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2014 DaDi2 vs 2014 mechanical Ultegra for first time buyer

BlingblingboyBlingblingboy Posts: 8
edited September 2013 in Road buying advice
August members of the board, I am a long time lurker, and first time poster, please share your wisdom:

I am buying my first road bike and thanks to these forums, I have narrowed my choice as below:

- 2014 Specialized tarmac SL4 comp frame
- fulcrum racing zeros black label wheel set
- Look Keo carbon pedals
- Standard seat post and handle bars
- 2014 Ultegra mid-compact chainring (50/34) and cassette (11 speed - 12-28)

My dilemma is the following: I originally wanted to get the new 2014 11 speed Ultegra Di2 with internal seat post battery, but it appears that the new UDi2 is very hard to source and wont be commonly available before Jan or Feb (I live in Dubai and this is what my Specialized lbs tells me). My lbs is very flexible in terms of mixing and matching and has proposed that he could put the new 2014 DuraAce Di2 shifters, front and rear derailleurs and internal battery and wiring on the Ultegra crank and cassette and the difference in price would be $1,500 extra (over the new mechanical Ultegra, which is easily available).

My question is, in your opinion,is that worth it? Or should I simply save that 1,500 to put towards bibs, shoes, helmet,bike computer etc. I know this is a subjective question and entirely depends on how much money I have and what my objectives are. What I can tell you is that I am 42 years old and 95 kilos. I'm out of shape but want to use road cycling to get back in shape, make friends through group rides and to enjoy nature (am in Dubai now but moving to Switzerland in a month), I wanted to get a nice first road bike that I would still enjoy as my fitness and capability improved. With the expenditure on nice wheels and the full kit that I need to get, I've pretty much busted my budget.

However, I would be willing to grit my teeth and go for this DA+Ultegra mix if you guys tell me that it would make an amazing difference to my ride experience, or significantly reduce hassles for me. Please keep in mind that once in Switzerland, I won't have such flexible bike shops and with the cost of labour there, I won't be able to afford to switch the bike to electronic. So it's either now, or just be happy with the mechanical.

Last point: my initial aim is to ride 3-4 hours (approximately 100 Km) on the weekends and a couple of times during the week for an hour or two each (if work and family permit). So, will DADi2 be overkill, particularly for my profile and riding objectives, or should I go for it??

Thank you for reading the long post and looking forward to your guidance.

Yours truly,

Bling Bling Boy.

Posts

  • If you've fallen in love with the idea of electronic shifting then not much will steer you away from that.

    But for the level of riding you describe, personally, I would save the money - you'll still be getting excellent shifting with mechanical.

    And I would prefer not to have a bastardized system of DA/Ultegra Di2.

    Di2 prices will come down in time, so in a couple of years if you still yearn to go that way, it should be cheaper.
  • vorticevortice Posts: 244
    That's a decent bike for a first bike. I have a bike with ultegra Di2 and one with ultegra mechanical. In all honesty there isn't that much difference to warrant the extra cost.

    I guess for me, in hilly terrain, I change gears more with Di2 than mechanical. The Di2 is is smoother than mechanical, but the the difference IMHO is negligible. Save your money. If this is your first road bike, you'll find out an awful lot about yourself and what bike and gear will suit you best so save the money for later!
  • GGBikerGGBiker Posts: 450
    Surely you should get a Btwin triban 3 and decide if you actually like riding a bike first? The depreciation on your proposed bike would be brutal if you are one of the many who decide they don't like pain (legs, lungs, undercarriage).

    Switzerland will be a fabulous place for it if you like it. Just be careful in Dubai, carbon fibre decomposes above 40 degrees C.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Overkill for a first bike.

    Come down the range and go for 105 or ultegra and a cheaper frame.
    One that can take mudguards. Switzerland has winters and you'll want mudguards.

    If you like cycling then you could upgrade next spring. Most committed cyclists have two bikes at least - you're bound to come off a few times and it makes no sense to ride a bike Of that price in the winter.

    You'll need to spend a lot on kit too. It will be a bit cooler - but Switzerland is a lovely place to ride.
  • robbo2011robbo2011 Posts: 1,017
    +1. This is way over the top for a first bike. If you find that you like cycling and your fitness and body shape changes, you'll probably find that your setup changes as you lose weight, and you may find the bike doesn't suit your needs any more.

    Buy a cheaper starter bike. if you find you like cycling, get a better one later when you are more sure of what you need and use the cheap one as a winter bike. On a Swiss salary, you'll find that you'll be able to afford plenty of new bikes and equipment ;)

    Where in CH are you moving to, by the way?
  • northpolenorthpole Posts: 1,499
    Ultegra mechanical groupset is very very good.

