I am a NTP'er and am in the market for my first real quality road / entry-tri bike and was being upsold this morning by a kind bike sales association espousing the merits of the 2010 Trek Madone 6.9 bike (with a hefty starting price of $3,175). I was hoping to learn more about bikes at the Conte's event on Saturday but alas, I'll have to wait. In the interim, I'd love to hear people's views on the Trek Madone 6.9 vs. two other bikes I was told to consider, namely the Scott CR 1 Pro and the Specialized Raubiax. In particular, any obvious downsides to the Trek (other than the price)?
i was actually considering this bike myself as an upgrade. from the specs on the sheet and the rep of trek its definitely a step or two above "a first real quality road bike".
i'm not sure where youa re geting the 6.9 number and the starting price of 3100 but according to the wegsite its a few dollars more than that unless you you thinking of another bike or have a really really good deal on a bike.
the only thing with the Trek bikes is that the headset is one of the tapered ones that some bike companies are going to, meaning 1.5 inches bottom and 1 1/8 on the top, so replacements down the line you will have to make sure trek is still stocking parts years down the line. but from what i hear this shouldn't be an issue but something to keep in mind.
all these bikes are by reputable companies you really can't get a bad bike in the 3k price range at all, these things have technology in them that 5 years ago you were winnign the tour de france on.
x2 on what Justin said
Not sure where you are getting your price from but according to its website, the 2010 Madone 6.9 retails for $8,609.99. I think that when you get to that price range (or even the $3k price range for that matter), for most people, the bike is far more advanced than the rider. In other words, whatever downsize that it has, a non-podium seeking person won't notices it or sees it.
It's a beautiful bike. Get it if you can afford it :)
On a side note, you are going to become a triathlete ... nothing sexier than a tri bike :) This one is cheaper and sexier. That's what it's about after all.
Thank you for the two replies. The Madone, as I understand it, comes in several configurations. The Trek website lets you build your own bike and offers an authorized deal price. However, if you find a place that can sell it MSRP, you can knock about $400 off of the bike. To get it down to the $3,175 price assumes that you are doing the minimum build with regard to the optional higher-end components.
But you make a good point, if I am going to be "all in" anyway on a "tri bike," well, I might as well just get a real tri bike.
You are definitely getting an upsell if someone is trying to convince you of a Madone 6.9 as your first road bike. The biggest differences between their series are the carbon fibers, with the 6 series being their highest quality (all hand made in limited quantities). After much shopping last year, I bought the 5.5 as a reward for 2 Ironman races. I liked it much better than the other road bikes I tried (Specialized Roubaix, Tarmac and some Cervelos) because of the carbon stiffness and responsiveness. Not sure if it would be as noticeable without a lot of miles on a bike, which might obviate the need to go higher than the 5 series. (I didn't allow myself to test ride the 6 series because of the price). I'm, like the others, surprised that you could get the 6.9 at that price even as a frameset, but I would also recommend considering the components pretty carefully at these price points.
All of that being said, I LOVE my Madone - possibly even more than my Felt tri bike - and they are great bikes. However, if this is your first bike, I highly recommend going to the bike buying clinic and getting more information. I won't get into the perennial road vs. tri for first bike debate (although I fall in the road camp), but the clinic will give you the most information and probably save you a lot of money and headaches.
my two cents: i'll never buy a trek bc of what Trek&Lance did to Greg Lemond. Lemond was a much better all-around rider and his bikes were the sheet!
If you have the coin to consider these bikes "entry-level", my hat's off to you. I would not recommend that you spend that kind of money on a bike as someone new to triathlon unless the cash is no big deal; I'd take some time to learn more about the bikes before you put down a lot of money on startup equipment. (For an NTP'er buying their first bike, the road vs. tri question is a tough one (I'm in the buy-a-road-bike camp).)
One additional point to consider is that these bikes all have different geometries, and without test riding them, you have no idea whether you'll find them comfortable to ride all day or if they'll just be a very expensive clothes rack. I'd wait until the NTP workshop before pulling the trigger on anything -- it's not like the snow/ice is going away soon.
Just like others say buy what you can afford. If you can afford a lot very very easily then I would suggest that you goto a custom bike fitter or very high end shop to cater to you needs it would make the most sense in all honesty.
