Over the last few months I have been racing with the Sothern Vets Cycling Club and it is something I wish I had of started doing years ago.

Anyway I had brought an Avanti Quantim 2 which I thought when buying it would be what I needed to get me through the grades to become Cadell Evans.(well probably not Cadell)

Looking at the bikes the machines in A and B grade ride and some of the incredable times they are doing is the bike what makes the differnce in that grade or is it all hard work as those bikes look like they are worth more then my house.

I would love to upgrade soon but wonder how much you need to spend on a bike and wil it make a real differnce?

Some bike shops would have you believe that you have to spend Thousands and Thousands of dallors to get anything that is worth while and would appreciate any feedback on what others think.    

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Like the book says, it's not about the bike! Unless you are planning on a racing career you can get a perfectly good machine for a couple of thousand dollars; you're better off finding a bike that suits you and you are comfortable on than spending big dollars on some pedigree machine. Stick with what you've got, upgrade components as they wear out and in a few years if you are still racing look to upgrade. Most riders could save their money and put in an extra couple of hours training - or smarter training - per week for a better result. I think that MTB's offer a more linear relationship between money spent and performance enhancement; road bikes seem to offer less of a performance jump for more dollars - often the cheaper bikes have exactly the same frame as the expensive ones and the difference is in the component quality.
Well said and food for thought and is certainly worth thinking about your coments as they make alot of sense. 
There are plenty of expensive bikes being ridden in C and D grade as well.
When you compare most bikes to mine on a Sunday race they are all expensive it's more around being wiht a group during a race and seeing the A and B graders fly past you and think is it the bike or is it the person that makes the difference.

It's the person! Do you ride 600-700 kms per week? get up at 5 every morning & ride? Monitor your diet & health constantly? Those guys are very serious riders; before I had kids I was doing 400 kms per week & could lead a pack at 45 kmh for around 30 mins & I still couldn't race A or B grade with any hope of placing. Now I ride a 13 year old bike, ride only a few times a week, and can still do ok on beach road - but a race? forget it. I could spend $10,000 on a bike and it would make minimal difference to my performance - I would probably accelerate and climb better, but overall I would still place where I would on my old bike.

It is very easy to get caught up in the image and technology of the bikes - remember, there are marketing people out there being paid a lot of money whos whole job in life is to make you think you need a new bike! All those glossy ads, shiny new bikes and flashy lycra are to make you spend, & if you are lucky you will gain  a tiny performance benefit - about as much as you would by losing a kilo through exercise! Stop looking at the bikes, look at the guys on them & ask yourself do you have that level of commitment? As iridetheredbike says, there are plenty of flash bikes in the lower grades. If it is the bike, why aren't they up there? Get out there and ride!

First reply you made a lot of sense and had taken that on board but do know from experience having played top level representitive squash that if you didn't have the right gear no matter how much training you do if you play with an older or cheaper raquet you don't get the power, you don't get the balance and you don't get the touch so don't agree with the comment on get out there and slog your guts out and I would think cycling is the same right gear you will work smater and not harder and I can tell you that from top level experience.

So looking for the balance of what is the right gear and can tell you at the moment I am so keen on Cycling and racing I am doing between 400 to 500ks a week and gone from 86kgs to 67kgs and doing all the other stuff around watching the diet all in the hope of getting abit better at this great sport.

As mentioned agreed with your first cooments and is still food for thought but know you can do better with the right gear.

ok, but why ask the question if you are just going to do what you thought in the first place? Of course, if you think you have already reached the peak of your capabilities then the only thing that will make a difference will be improved (and more expensive) equipment. You asked is it the bike that makes the difference or the hard work? My response still stands, it is the rider working hard - and more importantly, working smart, that makes the difference. If you have a bike that cost you 2 to 3 thousand then spending more will not give you a huge jump in performance - you could swap bikes with guys beating you & they would still beat you. As you become a better, smarter and stronger rider then you will need a better bike to complement your abilities, and you will be able to take advantage of the incremental bike performance increase. If you gave the best squash racquet in the world to an average player would they become world champ overnight? No, there may be a small improvement in their score but their ability would not improve

"Some bike shops would have you believe......" well, of course they do, that's how they make their money! Read my previous answer again. Good luck!

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