Upgrading my road bike

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Upgrading my road bike

Postby BionicW » Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:53 pm

Hello, new to this forum and would love to meet some other female cyclists who are on the road.

I have a 2009 Alchemy WCR bike that I'm planning to upgrade - I'm looking for a full carbon bike and perhaps a better gearset than Shimano 105. My issue is that there are so many different bikes out there - where do I begin.

I'm upgrading from the Alchemy which I got from a friend as it's not quite the right fit for me and I want to start getting more serious and do some crits and road races.

Thanks
BW
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by BNA » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:50 pm

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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby Eleri » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:50 pm

Hi BW and welcome!

Where are you located?

And are you tall, short or somewhere in-between. You might not need a Women's Specific Design so don't feel restricted by that unless you are small.

I race crits and road and I have Shimano Ultegra on my racing bikes. It's wheels that really make a difference, especially in crits. It's worth investing in a pair of lightweight wheels.

And get a bike that fits of course.
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby marinmomma » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:45 pm

Plus one to what Eleri wrote.

Bike Exchange is your friend in the search for a new bike, trawl through the site to get an idea of what bike/s you like the look of, and an idea of the price, narrow things down and go do the rounds of the bike shops in your area.
A test ride is a must and a good bike fit too when you have found 'the one'!

Good luck with the search.
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby gururug » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:18 am

-Are you small(er than most)?
-Budget?
-Can you afford to fix it if you break it?

If fit is not an issue, it's likely that your decision will be 95%, budget / aesthetics. So as mentioned, start with bikeexchange and search for a certain "price range" in "road/women" and post a couple of names back here to get some feedback on the models.

Don't forget to enjoy the process and don't expect it to be quick. And never, NEVER, listen to 1 sales person.

Good time of year to be in the market ;). All the best with your search!
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby BionicW » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:44 pm

Thanks so much for your responses. I'm about 5'5" and 60kg. I have a short torso and long legs.

To give you a snapshot of progress so far, I seem to be stronger at putting out more power on the flat than say a hill climb and according to my Coach am sitting around a high D/C grade (I've only been training one month). So I guess I want a bike that will help me play to my strength and be sympathetic to my weaknesses :)

Was wondering where the 'money' went in bikes. From what I see, it's the gearing and as Eleri says, the wheels. I'm currently using a Shimano 105 gear set (not compact) and am thinking of going compact gearing with my next bike.

I'm just overwhelmed by all the brands out there - is there any one company that does women's bikes better than others.
Thanks so much
BW
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby marinmomma » Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:50 pm

I think that Specialized do WSD bikes quite well, there is a women's version of the men's road bikes with similar gear specs to the men's.
Although the 2013 versions appear to have more girlie colors used in the paint compared to recent years...might appeal to some but not all....like me!
Specialized have good WSD saddles too...I bought a Dolce to use as a commuter and the saddle has been great from the first ride...I also have their Jett saddle on my Scott and it will come over to the next bike!

Avanti, Giant, Scott and Trek all have a good range of WSD bikes too.

A compact set up will be helpful on the hills but if you are powerful on flats or enjoy a quick descent you may run out of gearing with the compact, especially as you get stronger... do you have lots of hills in your area?

specialized have a mid-compact gearing on some of their top range Amiras which is good for a strong woman rider, in my opinion!

Good luck!
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby Mulger bill » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:19 pm

BionicW wrote:I'm just overwhelmed by all the brands out there - is there any one company that does women's bikes better than others.
Thanks so much
BW


Tread carefully here BW, more than one of the so called WSD bikes are little more than pastel livery and slightly down specced components with a heavier swing tag. There is no guarantee that WSD will suit you. Have you at least tried an online calculator to get a rough idea of the numbers you should be looking at before test riding?

Shaun
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby Eleri » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:44 pm

If you are slow on hills, then you might be better at crits which really don't have hills to speak of in my experience. ie you never need your small chain ring.

I'd advise against getting compacts for crits because if you are a strong sprinter, then you'll run out of gears at the top end. And you won't need the main advantage of a compact which is lower gearing.

For road races, on the other hand, you will often find hills and you might need a compact ... perhaps. I'm assuming you will work on getting better at hills.

So, if you want the same bike to both things it's probably a matter of working out what you are going to do most of and getting your bike around that. For crits, the bike and rider are about half the equation I reckon. Tactics is the other half!

But good light wheels will help you in crits AND road races. If you have to choose, I think invest in wheels rather than a fancier groupset. I love riding on my race wheels, so much more acceleration!

I can't advise on bike brands, but I see a few women racing on Specialised Amira. Presumably they fit them.

If you are small in the torso and long in the legs, it may be that some of the WSD will work for you. Make sure you aren't stretched out on the bike and that you get the top tube length right. Don't compromise on that in my experience. Your performance will suffer if you can't breathe!

But rather than settling on a particular brand, you could go to a trusted bike shop and get them to help you find one that fits. Like others say, it won't necessarily be a WSD.
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby BionicW » Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:12 pm

Hi Lisa,
Just had a look at Specialized Amira on line. From my limited experience the specs look really good. My coach owns an Avanti dealership. I just want to test ride brands other than Avanti to be completely sure I am getting the bike that is right for me. And just as an aside, the coach has never forced the idea of Avanti on me at all.

Shaun,
No I haven't looked at calculators but that is my next step. I've been having a good look around the forums - this is my second bike and my plan is to get something really decent that will keep me happy for a long time. I'm budgeting 2000-3000 at this stage and hope I can get something good for that price.

