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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi Guys,

I'm new to these forums, and I've come here in search of wisdom and rescue! About 3 years ago I bought a used 2004 trek equinox 7 for commuting of all things (it was $1000 to ride a bullet so why not), but after hardly riding it, a month ago I entered a 2 day 80k there 80k back charity event with 800 people and finished in 8th both days with all of the decked out road racers! From those racer's reaction to saying that I had never even done 80k at all before that event, I've pretty much realized that cycling (and racing) really is for me, and I've jumped into it with daily riding and even a century under my belt since then.

That said, I'm a 25 year old trying to start up a life and don't have unlimited funds, but I'm willing to save as much as possible coming into next year (I'm in Canada so my winter will be spent on a trainer anyways) and set a $5,000 budget for the fastest road rocket that my money can purchase. Also, I have a favored local cycling shop that should be able to score me a deal next August when all of their frames can be purchased cheaper, and I am thinking I should stick to that store's brand names for ease of maintenance and warranty.

The road brands available are: Norco, Kona, Giant, Specialized, Kuota, Marinoni and Felt. Check it out for yourself if you need at www.woodcockcycle.com
The shops I don't like as much have: Trek, Cannondale, Cervelo, Gary Fisher, Argon 18 and Pinarello.

What do you guys think of these brands and what will give me the fastest bike within my budget?

I am 6' tall, 150 lbs, and ride in a city with almost all flat riding and often lots of wind. I was thinking Felt AR4 with upped Zipp 101 clinchers for this aero reason, but is that really the fastest setup I can get for my money? Would a more traditional and apparently more aggressive bike geometry be ultimately faster? I also prefer SRAM Red for its value, and intend to up whatever bike I get to this groupo unless not recommended by those wiser than I. It's all about speed for me.

Things I care about: Winning; every single (non tt as I already have a bike for this) race that I enter I want to be as fast as I possibly can be without sacrifice. I intend to compete with racers that have full on professional level bikes.

Things I don't care about: anything that slows me down.

Lots of information here, but I'm hoping you guys can point me in the right direction. Hopefully my goals are clear enough! Now hopefully some interested people will have some fun decking me out :D.
 

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Forget your fixation on "fastest bike", and spending money to get faster. It's not about the bike, period. There is no meaningful difference in speed between a $2000 and a $5000 bike, in particular in flat terrain. The fastest bike is one that fits you well. Otherwise, invest your time and effort in riding and training, not in finding the "fastest bike".
 

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Whether cash can buy speed is being discussed in another topic. I guess for this thread we will just assume that it can and accept all the wind tunnel data that these companies throw out.

Of the brands you list I would think that just two were developed in a wind tunnel, the Felt and the Cervelo. Kuota has an aero road frame, but I know nothing about it. Obviously, my vote goes to the Felts as I have 2 of them.

My only suggestion would be that you go with Zipp 404s (or at least 303s). You see a lot of sprinters in the peleton going with deeper profile rims. And again, if we are taking all the data at face value, the deeper the profile the faster the bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the response Pirx. I'm totally on board with making me, the engine, the number one and most important investment in terms of time training, nutrition and commitment.

However, this still leaves me with a bike purchasing decision. I intend to ride the hell out of anything that I purchase no matter what, but I want to know that whatever I purchase is no sacrifice race pedigree material. I just don't want to buy a well fitting comfortable bike only to find out that in the real world it is a super nice cruising Bently and not a race focused Ferrari. I have a race focus only, and the bike doesn't need to be good at anything else. So I guess what I'm specifically asking, is for the money, what direction should I take in buying to get that race focus? What frame, components and wheelsets should I be looking out for? What could you recommend fort this focus? What is most important or least important?
 

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how about a 2011 caad10-1 with dura ace groupset. The caad is probably the most well known, popular, best race frame. It can withstand a crash or so and has less chances of cracking if hit the wrong way like CF. The bike goes for around $3-4k, With the rest of the budget, switch out the stock wheels for a set of zipps or something else thats superlight.
Maybe have your cannondale dealer get you a hollowgram SL crank and save some money by letting him keep the SL-K light crank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Lou3000 said:
Whether cash can buy speed is being discussed in another topic. I guess for this thread we will just assume that it can and accept all the wind tunnel data that these companies throw out.

Of the brands you list I would think that just two were developed in a wind tunnel, the Felt and the Cervelo. Kuota has an aero road frame, but I know nothing about it. Obviously, my vote goes to the Felts as I have 2 of them.

My only suggestion would be that you go with Zipp 404s (or at least 303s). You see a lot of sprinters in the peleton going with deeper profile rims. And again, if we are taking all the data at face value, the deeper the profile the faster the bike.
Great, thanks Lou3000. I'm interested to hear what you think about Felt's AR frames vs their F frames? Have you rode both? What is the real world use like in either of these frames, and what would you recommend? I can see that they are very different frames, so you must have had an opinion to buy either way when you made your decision.

