Is there a linear relationship between the price of a road bike and the performance gain that will be derived from upgrading? Clearly there is a huge difference from £500 to £1000 but what about £2500 to £5000?
> (In reply to woolsack)
> I would have thought it is more about whether that "extra second" makes a material difference to you.
> I'm pretty sure for some it does but for others it might simply be ego and status and the fact that they can.
I'm kidding myself that that extra second is the difference between being spat off the back or staying with the bunch. In reality, as much as I want another bike (optimum number n+1 etc), carb loading the day before and shed loads of training is really what I ought to be focussing on
In reply to woolsack: With road racing (depending on the standard you are racing at I guess) the gains you'll get are even fewer from spending more on a bling bike than with something like time trialling; there are just too many other factors which make a big difference in a road race (e.g. tactics, draughting) for the bike to be such a big factor for most amateur racers.
Spend up to £2k and you can get a damn decent race bike (even £1k gets you a pretty good Planet X one). However, there's nothing wrong with having some unnecessary bling...sometimes if you think the bike is faster then it is ;-)
I recently test-rode a £4000 Specialized Tarmac SL4 Pro, of the type that is supplied to race teams. The weather was bad and windy so I couldn't judge the speed but it certainly felt fast. Most of all was the stunning handling; it felt razor sharp and stable as well as very stiff but not punishingly harsh.
My belief is that I might appreciate an expensive bike for the weight and handling but I bet it wouldn't make me faster in a straight line when wind resistance became significant.
And no, even though the shop owner had reduced it to £2000 I didn't buy it; the riding position was far too arse-in-the-air for me.
As others have said, the short answer is no. A £5000 bike isn't ten times as fast as a £500 one. That said, road bikes can roughly be broken down into the following price segments:
£500-£1000 Basic road bikes, with aluminium frames and entry-level wheels and components, starting with Shimano Sora or equivalent, upper end with Tiagra and 105.
£1000-£1500 Entry/mid level bikes. Above the cycle-to-work cutoff, you start getting high-end aluminium frames with 105 or Ultegra and carbon frames are starting to appear, albeit with entry level components and wheels.
£1500-£2500 Mid level bikes. Entry level Carbon frames with 105 or occasionally Ultegra level components, still with basic wheels.
£2500-£3000 Mid/Upper level bikes. Mid level carbon bikes with Ultegra components. Very much in the middle of everything, but often with lower spec wheels.
£3000-£4000 Same as above, but with better wheels. Electronic shifting is starting to appear at the upper end.
£4000-5000 Race bikes. Mid-Upper level carbon frames with electronic shifting of top level mechanical groupsets such as Dura-Ace or Sram RED.
> Spend the difference on a decent wheelset - I've seen £2k bikes with great frames and groupsets but shockingly cheap wheels, eg: 10% of the cost of the bike.
What is a reasonable % for wheels? I have a 1100 euro CX bike with some 105 bits. Wheels are maker's brand & entry level. What would be reasonable to spend on new wheels when I fit road tyres for the summer?
In reply to woolsack: My small amount of experience would suggest to me that the weight of the wheels is the most important thing by far to upgrading a bike. I read somewhere that for walking, saving weight on your boots is equivilent to 5 times the weight saving on your back. I think it could be an even bigger ratio for weight saving on wheels vs frame?
Yep, if you're gonna upgrade, put the money in the wheels. I got a bike through bike to work 18 months ago which was worth £1100, and it's done everything I've wanted it to. I've finally built up the fitness and ambition to benefit from an increase in performance, so I've just ordered some Krysium Elite wheels. Can't wait to use them.
I recently upgraded the wheels on my Ribble Gran Fondo from the original Campag Khamsins to Campag Zondas. Add to that the weight saving from rigid to folding tyres, and I've just knocked the best part of half a kilo off the weight of the bike. They feel really responsive on a climb, however I still get dropped when the rest of the club start going uphill - particularly when I've got cafe legs!
Must get fitter and learn to keep up. Normally by the end of the summer I manage to keep up -- I'm not ready just yet to ride with the rest of the pensioners on their 'over the hill gang' rides!
In reply to woolsack: I am looking at purchasing my first road bike. I was hoping to get something at around £500 - however you've mentioned there's a huge difference between 500-1000. What are these differences exactly? I ride mountain bikes but am doing an olympic triathlon this summer so need to fork out on a road bike.
Hi Col. Just reminded of this. I did a bike test in 2006 with Cycling Weekly. Over a week I rode a Time, Cannondale, Spesh, Look and a Colnago. All cutting edge bikes at the time but I remember commenting how all the bikes had their own great little characteristics but overall I couldn't distinguish how they were all worth 2-3 grand more than my Dolan which i was riding at the time.
You saw the white Dolan I currently ride? (stands me at about 2.5k with the SRAM Red and the 2nd hand Boras) - well I've tried my mate's top of the range Trek with Di2 and my mate's Addict and a few Pinarellos from the shop and even a SKY team bike with Di2 - again my Dolan performs just as good (to me anyway ;-)
In reply to Enty: I was a bit shocked how heavy my Trek was compared with that other guys Scott when we did the 7 cols back in August. I remember him laughing and asking if it was filled with concrete I weighed mine tonight at 9kgs so there might be some in there!
I did my first road race on Sunday so maybe I'm smarting a bit after getting dropped after 30 miles. More training will probably make more difference than 2.5kgs less bike
I have the offer of a pair of Mavic Carbon Cosmic SLR's through someone in the club at not too silly money
Hello mate, If you're got a bike what you can road race on, no amount of gear will make any difference, you more than likely got dropped due to poor positioning and your threshold isn't high enough it's not like time trialing, just keep entering races and you'll soon adapt to the pace, all the rest is bling.
In reply to johnj: I've got a bad case of new toy syndrome
I got dropped because I wasn't fit enough to keep up when they kicked starting the third lap. Up until then I had maintained a position in the first third of the bunch. Next race is on the 21st April and I'm going to fill one of my bottles with energy gel
In reply to woolsack:
Above say £1800.00-2.5k performance gains line flattens as mentioned.
Above that price point personal performance on the day, training and bike fit pack a bigger punch.
On the flip side if your passed by a kid riding a sub £700 bike using flat pedals!! in other words you have to have the fitness to back up the high end bike. imho