Specialized Dolce vs. Dolce Sport
After coming in 64th out of 71 in my last sprint triathlon I'm ready to move on from my mountain bike and get a road bike. I'm not in it to win it, and am not willing to spend over $1000 -- which is way up from the $3-500 I started off wanting to spend before I started looking at road bikes. I want a bike that's usable for something besides triathlons so am not so interested in tri bikes. I've tried out the Giant Avail and Specialized Dolce Sport at my extremely cool LBS and like the feel of the Dolce better. I compared the specs and it looks like there's little difference between the two, but for some components the Sport has Sora while the Dolce has 2300. I see a lot of bandwidth on this website trashing Sora -- are Sora and 2300 equally godawful or is 2300 actually substantially worse? I assume it's worth the extra $110 for the sport, but if not I'd rather use the money on shoes or pedals or something.
iirc, 2300 is 8-speed and the Sora is 9-speed.
that is basically the first difference.
Besides the aforementioned drivetrain (8/9 speed) differences, IMO the only other noteworthy difference is that the Dolce has slightly different front gearing than the Sport (52/39/30 versus 50/39/30).
JMO, but I think a 9 speed drivetrain is worth the extra money, but both 2300 and Sora are durable groups and perform well if set up/ tuned correctly. No different than any other group.
There's a little plastic in the 2200 rear derailleur, while the Dolce Sport uses a Tiagra rear derailleur with a more durable construction. That should translate into better wear life for the Tiagra. The wheels on the Sport sound marginally better. Both models have interrupter levers for the brakes, which is irritating - if you're willing to spend $1000 to try and better your time, you may want to spend another $100 on some aero bars, and need the real estate - the mountain bike wasn't doing you any favors, but rider position is really the most important difference with a true time trial bike, and you can get a lot of that advantage with a relatively inexpensive accessory for a road bike.
When I'm doing intervals, I find I get more sensitive to small changes in gear ratio. So having more "speeds" is nice - it lets me have small changes and a pretty good low gear. If there are no hills where you are, whatever, but if there are, it's something to consider. Also depends how serious you're planning to be about triathlons, but again - if you're willing to spend $1000 on being faster, this might be a good place to spend an extra $100.
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