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Moda Arco vs PlanetX Pro

Old 12-11-19, 01:48 PM
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Hockeyjunkie
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Moda Arco vs PlanetX Pro

Hi folks,
I'm looking to buy a first proper track bike for my 12yo son, who's big into racing and is going to have his second year in the C category in the coming year.
He's racing predominantly in Lee Valley, with an occasional trip to Herne Hill, Newport or other velodromes.
Now that many vendors are offering discounts, I can afford to buy him Moda Arco or PlanetX Pro bike within my budget.

What are your views/recommendations on this trade off?

Moda has aluminium semi-aero frame with probably better wheels, and I generally trust this brand. PlanetX is full carbon, and I see a lot of kids actually riding these bikes at the velodrome.

Any advice would be appreciated!!
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Old 12-11-19, 11:10 PM
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carleton
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Hi, @Hockeyjunkie. Welcome to the forum.

I'm not familiar with the Moda but I have owned a PlanetX Pro Stealth Carbon. I've also seen a fair amount of junior racing and watched a few rise to the top of the US National ranks and know a few who were Junior World Champions. I also have a son that didn't race track much, but did participate in traditional track & field ("athletics" for the non-US folks) as well as ball sports where similar topics about equipment came up.

Even though you may see some of the top junior racers with fancy kit...it doesn't matter as much as you think it might. Frankly speaking, a gear-restricted 12 or 14 year old simply isn't able to travel fast enough to experience any of the marginal gains that an aero frame would provide. Their timed performance on the carbon aero frame would be identical to that when using a round-tubed steel frame.

The only benefits to having such a frame would be psychological. The psychological gains are very real, but can also be gained through coaching and the understanding that that other kid's LOOK L96 doesn't actually propel him any faster than his legs will take him. Sorta like the kid on the basketball court with the $300 LeBron James sneakers on.

That being said, the psychological rewards can come from a different direction. Meaning, maybe the kid earned the bike by doing chores, making good grades, or paying dues and winning through his local divisions on his crappy old steel rental frame. There's nothing wrong with that either.

I'm not trying to pass judgement on why the kid is getting such a frame, just want you to know that the lack of having such a frame won't hold him back. Just like the lack of having LeBron James' sneakers wouldn't hold a young hooper back. And for you as a parent to not feel guilty for not sending the kid out into competition with the (seemingly) obvious things that help him win.

You might ask, "But the top kids all have such frames. Why?". From the situations I've witnessed first-hand, it's usually because:
- The kid asked for it for Christmas/Birthday.
- The kid earned from the parents it by winning, say, the state championship or having great grades.
- The kid bought some of it with their own money in one of those "if you earn x% I'll pay the rest" type of life lessons.
- The parent and kid have been in the sport long enough to collect nice bits here and there on the cheap. This happens with trackies on all levels. The big scores come when someone is getting out of the game and is liquidating their kit. That's how I got my Mavic IO/Comete set, LOOK 496, Felt TK-FRD, 1st SRM cranks, etc...

But, never because it actually made them faster.

As one parent to another, I just wanted to put all of that out there

OK, so what really matters?

I wrote this back in 2012 for new racers in general:

Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Every new racer sees all of the gear and whatnot and wonders what they should get. The fancy frames and wheels are the most obvious to new racers. Many think that is the key to being faster because all of the fast guys have them. That's not the case. The fast guys have them because at that level, they are winning and losing races by seconds and less than a second. New racers win and lose buy 10s of seconds (if not more). You can put a new racer on a $20,000 World-Class bike and they'll still get slaughtered and their flying 200M time will still be in the 15" range. I've seen this happen.

