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New Bike - Is it worth Spending Loads?

  • 23-09-2021 4:18pm
    Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 33,191 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Seth Brundle

    My road bike is an 2019 Orbea Orca M30; fully carbon with a 105 groupset. It cost me €1800 and in the few years owes me nothing! I've over 20k kms done on it. To be honest, it is a great bike!

    Parts are starting to suffer from wear and tear (large chain ring recently replaced and new left shifter ordered yesterday) and I've a new set of Scribes (Pace) due in a week or two.

    I'm looking to get n+1 using the BTW scheme and haven't a clue what to get and this is where my problem is. Is it actually worth spending loads of money (€3-4k) on another bike?

    Is an aero bike worth it - am I actually going to go any faster than I currently do?

    Is it actually worthwhile moving up to Ultegra or Dura Ace compared to using 105? What about going down the Di2 route?

    I know with any bike, wheels are an important aspect so for the moment, I guess let's focus on the rest of the bike.

    Am I paying for tangible benefits or just brands and aesthetics?



  • Registered Users Posts: 104 ✭✭ pairofpears

    You are paying for the Brand name with most. Cube have a nice Ultegra at circa €2200 and if I was in the market I would go for that. I run Ultegra on both bikes but usually use 105 cassettes and chains due to the price difference but the extra weight doesnt change the fact its a harder wearing cassette.

    You could buy a new Cube with 105 and then spend the money saved off a Trek on a set of handbuilt disc wheels.

    What about changing to a gravel or CX bike to give you a different option for cycling as either one of those would let you mount panniers and do some bike packing.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,837 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    do you want to go faster or do you want to look cooler?

  • Registered Users Posts: 502 ✭✭✭ lissard

    I have a similar spec bike to yours (carbon, 105 etc...). I might be open to correction here but my understanding is that 105 is mechanically the same a Ultegra - the difference being some parts are carbon on Ultegra. When my drivetrain wears out I think I'll just replace like for like - a few hundred grams saving pales into insignificance compared to the heavy lump that I am. When my BTW came up last year I decided on a hardtail MTB, turned out to be a good call particularly over winter. I found it complementary to the road cycling as my club has a pretty active off-road crew.

    Post edited by lissard on

  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 33,191 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Seth Brundle

    I plan on another road bike (not sure if I want a gravel or CX) for club spins and the like and use the current bike more for commuting. I understand the logic behid the cost differences but when you see some bikes and the higher spec one is hundreds more than its sibling, I can't figure it out. I guess there's an element of exclusivity to it.

    Looking at pTrek prices in one retailer, the Domane SL 5 (105 groupset) is between €2,899.00 and €3,199.00 whereas the Domane SL 6 (Ultegra) is between €3,799.00 and €4,199.00. I know the SL6 has better rims but I think that's the only other difference. Is that worth the extra money?

    I'm frequently informed by my kids that I'm not cool! Sure my trousers cover my ankles and when wearing jeans I wear socks that go higher than the top of my shoe. I'm after speed!

    I kinda agree and am wondering if spending more for the "performance" stuff will benefit my image more than my performace and as already mentioned, I don't have an image of any worth. The weight difference between 105 and Ultegra is something like 280g. That's about half a bidon, so nothing really.

    I have a hardtail hybrid which I am using more and more but don't see myself replacing it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 282 ✭✭ tomfoolery60

    Why are Cubes so much better value? Is it really just the name?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,558 ✭✭✭ dancinpants

    Very similar to you OP. I have a 2019 entry level Cube that is starting to cost me money as I have done about 15k on it through three winters. Didn't look after it as much as I should until this year and I'm now looking to replace/upgrade and keep the old one as a winter bike. I can't decide what I need and how much to spend.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,758 ✭✭✭ CantGetNoSleep

    My two main bikes are a Cannondale Synapse 105 disc which cost me 1199€ in 2018, and a Giant TCR Ultegra Di2 disc which cost me 4000€ in the middle of the first lockdown before bike sales went crazy. Both were good deals and you wouldn't get them for that price now, especially the Synapse.

    The TCR feels a bit more nimble, it's maybe a kilo lighter, has slightly more aero wheels, and Di2 is a nice to have, but at the end of the day I can keep up with the same club groups as easily on either, and if I was ever short of money I'd sell the TCR and it would maybe impact my enjoyment of cycling 5-10%.

    I'd go for whatever geometry you feel most comfortable with (endurance, race, aero) and whatever bike looks nice at a good price with a minimum 105 groupset. Maybe keep some budget for a wheelset upgrade depending on what comes stock.

    Only thing to watch is weight - some of the new disc road bikes are pushing 10kg (and I'm not talking about the cheapest bikes)

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,393 ✭✭✭ Macy0161

    Never used Di2, but for what it's worth, I don't get any real performance difference on the mechanical versions of 105 on my Alu Defy and my ultegra TCR. Or for that matter the latest iteration (I think) Tiagra which is on my gravel bike (Topstone).

