In honor of Black Friday, or perhaps it was on account of Cyber Monday, though more than likely it was in response to my sticker shock at learning of how expensive Pegorettis have gotten, for whatever reason, I spent some time on the interwebs looking at bikes.
It’ll come as no surprise, given that I thought a near as makes no difference $4000 frame was expensive, I wasn’t looking at $19,000/£12,000 Colnagos. No, I actually confined my perusing to those bikes that could be purchased for about what a Pegoretti frame costs.
In addition to looking at bikes around the $4K mark, I was also trying to get a sense of what the ‘industry’ would have us believe is a ‘mid range’ road bike. Being that Campagnolo has no OEM presence in the US, and that I’m not particularly familiar with the offerings of Sram, I’ve used Shimano configurations for comparison.
I’ve always believed that when it comes to Shimano road groups, Dura Ace, Ultegra, and 105 define the upper, midrange, and lower range of their offerings. Perhaps this isn’t strictly the case, I know that they have pieces parts of lower price point than 105, but that’s the way I perceive their offerings. If you disagree, then this post is going to be of even less value than it might otherwise have been.
So, I’m looking at bikes, equipped with Ultegra, as I’ve come to believe that is Shimano’s mid range, though the addition of electronic groups has somewhat muddied the waters as well; what I found, and bothered to write down, is the following:
*Note, all pricing is as I found it on the web, no dealers were pestered in the research of this article…
Madone 6.2 $4619.99 Shimano Ultegra, Madone 6 series frameset $3629.99
Madone 5.9 $5039.99 Shimano Ultegra, Madone 5 series frameset $2519.99
Tarmac SL4 Pro mid compact $4750 SRAM Force/Black Red, Tarmac SL4 Expert Ui2 mid compact $5100 Shimano Ui2 mix, Tarmac SL4 Expert mid compact $3800 Shimano Ultegra, Tarmac SL4 S-Works frameset $3500, Tarmac SL4 Pro frameset $2850
Venge Expert $4300 Shimano Ultegra, Venge Pro frameset $3100
SuperSix EVO Ui2 $5200 Shimano Ui2
CAAD10 Black $4100 Shimano Ui2
R3 Ultegra $3900, R3 Frameset $2000, R3 Team Ultegra $4300, R3 Team frameset $3200
AR3 Ultegra mix $3299, AR1 frameset $3099
F3 Ui2 $4749, F1 frameset $3099, FC frameset $1699
Altamira 1.3 $5029 Dura Ace, Altamira 2.1 $4869 Athena EPS, Altamira 2.2 $3669 Ui2
SST 1.3 $4219 Ui2
Gran Fondo 1.1 $4869 Dura Ace, Gran Fondo 1.3 $3869 Ui2
Foil 15 Ui2 $4829 Shimano Ui2, Foil frameset $ 3149.99
TCR Advanced SL 4 $3950 Shimano Ultegra, TCR Advanced SL ISP frameset $3000, TCR Advanced SL frameset $2800
TCR Advanced 0 $4800 Shimano Ui2
TCR Advanced frameset $1700
FP Quattro Ui2 $5000 Shimano Ui2, FP Quattro Ultegra $4100, FP ROKH Ultegra $4100
EMX-3 Ultegra $3950
Roadracer SL01 Ui2 $4999
675 Ultegra $4299.90, 675 frameset $2999.90
Alize Ultegra $4174.90, Alize frameset $2949.90
Diablo Ultegra $4474.90, Diablo frameset $3249.90
Bura SL frameset $3449.99
Colnago (Wrench Science):
CX-1 EVO Ultegra $4799.95, CX-1 EVO frameset $3399.95
CLX 3.0 Ui2 $5249.95, CLX 3.0 frameset $2299.95
Ibis (Wrench Science):
Silk SL Ultegra $3528.99, Silk SL frameset $1699.99
Litespeed (Wrench Science):
L1R Ui2 $4900, L1R (L3) Ultegra $3500, L1R frameset $1885
C1R Ui2 $5000, C1R Ultegra (C3) $3600, C1R frameset $2400
Ultralight Ultegra build $5144, Ultralight frameset $3440 *sale
G5 Ultegra build $4319, G5 Ui2 build $5121, G5 Chorus build $5314, G5 frameset $2640 *sale
Infinito Chorus build $4544, Infinito Ui2 build $4540, Infinito Ultegra build $3738, Infinito frameset $2040 *sale
Race Machine RM01 Chorus build $4744, Race Machine RM01 Ui2 build $4735, Race Machine RM01 Ultegra build $3932, RM01 frameset $2249 *sale
Orca Gold Chorus $5163, Orca Gold Ui2 $4969, Orca Gold Ultegra $4167, Orca Gold frameset $2483 *sale
Paris Carbon Chorus $5244, Paris Carbon Ui2 $5239, Paris carbon Ultegra $4437, Paris Carbon frameset $2774 *sale
Helium Chorus $4768, Helium Ui2 $4764, Helium Ultegra $3962, Helium frameset $2299 *sale
Noah Chorus $4686, Noah Ui2 $4682, Noah Ultegra $3880, Noah frameset $2217 *sale
Cento1 Chorus $5134, Cento1 Ui2 $5140, Cento1 Ultegra $4337, Cento1 frameset $2699
Imperiale Chorus $4434, Imperiale Ui2 $4440, Imperiale Ultegra $3637, Imperial frameset $1999 *sale
Gran Turismo Chorus $4904, Gran Turismo Ui2 $4899, Gran Turismo Ultegra $4097, Gran Turismo frameset $2399
Not all of the bikes listed as being Ultegra configurations use complete Ultegra groups, so they’re not really comparable builds; something you’d have to work out between bikes that you were interested in possibly purchasing.
I guess I’m old, but $4 -$5K seems like a lot of money for a mid range bike, though I guess it doesn’t look so bad when you consider that $4K only gets you a frame from Pegoretti.
To my knowledge, every last one of these frames is manufactured in Asia. That’s not to say that they’re not good frames, just that $5K doesn’t seem enough to get you a choice.
But, that also brings up a bit of a conundrum, if they’re all Asian made, and if this article is correct and all three of the podium bikes in the 2008 TdF were actually made in the same Asian factory, what’s the diff?
Aside from geometry issues that may impact fit, why would a person chose a $3629.99 Series 6 Madone frameset (the most expensive on the list) over a $1700 Giant TCR Advanced frameset (the lowest priced on the list, save a dollar, and less than half the price)?
Would it make any difference to know that Giant had, or hadn’t, made any of the other considerations, as they very well may have done?
The whole Chinese knockoff thing has been beaten to death, and obviously Pinarello (and whoever else) have a vested interest in consumers believing that the knockoffs are inferior product.
Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t, I have no first hand knowledge, but what does it say about the $4 – 5K Pinarello frame that a ‘copy’ can be produced, and presumably sold at a profit, an order of magnitude cheaper?
I know that bike makers and the name on the down tube have a long history of being different; Serotta made Huffys, and Pegoretti made Pinarellos for example, but somehow this feels different.
It’s not a ‘good’ feeling, I might add…