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New bike time! Ti vs. Carbon, Race vs. Endurance, etc

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New bike time! Ti vs. Carbon, Race vs. Endurance, etc

Old 08-22-21, 04:06 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by guapo337 View Post
Thanks, again, very helpful. Definitely don't want to be buying myself into a corner, as I want this to be a bike I used for 10+ years. Anything you can point to re: Ti vs. Carbon? Or is that purely anecdotal?
​​​​​​Make sure it fits. And that you enjoy the way it rides. Usually frames don't brake, occasionally wheels do.
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Old 08-22-21, 04:39 PM
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Frames break. I have broken one steel, two carbons, and one magnesium.

Don't let that be a determining factor.

Life is too short to be on a slow bike.

Get the fast one that you like and fits well.
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Old 08-22-21, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by guapo337 View Post
The drivetrain on my 2006 Trek 1500 essentially exploded yesterday (due to damage from shipping cross-country). Rather than shell out the value of the bike to fix it, I figure it's finally time for a new bike.
What all is failed? Having a spare bike isn't necessarily a bad idea, especially if you can leave it on a trainer.

1. I really have no idea what type of bike I should actually be going for. Am I better suited for
Hard to say. Geometrically, what's important is that the bike fits and that you like the handling.

Road bicycle category names aren't very well-defined. For example, "endurance" can refer to a more upright fitting geometry, to a calmer handling geometry, to a softer ride quality, or some combination of those. Road bikes also have a pretty wide range of fit adjustment, so if you're choosing between two bicycles and you select one with a more "upright" fitting geometry, it won't necessarily result in a more upright fit.

Obviously titanium has greater durability than carbon
I don't consider that obvious. A bicycle frame is as strong as it's built.

3. Lastly, disc vs rim brakes. Should I care? Seems like disc brakes are all the rage, but rim brakes have served me fine for years...?
In terms of how well they work, the main benefit of disc is that they suffer far less performance degradation in the wet: when braking in hard rain, the brake track gets cleared quicker, and you have more braking while waiting for the brake track to clear.
If rim heat buildup is a concern for you on descents, discs also resolve this. Not to say that they're thermally perfect: sometimes people experience stuff like brake rub after a hard descent due to built-up heat warping the rotor.

If you live in an area with abrasive road gunk, and you ride in wet conditions, discs also ameliorate the issue of brake track wear: braking wears down an easily-replaceable part (the rotor) instead of a more expensive and difficult-to-replace part (the rim). This can be relevant if you're wanting to run super-nice rims on a rain bike.

Discs also eliminate brakes as a limiter of tire clearance. For road, this is a somewhat artificial issue: on rim-brake framesets, the limiting factor to tire clearance is usually the frameset, not the brake calipers. Furthermore, rim brakes exist that are reasonably lightweight, work extremely well, and can fit tires much wider than the traditional road widths; they just haven't been fashionable on performance road bikes.
That said, in practice, the expansion in tire clearance on road bikes is fairly well-correlated with adoption of disc brakes.

The benefit to rim brakes is that the overall bike tends to weigh a bit less: disc brake systems tend to be slightly heavier, and the framesets also tend to weight more because they need to resist high twisting forces from the brake calipers.

If you're buying new, this comparison is probably irrelevant, because the industry committed to discs years ago. There are almost no large-brand production models left using rim brakes, outside of some entry-level options.

4. What's the value of accommodating wider tires?
Depends on where you are and what sort of riding you're doing.

For example, if your regional gravel consists entirely of velodrome-smooth groomed hardpack like this...



...then you might genuinely not have much use for tires >28mm even if you're doing lots of gravel. Meanwhile, if your gravel roads are all pretty rough and frequently have long stretches of chunky stuff...



...then it might not be worth trying to accommodate gravel riding at all unless you choose something with clearance for tires that are waaaaay wider than the traditional road widths. (Not that this is a bad option, as it's often possible to achieve a high degree of versatility while giving up very little.)