    A minor point, but I would want to be 100% sure about the new 11 speed groupset working reliably with the tarmac frame - I heard of someone recently who fitted super record to a tarmac s works and had problems with the internal cable routing affecting reliable gear changes. 11 speed seems a bit more fickle than 10 speed. If it checks out ok I'd definitely suggest mechanical and put the money elsewhere.

    Incidentally, I know this isn't why you posted but I would also recommend shimano pedals over the looks - I had look blades and they drove me nuts when riding in the wet - insessant squeaking between cleats and pedals that I never got rid of. Shimano are much better in this regard and their cleats more durable for walking about in.

    Peter
  • Ive got two bikes, one with Di2 and one with full Ultegra.

    The mechanical Ultegra is good, but like all cable systems it can go out of sync, cables needs replacing, screws need adjusting, pretty much the norm for any mechanical set up and a lot of people love this aspect of it and fettling about with their bikes.

    The Di2 just works, no messing about, no adjustments, its spot on, everytime. The only thing you need to do is charge the battery but its not that often as it lasts quite a while before charges.

    Since ive had Di2, i wouldnt go back to a mechanical set-up. Its not because i dont like them and its not because they arent good, its just simply what i prefer. If you stand next to a bike and try both theres not a huge lot of difference, apart from the fact that Di2 is just a quick button push. But out on the road there is a difference and its all mental.
    The mechanical Ultegra would sometimes not change gear, or would need a heavier push, and do all the things associated with mechanical shifting. Not all the time, but it was there in your mind..'have i changed gear?' then look down to see it hadnt.
    Whereas with Di2 i never have that problem, ever. It always changes, its so smooth that you find yourself changing gear more often to deal with the terrain simply because you can, hills in particular become a lot easier changing gear with Di2 in my opinion.
    There will be those who love mechanical, and theres nothing wrong with mechanical at all, and then there will be those that love the shifting experience of Di2. Like me.

    So for me its Di2 all the way but wether its worth another $1500 extra i dont know. If you were coming from Tiagra or 105 to Di2 then yes, go for it, but if the bike has mechanical Ultegra already then it may not be worth forking out that much later on.

    And i certainly wouldnt go with a mixed set-up, thats asking for trouble.
  • northpole wrote:
    Ultegra mechanical groupset is very very good.

    A minor point, but I would want to be 100% sure about the new 11 speed groupset working reliably with the tarmac frame - I heard of someone recently who fitted super record to a tarmac s works and had problems with the internal cable routing affecting reliable gear changes. 11 speed seems a bit more fickle than 10 speed. If it checks out ok I'd definitely suggest mechanical and put the money elsewhere.

    Incidentally, I know this isn't why you posted but I would also recommend shimano pedals over the looks - I had look blades and they drove me nuts when riding in the wet - insessant squeaking between cleats and pedals that I never got rid of. Shimano are much better in this regard and their cleats more durable for walking about in.

    Peter

    2 points here;

    1. I have DA 9000 on an SL4 Sworks and it works brilliantly.
    2. Re. blades - the 'walking' cleats that Look provide DO squeak. Use the normal ones, then = no squeak.
  • There is no issue with using di2 and the internal battery with ultegra.

    I have 10 speed ultegra and used the internal battery from dura ace. It works perfectly. The shifters are just switches so i don't think they know the difference between an ultegra and a dura ace mech.

    It's all good stuff.

    If you've got money burning a hole in your pocket then spend it and get the world economy Moving again. buy it from Greece, they need a wee help. Don't get into debt and not feed the kids over it though. That would be wrong :D
  • Dear responders,

    Thank you so much for taking the time and educating me. I will go with the Mechanical for now, and if road cycling becomes a passion, I will later switch to Di2. I also wanted to address some of the comments regarding this being too much of a bike for a beginner. I appreciate the advice, but like all things human, there is an emotional component to my choice:

    I work for a large multinational pharma company and for the last 115 days, due to a major re-org, I didn't know if I would have a job going forward or not. None of this had anything to do with me or my performance - it was one of those things where senior management eliminates a whole layer in the name of efficiency (and then brings it back a couple of years later). I tell you this because one of the things that helped me get through this difficult time was day dreaming about a wonderful new bike that I would buy myself if I got out of this re-org alive. I would look at the forums, educate myself about cassette size, or 70mm vs. 72.5mm crank arms, or Tarmac vs. Roubaix as a way of distracting myself from the pressure and uncertainty of those 115 days. I have a mountain bike (Scott Scale 10) that I put slick tires on and would go for 85 KM rides on the road and wonder how different it would be if I could buy an actual, nice road bike. Well, I just signed my new contract yesterday, it takes me within the same company from Dubai, UAE to Basel, Switzerland, to a better position. And I just had to go out and relieve the stress and reward myself by getting the nicest beginner's bike that I could afford.

