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bike shopping

2006-02-26 22:06:47.483977+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

Charlene's over in the central valley, and she paid a visit to her older brother who's an avid cyclist. So he asked if I was up for this year's Climb to Kaiser. When I described yesterday's ride to her, she said "we should budget for another bike for you".

I sent a taunting email to the hiking list yesterday, the proper response to which would have been "let's do Temelpa or Big Rock Ridge" (both of which are steep sustained climbs), but not only was there no testosterone fueled competitiveness in response, nobody wanted to hike this morning. So I made a run out for some groceries and stopped in several different bike stores.

The first thing that struck me: Bike salespeople get a credibity boost if I get the impression that they ride. You don't have to regale me with your exploits of 25,000 vertical feet in a day, but don't do the "somewhere between audiophile and Comic Book Guy" thing. Especially not if you're trying to sell athletic gear.

So... In at least the last 15 years, I've done two over fifty milers, one on my $20 garage sale special and one on a steel frame with shifters on the downtube. I could feel the difference between those, and I can feel the difference between those bikes and our Cannondale tandem, but...

Do any of y'all have experience with modern frame and wheelsets? If I go new, I know I want the Shimano Ultegra 10 speed drive train, but I don't know if I want double or triple in the front. What I really don't know are issues of frame and wheel choice. It seems like the most efficient frames are aluminum, and fairly light for their price, but I haven't, and probably won't have a chance to, put 70 or 80 miles on an aluminum frame, a carbon fiber frame, or one of the two hybrid styles, to see what the ride differences are like over the longer term.

So, can anyone comment on that? And tell me if I should go for new 10 speed components, or wait for something used and 9 speed to come around? And any experiences of double vs triple? And ramble on wheelsets a bit?

[ related topics: Dan's Life Bicycling Bicycling - Tandem ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-02-26 22:19:36.940537+00 by: Dan Lyke

Further comments and qualifications:

#Comment Re: made: 2006-02-27 00:41:15.76898+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

Okay, what I'm reading (including Sheldon Brown's notes on frame materials) tells me that sticking with an aluminum frame is just fine, if I find the ride is too rough I should go for lower pressure tires or a different saddle. Yes, carbon fiber does have some damping effects, but especially in the rear the other factors are major overrides.

It seems like the Cannondale CAAD series of frames are the most respected all-aluminum frames. Since I've already decided on the drivetrain (Shimano, because I want to reduce the proliferation of shifting systems I ride with, Ultegra because I know at least one 105 owner who's whistful for Ultegra, but the satisfaction difference between Ultegra and Dura-Ace seems to be strictly weight, in fact in the 10 speed department there's some lore that claims that because the Ultegra was the second 10 speed design some things were learned from the Dura-Ace foray), the remaining decision is wheelset.

If I go new, sounds like a Cannondale R1000 from Sunshine Bicycle Center.

Gonna keep watching Craigslist bikes for a while, though.