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Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis
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So I am very close to pulling the trigger on a new ride. I am 177 cm tall, 70 kilos, and have an average to lanky build. I plan on going long very soon. I have been told that I am able to put out a nice level of watts, am very flexible and ride low happily, and on top of it all am able to train 14+ hours a week no problem.


I have narrowed my bike selection down to either the Cannondale Slice 105 ($1799) or the Cannondale Slice Ultra Di2 ($3300 after upgrading to brake lever shifters). I am fitting on both the 51cm and 54cm bike and would have to say I felt more powerful on the 51cm with neither bike being dialed in 100%.

My question is this:
  • Do I buy the 105 mechanical, add in a left side only power meter ($500), triathlon skin suit ($300), and aero helmet ($200), upgraded tires ($100), upgrade wheels ($900).

or
  • Do I buy the Ultegra Di2 model, add in power meter ($500).

With the Shimano 105 being 11 speed I am under the impression that I could covert over to Di2 down the line and not need to change everything out (am I mistake about this?). I want to buy what will make me faster and have been told that training with power will do so. But from a technical standpoint everything that I am reading is saying that an upgrade from mechanical to electronic doesn't really lead to "free speed".


I appreciate your advice in advance.
Last edited by: LifeTri: Jun 18, 17 19:10
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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I think there is a way bigger difference in the wheel sets. I'm willing to bet the 900-1000 dollar set will crush what ever comes on the higher level bike.

For my money I'd go option A.

You could then upgrade to ultegra or dura ace down the road. If you have an 11 speed wheel set then that should work out fine.
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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LifeTri wrote:
But from a technical standpoint everything that I am reading is saying that an upgrade from mechanical to electronic does really lead to "free speed".


The only "free speed" with electronic shifting would be for short/technical courses where being able to shift from the basebar provides advantages over shifting from the extensions alone (as on mechanical shifting). I.E. you are very frequently cornering, and needing to shift coming out of the corner while still on the basebar. For long course, which generally has few corners and rarely technical, there is no advantage to electronic over mechanical from a speed point of view.

There is, however, much speed to be gained from the extra items in option A.

Electronic shifting is cool. It is also has a convenience factor; doesn't come out of adjustment, no cables/housing to wear/replace, easier to travel with when having to remove derailleurs or loosen cables. But it you want speed, spend your money elsewhere.

P.S. for someone your height, I cannot imagine that a 51cm frame is a good fit. Maybe, because you are flexible, you are trying to use the smaller frame to get less stack? Would a different manufacturer be a better fit? Just a word of warning, it doesn't sound right....
Last edited by: Paul Dunn: Jun 18, 17 19:25
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [Paul Dunn] [ In reply to ]
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Paul,

Thanks for the reply. I think you may be right about the 51 vs 54. I do not think the bike was dialed in the way it needed to be when I was testing the different sizes. I even grabbed the wrenches and started to adjust the bike at one point to try and make them fit better.

As for a different company, I did try out the Felt IA 16 in a 54 and it seemed to fit very well. The two bike shop guys assured me that they could get the Cannondale Slice "just as low and aero" as the Felt IA 16. I was doubting it somewhat but I am not and expect and decided I should believe the "experts".

The other concern I have about the 105 is durability. Will an Ultegra or Dura Ace have greater longevity?
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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LifeTri wrote:
The other concern I have about the 105 is durability. Will an Ultegra or Dura Ace have greater longevity?


My experience is that the wear differences are minor; and certainly not commensurate with the price differential. You are mainly paying for decreased weight, increased stiffness, sometimes better performance, and cool factor.
Last edited by: Paul Dunn: Jun 19, 17 5:48
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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LifeTri wrote:
I think you may be right about the 51 vs 54.

I'm 3" taller than you and the 51 has the stack I'd want.
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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LifeTri wrote:
Paul,

Thanks for the reply. I think you may be right about the 51 vs 54. I do not think the bike was dialed in the way it needed to be when I was testing the different sizes. I even grabbed the wrenches and started to adjust the bike at one point to try and make them fit better.