    I have been riding my mountain bike with slick tires on roads, so I'm a road cycling novice, but not a complete cycling novice, and I'm confident that I will utilize my new bike to explore Basel and its surroundings, hopefully getting into group rides, and then who knows, tour Europe and beyond. For winter purposes, I will use my trusty Scott or buy something like a Cyclocross..

    Thank you all again, and I'll check out Ultegra or DA pedals to avoid the Squeaking. One more question since you've been so helpful: Garmin Edge 500, 510, 800 or 810? 90% of my use would be to observe my cadence, HR, speed, distance etc while I'm riding the bike (I like on-time feedback, and am not big on going back to the computer to plot graphs). So the 500 would seem to make the most sense, but I do wonder if I'll be missing out on wonderful European maps if I don't get the 800 or 810 (Do people use these devices to navigate on their bikes? Is it practical?). I do admit that I have a case of wanting the bestitis, so its great that you guys prevented me from going for the DADi2 and please stop me if Edge 800 or 810 is overkill as well.

    Regards,

    Bling Bling Boy
  • If you've fallen in love with the idea of electronic shifting then not much will steer you away from that.

    But for the level of riding you describe, personally, I would save the money - you'll still be getting excellent shifting with mechanical.

    And I would prefer not to have a bastardized system of DA/Ultegra Di2.

    Di2 prices will come down in time, so in a couple of years if you still yearn to go that way, it should be cheaper.

    Thanks bernithebiker, have not fallen in love with electronic, was just trying to future proof, and have a case of wanting the bestitis (often for no good reason). Please see my detailed post below (number 10) that explains some of my motivation in getting this bike. Cheers, Bling Bling Boy
  • Vortice wrote:
    That's a decent bike for a first bike. I have a bike with ultegra Di2 and one with ultegra mechanical. In all honesty there isn't that much difference to warrant the extra cost.

    I guess for me, in hilly terrain, I change gears more with Di2 than mechanical. The Di2 is is smoother than mechanical, but the the difference IMHO is negligible. Save your money. If this is your first road bike, you'll find out an awful lot about yourself and what bike and gear will suit you best so save the money for later!

    Thanks, will take your advice, and save the money!
  • robbo2011 wrote:
    +1. This is way over the top for a first bike. If you find that you like cycling and your fitness and body shape changes, you'll probably find that your setup changes as you lose weight, and you may find the bike doesn't suit your needs any more.

    Buy a cheaper starter bike. if you find you like cycling, get a better one later when you are more sure of what you need and use the cheap one as a winter bike. On a Swiss salary, you'll find that you'll be able to afford plenty of new bikes and equipment ;)

    Where in CH are you moving to, by the way?

    Hi robbo2011,

    I'm moving to Basel, so will be relatively close to Interlaken and other nice spots. I've visited many times but never lived there, so really looking forward to it. Are you somewhere nearby? Bling Bling Boy
  • robbo2011 wrote:
    +1. This is way over the top for a first bike. If you find that you like cycling and your fitness and body shape changes, you'll probably find that your setup changes as you lose weight, and you may find the bike doesn't suit your needs any more.

    Buy a cheaper starter bike. if you find you like cycling, get a better one later when you are more sure of what you need and use the cheap one as a winter bike. On a Swiss salary, you'll find that you'll be able to afford plenty of new bikes and equipment ;)

    Where in CH are you moving to, by the way?

    Regarding salary, I can tell you Robbo that it's hard to beat the tax free status and company car+housing+flights+kid's schooling offered by Dubai. But money ain't everything, and having lived three years in a Middle Eastern Las Vegas, I am ready to go someplace with nature and history. Bling Bling Boy
  • robbo2011robbo2011 Posts: 1,017

    Hi robbo2011,

    I'm moving to Basel, so will be relatively close to Interlaken and other nice spots. I've visited many times but never lived there, so really looking forward to it. Are you somewhere nearby? Bling Bling Boy

    Yes, I am in the Basel area. If you'd like to go out for a ride when you get here, I can show you a few good local routes. It is excellent cycling round here.

    As you are in Pharma, check out the Pharmabasel Strava group. It is part of the Roche/Novartis sports and social club. They won't let me in because I am not in Pharma, but maybe you will be fine. It seems like a very active group.

    PS, As you are in Basel, you won't really need to worry about expensive Swiss bike shops, just pop over the border to Germany. Plenty of good shops over there.
  • Thanks for the offer Robbo, I'll definitely take you up on your offer, and it will be great to have someone to show me around. My move is around end October or first week of November. Let me know how I can reach you.
  • robbo2011robbo2011 Posts: 1,017
    OK, no problem. You can reach me via the private messaging system.
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