Crit bike or nah

Greetings fellow TR users. I have a dilemma I cannot get over and thought you guys would be able to help sway me one or the other.
My current race bike is a Trek Emonda SLR and I have some real nice carbon aero tubulars I use to race with. Bike is great and I will perhaps never own something as nice as this again. I race this in crits and road races. I narrowly escaped two crashes last summer - both of which derailed a podium as were all sitting 2-5th wheel. That’s another topic!
I’m just a shitty cat 3 racer and I would like to keep the Emonda around. It’s a fun, fast, and stiff bike. Corners excellent and all that wonderful jazz.
Some of my teammates have their crit bike - usually something like an allez sprint or their second bike they use just for crits because well, we all know what can happen. And the whole race what you can replace mantra…

So, I’ve been thinking of trying to build up or buy an allez as my crit bike. Preferably a 1x. There are a few locally for sale and on ebay/online. There is one for sale but it has a small ding/dent on the non driver side chain stay. Seller wants 750$ or best offer. I’ve asked for more detailed pics around the damage and if there is any other things to be worried about.
I figure for 750 or close to that, that price is about as good as anything for a fun crit bike and maybe some flat road races.

Or do I just keep the emonda as my do all. I have enough bikes as is - Emonda, TT, mtb xc race, CX, cx pit bike…

I kind of want it, but also not sure I can justify having two race bikes as I’m just a cat 3.
What say you TR?

If you’re not going to get a +1 bike, I’d keep the Emonda.

But . . . you should buy a new bike. It’s fun…actually, it’s awesome. And who gives a shit if you’re a Cat3 racer – you are probably a really good guy and deserve something nice :+1:

I’m Cat5 – and by Cat5 I mean I’ve never raced a crit, but I’m planning to try one for the first time this year. So, actually, I don’t know anything…

…except that new bikes are awesome :metal:


Ha. I know the new bike feeling. I just got my new geared CX rig a few weeks ago and am super excited for it! I’ll probably just race the Emonda for everything. It rips and very responsive.

In my opinion if you’re already racing the bike you might as well race it for every type of race. Crits have a worse reputation for crashes but I see just as much trashed carbon in road races as I do in crits (one exception being hilly races where the field gets strung out much faster).

I’d suggest either have a race bike and a sunny day bike or not. If you’re willing to race the Emonda for road races then race it all the time

Edit: But if you’re just looking for an excuse to buy another bike, then by all means get the Allez or a CAAD12


Yeah that’s what I was thinking. Love the emonda. Races very well.

If you’re paranoid about crashing your Emonda, look out for a second-hand frame and build a crit bike based on that.

As a fun exercise, you can set a fairly low budget and stick to that.

Second-hand tubs and 105 groupsets go for pretty cheap, so the whole project shouldn’t set you up for too much money.

Offhand, Emonda ALR is a very nice crit frame and not expensive at all. :wink:


I’m in a similar position, but I’m convincing myself that I should get a crit bike with disc brakes since there were some pretty sketch situations in the rain last year.

This one is easy. Don’t race crits in the rain.

I’m not a nervous rider, but I’d never race a crit in the wet. Or on ice.


You just learn to deal with it. Take 5ish psi out of your tires and test the corners a few times before the race. The only issue I had is avoiding crashes in front of me since rim braking on wet carbon is practically non-existent.

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I love when it starts raining on the start line and you hear everyone letting a bit of air out. Running tubeless with 70 PSI to start makes it less of an issue - disc brakes even less so.

I like my HED Jet wheels for rainy races - they spin up fine for me and that aluminum braking has saved my bacon a few times in the past season or two


I would buy/build up a cheap crit bike. I’m amazed at what you can get used these days. And the good thing is, if you buy used and get a good deal, you could likely part out and sell on ebay and come out even after a couple of years.

The main reason friends are upgrading bikes these days, is to 1) get discs, 2) go di2, or 3) run wider tires. So all their old bikes which only fit up to a 26 or 28mm, have rim brakes, and have 105 or ultegra, are going dead cheap.

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I’m surprised that people race on non-aero frames. What is the point if everyone has a 40-w advantage?

I’ve lost two frames in crashes, none were in races. This is why I ride a CAAD12, I can break it and buy another without breaking a financial sweat. I love my Stigmata but when someone crashes me and breaks that, I’ll get an Al Inflight or something like that. I run Di2 on both bikes which is what makes them sweet, not the frame material.

edit: Okay, the geo on the Stigmata is pretty special, I might buy another when that one dies.

Because the actual advantage of an aero frame is way way less than 40W (if that’s what you were implying). And also, those who race understand that there are other considerations besides an aero frame that contributes to better performance.

@JHow it doesn’t matter if you are the worst cat 5 or the best pro, you should buy/race/use whatever you like. Just saying an arbitrary and subjective threshold of ability is not any reason to buy or not to buy something.

Now the issue it seems for you is cost. What’s the cost of repairing a carbon bike vs. buying another bike to use as a crit bike? If your Trek has a crash replacement program then I’d prob recommend racing the Trek. If not and you have plenty of extra cash to build up an Allez go for it.


Race the emonda & get some insurance that covers crash damage/replacement. You clearly like the bike and have a nice setup.

Having said that, if the insurance cost is greater than the cost to get a specific crit bike over a 2-3 year period, then get the crit bike.

If you’re not showing up in a skin-suit with an aero frame and huge wheels then you aren’t showing up to win.

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I’d race what you have. The “crits are crash-fests” thing is way overblown. If you’re racing, you’re likely to crash. Road, crit, whatever.

I’m also of the mind that the “crit bike” is typically just an excuse to buy another bike. As others have mentioned, you don’t need an excuse. If you can afford another bike and want one just buy it. No need to rationalize, especially if it’s a CAAD12…

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Sage advice.

I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not…

Only slightly, about the aero part. I don’t know that I’d ever go off in a break again without a skinsuit/aero frame/aero wheels after listening to the podcasts. Does it really makes sense to buy a “traditional” bike for racing when there are aero options? Sadly, I need way more stack so I have a CAAD12.
I was serious about the Di2 part, the group is what makes contemporary bicycles awesome.