Monday, March 15, 2010

Budget Racer

It's the start of a new racing season (more on that later) which has me thinking about new racing bikes. There were several new ones at yesterday's start line. Steeds that had been put together over the winter, polished and shined up to be brought out to impress and maybe inpire more dedicated training. I love my bike, but I can't - and really, what man can - help thinking about a new one.

Obviously, in a money is no object world I can think of a lot of nice bikes I wouldn't mind riding, but I'm going to try limiting this post to bikes at $3,000 or under. Cheating in a couple of areas, I'm going to assume that existing race wheels can be swapped over, saving money there. Saddle too.

#1. I keep coming back to Cannondale's CAAD range. I just don't think that from a value for money perspective that it can be beat. Sure, it's aluminium, but I think a good metal bike is better than a bad carbon bike. It's also less likely to die a sad death in a crash. The CAAD9 4 version is equipped with a mix of Sram Rival and force and has a BB30 bottom bracket - all for $1,800. That price leaves you plenty of room to swap in some nice bars, stem and seat post and still be right around two grand. Throw on your own wheels and it's ready to go. I found these two online that have been nicely speced.

Can't tell which I like more, the white or the black...

#2. Ridley Damocles. This one is a little more, but still a good deal. Before I say anything else I going to cite two references for this bike. 1) Brendan Quirk, the man at the worlds best bike shop chooses this bike to ride from all the bikes available at his impressive store, and equips their semi-sponsored team with them. 2) Pozzato rides for the Ridley sponsored Katusha, and of all the bikes available chooses and wins on their 'third tier' frame.

It's a very cool bike, and if you buy it without wheels and with Sram Rival and 3T bars, stem and seat post it's going to come in right at $3,000.

#3. Pinarello FP3. Looks great. Pinarello geometry. Will always be cool. Fully equipped with Force, Rival and FSA parts for $3,200. Say no more.

#4. Willier Mortirolo. This frame is going for $1,200 right now and while it's slightly heavier due to less expensive carbon fibre, it shares a lot with the Le Roi model that took Ballan to Worlds victory in 2008. Again, go with Rival and this is around $2,700. Or, with some savings gained from the frame's price spring for some Campagnolo Athena 11 speed and keep the Italian theme going.

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