Buying a New Bike – Doing My Research

Let me start by saying, Bruce bought himself a new triathlon bike this month. We’ve been considering upgrading our bikes for a while, and I made him a deal – he got his first (so that I didn’t have bike envy after I bought one and he got himself a better one – yes, this would have happened, I know).

He bought himself a beautiful 2012 Specialized Shiv Expert bike, and our local bike shop (who have now sold us 3 bikes!) gave him a nice discount.

So now it’s my turn, and I’m doing my best to find the bike I want, that fits me, that has everything I want but still fits our budget… and that I’m happy with. Here’s the thing: this bike will probably cost close to $5,000. It will be the last bike I buy for a long time (possibly ever). And from a purely selfish, shallow perspective… I want it to be pretty. So here’s my problems. 🙂

I have narrowed it down to 3 different bikes: the same bike Bruce bought, but the women’s version in black with a pink stripe; the Trek Speed Concept 7.8; or the Quintana Roo CD0.1 Ultegra Women’s version.

So how do these bikes compare?

The Specialized Shiv Expert


  • This is the absolute latest technology – Craig Alexander rode this bike at the Ironman World Championships last year, and won both the 70.3 and full distance titles, with incredibly fast bike splits.
  • Full carbon frame
  • Integrated hydration system, increasing aerodynamics
  • Full carbon hollow crankset (making it both light and stiff)
  • Good quality components
  • I can buy it local and get a custom fit from a bike dealer I trust


  • While I realize it would be custom fitted to me, I’ve been on Bruce’s, and I don’t feel comfortable on it.
  • I’m just not in love with the look of the bike (yes, sadly, this matters to me)
  • The $4,600 price tag does not include upgraded wheels which would add another $1,000 plus

Trek Speed Concept 7.8


  • Good quality components – comparable, if not exactly the same as the Specialized Shiv
  • Full carbon frame
  • Carbon crankset (a little heavier than the Shiv, but still full carbon)
  • Upgraded wheelset comes standard
  • Priced about the same as the Specialized Shiv
  • Also available locally
  • I like the look of this bike – I’ve liked them ever since I first saw them, they just look sleek to me – and small, which I like because I’m not a large person.


  • Technology is not quite as new as the Shiv, although the Speed Concept still has an excellent reputation for speed
  • No one in town carries this specific model, I would have to have one ordered in special.
  • I hate the standard colour. I do not want a red bike, or any red on my bike. Shallow? Yes, but darn it, if I’m spending $4,500 plus…. I want to like the colour! (This goes back to the colour of my car – I wanted blue, I wound up with red. Never again.)

Quintana Roo CD0.1 Women’s


  • Lower price tag – MSRP is $4,200 with racing wheels.
  • The bike comes with solid components, although possibly not quite as good as the Speed Concept or the Shiv.
  • I really like the way this bike looks – the frame style, and the colours.


  • The crankset is an aluminum alloy, not carbon.
  • The closest dealer is in Minneapolis – 6+ hours away.

OK, the fact is, I like the looks of the QR, but buying one is just impractical. I love the colours of the Shiv, but am just not 100% sold on the bike itself. And I love the Speed Concept, but hate the colour. Ugh!!

So what I do now is go talk to James at Alter Ego, to see if he can help me. I may have to take a weekend to go to Minneapolis just to look at bikes too – I want to see the Speed Concept 7.8 before I order one – what if I don’t like it? And maybe if I see the Shiv in black, I’ll wind up falling in love with it anyway (miracles could happen).

Why the pressure to buy a bike? Well… that a post for another day. 🙂

Goals update: Monday was a gong show, but I got a lot done. P90X? Yes. Swim? Yes. Parking sorted? Finally. Board meeting? Ran long. Blog posts? Started one. So 4/5.

Today’s goals:

1. First day at new job – don’t panic!
2. Run workout (hills, baby!)
3. Swim workout
4. Maybe, just maybe, write one blog post… or at least finish tomorrow’s post. 🙂

This entry was posted in Bikes, Gear and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Buying a New Bike – Doing My Research

  1. PlumPetals says:

    You go biking a lot and participate in races, so I think the money spent on the bike will be well worth it. I know they’re expensive, but they’re close in price so if it was me, I wouldn’t let that deter you. The first thing is you’ve got to be comfortable. After that, I guess it’s whatever you feel is most important to help you do well in a race.

    The look is definitely important. I actually think it is linked to comfort. As someone who has 7 different gym bags as well as trainers to match different gym outfits – trust me, I can relate. Plus, I’ve also made the car mistake. Never again either!!

    • Kris says:

      I’m gobsmacked at how much we’re paying for bikes, but I know good equipment is important, and if we choose well this will be a purchase we use for many, many seasons. Now to find one I love…

  2. Steena says:

    Wow those are some NICE wheels! I have a QR myself and love it.

    • Kris says:

      Gorgeous, aren’t they? I love the QR, but to have to travel 7-8 hours to find a dealer is just not something I’m super comfortable with. Our local bike shop guy is fantastic, and I’d love to deal with him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *