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What do you ride for crits?(19 posts)

What do you ride for crits?filtersweep
Sep 28, 2002 1:03 PM
Here's my background- I've been riding for years- was into both road biking and mtn biking, since "forever", workout at the gym (all winter), am in great shape, have been very serious about road biking for the past two years, have been averaging about 200 miles/week lately.

I'm considering getting into crit racing next year simply to give myself some more goals and to promote a bit of structure to my riding. Over the summer I'd ride with some cat 3 guys and can hold my own (granted it is not a race, but the speeds bounce around between 20-30mph on a flat route).

My concern is this: at this point I have a very nice road bike that I can ride all day, is very light, and cost a small fortune. I'm thinking that this is not a good starter bike for actual racing... and that I probably don't need the world's lightest bike anyway for the mostly flat courses around here.

How much do bikes get chewed up from racing? How often to riders go down? I'm not that worried about crashing, since in my experience, sliding across the pavement generally means a scratched skewer, pedal, and maybe shifter... but I don't want to "worry about equipment."

Regardless of what people OWN, what do most people actually use for racing? I'm not terribly concerned about comfort for the short distance of a crit. How hard is racing on wheels? I'm thinking of buying something used... and I doubt I'd use it all that much for other purposes since I love my current bike so much... but the other concern is, would I drive myself crazy riding on a different bike? And worse case scenario, the cost of a second bike could approach the cost of replacing my current frame...

Insights? Ideas?
re: What do you ride for crits?McAndrus
Sep 28, 2002 5:47 PM
Others have oodles more racing experience than I but I do have an opinion.

I started racing crits just this year. Until mid-September I was riding them on my carbon Giant CFR and the bike performed very well.

Then I realized that I really enjoy crit racing and thought I should get a bike better suited, so I bought a TCR frame off of eBay and put the bike together. I've ridden two crits on it and it's lived up to my expectations.

I suppose there are other "perfect" crit bikes but I think the TCR might qualify as one. I was also considering a used Cannondale just for this purpose.

I've never crashed in a crit (knock wood) but I've seen them. The last thing I want to do is buy a $4,000 bike and break it. If I break an older TCR or Cannondale then I just replace it.
Interestingfiltersweep
Sep 28, 2002 6:02 PM
I was considering a similar setup- maybe a winter project. I don't feel I need DA or all the carbon I have on my present bike... and I don't need extra wheels. I'm not thrilled about riding aluminum again.

What did you NOT like about your CFR frame for crits?
Slight handling differencesMcAndrus
Sep 29, 2002 5:16 AM
The CFR has traditional double-diamond geometry. It's a model of Giant that is very uncommon so most people don't know what it looks like. Also, its carbon with aluminum lugs. The best reference is that it looks like Look brand bike.

Now, why would a TCR be better for crits than a CFR? Let me start by saying I think very highly of the CFR and don't - for the life of me - know why Giant didn't sell more of them. I've done test-ride comparisons with Trek 5500s and the CFR compares very well. The ride is livelier than a Trek's but not as lively as steel.

I was looking at TCRs because of all the comments I've heard and read about is acceleration ability. The CFR is a great all-day bike and is pretty lively itself in a power climb but the TCR has just that little extra stiffness in the rear triangle. When I'm pounding up some little hill in a crit I can feel the difference - and every bit helps.

Also, I find the TCR pretty comfortable. I'd always ridden carbon or steel and I was pleasantly surprised. I expected to get beaten up by the TCR but I've had it on 50-milers with no discomfort at all. I was going to do a club century yesterday on it to see how it does on long rides but I came down with a head cold. (Rats)

The only complaint I could make on the TCR is that the front end is stiff. I guess this is a good thing but after the first crit my forearms actually ached from the pounding while by back and butt were just fine, thank you.

All-in-all I'm very happy with both bikes. My stable is now complete. (Until the next bargain comes along, anyway :-)).
Good questionRockyMountainRacer
Sep 30, 2002 5:45 AM
I have been riding a Cannondale CAAD4 with 105 for about two years--it's my first road bike. I started crit racing for the first time this year, and used the same bike for racing and training. Recently, I got a new road bike--a Torelli 20th Anniversary steel bike with D/A--and I don't plan to ever race it! I will use the Cannondale as my crit bike now, and just train on the Torelli. I don't want to ruin my beautifull new bike!

