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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I had my birthday today and got some money from my folks, not too much because I had been given my bike (Specialized Allez Elite Double 06') a few weeks earlier. I have about 100 dollars to spend and I am training to race, comfort is not an issue with me, I was wondering what people thought would be the best performance to price upgrade for my bike, and also which part will have the best performance upgrade in general. My bike has the 105 group for those who are wondering and Alex ALX 298 wheels. Except for tuffies in the tire, everything else is stock. It has a carbon fork and seatpost, however I live in Miami, and despite that the majority of Florida races are in North Florida weight is not such a big issue I believe, as it would be for someone living in the midwest or somewhere akin to Colorado. I have about 150 to spend, but would prefer to spend closer to 100 at most, although if the difference is significant enough would spend more. Some friends have reccommended that a new chain from the stock one makes the most significant difference, and someone else told me that lighter rims make a big difference even on flat land since they are rotating weight (mine are aluminum btw). So any advice would be great, thanks.
Matt
 

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How about using that $100 and buy some extra food and ride more? That'll be your biggest benefit.

Buying performance is a loosing battle. Take it from me, i've spent thousands upon thousands for the finest in Italian engineering, and i'm no faster because of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree with you but....

I am looking to have my yearly American bout of consumerism, the kind marked by my birthday, and food is not something that has the allure to satisfy me deep down, especially since I am 17 and a dependent on my mother, and so spending money on food feels ridiculous to me, as I will have to in a year, but have never had to. That being said, I am going to order clif bars and some ultima, as well as some recovery gels from this website a friend gave me, but I still will have 100 or so left over that I wouldn't mind feed my ego with, but my tripartite is balanced, so it eases the rational side of me to know that my frivolous spending is spent in the most effective manner. (kind of a paradox but it works) So what would you recommend for the man looking to waste money, not necessarily for bling factor, but for performance.
Matt

Edit: P.s. Friend had said that my biggest benefit would be to get a coach, or someone to train me, however, given my meager funds this seems unrealistic.
 

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In the spirit of what Einstruzende said, rather than spending it on the bike, I would probably spend it on some good training books or personal coaching.

Otherwise I would put it as a drop in the bucket towards some gadget that could help me train better, like some sort of power measuring device or even a fancier computer/HRM than I have now.

If you really want to spend it on the bike, I'd say sell you current wheels and make an upgrade if possible. Since you'd be selling used wheels though, $150 wouldn't get you much of an upgrade unless you found a smokin' deal on some used ones.
 

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The wind is perhaps your biggest ememy (besides that guy who just flew past). What about better ways to cheat the wind?
1. Do you have a nice fitting jersey? When I went from a t-shirt to a jersey about 4 year's ago, it added about 1/2 mile an hour to my average. I also remember a story about your question in one of my too many bike mags (so sez the wife). If I remember, I think it said that shoes/laces can really slow you down. So get some booties. I think helmets were in there too.
2. Someone else suggested books or coaching. This may be a great idea if can get you in a more aero position. In a similar vein, what about a good fitting to ensure you're able to produce maximum power, more aero, etc.
3. Finally, the old advice that if you think you're faster, then you are faster. Ok, so what will make you think you're faster? I have this red jersey that looks pretty good (again, so sez the wife) I swear, I always produce my best times when wearing that jersey (but because it's red, I also have more "issues" with cars.

Good luck and let us know what you do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks

That is definetly true, and something I was also wondering about, I have a friend who can get me a good set of aero bars, or mini-aeros for cheap (probably 50-100, carbon of course, I know that I will be paying cost for them), will I see a big difference from using them aerodynamically speaking? If you guys could reccommend so good training books that would be great. Also lol already have nice jerseys, including my bright yellow and red ones that make me in the zone lol.
Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great

Yea those books all sound great, alot more concise, less bs of safety habits etc. and things I know, and more of the training and racing info that will prove helpful to me particularly in these coming summer months when I am out of school (school ends after next friday the 26) and all I am planning to do for my summer is to take one course at a college near my house for high school credit (Precalculus) and to train to race. That is seriously all I have planned, no vacations or any distractions (as my course is from 10-12 on mon, wed, and fri for 6 weeks). I am also an avid reader and enjoy having read of what I am taking interest in. They will make a nice inbetween while i'm not riding or studying. Thanks to everyone, I have overcome my spending tendencies, by not obsessing over any particular product (that will not make a big difference). Thanks again Ben, Einstruzende, Skippy, and Jason, I guess I'll get ultima, clif bars some recovery gel and those books (Cycling Bible, Racing Tactics, and the Art).
Again Thanks,
Matt
ps. If there are any other types of cycling food or a particular gel that works well universally (generally contended by most people to be the best) I would love to know before I order.
 

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Matt, right now those tuffies in your tires trump the need for lighter wheels. Get rid of them!

