Can you buy speed? Yes, if you spend wisely.
Caley Fretz and Trevor Connor are joined by VeloNews gear and tech experts Dan Cavallari and Kristen Legan, and they try to answer a simple hypothetical: If you have $2,000 to spend and want to ride faster, where should those dollars go?
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What would you do with $2,000
Trevor Connor 00:16
I would spend the money on a really good set of race wheels. Nothing changes the character of your bike more than a good set of wheels. If I have some money to spend, I’m going to focus on things like bike fit things like where’s your contact points on the bike, your saddle your shoes,
Kristen Legan 00:33
your bike, just making sure that it’s in really good working condition is huge. So taking it to your bike shop, getting a new chain, you know, a new car set, maybe a new crank, set, whatever’s going on there, just to make sure that everything’s working efficiently.
Hello, and welcome to Fast Talk the velonews training Podcast. I am Kaylee frets and editor here velonews. And as always, I’m here with Coach Trevor Connor. We also have the pair of tech whizzes Dan, Kev, Laurie and Kristen leagan. With us today. And that’s because today’s podcast is tech heavy. With one big question we want to answer. If you have 2000 bucks, I want to go faster. What should you spend it on? We’ll discuss the merits of a pro fit fast wheels, fast frames, and lots more. Let’s make you fast. The fundamental question that we are going to try to answer and again, this is why we brought in Dan and Kristen, because they have quite a bit of expertise in these matters is where is your money best spent. And to do so we’re going to perform a little mental exercise and ask each of the four around this table. What we would do with $2,000. Trevor, we’re going to start with you. You’re a bit of a retro grouch. And so I imagine your answer is going to be slightly different from the more technically minded around this table.
Trevor Connor 01:55
I still look far cooler than you showing up in my 1994 diamond bevers never looked cool in history with with fenders and whatever $10,000 prototype you show up for the ride on.
Trevor’s shoes do not even match his frame and of discussion. And I wear white shoes after September. So Trevor, what would you do with $2,000?
Trevor Connor 02:17
So you know, I actually had that exact question in my head when I went to a friend who had a bike shop I had about 20 $500 to spend and I asked him what sort of bike I could get with that expecting to get a top end bike and his response to me which I think over the years I’ve come on the same page was he pulled out the thousand dollar bike and said buy two of these I think gears gonna make a difference to a point no, you can’t win the Tour de France in a heartbeat. But I I am not a believer that the $10,000 bike is going to make that much of a difference over the the 1500 dollar bike when it comes to performance. It’s just looks a little cooler and probably rides a little nicer. You know what I’m going to give you my my good salters anecdotal evidence here. And this this is personal experience. When I went out to the center in Canada National Center to train there, I showed up with a $900 barely raised worthy Fuji. I spent an entire year with everybody just getting on my case, Trevor, why are you on the bike get on a real race bike, you’re gonna be that much faster. And they finally convinced me and I got a sponsorship and I got a top of the line or bear. And I had this hill climb that I used to do once a month to test my form and I went out to that climb going I’m gonna crush my personal bests in this climb. Because this bike is fast as back bike is light. I’m done with that old Fuji and I went and killed myself up that climb. You know, much faster I was none faster, no, one second. I focus. If I have some money to spend, I’m going to focus on things like bike fit things like where’s your contact points on the bike, your saddle, your shoes, the things that are going to allow you as a rider to be in your best position and perform your best on the machine.
So what a bike fit is 300 bucks,
Trevor Connor 04:09
good bike fit yet is going to be anywhere from the 200 to even up to five $600 for the best.
Any anybody in particular you recommend like retool or anything like that. Have you? Do you have any personal experience with those?
Trevor Connor 04:22
Well, retool is actually quite literally that it’s just a tool. So a lot of different bike fit systems can use the the retool technology. I’m a personal fan of the the BG fit system, because it’s specialized. Correct. That is specialized because of their philosophy. It’s not about being as aerodynamic as possible. It’s about being healthy on the bike in a relatively aerodynamic position because I think if you get too aerodynamic, you can start getting injuries, you can start losing power, you start struggling to hold that position. So there needs to be a balance, you need to be comfortable on the bike you need to be in a position allows you to put out your best power. So speaking of bike fits, we are lucky to have Dr. Andy Pruitt, the inventor of the body geometry fit systems drop by our offices and talk with us for a bit, we had to take advantage of the opportunity to get his opinion on what is the best way to get a fit. So Dr. Pruitt, I’ll throw that question at you. What advice do you have for our listeners looking for a good fit?
