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  1. #1
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    Bike advice: heart or head

    I had slowly whittled my buying decision for a new bike in the $2000 range, thinking the Boardman SLR 9.0 ($2050) is the best bike for my money. UNTIL I discovered my LBS became a Cervelo dealer and had closeout R3s for $2600 and S2s for $2400 -- good prices but really stretching my budget to the brink. I know Cervelo holds a lot more cache and they are beautiful bikes I can touch and test ride, but there's a notable price difference and upgraded everything on the Boardman. Simply, I'm sure if the SLR was in a showroom, I'd buy it now. If the Cervelos had lighter, mid-level wheels, I'd bite the bullet and buy one of them (I won't have money for any upgrade for quite a while).
    I'd appreciate general thoughts and any experience regarding the biggest differences I might notice. I want fast and racy but not punishing. How much should the Fulcrum Racing T wheels matter? I've read nothing but that they are heavy and don't live up to the promise of the bike.

    A little about me and my riding. I'm thin (6', 160) and a fairly strong rider, often keeping up with the fastest riders in the area and pulling my weight at the front. But I curse my 15-year-old, 25-lb. bike while doing it. I really only lag behind when the roads get hilly, which has made me a bit of a weight weenie, or longer than 50 miles or so. I'd like to start tackling some of the canyon hills in the area.
    It's always windy in the Texas Panhandle so an aero frame attracts me, but I'm now leaning more toward a bike smoothing the chip seal roads TxDOT loves so much lately. Most of my rides are 30-some mile evening rides and some 50-60 mile weekend rides. I'd like an aggressive ride, but need something I can do a few century rides on.

  2. #2
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    Listen to the wallet

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ar910793 View Post
    I had slowly whittled my buying decision for a new bike in the $2000 range, thinking the Boardman SLR 9.0 ($2050) is the best bike for my money. UNTIL I discovered my LBS became a Cervelo dealer and had closeout R3s for $2600 and S2s for $2400 -- good prices but really stretching my budget to the brink. I know Cervelo holds a lot more cache and they are beautiful bikes I can touch and test ride, but there's a notable price difference and upgraded everything on the Boardman. Simply, I'm sure if the SLR was in a showroom, I'd buy it now. If the Cervelos had lighter, mid-level wheels, I'd bite the bullet and buy one of them (I won't have money for any upgrade for quite a while).
    I'd appreciate general thoughts and any experience regarding the biggest differences I might notice. I want fast and racy but not punishing. How much should the Fulcrum Racing T wheels matter? I've read nothing but that they are heavy and don't live up to the promise of the bike.

    A little about me and my riding. I'm thin (6', 160) and a fairly strong rider, often keeping up with the fastest riders in the area and pulling my weight at the front. But I curse my 15-year-old, 25-lb. bike while doing it. I really only lag behind when the roads get hilly, which has made me a bit of a weight weenie, or longer than 50 miles or so. I'd like to start tackling some of the canyon hills in the area.
    It's always windy in the Texas Panhandle so an aero frame attracts me, but I'm now leaning more toward a bike smoothing the chip seal roads TxDOT loves so much lately. Most of my rides are 30-some mile evening rides and some 50-60 mile weekend rides. I'd like an aggressive ride, but need something I can do a few century rides on.
    IME people tend to regret staying within their budget and are more satisfied if they have pushed the envelope in getting the next better level of frame/components/wheels. It forestalls the upgrade fever that grips so many riders.

    As far as smoothing the ride you can do a lot with wider tires if they will fit in the frame.

    The aero frame might be worth 0.1-0.2 mph and only you can say whether that is important. What really is important is how the bike feels when you ride it but apparently you don't have access to the Boardman. It's probably a tossup that only you can decide. You can get into an over-analysis spiral that prevents any decision. If it were me, I'd ride the Cervelo and if it felt good, that's the way I'd go. But you're not me.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    IME people tend to regret staying within their budget and are more satisfied if they have pushed the envelope in getting the next better level of frame/components/wheels. It forestalls the upgrade fever that grips so many riders.
    No doubt. I think that's why my head's telling me to go with the Boardman: better Force components, better Ksyrium Equipe tires and cheaper by a lot. The R3 would have me saving for new wheels from day one. Big put off for SLR is not getting to test ride it. Bigger put off is sorta the feeling like I'm getting a great deal on a well-equipped Honda vs. an entry-level BMW.

    I've already entered the over-analysis spiral -- but I'm obsessive anyways.

  5. #5
    Devoid of all flim-flam
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    First, go with the heart. If you don't, you'll always be second-guessing yourself. Second, I can't quite figure out from your posts which of the bicycles is the more aero, but whichever one it is, you have to remember that aero works both ways. If it's more aero in a headwind, it is probably less aero (and thus less stable) in a sidewind.
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapei View Post
    If it's more aero in a headwind, it is probably less aero (and thus less stable) in a sidewind.
    Aero bikes and wheels actually benefit most in crosswinds (higher yaw angles.) Lighter riders, in particular, sometimes get blown around on them though.

  7. #7
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    Neither head or heart. Decide with your arse. Okay, kind of kidding but i also mean that. The key to long term satisfaction with a bike is how it feels when your butt is on the saddle.

    Remove Aerodynamics from the equation and to a certain extent weight. Marketing claims about aero frames are total BS and what might exist is irrelevent for typical road cycling and while lighter is better a pound or so really isn't going to make any difference. Do you feel faster when your water bottles are empty? That's about the difference between a "light bike" (17ish lbs or so) and just a regular weight bike (19ish or so) in that same price range.