You want to race with lightweight tires and inner tubes within reason. It's ok to train with wire bead heavy training tires and tubes and you'll realize the benefit of lightweight tire/tubes come race day.

Gels and drinks won't make much difference. Just drinking water or a sports drink consistently while training and racing is fine. Eating before and during and after riding is something you can learn more about. Food can be consumed while on the bike and it doesn't necessarily have to be an expensive convenience sports bar, it can be a small homemade sandwich. You might even eat it while resting a few minutes then resuming the ride. Powerbar and Cliff bar are basic pocket items, no need to buy anything promising more.

One basic book is fine. Something by Friel or Carmichael or Burke is enough for general purposes.

Ride group rides and learn by observing and asking questions. A local Cat 3 racer is someone that is probably approachable enough and would likely begin to help you.

Aerobars. why add junk to your bike? Your fitness and form will improve over time without trying to adapt to aero bars. Aerobars are supposed to be specific to time trials or triathlons. Some riders resort to aerobars in search of comfort for century or windy rides, yet you don't see them on bikes used in crits and road racing by serious amateurs. Use them in a local time trial but otherwise learn to ride drop handlebars correctly first.

Hope the above is useful.
 

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Carmichael's book was the first I picked up but I couldn't keep reading it as it was full of all these trademarked acronyms and he kept pimping his coaching business so that just rubbed me up the wrong way, I find Friel's book to be much easier to read and informative.The other books I recommended cover different areas so I think it is good to get all three.
 

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mpetersen16 said:
(probably 50-100, carbon of course, I know that I will be paying cost for them),
carbon aerobars arent going to make you go any faster than aluminum ones.....
aerobars arent really neccessary untill you start doing some time trials, for road racing and crits (what most ppl start off with racing), and circuits aerobars are illegal (in most group start races). even if they were, i wouldnt wanna be down in the bars in the middle of a 50 person pack trying to either hold a line or take a 90 degree turn.....hold off on the bars till you need them. for 100 bucks you could buy a set of super nice tires and tubes to use only for racing. you would have to buy smartly (cheap, on sale stuff, etc), but you can find some good prices on michelin pro2races, or if u want to absolutely piss away money the pro2lights, or go with something off the vittoria open evo line. paired with 2 good tubes (i prefer mich. ultralight's) and 1 backup and thats gonna be under 100 bucks and prbly make the biggest difference.
lastly if anything on your bike doesnt fit you, stem, bars, get something that does fit you.
you said earlier comfort isnt important, wrong, if you cant sit in your saddle for 30 miles how are you gonna compete in a road race of 45 miles? make sure all your contact points (bars, saddle, peddles/shoes) are comfy for long distance riding, lose weight in other parts of your bike. for 100 you can easily get new pedals or a nice saddle (used).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Cool, I think I am going to get Friel's book, racing tactics, by prehn, and the zihn's art of road bike maintenance, I am gonna order some ultima clif bars and gels, also I am going to get a light for the back of my bike should I happen to be coming home at dusk. I am gonna leave the tuffies in for now, as many of my friends do, and take them out on race days, will also pickup some lightweight tires and tubes for race days.
Thanks
Matt
 

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Tools are a great idea. I've spent a fair chunk there too. Crank Puller, BB tool, cassette tool, chain tool. Good set of allen wrenches (metric of course).

Learning how to wrench your bike is invaluable. You'll be more in tune with it, and that one time when you are out in the middle of no where and the bike breaks...perhaps you won't have to hoof it home.
 

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$100 will get you no meaningful performance upgrades. $1,000 will get you wheels or a new group or several other things which might matter on the margins. Little teensy eensy bit on the margins. Mostly by way of making you feel for real.
However. I have to say, I have little familiarity with Tuffies, none personal, but these do not sound like racing tires. Good, grippy, supple tires are a great thing, and they may qualify for your splurge. Get em on sale, and you've met your budget.
You cannot buy rims for $100. I mean, you could, but then you have to build them into wheels, and now you've broken your budget.
 

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unless the terrain is particularly hostile to rubber (it happens), this sounds like a decent option for training tires, but you probably could lose them for racing.
If you feel that you need tuffies or whatever the hell they are where you typically ride, you know what you should do? save your money for a separate set of racing wheels. Keep them mounted with your racing rubber and cassette.
hook up with a local group and do whatever they do. well, learn from them, anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That's what I'm doing, except the extra wheels

I think I'll just get a separate set of tires, and a lightweight tube, as of now I have just over 200 dollars, (just got the Cyclist's Bible by Friel) because it is probably more useful for me to buy new shoes rather than new wheels based on how much money I have, and the shoes I have are 80 dollar specialized shoes, plus for a limited time they are having a sale at a local bike shop where the L.A. Nike bike shoes (the new caron ones) are 150 dollars, they usually retail at 300 dollars, and the shoes will probably yield a better increase in performance.
Thoughts on these ideas?
Matt
 
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