For best results (in my humble opinion) spend money in this general order:

- Track season pass (ride/race as much as possible)
- Road Bike
- *basic* equipment (chainrings, cogs, tools). Notice that I didn't say fancy carbon or aero gear.
- Race entry fees (but this should be covered in the season pass)
- Clinics
- Skinsuit, aero helmet, booties
- Diet for Athletes book. This will change your energy and fat levels.
- Gym membership (if you plan to be a sprinter)
- Coaching (optional really)
- Travel to other tracks for regional type events to broaden your horizions
- Aero front wheel
- Fancy carbon/custom frame
- Aero disc

The returns diminish as you go down the list.
And that was written with strong, fit adults in mind. Kids move slower, so they don't experience aero gains nearly as much. The best aero gains kids get is from drafting. The kid that drafts the best (picking the right person to draft off of, not the one who has the balls to ride closest to a person's wheel) tends to be very successful.

If the list above, the following don't matter for children:
- Diet for Athletes book. This will change your energy and fat levels.
- Gym membership (if you plan to be a sprinter)
- Travel to other tracks for regional type events to broaden your horizons

Here is the complete thread. It's a great read: https://www.bikeforums.net/track-cyc...ack-racer.html

OOOOKay. After all of that. To answer your original question: Moda Arco or PlanetX Pro? I'd say PlanetX Pro simply because it's been around for a while and it has really long dropouts which comes in very handy. Not because it's carbon. The aluminum Arco may be as stiff or stiffer. But, a 12 year old won't be able to apply enough torque to either to experience flex in either.

Last edited by carleton; 12-11-19 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 12-12-19, 02:40 AM
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As a second, with the fact that he will be growing quite a lot and frames being relatively good at holding value - it might be a better bet to pick up a second hand frame, then sell it once it's time for the next size up.

The UK has a really good second hand market, London especially, between ebay/facebook/gumtree for frames and bikes. There are literally tons of dolan frames floating about (DF4, pre cursa, TC1, forza). Examples? Dolan Forza with corima wheels (small, full bike) 875. Dolan TC1 (54cm, full bike) 500. Dolan Pre Cursa (52cm, full bike) 300 Dolan DF4 (55cm, full bike) 1125. These examples are just the highlights I picked out after searching for "Dolan DF4" on facebook marketplace.
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Old 12-13-19, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ruudlaff View Post
As a second, with the fact that he will be growing quite a lot and frames being relatively good at holding value - it might be a better bet to pick up a second hand frame, then sell it once it's time for the next size up.

The UK has a really good second hand market, London especially, between ebay/facebook/gumtree for frames and bikes. There are literally tons of dolan frames floating about (DF4, pre cursa, TC1, forza). Examples? Dolan Forza with corima wheels (small, full bike) 875. Dolan TC1 (54cm, full bike) 500. Dolan Pre Cursa (52cm, full bike) 300 Dolan DF4 (55cm, full bike) 1125. These examples are just the highlights I picked out after searching for "Dolan DF4" on facebook marketplace.
You're absolutely right, yet I often find that one can brand new bikes/components cheaper (vs 2nd hand listings) timing the purchase for the discounts season
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Old 12-13-19, 12:05 PM
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"And that was written with strong, fit adults in mind. Kids move slower, so they don't experience aero gains nearly as much."



(Credit to Dr. Chung)
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Old 12-13-19, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Hockeyjunkie View Post
Hi folks,
I'm looking to buy a first proper track bike for my 12yo son, who's big into racing and is going to have his second year in the C category in the coming year.
He's racing predominantly in Lee Valley, with an occasional trip to Herne Hill, Newport or other velodromes.
Now that many vendors are offering discounts, I can afford to buy him Moda Arco or PlanetX Pro bike within my budget.

What are your views/recommendations on this trade off?

Moda has aluminium semi-aero frame with probably better wheels, and I generally trust this brand. PlanetX is full carbon, and I see a lot of kids actually riding these bikes at the velodrome.

Any advice would be appreciated!!
Both bikes are fine.

If you're kid is 12, they're gonna outgrow any bike in about a year. Two at the most. Get the cheapest one, or whatever's used that you think you can resell easily. Get to know families of kids who are a frame size ahead of your kid. Plan the hand-me-down train.
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