Sunday, May 30, 2010

No Bike Yet

Ironically, when I put the title as No Bike Yet I originally meant that we haven't bought Mr. Darcy a bike yet and then I realized... I haven't gotten to ride my bike yet either.

Mr. Darcy had his 1st TNT training ride on Saturday morning.  He did all 20 miles on his hybrid and said the group averaged about 13 mph, but that at one point they got up to 18 mph on a downhill.  Then he laughed, and said that he felt like he could go faster but that the coach seemed to want to keep everyone together.  To be honest, I was more worried about what his 'nads were feeling like since it looked like he was wearing basketball shorts.  I asked him how he felt in general hoping he'd get the drift, right as he sat down on the chair and I saw peeking out from under the basketball shorts... tri shorts.  The only pair of tri shorts he owns.  And I breathed a sigh of relief as he told me he was tired but felt pretty good.

So after a shower and getting the lilliputians ready, we set off on a quest for a bike.  We got to my LBS (Advanced Cycles) and Mr. Darcy and the shop owner chatted about bikes in our price range and their features.  I had wanted to be in on the conversation but I had to keep the ladies busy.  They found a children's bike that they loved and sat on and pretended to ride (it had training wheels), then they found the stools to spin on, and then Angelfish (I have no idea how she does this, but she does it every time) headed straight for the most expensive bike in the store.  $11K.  I told her she had to back away from the bike because with the state of the stock market I wasn't sure if her college fund could even cover the cost of the bike.  Coach was in the store after a bike ride with her tri team and she thought that was pretty funny.  Coach has 25 people on the TNT tri team this season, which is AWESOME!  Of course, they had 3 bike crashes and 2 flats on their ride so it sounds like she has her hands full too. 

Then we went to Orange Cycle to give them another try because we have heard people say good things about them.  I have to say that knowing about bikes now makes me even more skeptical.  Orange Cycle told Mr. Darcy (while I was lurking in the background with the girls who were sitting in the recumbent bikes on display and pretending they were sunken ships and submarines) that they recommended bikes that were $1500... specialized part carbon and part aluminum with 105 shifters or all carbon with tiagra shifters.  The guy was pushing the all carbon because he said it would be better for long rides because it was more flexible.  I just couldn't get past the notion of an all carbon bike with tiagra shifters.  I mean yes, I get that you can upgrade that stuff, but I just can understand why you would do it to start with lower grade shifters.  But then, I'm kind of that if you're going for the best why sully it up; but if you're in a certain price point get the best of everything within the price point. I told Mr. Darcy that I thought he should get more of a bike like my road bike...part aluminum and part carbon with better shifters and wheel cassette.  Mr. Darcy says he can tell the difference between the Sora shifters and the Tiagra shifters but can't tell the difference between the Tiagra and the 105's.  I find this shocking because, well, I can tell the difference.  BUT, I've also been riding a bit more than Mr. Darcy.  They did have a very sexy looking Cannondale tri, but it was more than twice what we were looking for and the wrong type of bike... On top of it they didn't have Mr. Darcy's size in either of the bikes and seemed only to want to order the size if we were already going to buy the bike.  But how do you test the bike if you can't ride the right size?  Mr. Darcy said that he didn't really like the look of the bikes at Orange Cycle, and I have to say that other than the Cannondale that I liked below, they weren't that sexy.

So then we hit David's Cycling World... the girls fell asleep in the car so I sat with them while Mr. Darcy checked out the Treks.  He got to ride 3 on a trainer since it was raining on and off the entire time.  He said the guy was really nice and took a lot of time to explain how the levels of things went for quality (Sora all the way up to Dura Ace), and really Mr. Darcy's only complaint was about the bike seat.  But he thinks he likes the Fuji better... plus the LBS said that they would let him rent it for a day to test it out for $30.  That way Mr. Darcy can do 20 miles on it and see if he likes it.  Mr. Darcy is contemplating the one below. The next Model up has SRAM Rival... anyone know much about it? One of the guys at the LBS said that it's better than Shimano 105, but not as good as Shimano Ultegra but that it's nice because the wires are inside...

The bike Mr. Darcy is considering above...

The interesting thing I noticed in all of the bike shops is that the prices are higher for the same components that I got on my bike 2 years ago.  I paid about $1200 for a partial carbon, mostly alumnium frame, ultegra shifters, and a good gear cassette on the back.  Now it's around $1200 in most shops for tiagra shifters on the same sort of frame.  But I guess it's a product of the economy.  My LBS is offering a pretty good deal on essentially the bike I have but with Tiagra shifters that's a good bit lower than what I stated, but I'm tempted to ask them how much it would be to get them to upgrade to at least 105's.

We have one more shop to check out Felt bikes and hopefully will get to it today... but we're also hitting the splash pad today.  I'll keep you in posted!


  1. The only $.02 I have is fit, if it fits and feels right, it's a keeper. More people get SOLD on bikes that don't fit that the shop is pushing, it's unreal.

  2. In the price range you are looking at I would probably steer away from all carbon. Lower quality carbon has too much of a down side. I am a big believer in carbon forks and/or seat stays though.

    When I was coaching I felt that if someone is going to make an investment in a bike for a century, 105s were the minimum quality as long as the person could afford it. What you are paying for as you move up the component food chain is weight and durability.

    Most importantly, to second Missy, is fit, fit and fit. A lower quality bike that fits right will get ridden more than that $11k bike if it didn't fit right. There are tweaks that can be done but overall fit is paramount.

    PS: I know you were looking for your next bike out of the corner of your eye. Admit it!

  3. I agree w/RST, i would not go below 105. There is a difference, not just in wt and durability but ease of use. Most important as everyone else has pointed out is fit and comfort. Btw, love that c-dale!! Good luck finding the right bike today. Can't wait to see what Mr. D ends up with.

  4. I was worried there for a sec about what you were going to see peeking out from under the basketball shorts!

  5. Sounds like fun...a bit stressful, but fun, just the same. I'm sure he will find a bike he's happy with!! I agree, though, about the quality of the components...I think that is key.

  6. Stay away from tiagra and sora, 105 or better. Rival is eqaul to Ultegra, so its a good component, I recommend the half carbon half alloy. I have that, so do you, so you know how it feels, we dont know what type of rider mr darcy is, whether he needs more flex or more stiffiness. the half and half provides both. And just like everyone else, what ever he feels fits best.