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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a custom Ti bike now which I like, but I'm looking to add a lighter carbon bike to the stable. Two of my top choices are the R3-SL and the SLC-SL. I would most likely outfit it with either a Red or Dura Ace 7900 group (when it becomes available). The wheels would be Zipp or Edge Composites tubulars.

I am 6'2" and 150 lbs. Question is: will the SLC-SL with its more aero profile combined with some deeper rims make that much of a difference?. It's not that I struggle on the flats, but I am more suited for climing due to my Ichabod Crane-type build. I know that the weight difference is not that great between the two frames, but I'd probably put a shallower rim on the R3-SL than I would on the SLC-SL. So, should I focus on my strength nd get a nice light bike for the climbs (read: R3-SL) OR get a more aero bike and benefit in the flats (read: SLC-SL)? Is this the age-old question or what?!

Also, what do you guys think as far as comfort goes? The roads around here hae a fair bit of shipseal, but are agenerally ok overall. I've read some reviews that said that the RS-SL is more comfortable than the SLC-SL.

I also have a custom carbon bike that I will take delvery of next year. It will be a more standard frame shape, thus not as aero as the SLC-SL. Maybe for variety, I should go with the SLC-SL.

Thoughts?
 

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I've been riding an SLC-SL for the past 3-4 months with RED and I've got to say, its not exactly what I thought it was going to be. I was using Reynolds Carbon Tubular Wheels, and the entire bike weight was in the 14lb range. I just felt like up hills, compared to those on "mountain" frames like an SL2 or R3, I struggled. Don't get me wrong, its a sweet bike, and looks amazing. I'm sure on the flats there was a difference. But it didn't climb the way other bikes I've ridden have (R3 included).

That being sad I've posted my SLC-SL on the classifieds, and have ordered an R3 with Record, keeping the same wheels. I think ultimately, weight being about the same, it'll be better for me, a rider who does all purpose stuff, hills, and absoutely no racing whatsoever. I also like a slightly more classic geometry, the SLC-SL sorta looks like an airplane. Not sure this helps, but recently I've been going thru the same thing and choose the road less traveled.

If you watched the tour this year, the entire CSC team was riding R3-SL's in the mountains, even the Schlek's. In 2006 when Frank won in the Alps he did it on an SLC-SL, but this year he choose the R3-SL, i think that says something. Sastre has always riden an R3, even for flats.

JB

JB
 

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tyro said:
I have a custom Ti bike now which I like, but I'm looking to add a lighter carbon bike to the stable. Two of my top choices are the R3-SL and the SLC-SL. I would most likely outfit it with either a Red or Dura Ace 7900 group (when it becomes available). The wheels would be Zipp or Edge Composites tubulars.

I am 6'2" and 150 lbs. Question is: will the SLC-SL with its more aero profile combined with some deeper rims make that much of a difference?. It's not that I struggle on the flats, but I am more suited for climing due to my Ichabod Crane-type build. I know that the weight difference is not that great between the two frames, but I'd probably put a shallower rim on the R3-SL than I would on the SLC-SL. So, should I focus on my strength nd get a nice light bike for the climbs (read: R3-SL) OR get a more aero bike and benefit in the flats (read: SLC-SL)? Is this the age-old question or what?!

Also, what do you guys think as far as comfort goes? The roads around here hae a fair bit of shipseal, but are agenerally ok overall. I've read some reviews that said that the RS-SL is more comfortable than the SLC-SL.

I also have a custom carbon bike that I will take delvery of next year. It will be a more standard frame shape, thus not as aero as the SLC-SL. Maybe for variety, I should go with the SLC-SL.

Thoughts?
I have an age old answer to your age old question.
Test ride them both. It doesn't matter what others say, only what your body feels.
I decided in 2007 to get an R3 'cause the roads around here are totally sh!t and also because my 200 lbs body puts in a lot of stress on the frame whether going up or down or on the flats. Price also figured into my equation.
Either way you'll be getting a top end frame and 100 or 200 grams isn't gonna make that much of a difference.
 

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I struggled with the same decision last September when I ended up buying an SLC-SL.

