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Switch to a faster racing bike?

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Switch to a faster racing bike?

Old 04-27-18, 01:31 PM
  #1  
hanknstein
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Switch to a faster racing bike?

I am 61 years old and have been riding group rides for the last 15 years (mostly "A" rides on rolling terrain plus/minus 18mph, 50 - 62 miles/ride).. The last year or 2 it has been a struggle hanging in there and I have been riding more and more with a slower group. My 12 year old Specialized Roubaix needs replacing and after testing many bikes, I have narrowed it down to a 2018 Roubaix Comp and a 2017 Giant Advanced SL 2. Both bikes are so much better than what I am used to, and I am tempted to go for the Giant, but a nervous about the racing geometry. Any thoughts?
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Old 04-27-18, 02:51 PM
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The A ride calls for a race bike. Go with the Giant for the full Ultegra group and no silliness like shocks, disks, and non-groupo parts. I'm not 61 yet (next year) but I might want to see if my new bike had room for 28mm tires.
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Old 04-27-18, 04:15 PM
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Both nice bikes. Have you ridden the Tarmac? It's the best all-around race bike I've ever had. Super quick handling but comfortable enough for 100 miles on craptastic NorCal farm roads, especially with nice supple tires.
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Old 04-27-18, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by hanknstein View Post
I am 61 years old and have been riding group rides for the last 15 years (mostly "A" rides on rolling terrain plus/minus 18mph, 50 - 62 miles/ride).. The last year or 2 it has been a struggle hanging in there and I have been riding more and more with a slower group. My 12 year old Specialized Roubaix needs replacing and after testing many bikes, I have narrowed it down to a 2018 Roubaix Comp and a 2017 Giant Advanced SL 2. Both bikes are so much better than what I am used to, and I am tempted to go for the Giant, but a nervous about the racing geometry. Any thoughts?
what bothers you? Is it the twitchy nature of racing geo? You will like the intuitive nature of the bike. If you want to switch over a few feet, you think and it turns. You get used to it. My Ď88 Cdale Crit Series is about as twitchy as it gets.
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Old 04-27-18, 06:38 PM
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An obsolescent by today's standards 12 YO Roubaix isn't necessarily "slower" than a spanky-new Roubaix Comp or 2017 Giant Advanced SL 2 with the same motor.
11 cogs is nice, some aerodynamic improvements in wheels & doo-dads for "incremental improvement" but dedicated power work in the hills and most important regular HIIT speed work is how to get faster and/or keep the inevitable degradation of time to a minimum.

That being said there is nothing like a carefully fitted new machine with current tech to enjoy and motivate for that necessary dedicated interval work.
N+1 w/ the raciest new bike and keep the Roubaix as a rain bike.

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Old 04-28-18, 02:15 AM
  #6  
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Go for it. Enjoy a better bike while your body is still within reach of taking advantage of it.

At 60 I'm about the oldest occasional participant in local fast club rides. I usually get dropped. While I don't like to blame the equipment (unless aging legs and lungs count as equipment), my '89 steel Centurion Ironman isn't really comparable to the carbon fiber bikes with brifters ridden by the other folks. Where I usually get gapped is on climbs where the lighter bikes with brifters and ability to shift more quickly out of the saddle offer a real advantage over a heavier steel bike and downtube shifters. I can sprint to catch up on the flats and downhills, but I'll get gapped again on the next climb. Eventually I can't close the gap and get dropped.

I've worked hard to sustain 16 mph over distance, but this group has pushed closer to 17-18 since they often combine A and B group riders in the same pack. The small difference in average speed adds up quickly and I rarely actually finish with the group on longer rides.

Supposedly my '89 Ironman has the quickest or twitchiest geometry of the Centurion Ironman series, but it feels perfect to me. The only problem is the reach is too long. Hurts my neck over distance. I'm switching to a shorter stem and possibly compact drops.

I don't race crits anymore and don't get too tight in club rides, so I'm not sure I'd notice the difference in a newer, quicker handling bike. I've only ridden steel bikes with curved forks, other than a couple of short test rides of newer bikes a year or so ago -- not enough to have any opinion. But I'm in good enough shape now to give a newer bike a serious test ride. I'm hoping I won't be impressed. It'd be cheaper to blame the engine.
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Old 04-28-18, 05:52 AM
  #7  
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Iím all for a new bike, just not sure how it would make you faster. Racing bike geometry certainly isnít faster than touring geometry... unless youíre willing to drop that stem way below the bars and tuck in on those drops. But then the extra fatigue would make the ride less fun. If your stem isnít slammed now and youíre ready to get even more AUHD, I just donít think racing geometry will make one bit of difference.

