Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there,

So I have been riding for a little over a year now on a cannondale r700 aluminum bike, with ultegra components, it is a 2005 I believe.

What I am wondering is how does paying 5 thousand dollars for a bike really make such a substantial difference as i hear it does? I have friends on the cycling team riding the new trek madones that cost them a ridiculous amount of money... would I truly be faster on a top of the line bike like this?

Also, i hear the performance of a bike is in the wheels, while the frame just provides comfort. How would putting 2,000 dollar wheels on my one thousand dollar bike effect my performance?

I guess i am basically trying to understand WHAT makes a 5,000 dollar bike differ from a 1,000 dollar bike... and what provides the performance boost on the bike.

I believe a rider's performance is in the legs, not the bike. Someone explain to me why i should pay so much for a top end bike.

Thanks!
Chance
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,493 Posts
You are being sucked into the "buy some speed" vortex. Open your wallet and hang on.

When you can't hang with the Madone owners, you'll be looking for "answers" and the only thing you'll see is the different, more expensive bike they're riding. Therefore, in order to keep up with them on group rides, you MUST have an equivalent bike, no?

The real answer is NO. True, their bikes are likely lighter. But look at it this way; you have to consider the rider+the bike weight when considering this weight savings, and taking an average 160lb. rider + 18lb. bike (178lbs.) then buying a bike which is a whopping 2lbs. lighter (176lbs.) results in a savings of 1.1% IF (and that's a big IF) that were to directly translate into a massive 1.1% increase in speed, then your 20mph average would increase by less than 0.25mph. this ain't the stuff which makes or breaks people.

Another way to look at it: your filled waterbottle weighs roughly 2.5lbs. You have two of them on a ride. You toss them both and now you're 5lbs. lighter. Can you suddenly drop your group? Why not?

At the Madone level you're paying for less return on investment. You DO get higher precision parts, which may be easier to adjust or stay in adjustment longer, but repair and replacement costs have to be considered, too. And if you crash, you HAVE to consider those costs. With your Cannondale, you're ahead of the game.

As far as wheels go, the physics are the rotating weight of the wheels is harder to accelerate than the non-rotating mass of say, a seatpost. So wheels is a good place to save weight. But again, the max weight savings may be 1lb. with a $2k investment. Is it truly worth it?

I'm reminded of a story: Back in the late 80's/early 90's, they held what is still considered one of the toughest criteriums in the U.S. (they still hold it, but the name escapes me now). At a time when carbon was in it's infancy and titanium bikes were king, the Pro race was won by a rider on a stock, out of the box, Bridgestone steel bike with Shimano 105, which cost all of $1200. The only part the rider changed was the pedals, to fit his preference. This was news because of the prestige of the race.

Another story: When my friend and I were racing, we both had identical custom frames with high end Campy components. He was always handing me my butt on rides. One day he let me borrow his bike to ride to the hardware store. While I had it, I gave it a looking over real closely and noticed while I had then expensive Campy Super Record pedals, he had $10 Japanese copies. That turned on a lightbulb in my head that maybe the bike wasn't so important.

As long as your Cannondale fits well it's going to be your training and genetics that determines your success. The satisfaction of beating your buddies on your less expensive bike will be priceless!
 

·
Dreamer
Joined
·
147 Posts
chancewag said:
I believe a rider's performance is in the legs, not the bike. Someone explain to me why i should pay so much for a top end bike.
Why did you buy a $1,000 bike? Why not save some money and buy a $250 bike from Wal-Mart?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,123 Posts
Basically the more you spend the less difference you will see.

There is a huge difference between a $500.00 bike and a $1500.00 bike...but much less difference between a $1500.00 bike and a $3500.00 bike. Once you get to a certian price point the differences become very minor and there really isn't a "Bad" bike.

Wheels will make likely the biggest difference due to aerodynamic properties, but unless you can push enough speed, they won't make a huge difference...and unless you race, why bother?