Here is why as others say this is not an entry level bike. This is basically the top of the line materials that trek makes there is no more upgrade left. Also unless you are somewhat experienced with cycling it's very very suble differences between this carbon a vs b vs c vs d is somtimes not worth the extra cash unless you can really tune into how each one gives different road feedback. But again if you canafford it get it by all means.
Afterall we should all be so fortunate.
Thank you all for these great suggestions. Is it obvious I am a sucker for the upsell? I am definitely entry level, and I do want to talk things a bit more slowly than the $4k "entry-level" bike. That said, I do hope this snow abates a bit so I can attend one of these bike buying clinics.
But based on these responses, I haven't heard any thoughts on Scott's CR series. Given the price point (sub $2,000), it seems that bike might be more my level (assuming the geometry works out).
Now have we have established that Dan is not short for Daniel Synder, his son, or his dad, we can talk in layman's term. You should bitch slap whoever it was that sold you that Madone 6.9 Kool-Aid as
1. an "entry level" bike. That 6.9 frameset probably puts you in the top 10 percentile at Ironman races ... let alone the NTP class. There is nothing entry about it.
2. a good first bike for a newbe. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying a nice expensive toy if you can afford it. Money is all relative. $4k-$8k to me is expensive but to the Daniel Synders of the world, that's pocket change. However, if you are not in that category and someone is trying to sell you that Kool-aid, you need to stop asking that person for advice. They are either playing with you or want your money more than you do.
3. can be had, even with the minimum gears, for $3100. Well, it can if it came out of the back of a van. Like Anathea said, the frameset for that alone would go northbound of $3k.
Let's talk bike porn. This is my bike . It's an entry level tri bike that has gotten me through a bunch of half Ironmans and an Ironman. It retails for $1500 but I got it for less than $1k. The wheels are rentals but the ones that came with it ain't bad either. This is just to give what the layman's definition of an entry level tri bike is.
You can Google all kinds of reviews on different bike brands. Those reviews can give you better technical analysis than any here can or has the time to write up for you. I think the key is to go out there and ride them to see how they fit you. Go to the bike clinic and let them show you the kind of things that you need to look for when buying a bike. Go out buy the bike that makes you most comfortable and what you think looks the best. A good looking bike that turns you on will make you want to ride it more which in turns will make you a better biker. I know that sounds vain but that's a fact :)
By the way, even though I'm in the tri bike camp, a road bike is probably (I say probably) a better path to take for a beginner. You can get a lot of good brand new entry level road bikes for under $1k. Between the $1.5-2k range, you are mostly buying more gears than frame when compared to the sub $1k bikes. Also, if you've signed up to get a mentor for NTP, run your selections and why you chose them through that person before purchasing ... just in case your Madone 6.9 friend decides to whisper sweet nothing into your ears again.
I'm not sure what "your level" means (you could be a strong cyclist for all I know) but I can tell you that most of the people in the NTP class won't be showing up at any rides with a $2k bike. *Most* of the new triathletes who do sprints or oly only races do not show up game day with $2k bikes. Most people are like Anathea. They bought something under $1k for their first bike to see how it goes and whether they like the sport or not. It won't be until later when they are either comtemplating a half/full Ironman or have completed one before they "reward" themselves with something nicer. There are very few people on the planet who can look at a $1k bike next to a $2k bike and can tell the difference or can tell you why one is more expensive than the other. Don't buy the hype.
Good luck ... post some bike porn pics when you've made your purchase :)
i hope you dont feel like people are beating up on you. i was in your shoes a few months ago, well, to a lesser extent. i was trying to choose btwn a carbon frame/ultegra and aluminum/ 105. looking at bike porn will make you wanna spend 3k on a bike that might shave a few minutes off of a 3-6 hour long race. what i realized, after riding a trainer with a wattage meter and then comparing the power that i was producing to semi-pros or club riders, was that i was still 2 years of hard training away from needing a really hot bike. it's the engine that matters.
so i got one similar to that in tuan's photo. my only complaint is that it's no good in 30 inches of snow:)
What Tuan said.
