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Crit bike build

Old 02-03-21, 09:58 PM
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00752904mot
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Crit bike build

Hi! I am thinking of building a bike for criterium racing. Do you know any aluminum, disc brake, AND Di2 (R8070) compatible frames? Please let me know for what reasons you're recommending _____ frame!
I already have bits and pieces hanging around, just not the frame yet. This new bike build would solely be for crits as I have another less-racey bike for everything else. I consider myself pretty flexible so aggressive positions have never been an issue for me. For the record, I'm not really concerned if the frame is a little older or a little heavier.

Thanks in advance

Edit:
Thanks for all the input! There's a lot of useful info here.
I'd like to clarify (I should have included this in my initial post) I live in a very rainy city so a lot of race days will be wet, even in the summer! Because of this, I feel like disc brakes can be very beneficial, even if it'll save me from a crash just once. That ONE TIME can save me a lot of money and hours of rehabilitating any injury I may sustain. I totally understand there should be as little braking as possible but maybe my preference for disc brakes would be negated if I lived in California or somewhere the sun actually shines, ha!

Either way, keep the comments coming. I appreciate all the thoughts, ideas and shared experiences

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Old 02-04-21, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by 00752904mot View Post
Hi! I am thinking of building a bike for criterium racing. Do you know any aluminum, disc brake, AND Di2 (R8070) compatible frames? Please let me know for what reasons you're recommending _____ frame!
I already have bits and pieces hanging around, just not the frame yet. This new bike build would solely be for crits as I have another less-racey bike for everything else. I consider myself pretty flexible so aggressive positions have never been an issue for me. For the record, I'm not really concerned if the frame is a little older or a little heavier.

I know the Allez Sprint is a great alu crit bike but from what I found online, it's hard to find a disc brake AND Di2 compatible frame (unless I am mistaken).

Thanks in advance
You'll probably get better quality advice in this section:

https://www.bikeforums.net/33-road-bike-racing/

You can ask the mods to move your thread over there by reporting your own thread !
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Old 02-04-21, 05:56 AM
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Maybe a Caad 13?

There's zero reason to use an aluminum frame for a crit over a carbon frame, however. Of the 100+ bikes I see at our local crit series, probably less than a dozen are aluminum.

I haven't raced an aluminum bike in a crit since 2005, and crit races are pretty much all I do at the local, regional, and national level.

I'd recommend getting the bike you want and enjoy riding, not the bike you're worried about crashing. Aluminum can get damaged just as easily as carbon. For the same price as one of the aluminum frames, you can get a lighter and more aero carbon frame.

There's probably nothing wrong with the bike you already have, so using that money for better tires/wheels, a skinsuit, or a powermeter if you don't have one, would give you way more performance bang (potential with the pm) for the buck.
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Old 02-04-21, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I'd recommend getting the bike you want and enjoy riding, not the bike you're worried about crashing. Aluminum can get damaged just as easily as carbon. For the same price as one of the aluminum frames, you can get a lighter and more aero carbon frame.

There's probably nothing wrong with the bike you already have, so using that money for better tires/wheels, a skinsuit, or a powermeter if you don't have one, would give you way more performance bang (potential with the pm) for the buck.
Not only can aluminum get damaged just as easily, it cannot be repaired. Dent and crack and aluminum frame, and it is scrap metal. (Yes, I have dented and cracked an aluminum frame.) Carbon repair will cost a probably a quarter/half of what a new aluminum frame will cost you.
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Old 02-04-21, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Maybe a Caad 13?

There's zero reason to use an aluminum frame for a crit over a carbon frame, however. Of the 100+ bikes I see at our local crit series, probably less than a dozen are aluminum.

I haven't raced an aluminum bike in a crit since 2005, and crit races are pretty much all I do at the local, regional, and national level.

I'd recommend getting the bike you want and enjoy riding, not the bike you're worried about crashing. Aluminum can get damaged just as easily as carbon. For the same price as one of the aluminum frames, you can get a lighter and more aero carbon frame.

There's probably nothing wrong with the bike you already have, so using that money for better tires/wheels, a skinsuit, or a powermeter if you don't have one, would give you way more performance bang (potential with the pm) for the buck.
Thanks for the advice! Haven't really thought about it like that.

