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Purchasing dilemma
#1
Recently, Ireland instituted the cycle to work scheme, which allows our place of employment to purchase a bicycle on our behalf, then deduct the cost from our paycheck over the following 12 months, though releasing us from the payment of tax-in-kind, where the purchase is treated like income, but we are released from paying taxes, levies or PRSI on this income. The scheme covers purchases up to €1000. In effect, the employee (if it is done right by the employers accounts department) will distribute the cost over 52 weeks/twelve months, deducting the monthly cost from the weekly/monthly gross income before the remainder is hammered by the government. In my case, I save 20% of the cost as I do not pay income tax on that amount, I save about 4% off the amount that would have been deducted from my check in levies, and I save somewhere between 4 and 8% (depending if they count this income as the first €127 of my income or if they count it as the remaining amount after that initial €127). In all, I imagine that a €1000 bicycle should cost me somewhere in the neighborhood of €750. Yeah?

Truth? By the time the accounts department here are done with your paycheck, you wouldn't know where half of your income has gone. But in an ideal world, I save €250 on the grand. Grand?

My conundrum: Trek 2.1 for an even €1000 (before deductions) or Lidl's Stratos for €899. The Stratos (see: http://www.bikeradar.com ...) is a bike that comes out of nowhere. It is fully outfitted with everything Shimano, including a full array of Integra components (shifters, calipers, hollow-tech triple crank, 10-speed cassette, the chain and both front and rear derailleurs). The pedals and wheels are also Shimano, if not of the grade of the other components: PDR-540s and WHRS10s respectively. What is unclear is the quality of the frame, the headset and handle-bars and the seat-post. The seat is an Italian job: Selle Italia. The frame is aluminum and the fork, carbon. The whole thing weighs 19.5lbs.

I can't even find weight values for the Trek 2.1. The 2.1 has a lifetime guarantee on the 6000-series aluminum frame with carbon stays and front fork. It has a lot of Bontrager stuff on it, including the front fork, stem, handlebars, saddle, seatpost, wheels and tires. The headset is an alloy Aheadset. The shifters, brake set and front derailleur are Tiagras. The crank is an FSA Gossemer 50/34. The rear derailleur is a 105, and the cassette is a Sram. The pedals weren't even worth talking about. The Trek 2.1 looks light. In fact, what might be making the bike heavy is some of the lower-quality hardware. It is hard to know because Shimano doesn't give weights on its lower-end products. I am guessing, though, that the weight is about the same as the Stratos.
A big difference is what I know about the Trek frame and what I don't know about the Stratos frame. Also, the Stratos is a triple-ringed 10 speed versus a compact double 9-speed Trek.

I managed to get the Trek dealer down to €1000. He started at €1300. The Stratos is selling for €899, as I said.

There is a lot to consider. Do I want a triple-ring? (I don't know. I have been riding my mountain bike, 2002 Trek 800 Sport, for the past five years. Last year, I put a Lasco [Chinese] 52/39/30 in place of the original 48/38/28, and I have been using it for 20-30 mile runs three times a week since March. It flies, but it weighs a ton. Plus, the 800 Sport is supposed to be my transport to work when I find that I can't drive my car without the temptation of becoming homicidal. The Trek helps me to feel calm and assertive, in the words of Cesear Milan. Call me a doG.) Is the Trek frame worth building up, replacing worn components down the line with higher-grade components like the Integra or even the Dura-Ace line? Would it be cheaper to spend a hundred less now and upgrade the Stratos by replacing the frame with a frame that I know will be light and hold up?

Or for the money, am I overlooking some other obvious choice?
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#2
I have almost exactly the same dilemma......I was just wondering which way you went in the end?

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#3
(08-04-2009, 10:11 AM)cacheman Wrote:  I have almost exactly the same dilemma......I was just wondering which way you went in the end?
I bought the Trek 2.1. It's a great bike, but I wished I'd considered a ten speed, especially because of the hill-climbing I do. Too bad the weather sucks; I'd probably be out a lot more often if it were not so hard to motivate myself to get out into the shite Munster weather.
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#4
(01-23-2010, 03:56 PM)Lawr Wrote:  
(08-04-2009, 10:11 AM)cacheman Wrote:  I have almost exactly the same dilemma......I was just wondering which way you went in the end?
I bought the Trek 2.1. It's a great bike, but I wished I'd considered a ten speed, especially because of the hill-climbing I do. Too bad the weather sucks; I'd probably be out a lot more often if it were not so hard to motivate myself to get out into the shite Munster weather.

Don't sell the double ring short. With the triple crankset, you have a lot more unusable gears than on the double ring. You effectively have the same amount of gears with the double crankset. Especially if you don't have feathering built into the shifters.

The component companies are very good at making you think you have more gears than you actually do.
Dedicated scholar of bicycles
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#5
Quote:Don't sell the double ring short. With the triple crankset, you have a lot more unusable gears than on the double ring. You effectively have the same amount of gears with the double crankset. Especially if you don't have feathering built into the shifters.

The component companies are very good at making you think you have more gears than you actually do.

Agreed. It's weird when Campagnolo is coming out with eleven gears, Trek is dropping to nine on some its bikes. My 2.1 has the double compact. 99% of the time, the gears are adequate to the task. However, I can't help but to think how much of an advantage it would be to have another gear.

Down the line, I will switch out the nine speed gear for 10 speed gear and consider a traditional double with a wider spread on the cassette, possibly a 11-32 if I can fit it in.
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#6
That sounds like a plan. Try using Sheldon Brown's gear ratio calculator and see what the difference will be. I'd bet you'd get at least a couple percentage points out of it.

By the way, I just went to Ireland on vacation this summer. Awesome time. Stayed right outside Bantry. Great fun!
Dedicated scholar of bicycles
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#7
I have an FSA Gossamer triple and (for an entry level crank) I find it to be stiff and quiet. I agree competely with jr14 regarding the value of a triple over a double. When running on the midddle ring my 10-speed chain "nicks" the inside edge of the big ring when on the smallest cogs. No amount of front derailleir feathering will fix that. Will you be allowed to resell the bike at some point? If resale value matters you may want to add that to your selection criteria. Have you considered Specialized Allez? Where I live these bikes seem to offer a little better value that the other "big" names. I don't think Shimano offers "Integra" group in the US. Maybe someone knows if this is equivalent to Ultegra/105/Tiagra/Sora etc.?
...j
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