Does anyone ride an Elite Tri Bike? I am likely to be investing in one soon and wondering which component package to get? My daughter will help pick the custom paint job as she has a good eye : )
There were a couple of Elite bikes at the last race I did in RI and they look pretty nice in person. I have never riden one, so I can't speak for its performance. What is making you consider getting an Elite? Are the frames custom sized (a la Guru), because the framesets seem pretty pricey.
Yes, it is a custom made frame and I also want to get a bike made in the USA - totally made in the USA - not just designed here. My tri coach rides one and loves hers as well. She recommended Elite to me. I am wondering what components to add - those can really top off the bike on the high end. Wondering what to add now and what would be ok to switch out later without too much hassle and additional expense. I will definitely wait on the wheels and just get the wheels that are included - waiting on Zipps later, much later. Custom paint has its appeal too : )
Sounds like your daughter has worked on her sales pitch about that paint job! As for components I have only ever riden Dura Ace and really like everything that gruppo has to offer. I know some folks swear by SRAM, but I can't attest to its performance. Although I believe SRAM is made in the USA so you might want to consider sticking with that theme...
SRAM is a US company, but the parts are still made at factories in Taiwan and China. So I think you are basically out of luck on the groupset if you want American made.
That said, Rival with the TT500 shifters/brakes functions every bit as good as Red with the TT900 carbon flashy parts, it's just heavier. I've got Rival/Force/TT500 (had to get a Force crank because there is no Rival BB30 crank) on my tri bike and Red/Force on my road bike and both shift great. The lower end stuff is really just as functional and it's a good way to keep the cost down if you are pushing your budget.
I ride an Elite T-class 2003 that I bought off of eBay in 2004 without knowing anything about tri bikes, components, bike sizes, etc. I love it. When I was doing tris more often, Elite Bicycles would be at Columbia, Eagleman, some NA Ironmans, and tune up Elite bikes for free. David Greenfield would remember me not by name, but by my bike. I have friends in Boston who went to Philly to get fitted to their bikes and they love them.
My bike is full Dura Ace, but beyond that, I don't know know much more about component packages. David - ownever of Elite - is super detailed when fitting bikes, and knows his stuff. If you're not sure what to get, work with him and see what he suggests so you get what you want.
i have heard from friends that ride elite bikes that they are completely happy with them. Then again would you expect them to say otherwise?
if you can take a test ride on a stock elite and see how it is for you.
honestly once you start spending upwards of 2000 and up on a bicycle it gets harder and harder to find a bike with glaring weaknesses. The only major weaknesses at that point will have to deal with whether th bike fits you or not and with custom if done correctly should not have that problem.
as far as components, i personally like shimano products as most of the parts are pretty easy to get at most bike shops around the country and the world should that be an issue when traveling. the difference between dura ace and ultegra is not that much but the price difference is significant. i think someone had a thread here basically saying what is different and its mainly weight (dura ace is slighty lighter) and materials used (dura ace uses better bearings and materials) when compared to ultegra and you can do the same thing when going from ultegra to 105. bottom line moving from ultegra to dura ace won't make you faster but if you can afford it and want it get it.
as far as sram i personally don't like the shape of the brake hoods so didn't get that for my bike, also i like the more quiet sound of shimano shifting. these are only personal preferences so choosing one group over another is like asking which car is best to get, you have to really make your own decision but sram/shimano/campy all make great group sets you can win a tour de france on any of them, so there is not "best" brand.