Well, number one, I really appreciate the fact that you’re kind of pushing home the fact that everybody needs a bike fit regardless of age, or level of expertise or skill level, that the single one thing that keeps people from pursuing a cycling career at any level is discomfort. So pursuing that right saddle, getting that right side on getting those handlebars in the right place, is really crucial to long term success. So the body gerencia system is promoted and taught through specialized so you can go on the specialized website and find a fitter through the body geometry link. I think word of mouth is probably one of your better ways to find good fitting, ask your colleague or ask the shop who fit them how they found cycling, comfort. So word of mouth websites, your doctor, your physical therapists are all really good places to find whoever’s really hot in your in your neighborhood. But I would say beware of the Vogue fitter, there’s a lot of make believe experts out there be be cautious of the Vogue that are would you spot one? How would you spot the voltmeter they’re the guy that’s usually a little bit out there, right? I mean, doesn’t follow a sound reproducible process. Everybody leaves if shop looking the same. That’s that’s usually and that’s usually the key, and everybody leaves, they’re looking the same, then he doesn’t have a wide variety of physical assessment backgrounds. I think that the key is the physical assessment, any bike that where nobody examines you is not going to be worthwhile in the long run.
Trevor Connor 07:03
So if you could give a quick bulleted list, what would be the things you should look for in a good fit,
comfort, comfort leads to success, comfort leads to speed. It’s free. It’s amazing that we can put people in a body geometry position, test it in the wind tunnel, test it in on the velodrome and then we’ll take the athletes historical preferred position, test it truth is usually either in the middle or closer to the body geometry setup. So comfort really does rule. Comfort is actually usually more aerodynamic than something that’s uncomfortable, because what the body has to do to try to survive that uncomfortable long stretched out low position.
Trevor Connor 07:51
Remember, you had a great story about fabyan cachoeira and getting the the handlebar height, right? Yeah. Do you want to share that with us? Well,
sure, worked with Fabian over the years. And interestingly enough, he, he has really poor core strength, or at least he did at that, that early time and fitting. So we’d get him in a great place, need immediately to lock out his elbows, basically, because he didn’t have the core strength to maintain the position that he was after. So all we had to do is raise his handlebars one centimeter and let him relax into the position. And his torso head actually got lowered to the wind.
Trevor Connor 08:28
But didn’t he have some resistance to that initially? Of course
he did. Matter of fact, the funnier story is that we had him all set up a nice time trial bike, he was the reigning World Tiki champion at the time. And we actually raised him several centimeters on his time trial bike. And he was just blown away by how comfortable it was not good. It felt on the velodrome and how good the numbers in the wind tunnel were. However, when he showed up at tour of Switzerland, his home race, his old coach said, Oh my God, look at that bike looks so silly. And he dropped it back to the original height. And I’m watching the race on television and watching his hip rocks and watching watching his neck suffer. And I’m saying to myself, what the hell happened to his position? So I called his phone left a message Friday, what did you do? And he called me back an hour later and told me what he’d done. And he actually lost the tour Switzerland that year based on the time draw.
Kristen Legan 09:23
Yeah, so I would echo the bike fit side of things just because doesn’t matter how fast your Aero helmet is or how much training you’ve been doing. If you’re in the wrong position and you can’t access the power that you’ve been building through your training, then you’re not going to race very fast. So getting that bike fit, making sure that you’re comfortable on your bike, and that you know can produce that power that’s a big thing. But I would also say that your bike, whatever bike you have, just making sure that it’s in really good working condition is is huge. Take your bike to a bike shop and get you know a new chain, new cassette, new chainrings something like that. Where you’re gonna be able to pedal more efficiently and use all that power without it just being sucked away through your through your old components?
Dan, do you say buy a frame for $1,999?
And no, I do not.
