When to get a new bike? Now?

So, I have a 2013 Diamondback Steilacoom CCX that I acquired from a Craigslist trade a few years ago. I’ve only started riding several months ago and started TR (loosely) two months ago. My last FTP recorded was 192 so I’m still a pretty slow rider.

I upgraded to some Mavic rims with road wheels as all of my riding is on the road. I was also able to put a trainer tire on my old back wheel to have a trainer wheel set for convenience. My current bike is a cross bike and the geometry is noticeably different than everyone I ride with. I have a friend of similar fitness who bought an Allez Sprint and it didn’t make him faster than me.

  1. Does it matter that I ride a cross bike geometry?
  2. Is this making me slower?
  3. Would it make me any faster to upgrade to a sub $2k bike?
  4. Would the bike in the link below make me any faster?


I’ve had a fairly similar experience - got into cycling a few years ago buying a $600 road bike. Sure, having a road-focused bike will be faster, especially modern year ones that are becoming lighter, more aero, etc.

But how much faster? And why is it important to you? Do you want to race? Do you want Strava records for 20-40 minute segments? Do you just want to beat friends up hill?

For the latter two, a better bike has much less impact than you think. Your fitness will be much more important. Since you just started, I’d personally train and have fun for another year and as you have more experience on the bike, you can get a feel of what you might want in a new bike, and go from there. Perhaps you want more comfort, or can go aero (low) for long periods of time.

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A new bike won’t make you anywhere near as fast as new fitness (especially if you are under 3.5w/kg). Your “cross bike” geometry might put you slightly more upright than a race road bike geometry, but probably not outside of the range you could fix with a reasonable length stem, etc. Chances are a new position would have more of an effect than the actual bike.

That said, a new bike can be more comfortable, make you feel better about riding and can just be a generally fun purchase. I’m not a huge fan of the particular bike you linked - if you are looking for under $2k, look for something like the Specialized Allez your friend got or a Cannondale CAAD12 in disc. A Trek Emoda ALR could also be a nice option in disc.

I’d focus on enjoying riding, riding consistently, etc, and if a new bike gets you on the bike more, then it’s a win - win, because you’ll get fitter too.

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This is very untrue. New bike and new gear gives you a pretty awesome feeling and I bet you that feeling is worth 20W alone.

And if you love your bike you’ll use it more, and want to go faster on it, so maybe commit to training. But those are all maybe’s.

Here in Ireland, we have a tax back scheme which is every 5 years. Mine’s coming around again, but after the initial “I can get a new bike!” looking around, I’m struggling to justify it. I’ve quite a list of upgrades I could do for the money I’d have to put up front (as I’ll be going over that budget!).

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Thank you all for helpful replies. I was expecting to get roasted for another bike upgrade post.

I’ve decided to continue training for a few months and save a little more money for a bike that I really want rather than rushing just to get a new bike.


Despite the official rules if you shop around and are on good terms with your LBS than many will be happy to put upgrades through the B2W scheme :wink:

+1 this. I started out way back on a CAAD and it was such a great bike for the money. Still in the rotation, in fact.

Keep in mind that this could change as you get into things more. Like many of us, remember the N+1 deal. My advice based on personal experience is not to save for long and buy something you think you want when you started saving. I would ask around your local clubs/race groups or some of the forums geared towards trading/selling/buying bikes and components, and try to find a good deal on something to “start with.” That way you aren’t all in on something you quickly grow out of due to riding type desire, change in how you want to fit the bike, or the ability to add a second bike (say a mtn bike, cx, etc) since you might have some cash left over. Many of my fancy race bikes I use in events were ones I added simply as frames bought second hand and built up over time to fit my needs and desires for that particular project. I think this way lets you spend some time on different bikes with different feels, geometries, components, and let you see what works best for you.
Just my two cents.

That’s actually a great point. And the CAAD does look very nice. No matter what I’ll be waiting a few months and I’m definitely not afraid of buying something used to get a good deal.

I would say if you are in a position to financially put out the cash and you think about it a lot then go for it.

Carbon vs Aluminium have a different feel in terms of comfort. Allez sprint looks great and is a good bang for your buck.

First of all, a bike won’t magically make you faster, but it might make you want to ride more often. But I would caution you against just getting another used bike. Instead, I think you should go to a shop, get a proper bike fit and you should test ride a few different bikes. Getting a bike that fits you is so hugely important, but completely ignored by many people getting into the sport. Imagine getting yourself awesome hiking boots — in the wrong size. It’ll hurt, literally. (When I got into road riding (after being a mountain biker since age 14), I first had to sort out my size. I was bewildered that the frame sizes the charts suggested would be fine for me, 54 cm, never fit me comfortably. Then I got a bike fit and I found out I have unusually long arms, which explains why I always preferred 56 cm frames and I in addition opted for a longer stem.)

Also, if speed is not your primary concern, may I suggest you also try cyclocross and gravel bikes? Broadly speaking, these have geometries that are very, very similar to road bikes, but allow you to put in wider tires. For example, Cannondale has a cyclocross version of its CAAD12/CAAD13, the CAADX. I would advise against the Allez Sprint, a team mate of mine has one, and it is great for what he does — race and train for races. However, its geometry is very aggressive and the ride is quite harsh according to him. Since you are just getting started, you should not underrate comfort, and the easiest way is to put in wider tires (e. g. 32-35 mm). Or the ability to put on knobbly tires and venture off road.

So try out a bunch of different styles of bikes and pick the one you like best. For $2k you have a bunch of decent options even when getting a new bike. You can expect to get a bike with a solid aluminum frame and Shimano 105-level components. These are functionally identical to mechanical DuraAce (Shimano’s top-of-the-line groupset) and extremely reliable. I would also opt for hydraulic disc brakes. The weakness of all of these bikes at this price point is the wheelset: it’ll be sturdy, but heavy. But wheelsets are very easy upgrades.

However, if you get more serious about training, the next upgrade should be a power meter. I got a 4iiii crankarm-based power meter for $320, so they are not hugely expensive anymore. Sometimes you see them on sale for less (I could have gotten one for $275, but it would have been in the wrong color, silver rather than black).

I would echo this. I got a Giant Defy Disc (alu) when I first got into cycling. I’m still frustrated by it’s lack of versatility - endurance frame, disc brakes, should be a perfect do all bike, but you can’t get even narrow cross or gravel tyres to fit. Gravel was very new at the time, and the wider tyre trend hadn’t kicked in but still irritates me to be honest on an otherwise functional bike.

The last few years my advice for anyone going for an endurance geometry bike is to look at Gravel options due to their flexibility. I do have a racier geometry bike which I love (a TCR Advanced), but this summer I flipped the stem even on that for a bit less aggressive position.

Don’t under estimate comfort if you plan long days in the saddle.

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Absolutely. I think for the mainstream and beyond interested in a bike with drop bars, bikes like the Open UP or 3T’s Exploro are the future. Perhaps not every bike needs to include as much tire clearance as these do, but clearance for 40-42 mm tires is definitely a big plus. And you don’t even need to sacrifice speed if that is what you like: you can set up the Exploro fairly aggressively if you’d like, and with the right tires and wheels, I am quite sure you can keep up with pretty much any roadie.

Another thing to consider is going 1x, although this might also be marmite. Hence, my advice: test ride it and see how you like it.