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Long distance/potential racing purchase advice, want Madone. Naive? Other suggestions

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Long distance/potential racing purchase advice, want Madone. Naive? Other suggestions

Old 10-17-09, 02:38 PM
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DCRider84
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Long distance/potential racing purchase advice, want Madone. Naive? Other suggestions

Been a long time since I was a newbie somewhere. I rode my first century a couple weeks ago and got hooked. I bought a Trek 1000 58cm for $200 off of Craigslist here in DC a couple years ago and rode the Century with that with no clips or actual jersey. Surprised myself by riding it in better time than my friends who trained 3x longer and had all the clips and jerseys and gear...made me wonder what I could do with a decent road/racing bike and all the gear to go along with the hobby.

Before riding the century, I trained for 5 weeks, and before that had never ridden longer than 20 miles in any given time. Now I'm addicted. Being from Wisconsin, I have an allegiance to Trek. I want the best I can afford, and that seems to be a low end Madone at the moment...so a few questions:

1) I want a bike that is light. My current Trek feels like concrete compared to a Madone I fell in love with at the shop a few weeks ago. I can see myself doing several Century rides a year from the flat Seagull, to more hilly climbs like Tahoe or the Philly Livestrong (based on what my friends have done).

2) Should I be looking at other makers? What differentiates a Trek from a Specialized from a Giant from a Gary Fisher?

3) I'm finding myself fascinated with the concept of the components and construction of the bike. Being an editor/videographer/computer guy in my job, I find the idea of building a bike to be simple and relaxing in comparison. If something doesn't work on a bike, I'd imagine it's one thing, or another. If something doesn't work on a computer of camera...who the hell knows what it could be. So would it be cost-effective/advantageous to go the custom-built route? Does Trek sell Madone/carbon frames seperately? Or would I be better off just getting a complete bike?

4) I'd certainly be interested in getting into racing or competitive long distance in the near future...am I making the right decision dropping a bunch of money on a bike I see myself growing into? Or should I buy something for my class at the moment and upgrade as time goes on?

Again, being an expert in editing, cameras, computers, journalism, etc, it's been a while since I've been relatively clueless in a given subject area. Any help is appreciated. Cheers!

P.S. I found a 2008 Madone 4.5 that looks like it'd fit me on Craigslist for $1400. The guy works at the LBS I saw the other Madone at...assuming it feels good and looks good, is $1400 for something like that something that one would consider? Thanks.

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Old 10-17-09, 04:24 PM
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Unless the old bike is broken, doesn't fit, or doesn't have the gearing you like, a newer bike won't make you a better or faster cyclist. After all, it's not a motorcycle.

That said, a second bike isn't a bad thing to have. Use the old one for bad weather and training and backup.

Gary Fishers are actually made by Trek. IMO there really isn't a big difference between any major bicycle manufacturers -- just fit and aesthetics.

It's much more cost-effective to get a full bike. I wouldn't mess with building your own until you have a thorough understanding of components.

What's your budget?
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Old 10-17-09, 04:48 PM
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Buy bike. Go riding. You may not be experienced enough yet to make complex equipment choices. Go for the stock bike, but have it fitted for you in store, hopefully by someone who's really knowledgable. Have them put the bike on a trainer and adjust your position. You might want a different stem - length, rise, etc., or different bars - width, drop, hand feel, and you might want a different saddle - they might sell it to you at a discount at the time. See if they'll let you ride the trainer for a while to suss out the saddle and position.

If you were buying skiis, you'd buy the latest model embodying the latest thinking in technique. The skiis would teach you the technique. Same thing with a bike. It'll show you what you need to do to make it go.
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Old 10-17-09, 05:35 PM
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What Carbonfiberboy said.

Plus, I think the bike does matter. No, it won't pedal itself, but if you have a bike that you're in love with and excited about then you're going to want to ride it a lot, and that's a good thing. This is all about having fun, after all, which is a wholly subjective thing.