Ultimately it comes down to racing...when you are trying to get any advantage you can get people are willing to spend "A LOT" of money on small differences to win...which is where big dollar bikes come in to play. If you are not racing...a bike that fits you well and has a minimum level of 105, Rival, Athena components on it will suit you just fine for all intents and purposes...even racing if you want :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
359 Posts
I've ridden a fair number of high end bikes, and to be honest I think there are only two things about a bike which have an objective effect on performance. One is aerodynamics, the other is fit/comfort. Now there is a lot of stuff that might bake a bike feel faster, or more fun to ride, but that does not actually make it any faster. For instance TT bikes tend to be heavy, can handle like a bus, and are often rather flexy, but they will destroy a short, stiff, and snappy crit bike in almost every situation. Now you can say well, a good bike wants to to be pushed hard or whatever, but that is all mental, that's subjective, and its really about the rider not the bike. Also I generally see no correlation between performance and bike value at the cat.1/2 level, and there are guys who ride older bikes, not because they cannot upgrade, but because they see no reason to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,749 Posts
You got it right..

"I believe a rider's performance is in the legs, not the bike".

You got it right. If you have new bike lust, you need to test ride a bunch of bikes. Not just the ride around the parking lot scenario.

I own a Trek Madone, but I had no interest at all in buying one until I gave it a good test ride. Mine was on sale for 1K off. I would not have paid full price for it. Carbon does have a nice feel to it, but all carbon bikes ride a little different, thus for the test rides.

The heart of a bike is the frame, followed by the wheelset. It has to fit right, otherwise it's useless.

P.S. my other bike is a Colnago Master X-Light, which I love. Don't overlook a steel bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
465 Posts
Madones range from low $2k to $10k. As is the case with most major brands, there's a huge price range with this bike. They don't all cost x amount. Regardless, like others have said in so many words, the bike won't matter particularly if you're newer to cycling and trying to keep up with team riders. You'll keep up if they let you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
I recently upgraded from an old aluminum allez with sora / tiagra parts and heavy alex wheels to a light Steel Scapin with duraace / rival parts and Ksyrium SL wheels. I seem to be averaging about a minute faster on my daily half hour commute...

I feel it on long rides where I can really push without getting uncomfortable because is fits right and is a little smoother.

Also going from an 8 speed low end drivetrain to a 10 speed (better one) was really kind of silly for the cost difference, I like the sram double tap thing better but thats about all I really notice. Im going to bet upgrading your Ultegra setup isnt going to get you much.
 

·
What the what???
Joined
·
12,922 Posts
I agree with Wookiebiker. I think the return on your investment diminishes, the higher up you go. Given what you've described, spend $500 (or possibly less) on a good set of wheels for your $1000 bike. After that, any appreciable increase in speed is going to be almost entirely up to you and your engine.

After that, it's a question of bike lust, or upgade-itis, or a need to keep up with the Jones', or a curiosity about carbon or titanium, that's going to get you thinking about a high dollar bike... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Peter P. said:
Another way to look at it: your filled waterbottle weighs roughly 2.5lbs. You have two of them on a ride. You toss them both and now you're 5lbs. lighter. Can you suddenly drop your group? Why not?

2.5 pounds each? I personally don't carry two 40 ounce bottles on rides, but if I did they would not be filled with water and it would be an awesome ride where I probably wouldn't care how fast I was going.
 

·
Cpark
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Need to define "Better" specifically....

For me, it's the fit, aesthetic, weight, durability and cost in the order.
 

·
Burnum Upus Quadricepus
Joined
·
2,017 Posts
cpark said:
Need to define "Better" specifically....

For me, it's the fit, aesthetic, weight, durability and cost in the order.
Exactly.

For me, it's the fit, durability, weight, aesthetic and cost in that order.
 

·
Milk was a bad choice.
Joined
·
1,338 Posts
I upgraded to a used carbon bike (Scott CR1) that I bought on craigslist for $1200. It isn't faster in any discernible way over my former bike (aluminum Trek 1500), but I enjoy riding it a lot more because the ride feel is significantly better than the chattery, jolty aluminum ride I had before. So there's definitely something to be said for the ride feel of different frames and materials, but don't let anyone tell you it's gonna be the "it" you need to be faster. Test out different bikes and decide if you think the ride quality/feel is worth spending however much more than your current bike, but just know that a more expensive bike than you have now will get you very, very little in terms of performance advantage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,666 Posts
chancewag said:
I guess i am basically trying to understand WHAT makes a 5,000 dollar bike differ from a 1,000 dollar bike... and what provides the performance boost on the bike.
When you have a frame set built-up you get something that fits perfectly with your favorite saddle, bar shape, and gears. You can have your preferred gruppo and brifter. You get wheels that never break spokes and don't go out of true until crashed.

