I read an article online at Bike Radar the other day that suggested we cyclists should consider trading in our 3+ year-old race bikes for new models because “Recent developments have made new bikes tangibly faster, says Steven Williams”
Wait, trade in… this? It’s only five! And tangibly faster? I doubt it.
It gets interesting:
You’d be excused for thinking at this point that I’ve jumped on some £10,000 carbon superbike and got all giddy. I haven’t.
Um, okay… so what gives then?
For a little over a year, I’ve been riding a (used) GT GTR from 2014: aluminium frame, carbon fork, £799 new.
Well now we’re making some sense, my friends… I’ll give you the part that ties it together:
So it’s as an increasingly keen newcomer, riding what I think are typical bikes for the average Joe/Jolene, that I’m saying this.
Please allow me to condence; Steve’s a noob. He may not yet know all there is to know about being a roadie – or even a sliver, with one year under his belt on an entry-level steed.
Everything Steven Williams says we need in an average, new bike... well, kinda.
Aluminum frame, carbon fork, Shimano Sora 9sp., disc brakes, 28mm tires… It’s comfy, alright but at 23 pounds, it’s absolutely on the heavy side. It’s nice for a gravel bike, but for a road bike? No thanks, bro. Rain bike, maybe… Of course, there were years gone by that having a 21 pound bike was the bees knees, but those days are long gone.
By four years’ ago contrast, aero carbon fiber frame, aero CF fork, aero CF handlebar, aero CF crank, aero CF seat post. Sure, it’s only got FSA Energy caliper brakes (they’re freaking spectacular) but it’s a full… get this… seven pounds lighter.
In other words the answer is, dude, no.
According to the column, Steve is an accomplished mountain biker who has just recently made the jump to light speed, as it were. For roadies, true roadies, my Specialized is slightly above average (with the upgrades it’s solidly above average, no question).
Let me go down the line for the B Group in our gaggle: 2013 Spec Venge Comp (upgraded everything), 2014 Spec Alias Comp (upgraded brakes/wheels), 2015 Trek Madone 7 Series, 2016 Giant Defy Advanced (I think), 2012 Trek Madone 4.5, 2008 Specialized Tarmac Ultegra (upgraded wheels), 2015 Specialized Allez (entry-level Sora upgraded to 10sp 105 with decent alloy wheels, 2010/12 Trek Madone 6-point-something Campy Super Record 11sp, upgraded wheels, 2017 Specialized Ruby Disc (Ultegra), 2005-8 Giant TCR Advanced… Folks, average those out and you don’t get a second-tier entry-level aluminum frame, and I didn’t even do the A Group. They’re a big step above us…
Now, I don’t think there’s any doubt that disc brakes, for we everyday cyclists and enthusiasts, are a game changer. They’re so much better than rim brakes, I’ll never buy another bike without discs (as long as discs are available on the bike I want). On the other hand, there’s no way I’m trading up my Venge (or my 1999 Trek 5200 for that matter) to do it. At least not when I can get replacement rims for $100 from Velocity.
The point is, if you’re into the actual average bike for a roadie, trading in a three year-old bike for a new one is nuts and entirely unnecessary. While there have been advances, they aren’t that great in just three or four years. Besides, suggesting one trade up that soon plays right into the enviro-nazi’s hands who would have us all riding crappy, ugly, heavy, stupid, godawful bamboo bike frames. (They think when we upgrade bikes we just throw the old one in the garbage – seriously)
You think I’m kidding…