You're right that after you get some experience on the bike and learn some basics about how bikes work that there's only so much that can go wrong with them. Most of it you can fix yourself or at least patch it up good enough to continue on down the road.
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Old 10-17-09, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by DCRider84 View Post
2) Should I be looking at other makers? What differentiates a Trek from a Specialized from a Giant from a Gary Fisher?
The decal on the frame. You will find a lot of those brands listed above frames are all made by Giant. Trek does make some of their high end carbon fiber bikes themselves. And, I believe Specialized's carbon is made by Merida.
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Old 10-18-09, 01:05 AM
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You have to know how to get really good deals on parts to make building a bike cheaper than buying complete. The main advantage to building a bike yourself is that you can use the exact parts that you want. But, if you're not sure what you want then this is not much of an advantage.

With the Trek Madones, only the 5 and 6 series frames are made in Wisconsin, the 4 series frame is made in Taiwan. The Madones are not very versatile bikes - they are just made for being ridden fast, and not much else. I especially dislike the fancy seat mast on the 5 series Madone because it won't even allow you to attach a seat-post mounted rear rack. Fortunately, they got rid of this for the 2010 6 series.

Gary Fisher is one of Trek's brands. I saw some info on the new Gary Fisher road bikes when the line was launched a couple of months ago. They looked like great bikes - much more versatile and practical than the Madones. I'm not sure where those frames are made, but it probably is not Wisconsin, just the assembly will be done in Wisconsin. If I was looking for a new road bike right now then I'd seriously consider one of the Gary Fishers.
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Old 10-18-09, 04:26 AM
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In this, the long distance forum, you'll find many who recommend steel. I like Titanium, personally. Many ride carbon. I built my own bikes for the same reason that I build my own computers -- so I get the exact parts that I want. Having said that, my current long distance bicycle is built on a Litespeed Ti frame, but all the parts have been changed three times.

My needs, thinking and budget have changed over time. I find myself adding weight to the bike with replacement parts, since at some point a few grams more doesn't make a difference if I have a rack with 10 pounds of gear at the back. I also have a lightweight bike -- Ti -- where fewer grams is important. I ride that bike up to and including 200km rides (125 miles), but the one built for long distance is actually more comfortable at 200km and longer.

The bike that you want now isn't the bike that you'll want in two years, if you really get going with long distance cycling and continue to increase your distances. If you stick with centuries and shorter your needs (wants) will also continue to evolve, but in a different direction.

Go ahead ... buy the Madone, if that's what you want. Get it fit properly and ride the heck out of it; make the purchase worthwhile !
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Old 10-18-09, 04:07 PM
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Thanks all, these are the kind of answers I was looking for. I do want to do more rides for distance rather than speed in the long term. And my current Trek needs a new wheel, I commute with it every day and ride it around DC all the time...so I'm looking at a new bike as my distance/speed bike that I'll use for events.

So, going for the full bike. My budget is flexible. I have friends all looking at or recently purchased nice carbon and aluminum bikes between $1500 and $2000. Honestly, if I were looking at doing this seriously (which I'd like to get to eventually), even this early on, I wouldn't have a problem going $3k+ on a bike I know will last me for what I want. I want to grow into the thing.

The problem is figuring that out. I just know I saw and played with a Madone at the shop and fell in love with the weight and probably the newness, style, and look of the thing (matte black finish, looked like a bike Bruce Wayne would ride). I'm likely ignoring more important things and just have that "I want a new toy" lust. I'm just a sucker for aesthetic above a lot of things, and this bike was sexy as hell...

So that's why I came here to have people like you drag me back down to earth.

Thanks for the help so far...

P.S. I found a 2008 Madone 4.5 that looks like it'd fit me on Craigslist for $1400. The guy works at the LBS I saw the other Madone at...assuming it feels good and looks good, is $1400 for something like that something that one would consider? Thanks.

Last edited by DCRider84; 10-18-09 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 10-20-09, 09:23 PM
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http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/catego...ne-45-08-29372

That's a review of that particular Madone.

It's certainly a capable bike and the price, if it's in good condition, is not out of line. I don't see any huge red flags on this one.
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Old 10-21-09, 09:27 AM
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Madones are tuned with enough vertical compliance to be comfortable on longer rides, outside the race realm. That said, racers race on stock bikes, so they need to be stiff enough for them, too. Check with your local Trek dealer and see if their demo fleet is coming by any time soon or anywhere closer-by so that you can get a longer ride one one.