I first of all, I agree that yes, a fit is very important. Taking into your bike shop, get your bike in tip top shape is important. But I’m a gear nerd, I love gear, I would spend the money on a really good set of race wheels, nothing changes the character of your bike more than a good set of wheels, and probably nothing benefits your bike more than a good set of wheels. rotational weight matters, the depth of the wheel matters, the rim width matters. And we’re seeing companies go wider and wider with rim width. Now, to get a better contact patch to get better, lower rolling resistance, I would recommend something like a zip 303 firecrest, which comes in just at about $2,000. You’d have to buy some tires on top of that, and you choose between a coarse tubular and clincher I would recommend tubular if you can afford it. If you’re a bike racer to probably I mean, if you’re not going to race you, are you still saying? tubulars? No, I would say if you’re not racing, I mean the the conversation changes pretty significantly. But I still do think a good set of wheels will really change the way you ride your bicycle, I would stick with clinchers.
And what about USD because you I mean, you’re gonna spend all your 2000 bucks on a single set of wheels. Obviously, we don’t want to recommend that people go out and buy, you know, a pair of carbon wheels that is cracked and is going to kill you. But is it possible to find something cheaper than that? 2000 bucks. Is there anything else out there? Or can we look to aluminum? Or what are the other options?
Absolutely. There are definitely there’s there’s so many options now. And kudos to Captain YOLO for making some aluminum wheels that are really starting to compete with with the best carbon out there at a lower price. So yeah, you don’t have to go carbon. You know, there are really good aluminum race wheels out there. I would really recommend against buying used carbon, especially from places like eBay where you can’t visually inspect it before you buy it. There’s just a lot that can that can go wrong. And you don’t want to sacrifice your your dental health for cracked rim. And also, if you’ve been following velonews for any length of time, you know that we did an article on counterfeit carbon frames, there’s carbon counterfeit wheels out there as well be very, very careful with that stuff. It it’s just not worth saving the money to crash in a race because you can try to save 500 bucks.
Trevor Connor 12:27
Something I’m going to add to this as well is if you have it in the money, have a set of race wheels, but also have a set of training wheels, because you don’t want to be out in the bad weather in the winter in the spring on your $2,000 carbon clincher wheels and destroying those wheels before you get to a race. I’ve seen a lot of athletes who keep saying Why do I Why do I flatten races? Well, you want to keep those tires in good shape for the race. And you can’t do that if you’re training on them. So you can have two sets of wheels. That’s the ideal. But if you can’t have two sets of wheels, actually have two sets of tires that you change right before the race. So you have something you train on, you can beat up, frankly, go find something that looks a lot like a garden hose for 10 bucks. So we’ve all kind of agreed here that in terms of equipment wheels are also one of the best places for performance that you can spend money getting a good set of race wheels. But when we’re talking $2,000 you’re not getting multiple sets of race wheels. So how do you guys feel about types of wheels should be going deep dish or should you just be sticking with a thinner rim and focusing on the the weight of the rim?
I think some of that depends on where you live. Although you know, we live here in Boulder, Colorado with amazing climbs out our back door and we still seem to race on flat crits all the time. So maybe it doesn’t depend on where you live so much. Regardless, I think that a slightly deeper wheel is going to be best in most race scenarios, you know something and in sort of the, the 50, I would say the 45 to 60 millimeter range. If you get much higher than that you’re going to run into problems when it gets windy, much lower than that and you don’t have as much aerodynamic benefit. So you can get a nice light tubular in that sort of 55 range, you know, zip for 40 to 56 or 58 millimeters I think that’s kind of the perfect all around wheel and wide. That’s the other big one is get a nice wide wheel that works well with a 2500 tire drops rolling resistance much better. So we get you to our tech gods in the room to talk a little bit about what they mean by rotational weight versus aerodynamics on the wheel.
