Posted by: Bike Rider | March 2, 2008

Finally, some new wheels

The last time I bought a new bike was in 2003, I purchased a Kona Cinder Cone MTB after my GT Terra Questa was stolen from my second floor balcony. (Bastards!) The Kona was a major upgrade to the hardtail GT and I still ride it when I get the chance. Sure, it doesn’t have a full suspension or disk brakes, but it does what it was designed to do; ride on trails and get dirty.

cinder-cone.jpg

In the Spring of 2006 I started road biking. My first road bike was a 1980’s vintage Cannondale Roadie 3.0. 21-speeds with down-tube shifters and a triple Biopace crankset. I bought it from a guy on Craig’s List for a whopping $300.

Was it fast? Not really

Responsive? Like a bus

Plush? Like riding on a wooden bench.

The Cannondale served its purpose well for me. But I need more…

The following spring I bought a ’94 Look World Champion from Dan S. The Look was full carbon with Ultegra components. This bike was light years better than the Cannondale, but sadly, it was getting long in tooth. Nothing major has gone wrong-it’s just that the old girl was showing her age.

I really like riding the Look even though she’s nearly 14 years old and has some scrapes and scratches on her. But hey, she never left me stranded on the side of the road-even when I broke a spoke out side of Coatesville last summer. I guess it’s because I take care of her. I clean the drivetrain after every other ride, make sure all the bolts are tight and secure. I check the tires and wheels before every ride for damage or cracks. In the end, the Look has been a great bike. But I need more…

So, over the weekend I purchased a 2006 Giant TCR C3 bike from Exton Bikes. Alright, it’s not ‘New’ new, but it never was used either. I spent the better part of 3 months reading, researching and asking questions about bikes. Which one was better. What company had the best quality. What components came standard on what levels, etc. I asked fellow riders about their bikes. I subscribed to cycling forums online. I even asked the leading cycling magazine their opinions. Finally, after looking at hundred of bikes, I narrowed it down based on several key factors: Price, Components/materials, reputation and feel.

Sure, I know what you’re saying, “Giant? What about Trek or Cannondale? They make nice bikes.” Yes, but for the money, I feel the TCR is a better buy. Don’t get me wrong, this was not an easy decision. If money wasn’t an object, then I would have looked at bikes from Look, BMC or Cervelo-but I did have a budget and those rides were not part of it. Trek and Cannondales fell within my spending range, but none of them really impressed me with their bikes. I wanted to keep riding a carbon frame-not for the light weight (sic), but for the comfort of the ride. That eliminated Cannondale and several of the Trek models.

I also wanted a compact double crank with a shorter chainstay which aides in climbing and acceleration. Additionally, I was looking for better components. Ideally, Ultegra 10 was what I wanted, but I settled on Shimano 105. The difference wasn’t worth the extra money to me. Besides, if I REALLY want Ultegra comps, then I can take them from the Look.

Finally, it needed to feel good between my legs. After all, why spend $2000 or more on a bike when at the end of the ride you need a full-body message to walk again?

Another key factor in buying a Giant was the shop. Exton Bikes is local-so, heaven forbid I have a problem with the bike, I can throw it on the rack and have the folks over there fix me up pronto. I don’t anticipate any problems, but it’s nice to know I don’t have to box it up and ship it back to Italy if it breaks.

Ok-I babbled long enough about my new toy.

Here a picture of the bike and link to the TCR C3 Archive  page.  Enjoy!

Bike Ridertcr_comp_3_105_final.jpg

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