Since my knowledge is pretty limited in those extra accessories, do you recommend any skinsuits or powermeters in particular?
Disclosure: I've been riding for quite some time now with only some recent triathlons under my belt but never have I been in any crits!
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Old 02-04-21, 12:45 PM
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If you've never been in a crit, don't spend any money on anything right now. Go join some group rides and get used to riding with others. Then, when the race season starts, sign up for a crit and try it out - see how you like it and how you do. Then worry about whether you need any new gear. (Powermeters are great tools for measuring effort and progress, but they are pretty much worthless if you do not know how to use the data.)
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Old 02-04-21, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by 00752904mot View Post
.... AND Di2 compatible frame (unless I am mistaken).
What do you mean by this, out of curiosity? Just internal an battery location and routing?
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Old 02-04-21, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
What do you mean by this, out of curiosity? Just internal an battery location and routing?
Exit holes for wires. I have had to do some drilling lately as believe it or not Companies like Canyon doesn't bother to put them in on their non-di2 models.
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Old 02-04-21, 01:42 PM
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Aluminum as a crit bike was fun but not needed. Anymore carbon is inexpensive, performs great and is way more repairable. There's really no point in making an aluminum crit rig anymore.
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Old 02-04-21, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
Exit holes for wires. I have had to do some drilling lately as believe it or not Companies like Canyon doesn't bother to put them in on their non-di2 models.
Okay, cool - that's what I meant by internal battery/routing. I figure that every bike is Di2 compatible, if you can put up with the exposed ugly, so I wasn't sure if there was something else that I was missing.
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Old 02-05-21, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
There's zero reason to use an aluminum frame for a crit over a carbon frame.
Apparently Peter Sagan disagrees with you
https://bikerumor.com/2019/01/14/why...ke-down-under/

But seriously, Rubiksoval gave good advice. I never understood why people get expensive, lightweight, high end bikes and parts for casual riding and training, then throw together some cheap, heavy beater for the one thing that counts.

If you're new to racing, chances are whatever bike you have is not going to hold you back for now. I don't know about getting carbon frames for the same price as aluminum ones (otherwise I'd own a carbon bike right now), but it's true that you can wreck either frame just as easily.
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Old 02-05-21, 01:45 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
I never understood why people get expensive, lightweight, high end bikes and parts for casual riding and training, then throw together some cheap, heavy beater for the one thing that counts.
That's simple. People spend vastly more time training than racing, but racing can have higher rates of bicycle damage per time spent in the activity. Having a super-nice bike, but using a cheap setup as your racing machine, allows you to enjoy the super-nice stuff for the vast majority of your riding without proportionally increasing the cost risk. Or, from another angle: racing isn't necessarily "the one thing that counts."
I'm not saying that this is how you should do things, but I don't think it's an illogical approach.

I think that's a different matter than what the OP is looking at, though. Throwing a $3000 groupset on a basic frameset is a bit different than setting up a "cheap beater."
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Old 02-05-21, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
Apparently Peter Sagan disagrees with you
Ha. Okay.

Being paid to use an aluminum frame is one of the only reasons to choose an aluminum frame over a carbon frame.
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Old 02-05-21, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
<snip> I never understood why people get expensive, lightweight, high end bikes and parts for casual riding and training, then throw together some cheap, heavy beater for the one thing that counts.<snip>
When I returned to racing in like '08 I did almost this exact thing. I had a Giant TCR composite. I rode that all the time but then, in BF wisdom, I needed an aluminum crit bike. I got a Salsa Podio. Loved that bike and it was a stellar crit bike but even then I was thinking it was too nice so I bought a cheap aluminum bike and made it a crit bike. A couple of years later I realized I had hung up the TCR frame and just wasn't ever riding it anymore. Was stupid. I ended up just selling the TCR frame.

What a wasted opportunity. I totally should have raced it.
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Old 02-05-21, 06:32 PM
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Bowman out of England makes a great alum race frame. My son has one and it has been fantastic. Not expensive, looks great and performs well. Added bonus is that it doesn't have one of the big 4 names on the down tube!
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Old 02-11-21, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 00752904mot View Post
I know the Allez Sprint is a great alu crit bike but from what I found online, it's hard to find a disc brake AND Di2 compatible frame (unless I am mistaken).

Thanks in advance
Why in the world do you want disc brakes for a crit? If you touch your brakes in a crit you loose 20 spots, so there’s no advantage. The weight will be a penalty accelerating out of turns, and responding to attacks. And a disc brake bike with thru axle will slow your time getting a wheel change, which depending on where you flat on the course and how long it takes to get back to the pit, could mean not having your wheel change completed as the pack comes around at the end of your free lap.
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Old 02-11-21, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post

Specialized’s marketing needs, and the fact that UCI Regis erase any weight penalty, may have factored into that.