Also, I like the idea of upping to full on deep profile carbon rims, however they are nearly twice the price and I'm wondering if this is the place to spend the money, or elsewhere? They are nearing $2000 alone on my $5000 budget. I figured I would up to the 101's based on the aero and other things raved about in this review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLXFxGKo4CY .
 

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truth is, there's no useful advice anyone on a forum can give you - at $5k for a bike the differences are subjective preferences. Get the bike that looks nicest to you. By the way, if you're really keen why wait until next August to get it? Buy and ride...
 

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Whatever you get, I guarantee that you'll be lusting after something completely different in a year. That goes for wheels too. If you're a fast rider, any bike will be fast. $5000 is a lot of money for someone to go out and spend on their first real road racing bike. I'd cut back. You can get something perfectly fine for half that. Plus, the number of miles you spend just riding will far out number the miles you spend racing.

I'd say go for something sensible (e.g, Neuvation) or used. Join a bike club, do some rides and races, see what everyone else is using and what turns your head.

I would not limit yourself to a particular bike shop.
 

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Everyone here is just going to tell you what they're fastest on. Its a very personal thing - the fact that someone else has the Felt and rides the hell out of it is not going to make it the best choice for you. In addition, all of this depends on your racing style. 101s are a great choice if you intend on sitting in and attacking uphill or sprinting at the end, but if you like to break away then deep dish wheels have a very documented advantage. You're a racer - ride everything you can get your hands on and make an informed decision. If you listened to me you'd end up with a custom aluminum frame, SRAM force, and box section tubulars. And you'd probably be miserable.

EDIT: Competitive Cyclist writes GREAT copy and is a reputable store. But in the end they're still trying to sell you things, and will never do a video review where they trash their own merchandise. Not an impartial reviewer.
 

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TurboDance said:
So I guess what I'm specifically asking, is for the money, what direction should I take in buying to get that race focus? What frame, components and wheelsets should I be looking out for? What could you recommend fort this focus? What is most important or least important?
I would say first of all that wheels are more important than the frame. A lot depends on the kinds of races you will be doing. Assuming that you live in the US, chances are you are going to do a lot of crits; probably most of your races will be crits. Now, the thing about crits is, more likely than not you will crash, and that means you may break your frame. The question then is, are you prepared/can you afford to replace that $3k frame mid-season or not? If you are not made out of money, and it sounds like you aren't, then you might opt for the less expensive frame. Also, in a crit, aerodynamics, and aero wheels tend to be less important. But once again, a bike will not make you win or lose a race. If you buy a bike for road racing that fits you and your style, you can take it as a given that the difference in performance between a bike that costs $2.5k and one that costs twice as much will be negligible.

By the way, as far as good deals go, it looks like the new Felt FC frame is an awesome deal, see here...

Ultimately, however, my advice is to not try and get your questions answered on an internet forum (not even this one, and not even by me :D ); find yourself a competent bike shop, and/or a racing club, and talk to the people there. You're likely to get better advice if you can directly interact with people with proven experience, rather than some unknown guys sitting in front of their computer monitors.
 

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Used

Buy a used bike. Everyone knows that the first few thousand miles needed to break in a bike are slow miles. The bearings simply do not spin at their fastest until a bike has some miles on it. Just this past weekend I saw a girl beat everyone at nationals on a used bike that was worth less than one of the disk wheels her competition was running.

Of course everything is about lightweight too. Folks will tell you how important fit is but those are just people that worry about being comfortable. Buy a bike a couple of sizes too small for you, smaller tubes mean lighter weight.

Finally, the fastest bikes are red. So if you cant find one in the color red be sure to set aside a little of your budgetted money for a paint job.

Don't buy upgrades, ride up grades.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Keeping up with Junior said:
Buy a used bike. Everyone knows that the first few thousand miles needed to break in a bike are slow miles. The bearings simply do not spin at their fastest until a bike has some miles on it. Just this past weekend I saw a girl beat everyone at nationals on a used bike that was worth less than one of the disk wheels her competition was running.

Of course everything is about lightweight too. Folks will tell you how important fit is but those are just people that worry about being comfortable. Buy a bike a couple of sizes too small for you, smaller tubes mean lighter weight.

Finally, the fastest bikes are red. So if you cant find one in the color red be sure to set aside a little of your budgetted money for a paint job.

Don't buy upgrades, ride up grades.
Haha, well this has definitely been the most entertaining reply so far. And thank you for all the input that has already been put on the table, I really am considering all of it! By the way, the fastest colour is orange, nuff said.

First of all, that's a really interesting concept of buying a frame a couple of sizes too small. What does everyone else think of that? Do riders ride faster on smaller frames so long as they can adapt their positioning to make it work? I'm very novice to all of this, but I remember watching a guy in the Tour de France who I swear had his butt above his head he was riding so low. The aerodynamics looked untouchable. Is this what you accomplish with a smaller frame?
 