The bottom line is, at 135lbs, any lightweight bike for me should climb well. I'm not going to lose much on the climbs that isn't a result of my own lack of skill/power.

On the flats is a different story. I am not built to hold 28mph on the flats when pulling. I have a hard time holding the wheel of the guy in front of me at the speed, so every little bit helps. Here, aero is definately an advantage for me and I can tell a significant difference between the SLC-SL and my other bike (a Bianchi Ti, but fairly light).

I picked my Cervelo with a smaller frame size than what would be ideal for me and the advantage of that is more aerodynamics for me. In order to keep the saddle height comfortable, the seat is so high up that when I am in the drops, my torso is almost parallel to the ground since the saddle is 14cm higher than the bars. Works good for me after spending some time training myself to stay in the drops for long periods.

Uncomfortable? Maybe a little, but I just rode the Seattle to Portland (206 mi) 1 day on my SLC-SL and was happy with the frame the whole ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
jcolley said:
I struggled with the same decision last September when I ended up buying an SLC-SL.

The bottom line is, at 135lbs, any lightweight bike for me should climb well. I'm not going to lose much on the climbs that isn't a result of my own lack of skill/power.

On the flats is a different story. I am not built to hold 28mph on the flats when pulling. I have a hard time holding the wheel of the guy in front of me at the speed, so every little bit helps. Here, aero is definately an advantage for me and I can tell a significant difference between the SLC-SL and my other bike (a Bianchi Ti, but fairly light).

I picked my Cervelo with a smaller frame size than what would be ideal for me and the advantage of that is more aerodynamics for me. In order to keep the saddle height comfortable, the seat is so high up that when I am in the drops, my torso is almost parallel to the ground since the saddle is 14cm higher than the bars. Works good for me after spending some time training myself to stay in the drops for long periods.

Uncomfortable? Maybe a little, but I just rode the Seattle to Portland (206 mi) 1 day on my SLC-SL and was happy with the frame the whole ride.
This is kind of what I was thinking. I don't really have any trouble staying with a group on the climbs, but in the flats if I get out of the paceline, it takes a little effort to get back up to the group. I wouldn't be able to sustain 28 mph on the flats either.

I'd probably need a size 58, but I think I'll talk to my fitter-guy before I make that call. It would probably take a lot of post and a long stem to make the 56.5 size fit me. I don't have anywhere hear the saddle to bar drop on my current ride. I'm probably about 8cm or so, but I'm going to go lower soon. My current bike (custom Ti) has a 19.2cm headtube, so it's about 1.2 off from the size 58.

Hey, I did the STP one-day too! I had a great time and will do it next year for sure. I ended up dehydrated at the finish and needed a few bags of IV fluid to top me off! It was H-O-T for this part of the country. I'm in Port Angeles were "hot" is if it breaks 70.

Again, thanks for the info. This kind of confirms what I was thinking.
 

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"Climbing Frames"

mobileops said:
I just felt like up hills, compared to those on "mountain" frames like an SL2 or R3, I struggled. Don't get me wrong, its a sweet bike, and looks amazing. I'm sure on the flats there was a difference. But it didn't climb the way other bikes I've ridden have (R3 included).
There is nothing 'mountain' specific about the R3 vs the SLC, have a look at the geometry charts if you don't believe me. It's likely you just didn't like the SLC and that played mind games with you.
 

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There certainly is a difference in feel between an R3 and SLC when you're climbing. Its not the weight, must be the stiffness, but one certainly climbs the hills better than the other. If the SLC-SL was the best bike for all things, its all they would sell.

JB
 

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mobileops said:
If you watched the tour this year, the entire CSC team was riding R3-SL's in the mountains, even the Schlek's. In 2006 when Frank won in the Alps he did it on an SLC-SL, but this year he choose the R3-SL, i think that says something. Sastre has always riden an R3, even for flats.

JB

JB
I believe you are 1/2 correct. I saw the Schleks and Sastre riding R3's in the mountains but the guys that had to fight the wind at the front of the pace line so the Schleks and Sastre has the legs for the finish (Cancelarra, Ogrady and Voight) were riding SLC-SL's. It appears that Team CSC felt that if you were going to in the front fighting the wind it was better to have the aero advantage instead of light weight as they knew the Domestiques were not going to fighting for the finish line.

