When I started riding a bike many years ago, a Cervelo P3 was always my dream bike. At the time, I was riding a used Trek Postal team edition road bike and with different version of clip-on aerobars for triathlons. The thought of sinking several thousands of dollars into a bicycle when I was in my early 20’s seemed unreasonable but that didn’t deter my dream of flying down the road on a P3 like Fabian Cancellara during his CSC days. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be like Spartacus right?! After a few years of improving my skills, Lori talked me into just buying it and get going with my dreams so I did. I went to see Bob and Melissa at Inside Out Sports and they took care of me. Bob took care of my fit and Melissa took care of the purchase details. It was an awesome experience and I’m sure they could see the excitement in my eyes.
Fast forward 6-7 years and the P3 was awesomely fast but I decided I wanted to try something newer and fancier with all the bells and whistles of today’s more modern bikes. So I went back to Inside Out Sports and picked up a Felt DA4 that had an integrated rear brake, bayonet style fork, and funky bar end shifters that looked like tiny brake levers. After some tweaking and adjusting, I finally got it dialed in as much as possible but in the back of my mind, it never seemd to be quite right (as compared my previous P3). The rear brake was integrated into the chainstays behind the crank and it seemed they never return to center. I always felt like they were rubbing my wheel which is probably one of a cyclist worst fears. Secondly, the integrated fork made the bike more difficult to adjust the front end. The bike came with 3 different length stems but changing them proved to be much harder than it appeard. Lastly, after few saddle changes, I ended up switching to a split nose Adamo saddle which helped tremendously with training and racing 2 ironman races last year. After 2 years of riding and tweaking the bike, I felt like it was a good as it was going to get as far as fit and comfort. The downside is that it was difficult to work on with my non-professional mechanic skills.While all of this was going on for 2 years, Cervelo came out with a new P3 model that mimmicked some of the frame shapes used in their top-end P5 Super bike. The best part was that the brakes were in their standard positions, the fork was traditional, and the stack and reach was optimized to offer easy adjustability. So, like any good faithful customer of a local bike shop, I unloaded the Felt and contacted Melissa and James at Inside Out and ordered up a new P3 with Ultegra 6800 11 speed so I could get back to my roots. James used my stack and reach measurements from the Felt and transferred them over to the P3. Out of the box, the bike almost fit me like a glove. We ended up swapping the stem for one with a negative drop and James ordered a different bottom bracket that would be compatible with my Quarq power meter. So with minimal changes and quick turnaround, James and G-reg (local guru mechanic) had me going down the road at warp speed.
Now that I’ve had the bike for a few months, I can honestly say the bike is better than any I’ve ridden. It’s stiff, responsive and super comfortable at all the contact points. The bike came stock with an Adamo saddle which allows for a greater hip rotation without numbness from a regular saddle, the 3T aerobars and pads are just enough padding, and the ski-tip aerobar extensions fit perfectly into my hands without torking my wrists. As for mechanic work, it’s much easier than my previous bike. The brakes are outside the front fork and rear seat stay so they’re easily adjustable on the fly during a race if needed. Also, removing the crank power meter so I can swap it between my road and TT bike is extremely easy. I haven’t been able to race it too many times this year but did ride it at the Carolina International Triathlon by Jones Racing Co in May and Eagleman Half Ironman in June. I had great bike splits at both races and not necessarily b/c of my fitness but because my position on this bike is so much better. Since I’m comfortable now, I can stay in the aerobars longer which always results in faster bike splits. The better position decreased bike fatigue also resulting in better run splits.
So in summary, don’t buy a bike solely on price and looks. That’s probably the last 2 reasons to base your decisions. You might get the best deal in the world but if you’re unable to get comfortable, it’s not going to be as fast and enjoyable as one that fits. Also, if you are slightly mechanically inclined and like to do some bike work yourself, standard technology will be much easier to adjust and less frustrating. Laslty, go see James, Melissa and Greg at Inside Out Sports. They spend every day learning about bikes and the latest technology. Use their expertise to your advantage and make a wiser bike purchase with them in your corner instead of going at it alone on the ole interweb.