custom bikes vs mainstream bikes for racing
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  1. #1

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    custom bikes vs mainstream bikes for racing

    I have about $4500 to spend on a bike. However, I still go to school, so I need something that will be durable as well as perform well. I race for my school, and in the last race of my season in Spring, someone crashed into me from behind on the final climb to the finish, and bent my seatstay and cracked the seatstay at the joint with the chainstay. Now I'm in the market for a new bike. I realized that I could go a couple of ways:

    Custom Bike
    -Seven Cycles (Alaris, Alaris Race, Axiom)
    -Independent Fabrications (Steel Crown Jewel w/ Carbon Stays)

    or

    Mainstream Bike
    -Cannondale (Six13 Dura-Ace)
    -Giant (TCR Advanced)
    -Specialized (Roubaix Pro, Tarmac Pro)
    -Lemond (Tete de Course)
    -Pinarello (Prince, F4:13)

    The Indy Fab Steel Crown Jewel looks sweet, and so is the pricetag. At $2200 msrp with carbon stays and a carbon fork, I can probably build it up with full dura-ace within my budget. However, how would steel perform in racing situations? Also, how would the titanium bikes (Seven Alaris) perform? How about Carbon? The Pinarello F4:13 is also another very attractive bike. How do you think that would perform? Against the likes of the Roubaix or the TCR Advanced? And we still have the multi-material bikes. Six13, Tarmac Pro, Tete de Course. I can get really good deals on Cannondales as they are a Team Sponsor, but my previous bike was a team issue Caad7, and it was pretty harsh. I want something that is smoother, yet still very stiff. I wonder if the Six13 is too similar to the Caad7/8 in terms of ride quality.

    Another thing is I've heard that steel and titanium bikes can be repaired if I am involved in another frame-hurting crash. That would save me quite a bit of money also as I don't have access to much funds in buying a replacement for this bike. I want this bike to last me, through this last racing season of mine, and then I want to be able to enjoy it through college at least on more fun rides.

    Help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    eminence grease
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    If I was in your situation, there is no way I'd drop $4500 bucks on a custom bike to ride in collegiate races. Look at your current experience - you've already trashed one bike by being hit.

    I'd put half the money in an account as insurance and shop for something in the $2500 range. Or perhaps even less. The extra 2 grand that you'd spend on any of the bikes you've listed is not a good investment in making you a better racer. It's just an investment in a fancier bike. If you want to be faster, spend the time on your conditioning and skills.

    As far as the ability to repair steel and titanium bikes, yes, they can be fixed. But it doesn't mean they will be fixed. It depends on the nature of the injury and what materials were used to build the bike. Buying a steel or ti bike with the intention of riding them under racing conditions and then counting on them being repaired if they are damaged is another bad investment. It's probably 50/50 or less that you'd be able to get them fixed.

    No one loves fancy bikes more than I do, but given the situation you've laid out, I'd buy something to get me through the racing season and then concentrate on a lifetime bike when my racing days were behind me.

  3. #3
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    4500 clams? Wow. Dude, get two bikes, like many racers.

    Not sure why you eyed a $2200 Indy Fab, but you can get a sweet custom steel frame for half that price. Check it out:
    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/sho...=steel+%241000

    If you have never had a custom bike, I would recommend finding a local builder that you can visit for a fitting: http://www.velonews.com/tech/report/...es/7605.0.html

    You can get a sweet custom steel frame for $1000-$1200 and build it up nicely. Then spend the rest on a cheap, light, off-the-rack alu race frame with Ultegra 9 and race the crap out of it. If you total the alu bike, you can race the custom steely. Then if you total the custom steely, I would think a good custom builder would bend over backwards to repair it.
    Riding to break the cycle of breast cancer in the Young Survival Coalition Tour de Pink--3 days, 200 miles.
    www.ysctourdepink.org

  4. #4
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    I know this sounds strange but I wouldn't use a $4,500 bike if I was doing a lot of racing. If you're involved in an active race schedule - and it sounds like you are - you're chances of crashing are fairly high. Light, thin tubed bikes don't like crashes. $2,000 (even $1,500) will get you a very competitive bike.

    $4,500 is for when your older and want to look fast.

  5. #5
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    I did four years of collegiate racing. No way I'd use a such a spendy bike for that--I saw tons of high end bikes destroyed in pileups. Actually one of the bikes I still have now I used in my last year of collegiate racing--nice custom frame, nice paint, made me extra nervous and a little less aggressive. Seriously, get a bike you won't care about too much. TCR would probably be my pick if the fit was right. If you can get the C'dale cheap that would also be a good option. You might check out the Gunnar, too, if you're interested in steel--you'll probably pay a weight penalty fo an extra half pound. Have fun and save some of that money for travel!
    Last edited by Henry Chinaski; 06-24-2005 at 08:33 AM.

  6. #6
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    Why are you buying a complete bike rather than a frame/fork? Wouldn't it save a lot of money to reuse the ccomponents from your old bike?

  7. #7

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    Just to chime in here, your want of a bike to last you a long time and to race it are mutually exclusive. As other have said, get a nice bike for training and riding, and a cheap aluminium framed bike for racing.

  8. #8
    classiquesklassieker
    Reputation: orange_julius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by revlimitfunk
    ... someone crashed into me from behind on the final climb to the finish, and bent my seatstay and cracked the seatstay at the joint with the chainstay.
    Another thing is I've heard that steel and titanium bikes can be repaired if I am involved in another frame-hurting crash. That would save me quite a bit of money also as I don't have access to much funds in buying a replacement for this bike. I want this bike to last me, through this last racing season of mine, and then I want to be able to enjoy it through college at least on more fun rides.

    Help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    You're going to do collegiate racing and you want to race on a $4500 bike?? Are you sponsored??

    If you are not, let me help you make up your mind with the following photo. Dude, save your money and build a bike that won't break your heart if you crash it.

    As far as repairing titanium or steel frames, such a repair is cost-prohibitive for most cases. It will a good chunk of the cost of the frame in the first place. Plus you're going to have to wait a long time before a welder will have time to weld/fix up the frame again, repaint it, and build it up using the parts again.

    *) photo taken from the Dartmouth cycling team website. Crash happened at the Boston Beanpot Collegiate Race, 2005.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9

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    sounds like what you guys have been saying makes sense. i'll probably go for a Cannondale R1000 or R5000, which I can get for about $1450 and $1950 respectively after the team discount, upgrade to ksyrium sl's maybe, and keep the rest of the cash ($2500 to $3000) for accidents or damage, or just save it for a car or something. thanks for the feedback.

  10. #10
    hairy-legged roadie
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    Smart guy

    Quote Originally Posted by revlimitfunk
    sounds like what you guys have been saying makes sense. i'll probably go for a Cannondale R1000 or R5000, which I can get for about $1450 and $1950 respectively after the team discount, upgrade to ksyrium sl's maybe, and keep the rest of the cash ($2500 to $3000) for accidents or damage, or just save it for a car or something. thanks for the feedback.
    You know how it is man, we're looking out for each other bro. Hey don't feel too bent on aluminum only. For about the same (~$2,000) you can get a Specialized tarmac comp which is a light all carbon frame and fork at most shops (this is with '05 Ultegra-10). Take some of the noob bits off (reflectors and spoke-protectors) and do some smart upgrades like the wheels as you said, and maybe the crank too and you're with a good <$2,400 very-raceworthy bike with about $2,000 left over. Now if you go the eBay way (as I, the poor college student probably will), you'll save an additional $600 or so in the process.
    Carbon-based link in the tree of life. Got some more carbon-related wit?

  11. #11
    hairy-legged roadie
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    If that was mine

    If that happened to my bike I'd honestly settle down by the roadside and just weep, hardcore old-time TDF style.
    Carbon-based link in the tree of life. Got some more carbon-related wit?

  12. #12

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    used vs new bike

    how about going for a used bike for the same price? i could probably get a much better bike. but how do you think the pros cons weigh out in terms of warranty and dealership tuneups vs a better bike?

  13. #13
    ARP
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    Suggestion

    Quote Originally Posted by revlimitfunk
    sounds like what you guys have been saying makes sense. i'll probably go for a Cannondale R1000 or R5000, which I can get for about $1450 and $1950 respectively after the team discount, upgrade to ksyrium sl's maybe, and keep the rest of the cash ($2500 to $3000) for accidents or damage, or just save it for a car or something. thanks for the feedback.
    I threw out this idea the other day to a poster, take a read of the Airborne crash replacement policy, Just a thought. Ksyriums? Take a look at oddsandendos.com for a wheelset, Ksyriums have alot of advertising name recognition money as part of the price tag, save some money there.

