In a new video on the Global Cycling Network, three former professional competitive cyclists respond to a challenge from a subscriber, and decided to each purchase the best-performing bike that they can with a budget of £500 (around $611 USD) and “see if some has-been riders can survive the ultimate test: an elite-level road race.”
Alex Paton buys a second-hand Trek Madone 5.1, reasoning that he will stand a better chance on an older but higher spec bike. “It’s 20 years old now, but in it’s day it was easily good enough to race on,” he says. “Despite its age, it’s nearly immaculate. I guess much like me.”
Si Richardson, meanwhile, goes new, with a Triban RC 120. One factor which he anticipates might be an issue is that most entry-level bikes of this sort are designed for newer cyclists, so the seat is more upright than he is used to. “I’m a washed-up ex-racer, and although I might be slow, I still want a fast position, really aggressive,” he says.
Third and finally, retired triathlete and Global Triathlon Network host Mark Threlfall is given the Pinarello e-bike which GCN’s Ollie previously used to ride up the Stelvio Pass in Italy, ostensibly one of the toughest climbs in the world.
Alex gets off to a good start in the lead group, despite some issues with the gears on his secondhand bike. “Were I not asking this bike to go 50 km per hour, I’d be laughing,” he says. “However, I am… It does feel quite hard to keep the speed up.” He ends up being the first of the three to finish, in 11th place, while Si finishes way at the back. Mark, on the other hand, gets dropped less than 10 minutes into the race, much to his chagrin.
“I think we proved our point,” says Alex. “You can race on a £500 bike.”
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