    I upgraded from the Defy as I wanted carbon and slightly more racey geometry. If I could've fit wider tyres (or even high volume 32's) to the defy, I probably wouldn't have brought a Gravel bike to be honest - the load of tyres in the shed shows I really did try!

    I actually would like discs for the road bike, but can't really justify an upgrade to be honest. I love my 2018 TCR, even on the stock wheels - winter/ spring I'll be looking to upgrade them.

    tl:dr Steel is Real (I wistfully look at Donard bikes posts on facebook...)

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,447 ✭✭✭ fat bloke

    I simply cannot reconcile myself with the current market. Prices are gone crazy and modern expensive bikes are unacceptably heavy. So unfortunately, spending "loads" doesn't necessarily get you the performance or top end componentry you would have expected in the recent past.

    My money is wholly on the 2nd hand market. The window is closing for picking up an absolute top end previous-gen, pre-disk brake, peak-bicycle. Cos the next gen of sub 6.5kg bikes are gonna cost you 15 grand+.

  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 33,191 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Seth Brundle

    From what I'm hearing, there isn't any real benefit to the Ultegra or Dura Ace over 105. I'd like to be doing a lot more hills and would like to do them quickly. Obviously, the big factor in that is me but I'd like a bike that enjoys going off the horizontal.

    I've had to drive to work today so I plan on making the most of having the car and might head over to WheelWorx and Base2Race and see what they have & will be getting in soon (it's better than working!)

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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 13,456 Mod ✭✭✭✭ ednwireland

    glad i bought my Di2 cannondale synapse early 2020 great bike but not sure i would have bought it at 1k+ more ! that replaced an 11 year old focus, its a serious setup up from the entry level focus

    just picked up and 9 year old full suspension mtb a couple of months ago for 500 which for the amount i use a mtb was perfect, needed some new bits but its a hoot to ride ! (that replaced a knackered 25 year old orange !) and it only has 26 inch wheels , 9 speed bits are relatively cheap as well 😁

    Post edited by ednwireland on

  • Registered Users Posts: 298 ✭✭ MangleBadger

    I have an entry level Cube Attain with Sora. And it has served me very well. But I'm also getting an itch for upgrading. Unfortunately 2 of the items I want on my new bike are DI2 and an integrated cockpit(or at least hidden cables).

    This makes my next bike look pretty expensive. Just bought a house so new bike probably not on the cards until 2023. In the meantime I will probably look at moving from Sora to 105 as I have never been able to get smooth shifting across the entire cassette.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,813 ✭✭✭ marvin80

    I switched from my first bike with Sora to a new bike with 105 - massive difference.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,393 ✭✭✭ Macy0161

    I think you do have to be a bit careful just comparing older groupsets to more modern iterations of the same group set. The tech does filter down, so this years Tiagra is like 2 years old 105. Same applies to Tiagra v Sora. For example, 105 and Tiagra hydraulic shifters/ hoods had a very poor reputation for being uncomfortable - shimano fixed that at the last upgrade.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,447 ✭✭✭ fat bloke

    Careful is right!

    See the new sram rival axs groupset is 3.5 kg in weight???!! My ten year old SRAM red is 1650g. - Is that progress?

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,746 ✭✭✭ cletus

    Unless the bike/equipment will be used in a competitve/commercial/other performace based arena, the only person who can justify (or not) the cost is yourself. If you have the money to spend, and it's something you want, then go for it. If you can look at features that you may not need/are willing sacrifice, then the cheaper options become more palatable. I think this goes for anything you are looking to buy or invest in.

    Prime example, I recently bought a tent for bikepacking/overnight kayaking etc. I looked at the Big Agnes Fly Creek, but just couldn't justify the cost to myself. I could 'afford it', insofar as I could put the money together for it, but I opted for a Naturehike Cloud Up instead, as I felt the difference in cost could be better spent.

    I'm contemplating a new bike in January myself, and apart from the fact that prices are actively increasing for bikes online over the course of weeks in some cases, the biggest issue is looking at the next step up in the range for the bike you're interested in. It's very easy to tell yourself "for a few hundred more I could have..."

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,351 ✭✭✭ joey100

    If it were me I'd go for the frame you like the best over the components. If you keep the bike as long as your older one you will probably end up changing most of them anyway. Frame is the key for me, one that fits.

    Fatbloke, I think your being a bit generous with your weight of your SRAM red vs the new rival. I'd guess the rival includes chain, hoses, cassette, BB. It's still an anchor of a groupset and not one I'd go near myself, but I can't ever say I've seen a full (including BB, chain, cassette, cables) red groupset coming in at that weight!

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,837 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    is your sram red hydraulic or mechanical brakes? and electronic or cable shifting?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,033 ✭✭✭ Galego

    My answers to some of your questions based on my experience.

    1- Is it worth spending loads? No, it is not worthy.

    2- Is the aero bike going to make me go faster? Not significantly. The biggest object in the bike is your body. Get in a more aero position which you can sustain and keep your power and you will def go faster.