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TurboDance said:
Hi Guys,

I'm new to these forums, and I've come here in search of wisdom and rescue! About 3 years ago I bought a used 2004 trek equinox 7 for commuting of all things (it was $1000 to ride a bullet so why not), but after hardly riding it, a month ago I entered a 2 day 80k there 80k back charity event with 800 people and finished in 8th both days with all of the decked out road racers! From those racer's reaction to saying that I had never even done 80k at all before that event, I've pretty much realized that cycling (and racing) really is for me, and I've jumped into it with daily riding and even a century under my belt since then.
Oh brother. Where to start?

Things I care about: Winning; every single (non tt as I already have a bike for this) race that I enter I want to be as fast as I possibly can be without sacrifice. I intend to compete with racers that have full on professional level bikes.

Things I don't care about: anything that slows me down.
There will always be people way faster than you. Once you accept this, you will find cycling zen.
 

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TurboDance said:
Haha, well this has definitely been the most entertaining reply so far. And thank you for all the input that has already been put on the table, I really am considering all of it! By the way, the fastest colour is orange, nuff said.

First of all, that's a really interesting concept of buying a frame a couple of sizes too small. What does everyone else think of that? Do riders ride faster on smaller frames so long as they can adapt their positioning to make it work? I'm very novice to all of this, but I remember watching a guy in the Tour de France who I swear had his butt above his head he was riding so low. The aerodynamics looked untouchable. Is this what you accomplish with a smaller frame?
you need to turn on the sarcasm indicator button for the forum...
 

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Keeping up with Junior said:
Finally, the fastest bikes are red. So if you cant find one in the color red be sure to set aside a little of your budgetted money for a paint job.
My bike is black, but it has red stripes. Does that work?
 

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Haha, you are getting a pretty crazy array of responses, but at $5k, you start reaching the realm of dream bikes. Everyone has their own dream. But, I think you asked a very specific question. Of the brands listed, which is the fastest. Without knowing much about the motor, the only real variables for speed are, as I said, aerodynamics and weight.

I have ridden both an F series and an AR series. I own a 2011 F5 and a 2011 B16 (which is very similar to the AR but with different geometry).

Here is my take. Both the F and the AR are great bikes (I think superdave said his perfect bike was an AR), and the differences are subtle. In the end I chose the F because the geometry fit right, the frame seemed more comfortable over the rough stuff and the new BB30 seemed stiffer. Were these differences real or imagined? I don't know. Maybe I just couldn't explain the difference between my B16 and the AR5 to my wife, they look an awful lot alike to someone who doesn't ride.
 

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m_s said:
There will always be way faster than you. Once you accept this, you will find cycling zen.
Isn't that the truth? A few years back I had a carbon wonder bike (in the earlier days of carbon wonder bikes) and had my arse handed to me 2x in events by guys on bikes I wouldn't even ride to work & back. I then realized what I had known all along - it's not about the bike. It's about the engine. You can't buy speed. You might be able to buy less than one mph but the good guys will go whizzing past doing 6-10mph more. And that will happen to the OP too and at that point, unless he has found Zen, he'll be looking for a faster bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Pirx said:
I would say first of all that wheels are more important than the frame. A lot depends on the kinds of races you will be doing. Assuming that you live in the US, chances are you are going to do a lot of crits; probably most of your races will be crits. Now, the thing about crits is, more likely than not you will crash, and that means you may break your frame. The question then is, are you prepared/can you afford to replace that $3k frame mid-season or not? If you are not made out of money, and it sounds like you aren't, then you might opt for the less expensive frame. Also, in a crit, aerodynamics, and aero wheels tend to be less important. But once again, a bike will not make you win or lose a race. If you buy a bike for road racing that fits you and your style, you can take it as a given that the difference in performance between a bike that costs $2.5k and one that costs twice as much will be negligible.

By the way, as far as good deals go, it looks like the new Felt FC frame is an awesome deal, see here...



Ultimately, however, my advice is to not try and get your questions answered on an internet forum (not even this one, and not even by me :D ); find yourself a competent bike shop, and/or a racing club, and talk to the people there. You're likely to get better advice if you can directly interact with people with proven experience, rather than some unknown guys sitting in front of their computer monitors.
Thanks again for replying. The reason I've honed in on this one bike shop is just for that reason: that they are very competent people and seem to have the strongest racing team in my area. I'm going to check out their advice, attempt to go on rides with other strong riders (although the season is over since I live in Canada) and see where that leads me. However, I know that it's just a single bike shop of product and recommendations and there is a big wide world out there, which is why I've gone to ask the internet at large as well.

Really interesting comment in that the wheels may be my most important investment. Especially when talking about a frame potentially breaking in a crash during a crit, which I do know there are many of in my area. What wheels would be mostly highly recommended here?

Also, you recommended the F series frame over AR. I'm still confused as to whether their aero and their standard geometry frame is their gold performer. I haven't checked out the link yet, but maybe this is another route I can take if I go Felt. I'm really stuck as to why I should choose either direction though in terms of real world race performance. Why would Felt have two lines of bikes apparently poised against each other yet not explain to the customer what appears to be significant differences. If the AR sprints like an F series as they say, why go for the F series?
 
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