How about a decent set of aero wheels? Probably the best bang for youíre buck; you could probably source a good used set pretty cheap with the 10 speed hub. Donít have to go too crazy with section depth to get some real relief from the evil headwind.

Last edited by RobotGuy; 04-28-18 at 05:56 AM.
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Old 04-28-18, 06:30 AM
  #8  
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Why exactly are you concerned over the racy geometry? Worried about comfort, control? until i know that i cannot say much except ... either bike is going to work really well. And ... sorry, but neither one will be magic. you might not find any measurable increase in speed because after all, the y will both have the same engine. And even more so, you might not see any measurable difference in speed between the two bikes, despite the geometry differences.

The tiny amount of speed lost to aero can be more than made up for by comfort over a longer ride ... for most riders. The tiny differences in handling won't matter much unless you race criteriums, which isn't what you intend to do.

The biggest thing here, as i see it, is that you are as comfortable as possible on the bike so that you can put down the power throughout the ride. I know that because I am not in such good shape (I am shaped sort of like a Hershey's Kiss) my lower back really hurts at the end of long, hard ride on my raciest frame ... and that slows me down because I want to sit up more. Maybe for longer rides i would be better off with less bar/saddle drop (or maybe I should start doing sit-ups .... nahhh. )

I'd imagine,. by playing with stems and bars, you could find about the same riding position on either bike anyway ... so probably, buy the one you want and make it work.

But ... i still don't know why you are concerned about the 'racy" geometry.
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Old 04-28-18, 07:41 AM
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The placebo effect of a new bike cannot be understated. Plus, a new bike should invigorate you and make you want to ride more.
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Old 04-28-18, 08:37 AM
  #10  
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You need to be comfortable to be fast over longer distances (40+ miles). Plus, you'll probably still have your 'new' bike when your 65 - 70 years old so plan ahead.<br /><br />And, consider what your goal is when riding with the A group. Are you looking for maximum physical challenge and the glory of being able to keep up? Or, is there something else that keeps you coming back that might be achieved, perhaps more so, if you ride with the B group?<br /><br />Good luck and have fun.
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Old 04-28-18, 09:21 AM
  #11  
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72 and still ride race geometry comfortably. Rode 400ks on it in my late 60s. Just takes more core conditioning with age, but that's a good thing.
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Old 04-28-18, 02:39 PM
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With aging, its going to mean the rides will be shorter distance and slower pace.

If its a longer distance, then more stops inbetween. Forget trying to swallow a gel while riding. Over your lifetime, you've done enough "pretend racing". Give yourself a break.

If its a shorter distance, then most any geometry will work. This means go get the Cervelo and forget about the Roubaix. No more "pretend racing" here.
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Old 04-28-18, 04:40 PM
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If you want a new bike. you should get it. Current Ultegra is amazing and I imagine the current Roubaix is lighter and stiffer than your old one. Life is short—get a new bike.

That said, I really doubt that your old Roubaix is the difference between hanging on and getting dropped from the A ride. Fitness and knowing when to burn a match vs when to save one are going to make a much bigger difference than a new bike.
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Old 04-29-18, 10:51 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
An obsolescent by today's standards 12 YO Roubaix isn't necessarily "slower" than a spanky-new Roubaix Comp or 2017 Giant Advanced SL 2 with the same motor.
More or less my thought, too. Getting something that's basically a variation on the same theme isn't going to make you noticeably faster. Is your old one aluminum or carbon? If you're going from aluminum to carbon, you might see some performance increase.
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Old 04-29-18, 11:46 AM
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If you want a new bike, go for it but I like Robotguy's suggestion of new wheels. If you never upgraded stock wheels, new wheels can save you some weight and if aero, add a bit of speed. Then, since wheels don't wear out very quickly, you can switch them over to a new bike if you still wish. This is based on the notion, often stated here, that the cheapest upgrade is new, high performance wheels.
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Old 05-06-18, 05:21 PM
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I do not agree with many posts. I am a believer that today's race geometry bikes are faster than previous models. There are many good manufacturers out there with good race bikes. After owning many of them I settled on the FUJI Transonic 1.3. It worked well for me when I needed more speed to stay in the faster pace lines. That bike actually made a difference, along with a great set of C-35 wheels. A car wreck has forced me to a trike. My brother now has my FUJI and recently told me the bike has actually helped him hold speed in pace lines. A bike can make a difference.
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Old 05-08-18, 04:31 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
The A ride calls for a race bike. Go with the Giant for the full Ultegra group and no silliness like shocks, disks, and non-groupo parts. I'm not 61 yet (next year) but I might want to see if my new bike had room for 28mm tires.
Owner of a 2013 Propel Advanced SL3 and 2018 Specialized Roubaix Expert

