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Help, Tiagra, Racing?(11 posts)

Help, Tiagra, Racing?NewRodie
Dec 12, 2001 6:15 AM
If I am interested in getting into racing and don't have much to spend can I use Tiagra, or do I need 105 or Ultregra?

Is there a performance difference between Tiagra and 105 or is it only a weight issue???

Lets assume that the Speciallized Allez A1 fits me well. Can I get away with buying the Allez A1 Sport 27 which retails at $1080 and has Shimano Tiagra components with 105 rear derailleur. Or do I need to get the Allez A1 Elite 27 wich ratails at $1410 but has full 105 components.

The most recent issue of Bicycling Mag gave the Allez A1 Sport 27 a good review as an entry level bike with real racing geometry. Is this bike really race worthy for someone just getting into the sport.

Thank you!
Consider used, FWIWElefantino
Dec 12, 2001 6:23 AM
If you're talking about a bike in the $1,000-$1,400 range, you can get a quality bike if you look around. It's caveat emptor, but there are a lot of bikes on eBay, for example, that are just coming off the season and that are being unloaded by racers. Also, your LBS may be selling bikes on consignment on which you can wheel and deal.

Consider: I recently purchased a Specialized S-Works M4, with full Ultegra (except a Dura-Ace rear), plus Speedplay X-2s, for $900. It looks new. I also purchased a still-in-the-box pair of Rolf Vectors for $140. Those totals included shipping. So for $1,040, I have a race-ready bike that makes no excuses for its componentry.

Look around before you buy new. And yes, there is a difference in performance — and durability under the stress of racing — in the Shimano line.
re: Help, Tiagra, Racing?Velocipedio
Dec 12, 2001 6:35 AM
This is probably unorthodox, but what the Hell...

Use whatever componnets you like; you will not be barred from entering a race if you don't have 105 or Ultegra. Period. Tiagra shifts and operates rather well, and I don't think you'll have too many issues in short races [crits, etc.].

The issues with Tiagra are weight and durability. The group is substantially heavier than 105 or Tiagra and, more importantly, it will be more prone to wear out. From what I've seen, it tends to be more prone to go out of alignment, and requires somewhat more frequent adjustments. None of this is a problem if you tune your bike regularly -- and you will if you race.

I'm not convinced the group would last more than a year of hard racing and 10,000 km of training rides, but then I don't think it's intended to. One thing you might consider is just upgrading those parts that wear out to 105 or Ultegra as needed.
re: Help, Tiagra, Racing?scottfree
Dec 12, 2001 9:05 AM
Bingo! nm
re: Help, Tiagra, Racing?allervite
Dec 12, 2001 11:28 AM
Velocipedio has got it right. I would say, if you love the bike buy it. It has a good frame, and the Tiagra will last about a year. By this time your skills will have improved and you will be ready for better componetry. So as it breaks, replace it with what you like.
re: Help, Tiagra, Racing?NewRodie
Dec 12, 2001 1:11 PM
So the frame is good enough to put money into later, assuming I enjoy road racing and want to continue in the sport after my skills develop?

i.e. I won't have to buy a whole new bike when I am ready to upgrade components?

re: Help, Tiagra, Racing?Velocipedio
Dec 12, 2001 3:52 PM
Look at it this way... if you find a bike that fits and that you really like riding, go for it. Though the group is an important part of chosing a bike, it's not the MOST important thing, and it's too easy to get hung up on component spec. If the choice is between buying a bike with Tiagra or not buying a bike at all, buy the bike with Tiagra if that's what you can afford.

Most serious cyclists are in a constant process of upgrading. My guess is that, if you get a Tiagra-specced bike, your upgrades will go like this...

1. New wheels. If you race, and even if you don't, you'll want to have two wheelsets [one spare at least] anyway. You'll be able to upgrade to a lighter set of wheels with, say, Ultegra hubs and use your old wheels for training.

2. New fork. If your ride doesn't have a carbon fiber fork, you'll probably want to get one eventually. CF forks great;y improve the ride quality of an aluminum bike.

3. New chain and saddle. You'll replace your chain at least every year, and you saddle every couple of years, anyway.

4. New shifters/levers. Shifters go through all kinds of abuse. Every time you crash -- and if you race, you'll crash -- you'll bash them about. Tiagra shifters are somewhat more fragile than 105, but I know a lot of guys with 105 who have had to replace their shifters after a year and a half.

5. New rear derailleur. This is the most complex mechanism on the bike and the Tiagra component most likely to wear out first. A replacement 105 derailleur will cost about $40.

You may end up, after 18-24 months with a bike with original bars/stem, front derailleur, brakes and crankset, with a spare set of racing wheels and a bunch of other 105 or Ultegra parts that rides as well as any other bike around. After-market components will cost you more, but you'll get 18 months of use from a bike as you learn to race. Then you can get a new bike and use the old one as a rain bike.

Someone did suggest that you look out for GTs and Schwinns on sale. If you can, go look at the GT ZR 3.0. Even at full price, this was an excellent value. It's a great frame with a carbon fork and 105 components, and with GTs recent woes [I think acquisition by Pacific counts as a woe], you can probably snap one up for pennies.
you can get bettersurf
Dec 12, 2001 2:13 PM
This time of year you can get alot better.
GT ZR3 for under 1000 - all 105 and carbon fork ect
This is just an example - supergo has plenty of deals around 1000 for 105 bikes.
Even better - there are great deals on used bikes also. Look locally so you can test ride, i guess that depends where you live but in So Cal there are a few mags and papers that have a ton of used bikes.
I dont know much about that frame but to me that price sounds steep. You can deal at the LBS, like buying a car
Tiagra and SoraRusty McNasty
Dec 12, 2001 2:32 PM
These two lines of Shimano are both barely more than cr@p. I can't even fremember which is supposed to be "better", they are both $h!t. Consider 105/Veloce (Campagnolo) to be the lowest worth buying.
Tiagra and Soraweiwentg
Dec 12, 2001 3:19 PM
they're not total crap. but I wouldn't race in anything less than 105. exceptions would be the brakes and shifters: a brake is a brake and the Tiagra shifters are all right.
incidentally, that's the EXACT SAME BIKE I GOT. if you intend to be serious about racing (I do), get no less than a 105. and the wheels that came with my bike certainly aren't race wheels.
Not Cr@pallervite
Dec 13, 2001 8:32 PM
The only disadvatage to these lower groups are weight and durability. The spokes on those wheels start popping in about a year, but in a race the rider is way more important than the logo on your shifters. You could break something in a race, but more likely your Sora and Tiagra will just start getting Sloppy and go out of tune quickly.