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Looking at getting into racing...what calibre of bike do I need?

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Looking at getting into racing...what calibre of bike do I need?

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Old 09-22-08, 11:19 PM
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Looking at getting into racing...what calibre of bike do I need?

Hi guys. I'm strongly considering getting into racing ( I know, another one of THESE threads. I used the search function, I promise.) and I'm wondering how fancy/expensive of a bike I'll need. Will I have a hope in hell on my '82 Miyata Three Ten, or am I going to need a serious upgrade? My starving student budget is not going to take kindly to large bike expenditures, so I want a rough estimate of how much it will cost to get a competitive set-up.

If my current steed isn't up to the task, what are some good starter-racer bikes, and what kind of price tag am I looking at?

Cheers.
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Old 09-23-08, 12:00 AM
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Anything with Tiagra/105 mix would do the trick. *shrug Budget in for shoes/clipless pedals, and a saddle.
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Old 09-23-08, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
Anything with Tiagra/105 mix would do the trick. *shrug Budget in for shoes/clipless pedals, and a saddle.
My Miyata Three Ten has the full 105 group! Granted, it's early eighties 105, with the golden arrow and whatnot...but it's 105!
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Old 09-23-08, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Exit. View Post
My Miyata Three Ten has the full 105 group! Granted, it's early eighties 105, with the golden arrow and whatnot...but it's 105!
STI or down tube shifters?
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Old 09-23-08, 12:36 AM
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There was a similar thread about racing older bikes here: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=466150
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Old 09-23-08, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
STI or down tube shifters?
Downtubes!
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Old 09-23-08, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by DanielS View Post
There was a similar thread about racing older bikes here: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=466150
Great link, thanks. Looks like there's hope for my Miyata.
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Old 09-23-08, 08:28 AM
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There is indeed. If it's mechanically sound and functional then give it a whirl. At entry level racing the equipment just doesn't matter all that much.
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Old 09-23-08, 03:52 PM
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raceing on old bikes

I race on a Binachi champione from 2000. It's an old steel frame. Everyone at the races I go to has a bike that costs way more mine. And their bikes are newer! The main things is to hook up with fast group rides. That's the only way to really push yourself relative to other fast people. Chances are also very good the people in the fast group rides race. Having some shifters on the break hoods will also be a good thing. But just go for it. You'll have a better idea what you are comfortable with and what you need to change first once you do a couple of races. I do agree though that some shoes and clipless peddals will probably be where you want to start.
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Old 09-23-08, 04:00 PM
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Upgrade the wheels to something light and aero and you'll be set. Going to 8-9spd would help as well for the closer-spaced gear ratios. Should just require new levers, freehub-body and cogs.
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Old 09-23-08, 04:01 PM
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just stay away from these:


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Old 09-23-08, 04:03 PM
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There was a guy here in NorCal doing very well in the Cat 5 and 4 races on a mid-80s steel Merckx with downtube shifters. I think the bike was older than the rider but it wasn't holding him back in the least.
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Old 09-23-08, 04:10 PM
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Don't listen to anyone saying that you need the latest and greatest titanium with Dura-Ace.

Carbon Fiber with SRAM Red will do just fine.
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Old 09-23-08, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
There was a guy here in NorCal doing very well in the Cat 5 and 4 races on a mid-80s steel Merckx with downtube shifters. I think the bike was older than the rider but it wasn't holding him back in the least.
My bikes are both older than me. Hehe.
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Old 09-23-08, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Upgrade the wheels to something light and aero and you'll be set. Going to 8-9spd would help as well for the closer-spaced gear ratios. Should just require new levers, freehub-body and cogs.
You mean 8-9 out back, I assume? It has six right now, and even that is more than I'm accustomed to. I've been riding a ten-speed for the last year and a half.
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Old 09-23-08, 09:01 PM
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As long as the bike is in good condition you are ready to go. It really dosent matter what components you have on it IMHO.

Try a few races and if you like it (and I bet you will). From there look for a used bike if you want the most bang for the buck. If you want something new its possible to find a full 105 or Ultegra equipped bike for around 1,500 or even less.

