New racer, bike thoughts?

Hello all! I am a new cyclist with only about 1.5yrs under my belt. 2018 was my 1st full season road riding, and like many, I have fell in love with the sport.
Thinking about taking the plunge into some crit racing this year. Not totally decided on it yet but if I do I will get a dedicated bike for the job.
So looking to ya’ll with much more experience than myself between 2 options.
Currently I have a 2017 S works Tarmac.
My 2 choices I would consider for a crit bike is a 2017 tarmac comp(fact 10r) that is kitted out with Ultegra and some roval aluminum wheels. Since it’s last years out going model I can get it brand new for about $1800, which I think is a steal.
OR, build an Allez.
I know most people steer toward aluminum but for the cost of the tarmac it might be too good to pass up. Plus it’s basically the same as my s works but heavier. I figure that’s a good thing having the same geometry and familiarity. I would think the tarmac would still be a little lighter than an allez that had 105 or ultegra.
I guess the only reason I would steer toward the allez is if you experienced folks think even if the allez is heavier, it’s better aerodynamically and would just be a better crit bike, but that’s where my knowledge ends on this matter.
Thoughts and Opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much!!

Why not use your current bike? I’d spend the money on a power meter and some aero wheels, personally.


Or you just buy some nice race wheels - you can score some light and aero tubular rim brake wheels for dirt cheap second hand these days. Power meter sure.

Actually - if you haven’t done a crit yet, do one and see if you like it. And like @Tanner1280 said, the whole crit only bike is played out. But, if you’re going to only have one bike, what you have sounds fine. The only reason I bought my Allez was because the stars aligned with price, selling a backup CX bike, and some other things. The allez is fine. Aluminum is awesome and the whole weight penalty thing in racing is a crock of shit. It’s not the bike.



Ride what you already have. The whole crit bike thing needs to stop. You’re just as likely to crash in any other race as a you are in a criterium. If people want to buy another bike, by all means do it, no rationalization required.

If you start racing you’ll find plenty of other things to blow money on that will actually make you (a little) faster.


Some more background: I was in your shoes a couple years ago. I bought my first road bike and 1.5 years later I wanted to race. Only problem was, the road bike I bought was a Trek Domane, a decidedly not-racey frame. I put some 60 mm wheels (HED Jet 6 plus, highly recommend), bought a power meter, and signed up for TR and turns out it’s plenty fast, especially for the low-level amateur stuff I’ll be needing it for. Or at least it’s fast enough that my watts will be the reason I don’t go pro, not the frame :slight_smile:


Ride the bike you have. A 2017 sworks isn’t a museum piece and it was literally designed as a race bike. Use it for its intended purpose. It is not going to hold you back.


I haven’t read everyones response but I’m a huge fan of the Allez. Its perfect for a crit bike, and in fact its amazing for an all around bike if you can handle more of the aggressive geometry. I never once noticed it being uncomfortable on long rides, and I’ve gone 120 miles on it.

Well I have to say I am pleasantly surprised so many of you said to race the S Works. I have thought about that and I am not opposed to that at all. I have heard many say not to race an expensive bike.
My thought process was a 2nd bike wouldn’t be a bad idea in the unfortunate case if involved in a crash, I still have a bike to ride in case one is out of commission for a while and also having a dedicated bike to leave on the trainer in the winter. None of this is necessary but I guess a luxury.
I do have a power meter on the S works. It is insured worst case scenario.
Funny many of you said to race it because the one experienced guy I have asked so far said the same thing. It’s a race bike, race it. Only live once :).
Maybe just buying a 2nd set of aero wheels would be money better spent. I will give this some thought.
Thanks for the replies so far!!!

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I’m not going to tell you not to buy more bikes… if you are able, buying another bike is always, ALWAYS a good life choice.

I can tell you for sure, if you go out and build up a ‘crit bike’ that isn’t as nice as your sworks, eventually you are going to be leaving it at home and racing the sworks simply because it’s more fun to ride. Sure, you might crash, but if you are in a crash that’s bad enough to break your frame, then you may have more to worry about than what bike you’re riding the next day.

Most crit crashes are just slideouts anyway. You’ll scuff a pedal, tear some bar tape, maybe scuff up a shifter.

Depending on where you live it may make more sense to have a dedicated ‘winter bike’. Then you can leave the nice bike on the trainer and ride the winter bike outside while it’s messy and sloppy out.


I’m pretty sure that is not an accurate statement; at least in the mid-Atlantic region.

If you are comfortable on the bike you have now why would you get another bike especially as a new rider? As a rider that has been around awhile, I do have a few bikes and a favorite for hilly road races (very light) and a favorite for a criterium (very stiff) both carbon frames. However, I only have these choices from being in the sport for a few years and not needing to sell a bike when I get a new one.

As a beginner, don’t get too hung up on equipment. At this point in your racing career and with your current bike, it isn’t going to be equipment that wins you races.

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If you’ve not done any crits yet, then I’d be tempted to buy a really cheap alu bike (like, properly cheap) and enter a few races. I’d personally be devastated if I crashed my best bike - mainly because I couldn’t afford to replace it. With a really cheap bike you can really get stuck into crits, find out if you actually like them, and not worry about the financial impact of any crashes. A super cheap bike will be a disadvantage, but the reality is that it is only a really small disadvantage. The key is finding out whether you actually like crit racing and therefore want to start investing real money in equipment for it

Don’t race anything you can’t afford to replace or deal with wreaking it


The 2017 Tarmac is an amazing frame! I’ve tested the 2015 in the past and just tested the 2019. It is extremely responsive and efficient. As others have said, [at the budget you have inferred], I’d invest in a set of carbon wheels and a power meter.

fwiw: I raced 3 early bird crits using my Specialized Roubaix (not exactly a performance bike) and hung with the lead group on 2 of the 3 races (the 3rd I went into much too fatigued). The bike probably wouldn’t do well in the sprint, but I couldn’t contest it anyway.


Your Tarmac is a pure race bike. That’s what it’s designed for. I think the Tarmac has been ridden to victory in the pro-tour more than any other bike. Race the Tarmac.

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Thanks for the replies! Appreciate all the advice. Hoping this will all help me make a decision that makes sense.
Couple of things. I agree one can never have enough bikes! Already have plans of adding more in the near future but just couldn’t decide if a crit bike made sense at this point.
I agree I need to race in a few to see if I like it but have a hunch I will.
Little background, I used to roadrace motorcycles, so top speeds of 150 down the straights and dragging my knee across pavement at 90MPH was the norm and in close proximity. Bikes is a little different but as far as the racing aspect of 2 wheels there are some similarities.
As far as race what you can replace. I am not concerned about the money aspect of it. Just trying to do what makes sense.
I have my power meter. At the moment I am kinda leaning on the advice of a 2nd set of wheels and just give it a try on the S Works and just continue to save for my next bike.

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Great advice above, just ride your existing bike and have fun

Then buy a gravel bike with the money you saved :wink: