My question to all: for those that made the investment into a tri bike, and one that was on the pricier side of the spectrum, how did you know you were ready for that nice bike (price range $3000+)?
I've been cycling on a 2007 Fuji Roubaix (Ultegra crankset / shifters) since 2009, and since June of this season I've managed to log 100 - 160 miles a week. I love being on the bike, from the athleticism to the maintenance.
I recognize end of the season is typically the best time to invest in a new bike, and I'm looking at a couple of deals I found for the Cervelo S2 / S5. I'd like a bike I could use for tri's and time trials during the next cycling season, although I'd be riding as a rookie next year.
Any wisdom or advice would be awesome.
Are you looking at tri-bikes or road bikes? The Cervelo S2-S5s are road bikes, right?
I have a Cervelo P3 and I adore it. I knew I was ready because I was interested in putting in the time to really work on my biking, and it turns out (who knew??) that the bike was my strength on-course.
I couldn't afford a new one (or couldn't justify it, at least), so I test-rode some new ones and then scoured Craigslist and other resale sites until the one I wanted popped up--year, condition, size, location, price we all contributing factors. Truth: it took about 5 months, but I started in October, so when I got it in February, it was just in time for the new season.
I'm a tall girl, so when I saw the right size pop up, I knew I had to act quickly (pretty much all dudes 5'10-6'0 ride the same size bike as I do). I saw it and called about it immediately and bought it that day.
I'm not suggesting you do this, per se, but give it some thought...
x2 on what Abby says. You specifically mentioned tri bike so as to imply that you are thinking of moving from your old road bike to a true tri bike. The S3/S5 are fine specimen of road bikes, but they're not tri bikes. It's not what one would normally call a time trial bike, not that you can't time trial with it. If you want a tri bike in the Cervelo line up, it's the P-series that Abby mentioned. If you meant just upgrading from an entry bike to a $3k road bike then nevermind what I just said :)
I think that most people upgrade when they have convinced themselves that what they are doing is no longer a fad in their lives. It's something that they've convinced themselves that they will be doing for awhile. Some people upgrade once they've gained enough knowledge about bikes to know what they want or like. Others upgrade as a reward to themselves for training for their first HIM or IM.
I know that I went north of $3k because I'd convinced myself that long course races are in my foreseeable future. I figured that if I'm logging in massive training mileage that a little extra bling bling would make it more enjoyable for me to get out on the road. I had the disposable income so I said "why not?" I figured that I put in more miles on my bike than I do on my car so why not pimp it up a bit and make life more enjoyable. I haven't regretted my purchase for 1 second since I went over to the dark side.
$3k+ is a big chunk of change for many of us, so it's a bit hard to swallow at first. If you tell an ordinary person on the street that your bike is on the north side of $3k, they'd think you're smoking crack. Heck, I thought that I was smoking crack when I purchase my first bike for $1k. However, if it's your hobby and you are passionate about it then it could be a worthwhile investment.
How much money do people shell out for golf equipment? We think golfers are crazy to spend that kind of money on a bunch of metal sticks just like they think we are crazy for spending it on a bike.
Life is short. If you have the passion and you can afford it, why not?
Good advice above.
They basically already said this, but just to emphasize, the only thing I would say is that being "ready" for a new bike has only to do with money and passion, not race results or training or anything else. If you love the sport now and have the spare money available, go for it. I wouldn't even worry about whether you will be with it for the long haul, as good bikes have pretty high resale prices. If you change your mind in a year or two, you can always get rid of the bike without too much financial impact.
i knew i was ready to buy a tri bike when i had enough saved up to buy the tri bike i wanted at the time.
really if you think about it that is the only thing that matters, either you have the disposable income to afford a new bike or you don't.
every other reason we give of why we were ready for a "tri bike" is personal and by no means is any answer the "right" answer for anyone.
I'd like to hear more people chime in on this topic.
Having come from a marathon background where everyone can afford the same shoes, I'm not sure how I feel about buying speed. I read
this study that compared a good road bike to a full TT bike and areo setup and found a huge speed increase given the same watt output -- almost 25 MINUTES for an Ironman and over 5 minutes for an oly. That seems outrageous bordering on unfair.
I'm perfectly comfortable on my entry-level road bike and it has decent components (105). Like any competitor, I want to "do better" but I'm conflicted about investing in a tri bike -- I'm not sure that's the way I want to rank higher. OTOH, tri bikes do seem to have a certain siren song that is hard to resist.
Very conflicted -- please comment!
What I take out of that study is that the cheap aero parts get you most of the way there. Clip on bars and an aero helmet save you more time than a full on TT frame or expensive aero wheels. With some other inexpensive things, I think you can upgrade a road bike to get you 80-90% of the way towards the best TT setup for only 10-20% of the cost. I did this at first, but I eventually didn't want to keep re-arranging my road bike from road to tri mode all the time and needed a dedicated tri ride.
On the other hand, Craig Alexander appears to have broken his contract with Orbea because he felt the Ordu frame (free for him) was holding him back and he wanted to ride a Cervelo P4 (which he had to buy on his own). He then won the Vegas 70.3 championships. So for some people getting that last 10-20% (or in his case more like 1-2%) is very important and worth spending the extra 80-90% on.
There are other (relatively) inexpensive things you can get like good tires/tubes and a rear wheel cover, but I don't want to get too off topic. Maybe that's for another post.
The "fairness" used to peeve me a bit, too, but I guess I decided that it only matters if you are fighting for the podium.... and for many of the elites, they either a) are sponsored and get their bikes free/cheap or b) have decided for themselves that they really love it and want to invest in the bike to get *that* much closer. At the "pro" level, the field is mostly leveled (to the top-o'-the-line stuff).
For us amateur age-groupers, it's different. For "just running," yes, it's true that the difference between the "fast" shoes and the "slow" shoes is probably no more than $50-$100 and could mean several seconds off your time, and running is (therefore) more "accessible" than triathlon. I will not argue that triathlon is particularly accessible. I guess I've just come to accept that's just *the way it is.* Bikes are not cheap. To Brian's point above, it's more about passion and money than anything else... and either you can afford a fancy bike or you can't. And hopefully you're having fun no matter what.
I often joke that the reason that the "older" age groups (like the one I'm in now, F35-59) are faster than the younger groups because people are making enough money that they can buy the best gear. Of course, there are plenty of women younger than me who go faster on less fancy equipment, but you get my point.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, I bought my P3 used as a 35th birthday present to myself. Maybe for my 40th I'll be able to afford a *brand* *new* one. Maybe I will get it just to console myself about having to move up another AG. :)