Crit Race: Propel or TCR

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
amngwlvs
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:45 pm

by amngwlvs

Hi all,

I've got a 40 minute +5 laps cat 4(ish) crit coming up at the end of July and am debating which bike to ride: Propel Advanced 2 (105, rim brakes, 30mm alloy clinchers) or my new TCR AP0 Disc (Ultegra Di2, discs, 30mm tubeless carbon clinchers).

The Propel frame is obviously more aero but the TCR feels snappier and seems to accelerate quicker. Wheels seem like a bit of a scratch since both are 30mm deep and while the SLR-1 clinchers on the TCR are 200g lighter than the PA-2 clinchers on the Propel they have rotors which minimizes the weight difference. Gearing on the Propel is 34/50 - 11-28 and gearing on the TCR is 36/52 - 11-30.

Although I've never crashed here, there is one corner that is notorious for crashes in every race from beginner right up to Pro/Am.

Would the extras (Di2, brakes, lighter wheels, gearing) on the TCR negate the aero advantage the Propel has and is it worth risking a crash on the new bike when I can buy new tires and race the Propel with no issues. What would you be choosing?
2018 Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 Disc
2015 Giant Propel Advanced 2
2013 Trek 520

by Weenie


Hexsense
Posts: 463
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:41 am

by Hexsense

Unless you plan to consistently break away solo, TCR's snappier acceleration should perform better.
But It's a crit, crash can happen easily from someone else on the course, not just you.
So ride what you comfortable replacing with.

amngwlvs
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:45 pm

by amngwlvs

They tend to change the category names each year for some reason but...

The first year I raced it I rode what they were calling "beginner" and went for the first prime and ended up off the front solo for the rest of the race to win (I apparently sandbagged that one a bit). Last year I rode "intermediate" and got dropped off the back and rode most of the race solo in and amongst the other dropped riders to finish mid pack. This year I'll probably race "sportif" which should be somewhere between beginner and intermediate (though they've dropped the intermediate category completely) so I'll hopefully be in the bunch most of the race with any solo moves coming towards the end.

The crash idea does slightly worry me though because while I can afford to replace any broken parts if push comes to shove I'd much rather not break brand new stuff when I have other alternatives.

Think gearing will make a difference if it comes to a final sprint or can you win a cat 4 sprint on a compact?
2018 Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 Disc
2015 Giant Propel Advanced 2
2013 Trek 520

Hexsense
Posts: 463
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:41 am

by Hexsense

depend on cadence range.
I'm lucky to have avg cadence around 95 and max sprint cadence (cadence when standing) of more than 130.
So compact is more than fine by me even with slight downhill or very strong tailwind. 52 vs 50 is just 4% afterall.

Can't you swap chainring or crank easily?

amngwlvs
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:45 pm

by amngwlvs

Hexsense wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:44 pm
depend on cadence range.
I'm lucky to have avg cadence around 95 and max sprint cadence (cadence when standing) of more than 130.
So compact is more than fine by me even with slight downhill or very strong tailwind. 52 vs 50 is just 4% afterall.

Can't you swap chainring or crank easily?
Average cadence wise I'd proably be in a similar range as you but I don't know if I'd be pushing 130 standing. Sounds like I may need to test ride the Propel again and compare speed on max effort sprints on both bikes.

Maybe? Unfortuantely the Propel has Shimano RS500 cranks not 105 so I never bothered to really look for 52/36 chainrings for a 5 bolt pattern crankset knowing I'd likely want to upgrade cranks as well. Not sure if I could swap the new R8000 cranks onto the older bike because I don't know if the BB is the same but realistically I probably wouldn't waste my time for a 40 minute crit.
2018 Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 Disc
2015 Giant Propel Advanced 2
2013 Trek 520

Hexsense
Posts: 463
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:41 am

by Hexsense

both RS500 and all the rest of any Shimano crank higher than Sora in about recent 10 years are all Shimano steel 24mm spindle format.
It's a straight swap of the crank that should take 5 minutes. Some more if you need to adjust the Front derailleur though.