Thanks Eleri,
That info is really helpful. The bike I currently own was a freebie and has never been quite the right fit (I'm not sure if too long or short for me but the LBS tipped the handlebars back). It's not terrible, but not optimal either. I don't want to develop bad habits or imbalances because I've had the wrong fit. Thanks also for the wheel information. I'm hoping that a bike upgrade to the right fit will help my performance even more. That said I've only been seriously at this for a month or so (have been doing a weekly ride for about seven months prior) and really enjoying it!

BW
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby marinmomma » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:28 am

+1 to what Shaun and Eleri have written.
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby BionicW » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:43 pm

Quick update - I'm going to Cycle Dynamics for a pre purchase bike fit. Now I've been training another month or so, I'm discovering I've got a lot of power and speed on the flats (can take out the younger riders easily) but no grunt up a hill :)

Will come back and update on my purchase!
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby marinmomma » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:52 pm

BionicW wrote:Quick update - I'm going to Cycle Dynamics for a pre purchase bike fit. Now I've been training another month or so, I'm discovering I've got a lot of power and speed on the flats (can take out the younger riders easily) but no grunt up a hill :)

Will come back and update on my purchase!


Looking forward to seeing/reading what you bought.
You sound like me, getting way better on the flats and sprinting but feel like a failure in the hills.... :roll:
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby Parker » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:53 pm

If I was going to buy a WSD bike I'd buy a Specialized Amira Pro, it's better than all the others out there
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby marinmomma » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:58 pm

Parker wrote:If I was going to buy a WSD bike I'd buy a Specialized Amira Pro, it's better than all the others out there


I'd would have agreed with you but have you seen the 2013 version???
I really don't like the look of it, sadly!
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby Parker » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:09 pm

marinmomma wrote:
Parker wrote:If I was going to buy a WSD bike I'd buy a Specialized Amira Pro, it's better than all the others out there


I'd would have agreed with you but have you seen the 2013 version???
I really don't like the look of it, sadly!

It rides to well to look at the paint job, it's the one bike I'd buy regardless of the colour.
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby marinmomma » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:42 pm

I like the S-works frame set though, there's something about a black and white frame that does it for me!
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby BionicW » Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:49 pm

It was a really interesting experience - my personal issues, plus completely personalized geometry then matched up with potential brands and models.

I got matched up with a Cannondale SuperSix and Avanti Questa (and Cervelo if I was really looking to go the whole hog). At this stage looks like I'm going for the Questa 3 - so if anyone has any experience with it, please chime in!
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby BionicW » Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:50 pm

Parker wrote:If I was going to buy a WSD bike I'd buy a Specialized Amira Pro, it's better than all the others out there


Hey Parker, I did look at this bike but unfortunately the geometry of it isn't going to suit my body. It's a good looking bike though!
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby Parker » Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:03 pm

BionicW wrote:It was a really interesting experience - my personal issues, plus completely personalized geometry then matched up with potential brands and models.

I got matched up with a Cannondale SuperSix and Avanti Questa (and Cervelo if I was really looking to go the whole hog). At this stage looks like I'm going for the Questa 3 - so if anyone has any experience with it, please chime in!

Cannondale SuperSix over the Avanti, the frame on the Six is by far superior to the Avanti, Avanti is commonly a cheaper frame with better parts.

BionicW wrote:
Parker wrote:If I was going to buy a WSD bike I'd buy a Specialized Amira Pro, it's better than all the others out there


Hey Parker, I did look at this bike but unfortunately the geometry of it isn't going to suit my body. It's a good looking bike though!


I'm curious as to what didn't fit?
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby BionicW » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:23 pm

Seat angle was too sharp with a combination of other factors with the Specialized. I like the look of them though, but this is my long term bike so I want to get it right!
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby Parker » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:44 pm

BionicW wrote:Seat angle was too sharp with a combination of other factors with the Specialized. I like the look of them though, but this is my long term bike so I want to get it right!

It is a racing bike
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby moosterbounce » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:24 pm

Perhaps too aggressive? The position I mean!!

Not Parker...she's not aggressive (unless it's about my driving!!).
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby Eleri » Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:43 am

BionicW wrote:Seat angle was too sharp with a combination of other factors with the Specialized. I like the look of them though, but this is my long term bike so I want to get it right!


So, how did that make you feel? DId you feel like you were pitched too far forward and down to low?

It might be that you need to work on your core strength and flexibility. It makes a surprising amount of difference to a bike. What is always hard is getting a bike now when your body will change so much as you ride more. It changes everything particularly if you build your core strength.

But - do get a bike that fits. Just don't expect that the set up and maybe even the bike will last you forever. Believe me it won't!

Says the woman with 5 bikes - but MIss!! I ride them all!! :-)
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby Parker » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:58 am

moosterbounce wrote:Perhaps too aggressive? The position I mean!!

Not Parker...she's not aggressive (unless it's about my driving!!).

FYI... I have read this
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Re: Upgrading my road bike

Postby BionicW » Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:22 pm

Eleri wrote:
BionicW wrote:Seat angle was too sharp with a combination of other factors with the Specialized. I like the look of them though, but this is my long term bike so I want to get it right!


So, how did that make you feel? DId you feel like you were pitched too far forward and down to low?

It might be that you need to work on your core strength and flexibility. It makes a surprising amount of difference to a bike. What is always hard is getting a bike now when your body will change so much as you ride more. It changes everything particularly if you build your core strength.

But - do get a bike that fits. Just don't expect that the set up and maybe even the bike will last you forever. Believe me it won't!

Says the woman with 5 bikes - but MIss!! I ride them all!! :-)


No, flexibility is fine, but I do have some long term core issues.

Thanks for the input Parker. It is appreciated. I think that as I become more experienced, I'll settle into a more aggressive posture.
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