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Hi Everyone,
I am new to road biking, and am buying my first road bike. I am going with Trek and was wondering which would be the better first road bike the 2.1 compact or the 2.3 compact. Is the price jump worth it for a first timer? I am a big guy if that makes a difference. Any suggestions on these two or any other model would be greatly appreciated!
 

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I compared the specs at http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/compare/#/21,23,empty. The $330 price difference gets you upgraded wheels, crank, handlebars, & brakeset. Your LBS will almost always tell you that upgraded parts are more reliable and lighter weight. The most significant upgrade will be in the wheels, because rolling weight matters most. Bontrager doesn't even list the SSR wheels for the 2.1 on their website, so it is hard to compare the wheels. Ride both and see if you can tell the difference. Ask your LBS which wheels make more sense for a big rider. They probably have access to the specs for the SSR. I doubt that you will find much difference between the bikes, so save some $$$ and get on your bike & ride!
 

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Not a lot of difference between the two, especially for $300.

About the most significant are the brakes. But you can get the 2.1, and put some 105 calipers on it easily for less than $150. Which is something I would recommend, as those Tiagra class calipers are not nearly as good as the 105s.

The wheels are different, but as you say, you are a heavy rider, so you are really not going to notice any differences there. Not a real big difference between the SSR and the Race. Both are low end road wheels, and are adequate for everyday use for all riders. Neither are sexy, by any stretch of the imagination, but either will get you there. As long as they are durable and easy to work on, then either are going to be just fine.

Were it me, I'd do the 2.1, and use the money you save to 1) upgrade the calipers and pads, and 2) have some extra money left over for (nicer) shoes, pedals, kit, helmet, or flat repair.

HTH
zac
 

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The 2.3 looks much nicer than the 2.1 (paint) in my book... that's worth most of the $300. The wheels are the other thing--they're still not anything fancy, but if you think it's going to be a while before you upgrade the nicer wheels aren't a bad idea. The Race wheels look like modern factory wheels with bladed spokes... and the white rims are cool.

I know I'm a little focused on the looks--but people are more inclined to ride their bike if they love it.
 
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