Saturday was a 202 slow mile day enjoying the Roubaix and today will be a 75/100 mile day "like a bat out of hell" on the Propel

btw-68yo in July
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Old 05-08-18, 03:14 PM
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Just gotta chime in here. Last night talking with my son he went on and on about this guy he is friends with and rides an old alum. Allez. He knocks the socks off it and consistently wins races in the Cat 4's. "Dad" he said, "You are right about this. It isn't the bike that makes the difference." Yep. Been telling him that for years. Having said all this, changing the bike will not allow you more speed. It just won't. What has really changed when you move from bike to bike? The motor is the same and that is where the power is generated. If you want a new bike, do it, but please don't expect more speed.
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Old 05-09-18, 07:36 AM
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Lots of great observations and advice in this thread. The only thing that I would add is that regardless of whether a new bike will help you keep pace with the younger faster riders, you will enjoy the ride much more with better equiment.
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Old 05-09-18, 10:28 AM
  #20  
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I'm 60 years old and I just bought a new bike. My 2001 Cannondale R2000 turned over 65,000 miles and thought it time for an upgrade. I was looking seriously at either a Specialized S-Works Tarmac or Cervelo S5. While window shopping at my bike shop a BMC Roadmachine 02 One caught my eye. All it took was one test ride and I was sold. I cannot say enough good about this bike. I absolutely love riding it. It's fast, stable, and most of all comfortable plus the price was cheaper than the others. It's comes standard with the Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset, disc brakes, and 28 tires. I paid $4,500 and they threw in the Speedplay pedals. I couldn't be happier. My rides are mainly hilly terrain 50 to 75 miles on chip seal. My average has gone up from 18 to the mid 19's to 19 to the mid 20 mph range. The bike has helped to a certain extent.

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Old 05-09-18, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Just gotta chime in here......... "Dad" he said, "You are right about this. It isn't the bike that makes the difference." Yep. Been telling him that for years. Having said all this, changing the bike will not allow you more speed. It just won't............ If you want a new bike, do it, but please don't expect more speed.
Originally Posted by Harumph View Post
................................My average has gone up from 18 to the mid 19's to 19 to the mid 20 mph range. The bike has helped to a certain extent.
I have to agree with Harumph. I was faster for longer and could ride for longer.
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Old 05-09-18, 03:34 PM
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^ Also agree. A modern race geometry bike is faster, no question.
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Old 05-09-18, 10:22 PM
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I agree that the bike can make a difference. I know I'm a faster climber on one of my bikes compared to another. Oh, sure, I've had my ass handed to me by a guy on a 28 pound Rivendell, but that guy is even faster on a 16 pound Sarto.
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Old 05-10-18, 06:15 AM
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I am a measureable degree faster on my Criterium Series than other comparable bikes. There are several factors in the difference, some being weight, gearing, stiffness and geometry. Oh and in most cases much more fun to ride. When I built the bike 4 years ago it led me to end up selling my Trek 460. Yes, these are oldschool and hardcore bikes but it does tell the story. Am I faster on the Trek 760 or Colnago Super? That one has yet to be decided because the Campy NR derailleurs cant handle the 28t FW.

Aint this fun?
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Old 05-10-18, 07:23 AM
  #25  
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For riding with groups a little too fast for me, there's two aspects of my bike that helps: Di2 shifting, and a bike setup that lets me stay in the drops comfortably.

I've always shifted a lot, looking for the best cadence. With Di2, I often shift for just a couple of pedal strokes, then shift again. And I shift the chainrings way more often since it's fast and easy.

The shallow drop bars are just right for staying in the drops as easily as on the hoods. I like the drops for aero, for control, and for hand comfort on bumpy roads.

And,
I'd want the bike to have room for 28mm tires, which are fast and comfortable on rough roads.
Wider range 11 speed cassettes are very nice for not burning a match on steep climbs. I can stay seated on 10% grades now.
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