25 Nov 2016

A Bike for Trans Am

I'm planning to race the Trans Am bike race this summer. I dont actually own a road bike, having done all my riding on a mountain bike or touring bike. I've always held off getting a road bike until I had a good reason. I'm happy to finally have a good reason.

What bike to ride is a major choice with a lot of consequences. You want a bike that is light, but also robust enough to hold up to the extreme distances and be repairable when it breaks down. It has to be comfortable to ride all day for weeks at a time.

Fortunately a relatively new category of bikes known as "endurance road bikes" seems to be becoming quite popular. They generally have many desirable features for ultra-racing:

  • Relaxed frame geometry that is comfortable for long distance riding
  • Frames designed to dampen vibration
  • Frame clearance for larger tires for a more comfortable ride
  • Disc brakes which have better stopping power, and last longer in harsh conditions

There are dozens if not hundreds of choices out there. I narrowed down the list to bikes that seemed to be the best and that I could actually ride locally. They are:

  • Trek Domane - S5 / S6 Disc
  • Specialized Roubaix - elite / comp
  • Giant Defy - Advance Pro 1
  • Cannondale Synapse - Carbon Disc 105

The Specialized Roubaix had the smoothest ride, fit me well, and I found a 2016 model in my size for 30% off which sealed the deal. This model doesn't have thru axels front or rear which for me is a big plus as I intend to fit a dynamo hub for on bike power and Shutter Precision dynamo hubs are not available in a 24 hole version for thru axels.

I'm very happy to have the bike choice done since it is the backbone that heavily influences other gear choices I will make. It is also important to have the bike as early as possible so that I have plenty of time to dial in the fit while my training mileage is low. In the past I have tried introducing changes when I'm doing 300+ miles per week and it very hard to do without injuring yourself.

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