The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Spring has sprung (although there is still over a foot of snow on the ground)

A former co-worker of mine just bought a new bike. Nice. The email thread (read from the bottom up).


________________________________

From: AMC
To: Phil Barnes
Subject: RE: Bike advice

Guess what? I am the new owner of a brand new 2007 rocky mountain! I tried it at the store, and its fits well. I am sooo excited. This is my first new bike ever, I have been waiting for this moment for 10+ years! I feel like a kid on dec 24th.

Thanks for all your help Phil, your input really made a difference and helped me decide. I also read a lot on bikes on the net after your email. I am glad I did not go for the 2nd hand cervelo and feel very confident in my choice.

If you go biking in the Gats, let me know. I will be putting a lot of mileage in, specially from april to july.

AMC

________________________________

From: Phil Barnes
To: AMC
Subject: RE: Bike advice


I think that will make a really nice bike.

Sram is a bit new for Road bike components. They've been around for a long time but only making road components for the last few. That said, they are gaining marketshare quickly, and the Sram "Red" group set is fast becoming the group set of choice. The shifting is a bit different than Shimano shifting, in that you press the lever in one click to go down and two clicks to up (or something like that).

I think that the price is excellent - just quickly looking at the going rate for some of the components: Wheels - $625, Tires - $50 each, Group Set - $799: already over $1500, so to get a frame, fork, etc. etc. for that price is a good deal. It will probably sell quickly at that price.

I went to Cycle Power for the first time myself about a month ago. I just went in to look, and the guy was very chatty, and obviously knowledgeable. I have heard good things about them.

One of the most important things with bikes is the fit. If the bike fits properly, you'll be more comfortable and more efficient with it. Thus faster and happier.

The Argon 18 bike looks nice too.

Phil


-----Original Message-----
From: AMC
To: Phil Barnes
Subject: RE: Bike advice

Hi Phil,
I went to 3 bike shops this week-end. I think this is the best "quality-price ratio" bike I can get : http://www.bikes.com/bikes/2007/solo/solo-50ac.aspx
I could have it new, for 1500$ +tx + pedals (I think I may even be able to negogiate a % off pedals). It is a 2007 model. What do you think?
Power cycle was really the most helpful place. I had never been there, and it is a bit of a drive to get there, but it was worth it. I also avoid P####s; I think they give really crappy service and always feel like I am bothering them when I come in.

The other interesting option was :
http://www.argon18bike.com/main.cfm?l=fr&p=01_100&C=2&SC=11&item=Radon (1700 + pedals + tx)

Thanks,
AMC


________________________________

From: Phil Barnes
To: AMC
Subject: RE: Bike advice

Just heading out but...
1. Cervelo makes both Road and Tri bikes. The one that you saw in the ad was a Tri bike, but the Soloist is a Road bike, that can be tweaked for tri.
2. Used vs New: If you can find used that a) Fits and b) is a good price, I say go for it. There are a lot of people that really take care of their bikes. Go to a bike shop first and have them fit you (find out what size frame, and what size handle bars are best for you), and then you'll have this knowledge when you're looking at used bikes.

Phil


-----Original Message-----
From: AMC
To: Phil Barnes
Subject: RE: Bike advice

Wow Phil, thanks, you are really a bike geek (in a good way!). So I get I want a road bike that can accommodate my flirts with tri once in a while, and cervelo is mostly a tri bike, not a road bike, but it is a good bike....

I will do more than keep you up to date : I will visit 2-3 shops as you suggested (sounds stupid, but I didn't even think of that since I was thinking 2nd hand) and email you with more questions and advice! I will have a bunch by next Monday.

Again, what is your feeling on used vs new? A higher quality used or new?

AMC


________________________________

From: Phil Barnes
To: AMC
Subject: RE: Bike advice

Hey! Nice to hear from you.

The Cervelo is a nice bike (I have one too, the P2K); however, it is really a triathlon bike, and is not too practical for group riding (Rideau Lakes), but would be perfect for Triathlon (Ironman). Triathlon bikes are not very comfortable unless you are in the aero bars, and they don't handle very well unless you are going straight. So you have a bit of a dilemma.

