Looking for your thoughts on the above options. I tend to provide too many details so have ‘hidden’ them below for my fellow tech geeks, but the TL;DR version is I’m trying to decide whether to pick up a 2021 S-Works frameset and build it up with the outgoing Ultegra Di2 r8070 or to put my name down for a 2022 Expert model with the new r8170 groupset (and then replace wheels, bars, and cranks according to fit/preference). S-Works 11sp Ultegra without wheels pretty much equals the cost of Expert 12sp Ultegra full bike.
Expand for 'The Long Read' :yawning_face:
I was planning to replace my (small brand w/ r8020) road bike after the coming season, but given current lead times it seems like I’ll basically need to pre-order a 2022 ASAP in order to take delivery before next Christmas. I have my eye on the Expert model, but based on my current fit/preference would need to replace the wheels for something deeper, the crankset for something shorter, and the bars for something narrower (and carbon). Here in the UK that’s roughly ~£6500 purchase, £350 for Rapide bars, and assume a net expense of ~£400 for mid-tier wheels and identical cranks once I sell off the OEM ones, so ~7250 all-in (without a power meter)
But then in the interest of home-mechanic tinkering and customisation I started pricing up my own build. The outgoing 2021 S-Works framesets can be had here for less than £4000, and assuming I can find all the necessary parts it looks like I can piece together an r8070 groupset for ~£2000. Plus £350 for bars and a bit more for incidentals like bar tape, etc, and I’ve got a no-wheels build for almost exactly the purchase price of the Expert. Add Scribe/Hunt/Chinese wheels, tyres, and rotors and we’re in the ~£7600 range. I could also keep my current 4iiii LH crank arm (though I guess that would probably work fine on the 8100 chainset too if I didn’t mind the mismatch).
Sticking with 11-speed means staying ‘in the past,’ but it also prolongs cross-compatibility with my two gravel bikes (a CF racer and a Ti bikepacking rig, both with rx810) in terms of wheels and direct-drive trainer. Saying that, I’ll probably be up for replacing at least my racer gravel bike in ~3 years time once we’re onto a new generation of GRX.
I’m a very competent home mechanic (never done Di2 but have done full builds/rebuilds, all my own maintenance, etc) and my LBS ended their contract with Specialized, so warranty support is going to be remote either way.
If I built my own I’d have to get the frameset pretty much right away for availability (much prefer 2021 colour options), but I can’t justify the cost of the rest of the components right now - I’d have to buy them over several months and hope availability remains decent, knowing there’s a chance I end up having to buy the new r8170 in the end if I can’t find all the 11-speed bits I need.
My ‘A’ races are all long gravel and/or bikepacking events, but over the last year I’ve started entering crits and road races too - I’m not ready to focus a season around being a roadie, but I’m enjoying learning and am keen to get more experience with racecraft, which pretty much limits me to crits and circuit races here in Scotland if I want to race with any frequency. I’m not wild about taking an S-Works frame into a Cat4 crit, but I also don’t really see how crashing a 10R frameset is any less of a pain given that either would be insured and it’s really all down to availability of replacement parts.
So - 11 speed (ultegra) S-Works once I can find/afford all the parts, or 12 speed Expert whenever it’s actually delivered? Seems almost like a wash to me.
Related but sort of separate: any insight into parts availability over the next 6-12 months? My assumption is a gradual shift in availability from 11sp to 12sp parts but never really finding either of them easily or heavily discounted. At the moment 11sp Di2 parts don’t seem nearly as scarce as the bits that are shared with mechanical groupsets (chainset, chain, cassette, rotors, brakes), but my understanding is that r8020 is on sale for at least another year so those stocks should eventually be replenished - can anyone confirm?