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Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck?
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I've recently started a tri bike build (something I've always wanted to do) as I plan to get back into the sport. This isn't going to be a dream bike due to budget constraints and the fact that at this point I don't NEED the best of everything. Right now I basically need to choose between getting a more aero wheelset (likely Hed Jet 6+ instead of some moderately lightweight 30mm wheels) or getting power meter pedals. Which is going to be more important for me?

For some background, I raced from 2010-2015 doing 2-3 races (sprint/olympic) per year and almost always finished with an age group podium spot. I sold my old bike 1.5 years ago and haven't ridden since. I've never used anything other than 30mm stock wheels and have never trained using a power meter, so I wouldn't really miss one or the other. I plan to race sprint through 70.3 distances.

Thanks in advance for any insight.
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [rocky_bobloblaw] [ In reply to ]
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What's your budget?
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [rocky_bobloblaw] [ In reply to ]
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IMHO, I would buy a power meter before fast wheels. That is the pattern that I followed when I started (sort of) on a budget. I quickly blew my budget, though. The advantage of a power meter is that it helps you become a stronger rider overall. However, they are mostly useless if you do not follow a power-based structured training program.

If you use an indoor trainer, then training and riding with power is a game changer.
If you ride mostly outside, then a power meter will mostly be a novelty data tool, because it is hard to follow a true power-based training regimen. And, racing to power will be less meaningful if you have not been training with it effectively.
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [rocky_bobloblaw] [ In reply to ]
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I would definitely get the power meter pedals. They are cheaper than HED's by far anyways. Favero assioma is what, 400 something dollars now?
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [jimatbeyond] [ In reply to ]
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I think the choice is between the Jet 6's for $1,045 (includes cassette, tires, etc) and then getting pedals for ~$100 or buying 30mm wheels plus cassette, etc for $700 and then adding single sided (Favero Assioma or P1s) pedals for ~$400.
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [rocky_bobloblaw] [ In reply to ]
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Got it. Then, if you are the type of person who likes training with data and/or wants to use a structured training program, get a power meter. If you like to "just ride" for training and ride whenever you feel like it, and wouldn't really use the power meter except for as a glorified bike computer, then get the fast wheels. A power meter is also an incredible pacing tool, but that's more relevant for ironmans and half ironmans than for sprints.

If you're doing a structured training program a PM will make you go faster than fast wheels will.

Personally, I'd rather ride a 25 pound steel bike with a power meter than a 15 pound bike without one. But I have a teammate who is a heckuva lot stronger than me; he'll ride 2 hours one week and 16 the next, and he doesn't train with power. It wouldn't work for him, so to each his own. I threw my assioma pedals on his bike once for kicks and he did 384 watts for 20 minutes. I almost quit cycling altogether after that.
Last edited by: stevendex: Jan 14, 19 8:36
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [stevendex] [ In reply to ]
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Get a left-only power meter used for $200 and do a wheelbuilder disc cover in the back.

Then train and cruise Craigslist and Ebay like a madman for a deal on a front only wheel at some point. Especially if it is a "fairing" style wheel that has some kind of scratches or dings to it, it isn't structural so doesn't matter.

FWIW, truly fast tires can be quite expensive and prove more effective than blowing too much money on an older-tech front wheel. Don't underestimate that if getting stuck with needing some close to your "A race".

Sometimes on Craigslist you'll see people dump "used once" time trial tires, perfectly broken in for use for just your event.

I know the front wheel matters more than the back, but a disc cover (especially used) is such a cheap option.

In my web searches, sometimes since people don't like dealing with tubs those go cheaper used than tubeless or clincher. You can get tubs fast enough if you look. FWIW pretty sure both Dumoulin and Rohan both were on tubs. Both were UCI world champions in time trial on tubs.

Having recently glued up some tubs, I can say the prep sucks but is a bit therapeutic, but can see it being faster to rip of and sling on a new one in a race.

Gluing tubs adds a variable not conducive to internet wattage tests since the difference in a good and bad glue job can be 5w. Or gasp, using tape.
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [rocky_bobloblaw] [ In reply to ]
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I'd buy a QR PR3. Set it up as a single ring mechanical bike, Tririg front brake, replace the basebar with a Prosvet or Ozero, add a wheelbuilder cover and used front race wheel and those $400 pedals. That would come in around say 2400 for the bike +175 for the brake + 100 for basebar + 150 for wheel cover + 400 for pedals + whatever... maybe 300 for decent front race wheel. About 3500 and I would put that build up against literally 95% of the P5s and P5Xs currently being ridden. You would need to go used P3 or similar for a more cost effective aero set up.


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Last edited by: FindinFreestyle: Jan 14, 19 10:10
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [rocky_bobloblaw] [ In reply to ]
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rocky_bobloblaw wrote:
I've recently started a tri bike build.

What are you starting with?
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [rruff] [ In reply to ]
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So far a Felt DA1 frame, IA takeoff aerobars/front end, and 105 components.
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [rocky_bobloblaw] [ In reply to ]
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Are they the Devox 3 bars? All risers included? If so, you have a very good start.

I wouldn't bother with a single sided crank meter of any kind. Best use of a PM is aero/position optimization, and those don't cut it. If you are up for that, then your best bet is probably a PT rear wheel with a cover. For the front you can use any wheel with minimal aero spokes and a 23W x25-30D rim and you'll be in fine shape.
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [rocky_bobloblaw] [ In reply to ]
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I would definitely get a powered of some sort.
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [rocky_bobloblaw] [ In reply to ]
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Maybe get a garmin 3s, single sided. Then get some used aero wheels. Then when you can afford it, upgrade the internals on the right pedal for dual sided power.
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [rruff] [ In reply to ]
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rruff wrote:
I wouldn't bother with a single sided crank meter of any kind. Best use of a PM is aero/position optimization, and those don't cut it. If you are up for that, then your best bet is probably a PT rear wheel with a cover. For the front you can use any wheel with minimal aero spokes and a 23W x25-30D rim and you'll be in fine shape.

^^This.

Also on the used market, Powertap SL+ hubs can be found for well under $100 (build a wheel around it)....or complete wheels can be found in the $150 range. SL+ hubs are wireless and speak ANT+ to any such head-unit (garmin, wahoo, etc).
Last edited by: Tom_hampton: Jan 14, 19 13:07
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [rocky_bobloblaw] [ In reply to ]
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Power meters are SO OVERRATED.

Too many people fapping to power numbers. Ride a lot, ride hard, listen to your body.
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [rocky_bobloblaw] [ In reply to ]
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As expected, some pretty varied responses on here. Thanks for the replies everyone!
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [Tom_hampton] [ In reply to ]
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Tom_hampton wrote:
rruff wrote:
I wouldn't bother with a single sided crank meter of any kind. Best use of a PM is aero/position optimization, and those don't cut it. If you are up for that, then your best bet is probably a PT rear wheel with a cover. For the front you can use any wheel with minimal aero spokes and a 23W x25-30D rim and you'll be in fine shape.

^^This.

Also on the used market, Powertap SL+ hubs can be found for well under $100 (build a wheel around it)....or complete wheels can be found in the $150 range. SL+ hubs are wireless and speak ANT+ to any such head-unit (garmin, wahoo, etc).

For the aero work aspect, why? If you can train based on a baseline and incremental changes why not do the same with watt/CdA?

The left only watts may be off, but if you track it you know if the CdA is better or worse even if the baseline is off.
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [burnthesheep] [ In reply to ]
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burnthesheep wrote:

For the aero work aspect, why? If you can train based on a baseline and incremental changes why not do the same with watt/CdA?

The left only watts may be off, but if you track it you know if the CdA is better or worse even if the baseline is off.

The VE protocol is very sensitive to surprisingly small configuration changes.

Most people don't have the same balance at different effort levels. So, soft pedaling, moderate, and hard efforts may have different LR balance, and therefore left-only power will not accurately reflect the virtual-elevation. And run #1 may have a different balance than run #2, #3, and #4.

Similarly, measuring Crr requires vastly different speeds and effort levels. Again, with left-only you may be off by several watts on either side of truth, and you can't be sure which direction or that it will even be the same side every time...which will change the Crr estimate and associated CdA estimate.

So, the left-only introduces another source of error into a very sensitive test algorithm. At best, you now need more repeats ABBA, or ABABBABA in order to ensure that the differences you observe are truly configuration differences and not LR-balance differences. At worst, what you are testing for is swamped by the noise added from the LR-balance and you can't tell a difference.

This is vastly different than the precision needed to train effectively....where +/- 10 watts is more than good enough most of the time.
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Re: Bike Build, Best Bang for my Buck? [burnthesheep] [ In reply to ]
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burnthesheep wrote:
The left only watts may be off, but if you track it you know if the CdA is better or worse even if the baseline is off.

It's likely to be off randomly. Field testing has enough challenges already without introducing another source of error.
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