  8. #8
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    test ride both and get the one you love. If you cant then get the Cervelo.Every single time I have gotten a little cheap and not gotten what I really wanted I have regretted it.
    A Cervelo will be fine with stock wheels for a long while. I think its just that the bike is so good....with upgraded wheels a year from now you would be set! The R3 is probably the al around best road bike on the planet especially for the money!
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  9. #9
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    They will both be very good bikes but i think you need an element of 'heart' in the purchase. That will give you continual pleasure when riding, tinkering and just admiring the thing. I was just toying between a Giant TCR Advanced 0 and Trek Madone 5.2. Went for the Trek because the frame is stunning and just had more long term wow factor for me.

    What is the warrantee for each bike. I was also looking at a Pinarello but could not justify spending on a frame/bike with a two year warrantee.

    Have you looked at any Giant options, they are excellent bikes with very good spec in that price bracket. Lifetime frame warrantee as well. I would also look at the Trek Madone's and Specialized Tarmac's. Both have supurb frames. Check out the Cannondale Supersix 105 as well.

  10. #10
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    The United healthcare riders I know loved their Boardman bikes. The SLR is a very good frame - you get a lot at that price. The R3 isn't what it used to be - Cervelo has reduced the carbon layup on it and made their other R series frames the equivalent of what it used to be (R5 etc).

    Cervélo R3 Team Ultegra | BikeRadar

  11. #11
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    Deep inside you, you prefer slightly one of the two. Go with that one.

    I have a feeling you like the cachet associated with the Cervelo.
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the view never changes

  12. #12
    Dr. Buzz Killington
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    We're all on budgets, so the question really is how long you plan on working too hard to not to buy the things you like.

  13. #13
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    Which bike is less common in your area? Where I live, Cervelo bikes are common - see several on every ride & I can't say I've seen more than a couple Boardman bikes in the past few years. Exclusivity has it's own cachet.

  14. #14
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    That Boardman bike looks very good, and has excellent components at that pricepoint. I would personally go for it. You get stuff you won't need to upgrade for a long time. The bike is light and fast and has, IMO, good looks.

  15. #15
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    Bike advice: heart or head

    You can't ride the boardman at all? If not I don't know if I would even consider it unless you have been riding for a while and know the exact geometry you need. R3 is a solid bike, the wheels are heavy but still you are looking at a 17lb bike which will feel like a feather compared to your current 25lb bike. Go with your heart, if you love a bike and it fits and feels good (geometry) you can always upgrade stuff later on and wheels are the easiest thing to upgrade out of everything.

    Also add some 25mm tires and lower the pressure a little and it will help with the chip and seal.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesbike View Post
    The R3 isn't what it used to be - Cervelo has reduced the carbon layup on it and made their other R series frames the equivalent of what it used to be (R5 etc).

    Cervélo R3 Team Ultegra | BikeRadar
    Thanks, I hadn't seen that review. The Boardman ticks every box I want (for a non-aero bike) at an unbeatable price. And I really like the looks, internal cables and light weight. Think I'm leaning that way again. Should be a great bike for me if I never replace a single component, and the price difference could get me to more interesting rides in the region.

    Re R3: "The stock wheels and tires are enough of a drag on the bike's overall performance ..." As I said, I'd be stretching my budget a little too much and new wheels would be at least a year or more down the road.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Neither head or heart. Decide with your arse. Okay, kind of kidding but i also mean that. The key to long term satisfaction with a bike is how it feels when your butt is on the saddle.

    Remove Aerodynamics from the equation and to a certain extent weight. Marketing claims about aero frames are total BS and what might exist is irrelevent for typical road cycling and while lighter is better a pound or so really isn't going to make any difference. Do you feel faster when your water bottles are empty? That's about the difference between a "light bike" (17ish lbs or so) and just a regular weight bike (19ish or so) in that same price range.
    +1. Fit should always be your primary concern. How much do you think you will ride any bike that gives you a sore back, rattles your teeth over any bump, or otherwise just makes a recreational activity turn torturous? Yes it is good to suffer on the bike from time to time just not that way. I strongly encourage riding before buying as you can often eliminate which does not work relatively easily, even a short shop ride can be beneficial. Longer rides are better as they can reveal any gremlins that can arise over different terrain, road conditions, etc.

    Then if it is still a toss up I would suggest that you will benefit speedwise far more from training and bikefit than the bike over the long haul. Take the extra money and look into items that will help you there (powermeter, Friel Training Bible, Pro bikefit, trainingpeaks). For example, IIRC you said you begin to struggle as rides get closer to 50 miles, what are you doing to address that? Doing the same intensity and duration all the time will get you better at that and not much else. What power do you need to maintain up the hills and for how long?

    Weight is really only a factor during accelerations/deaccelerations, aerodynamics are far more important especially on flat/rolling terrain. Consider that approximately 75-80% of wind resistance is from the rider! Do you use the drops? I did not until I was properly fitted. A good bike fit might allow you to get more aero and stay there longer which would improve your speed more. it may be necessary to purchase a new stem for example to properly adjust fit.

    BTW any bike's ride will be made more comfortable over chipseal roads if you play with air pressure and tire width. Start by taking 5-10 lbs out and see how it feels, run slightly lower front than back. If a 25c tire will fit your frame that would be the way to go.

    If after considering everything you don't want to/can't make any changes, bikes feel equal in comfort, shop service is equal etc.... Then I would go with my heart. You are already a strong cyclist so any of the options will be an upgrade over a 25 lb. bike!

  18. #18
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    All great points. My decision on my last bike purchase went to down to which LBS had it. I debated mail order but after breaking a few frames, I'm wary of mail order bikes.

  19. #19
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    Spend the money on the bike with your heart.
    When buying a car or a house, use your head.
    With people like Peter P. around, I am done posting on this website. Mean people have driven me off after 9 plus years. Good luck newbies beware.

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