I a trek emonda alr5 with rim brakes and it is a lovely bike as a starter. I have changed cockpit, seatpost and saddle to my preference but overall feeling is quite good. I have planned buying new bike as a reward to myself for my PhD but currently I am more and more doubtful that the improvement will be justified by the price difference. Currently I am in the process of buying custom wheels for a resonable price (the stock wheels are…hmmm bad, but bulletfproof). Yes, carbon racers are lovely but this emonda is a true workhorse.
It’s very solid bike as it is IMO, but if someone had the money/inclination they could build a 7.5kg Emonda ALR with all the toys. Real dark horse I think.
That’s an important point I forgot to mention in my initial reply: change the contact points if necessary. I changed my saddle and my handlebars, and it made a huge difference. Especially if you, say, spend “only” 1,000 € (or equivalent), it seems wasteful to take off a perfectly functional part and invest 10 % of the price for new one. But it is worth it.
Wheels are usually the weak point of most off-the-shelf bikes. Customers can easily distinguish between a “bad value” bike with 105 components and a “good value” bike with Ultegra. But they don’t know a good pair of wheels from a bad pair of wheels.
BTW, I am all for rewarding yourself if you can afford it. I saved up for almost two years and finalized the last details of my new bike yesterday. It’s a gift to myself for my 40th, and I plan on keeping it for much of my next decade. It’s the most expensive thing I have ever bought, but it’ll be so worth it for me. I can’t wait to ride with my team mates and race with it.
That’s a good point, an important reminder to ourselves that also lower-end groupsets work well. However, Sora makes some compromises in areas, the most obvious one is that you are missing two cogs in the back. I’m not sure if that applies to the latest generation of Sora or just Claris, but I believe with some low-end Shimano cranks the chain rings and the crank are one piece and need to be replaced together.
On the mountain bike side, Shimano keeps on selling older versions of its Deore SLX components. They are bomb proof, especially on the bikes they are meant to go on.
This video was quite interesting, not necessarily framed as tipping point decisions but some good points mentioned. 105 which has been mentioned a few times in the discussion above, as well as the Allez Sprint which was one of the chosen bikes.
Yeah, the Allez Sprint is a no brainer if you don’t care about comfort. The only thing I’d change is to forgo the carbon handlebars and get a power meter instead — way more useful.
Agree, don’t see the point of a carbon handlebar unless chasing marginal gains (or marginal comfort). Considering MVDP’s handlebar failure the other day and his bike’s maintenance level my bike falls over at least twice per season by pure mistake…
Somehow we all managed without those two (and three, and four) cogs for years. I had a 7-sp cassette on my previous bike - I had 3 cassettes, and would swap when needed. My most common was a close-gear one, and it had exactly the same set of ratios I use 90% of the time on my current (10-sp, gasp) bike.
To me the simple answer is - buy used, 105 or Ultegra, swap the wheels, tires, saddle and handlebars as needed, and maintain and ride forever. Count $1500-2000 for the bike, a little less for the wheels. Anything above that is nice but not essential. Anything below that will probably have an impact.
I’d WAG 99% can be achieved by any 105 equipped bike but, swapping out the stock tires with really nice rolling tires.
Less so these days (the used market is hot AF at the moment), but generally it’s amazing what you can pick up. I have seen some startling buys about in the last year. Can’t vouch for any of these of course, but in my periodic ebay searches, and on UK forums, I’ve seen:
- A 2 year old Supersix with Di2 disc and Hunts for £2.5k
- A Wilier zero-7, c.2016, with Record (rim iirc) and everything carbon, claimed sub-7kg - £1500 *
- A less-than-12 month old Cinelli superstar with Ultegra (rim iirc) and Deda wheels, £1800
- I almost pulled the trigger on this, and would have done had it not been for the god-awful paint scheme. Still wonder if I should have had it and just got it resprayed!
Ok, you’re taking a bit of a punt buying used, but there are/were some real bargains out there, especially if you’re willing to go for a less premium brand, and even more especially if you’re willing to buy rim brake as well. And I think there will be a lot more before this year is out.