Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Going Bureaucrat on Ya

I grew up in a house with pretty well -- um -- voiced political opinions. I think Dad started out in his marriage on the other side of the political fence, but Mom taught him the error of his ways. Personally, I've spent years upon years working in policy in DC and consider myself darn well informed. And occasionally articulate. My Lil'Sis? She's our Congress Connection. I won't tell you exactly where she works, but let's just say it has an awful lot to do with how our nation's money is being spent.

So, when in doubt, I say


That's right. Go bureau-craptastic on the problem. Need a fix? Something falling apart? Line Item A Solution. Add-on. Attach. MARK IT UP, BABY!

And that's the way I've decided to deal with my triathlon problems. Throw. Cash. Around. *

Without going into the painful details as to my autopsy of my final tri of the season (and YES I really, really am working on a race report...REALLY!), there was something that I believe to be true.

As much as I love my Banana, I need an upgrade. Big time. I got Banana way back in something like 2000 to do the AIDSRide. She's a great lil' road bike and has taken me lovely places. Usually slowly, but I'm okay with that. So far, I've only really cared about getting to the end, not how long it takes me to get there.

Um...notice the words "so far"? Huh? Yup, me too.

I've decided that a 7 year old bike with the original touring components really isn't going to be good enough any more. I wants me some speed.

Did you hear that?


But I need your help. As Britney would say, I need help from all y'all. (Oh, and btw, she does. Please. Send help.) I need some advice on which bikes to look at. Here are the gory details that matter...

I'm short. As in 5'4" short.

I'm heavy. As in 164 lbs heavy.

I'm, um,
limited in financial resources. As in I'm capped at $1800 for this purchase. I KNOW! Not much, but I'm hoping to take advantage of models being phased out for the new 08 bikes or even getting an 06 model.

I live right near a great bike shop that could easily build up a frame if that's the way to go (e.g., buying frame/components/bars/etc. separately). And, I have all winter to find good deals on shtuff.

I live kinda close to a triathlon shop (Cadence in Philly), but I'm nowhere near the price range of bikes they sell there and I don't have an extra few hundred to go in for a consultation. Seriously...where are all the tri shops for broke folk?

And, like most women, I have my preferences....

I love my current tri saddle, from Terry.

I like S-bend aero's better than L-bend, although I haven't tried either with bar-end shifters. That could make a difference.

I'd like a kinda good set of wheels. Not
crazy good, just something that is reliable and doesn't stick to the road like molasses. (Stop with the flat tire jokes, okay? Really. That's rude... .)

I have a thing against 650s. I don't know why, but I'd love to be able to stay away from them if I can.

I think components make the difference in the experience of riding hills (which I simply can't get away from out here). I never knew I had basement bargain components on Banana and now realize the mistake. (You mean gears aren't supposed to sound like a garbage disposal going up climbs? No?) Won't make that mistake again. Ultegra is fine, 105 is fine, Dura Ace is drool worthy.

There you have it. It's time to shop.

I've found one bike that I keep going back to -- again and again. It's the Trek Equinox 7 WSD (women specific design). And it's perdy. No...it's beautiful. And it has a carbon fork. And Bontrager Select Aero wheels. It has Dura-Ace shifters, 105 derailleurs, and a Bontrager crank. And, and, and...

And I think I would look MIGHTY FINE on top of this little baby.

But are there more out there?

More that might be good for me?

* Okay, to be fair...I actually don't believe that this is a real solution to real problems and I actually think there's some pretty lousy money management going on in DC and I have a thing about waste. Something to do with "waste not want not." But it works for triathlon!


Wes said...

I got my 2006 Trek Equinox 5 at a closeout price of 1 grand. And, while she's not quite as purty as the 7, I plan on upgrading her myself, since the only real difference is a component or two.

FYI, besides Trek, you are within a couple hundred dollars of some really nice Felt and Cervelo tri bikes as well. Have fun! Nothing is quite as exciting as hunting a new steed!!

