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Thread: First race bike

  1. #1
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    First race bike

    Hey everyone, I'm a mountain biker looking to get into racing road bikes. I used to road race sport bikes so this short course crit racing seems to be right up my alley. I'm looking to purchase my first road bike which I hope to start racing with sometime this summer/fall. I am very fond of my LBS that I go to for mountain bike related stuff so I plan to purchase through them. I rode a few bikes and brought my decision down an Allez Race 105 or Tarmac sport. Components are nearly identical so it really comes down to carbon or aluminum. Since I'm new to this sport I'm unsure if I should spring the extra $400 or so for carbon. I understand it is stiffer and lighter(how much exactly...looks like 1 lb?), but at 155 lbs is 1 lb of bike weight going to make that much of a difference? Any insight on my decision would be greatly appreciated. Also any other tips/info on getting into racing would be greatly appreciated.
    Mountain - 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29er
    Road - 2013 Specialized Tarmac

  2. #2
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    If money is not an issue, race with what you feel will make you win. However if money is in the equation, aluminum frames are less money to replace in the event of a crash.

    The frame is just one part of the bicycle. The components you put on it decides more if it will become a pound heavier or lighter.

  3. #3
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    Components between the 2 models I'm looking at are nearly identical. How does the carbon hold up in a crash?
    Mountain - 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29er
    Road - 2013 Specialized Tarmac

  4. #4
    The Slow One.
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    Many companies put heavier bars, stems, and seatposts on aluminum frames, which could easily add up to 1lb.

    I've found the entry-level Specialized Tarmacs to be a little on the soft side for me, but you may disagree. Ride both and see which one works for you.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Mike View Post
    Many companies put heavier bars, stems, and seatposts on aluminum frames, which could easily add up to 1lb.

    I've found the entry-level Specialized Tarmacs to be a little on the soft side for me, but you may disagree. Ride both and see which one works for you.
    I rode both briefly, but nothing hard enough to notice a difference in the two.
    Mountain - 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29er
    Road - 2013 Specialized Tarmac

  6. #6
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    If money is no object, then go with carbon. OTOH, aluminum is great for the more budget minded.


    Also, don't overlook the lightweight boutique steels like the CROMO 853 or 631 either!

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    If your a MTB guy you know the deal with parts, your always swapping or at least everyone I knew.

    I would think about the wheels first, a good used set of wheels on the Aluminum will close the weight gap, spin up faster, give you a second set incase you break the first set and most important you don't know better. As the year progresses you no doubt will be changing things here and there and the bike will probably not look much like it did when you started.

    Carbon is nice but at the end of the day your the engine no matter what your on. Lots of guys are stinking fast on steel or alu. I would save the cash and race this year, if it really grabs you then next year you can get the carbon and the gear that you know you need.

    The last piece is all those extra parts may work really well on a carbon frame giving you two bikes or one to sell.

  8. #8
    Token Sprinter
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    As they say, "Don't race what you can't replace."

    After seeing crashes happen in the first few races and seeing the carbon owners fret over damage I am glad that I'm currently riding aluminum. Not saying that carbon isn't durable, but I'm glad that I don't have to worry about my bike as much as them.

    Also, if you're just starting racing then the field will be much more apt to crashing. My first 3 races all had at least one crash in them. Luckily none of them involved me, but it happens.

    All that being said, carbon is cool. If you really want it then go ahead and get it. Liking your bike will make you more likely to ride it, which really is what matters.
    Amassing Miles - My Little Cycling Blog

  9. #9
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    Well I went to go pick up my Allez Race 105 today.....that didn't exactly happen. My LBS was having a big sale so they brought in a ton of bikes. I got there near opening and upon walking to the bike tent this green Tarmac just jumped out at me. I walked by it as I was looking for a bike for my girlfriend first since I knew my Allez was waiting for me. I kept walking by the green Tarmac on display and finally decided to take a closer look. Turns out to be my size and a sport model so in my price range....hmmm interesting. I just had to take it for a quick spin. It was awesome and the "out there" color was calling my name. Needless to say I caved. I spent a little more than what I wanted, but after seeing this bike I knew I had to have it. I would have thought about it every time I rode the Allez.