Interestingly enough, I ussually had by far the worst bike at the race (even though I'm only Cat 4) with my 105 C'Dale. There are a LOT of people crit racing on titanium Serotta's and Litespeeds and stuff here. However, at the races I have seen crushed carbon Trek's, broken Kryseriums, snapped carbon fork blades, broken steel frames, and many other instances of seriously mangled equipment (and some seriously mangled people as well). I would not want that to happen to my expensive ride! I would definitely consider getting a used aluminum frame bike with 105 for crit racing. You should be able to get one for about $800 to $1000 I would think. I suppose you could swap out your good wheels on it too for the race if you like.
re: What do you ride for crits?scary slow
Sep 30, 2002 9:38 AM
My recommendation would be an aluminum framed bike. They are readily availble and typically cheaper than the other alternatives. Aluminum also typically provides a stiff chasis which is much needed for quick acceleration and sprints. I would also recommend a strong/stiff set of wheels. Nothing scares me more than diving into a corner and the feeling of your wheel squirming all over the place. I would try to set the bike up to match the dimensions of your current bike as much as possible. As far as component groups, pick something you are familiar with, campy or shimano. It always amazes how out of whack things are after a race, shifting, brakes etc.
Controls...shirt
Sep 30, 2002 11:02 AM
A light, cheap AL frame is probably best.

However, my opinion is not to skimp on drivetrain and controls. Tiny shifting and braking problems tend to get amplified in a white-knuckle criterium situation. I'd actually try to save money on the frame but go no less than Chorus/D.A. for your drivetrain.

You can also build up a pretty inexpensive pair of tubulars that will take the corners and accelerate better than any pair of clinchers (don't bother arguing back that clinchers are just as good; I'm unconvincable.)

/shirt
Controls...scary slow
Sep 30, 2002 12:49 PM
I would agree that controls are essential, but the shear cost of replacing DA/Chorus prohibits most from running this setup. Besides that it would kill me to destroy a nice set Campy Carbon levers. I won't arugue that tubs aren't better than clinchers, but screwing around with glueing tires is a pain.
Like I said,...shirt
Oct 2, 2002 3:51 PM
D/A or Chorus. Chorus are alloy, not CF.

I've heard a LOT of bad stuff about Ultegra shifters, which is why I said D/A as a Shimano minimum (and de facto maximum.)

You can screw around with gluing tubies, or you can get a bike shop to do it for you. Get a sponsorship with your LBS and you'll never wash your hands with kerosene again. :-)

/shirt
Controls...RockyMountainRacer
Sep 30, 2002 1:11 PM
Shirt, I would absolutely agree with you that the D/A components stay in adjustment and work much better than the 105 components I have been using. And it is true that having even a small shifting problem can really mess up your race. I would say that the prosepective buyer has to do a personal cost/benefit analysis as to whether or not it is a good idea to use the top-of-the-line stuff in a crit. I for one would love to but could not live with the heart-ache of destroying a $1200 grupo! Maybe if I was a rich silicon-valley computer-jockey yuppie like yourself I could afford to! (just kidding!)
uhm...shirt
Oct 2, 2002 3:49 PM
How can you destroy an entire groupo?
oh, and by the way,shirt
Oct 3, 2002 8:37 AM
I'm an out of work, unemployment-check-collecting, Redding-area voice interface designer who would be happy to make a third of what he used to...

However, the fact remains that cheap s*it always ends up being more expensive.

/shirt
re: What do you ride for crits?Lactate Junkie
Oct 1, 2002 8:22 AM
Never race on anything you are not comfortable destroying at a moments notice. Sooner or later, you will wreak a bike racing.
My thinking...brider
Oct 1, 2002 8:25 AM
If you're concerned about equipment AT ALL, you're not a racer.

I used the same bike for everything -- custom Ti Softride, full Ultegra with SRP Ti bolt kit. Once I'm on the race course, the race is the thing. Never destroyed any equipment in a crash (and I've had a few) beyond working order. For me, finishing was more important than getting the lightest gossamer gear. My wheels are Mavic Open 4CDs laced to either NukeProof or Ultegra hubs, 32 spokes (I did go a bit lighter on the front wheel sometimes, depending on how rough the course was). But I also never worried about it -- I concentrated on racing, not on whether some crash might wipe out my steed.

Smarts and training will make a huge difference in how much flesh and equipment is lost in a pile-up, or in many cases whether you're involved in it at all.
Questions for Briderscary slow
Oct 1, 2002 9:49 AM
If you are racing on a Softride would I be correct in assuming that you are either doing tri's or time trials? Is a Softride/Beam Bike allowed in mass start events i.e. crits or road races? Just curious because I can't ever recall seeing anyone at a crit or road race on a Softride.
Questions for Briderschills
Oct 1, 2002 10:39 AM
The answer is yes. I race a Trek Y-Foil with HED 3 wheels, mainly because it was my on;ly bike for a while, but now because its comfortable, and also because it is sturdy as hell and has a massive bottom bracket support so it is stiff as hell as well.
I stand corrected...thanks!scary slow
Oct 1, 2002 12:51 PM
I stand corrected...thanks!
OK...filtersweep
Oct 2, 2002 4:43 AM
"If you're concerned about equipment AT ALL, you're not a racer."

I guess I'm not made of money...

Seriously, I'd argue that I'm looking for the right tool for the right job.

My point is to get something that I WON'T be concerned about.

"Working order?" I don't even want to deal with cosmetic damage on my current bike.
Say what???shirt
Oct 2, 2002 3:59 PM
"If you're concerned about equipment AT ALL, you're not a racer."

Okay, then ride one of these.