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personally i would go the relaxed bike. I would go for the carbon ultegra, that would be a good base for a bike to keep. If the wheels are crap and give you trouble 200 USD will give you ultegras on OPs. That is the attitude you should take, replace only if it ends up being an issue. (eg cranks, which i'm sure will be fine...)

as for double/triple... depends what u can get up, and how hilly it is up there... My experience is you improve quickly when you have no option. I'm running a double with a 11-23 at the back.. i'm loving it for my area and i started on some decent climbs out here... a road bike is for going moderately fast, not for spinning in a 30-29 f/r combination. I would go the double - if you have issues, you can go the short ratio cassette or if the cranks do suck, you can always go compact.. (if they aren't already)

dunno the names of the giant bikes, but there is one with mavic (aksium?) wheels, ultegra, fsa carbon cranks and full monocoque frame with the FULL carbon 1pc fork. There is the issue that some giant carbon frames come with a heavier and "semi carbon" fork, but otherwise look similar. That is the bike i would have bought if i didn't build my own. You'll be happy in the long run with a 1.1kg frame and sweet fork for reasonable money. If it was an italian brand, be prepared for a mortgage !!
 

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it being carbon doesn't necessarily make it "better", ultimately its how it feels under you that matters. My point is, after a while you get the itch to upgrade. Kinda hard to upgrade a 1.1kg frame and full carbon fork, since most upgrades invariably revolve around weight. a 105 carbon/alu bike, is likely to have a much heavier frame and fork, about 1.5kg and .5kg respectively. Again, matters only if you are a weight weenie... (i'm on said heavy-ish alu/carbon frame, but weight doesn't matter to me, my 8kg bike is light enuff IMO)

Ultegra is higher on the food chain, so shimano thinks its better, again, less issues down the track.. That said, a triple is not a deal breaker, u can simply not use the smallest ring up front if you dont need it... If you feel like it, you can convert it to a double later on.

A compact crank running 36/50 should be enuff tho..combined with a 12-27 as the mech said should get you up most things. By reference i stay in my big ring (53) and only go to the smaller on my double to take off at the lights, so i find a 53-23 combination adequate for the climbs i have around here (or equivalent 39-17, both give a geared increased of around 1:2.4) That said i'm more comfortable staying in my big ring, it *feels* better to me. Thats teh thing, its not what u want it hear, but you'll pick whatever feels right to you, not what someone on the interweb suggests.

thats why i suggest the ultegra carbon bike. get it in your size, make sure, and you can fix up the rest as you figure out whats right for you. I think you're more likely to keep this frame and shifters more than 105/alu. Better to start with too much than too little. I guess this goes for the triple too, you might like it..

i'm referring to this bike btw: tcr comp1 http://www.giant-bicycles.com/au/030.000.000/030.000.000.asp?model=10028

if you look up the OCR it reveals a alu/carbon fork.. here:http://www.giant-bicycles.com/au/030.000.000/030.000.000.asp?model=10018

not a major thing, but that and the higher spec wheels would tip me over to the TCR comp 1. (my bad, they are elites, not aksium) Its only a marginal $$ difference here in Oz. I'ld still look at it for sure if i had no tcr option or ruled it out tho..
 
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