Re the Scott and Specialized, the CR1 and Roubaix have a wide price range, largely dependent on what level of components are on it -- this means that you don't necessarily compromise a lot by buying a lower-level model, and upgrading in the future is pretty easy. Think of them as the equivalent of "trim options" when you buy a car, except that most of the differences are components, which you can swap out as you like, e.g., handlebars, brakes, saddle. There are some nuances to this general rule, but they should go over that at the workshop.
The entry-level models for the CR1 and Roubaix would be fine choices, as would the 4.5 Madone (MSRP $2K vs. $8.6K for the 6.9 Madone), or bikes from folks like Cannondale, etc.
Keep in mind the current aluminum frames are just as good as many of the carbons frames out there....alot of people actually prefer the aluminum frames for road feel.
Regardless which you end up with, I agree with the others, try to match your ability levels to what you're riding, and I'd say you would be much happier riding with a better grouppo versus dumping money into a better carbon layup frame when in fact, most riders couldn't tell a difference (myself included). Try to find something with a 105 setup (min) or ultegra. You could run dura ace or another manufacturers higher end group but many require more maintenance and wear quicker and are more expensive to replace should you break something during a race. No one likes to fall over, but it happens...
In the end, guess this sums it up the best: Don't race what you can't replace...
This information has been fantastic. Thank you to all who have responded to this post. And to answer a question from an earlier reply, I am not the "Dan" aforementioned (Dan Snyder?), which is just to clarify that--while I have budgeted some funds toward a bike purchase, that sum certainly isn't limitless, and it will definitely put a crimp in my normal disposable income. I'm prepared for that because I really do want to give the whole triathlon experience a real try. But--as I suggested in my earlier post--I wanted to make sure jumping into that bike class (e.g. a Madone 6.9) wasn't the only option.
So it sounds like--pending gathering more information about bikes at the upcoming clinic--I should at least pay some attention to the following bikes:
1) Trek Madone 5.5 / [whatever is the $2k version]
2) Scott CR series
3) Canondale [model?]
Other things to consider: "gruppo" set (Shram, Shimano 105 / Ultegra), bike materials (e.g. carbon fiber). Oh, and also my height: I'm 6'5" As I understand it, some of these manufacturers don't make a frame big enough.
One of the things I was told to beware of is those bike manufacturers out there that don't offer a lifetime warranty for their carbon frames, such as Scott, Giant, and ... Oreba(?). Any thoughts on that?
Bike porn: by the way, I love that term, and I get it. I'll post a pic later, but my only bike right now is a single speed Cinelli that I bought new in 1991 (and have modified since). It's a lovely bike but is not quite up to tris, I'm afraid.
Like the the other poster, I have a Felt S32 - entry level tri bike with great components, have been riding it for three years, lots of miles and I've been pretty happy with it. Will try it on a HIM in June. Got it for less than 1K in 2006.
ok now that you mention height, the one person you want to get an opinion from the club is Herms aka The Herminator.
the reason being he is around your height at 6'5 or 6'6" all i know is that he is literally 1 foot taller than me. if you are built like him, ie, like a pro basketball power forward or pro football defensive end, then you definitely want to hear his opinion as you are right finding the right size for you might be difficult. I know that herms likes cannondales because they make his size and are some of the only frames that can deal with the style of power output he puts out.
i wouldn't put too much stock in companies not offereing lifetime warranties, afterall most companies realize most people upgrade bikes after 5 or 6 years at the higher price points, bc well they can. just go with a company with a good reputation, most of the major brands are all well made.
as another poster mentioned look into some aluminum bikes also. cannondales are great bikes and they are no longer exclusively an aluminum bike company many of their frames are now full carbon or carbon/alum mixes. many people myself included started out on all aluminum cannondales, they are generally tough as nails, true race bikes with a racing geometry and are well made (if you aren't winning races on their bikes its not because of the bike)
like other posters have said don't take our advice as bashing you or saying "you must be rich" just trying to tell you and other new triathletes that you don't have to feel obligated or pressured to spend a small fortune on "go fast stuff" to enjoy and win in the sport.
I'm 6'3'' and ride a Cannondale Six13. They have size 62 frames which should fit you fine. I actually ride on a 58, so I know a 62 would make up for the extra 2 to 3 inches. They are great bikes. Go to Bicycle Pro Shop in Georgetown near the Key Bridge and they should be able to hook you up. They are a Cannondale dealer.