Spandex King said...

Looks pretty sweet to me. Good luck!! Bike shopping is so fun.

21stCenturyMom said...

I like that bike! Also, the lower end QR bikes are supposed to be very good.

A lot of Tri bikes have 650s on them. I was surprised to learn that a not small guy in my race club has 650s on his bike. Less circumference = less power needed to go 360 degrees. I think that's the rational. Or maybe not but I'm just saying, don't rule them out. There's a reason they are so often used and you need to find out what it is.

Go read Comms blog today - his buddy who owns Tribe just did a huge review of what's coming up. That means year end clearence sales are just around the corner.

Personally I lust for a PC3 - big time. And - carbon rules. Try to get a bike with a carbon frame if you can find one in your price range. I paid $2200 for my Specialized Ruby Comp (women's specific road bike, all carbon, 105) and I ♥ it.

Spokane Al said...

While many are comfortable purchasing a bike without test riding it, I rode a number of bikes before making my purchase and found significant differences between the different company's bike products.

But that is just me.

Andra Sue said...

I think you HAVE to throw the Cervelo Dual in there for consideration ($1.8k or less with full Ultegra, I believe.) They make a great bike for the $$$ and have fabulous customer service.

I'm also partial to Campagnolo components, but that's just my peculiarity. Good luck shopping!!!

Jane said...

Okay, I can't talk about the whole money thing, since now I'm poor b/c of my bike purchase. I also heard that Cervelo's were good price for what you get. I'd also look into QR b/c i think they fit shorter people and I hear the entry one (Kilo) is about...$1200-1400 and pretty decent. 5'4" is not that short!! haha
I asked alot of people about components and Ultegra is totally cool (I heard Ultegras used to be the "old" DuraAce?) And this advice was from obsessive roadies. I went with the DuraAce because I was in a psychotic-what-the-hell mood.

I heard too that 650's are supposed to be faster. Yeah something about less friction or resistance or something. It also makes the bike fit in your car easier!

Siren said...

I'm short too, and was going to mention Trek's WSD offerings but obviously you've already gotten the memo. (And HEY! There's nothing wrong with riding 650s!)

You've basically already picked the bike I would have picked, soooo... happy shopping! Maybe think about shooting a line over to Iron Wil to ask the experience with her Equinox.

JenC said...

The most important thing is fit after price. If you aren't comfortable on it, then it isn't worth the money regardless of how cool it looks. For example, I can't do WSD bikes, because I have a long torso.

Our bike shops fit you for free - why do they charge for a consultation? I assume a trip to Cleveland is out of the question? : )

Good luck finding your new dream machine! Oh, and don't rule out 650s. I ride them and I like them.

monica said...

i gotta agree with andra sue. i was in the same position as you. came from a slow/heavy aluminum road bike and wanted to upgrade. take a look at the cervelo dual which is what i got for about 1,500 and then added some stuff (compact crank to climb easier, polar hrm/computer, a 12-25 and 12-27 cassette to make a quiver for every terrain) i think it topped me out at about 1,900 and i kept my old terry saddle.

as far as 650's for your height, it may be hard to find a tri bike in your size that comes with 700's so be open to it.

beware of jumping to a tri bike. you may find it more difficut to climb as i have. i'm now looking for a straight road bike in addition. it never ends!!!!

for a good combo road/tri bike, take a look at cervelo's "soloist team" as it's reversable seat posts almost gives you two in one.

you can probably find a good deal on bothe of these as i've heard that cervelo is eventually going to phase out all of their aluminum models, but i haven't been able to confirm that on their website.

whatever you do, DON'T BUY ANYTHING SIGHT UNSEEN!!! you're about to spend too much money not to get properly sized and then custom fitted on your ride.

Nancy Toby said...

I've been very happy with my Felt tri-bike, bought 2.5 years ago for about $1800, with DuraAce components. Take some test-rides.

I wouldn't be hasty to rule out 650s, either.