Well, rotational weight. Let’s let’s start there. Because I think when when we talk about weight, you know, people have a tendency to think, you know, if I get the 14 pound bike versus a 15 pound bike, it’s going to be faster. Well that depends. Where’s that weight being saved? And if it’s being saved in the wheels, then yes, you You’re probably going to be faster because rotational weight matters a lot more than stationary weight. rotational weight is basically anything that spins on your bike. So you’re talking about cranks, you’re talking about wheels, you know, anything that that rotates, essentially, you could even argue to a point that shoes, you know, would count as rotational weight. So that’s going to matter more than stationary weight. And the question is why? Well, think of it this way, if you have a heavier wheel versus a lighter wheel, you’re gonna use less energy to get that wheel, that lighter wheel going. So right there is a watt savings. And to keep that wheel going, you know, probably a little bit less of a difference. But think about how many times in a race you accelerate, decelerate, when you’re climbing when you’re sprinting. All of that’s going to take extra watts out of your body, basically, every time you try to push a heavier wheel.
Kristen Legan 15:52
And it also depends on where the weight is within the wheel. So if you have the deeper rims, you’re going to have more weight around the outside of the wheel, which that changes how they accelerate. So deeper, rims are going to accelerate a little bit slower, usually, depending on how the wheel is built. So you are sacrificing some of that with the aerodynamics of the deeper wheel with acceleration. And a lot of the companies are doing a great job of finding a good balance with that at this point.
And we should mention that the math suggests that at high speeds, and particularly if you’re if you’re relatively constant speed, the aerodynamics for the most part is going to overwhelm the importance of that rotational weight. But if your favorite thing is going and climbing steep stuff, then yeah, you might want to think about going with something much shallower. I mean, there’s a reason why this top pro guys are running 30 millimeter RAMs, or, or even shallower than that, on major climbing stages.
Kristen Legan 16:47
Well, and I think depending on what kind of racer you are, is also important in deciding how deep of rims you want. So if you are a hill climber and you want to target those races this season, then maybe some lighter, shallower wheels are your your best option. If you’re a crit racer, or if you’re somebody who’s going to go off the front in a, in a road race, something more aerodynamic is probably a better option. So it just kind of depends on the racer, and in what you want to focus on.
Well, then the aerodynamic shape of the wheel is not the only determining factor as to whether air flows well over it. I mean, you look at a zip wheel, you know, yes, it’s got that arrow cam tail sort of profile. But it also has these dimples on the side, much like a golf ball. And what that does is that helps the air essentially stick to the rim. So that instead of floating off the rim and creating an eddy Eddy of turbulent air on the backside of your rim, the air sort of flows more smoothly. So there’s a lot that goes into aerodynamics, rather than just shape and depth. So you can feasibly and I, you know, and I’m saying this without having done any sort of study, but you can feasibly have a shallower wheel that is more aerodynamic than a deep profile rim.
Yeah, I mean, that they are dynamic data that companies like zip and head have been sending us for years have, they always try to make that case? Again, I mean, that kind of data, you always have to take with a grain of salt. It’s coming straight from from a manufacturer. But we’ve done a lot of our own testing as well. And it’s definitely not always the deepest wheel that wins that that’s for sure. All right. I like Dan’s answer, because I, too, am a technophile. And I think that Trevor and Kristen is a cop out as nonsense, because you cannot buy coaching a bike fit if you did not first own a bicycle. So my, my, my recommendation is an aluminum race bike and hear me out on this one because I know carbon is the hot thing. But the aluminum race bikes that have come out in last couple years are truly phenomenal, especially as a way is really really good. It’s fantastic bike kennedale. Now we’re up to the CAD 12 gs 1416 eight, I don’t know CAD something. That bike has been really good for 15 years, and it just keeps getting better and better. And you can pick up those bikes with like Shimano 105, for 1500 bucks or less. That’s a phenomenal deal. The next two, I’m actually gonna play by the rules here, we got 2000 bucks, I got 1500 bucks on a on a specialized way. I’m going to add in a pair of specialized turbo cotton tires, which I think are like 100 bucks, each dish. Those have been shown to decrease rolling resistance pretty dramatically. We’re talking, you know, four to five watts over other really good tires and closer to 10 over really bad tires. And finally, and this is actually from a test that we ran a Bellamy’s a couple years ago. wax or chain, paraffin wax. It’s like four bucks, put it in an old crock pot dunk chain in there, we proved that it is worth 100 watts over most lubes and like six or seven watts over really bad lubes. And Dan is wants to say something, but I’m not going to give him the microphone, because I’m not done yet, Dan. Those are my things. And that is, well, for dollars, you have to have a chain first, but I guess that would come with a bicycle. So I am up to $1,804. And I’m faster than all of you.
