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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Newbie to this forum here, same old story. "I just got a sweet deal on a ____ frame, need help building...SRAM vs Campy vs Shimano..sragmanolo?...ETC"

The back story: I got into road cycling 2 years ago, did a medical non profit/charity cross country ride on my beloved Giant OCR 2 (upgraded to full 105), went from 180lbs to 150, got addicted to cycling. Unfortunately I ate from the tree of knowledge at my LBS and test rode a few quality carbon bikes, and I can't go back. I love my Giant and will always keep her, but "Time" to move on (corny I know, you'll see why) I'm a busy resident, love to ride, dream of getting into some local races, but with limited time most of my rides are solitary and at odd hours. I would say I'm an aggressive rider, but want to/need to improve climbing. I also enjoy long walks on the beach...oh wait, what site is this again?

The prologue: I "took the plunge" and put out some saved cash on a new 2007 Time Edge Racer. It was never built up but did not include a stem or seatpost. I went over my budget for the frame, and am trying to and willing to be (a little) patient with collecting components for the build.

Now here's where you real world riders come in:
I've tested SRAM red and Campy now and love the mechanical precise feel, even the sound of these drive trains over shimano. I want to be able to drop several gears at a time. My 105 is rock solid and besides the occasional skipped gear has NEVER failed even through Boulder utah, Rockies, or the Appalachians, and with very thorough and frequent maintenance has been shifting smoothly as the day I got it. However I want something different for my dream bike. Something more precise, more exacting.

I've always had a good experience buying online and used on Ebay, and thats what I'm going to do. There's also a performance bike store as well as good, but overpriced LBS's. I do support my LBS and spend plenty of money there, so we won't go into that.

I'd like your opinions and suggestions on components and resources. The only things I'm set on are my look pedals and my seat which for me is Fizik Aliante all the way. I'm looking for quality components (which I will take time searching for) where it counts and willing to swap no name where it doesn't. I'm looking for performance and comfort ratio favoring comfort. As you can see from the long post, I'm detail oriented, and want the perfect component for the job even if it comes down to the skewer.

So here's the list of things upon which I need suggestions:
Handlebars (haven't decided on carbon or alum)
Stem (aluminum unless carbon really makes any difference in comfort)
Seatpost (carbon)
Clincher Wheelset (hoping to spend $300-350 max either on ebay or neuvation, will upgrade down the road if I prove to myself I deserve it by putting a few thousand miles on the bike)
Drive train mix. I'm either going Campy Chorus, 2008 SRAM Red or possibly 2009 SRAM Rival if I can get my hands on it. However, if I can't get a good deal on the whole group (shooting for $900 range), I will see if I can collect individual components or swap out parts of a group to save money (front derailleur, brakes, crankset/bottom bracket).
Brakes: Not in love with SRAM or any other skeletonized look, so willing to swap out if it saves money but more importantly stops me when I need to.

So let me know what components you think are swappable, which ones you think are essential, or what mix you have that you love/hate.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate any input/opinions as well as reputable online resources for parts.
 

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First off, congrats...nice looking frame!
A couple of suggestions that are worth what you pay for 'em.
1. I too shop the eBay and I try to find a group of components sold together. You almost always save money because the guys that are looking ONLY for a derailler won't bid on a derailler/shifter package. It also saves on shipping which can easily wipe out any savings if you pay 10 separate shipping & handling charges.
2. Performance does carry high-end parts, so watch out for their "20% OFF" sale.
3. Look at some of the online retailers for "upgrade kits". I think Excel or Colorado Cyclist typically has these and are meant for someone to go from 9 to 10 speed, or Veloce to Chorus. Usually includes shifters, derailler(s), cassette & chain. Then you can choose Zero-G, Mavic SSC or whatever brakes you want.
4. Go Campy, you won't regret it. Chorus is soooo smooth and precise, and I'm fairly certain it's the least expensive way to get shifters that drop several gears at once (my old Centaur and Veloce do it, but 2007 and newer has to be Record or Chorus).
5. I have Neuvation R28 SL wheels, I found they are the best price per pound value, but if you're like me four large decals per side is too much (so I stripped off two of them and they're much less garish). At 150# you might find they ride a bit rough but I'm 200# and prefer deep(er) section rims for strength and the Nuevations have suited me perfectly. Plus in a pinch they use standard J-spokes, and there are even spare spokes in the box!
6. For crankset, go with Campy UltraTorque. Simple to install and maintain, stiff, and stylish. Stay away from FSA's MegaExo, I've heard lots of complaints about their bearings, and for that matter their wheel bearings too. I'm not saying that some people don't ride the paint off without any issues, but I know riders who are sponsored by FSA that won't ride their wheels and swap bottom brackets.
7. Cockpit is really a personal choice as far as reach, drop, length, etc. I just switched to wing bars and really like the way they feel. I have alloy FSA Wing Pro bars on my commuter and ordered a pair of Easton EC70 Carbon Wing bars for my aluminum Cervelo Soloist. I wasn't going to go carbon since there's a lot of hoopla about cracking, catastrophic failures (do a forum search) but then I read that they're awesome at quelling buzz from aluminum frames...I love my Soloist, but my hands do take a beating from that GIANT aluminum downtube!
8. Stems are relatively small so carbon isn't going to save you much weight. I have FSA stems on all my bikes but I've also heard good reviews on Ritchey WCS.
9. Seatpost, go with a Thomson. It's not carbon but the Thomoson Masterpiece is close to the same weight and it has the same reputation as Chris King headsets. The just work.

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Crestlinefarm, thanks for your advice, I'll look into the upgrade kits and factor in extra shipping.

dmar836 I enjoyed your blog. very detailed, and will likely be following may of your footsteps.

cmg, I have thought about this, and I may transfer everything from my giant as I collect everything for the new build. however, I do eventually intend to move to campy or sram red for the new bike and keep my giant with 105 as my rain/poor weather/daily commuter bike.
 

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Very nice frame - My current bike right now is also 105 and in the process of building my own bike as well. Went with campy components check out PBK.com they are having a 15% off and Record shifter is only $265 cheaper than DuraAce or Sram.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
dmar836, yeah, I'm leaning towards Campy Record now, especially since it seems people are starting to unload. I see NEW shift levers from online stores in the $250-280 range. Some are even admitting to selling because the they need the newest thing, including 11 speed which is supposedly coming out sometime. Also people are saying Rival 2009 will likely be sparse if even available until next year, and everyone is dropping everything for Red at the moment so the premium is just too high for my budget right now.

I'll be more than happy to soak up the savings for Record components, especially if I can get a good deal used.

My only concern now is that my pretty comprehensive toolset is all shimano/sram compatible. I'll be keeping them all even if I switch to campy for my other bike. Now I'm trying to find out what ESSENTIAL tools I'll need for regular maintenance/occasional DIY upgrades. I know this is going to add to my overall costs, but I know tools will last me longer than even the components especially after jumping into campy. I love learning new stuff too any ways.

Thanks everyone for the advice and comments so far.
 
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