or maybe Sagan’s desire to standout and draw attention.
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Old 02-11-21, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Why in the world do you want disc brakes for a crit? If you touch your brakes in a crit you loose 20 spots, so there’s no advantage. The weight will be a penalty accelerating out of turns, and responding to attacks. And a disc brake bike with thru axle will slow your time getting a wheel change, which depending on where you flat on the course and how long it takes to get back to the pit, could mean not having your wheel change completed as the pack comes around at the end of your free lap.
I actually open my front caliper before crits. I don’t want to overreact and over-brake.
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Old 02-12-21, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Why in the world do you want disc brakes for a crit? If you touch your brakes in a crit you loose 20 spots, so there’s no advantage. The weight will be a penalty accelerating out of turns, and responding to attacks. And a disc brake bike with thru axle will slow your time getting a wheel change, which depending on where you flat on the course and how long it takes to get back to the pit, could mean not having your wheel change completed as the pack comes around at the end of your free lap.
This makes perfect sense to me as well. Another point: You don't do much shifting in a crit once you get up to speed. If your cornering skills are good you keep you speed up through corners and don't have to shift to get back up to speed. I used to go pretty well on my 20+year old bike with downtube shifters. I hardly ever needed to shift
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Old 02-12-21, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Why in the world do you want disc brakes for a crit? If you touch your brakes in a crit you loose 20 spots, so there’s no advantage. .
When you go fast, really fast, you have to brake. Not needing to brake simply means you're not going fast enough.

More importantly, in a race, you don't want to be on the front, meaning you're going to have to maneuver around other riders. 50 riders coming into a corner at speed means you cannot just do whatever you want. Thus, brakes.

While I don't have disc breaks and see no need for them, good, functional brakes are 100% vital.

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Old 02-12-21, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
This makes perfect sense to me as well. Another point: You don't do much shifting in a crit once you get up to speed. If your cornering skills are good you keep you speed up through corners and don't have to shift to get back up to speed. I used to go pretty well on my 20+year old bike with downtube shifters. I hardly ever needed to shift
I mean, guys. Seriously .

If you don't race crits, don't make comments like this.

You absolutely need good brakes, and you absolutely need to be able shift quickly, efficiently, and all the time.

It's not like you're doing a solo time trial around a crit course. There are OTHER RIDERS.
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Old 02-12-21, 06:00 AM
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Rubiksoval, I didn’t mean to imply you don’t brake in critsor need to brake. However, rim brakes are perfectly adequate for the braking you need, which your own experience shows.
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Old 02-12-21, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I mean, guys. Seriously .

If you don't race crits, don't make comments like this.

You absolutely need good brakes, and you absolutely need to be able shift quickly, efficiently, and all the time.

It's not like you're doing a solo time trial around a crit course. There are OTHER RIDERS.
I have done dozens of crits. The other riders are moving at the same speed you are
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Old 02-12-21, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
I have done dozens of crits. The other riders are moving at the same speed you are
No they're not. If you're not at the front of a crit, it's an accordion at every turn. Yes, you'll be hitting your brakes into each turn and sprinting out of it.

As for the free lap issue, the rules don't state you only get 1 free lap. You are generally afforded the proper amount of time to get the wheel changed correctly then get back into the field. The last time I crashed in a crit, there were about a dozen of us getting wheel changes. With only two guys at neutral support, it took them awhile to get us all sorted. The officials held us there until all of us were ready to get back in at the same time.
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Old 02-12-21, 08:58 AM
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Ugh...we'd yell at you guys around here.

To echo above - yes most of the racers here open up their brakes (rim brakes) before racing. most of the big name wheels are so flexy that they will touch the pads when they get out of the saddle accelerate out of corners. Kind of why our wheels became as popular as they were in heavy crit racing scenes.

Touching brakes or braking in general usually gets people yelled at around here. You don't move around a pack with your brakes. You do it through controlling speed. If you're not actively moving up then you're moving back. No brakes needed to do that.

Yes technical corners do require braking and good brakes are nice.... but I can still line up fields of racers who lament the pileups disc brakes cause (the riders cause it but it's too much power for braking in crits).

To go fast you need good brakes....yes absolutely. In cross, road racing, mtb, enduro, downhill..... Crits not so much. In the same kind of way you don't need them on the track: you have technics to change your relative speed well and don't use your brakes because that's too bike of an abrupt change in speed.

I know most of you on here have raced crits and or continue to. I guess it just shows how different the race scene is depending on your area and terrain. Chicagoland is "Critlandia". So much so that as USA Cycling's Local Association President I have had to step in and use association money to make a single road race happen at least once a year. We don't have the terrain, or welcoming municipalities to allow for racing over township, village, city or county lines. As such we have piles of intensely fast technical flat crits. Brakes are only needed in certain situations and are often overused by lower category racers.

As for the shifting... Sure. You can do well in a couple of gears. Yes I have watched racers with downtube shifters do well in most of a race. You're dead in the water for a sprint...or you're starting it over geared but you do you. To this day if you're 50+ feet off a corner you can hear all the shifting happening every single lap. You can use the sounds as a guide to tell you how hard they're going or if anyone is attacking, etc. I've watched a few racers go back to 1x setups (we are in the home of SRAM) with huge chainrings and they swear by them but meh. On this particular issue I would say you're more in need of easy shifting and deeper gearing than you are in need of "good" brakes let alone Disc brakes. The better the brakes the less predictable everyone becomes.
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