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What if...(19 posts)

What if...MSA
May 29, 2002 6:41 AM
At the risk of getting flamed by you guys, I have this burning question. Whenever the general board goes through its daily question: Which frame is the best?, and every one gets in a lather about the C-40, Calfee, Seven Cycle, etc., many racers say they do not race expensive frames, because they are often crashed and it's too expensive to replace them. I've been wondering, if money was no object, what would you ride and why? You wreck it, and the support vehicle comes up and hands you another one, no questions asked.
re: What if...DougSloan
May 29, 2002 6:50 AM
Road racing and crits: C40/Record (this bike is light, very stiff in the bb, and handles great)

Time trials: Cervelo P3

I don't think bikes get trashed all that often, anyway.
good pointlonefrontranger
May 29, 2002 7:26 AM
Here's my take on that. I rode crap, absolute utter crap for years. Everyone else's third-rate junk box crap that was 2 steps from getting kicked to the curb (but boy did I ever learn how to replace the return springs in cheap*ss Shimano rear mechs!). Ask anyone who saw me racing the old Redline beater (cyclocross bike) at the local crits last season. Even the "good" bike I had for a while (Trek 2300) was crap because it was a last-minute sponsor deal that was 2cm too big for me.

Now that I am fortunate enough to ride (and race) nice bikes, I do. I have a Campy-equipped Colnago Dream Cross that I cover in mud and weeds on a regular basis and have put rock chips on that gorgeous paint job from riding too fast on gravel roads with delusional Johan Museeuw thoughts playing through my brain. I have a Record equipped Dream Plus that I race in the cage with the Cat IV squirrels. I have a set of fancy carbon-fiber unobtanium race wheels that I *only* use for racing. My Morgul Bismark custom TT / crit bike isn't exactly irreplacable, considering the builder's shop is a few blocks from my job. But it certainly ranks as the good karma buy of a lifetime: abandoned at birth in the builder's shop, discovered by me 2 seasons later covered in dust at a swap meet and... lo and behold it fits made to measure for my non-stock bod, and just as a bonus has the sweetest custom fade pearl paint job ever. I'd be extremely bummed if something happened to it but life goes on.

There was a thread on the General board not too long ago about someone who bought, built up and sometimes even raced an anniversary Schwinn Paramount (the one with the gold plate). I wholeheartedly agreed with the reply who cheered the original poster on by comparing this to the guys who race their $3M Ferrari antique racecars - just do it! The thing was built to be ridden, not hung on a wall to gather dust. Yes it's an irreplacable classic machine, but any well-built machine has "soul" and at some point you are doing this beautiful classic a disservice by not using it for it's intended purpose. So maybe don't ride it in the rain, that's what the Cannondale is for, right?

Bicycles are built to be ridden and loved, and racing bicycles are built to be ridden, raced, and loved at speed. At some point you have to just let it go. Yes, I'd say more than a few naughty words if I broke my Zipps in half or tacoed the Dream. But life's too short for this kind of stress.
Amen!rollo tommassi
May 29, 2002 10:50 AM
Your last two paragraphs are right on target!

Maybe the truth is that it's not the money that is the object, it's the passion?
Back to basicsBipedZed
May 29, 2002 7:30 AM
After crashing hard in the Tour of the Gila, I switched from a Merlin Extralight/Record 10/Zipp 303s to a Cannondale CAAD5/Dura Ace/Zipp 303s. If cost were no object I would still ride a CAAD5 w/Dura Ace as a race bike. The CAAD5 is as light as the Merlin, stiffer and plenty comfortable for 70-80 mile road races. Shimano DA plain works and is less finicky than Campy, particularly in regards to front shifting. More importantly, neutral support (wheels in/wheels out) is pretty much all Shimano 9spd. If you ride Campy 10, you will be pretty much SOL if the neutral vehicle/moto isn't carrying 10spd. My Cannondale is all the performance of the Merlin at a third of the cost.

Last but not least, expensive flashy frames stand out in the pack. Rarely are the best riders on the boutique frames and in my experience are usually not the wheel to be on or near. Bikes don't win races.
May 29, 2002 8:26 AM
That's odd that you'd have that experience. I have *never* had any shifting problems with any of my C-10 stuff. Granted I've not ridden recent DA, but IME the Shimano stuff is more sensitive to front overthrow because of the lack of "trim" in the levers. A gal in our race on Monday threw her Ultegra stuff repeatedly, then finally gave up and rode it in the big ring to keep it from dropping. Even when I ran the 50 large ring on the Dream Cross it shifted OK - I had to be gentle, but didn't have any major issues, and a 50 is out of spec for that XTR front mech I run (48 max).

Granted, the neutral support thing is an issue, but I put my own spares in the truck (Carter being the notorious exception, won't make that mistake again) and keep my fingers crossed. My teammate with the 650c Kestrel has the same issues. Oddly enough, the Women's 3/4 truck at Platte *did* have a set of neutral C-10 wheels; the guy who drove it was a frame builder and got to eying the Morgul as I was warming up, so we talked about just that issue. His comment was that C-10 was becoming "so common" in the ranks that they felt obligated to have at least some there. The neutral support / wheelpit thing is also why I keep those cheezy BMX valve covers on my spares; they make it real easy to find your stuff in a hurry.