    3- Are wheels important? Yes, this is where my money would go if I were you.

    I think the basis are:

    • Light enough carbon frame (old frames seem to be lighter as someone else mentioned)
    • Ultegra/105 groupset (not much difference in those two since shimano introduced 5800/6800)
    • Good/decent carbon wheels
    • Keep the bike clean and well maintained

    I prefer a mechanical groupset and rim brakes but that is just my preference.

    I personally think but bike industry in order to keep selling bikes has gone for fancy unnecessary stuff like di2 etc.......but most of these things do not make any significant performance differences. Unless you are a pro and need those extra marginal gains! :-)

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,462 ✭✭✭✭ Enfilade

    You also have to factor the ongoing cost of replacing components if they break or wear out. The cost of some of the highest end stuff regardless of manufacturer would make your eyes water.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,680 ✭✭✭ Whyner

    I bought a Canyon Ultimate SLX last year, got it in the outlet section down from 7k - 6k, I lost so much sleep over it once I hit the purchase button, now I'm thinking it was a savage bargain. 6.5kg SRAM Red etap, powermeter and 50mm DT Swiss, a lot of bike. Raced it all season and absolutely loved it, she'll be turned in for hibernation soon and will be dearly missed

    I'm not blown away by electronic shifting, I don't see any advantage over mechanical Ultegra. Love everything else

    I deffo benfited from the lightness on Hill TTs and felt like (cause who knows) I benefited from the wheels in sprint finishes

    So is worth spending loads?

    Yes, if you're going to use it a lot and get excited walking out to the shed

  • Registered Users Posts: 902 ✭✭✭ Luxman

    I used to spend ages indexing a very old Ultegra groupset, after some research I realised it wasn't just me, it was just badly designed, I skipped the more modern mechanical Ultegra on my next bike and went with di2, game changer for me. I love it. That was a few years ago and my most recent purchase, second hand Look had newer di2 and disc brakes. Now disc brakes were not my first choice but as the bike was second hand I had to move with the times. Yes they are good, very good in fact but would be quite happy with rim brakes. Between the two bikes I cannot tell if Im faster, but I do enjoy the summer bike more, maybe because its sunny and warm out when Im on it, who knows. I would recommend di2 but not necessarily disc brakes based on my experience. Bottom line is as long as you're happy on it.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,837 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    also, this link puts AXS (e-tap, hydraulic) at 3.2kg, not 3.5kg:

    and any link i can find for red from 10 years ago puts it at 1950g, not 1650g? and that seems to be mechanical brake and shifting, so you're not comparing like with like at all there.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,447 ✭✭✭ fat bloke

    Ok, a small pinch of salt with that claim, but not by much - claimed weight is 1,739g. There is no groupset, at any money, available now that is less than 2kg. But that rival weight is unconscionable. And like it or not, that's what you're going to be getting on your 4 grand bike in the coming years - bling electronic and apps to pair with your phone so you can count your gear changes, to distract from the extra pork pies you've to carry up hill and down dale.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,447 ✭✭✭ fat bloke

    Well your link above actually puts sram red 22 ar 1741g, mine is the second gen 10 speed, which was lighter. When everyone else went 11 speed, sram stayed at 10 and just seriously shredded the weight.

    I'd argue I'm exactly comparing like with like. It's groupset v groupset. In its day that sram red was packaged on bikes costing 3 to 5 thousand euro. Here's a list of some of the bikes being built up with that rival axs groupset for next year, all costing between 4 and 7 thousand pounds sterling. There's one thing sure, if you value your bike in grams then there's absolutely fantastic value on the horizon! :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,447 ✭✭✭ fat bloke

    Here it is! 1670g. I knew I wasn't hallucinating.

    Anyway, whatever about a gram here or there. It's super light. I bought two bikes with it on in 2012. They're both shifting away merrily without a click or a creak. An absolutely awesome, awesome, awesome groupset.

  • Registered Users Posts: 353 ✭✭ Mr. Cats

    On di2, I always think of it as an unnecessary luxury that I would recommend. I don’t think it aids performance, it has a little bit easier maintenance (no cable changing, indexing is simple) but the main thing for me is it just feels a bit nicer. So unnecessary? Yes. Recommended? Also yes if you have the budget.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 13,456 Mod ✭✭✭✭ ednwireland

    i love just hitting the button and it just hits the next gear, front or rear, especially on upshifts. hit an unexpected climb just hit the buttons it sorts it out, auto trim the front mech yep no bother. its waay too easy to get used to how good it is and forget until you jump on a cable bike😁

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,837 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    aha, i went a generation older, took the ten year comment literally.

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  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 33,191 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Seth Brundle

    Took a few bikes for a spin over in Base2Race.

    Loved the ride and look of this ORRO Gold Evo with a 105 groupset...

    ...but might go with this one...

    Need to look at a few other brands to see if I'm making the right choice.