU-and-go-faster phase.
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Old 05-05-08, 10:29 AM
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One thing I forgot. I currently use Time ATAC Alium pedals with Specialized Sport mtb shoes. Would there be a worthwhile comfort gain from going to Look Keo pedals and road shoes?
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Old 05-05-08, 10:46 AM
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The best choice is the one that builds your engine. I'm of the opinion of gsteinb that power metering is generally overrated. The strongest guy I know doesn't even use a computer! Mind you he's 38 and been at it since he was in his late teens. Tubulars won't hurt, a PT won't hurt, and coaching won't hurt. But the main thing is to train, race and rest wisely. The best way to do that is both by experience and reading (a lot) of books by experienced coaches and cycling experts. The main thing right now is to get structure -- a really good book for that is Friel's.
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Old 05-06-08, 08:32 PM
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Thanks for all the input.

I've decided to get some cross tubs, the cyclocross book and use the rest for other things.

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Old 05-06-08, 08:36 PM
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Lithuania
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good choice

i will be doing the same soon
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Old 05-07-08, 04:29 AM
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A little late but let me pipe up on a few things. First, a Shamal etc is not an aero wheel. They're under 30mm in height. I'd look at wheels which have rims that are at least 45 mm tall, more like 50+ mm. I have Reynolds DV46s and I don't think they're nearly as aero as the other wheels out there, and that's just a gut check. They're light, yes, but not that aero. 404, the Williams 50s, etc those I think would be "aero" wheels. If you can only buy one, buy the front. I raced for many years on a front TriSpoke wheel (now known as a Hed3, or H3D as I recently learned by looking at their site).

I think the cross thing is a good way to go as it seems like you're racing on your cross bike (?). Plus that's a hard core FTP type of thing to do. Good cross racers simply need good tactics to race well on the road (due to their inherent fitness) and nothing you can buy will teach you tactics.

I like my power meter but if you've been riding a while it won't change you per se. I had this fantasy that it would change me at some basic level but it hasn't. I still have the same issues I've always had but now I can quantify them, not just guess at them.

Unless you have weird dimensions, and even if you do, a custom frame is not all that. I've always dreamed of a custom frame but am plenty happy with my stock frame now, even after decades of dreaming up my "ultimate frame's geometry". I'd love a 55 cm TT, 44 cm ST @ 76 deg, 39 cm chainstay, 10 cm HT @ 73 deg, but that'll be a while yet. I also want a BB30 BB, 1.5" lower race, <1000 gram, very stiff frame. And spend like, say, $1500. Yeah, right. Maybe if Deddacai starts offering BB30 BB lugs (and a few extra BB lugs with more extreme angles) then I can make my own frame and see if it really fits.

I think you made a good choice,
cdr
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Old 05-07-08, 08:17 AM
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I'm picking up cross tubs ASAP as well.
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Old 05-07-08, 09:06 AM
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Ahh, posting is fun.
I was not thinking of the new Shamals, rather the old.
Voila: http://tinyurl.com/5w9p72

The custom frame thing is an English fixation. I grew up and started riding a lot in Leominster. We get a lot of touring traffic through. I saw so many Mercians and the like that I really want one. Plus racing steel bikes is fun. My team mate races his Cinelli Super Corsa.

I'm working on tactics. It's hard to work on when you struggle to stay at the front end (1st half of season) or realise no one else knows anything either (2nd half). But that's another thread!
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Old 05-07-08, 10:03 AM
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+1 for the cross tubies, simply because cross is way more fun and a lot less prone to road weenie-ness.

re: tactics, that's what clubs who have p/1/2 teams are good for - hang out with those guys a while and pick up a few tips. Especially post-race where everybody's sitting around.
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Old 05-07-08, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
+1 for the cross tubies, simply because cross is way more fun and a lot less prone to road weenie-ness.
winner!
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Old 05-07-08, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by acorn_user View Post
Ahh, posting is fun.
I was not thinking of the new Shamals, rather the old.
Voila: http://tinyurl.com/5w9p72

The custom frame thing is an English fixation. I grew up and started riding a lot in Leominster. We get a lot of touring traffic through. I saw so many Mercians and the like that I really want one. Plus racing steel bikes is fun. My team mate races his Cinelli Super Corsa.

I'm working on tactics. It's hard to work on when you struggle to stay at the front end (1st half of season) or realise no one else knows anything either (2nd half). But that's another thread!
Racing steel bikes is fun! Now if only mine weighed in around the same as my cannondale...
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Old 05-07-08, 04:39 PM
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I'm going to be contrarian and support a wheel upgrade.

(as someone who races a 1992 531 steel frame with modern Tiagra/105 and a pair of very incongruous Ksyriums)
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Old 05-07-08, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Treefox View Post
I'm going to be contrarian and support a wheel upgrade.

(as someone who races a 1992 531 steel frame with modern Tiagra/105 and a pair of very incongruous Ksyriums)
How much does that beast weigh?

Mine comes in at 21 lbs with neuvation wheels and campy centaur/veloce mix on a 84 531P trek frame
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