As for a different company, I did try out the Felt IA 16 in a 54 and it seemed to fit very well. The two bike shop guys assured me that they could get the Cannondale Slice "just as low and aero" as the Felt IA 16. I was doubting it somewhat but I am not and expect and decided I should believe the "experts".

The other concern I have about the 105 is durability. Will an Ultegra or Dura Ace have greater longevity?
Just a word of warning. Never trust that the person selling you something is giving you the best advice. No matter how friendly or interested they seem in you or your plans. I've spoken to lots of apparently friendly and helpful LBS staff who've given awful advice when I played dumb. The assurance of someone with a conflict of interest is not worth a damn. They may be good, honest, well meaning and competent guys but you have no way to know unless you know enough not to need their help. My advice is do plenty research here and elsewhere online and/or go to a third party fitter and get them to prescribe a bike.

On the topic of Di2 versus mechanical+aero kit, I'd go mechanical. Di2 is nice but not essential. If you're on a budget I'd skip it. The Felt is a very good bike and can be great value. I'm not very familiar with the Cannondale. I suspect the Cannondale is lighter but less aerodynamic. For a triathlon bike I'd probably choose aerodynamics and adjustability over weight all else being equal.
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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Ok realistically 9/10 times there is zero free speed from Di2.

It is much easier to be in the correct gear and shift quicker but it's not going to be any time saving in a race really.


So if it's time and overall triathlon race package you're after - then mechanical and aero suit, helmet, tyres etc is the way to go.
You will save more time undoubtedly, and in fact the helmet and possibly suit is likely to return the best overall for value.

However, Di2 is a much superior riding experience and more enjoyable. Once you go Di2 you won't go back.
Similarly, once you get a power meter you may find it invaluable and hard to use one without.
One thing though, please reconsider your left side only power meter. Do your research. For an extra $500 or less you could likely have a crank based power meter with zero negative reviews and issues and it just works everytime the end.
I'm firmly on the Quarq fence personally, and have been burned by unreliable Stages in the past is why I advise this.

So if it's time you want then you know the answer.

but Di2 is one of the sweetest things out there imo. Sure you get used to it fast, but I would not go back to a mechanical shifting TT bike now (FWIW my roady is mechanical 105).
Much like a disc is also very sweet, perhaps not worth a lot of time over an 808 or similar but sure sounds better and is more fun to ride!

final thought - I'm actually surprised at the $1500 difference in Mechanical 105 vs Di2 Ultegra in your options... seems a little steep imo. It may be worth waiting and looking elsewhere for Di2 based bike specs.

I know if I was shopping for a TT bike now it would be Di2. But I raced with mechanical for 18-24 months prior to upgrading and it's a personal decision on budget/justification etc.
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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LifeTri wrote:
The other concern I have about the 105 is durability. Will an Ultegra or Dura Ace have greater longevity?
Yes, 105 will wear out faster than Dura Ace and Ultegra. I have owned all three and put craptons of miles on them. I have mechanical Dura Ace on an old road bike with >>30K miles and it is still going strong. I started to bump into the wear limits of new 105 after a few thousand miles (more dropped chains and shifts began to lose cripsness). The opinions of my local shops is that 105 is good for one season of solid use (sold, being in the neighborhood of 5K miles). This corresponds with my personal experience.