If your budget is $3k, you could also be looking at a leftover 5 series Madone. 105 components on the 4.5 are decent workhorse items, the Rival group on the 4.7 is also pretty nice.

The 4.5 for $1.4k seems a bit overpriced unless the mechanic made upgrades. You should be able to get a new one, with lifetime warranty for $2k. Maybe if price on the used one was more like $1-1.2k...

If you fell in love with the Madone, get it. Other brands will be directly comparable and at your level of experience, the differences will be minute, if even noticable. I demo'd a Gary Fisher Cronus Ultimate and a Trek Madone 6.9 back to back, I have very little experience riding high end carbon wonderbikes, and while the Fisher felt a bit stiffer up front, both bikes made me feel like a hero compared to my 40lb commuter. Cronus starts at around $2.5k, new bike, so no deals on leftovers, but does have removable eyelets at fork and dropout for addition of fenders, will take 28s for tires. A bit more versatile compared to other similar bikes.
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Old 10-21-09, 12:47 PM
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If you want sexy you should be looking at Colnago. If you like the Trek though, go for it. Make sure it fits you first though. It doesn't matter how sexy a bike is when you first buy it. If it doesn't fit you, you will be heading for an early divorce!
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Old 10-21-09, 02:24 PM
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many of the higher end fischers for 2010 have similar technology to the madones, but more tire clearance and fender mounts. a plus for ld riding

Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
Unless the old bike is broken, doesn't fit, or doesn't have the gearing you like, a newer bike won't make you a better or faster cyclist. After all, it's not a motorcycle.

That said, a second bike isn't a bad thing to have. Use the old one for bad weather and training and backup.

Gary Fishers are actually made by Trek. IMO there really isn't a big difference between any major bicycle manufacturers -- just fit and aesthetics.

It's much more cost-effective to get a full bike. I wouldn't mess with building your own until you have a thorough understanding of components.

What's your budget?
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Old 10-21-09, 02:26 PM
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if the 58 trek fit, there is no way the 54 will be comfortable. were you comfortable on the century riding the 58. fit is key
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Old 10-21-09, 02:29 PM
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they may be manufactured by giant, but to the brands specs. geometry/ carbon lay up ect make a big difference in ride. so dont assume they will all fit and ride the same
Originally Posted by redxj View Post
The decal on the frame. You will find a lot of those brands listed above frames are all made by Giant. Trek does make some of their high end carbon fiber bikes themselves. And, I believe Specialized's carbon is made by Merida.
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Old 10-21-09, 07:36 PM
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Here's the description from the seller of the components:

The whole bike is Shimano 105, except an Ultegra rear derailleur and alloy
brakes. It has a compact crankset, and it has a Bontrager Race wheelset
which I absolutely love. I actually returned the nicer wheelset I had on my
new 6.9 Pro, and when I put the 4.5's wheels on the 6.9 Pro just to see if
it improved the ride, the bike came alive. I almost bought another set of
those wheels to put on the 6.9 Pro after I sell the 4.5. That is how good
those wheels are.

It's a 58cm as well, not a 54cm. I'm not set on it, I'd rather wait and find the right one than jump on something because it might be a good deal. I'm just trying to get a feel on the used Madone market.

And my current 58cm fit fine for the century. I felt no pain during or after the ride aside from the obvious butt-pain, but that's because I need a new saddle. Aside from that, I felt fine.

Cheers
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Old 10-21-09, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
Unless the old bike is broken, doesn't fit, or doesn't have the gearing you like, a newer bike won't make you a better or faster cyclist.
I disagree. For a couple of years, I rode a LeMond Tourmalet quite a bit. It fit me well, but was heavy and unresponsive.

I spent the money for a 2005 Madone 5.2, and it was a great decision. It's considerably lighter than my old bike, but the real reason it's made me a better rider is that it's so much nicer to ride on than my old bike, so I ride a lot more.

As for comfort, I've ridden it on a bunch of centuries and one double, and haven't had any issues.

But, like any bike, fit is really important.
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