Some insight on the ad:
1. Cervelos are great bikes
2. Cervelos (especially the P3) can be a bit tricky to fit; and 54cm may be too big for you. If I recall correctly, you're probably around 5'8", and I think that would put you in a 52cm (or less) for a comfortable aerodynamic fit on a P3.
3. The (integra) group set is probably an Ultegra group set which is very good (2nd from the top of the line)
4. The cassette is 11-23, which you will probably hate if you want to do Gatineau Park - you'll want to change that to a 12-25 or 12-27 if you like hills.
5. 650c wheels are fine (my Cervelo has 650 wheels), they are a little smaller physically but are not the current standard. Most wheels now are 700c; this means finding 650 tires and tubes is a little harder, and finding "race-wheels" will be a little trickier too.

I think what you want to look for is a good road bike, that you can adjust to be good for triathlon (change seat position, and add aero bars).

You can get a brand new Cervelo Soloist for about that price, but you'll probably want to upgrade the wheels and add aerobars, so that would put you at about $2500; oh, and you'll probably have to go on a 6 month waiting list to get it.

Really, you should go and visit the bike shops. I think you'll be able to find what you need for your budget. Prices have come down a bit lately. Also, there are a many good Canadian bikes out there now: Argon, Guru, Opus, Cervelo.

As far as components - I would suggest at least an Ultegra and 105 mix; make sure that it has good brake calipers and pads (the part next to the wheel) sometimes they sub in cheaper Tecktro brakes that are crap; if possible get double compact cranks (instead of triple). Don't get hung up on frame material. Aluminum frame is fine, most (if not all bikes now) have carbon fork and seat post anyways. If you can get Mavic Kyserium wheels instead of Aksium; or even Shimano Ultegra wheels - that would be better too.

The industry standard is now 10 speed components (instead of 9 or 8); and if you have the choice, go with 10 speed, as replacement parts will be more readily available.

Reputable bike shops: the important thing is that you are properly fitted for the bike, and that the bike is adjusted to optimize position. I would recommend the following places: Cycle Logik (http://www.cyclelogik.com/), Cycle Power (http://www.cyclepower.ca/), Full Cycle (http://www.fullcycle.ca/) and the Cyclery (http://www.thecyclery.ca/). Resist the urge to go to P####s... I've had only so-so service from them.

From what I've heard, there's not much 'wiggle-room' in the price of bikes, profit margins are pretty low. BUT - you can probably negotiate more on add-on components: aero-bars, pedals, water bottles, computer etc.

Keep me updated! I think I'm as excited as you are.

Phil



-----Original Message-----
From: AMC
To: Phil Barnes
Subject: Bike advice

Hi Phil,
Long time since I heard from you. How are you? I hope things are going well with your family, work and training. Anything new? I was hoping to get some advice from you. I want to change my bike. I purchased mine 2nd hand in 1998, and like everyone, I have wished for an awsome bike for many years, but there is this thing called money and budget... and I still have my 2nd hand Giant. I really want to make the move. I have a couple of nice projects on the way for the summer and another bike would.... help (RLT in June, and ultra-ironman as a team in July). A 2nd hand bike is probably my best option since I don't want to go over 2000$.

I was initially looking at :
For Sale: Cervelo P3 54cm 650 price: $1900.00 -Cervelo P3 54cm 650 with less than 500km on frame with full integra group -Italia GEL saddle with carbon seat post and seat attached 2 water bottle holder -Profile Design carbon X triathlon bars -FIR SRG 30 training wheels with Michelin Pro tires and 11-23 cassette Equipment is in mint condition. Ask anyone who knew me how I well I took care of my stuff. Bike was not used last season at all. Excellent deal at $1900.00. Pedals not included.....it's a good deal...take it! call or email me at ####.#####@####.## - ###-###-####

But after Jen T. comments (and recommendation to talk to you), I felt that maybe I was getting excited over this bike while I sould be considering many more options, specially since I am not bike geek. Considering my price range (2000$) and the fact that I don't really tri anymore, I just do "fun suff sometimes related to tri, sometimes not" (basically, I need something not too specific), what would you recommend I look for in a bike?

New vs 2nd hand
Brands
Components
Etc.
MANY THANKS.

AMC