The young guy in me keeps saying "get the fast bike" (the Orca, or maybe the Litespeed Ultimate?), whereas the realistic/reasonable guy knows that my riding habits are probably better suited for a more comfortable, endurance-oriented bike (Litespeed T5, or something equivalent in carbon).
Definitely don't get a slow bike if you want a fast bike, but I'm never quite sure what the frame of reference is for that judgement. Bikes marketed as "endurance" bikes sometimes get ridden to wins in WorldTour races. If your riding is more suited to such a bike, it's not obvious why it would be slow. On the other hand, it's also not obvious why you think that your riding is suited to such a bike.

There's not really much je ne sais quoi to bicycle speed. Things that slow a bicycle down slow it down. The label that gets applied to a bicycle doesn't do a whole lot.

Here's my 1970s Fuji America, originally sold as a "touring" bike but nowadays usually described as a "sports tourer."



Here's my Emonda, which Trek describes as a light, responsive performance road bike:



As pictured, my performance on those two bikes is nearly identical when riding solo on flat ground; if a quick eyeballing of recent ride data is anything to go by, the Fuji might actually have a narrow edge in this regard right now. The Emonda does tend to do a hair better uphill, albeit not any more than would be expected given that it weighs seven pounds less and that the integrated shifters allow easy shifting out of the saddle under power. If I tossed some good aero wheels on the Emonda it would probably gain an unambiguous advantage, although the same argument could be applied to the alleged "touring" bike. While the two bikes do feel quite a bit different from each other, I would not hesitate to apply a description of "lively" to either one.

This isn't to say that the Emonda sucks* or that you should go buy a steel bike from the 1970s**, but rather, that people often put a lot more stock into the marketing labels and stories than I think is warranted. When a salesperson decides to call something a "racing bike", this doesn't magically slap a speed bonus on it or whatever.
If you like that Orbea and it will work for you, get it! But don't get it out of some kind of bicycle marketing categorization FOMO.

*It doesn't.

**Unless a steel bike from the 1970s is what you want, in which case, you should buy one.
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Old 08-22-21, 07:05 PM
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Trek Emonda is an expensive brick aerodynamically. The Madone, Cervelo S5, Venge are fast racing bikes in the similar stratosphere.

OP has a limited budget. If this was 2019, I would have recommended buying a used high end bike, they were a dime a dozen pre-Covid
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Old 08-22-21, 07:07 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
What all is failed? Having a spare bike isn't necessarily a bad idea, especially if you can leave it on a trainer.


Hard to say. Geometrically, what's important is that the bike fits and that you like the handling.

Road bicycle category names aren't very well-defined. For example, "endurance" can refer to a more upright fitting geometry, to a calmer handling geometry, to a softer ride quality, or some combination of those. Road bikes also have a pretty wide range of fit adjustment, so if you're choosing between two bicycles and you select one with a more "upright" fitting geometry, it won't necessarily result in a more upright fit.


I don't consider that obvious. A bicycle frame is as strong as it's built.


In terms of how well they work, the main benefit of disc is that they suffer far less performance degradation in the wet: when braking in hard rain, the brake track gets cleared quicker, and you have more braking while waiting for the brake track to clear.
If rim heat buildup is a concern for you on descents, discs also resolve this. Not to say that they're thermally perfect: sometimes people experience stuff like brake rub after a hard descent due to built-up heat warping the rotor.

If you live in an area with abrasive road gunk, and you ride in wet conditions, discs also ameliorate the issue of brake track wear: braking wears down an easily-replaceable part (the rotor) instead of a more expensive and difficult-to-replace part (the rim). This can be relevant if you're wanting to run super-nice rims on a rain bike.

Discs also eliminate brakes as a limiter of tire clearance. For road, this is a somewhat artificial issue: on rim-brake framesets, the limiting factor to tire clearance is usually the frameset, not the brake calipers. Furthermore, rim brakes exist that are reasonably lightweight, work extremely well, and can fit tires much wider than the traditional road widths; they just haven't been fashionable on performance road bikes.
That said, in practice, the expansion in tire clearance on road bikes is fairly well-correlated with adoption of disc brakes.

The benefit to rim brakes is that the overall bike tends to weigh a bit less: disc brake systems tend to be slightly heavier, and the framesets also tend to weight more because they need to resist high twisting forces from the brake calipers.