  14. #14

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    Here is why you need a disposable bike for what you are doing:

    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/sho...+frames+impact

    Now, that Parlee apparently wasn't involved in the crash pictured, but stuff like this happens during a race.

    edit: If the R1000 fits you, it looks perfect.
    Last edited by Silver222; 06-24-2005 at 06:33 PM.

  15. #15
    classiquesklassieker
    Reputation: orange_julius's Avatar
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    Uh ...

    Quote Originally Posted by revlimitfunk
    how about going for a used bike for the same price? i could probably get a much better bike. but how do you think the pros cons weigh out in terms of warranty and dealership tuneups vs a better bike?
    Just like in buying bikes in general, you can get a good deal or a bad deal.

    Dealer tuneups? Overrated. Learn to tune your own derailleurs.

    Warranty? Depends on the manufacturer. Some may extend it to 2nd owners. By the way, if your frame is busted in a crash, the best you can get is a "crash replacement warranty". The value varies from one company to the next. If you have decent sponsorship the price can turn out to be more than for buying a new frame.

    Sorry for giving such a vague answer, but you did pose a vague question!

  16. #16

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    I've been spending more time watching my (Cat 2) buddy race lately. Mostly crits. One thing I always notice -- and it goes with what /everybody/ here is saying: there really aren't any$4,500 bikes out there.

    Sure, it's all full DA with high-end, lightweight wheels, but what I see is a ton of Felts, 'Dales, Treks, Giants, Specialized, Bianchi, etc., etc., etc.

    I've already crashed an expensive bike . . . and in a situation where it wasn't expected. In racing, it's expected.

    Also, for much racing, that last pound probably doesn't matter. YMMV, but if you aren't climbing a lot, that extra pound really doesn't mean much.

    Just my $0.02

  17. #17
    classiquesklassieker
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil0502
    I've been spending more time watching my (Cat 2) buddy race lately. Mostly crits. One thing I always notice -- and it goes with what /everybody/ here is saying: there really aren't any$4,500 bikes out there.

    Sure, it's all full DA with high-end, lightweight wheels, but what I see is a ton of Felts, 'Dales, Treks, Giants, Specialized, Bianchi, etc., etc., etc.

    I've already crashed an expensive bike . . . and in a situation where it wasn't expected. In racing, it's expected.

    Also, for much racing, that last pound probably doesn't matter. YMMV, but if you aren't climbing a lot, that extra pound really doesn't mean much.

    Just my $0.02
    I think that's only half of the story. If you're a Cat2 I hope that you have some sort of sponsorship so that you can get bikes / components / etc. for much cheaper than MSRP. So a large part of the decision making is based on what the racers can get.

    Moreover, having a nice set of wheels can really do wonders to your riding experience and racing performance. And wheelsets are just as prone, or maybe even more so, to getting trashed in a race, so your analysis is not exactly accurate ;-). I think it's a matter of realizing that if I had X amount of money to spend on a nice racing rig, it's not a good idea to spend 70% of it on a nice frame, 20% on components, and 10% on a wheelset.

    Come to think of it, this is exactly the same mistake that people make when they want to buy an espresso machine. They spend 90-100% of their budget on a nice espresso machine, and whine and whine when they can't get good results. Of course it's about the coffee, fool! All the espresso machine does it just push water vapor down your porta onto your cup. I'd spend either 50-50% on a good machine and a good grinder, or even just roast my own damn coffee just like I do.

    OK, enough complaining about coffee now ;-).

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by orange_julius
    You're going to do collegiate racing and you want to race on a $4500 bike?? Are you sponsored??

    If you are not, let me help you make up your mind with the following photo. Dude, save your money and build a bike that won't break your heart if you crash it.

    As far as repairing titanium or steel frames, such a repair is cost-prohibitive for most cases. It will a good chunk of the cost of the frame in the first place. Plus you're going to have to wait a long time before a welder will have time to weld/fix up the frame again, repaint it, and build it up using the parts again.

    *) photo taken from the Dartmouth cycling team website. Crash happened at the Boston Beanpot Collegiate Race, 2005.
    Crashes happen..."save your money". I just came from our saturday River Ride (Sacramento CA) two hours ago. 60 riders cat 1-5 but mostly 3's. On the second half of the ride, 26mph, someone lost control thru rough pavement with car passing. At least 20 went down, 4 badly hurt, i escaped down grassy ditch. Most were ok. Anyway, lots of high end bikes, Orcas, six13s, E-5's...all busted. Again, save your money. If you can afford to crash it, go ahead.

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