My rationale: would I really be able to chase back on after a flat? These aren't trained professional mechanics and elite level support vehicles at these amateur events, and I don't have seven or eight teammates getting radio from the directeur sportif that they need to go bridge me up. The wheel trucks are typically driven by someone's spouse or sibling that's been roped into volunteering and you're fortunate if s/he knows Campy from Shimano. Anytime I have to receive a wheel from neutral support, the exchange took long enough that my race was effectively turned into a hard training ride anyway. Granted I don't have a heads-up strong Cat III team working with me like you do, so perhaps this is different.
May 29, 2002 9:26 AM
Ditto, LFR.
I've had no problems whatsoever w/ my Rec 10 stuff. I was in a race this weekend where 3 guys, that's right, 3 guys broke some part of his DuraAce rear derailler. Also, my good friend dropped his Shimano chain right at the selection in the NCAA's - he had made the break and was getting ready to attack up the hill and boom - chain dropped and derailler got stuck. Then, the next day, he was in the lead group and his BRAND NEW DA chain snapped. And Shimano neutral support wouldn't stop to give him a bike. So even when you have Shimano predominating in n.s, you might not get it!
I bring my own wheels for back up too.
My experienceBipedZed
May 29, 2002 2:15 PM
Current Shimano chainrings use technology from XTR with ramps and pins that guide the chain during shifts. The pickup from the small to the large is extremely fast and the release to the small from the big is very precise. This allows for a very tight front derailleur range adjustment that minimizes throwing the chain in either direction. My experience with Campy was that the chainrings are more conventional due to Shimano patents so the shifting was not as quick, particularly going from the small to the big ring. This required a bit more range in the front derailleur to get good shifting between rings, which in turn increased the chances of throwing the chain. Granted I have much less experience setting up Campy, and I would occasionally throw the chain on a training ride but rarely. At the Gila I threw my chain to the inside as an attack started on the first climb of the day to Pinos Altos and I had to stop and put it back on and never saw the lead group again. Going back to Shimano DA I'm amazed at how quick and precise the front shifting is experience only.

Regarding neutral support, at the Gila because Bontrager took care of the Pro/1 field, the 2s and 3s got much better wheel support than usual. In my 3 field there was a neutral vehicle that followed the main group, plus a lead moto that covered the break and a SAG vehicle. The lead moto only carried one front and one rear. Guess what the rear was...definitely not Campy. I spoke with Chris Davidson from Bontrager during the Pro/1 crit and he said of the 50 or so rears they brought to the Gila only 3 were Campy 10.

Most races locally aren't supported as well as the Gila but you won't go wrong with Shimano 9 in a neutral support situation. Also trying to replace my damaged Campy 10 stuff in Silver City was an exercise in futility. Most of the smaller towns that host stage racing have bike shops that primarily deal with MTBs so Shimano stuff is more readily available.

After crashing at the Gila and Platte and chasing back on both times, flatting is not necessarily the end of the race. Both times though I ended up working with a chase group of other crashees to catch the lead group. Flatting solo would be another matter.

If I wasn't racing seriously, I'd probably stay with Record 10 as I like the Ergo shifters. But as my experienced teammate said "If you race, don't love your bike".
Back to basicsNo_sprint
May 30, 2002 8:55 AM
My experiences parallel Bipedzed completely. Whenever I break out a Campy 10 bike to race, I talk myself into believing that if I screw it up, oh well, it'll be ok. I typically race the alu Italian with DA 9. I also visit the pit or service area when I'm racin' Campy to find out if they're so equipped. Half our local crits are wheels in/wheels out, so it's really down to whatever you've got. The other half are really well neutrally serviced and I've never seen a fully supplied pit without Campy 10. Right now I'm without a Campy 10 rear spare, therefore, I also pre-decide that should I even flat, I'm done for the day. I don't know anyone who can change a rear in a .5 crit course with only 1 lap for a mech. Those are near 1 minute laps. I'd say if I had my choice for a crit racer, anything, anytime, it would likely be Parlee or perhaps Klein or maybe Litespeed Ultimate. The wheels make most of the difference as long as the frame is stiff as can be and good and light. Dream Plus is up there too.
re: What if...mixinbeatz
May 29, 2002 7:41 AM
I myself race Dura Ace and Ksyriums on a cheap giant aluminum frame. The bike rides really well, and if I crash, another frame is a few hundred bucks and less than a week to replace. I am on my second one this year, and I can say I would have been in tears if I would have thrashed a $2000 frame.
re: What if...Thoth2
May 29, 2002 7:49 AM
Ok, I'll play.
There are SOOOO many great bikes out there, so the choice is difficult.

