After nearly two months of research, multiple trips to the LBS, and many test rides, I have chosen Trek as my weapon to conquer my first century. To be more specific, the Trek 1.5.
As I noted in a previous post, I was down to two very equally specced bikes, the Trek 1.5 and the Giant Defy 2. My reason for choosing the Trek over the Giant was both objective and subjective. Obviously the single most important aspect of choosing a road machine is comfort. It does not matter what bells and whistles your bike has if it is unbearable on a long ride.
The Trek just felt better to me than the Giant. Both were impressively fast machines that transferred power quickly while maintaining an appropriate level of comfort, but the Trek just had a slightly different feel that made it the better choice for me. I can’t really quantify what this feeling was, it just felt better. This is why test riding a bike is so important.
The other reason for choosing Trek was the phenomenal support and expertise offered by my LBS. The Trek Store in Estero is really that good. I’m sure Giant has some incredibly good dealers too, but none were local to me. So I dropped my order for a 2011 Trek 1.5 with a compact double.
I knew there was going to be a bit of a wait for the bike as the 2011 models had just been released, and I ride a rather uncommon frame size (50cm), but Kristen (one of the fantastic specialists at the Trek Store in Estero) assured me that it would only be a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, the couple of weeks turned to many weeks as Trek was ramping up the distribution channels.
A few days ago Kristen called to inform me that Trek 1.5 triples were available now, but the compact double version would not be available until mid November. I really had my heart set on the compact double, especially since the only hill climbing to be done in Florida is the occasional overpass or bridge (a compact double has two chain rings on the crank, a low and high gear while the triple has three, a low, high and a very low granny gear for climbing). She asked for me to come in so that we could discuss the triple vs compact double dilemma.
My worries were basically why have extra gear and gearing that I would never use on the bike (ok never is a strong word, so lets say rarely instead) and rumors abounded that the triples are a bit more fastidious vs compact doubles, and do not shift as smoothly. A quick test ride proved the latter worry false. A correctly adjusted Tiagra gruppo shifts very smoothly. The triple’s gearing is 50/39/30 vs the compact double’s 50/34. In short, this means the triple gives me the same top gears, a little higher geared low range than the compact double, and of course the seldom used (in Florida) granny gearing. Yes there is going to be some overlapping of gears on the triple, but the bottom line is here in Florida you are rarely ever out of your largest cog, except of course riding against strong headwinds and the occasional steep bridge after a long hot ride.
With my heart still on the compact double, I took a long hard look at the next series of bikes from Trek, but I quickly came back to the 1.5 as I had a budget to maintain. So I asked Kristen to go ahead and pull the trigger on the 1.5 triple. If all goes as planned, my new ride should be received within a week. Kristen reserved a block of time for both the building of the bike and the final fitting. Hopefully Murphy will not meddle with anything.
See you on the road real soon!
Update: My bike is in and is being assembled. I go in for the final fitting tomorrow!!!