Tempted by carbon

Today I tried a couple of new bikes and am now suffering from the onset of severe temptation. We went to both Rutland Cycling shops (north and south shores of Rutland Water)

I tried a Trek Madone 3.1 (and also a 4.5 as they didn’t have a 3.1 in the right size). Also a Giant Defy Composite 1 (although it is the Defy Composite 2 that I would be looking at).

I decided against trying a Specialized Roubaix (paying an extra £100 and yet moving to a lower spec drivetrain didn’t really appeal). Also against some of the other makes such as Willier and Eddy Merckx.

Both the Trek Madone and the Giant Defy are beautiful as well as light and comfortable. It would be hard to choose between them if we decide that there is any possibility of spending this much money.

The Giant has two main advantages.

  • It uses SRAM Apex drivetrain components. The key advantage is a much wider gear range, especially at the bottom. Even with a double chainring this should give a lower bottom gear than my current Trek has using triple chainrings. Nice that unlike the Trek the whole drivetrain including brakes is all the same model range from the same manufacturer.
  • The frame comes with a 10 year warranty

It also has one key disadvantage. It has an aerodynamic seat post that is nothing like round. This will make it impossible to fit things to the seatpost (light, saddlebag).

Both these would be faster and more comfortable than my Trek Pilot, however, they would also be limited to Sunday best rides (for me normally on a Friday) and could not carry much at all. So they would not actually replace my Trek Pilot.

With the recent breakages on my Trek Pilot it’s reliability for Lands End to John O’Groats is worrying me a little. The problem is that when I use it for loaded tours (such as to Launde Abbey this week) I tend to load it fuller than it is really designed for. At the same time I expect to be able to strip it down in weight for faster rides. So long term maybe dividing and conquering makes sense. As I have several options for loaded touring (Bullitt cargobike for very heavy loads, Trice XXL recumbent trike for medium and the Trek Pilot for lighter loads) maybe it would make sense to retire the Trek Pilot from lightweight long rides.

And yet I wonder just how much faster and more comfortable these £1,500 bikes would be than my current Trek Pilot if it were stripped down a bit (no rack, no mudguards, lighter tyres, lighter back wheel). Maybe I just need to grow up and put the temptation of a new bike behind me.

Any suggestions welcome.

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  1. Ahh. N+1 v financial common sense. Always going to be a difficult decision this.

    I refer you to my study – Weight Matters – and wish you the best of luck in making your mind up.

    • Thanks, interesting study and a bigger difference than I expected.

      The weight difference for me would be a lot smaller as I would be stripping the Trek Pilot down a lot.

      Still it looks like the savings could be quite significant on a 100 mile ride.

  2. Don’t grow up. From what I’ve observed it’s boring.

    Forget e=mc2. It’s n+1 that really matters.

    Go for it. Whatever you choose get out and enjoy it.

    • I figure that if I have got this far without growing up then probably it isn’t going to happen 🙂

      All my bikes put a smile on my face when I ride them, no intention of stopping!

  3. Yeah….keep on telling yourself :o)

  4. Teddy Slazenger

    Ribble always look good value for money – bet you could get a carbon frame with a light set of hoops and ultegra for £1500.00
    The SRAM would give you a granny gear on the hills, but once out of SE I would be surprised if you would use it on LEJOG.

    • Teddy,

      I have had a look at the Ribble bikes and you are right they do look good value. Tricky though when you have never seen a brand on the street.

      When you are as slow as me and as heavy as me granny gears are lovely 🙂

      I am about to do some maintenance on my Trek (gear cable and chain snapped a week ago) as part of that I am moving to a 11-28 tooth cassette so will see if that helps enough.

  5. Bike maintenance frustrations « 42 Bikes - pingback on February 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm
  6. LEJoG Choice of bike « 42 Bikes - pingback on July 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm
  7. Bike maintenance frustrations | 42 Bikes - pingback on December 29, 2013 at 12:13 am

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