If you're buying new, this comparison is probably irrelevant, because the industry committed to discs years ago. There are almost no large-brand production models left using rim brakes, outside of some entry-level options.


Depends on where you are and what sort of riding you're doing.

For example, if your regional gravel consists entirely of velodrome-smooth groomed hardpack like this...



...then you might genuinely not have much use for tires >28mm even if you're doing lots of gravel. Meanwhile, if your gravel roads are all pretty rough and frequently have long stretches of chunky stuff...



...then it might not be worth trying to accommodate gravel riding at all unless you choose something with clearance for tires that are waaaaay wider than the traditional road widths. (Not that this is a bad option, as it's often possible to achieve a high degree of versatility while giving up very little.)


Definitely don't get a slow bike if you want a fast bike, but I'm never quite sure what the frame of reference is for that judgement. Bikes marketed as "endurance" bikes sometimes get ridden to wins in WorldTour races. If your riding is more suited to such a bike, it's not obvious why it would be slow. On the other hand, it's also not obvious why you think that your riding is suited to such a bike.

There's not really much je ne sais quoi to bicycle speed. Things that slow a bicycle down slow it down. The label that gets applied to a bicycle doesn't do a whole lot.

Here's my 1970s Fuji America, originally sold as a "touring" bike but nowadays usually described as a "sports tourer."



Here's my Emonda, which Trek describes as a light, responsive performance road bike:



As pictured, my performance on those two bikes is nearly identical when riding solo on flat ground; if a quick eyeballing of recent ride data is anything to go by, the Fuji might actually have a narrow edge in this regard right now. The Emonda does tend to do a hair better uphill, albeit not any more than would be expected given that it weighs seven pounds less and that the integrated shifters allow easy shifting out of the saddle under power. If I tossed some good aero wheels on the Emonda it would probably gain an unambiguous advantage, although the same argument could be applied to the alleged "touring" bike. While the two bikes do feel quite a bit different from each other, I would not hesitate to apply a description of "lively" to either one.

This isn't to say that the Emonda sucks* or that you should go buy a steel bike from the 1970s**, but rather, that people often put a lot more stock into the marketing labels and stories than I think is warranted. When a salesperson decides to call something a "racing bike", this doesn't magically slap a speed bonus on it or whatever.
If you like that Orbea and it will work for you, get it! But don't get it out of some kind of bicycle marketing categorization FOMO.

*It doesn't.

**Unless a steel bike from the 1970s is what you want, in which case, you should buy one.
Huge thanks for the in-depth and thoughtful reply. Really appreciate it. Your calling out of my use of "fast bike" is a point well-taken, and I think your explanation helps to clarify a lot for me. As others have pointed out, I'm not at a point where I will be hugely impacted by the nuances of an "endurance" frame versus a "racing" frame. Ultimately, I want a bike that's going to enable me to continue to ride the way I do, and grow with me if I begin to ride more/longer distances. I think any of these options will fit that bill, and I'm probably splitting hairs trying to make a decision between one versus the other without actually trying them out!
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Old 08-22-21, 07:52 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
... people often put a lot more stock into the marketing labels and stories than I think is warranted. When a salesperson decides to call something a "racing bike", this doesn't magically slap a speed bonus on it or whatever.
Exactly. Also applies if you replace "salesperson" with "manufacturer." Comfortable is faster.
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Old 08-22-21, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Trek Emonda is an expensive brick aerodynamically.

Not necessarily. It's an aerodynamic brick, but in my case it wasn't that expensive, since I have the 105-equipped aluminum-framed model from before the disc price boost. Obviously in this comparison the old Fuji is aided by skinny cylinders being more aero than fat cylinders.


There's limited room for improvement, however. When comparing the impact of tube shaping on a fat-cylinder road frame to a decent aero road frame, the raw flat-ground speed differences that result are often on the order of a couple percent. That's tangible for a lot of cyclists, but we're also talking about a kind of worst case: aerodynamic shaping has been getting expanded into a lot of non-"aero" framesets, sometimes making up quite a bit of ground versus pure aero frames at minimal compromise to their other priorities.
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Old 08-22-21, 09:51 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
Not necessarily. It's an aerodynamic brick, but in my case it wasn't that expensive, since I have the 105-equipped aluminum-framed model from before the disc price boost. Obviously in this comparison the old Fuji is aided by skinny cylinders being more aero than fat cylinders.

