The Bike Fairy Needs Your Help
Before I write the rest of this post, I’d better clear something up about The Bike Fairy. (This is a non-PC gag, so if you’re offended by this sort of thing, skip the rest of this paragraph). Contrary to popular opinion, The Bike Fairy is a supernatural being who brings good boys and girls bikes while their parents / wife / husband is away. Zed from Pulp Fiction is an entirely different kind of bike fairy.
Anyway, having got that over with, I have a problem. My A-race (and first triathlon - talk about bad planning) this season is only six weeks away. And having turned my VERY old race bike into a fixie, I need a new race bike. No prizes for anyone who saw that one comming.
My budget is limited (£600 / $1100 is realistically IT, ‘though I could stretch as far as £700 at an absolute push), and I need a bike with a first rate frame, drivetrain and components. Oh, and a set of aero bars with bar-end shifters is kinda essential - this is to be a race bike, where keeping in position, and at the top of the power curve are essential.
Here’s my shortlist. Which would you go for / have I missed an obvious alternative?
- Claud Butler Milano 2007. Base price is £499, but replacement shifters & aero bars will take this up to almost £650. The groupset is only Sora, with only a 7 speed cassette, so the ratios will probably be wider than optimal.
- Felt Z90. Base price £550, and again it’ll need new shifters and aero bars, pushing it to almost £700 (ouch!). The groupset is mainly Sora, but with a Tiagra rear mech. Unlike the Claud Butler, it has an 8 ratio cassette, which is somewhat more attractive, but not much - the 12-25 ratio indicates (possibly) a bit of a granny-gear setup.
- Giant SCR3 (£450) or SCR2 (£525). Giant bikes have a giant reputation, and the SCR range just keeps popping up. The SCR3 has a Sora / Tiagra setup like the Z90, while the SCR2 takes it to Tiagra throughout, with a 9×3 set of cogs. Again though, both would need aero bars & shifters to turn either bike from a fast day-bike into a TT / tri-bike - pushing the price up to between £600 and £675.
- Kinetic One FK-One. Special offer price is £699 for a stunning road bike with a Campagnolo Xenon 20 x 2 groupset. The problem is though, this is right at the limit of my budget, with no more money to put in to changing the bars and shifters. It’s a nice bike though . . .
- Tribike Phoenix £695. Not sure about the name here (rising from the ashes - after a crash and burn?) But again - just look at the bike. Alloy / carbon frame, Tiagra 9x 2 groupset, aero bars and Dura Ace shifters, etc. I worry a little about the yellow tyres in their photos. Not that these are yellow is the problem - are Michelin Pro Race 2’s clincher tyers, and if so, am I getting in too deep here?
So that’s my shortlist. Everything seems to be comming in near enough £700. Which should I go for, or is there a better choice that I’ve overlooked? Answers below please!