Having destroyed my Felt 4C by driving into the garage with the bike still on the roof, I have been researching prospects for a new bike.
That means narrowing it down to a few needs.
The newest need is having a bike with enough aero savvy to help me compete in triathlons. Getting down into aero position for a 20+ mile solo crank is pretty critical to be able to keep a pace over 20mph for the distances. That’s what competitors in that sport are able to do even in my age category.
Yet I don’t want to be stuck with only an aero bike. My equal love is riding the hills of Wisconsin and joining my roadie friends for 60, 80 and 100 mile rides.
I have a bike already that will work for criterium racing if I get back into that. Last year I did not race at all however. It just didn’t fit my calendar with all the joint riding I was doing with Sue for her Ironman.
However, I realized there was something missing from my strength buildup during the year, and that was speed. I did a few solo time trials in preparation for crit racing, but never got over to the Pelladrome for Wednesday night races. Those are actually good practice for real crits. And I entered none of those. Part of that gap might have come from the fact that several major crits have gone under thanks to financial concerns.
So my priorities have changed a little, but not entirely.
A friend of mine rides his Pinarello Dogma in triathlons. He’s got bars to drop into aero position for the bike portion of the race. That’s a fast bike, and lightweight.
I’ve looked at a Felt B14 and realized that it only has one position in which to ride. It’s not as specialized as a true Felt aero bike, or one of those truly Specialized Shiv bikes for triathlons. Not sure that’s the look or geometry I’d ultimately like. There’s still too much roadie in my veins to go the whole Mohican Hatchet look with my main bike. I’ve still got to make sure this whole swim thing is gonna work out long term.
But I’m liking the prospects of this kind of bike. The Felt AR3 aero. Here’s why:
It still has drops. I could put my aero bars on this machine. And it still has elements of a road bike. As for climbing? I’ll want to ask about that, and experiment. The AR5 is a step below, and only $2599. So there’s that.
So I think my decision is gravitating toward a $3000 road bike like this Felt, or else a Specialized Robaix or a lower level Trek Madone. The components are all good on the models I’ve reviewed.
But my mind is open. I’m doing my serious looking after the start of the year and am going to pay for it largely in a lump sum. So I’m not going to finance it on the current Specialized 0% financing, so there’s no rushing it before “their” deadline of the end of the year.
If any of you bike wizards out there loves to do prescription research, and help me on the way to a new bike, please feel free to have at it. Huffy Three Speeds are out of the question. But so are $12,000 electronic shift bikes with Martian-made carbon fiber.
Other than that, I’m all ears. Surprise me if you like. Educate if you will. The basic fact is that it was probably time to get a new bike anyway. The garage was just trying to tell me that.