There's limited room for improvement, however. When comparing the impact of tube shaping on a fat-cylinder road frame to a decent aero road frame, the raw flat-ground speed differences that result are often on the order of a couple percent. That's tangible for a lot of cyclists, but we're also talking about a kind of worst case: aerodynamic shaping has been getting expanded into a lot of non-"aero" framesets, sometimes making up quite a bit of ground versus pure aero frames at minimal compromise to their other priorities.
Tour Magazin's wind tunnel test of the Emonda showed it had around 10-15% more drag than the other bikes I mentioned. Their test method is a bit wonky, but we are not talking a mere 1-2% power loss using a more upright bike with longer headtube. If the OP at 32 is fit and flexible, go for the proper racing bike. You are only young once and 32 is young.

For a slow rider, the advantages are trivial. For a faster rider, it isn't. Priorities for OP to figure out. It did not sound like he wants a gravel bike or a touring bike nor is he a randonneur type, the description sounded to me he wants to go fast.
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Old 08-22-21, 10:14 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Tour Magazin's wind tunnel test of the Emonda showed it had around 10-15% more drag than the other bikes I mentioned. Their test method is a bit wonky
As pertains this discussion, the issue with their test method isn't that it was wonky, but that they were measuring something different from what I was making a claim about. I was comparing frameset tubing profiles, while their test was comparing two completely different bicycle builds in which the Emonda was making a ton of aero sins.

but we are not talking a mere 1-2% power loss
I didn't say anything directly about power loss, I mentioned speed. Typical speed impact of aerodynamic drag power is slightly sub-cubic (once you account for other sources of resistance). A 10% increase in CdA tends to slow a bike+rider system down by around 3%, rising to somewhat over 4% for a 15% CdA increase.

using a more upright bike with longer headtube.
If you fit a bicycle for more upright postures than you otherwise would have used, obviously this can make for big CdA penalties. On the other hand, an overly-slammed fit can be slow, by making the rider uncomfortable and/or preventing them from using certain aero postures (such as riding the hoods with level forearms).

This isn't really a part of the comparisons I made, as I was assuming that any bike being considered would support the fit that the rider was targeting. I specifically brought this up in my first post by pointing out that road bikes have a pretty wide range of fit adjustment, so a "more upright" bicycle doesn't always mean that the rider ends up more upright.

Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
For a slow rider, the advantages are trivial. For a faster rider, it isn't.
I disagree. While low speeds cause aerodynamic drag to become a proportionally smaller portion of total resistance, it's a large majority of total resistance for nearly every road cyclist cruising on shallow terrain. If it has a huge impact on Tadej Pogacar's performance, it still has a very considerable impact on the average roadie's performance.

Edit: Let's put some example numbers on this. Assume an 80kg bike+rider with a Crr of .005 and a CdA of .3, riding solo on a level road at 25mph (about 300W) and 15mph (about 82W). Now imagine that we add a sail to their bike that increases the CdA by 10% to .33. How much faster are they going in the former case?
Unless I've done my math wrong, the more aero setup makes the 25mph rider 3.05% faster, and it makes the 15mph rider 2.81% faster.

It did not sound like he wants a gravel bike or a touring bike nor is he a randonneur type, the description sounded to me he wants to go fast.
​I brought up gravel because the OP brought up gravel.

It's also my experience that a gravel bike is not necessarily in stark contrast to wanting going fast on paved roads, even if it's not hyperoptimized for the purpose to the same degree as a typical racing bike designed around skinny tires*, which is why I didn't flatly shoot the idea down.

*There can be any number of asterisks around this point, depending on the gravel bike in question and what the rider is doing with their setup, such as what tires they use for gravel and whether they have a second wheelset for spirited paved rides.

