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Crit Bikes(9 posts)

Crit Bikes853
Sep 16, 2002 12:00 PM
Everybody seems to always be looking for the lightest bike, lightest components - building climbing machines.But in reality most of the races in America are Crits. I know that now a days their realy isn't specific frames for this type of racing but most bikes now have that aggresive crit geometry anyway. So how would one set-up a bike for this type of racing?
let's start w/ the frame, something stiff and cheap?
Wheels and tires?
Gearing?
bars and stem, seatposts?
I would assume that people would want something that could withstand a crash. It would get expensive if you ruined an expensive wheel, broke a carbon seatpost, and or damaged your frame. Not only that you also need the extra strength to withstand the torquing seen in furious sprints.
What do you use?
re: Crit Bikesbrider
Sep 16, 2002 12:28 PM
Gearing can be a bit tighter than training and road racing. Why? Most hills are going to be small, and even if they're steep, they're going to be short -- you'll be more carrying momentum on those hills than climbing.

As for what particular stuff to use? That's up to you. I tend toward durable. Mavic Open Pros, 32 spokes. Fairly light, but almost bulletproof. My wheels are built with a NukeProof rear hub, and an Ultegra front. I've got an odd mix of old stuff as well (Suntour Sprint hubs). I train on 36 spokers, so it's a step lighter on the race set-up. For really smooth courses, I might go to a 28 spoker up front.

For stem and bars: I have a custom Ti stem that I got with the bike (custom TiCycles Softride, so that answers the seatpost question). The bars are a midline 8-bend. Don't remember the brand off the top of my head. I prefer the 8-bend for wrist clearance.

If you're a REALLY strong sprinter, you might consider Nitto steel track bars (I've got these on my track rig, and they are nice). I've seen a few people snap off their bars in a crit, and it ain't pretty. Only one of them didn't crash.

I remember an interview in Bicycling Mag several years ago (when it was a good mag) with Ken Carpenter, then the top sprinter (on the track) in the US. They went into great length on his bike: 40 spoke wheels, laced tight enough to make the rim pucker. STIFF frame. It was described as a "girder on wheels." Well, as a track sprinter, he wasn't all that concerned with weight.

My philosophy is this: in order to finish first, you first have to finish. There is such a thing as "stupid light." That varies from person to person. I've seen very light guys breal hollow-pin chains. And I've seen heavy guys that rode gossamer wheels for years. Use some disgression.
re: Crit BikesNo_sprint
Sep 16, 2002 12:49 PM
I look for great handling and ultra stiff, especially in the wheels and BB areas.

What to use? I crit race two. The much less raced bike is semi sloping, ultralight and expensive. Deda bar, Campy carbon post, Evolution, Campy Record 10 Ergo. Two sets of wheels, Campy Nucleons and Am Classic 420s, Conti 3000GP and Mich Pro Light. The other is pretty light, traditional crit geom and cheaper. Italian T6 Energy tubing, Cinelli stem, Deda bar, Campy carbon post, SLR, DA 9, FSA carbon cranks. I typically run a Rev X in the back with any of the wheels in front. Depends are many conditions. I've got a trainer wheel which is my backup wheel for this rig for the few races that are not neutral in my area. It's a CXP21/105 hub if I remember correctly.

Gearing? 12/25 mostly out of laziness. The Record 10 all Ti cassettes at $250, I'm basically running 25s because there is a lot of climbing in my area and that's just too much for me to blow on a racer only. Even the DAs at $150 are a lot. I just wore out another 11/23 and replaced it with a 12/25.
Stiff and light...biknben
Sep 16, 2002 12:59 PM
What I ride:


Most of the road racing I do are Crits.

C'dale frames have a good mix of stiffness, weight, and tight handling and they are relatively cheap. Zipps 303s were created specifically for crits but I have to admit, I get nervous using them in crits (damn expensive to replace). Ksyriums or something more durable may be a better choice.

Interesting you brought up gearing. Everyone always uses the typical gearing. If I were to use a bike only for crit racing I'd be tempted to remove the small chainring and fr. der. (is that legal?). I'd also put a smaller cogset on the rear.
leave the front der.desmo
Sep 16, 2002 5:51 PM
losing the small ring will not garner much weight savings. and with no front der yer out of luck if the chain comes off.
re: Crit Bikeslonefrontranger
Sep 16, 2002 1:06 PM
* Crit bike = Morgul Bismark Aero Al TT geometry in a custom 48.5 c-c ST x 51.5 TT (i.e. tiny). The frame is made by a local builder of 7005 Easton, aero tubeset with a big "boom tube" and knifelike flat stays which translate to ungodly stiff. It also has super tight upright geometry that sprints and handles like a jackrabbit. I bought frame & fork for $400 at a swap meet, so that seemed cheap enough. I put a hodgepodge of Record 10 / Chris King / Chorus / Mavic (brakes) on it because that's what I picked up at the swap meet and/or was living in my parts bin at the time.
* Fork = WoundUp carbon
* Race wheels = Zipp 303 tubies. Yes these are spendy wheels but I got 'em for a steal, barely used, from a guy I've known for years and trust not to sell me a pig in a poke. I train (on all my bikes) on Mavic Cosmos; cheap boutique wheels that are nice enough tho the rear one is a piglet.
*Gearing = 53/39 12x23 for most crits.
*Bar / stem = ITM Millenium
* Saddle / seatpost: Easton carbon post & SLR saddle. My only criticism of this silly frame is that it has a 27.0 post diameter which forced me to spend extra on a post when I had a perfectly good USE Alien lying around.

I opted primarily for light weight, since I'm a girl and unlikely to break anything via brute force anytime soon.
re: My Bike853
Sep 16, 2002 1:42 PM
Caad5 frame - awesome, high BB height, light, stiff and relatively cheap.
Grupo- Dura-ace - damn, I would hate to scrape it up in a crash.
ITM millenium bars and stem - flimsy and scary in the drops.Is it the stem or just the bars?
CT2 post and SLR saddle - I like the seat. The seatpost I had, but would be afraid if I crashed it would have to be replaced, not only that it flexes a little.
gearing - 53,39 12-23- would like to see if they make a straight block
cassette maybe an 12-20?
Wheels - Mavic K's - I would hate to ruin these, I am looking into getting something cheaper rebuildable and just as stiff.
Ya know...Gregory Taylor
Sep 16, 2002 3:20 PM
...it is hard to beat Shimano Ultegra to dress out a racing bike that you KNOW will hit the pavement sometime during its career. Functional, more than acceptably light, reasonably priced. It's the Chevy V-8 smallblock of bike parts. And I've never, ever been riding along on an Ultegra-equipped bike and thought "Dang, I coulda won but this Ultegra crap is holding me back..."

Oh, for gearing, I run a 12 - 21 out back, and a 53/42 combo up front. Nice small jumps, and the 42 makes the shifts to the little ring very sweet.
re: Crit BikesGratefulDave
Sep 16, 2002 2:56 PM
I ride a MASI Nova Strata very tight steep frame with Ultegra and Mavic Cosmo wheels. I Run a 52 /39 up front and unless there is a lot of climbing a 12-21 9spd block. Michelin 700x23 Pro Race tires 120psi rear 110 front. Ritchy stem Deda bars Flite saddle. Keep this in mind "If you can't afford to replace it, you can't afford to race it"