Alright, so would you actually chain over say sending your chain to ceramicspeed or buying a ceramicspeed coated chain.
Uh, so actually, they started, they bought the, they bought their their formula from the guy named Jason Smith, who performed that initial testing for us. So he did the testing for us, which is third party testing, and then use the results essentially to develop his own super fast chain. So he uses a duration chain, which has been proven to be faster than both RAM and campin YOLO. We don’t really know why. But it is. ads in the wax and a couple other secret ingredients. Honestly, you know, if you want to spring for one of those, they’re like they’re a little over $100 which is pretty pricey. And you only get a tiny bump over just using paraffin that you buy for four bucks in a grocery store. So maybe for your huge big you know, if you’re gonna do one big race a year yeah, jump in. You know, if you’re gonna race Kona and you’re triathlete or if you’re gonna race Leadville or something that go for it, but for you know, every if you’re gonna race every weekend, you want that swats every weekend, I just bought a paraffin,
Kristen Legan 21:33
but if you’re gonna race every weekend, the paraffin doesn’t last is you have to, you have to do it over and over again. It lasts for maybe they say like four or 500 miles. That’s Yeah, it does stretch. It lasts for like 100 to 150 miles, especially depending on the conditions you’re writing in. So you’d be prepared to spend your time. If you’re not going to spend your money. I’d like to debate your math.
This is the first time in my life I’ve ever said those words. In fact, I think you forgot a key component to that, which is you got to buy a crock pot to melt all that wax.
All right. All right. So I bought a crock pot. Now I’m up to 1000 How much is a crock pot? I have no idea what your crock pot is. 80 bucks. All right, we’re up to $1,884 now since you guys all had your cop out with your training and your bike fits, I want to know you would actually buy for 2000 bucks to make your bike go faster. Or to get it No, you have to buy a bike to begin with as well. That’s the rule. I just changed the rules. You now have to buy a bicycle and stuff for it for 2000 bucks. that’s changing, changing the game and hold on.
Because there’s only I mean, there’s first of all so if you’re if you have to buy a bike for under $2,000 and other upgrades it so you’re basically limited to you’re basically limited to non carbon bikes.
That’s a fun noise do that again.
Oh, I don’t know about that. It’s not like the kennedale also makes a not a tech editor anymore. Remind me Kristin. They make what’s the carbon one? They they make a cheap Evo.
Yeah, like they make like a 20 $200 EVO, which is over our limit, but
changing the game is
Oh, we got 2000 bucks. For everybody Stay tuned. No, I want to rag on you guys. I waited, I waited.
Trevor Connor 23:30
I’m gonna I’m gonna throw something in here. Going back to what you were talking about with the specialized. So when I was managing team Rio Grande, I tried to put them on those specialized la aluminum bikes and got those in the entire year. That was the only time the team argued with me because they couldn’t imagine being on aluminum. But something I found really interesting it happened while I was living there in Ithaca, New York they did a study where they took a carbon fiber a steel and aluminum and a titanium frame and the paint of them all so you couldn’t tell which was which took about 100 riders put them on all the all the bikes and had them try to figure out which bike was which of those hundred riders only one got it and I spoke dummies of flack guess what you can’t feel the frame, despite what people think you really can’t feel the frame what you feel are the wheels and the fork and geometry.
Now i would i would i would somewhat agree with you there. Ah, I would I would wager. And again, this is only because as a former technical editor of velonews. I clearly have superior powers in this realm. This is let’s
Trevor Connor 24:44
see what you can do.
I would wager that I could tell the difference between a carbon frame and a steel frame for sure.
Trevor Connor 24:54
Where do we still have enough money in your math to buy the spray paint well now we’re now we’re talking
no I you can you can feel the difference between a really nice carbon frame and a really crappy steel or aluminum frame? I would, I would say that like, a very nice aluminum frame, you’d have trouble feeling that difference between that and most carbon frames. And yes, you’re absolutely correct that wheels and tires in particular, are gonna have more of a difference, the only way you could feel the difference between those frames is if you have these same wheels on them, the same tires pumped up to the exact same pressure because five psi on the tires is going to have a greater impact on ride quality, then any frame change, like string, you know, tarmac to eBay, it doesn’t matter. Five psi in the tires is gonna have a more dramatic impact.