I have seen guys win road races with friction down tube shifters wearing tennis shoes with toe clips.
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Old 09-25-08, 10:35 AM
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Your current bike may be fine. Just get it to a pro shop and tell them you want to race it. Have them tune it up and recommend any changes that might be in order. Tell them you have a 200 dollar budget or whatever and let them make recs based on the budget you lay out. Some basic ideas might be tune up, wheels trued, new tubes and tires, new bar tape, new brakes or pads, a set of bottles and cages, a pro fitting, etc. Also give it a good cleaning if it is needed. One of the best things you can do to take some weight off the bike is to get a lighter set of wheels. Not sure what you currently have on there? Also...a good saddle is worth it's weight in gold. Go out and do log some good training miles on it and see how it holds up after the tune up/modifications. If it holds up well then it should be good to go. You need solid frame, reliable shifting, dependable drive train, and good set of brakes. If ya got that then you should be good to go. Make sure the wheels spin true and the spokes are going to hold up.
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Old 09-25-08, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by ElJamoquio View Post
Don't listen to anyone saying that you need the latest and greatest titanium with Dura-Ace.

Carbon Fiber with SRAM Red will do just fine.
Damnit, you're forgetting the titanium lugs.
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Old 09-25-08, 11:44 AM
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Seriously, there were a few guys in the Collegiate D circuit that were doing really well on old steel bikes. (One guy was using downtubes!)

I think that to get started, you'll be fine.
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Old 09-25-08, 12:15 PM
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It depends on the race. A ten mile crit with sharp turns every hundred yards is one sort of race. A hundred mile race with no hills and few turns is another sort of race.

The number of cogs on your bike is less important than having the RIGHT cogs on your bikes. Back in the days of bikes with five cogs, riders would change their cog set for each race, putting on precisely the best cogs for a given course. That enabled them to do most of their race using just two or three cogs, reserving their biggest cog for the steepest hills, and their smallest cog for the final sprint. Having 10 cogs on a bike is meaningless is five of them are inappropriate for a given course.

Many "top" pro's were winning in their teen years with very average bikes. LeMond came in second as a teen against some of America's best riders with a bike comparable to today's aluminum/105 bikes.

On a more or less level course, the bike itself is not a big factor...a strong rider on a 22 pound bike can win against a lesser rider with an 18 pound bike. The quality of the wheel hubs and the tires is more important. Thirty years ago, no serious cyclist would ride without Campy hubs. Today, many riders have no clue WHO made their hubs...and many $3,000 bikes have wheel hubs made by "anonymous" factories in communist China.

So, the best return on investment is to get wheels with first-rate hubs, and Campy hubs, and Shimano Dura-Ace hubs are first-rate. Next, you need tires that are appropriate for the race. Unlike pro riders, you don't have a team car following you with a spare wheel. So, you need tires that are both light and very tough.
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Old 09-25-08, 01:57 PM
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You can race what you have. Alan is a big proponent of hubs. It's important that they're in good mechanical condition. Beyond that, it doesn't particularly matter what name is stamped on them. I highly doubt anyone could tell the difference in a hub regardless of where it was made, except possibly by the sound of the freewheel.

Anyway, downtube shifters might hurt you a little in the final sprint. As a Cat5, that shouldn't be that big of an issue. On a normal flat crit course with no tight corner, it won't matter a hill of beans beyond the sprint.

I will agree with Alan on tires. Good tires are cheap and having something relatively grippy is cheap insurance. Michelin Pro2Race tires are a good option if you can find them. They're discontinued and relatively cheap. I feel they're a pretty good tire, and for the money you can get them for right now, they're a bargain.

Learn how to maneuver in the pack. Ride hard, get dropped, come back and ride hard again. I bet you'll love it.
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Old 09-25-08, 04:37 PM
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Seems like wheels and pedals are what I need to work on. I had kind of assumed that my flat pedals wouldn't cut it. My current rims are Araya 700c alloy rims, which I think are what came on the bike. The tires are also the originals, and have definitely seen better days.

Looks like I have a to-do list!
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Old 09-25-08, 05:27 PM
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Cervelo soloist team...out and out racer....and if you crash it...it will survive.
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Old 09-25-08, 09:12 PM
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more importantly what calibre of fitness do you need....that will be the biggest eye opener...then you will no doubt reach a point where you really believe the bike might make a difference...

welcome to where i was about 3 months ago...
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Old 09-25-08, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by MrCrassic View Post
Seriously, there were a few guys in the Collegiate D circuit that were doing really well on old steel bikes. (One guy was using downtubes!)

I think that to get started, you'll be fine.
Well, I had them mounted up on my handlebars with Kelly Take-Offs, but yeah, I did great .

Seriously, I don't know exactly who Crassic is talking about, but multiple top tens, a second place (in a race that was mine to win, dammit) and a fourth place on my heavy old steel bike seem to suggest that it's the engine that matters most. Of course, a heavy bike with downtube shifters is still a disadvantage, but not one that makes you uncompetitive. It's quite possible that my bike made the difference in costing me that win, but I also could have done it on the same bike by riding a bit smarter.
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