    Just brought it home so don't mind saddle and bar height.
    Mountain - 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29er
    Road - 2013 Specialized Tarmac

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech420 View Post
    Just brought it home so don't mind saddle and bar height.
    Nice!! Now about that rear reflector and stem.......

    JK. Ride it the way you want to ride it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mpre53 View Post
    Nice!! Now about that rear reflector and stem.......

    JK. Ride it the way you want to ride it.
    Reflectors are gone, stickers are gone, seat height is fixed, and now I'm contemplating flipping the stem.
    Mountain - 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29er
    Road - 2013 Specialized Tarmac

  12. #12
    I'm slow
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    Thats a nice looking ride, congrats!

  13. #13
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    Flip the stem on that beauty but also look up some pointers on bike fit, set the bike up so the seat is in the correct fore/aft area in relation to the pedals and the bars are in the right place and height.
    If the bike is close you may just need to swap out the stem and make some adjustments.

    Once that is done pump up those tire and have at it!

  14. #14
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    Flipped the stem and played around with the bar position a bit. Not exactly sure how it is supposed to feel though. Took it for a quick spin around the block while playing with the seat/bar position. Boy is this different than my 5" full suspension mountain bike haha.
    Mountain - 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29er
    Road - 2013 Specialized Tarmac

  15. #15
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    First race bike

    Quote Originally Posted by Tech420 View Post
    Well I went to go pick up my Allez Race 105 today.....that didn't exactly happen. My LBS was having a big sale so they brought in a ton of bikes. I got there near opening and upon walking to the bike tent this green Tarmac just jumped out at me. I walked by it as I was looking for a bike for my girlfriend first since I knew my Allez was waiting for me. I kept walking by the green Tarmac on display and finally decided to take a closer look. Turns out to be my size and a sport model so in my price range....hmmm interesting. I just had to take it for a quick spin. It was awesome and the "out there" color was calling my name. Needless to say I caved. I spent a little more than what I wanted, but after seeing this bike I knew I had to have it. I would have thought about it every time I rode the Allez.


    Just brought it home so don't mind saddle and bar height.
    I have never seen a specialized bike painted with such an awesome color.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech420 View Post
    Boy is this different than my 5" full suspension mountain bike haha.
    I feel you hahaha! Just take your time during the transition. Congratulations on your new ride!

  17. #17
    Recycle King
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    The neon lime green reminds me of late 80s, early 90s Trek bike colors...loud. I do love green thus I dig your ride.
    "The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare." - Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner

    "Common sense is not too common these days."

    "Cheap things have no value, valuable things are not cheap." - Fortune Cookie

  18. #18
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    Investing time (and a little bit of money) into a proper bike fit can go a long way. A proper bike fit can "buy" you more speed than pretty much any component you can put on the bike. Research your local shops as far as fitting goes, ask around. Almost all shops can fit you the bike but few do it right. If you find a RETUL fitter, I suggest go with them as RETUL fit gives you very quantifiable changes in 3 dimensions (left side, right side and back).

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech420 View Post
    Just brought it home so don't mind saddle and bar height.
    Wow, good call, GREAT color! Now go ride ride and ride!

    I can't tell from the pics and am too lazy to go look up the specs at this instant, but which groupset is that?

  20. #20
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    Thanks for all the compliments, I can't wait to take it on a full ride after work today. I plan to get a bike fit from the shop I bought the bike from, but I was going to wait until I got a feel for the bike so I can communicate with the "fitter" better.
    Quote Originally Posted by wanderinwalker View Post
    Wow, good call, GREAT color! Now go ride ride and ride!

    I can't tell from the pics and am too lazy to go look up the specs at this instant, but which groupset is that?
    Everything is 105 except for a Tiagra cassette and Axis brakes/wheels. Already don't like the brakes so those will go and the heavy wheels will be swapped come race time.
    Mountain - 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29er
    Road - 2013 Specialized Tarmac

  21. #21
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    HOLY CRAP!!! A new bike that isn't red white & black. I didn't think it was possible. That's a great looking bike. Congrats.
    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away & you'll have their shoes.

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