I think you’re being a little dramatic here. I think. First of all, I think there there is a noticeable difference between aluminum and carbon, regardless of what wheels you’re riding, regardless of what components are on there. And this actually happened to me fairly recently, right before I started working here at velonews, I borrowed a road bike from somebody and I hopped on it, I didn’t really look at it very closely, I basically got my saddle height, hopped on and started riding and I was riding along and I’m thinking myself, man, this rides really harsh for a carbon bike. And then I hopped off and realize I was riding aluminum. And I was like, Man, this rides really nice for aluminum, you know? So there’s definitely, I think, especially with the vibration, damping qualities of carbon, I think if you’re really paying attention, you can certainly feel a difference between the metals, the metal and the carbon. But does that mean that you should be writing one or the other. But when you say that, you could do the same thing with tire pressure,
will drop my tire pressure and feel feel different, like switch from 23 to 25 and drop tire pressure by 10 psi and you’re gonna get more of a difference in ride quality than switching from Aluminum Bike to a carbon bike.
I think you can. Yeah, and but i think you know, then you’re also making changes to the way you ride. I mean, if you can run a lower pressure on your tires, you know, or 25 instead of a 28. Yeah, you’re changing, you’re changing rolling resistance, you’re changing contact patch, you’re making a lot of sacrifices. And I think that’s why there’s been a switch to carbon because you’re not making those sacrifices and you have more control over other you know, marginal gains.
Okay, I will accept your apology.
And I have the microphone so you can respond. Okay, but this comes back.
Kristen Legan 27:30
I think most people underestimate metal bikes, though, you know, I think that we all think carbon is the be all end all of race bikes. And yeah, there’s a there’s a difference in some people will feel that difference more than others will. But I think you got to give aluminum and even steel, definitely tie a chance.
Yeah, I mean, my favorite bike in the world is a tie bike with s&s couplers which, you know, if you just looked at that on its face, you’re like, No way is that the best way. But it’s, it’s the best riding bike I have ever been on. Part of that is it’s a custom bike. And so it fits me perfectly. But it’s actually the geometry is almost millimeter four millimeter off of a Scott foil. So the geometry alone is not the entirety of the reason why I love it. It’s also just just rides really, really nice and still super stiff. And I think you’re right, metal bikes, we’ve forgotten them for 15 years. And we need to um, forget them because particularly if we’re talking about this $2,000 limit, it is far and away your best option for getting into something race worthy, and still fast.
Trevor Connor 28:35
My favorite bike is still my 1994 titanium race bike which I still use for training and the saddest day of my life is when a teammate took one look at that and said Trevor, bikes older and I am
my favorite bike is the bike I’m riding. So what I would actually do first step with any bike I got and this and let’s be honest, whenever we get a test bike in here, it’s the first thing that we do is we swap out the saddle. So what I would do is I would go to the bike shop, get my sit bones measured and I would invest in a saddle that fits me well in a lot of your local bike shops will do a saddle testing program where you can take out several saddles and see which one fits you best. I would do that first and foremost, I don’t care if you have to spend $350 on that saddle, whatever, get a saddle that fits you that is 100% my first step it is
Trevor Connor 29:25
great that you said that because that is possibly the most important thing you can do.
Yeah, I mean if you’re uncomfortable in a race, what are you thinking about? You’re thinking about your butt instead of you thinking about you know, sprinting for the win. So yeah, absolutely be comfortable on the bike. That is step one. Absolutely. Every time you buy a bike,
Trevor Connor 29:41
and when you say almost equally as important is the shoes and having the right insoles having the right fit with the shoes.
Yes. Yeah. And I think that now that we’ve had this, this little conversation we can we can go back to like, obviously fit is vital. I mean, I was I Call it a cop out, but they’re absolutely correct. And then, you know, you should set aside 200 bucks out of your 2000 to buy a new bicycle and then get it fit properly. So maybe that’s the last 200 bucks in mind. But with that established saddle, other contact points like shoes, I mean even pay attention to things like your handlebar, your gloves, gloves.