You can get that for far less than $5000.

You can also spend more for something off the rack, although hopefully the shop will at least swap out stems at no charge. It may be prettier.
 

·
Master debator.
Joined
·
8,777 Posts
I view a bike as a tool, something I use to help me achieve a desired result. I want it to fit me and my riding style. I want it to disappear under me and perform well so I can concentrate on the ride and the suffering. I don't want to worry if the tires will flat on a descent, it will wobble at high speed, or if the shifting will falter when I'm climbing a hill.
I have an 80% rule about a lot of things in life. I figure most things you spend 80% of the work or money to achieve a satisfactory result. To get that extra 20% costs the same as the original 80% usually, and it's not worth it to me. For example if you buy a $2,500 bike, I figure it's probably almost as good (80% as good?) as a $5,000 bike, but you need to spend twice as much money to get that little extra bit (20%). It's not an exact theory, but you get the idea.
To that end I will buy things of decent and durable quality, but never top of the line, even if I can afford it. I'm an Ultegra type of guy, not a Dura Ace one :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
708 Posts
cparrish said:
I recently upgraded from an old aluminum allez with sora / tiagra parts and heavy alex wheels to a light Steel Scapin with duraace / rival parts and Ksyrium SL wheels. I seem to be averaging about a minute faster on my daily half hour commute...

I feel it on long rides where I can really push without getting uncomfortable because is fits right and is a little smoother.

Also going from an 8 speed low end drivetrain to a 10 speed (better one) was really kind of silly for the cost difference, I like the sram double tap thing better but thats about all I really notice. Im going to bet upgrading your Ultegra setup isnt going to get you much.
I've got a steel bike with Columbus Tenax and 7 speed Sora and an aluminum frame / carbon fork bike with 10 speed 105 and just going by average speed I'm looking at around .5ish MPH faster on the "better" bike. I haven't bothered to weigh both side by side, but probably around a 3lb difference.

There's diminishing returns with every dollar spent, and truthfully I don't put food on the table by riding my bike so I'd be foolish to spend thousands of dollars on what is a recreational hobby. My first road bike was a circa 87-88ish Bottechia with 6 speed Campy friction for around $550 iirc so I'm a little old school in what I think is and isn't worth it. Take wheelsets for example. WTF does anyone need $500 or more CLINCHERS for their DAILY wheels. If you race and want a nice set of race wheels (tubulars preferably IMO) then yeah that makes sense, but for nothing but training or daily riding that's a little ridiculous.
 

·
RoadBikeReview's Member
Joined
·
5,505 Posts
bds3 said:
2.5 pounds each? I personally don't carry two 40 ounce bottles on rides, but if I did they would not be filled with water and it would be an awesome ride where I probably wouldn't care how fast I was going.
1000g of water, 2.2lb. Add in weight of bottles and you're at 3, 3.5 probably. Not the same as 5, but the actual number's not important so much as the poster's point.
 

·
RoadBikeReview's Member
Joined
·
5,505 Posts
ohvrolla said:
I've got a steel bike with Columbus Tenax and 7 speed Sora and an aluminum frame / carbon fork bike with 10 speed 105 and just going by average speed I'm looking at around .5ish MPH faster on the "better" bike. I haven't bothered to weigh both side by side, but probably around a 3lb difference.

There's diminishing returns with every dollar spent, and truthfully I don't put food on the table by riding my bike so I'd be foolish to spend thousands of dollars on what is a recreational hobby. My first road bike was a circa 87-88ish Bottechia with 6 speed Campy friction for around $550 iirc so I'm a little old school in what I think is and isn't worth it. Take wheelsets for example. WTF does anyone need $500 or more CLINCHERS for their DAILY wheels. If you race and want a nice set of race wheels (tubulars preferably IMO) then yeah that makes sense, but for nothing but training or daily riding that's a little ridiculous.
LOLOLOL You're going to get .5MPH faster? News to me. When I went from a Trek 1200 that cost $800 to a $8000 Litespeed, I didn't get .1MPH faster
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top