My opinion of the macro differences between the three component levels:

  • 105: Shifts decently, lasts about 1 year of moderate- to high-volume use (~5,000 miles, starts to show wear), heavy
  • Ultegra: Shifts very well, lasts forever, still a bit heavy
  • Dura Ace: Shifts perfectly, lasts forever, light

The above aside, there is nothing wrong with 105. I was amazed at how well it performs when new. So, if you find the right bike at a great value with 105, go for it. Then, as you start to long for the upgrades and enhancements, it is pretty easy to upgrade mechanical. Di2 is a big-bang upgrade, but still not too tough.
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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I would go di2. All of the little extras you mentioned you can get down the road a bit at a time. Once you commit to a mechanical groupset, the chances of upgrading to an electronic one are slim since it's a large purchase all at once. Like others have said, electronic is a much nicer experience and you'll fall in love with the simplicity you get when adjusting or traveling with your bike. You also never have to worry about shift cables and housings. It doesn't make you faster, but it makes your life easier.

I also agree with going with a proper power meter that measures output from both legs. From personal experience, I'm unbalanced and the balance shifts in different zones of effort.

As far as groupset wear, cassettes and chains are cheap so who cares.
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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If this is your current budget, most definitely Option 1.

Mechanical to electronic upgrade is not an "upgrade", it is an entirely new purchase, new kit. You can always switch to Di2 later, but you won't really gain anything. It is nice though. However, if you don't have any of the other equipment, electronic will mean diddly squat if you don't have the full package of suit, helmet, wheels + tires, and power meter.

For the power meter, you could look into the Pioneer left side one. They are working on an affordable upgrade option to dual side, so you can always upgrade later when you have the budget. There are also Powertap hubs that can be had for a good price.

I think the smart choice is the most complete option. Option 1 gets you a full triathlon set up for a great price. Option 2, you only get a third of what you need and no real tangible benefit. The good thing is, this bike is very upgradeable, so as you get better and more experienced, it can grow with you (like swapping out the aerobars, aero brakes, etc).

Nytro does really nice tri packages with the Slice: https://www.nytro.com/bike-triathlon-packages

staernathan.com - @mikaelstaer
Skechers - VeloFix - B78
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [rruff] [ In reply to ]
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As someone that is near or over 6' tall what makes you feel like the stack on the 51 is right for you?

Here are some supporting numbers.


Last edited by: LifeTri: Jun 19, 17 8:45
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [exxxviii] [ In reply to ]
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exxxviii wrote:
105 will wear out faster than Dura Ace and Ultegra

From curiousity standpoint... what wears out? Der. jockey wheels? That's a cheap fix. Shift-lever innards?
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [spookini] [ In reply to ]
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In the RD, I think it is a combination of the bearings on the cage. Probably the pulleys started to wear too, but I suspect that would primarily cause drag, though it could also contribute to degraded shifting performance. My hunch is that as the cage bearings wear, the RD is not able to move as quickly and precisely in general. This can lead to some chain drops when it is unable to rapidly absorb the slack when you shift from big to small up front. And, it probably contributes to a loss of quickness or crispness when moving up and down the rear cogs.

As far as I know, Shimano only offers Dura Ace TT shift levers. I only have first-hand experience with Ultegra road bike (STI) shift levers.

My major symptom was an onset of occasional chain drops when nothing else had changed on the bike. I could not adjust it away. Since replacement with Ultegra RD & FD, I have not had a single chain drop. And, Ultegra feels quicker and more responsive than the old 105, but this is also more of a subjective measure.
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [Staer] [ In reply to ]
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Staer,

As far as the things that I have:

  • Fuji Roubaix Road Bike with Sora
  • Giro Helmet (not aero)
  • Hand me down Orca triathlon suit from my father-in-law (i have no idea of the age)
  • No power meter
  • Training with cadence/speed sensors (Garmin)
  • Garmin 920xt watch
  • Scosche RHYTHM Dual ANT /Bluetooth Smart Optical HR Band

At this point anything is really an upgrade to what I have been rolling on.
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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Definitely Option 1!

staernathan.com - @mikaelstaer
Skechers - VeloFix - B78
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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LifeTri wrote:
As someone that is near or over 6' tall what makes you feel like the stack on the 51 is right for you?

Because modest leg extension (inseam is 33.75", saddle to crank center is 29.5" with 167mm cranks) and ~18cm of drop are fast... for me.