And just another point that and this is not across the board. But a lot of bike shops. If you go in and buy a $2,000 bike, they’re going to give you the fit for free. So call around I mean, see, see if your local bike shop has a fit program that saves you the 200 bucks and then you got 200 bucks to pay to play with for a better saddle. For example.
For an inside the industry perspective, we caught up with Chris view, who’s the head of the specialized wind tunnel, and chief aerodynamicist over at specialized, he also works with their proteins quite a lot, and asked him where he’d spent his money from an aerodynamic standpoint.
By far, the fit, there’s the arrow, the arrow of the rider contribute something like you know, up to 80% of the total arrow drag of your total system, again, getting that fit so that you can write in the drunk. So right on the arrow bar, that’s, that’s by far the biggest bang for your buck just does that impact such a big part of the equation. So that’s one, two is anything else that you interface with, you know, so since since, again, you’re responsible for so much of Aero drag, that means that your clothing and your helmet become extremely important. And so having a kit that is as trim cut to you as possible, there are a lot of new kits out there, such as ours that use technical fabrics to try to improve aerodynamic efficiency over the kid. But at the end of the day, it’s really just having a nice fit. Don’t go one size too big, don’t go for that club fit, you know, if you’re serious about performance. And that’s that’s almost for everyone, one of the biggest changes, you can make a one of the biggest improvements you can make in terms of efficiency, and how made is not far back from there. And then from there, it’s all the typical things that everyone thinks about training wheels up like that. That’s a good question. If somebody came to you and said, I can’t afford everything, I can afford a few things. What would you tell them to buy first? Or what order would you tell them to buy it and kit and helmet will fit it. So the helmet will be after the kit. Just because it’s such an easy I mean helmet is a couple hundred dollars for for a good Aero helmet. Whether it’s for triathlon and fooled arrow helmet or road arrow helmet, but that’s that’s a very effective bang for your buck. And then after that wheels and frames are kind of in the category of themselves, they’re they’re more of a, they’re a bigger purchase, and there’s a lot more associated with it. It’s a much more emotional purchase for a lot of people too. So it’s it’s one of those things where if you’re gonna upgrade your frame, then yeah, of course, make sure that you’re getting the one that serves you the best. And if arrow efficiency is is that golden, don’t go for it. But in terms of bang for your buck, it’s it’s really the stuff that you interface with.
All right, so there’s clearly some consensus in this room. There’s also a couple points of contention, let’s revisit our original question, but alter it just slightly or at least clarified it a bit working out the assumption that you need to buy a bike and anything else that is required for bike racing. You have 2000 bucks, where does your money go? And we will start with velonews technical editor Dan Cavallari.
Okay, so working off of the paradigm that I need to choose a bicycle and then an upgrade, my choice would be a Cannondale supersix EVO tiagra, which is $1,840. And then I would invest the rest of that in a saddle that fits me properly. Probably puts me just a hair over $2,000 especially with tax, that’s acceptable.
Kristen Legan 33:41
Well, I would shop around and find an aluminum or steel bike that had the right geometry for me. probably keep it in the Shimano 105 kind of range,
hopefully from rival.
Kristen Legan 33:52
Yeah, exactly. Same rival. Either one, I think it just depends on the person. So I don’t know what bike I would actually end up buying. But so I’d get that bike. If there was let’s say $500 leftover, I would invest that into a fit. I think, you know, those are definitely the two most important things you don’t have enough money left over for wheels at that point. So whatever bike you got, try and get one with some decent wheels on it. And then anything that you can just do to kind of take care of yourself through training so getting the right kind of food to race with and doing some stuff like preload, so where you’re you’re kind of overloading with salt before racing, that kind of stuff. So it’s all those little pieces that you can start you know, adding in once you’ve gotten the big things covered.
And Trevor Mr. Retro grabs, you would find a huffy at Walmart,
Trevor Connor 34:43
I already have my from Walmart. Well, I’m going to add in the thing that I think we all agree on here that’s probably worth stating is just as important as the bike is finding a good shop that’s going to take care of you the that’s going to service you on the Bike starts working not so well. And then see what they have. And then after that, I’m going to put aside the $300, for a good fit from somebody that you know is good. Put aside the money for the right saddle for the right shoes, and then whatever’s left over. Let’s face it, that’s not enough to buy a really good set of wheels and a really good bike. So I’m probably going to say get good race wheels later. But right now I’m going to get a decent mid level, probably aluminum frame with mid level componentry. And just go for the bike that I know is going to hold together and be able to serve me in a race.