Multebear
Posts: 1065
Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 10:11 pm

by Multebear

I think firstly you need to adress the crash issue. Which of the bikes would you prefer not to crash on. Obviously none of them. But AFAIK there are a lot of crashes in US crits. Next issue I would adress is, which of the bikes has better shifting. In crits everything is much faster, you need to be able to shift gears faster. You don't have time for a derailleur hanging between two gears. That issue points towards the di2 bike.

I'm pretty sure there's no difference in acceleration even though there's is a big difference in how they feel while accelerating. But that belongs in another topic.

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TonyM
Posts: 2507
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:11 pm

by TonyM

If you can afford a crash and this crit is important to you then the Di2! Otherwise the other bike....

istigatrice
Posts: 804
Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 8:32 am
Location: Australia

by istigatrice

It won't matter. The aero gains aren't worth much IMO. Di2 is nice if it's a hilly or tight circuit, but if its open and flowing you could probably just stick it in a 50x13 or 52x14 and never touch the gear for the whole race. So I'd suggest taking the bike you've been doing the most 'training' on and/or the one you feel most confident on. Gearing can be easily changed if it bothers you. Without knowing too much about the course and your cat I'd suggest a compact should be fine though (same with 52/36).

It sounds like you've done some of this, but in case you haven't, if you're nervous about crashing make sure you get to know the course and (at least some of) the people you are racing against. If there's a bunch which most of the riders will be on that will be invaluable as you'll get a 'feel' for how they move/manuver/ride. Also get to know which corners you can't pedal through, and which ones (if any) you may need to brake for. For the corner notorious for crashing perhaps work out why/how: e.g. is it a corner where the line changes suddenly, do people slide out, clip pedals, etc.

Racing is racing though so none of the above may apply. Hope it helps anyway. Sometimes it just comes down to luck - so ride what you enjoy, race smart and have fun!
I write the weightweenies blog, hope you like it :)

Disclosure: I'm sponsored by Velocite, but I do give my honest opinion about them (I'm endorsed to race their bikes, not say nice things about them)

amngwlvs
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:45 pm

by amngwlvs

Hexsense wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:59 pm
both RS500 and all the rest of any Shimano crank higher than Sora in about recent 10 years are all Shimano steel 24mm spindle format.
It's a straight swap of the crank that should take 5 minutes. Some more if you need to adjust the Front derailleur though.
Ah, thats good news and good to know, thanks! :thumbup:
Multebear wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:36 pm
I think firstly you need to adress the crash issue. Which of the bikes would you prefer not to crash on. Obviously none of them. But AFAIK there are a lot of crashes in US crits. Next issue I would adress is, which of the bikes has better shifting. In crits everything is much faster, you need to be able to shift gears faster. You don't have time for a derailleur hanging between two gears. That issue points towards the di2 bike.

I'm pretty sure there's no difference in acceleration even though there's is a big difference in how they feel while accelerating. But that belongs in another topic.
As with anyone, I'd obviously prefer not to crash on either but if I crashed the TCR I'd be worried about the bike where if I crashed the Propel I'd be likely be more worried about my body (the bike is my secondary bike and significantly cheaper to replace parts). I could definitely see the Di2 helping in a couple of spots.
TonyM wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:31 am
If you can afford a crash and this crit is important to you then the Di2! Otherwise the other bike....
It's about as important as racing can get for me at this point in my life/commitment level. I look forward to it every year and I'd love to do well or even win but given my fitness level and the fact that it's around a a cat 4 equivalent I'm certainly not relying on it to pay my bills. I'd say it's all for fun but no doubt my competitive side will kick in during the race.
istigatrice wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:38 pm
It won't matter. The aero gains aren't worth much IMO. Di2 is nice if it's a hilly or tight circuit, but if its open and flowing you could probably just stick it in a 50x13 or 52x14 and never touch the gear for the whole race. So I'd suggest taking the bike you've been doing the most 'training' on and/or the one you feel most confident on. Gearing can be easily changed if it bothers you. Without knowing too much about the course and your cat I'd suggest a compact should be fine though (same with 52/36).