Last edited by HTupolev; 08-22-21 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 08-23-21, 03:22 AM
  #35  
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While the pure aerodynamic difference between an aero road frame and a "standard" road frame is going to amount to only around 1% plus change (which isn't big, but given there are hardly any real downsides to the aero frame except a small bit of weight, isn't something to scoff at either) with the same rider position, it might be impossible to get the same position on the "endurance" geometry frame with a much taller headtube and larger stack height, and that increases the difference somewhat. For me, going about 2.5cm-2.7cm lower (removed a spacer and went to a -17 stem from a -6 one) and from a 40cm bar to a 36cm bar was worth about 1.5-2% on a typical flat-ish course at the same power, and after a short while of getting used to it there was no downside to the reduced height of the bar (sometimes I fancy that slightly more width might be of small benefit when climbing, but I'm not sure).

If you're the kind of person who would worry about "well, what if I had a faster bike", then just get a race bike outright.

Also, I find the aero bikes with straight-ish top tubes to look, well, cool - the agressive sloping of some compact frame bikes just doesn't do it for me visually.
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Old 08-23-21, 05:06 AM
  #36  
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My current ride is a Litespeed T3. 28mm tires fit with room to spare, and the bike can be set up with either rim or disc brakes.


Last edited by jwalther; 08-24-21 at 04:26 AM.
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Old 08-23-21, 05:49 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
As pertains this discussion, the issue with their test method isn't that it was wonky, but that they were measuring something different from what I was making a claim about. I was comparing frameset tubing profiles, while their test was comparing two completely different bicycle builds in which the Emonda was making a ton of aero sins.


I didn't say anything directly about power loss, I mentioned speed. Typical speed impact of aerodynamic drag power is slightly sub-cubic (once you account for other sources of resistance). A 10% increase in CdA tends to slow a bike+rider system down by around 3%, rising to somewhat over 4% for a 15% CdA increase.


If you fit a bicycle for more upright postures than you otherwise would have used, obviously this can make for big CdA penalties. On the other hand, an overly-slammed fit can be slow, by making the rider uncomfortable and/or preventing them from using certain aero postures (such as riding the hoods with level forearms).

This isn't really a part of the comparisons I made, as I was assuming that any bike being considered would support the fit that the rider was targeting. I specifically brought this up in my first post by pointing out that road bikes have a pretty wide range of fit adjustment, so a "more upright" bicycle doesn't always mean that the rider ends up more upright.


I disagree. While low speeds cause aerodynamic drag to become a proportionally smaller portion of total resistance, it's a large majority of total resistance for nearly every road cyclist cruising on shallow terrain. If it has a huge impact on Tadej Pogacar's performance, it still has a very considerable impact on the average roadie's performance.

Edit: Let's put some example numbers on this. Assume an 80kg bike+rider with a Crr of .005 and a CdA of .3, riding solo on a level road at 25mph (about 300W) and 15mph (about 82W). Now imagine that we add a sail to their bike that increases the CdA by 10% to .33. How much faster are they going in the former case?
Unless I've done my math wrong, the more aero setup makes the 25mph rider 3.05% faster, and it makes the 15mph rider 2.81% faster.


​I brought up gravel because the OP brought up gravel.

It's also my experience that a gravel bike is not necessarily in stark contrast to wanting going fast on paved roads, even if it's not hyperoptimized for the purpose to the same degree as a typical racing bike designed around skinny tires*, which is why I didn't flatly shoot the idea down.

*There can be any number of asterisks around this point, depending on the gravel bike in question and what the rider is doing with their setup, such as what tires they use for gravel and whether they have a second wheelset for spirited paved rides.
I disagree with much of what you wrote but to be honest, it is not important enough to write a similarly long winded song.

OP has to decide what is desired.

Round tubes, gravel bikes, and endurance bikes are not the stuff for fast, hilly 60-90 minute ride on good roads. The bikes you advocate or discuss in your posts are not consistent with OP's post. If I misunderstood OP's interest, he/she can decide accordingly.
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Old 08-24-21, 03:23 PM
  #38  
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I'll try to offer my 2 cents here.

I'm 36, and bought my Lynskey Titanium R270 with Ultegra Disc in 2019. I've always wanted titanium, and like you, was willing to drop about $3k on a bike. With the sales they were running back then, I was able to get it for about $3,400. For reference, I was coming from a 2006 Bianchi Vigorelli (Reynolds 631 steel), which now lives at my sister's place in CA. Lastly, I've nearly completed an aluminum Cannondale CAAD8 with SRAM Force (rim brake, mechanical). I can't tell you about carbon, but I can give my experiences across the other bits.