And I kind of already gave my answer.
Same deal. I mean, there are lots of options in sort of that, that 1500 dollar range, none are particularly astoundingly good, but most aren’t terrible. And then you throw some nice tires on there and waxer chain and you have a bike, they can compete with almost anything. Let me re ask the question real quick. So this time you already own a bike. So you know you already have something totally reasonable good to go. Then what do you do? What do you spend the money on? Because it’s only upgrades at this point? What do you spend your $2,000 on if you already have a buck, let’s start with the news associate editor, Kristen llegan.
Kristen Legan 36:22
So I definitely start with getting a good set of wheels, I think that can really transform your bike. From there going on to just doing an upgrade to your components, or at least just taking care of me in maintenance with your components. So you know, thinking about a new chain, cassette, something like that. And then anything that you’re going to use during the race that you can use during training, as well as when you’re racing. So food, you know, the right kind of sports drink that’s going to help you or gels getting some of that stuff and using them in your training before you go and race with those. So kind of stocking up with that.
And that’ll be well under 2000 bucks for sure. Although race wheels, maybe not.
Kristen Legan 37:02
Yeah, the most expensive race No. Well, I think the best set of ratios you can for under $2,000 or whatever your
budget and fill in the gap with nutrition is exactly just some smaller stuff. Good recommendations, we’ll pass this over to velonews technical editor Dan Cavallari
for my money. I’m going with a set of zip 303 fire Chris clinchers. And then I’m going to take out my credit card, and I’m going to buy a set of specialized turbo cotton tires to go with him. And then I’m going to really max out the credit card and I’m going to get a nice comfortable saddle.
And onto Captain retro grouch, Mr Trevor Connor.
Trevor Connor 37:40
So I think I’m gonna start with setting aside the money to get a good proper bike fit from a respected source and the money to get whatever saddle you need that comes out of that bike fit and getting the proper shoes. Then whatever money I have left, I’m going to set aside $5 put the rest into a good set of race wheels and our tech editors can tell you much better what are good race wheels, the $5 big bags and pour down Kaylee’s top to do is frame the night before the race and I’m set
a wow that’s rude driver
for five bucks I’ll club the kneecap man you know
why I kind of already went over my my 2000 bucks but I talked about a bike so I would essentially replace the bike that I mentioned earlier with a good set of race wheels and again we we’re not here to necessarily pick what the best set of race wheels is but the big names that you’ve heard of are all are all making excellent stuff. Envy zip head you know Bontrager is actually making phenomenal wheels these days. You look for something Yeah, camping YOLO is excellent. Something relatively wide you know in the in the sort of 40 to 60 millimeter depth. And then from there, just shop around and see what you can find and don’t be afraid to go use but definitely be very, very careful and we wouldn’t necessarily recommend things like eBay where you can you know, check it out with your by yourself before you buy a rabbit with really fast tires. Vittoria has some new cotton sidewall tires, specialized the affer mentioned specialized turbos are incredibly fast. Those have been proven to drop rolling resistance immediately. That’s essentially flat out free speed. They’re about 100 bucks a pop. So $2 for the speed, add in a wax chain, you have absolute fastest bike, you can you can get for that amount of money. And I think that would be that’s how I would spend it. Because I don’t care about saddles and shoes and fit. Things don’t matter. Well, that’s it for today. Thank you to our special guests. velonews technical editor Dan Cavallari and villain is Associate Editor Kristen leagan Trevor and I will be back. Next time we’re back.
Trevor Connor 40:11
This is a game of hide and seek. We don’t come back until you locate
If you’d like us to come back, please send $5 to 300 to Well, thank you to our two special guests today. Dan Cavallari technical editor here at felonies and Christian league and associate editor here at felonies. You will definitely hear from them again whenever we’re going to chat equipment. They don’t work too far away from me so we can definitely bring them back in from Trevor and I thanks again for listening to Fast Talk live Elena’s performance podcast and we will catch you next time