I don't do Tri BTW, only TT. But you stated that you were comfortable in a low position, and you may want to make sure you can accommodate that with the bike. I guess you could always get a down-angled stem with the Slice, but that looks a little funky, and it's more "pro" to stack the pad risers and extensions if you want more height.

I'd also recommend you go with the cheaper model and upgrade the parts that really matter.
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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How long do you plan on racing (career-wise)? If for 5 years, my money goes on:

B: the Di2 Bike, a DHB trisuit from wiggle or something that matches perhaps off Ebay. I just tested the DHB trisuit today it's nice!!

I have mechanical bikes and Di2. The electronic is worth it in terms of ride experience. It's more transparent, seamless - leaves more there for pure riding.

Use your regular helmet, maybe score a lightly used aero one somewhere.
Same for wheels, get some of those next year.
Wheel and deal on ebay. Sell some stuff and buy what you want.

I don't use a power meter - too much money, and I'm still not sure why? I only know one speed anyway that is flat-out & over-biked to hell.

Training Tweets: https://twitter.com/Jagersport_com
FM Sports: http://www.jagersport.com/
Last edited by: SharkFM: Jun 19, 17 16:06
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [Staer] [ In reply to ]
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So I pulled the trigger...

I just went to another shop to try out the Giant Trinity Advanced Pro 2 and they had a 2016 model, in my size, that had been ordered by another person and then the order was cancelled. Giant received the bike back and sold it to this dealer on the cheap. I am getting the bike out the door for $2200.

I think this frame will be relevant for a much longer time and it is way more integrated. Plus for only $400 more than the slice I am getting Ultegra. This still leaves me plenty of cash for upgrades.

Thanks for the advice on the gear, everyone!

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/...-advanced-pro-2-2016
Last edited by: LifeTri: Jun 19, 17 16:40
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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Buy the red one. Red bikes are faster.

***
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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LifeTri wrote:
So I pulled the trigger...

I just went to another shop to try out the Giant Trinity Advanced Pro 2 and they had a 2016 model, in my size...
Awesome. Way better choice. What a score!
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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YES!
Good choice. I just got the 2017 Pro 1 version (black/grey/orange, Ultegra Di2) last week.

staernathan.com - @mikaelstaer
Skechers - VeloFix - B78
Last edited by: Staer: Jun 19, 17 17:15
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [SharkFM] [ In reply to ]
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SharkFM,

I was looking at wiggle.com and I did find a suit previous to my purchase. What do you know, it matches.

http://www.wiggle.com/...a-tri-aero-skinsuit/

Do you have any experience with this brand?

My other questions would be what power meter to get keeping in mind that I need something ant+ enable that will work with my Garmin 920xt. Not I want to get one that works on the wheel hub as you have to decide whether you want to be on race wheels or training wheels with it.
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Re: Bike Dilemma - Analysis Paralysis [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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LifeTri wrote:
SharkFM,

I was looking at wiggle.com and I did find a suit previous to my purchase. What do you know, it matches.

http://www.wiggle.com/...a-tri-aero-skinsuit/

Do you have any experience with this brand?

I do if fact have a Zoot top. That was like $$ off the rack & got it to match my E118 :) The material is high-end/ top notch. I might have to wear it this weekend.

I almost bought one of the very first Giant Trinity with DuraAce Di2. It was the Whistler "show" bike then declared illegal by the UCI. Thus rendering the bike unsaleable by Giant because a) old stock & b) they changed the design. So a dude on Craigslist was flogging it for (I gather) the Giant rep in Vancouver, with tags, cash deal, no warranty etc.

With that front end treatment on your bike, it will be very fast. I never rode the Giant but I always wonder if I should have given it a go. At the time it was $6500 or so CAD and I ended up getting the E118 frameset to build up.

Training Tweets: https://twitter.com/Jagersport_com
FM Sports: http://www.jagersport.com/
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