I ride an XL-EV2 w/ Eurus wheels and Record 10. It is very nearly perfect for me, but, if I was made of money and I had a car full of replacements, I'd probably ride a DeRosa UD, a C40, or some kind of Seven.
I'd put LEW wheels on it w/ TUne hubs.
More later.
The reason I ask...MSA
May 29, 2002 9:02 AM
I was amazed at all the high end aluminum bikes now being produced, as well as the Ti and CF. Most of the well heeled, on the heavy side, rec riders I know like the Ti and CF but very few, myself included would ever ride an aluminum...just rides too rough. I figured that you fly weight racers were the target, and I guess you're responses pretty much are in agreement with that concept.
Thanks for you're responses.
The reason I ask...Thoth2
May 29, 2002 9:22 AM
Aluminum is a wonderful material. My Bianchi is aluminum and it rides very nicely, perhaps not as well as a Litespeed or a Seven. My old Klein was a jackhammer. The new QCarbon is on my dream list. When I was riding the Klein, I was 225lbs. I am now 158 (10 more to go). I suppose that my weight had something to do with the frame's ride, but only because it took me so much longer to get home then.
BTW, Look at the Merkcyxzwvy (how do you spell his name?) Team SC - its Alu-Sc and they rode that thing in the Paris-Roubaix. My friends who have them say they are dreamy, and not all of them are skinny. There's so much variation in frames and concepts that you just have to ride them to see if you like them regardless of how much you weigh.
If money were no object...brider
May 29, 2002 10:31 AM
I'd ride exactly what I ride now, but with a higher end group. I have a custom Ti-Cycles Softride with Ultegra. Best bike I've ever ridden. It's totally custom, from the geometry to the spec. I'd just have more of them. I raced on it all the time (in fact I crashed the first race I had it in). it's not the lightest, but it's the most comfortable, and I didn't give up any climbing performance.
May 29, 2002 11:40 AM
I make over 6gs a month so I have indulged plenty. I ride a 5900. I get the frame and fork for $1800 new ( this years ) I am about to buy a Pro SRM to go along with my shimano. I crashed once this year really hard in a spring classic. My bike went everywhere. Only my pedals and rear der. where a little scratched up. The bike is incredible. Its my 8th OCLV and I will only buy Trek carbon since despite the money I make I cant spend more than $2200 on a frame and fork and feel like its acceptable. C40s are nice, but not that nice compard to a $1800 5900 that weighs less. So, if money is no object, I'll stick with my 5900 since Trek will replace it as they have done once before for free. Its super light, super stiff, and really really good looking! (lol) It makes sense, and I feel good about taking risks on it, its comfortable after 120 miles or 6hours of straight rideing and i have never had a problem with my dura ace after the last 9k miles in 12 months. other than replacing the chain every 45 or so days. Rain,dirt,sun,wind its performed tip top.
I think 7cycles and serrottas are WAY over priced or what you get, imagin thepeople next door paying twice what your mortage is for the same house. It doesnt make sense. Thats what I think of when I see those bikes, all though I am all for art,design and new bikes in the industry
modesty is a virtue...chops
May 30, 2002 4:58 AM
Your post does much to disprove my theory that one must have, at the very least, a remedial knowledge of basic grammar to pull over 6gs a month.
May 30, 2002 5:24 AM
One has nothing to do with the other. I gave my experience and thoughts, if you don't agree with what I said, well thats fine. But being sceptical about my information is easy for you to do I guess. I enjoy this site alot and rarely read over my some spelling errors and incomplete grammar....I was unaware we are being graded. Perhaps you have a little envy and your post refelcts more about who you are than me? In anycase, I really don't care, but stick to the subject ok? By the way its $6200 a month and I am quite good at what I do. I am involved in the world of autism...which I am guessing you know nothing about. But, keep your cras inarticulate comments to yourself
What I race nowSherpa23
May 30, 2002 5:24 AM
I am lucky enough to sponsored by the manufacturer of my choice. My previous frame supplier (a very popular ti manufacturer) just didn't supply me with frames that were what I needed so I decided to switch for this year. I did a lot of research and had lots of meetings with many companies and in the end, I decided to pusue a very difficult route - a carbon bike from custom builder. That would mean going from 3-4 free frames a year from major companies to begging a custom builder to supply me with one frame. In the end, after UCI points and prize money are added up, the best equipment makes enough of a difference for me to forgo 4 aluminum frames/year and 3 OCLV frames/year for one super carbon frame. Many of my colleagues go the team route and they will ride whatever the sponsor is but even after winning tons of races on crap bikes, my opinion is that you need to race on the best frame and if money is an issue, go with Daytona/Centaur with chorus bb and record cranks. That's my opinion and at this point, I don't believe in racing for a pro/elite team and I have made my own "team support" out of ten fantastic sponsors because I truly believe in using the right tools for the job.
And if...Sherpa23
May 30, 2002 5:33 AM
I were not good enough to be sponsored, I would try like hell to afford the frame that I am racing now and probably eat ramen for a month to make it happen. And if I could only have one race bike for ALL conditions and one that would have to go to cobblestone races in Europe several times a year, I would go with Anvil custom steel as that is the best frame for the value anywhere, IMO.