It sounds like you've done some of this, but in case you haven't, if you're nervous about crashing make sure you get to know the course and (at least some of) the people you are racing against. If there's a bunch which most of the riders will be on that will be invaluable as you'll get a 'feel' for how they move/manuver/ride. Also get to know which corners you can't pedal through, and which ones (if any) you may need to brake for. For the corner notorious for crashing perhaps work out why/how: e.g. is it a corner where the line changes suddenly, do people slide out, clip pedals, etc.

Racing is racing though so none of the above may apply. Hope it helps anyway. Sometimes it just comes down to luck - so ride what you enjoy, race smart and have fun!
The course it super flat and 3 of the 5 corners are nice and flowy, the other 2 are basically a switchback right into a left so the Di2 would definitely help there because that will be the most shifting on the entire course. Since I got the TCR I haven't ridden the Propel so that answers the training portion. As far as which I feel more confident on, that's a toss up - I ride the TCR as my main bike so I'd like to say I'm more confident on that but because of the crash idea I'd prpbably ride a little more conservatively so from a race stand point I may be more confident on the Propel.

I have raced a couple of handfuls of races over the years (a couple cat 4 road races, some crits, but mostly fondo/sportive style "races") and know the course pretty well as I've raced it twice. The corner notorious for crashing is the switchback - it's entry is slightly downhill with it's exit coming back up hill; the change in speed and the camber of the road along with some lingering sand causes the slide outs (that corner is just off the boardwalk of the beach and while they sweep as well as is reasonably possible the crashes indicate it's never perfect).

Certainly some good advice there along with some things I hadn't considered, thanks for the reply!
2018 Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 Disc
2015 Giant Propel Advanced 2
2013 Trek 520

shimmeD
Posts: 396
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:52 pm
Location: eNZed

by shimmeD

Go early with a broom and sweep it out some more. :smartass:
Less is more.

dudemanppl
Posts: 729
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:09 am

by dudemanppl

LOL dude... just race.

istigatrice
Posts: 804
Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 8:32 am
Location: Australia

by istigatrice

This corner sounds quite nasty, hotdog turn on a slipperty surface? I don't think there's too much you can do about that appart from the obvious things of looking through the bunch/your line to try and spot crashes as/before they happen, and having space to manuvuer. Obviously easier said than done when you're at your limit.

It sounds like you've committed a fair bit of what you're willing to for this race, so definitely race your prefered bike. If I were in your shoes I'd be more upset about crashing out (and 'wasting' all the training/prep) than any damage to a bike, hence I'd race just as hard on either bike - your mindset might be different though.
I write the weightweenies blog, hope you like it :)

Disclosure: I'm sponsored by Velocite, but I do give my honest opinion about them (I'm endorsed to race their bikes, not say nice things about them)

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fa63
Posts: 2274
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:26 am
Location: Atlanta, GA, US

by fa63

The cardinal rule of bike racing for non-wealthy privateers: race what you can afford to replace :) In this case, the bike won’t make a difference to your results.

amngwlvs
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:45 pm

by amngwlvs

shimmeD wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:36 pm
Go early with a broom and sweep it out some more. :smartass:
Now you're taking me back to my old skateboard days... Spent more time sweeping spots than skating.
dudemanppl wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:37 pm
LOL dude... just race.
Novel thought. :thumbup:
istigatrice wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:25 am
This corner sounds quite nasty, hotdog turn on a slipperty surface? I don't think there's too much you can do about that appart from the obvious things of looking through the bunch/your line to try and spot crashes as/before they happen, and having space to manuvuer. Obviously easier said than done when you're at your limit.

It sounds like you've committed a fair bit of what you're willing to for this race, so definitely race your prefered bike. If I were in your shoes I'd be more upset about crashing out (and 'wasting' all the training/prep) than any damage to a bike, hence I'd race just as hard on either bike - your mindset might be different though.
That's an interesting way to look at it. Never considered it that way, thanks.
fa63 wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:02 am
The cardinal rule of bike racing for non-wealthy privateers: race what you can afford to replace :) In this case, the bike won’t make a difference to your results.
That was more or less the answer I expected. I don't think the bike will be the make or break of this race for me; I was mostly just interested in opinions. Thanks for the reply.
2018 Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 Disc
2015 Giant Propel Advanced 2
2013 Trek 520

by Weenie


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