The Lynskey is comfortable. She's less whippy than my steel bike, more stiff in the downtube. Leg power turns to thrust, and she pours herself down the road, and minor surface changes don't upset her. In contrast, the Cannondale jumps when you put the power down - and she definitely feels more nervous when the pavement changes a bit. Some of this might be due to geometry, but the Cannondale definitely feels more lively from an acceleration and ride perspective. I'd say the Lynskey feels more like a GT car, whereas the Cannondale's more of a lightweight sports car. The steel Bianchi splits the difference - her whippiness makes her feel more lively, but she definitely feels more damped than the aluminum bike.

One thing to keep in mind, as well, is that wheel choice makes a HUGE difference. The wheels on the Cannondale are 1540g (claimed), the Lynskey's are 1920g. Definitely a huge difference when it comes to accelerating from a stop.

The Cannondale has rim brakes, the Lynskey, disc. Hydraulic disc brakes have great lever feel relative to cable-pull rim brakes, but the discs make noise after hard stops (slight warping due to heat), and the whole disc brake package makes things heavier, too. I figured rim brakes on the new build as I'm currently staying somewhere with very few long/steep descents. With regards to tire width, the Force AXS rim brakes that I have installed (got the AXS models a little cheaper on eBay) can allow an inflated Ultra Sport 2 28mm between the calipers - and that tire actually measures out to about 32mm. In contrast, the disc-brake equipped Lynskey can't fit bigger than a 28mm tire between her rear stays, so disc brakes are no guarantee of wider tires.

Geometry. The Lynskey is built with endurance geometry, and I'm running her (basically) slammed - there's a 5mm spacer beneath her stem. Some days I feel like I can go lower. The Cannondale, is racier geometry - the bars are within ~5mm of the Lynskey's right now, with 20mm of spacers underneath. I plan on experimenting with that. From my experience, it's nice to have the option to be a little higher up after the off-season, but it's nice to have the option to go lower, as well.

If you go titanium, I'd consider Lynskey for both their value prop as well as their pedigree - they used to own the Litespeed brand. Also, they have threaded bottom brackets, which is a big plus in my book.
If you go disc, I'd recommend putting on the lightest wheelset you can afford, in the rim-height of your choice, of course. And be aware of the noise issues that can crop up coming off those descents. And don't forget to check your frame clearance if you're putting on bigger tires.
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Old 08-24-21, 03:35 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by guapo337 View Post
Thanks, again, very helpful. Definitely don't want to be buying myself into a corner, as I want this to be a bike I used for 10+ years. Anything you can point to re: Ti vs. Carbon? Or is that purely anecdotal?
I have CF bikes that were purchased new by me in 1999 and 2003. They aren't as pretty as they used to be, and look a little dated compared to the latest and greatest, but both still ride just as nicely as they always have. Do a little digging on CF as a bike frame/fork material, and you will find manufacturers discussing the essentially infinite fatigue life of CF material.

Here's my old dog. She has been getting about 50% of my ride days recently.


I also have a 1977 steel bike, and a 2001 aluminum bike. Getting a bike to last 10 years isn't an issue with any frame material if you maintain it properly, and don't fall down.
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Old 08-24-21, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
I have CF bikes that were purchased new by me in 1999 and 2003. They aren't as pretty as they used to be, and look a little dated compared to the latest and greatest, but both still ride just as nicely as they always have. Do a little digging on CF as a bike frame/fork material, and you will find manufacturers discussing the essentially infinite fatigue life of CF material.

Here's my old dog. She has been getting about 50% of my ride days recently.


I also have a 1977 steel bike, and a 2001 aluminum bike. Getting a bike to last 10 years isn't an issue with any frame material if you maintain it properly, and don't fall down.
I think I remember seeing that bike, new, in the 1999 Trek catalog - remember those? Sheets of paper stapled together into a little book?

Anyway, as much as I wanted one of those (or a 1998 Klein Adroit), I had to make do with my 1997 Trek 820...
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