I could be wrong but I am pretty sure that is what I saw.

Anyway, I am 6'3" and 185 pounds and ride a SLC-SL that weight 15.3 pounds, sure I could have a sub 15 pound R3 but in the big picture of things 185 pounds + 15 pound bike = 90,800 grams so I do not think the 300-400 gram savings of the R3 would have helped me that much. I currently spend all my time riding solo and live in a hilly but not moutainous area so I think I made the right choice.

Erik
 

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I find the SLC-SL to be punishing on those longer trips, the R3 is certainly more comfortable. Not to mention I've read in more than one place the water bottles in their cages negate the aerodynamicness of the SLC. Not sure what that's about.

JB
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
mobileops said:
I find the SLC-SL to be punishing on those longer trips, the R3 is certainly more comfortable. Not to mention I've read in more than one place the water bottles in their cages negate the aerodynamicness of the SLC. Not sure what that's about.

JB
That's interesting. Wouldn't it just be that much worse with water bottles in the R3 though?
 

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dont think so. The squoval downtube has a lot more exposed surface area forward. I would think less water bottle would be exposed from the aero perspective. Not that I'm at all trying to imply that the aero bikes arent sick and awesome. On a sprint I see the advantage, and this is evident in the TT bikes as well. It may weigh 20 pounds, but its as straight as an arrow. On the climbs, comfort and light weight seem to rule. The R3 seems to want to push you, I think that's why the R3 won in the Alps, and not the SLC-SL. Cancellara might have been on an SLC-SL, but I still think its telling the Franky S once rode it there, and went with the lighter stiffer R3 this go around.

JB
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, I went ot the Cervelo test ride today. It was my first time to ride a carbon bike. The people on hand were very friendly and the mood was that of excitement and fun. Seafair was goin on in Seattle and the Blue Angels blasted overhead several times.

The first bike up was the SLC-SL, size 59 with a full SRAM Red group and Zipp 404 tubulars. The stem and bars were 3T. The parts spec was pro all the way and this bike was LIGHT. I did not weigh it, but it was a lot lighter than my 16.5 lb ti bike. I hopped on it and headed up one of the local hills. It was a gentle slope, maybe 3% or so. My first thought was how calmthe bike felt. Compared to the ti bike I have been riding, the carbon frame and wheels had a much more subdued feel to them. The frame was not as forgiving but still offered a good level of comfort. After the hill I tried the bike out on some flats. While there was a good breeze going today, it was the perfect time to try out the differences between the more aero SLCand the R3. It felt good on the flats, but more on that in the end. Side note about the Red stuff. I found it a bit harsh compared to the silky feel of my Dura Ace. It shifted well and it was very firm in its feel, but it did take a little getting used to the change. It doesn't take long to get used to the shifting though. In a mile or so, I was used to it.

Next up was the R3-SL. I was alittle bit disappointed that the 58 did not have the full pro level kit on it. It was very close, though. (I'm only complaining after being spoiled.) It had FSA cranks, Dura Ace and some Easton wheels. The bikes do feel quite a bit different. It's not really night and day, but there are differences in overall feel that are pretty obvious. While the SLC-SL has a real plow straight ahead through anything, the R#-SL is a bit more spunky. You feel like you have an automatic tailwind when you point this thing uphill. I'd say it climbs better than the SLC-SL. I know that the geometry is the same but these bikes do feel quite different.

About the aero thing. I did not really notice the difference in aero qualities until I got on the R3-SL after being on the SLC-SL. There is a definite difference between the effort that it took to move each from into a headwind. I as talking to the rep and said that it is kind of tough to perceive because it is the absence of something, the wind resistance in this case. When a bike climbs great, it is very easy to feel because it is an active difference. The aero advantage is something that would probably be felt best over a long ride or an especially windy ride.

I've got to say that either one of these bikes would be great to own and that I would enjoy riding either one on a daily basis or as an only bike. The Cervelo staff were great to deal with and you could tell that there is a sense of pride in what they do. This is evident in the bikes as well as the general vibe. Major thumbs up all the way around.
 
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