I'm hooked! Now let's talk upgrades


New Member
Jul 5, 2012
Hello, very happy to be here. I am 2 rides in, 50 miles with another 30-50 miles planned this week. If I do the math correctly, this means I am riding 80-100 miles a week. I realize this could fluctuate because of the newness, but I am having a blast with my new sport.

Here's the question with background first. And it's based on an incident that got me thinking.

Should i invest in an upgrade front/rear derailleurs, shifters, cogs <$500?

'11 Specialized Allez Sport Compact
Sora Shifters
Sora Front Der.
Tiagra Rear Der.

I was in the house learning about the bike, messing with things - and the front derailleur jammed on me. Not sure what happened, but I fixed it - unfortunately, there's a slight chain rub that can somewhat be fixed with trim.

First ride had elevation change of +600, second ride was +1500 and I'm riding the hills of the Scottsdale, AZ valley area with plans to go way bigger. I look at all the options and realized I am riding some of the lowest in the range that is derailleurs/shifters. I didn't expect to be on an S-Works McLaren, but also didn't expect a jam so early.

Is it operator error and I need to just settle in and use what I got or do I invest another <$500 to something that will be comparable to the type of riding I am doing/plan to do?

My pride is not on the line so give it to me straight.

Even if it's just changing out the front der. to Tiagra to match rear and calling it a day or all of it? But if I do upgrade der., I will more than likely have to upgrade cogs right, (i.e. 9 speed to 10 speed)? And how do I know what matches what?

Thank you!!!! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/cool.gif
Hey man do what you want but I can tell you that I could easily ride the components on your bike for 50000 miles. Cycling is the sport of satan. After one ride he has you thinking you can be racing, climbing mountains and chewing up the competition.

Ride your bike and live your life. Give it time and it will work itself out. You may be onto something that you will be doing for the rest of your life and you may not.

You can have a bike with Campy, Durace so on and so forth. Once you shift your gears and settle into pedaling along they are all the same. Not a one will make you on your bike any quicker.

As far as your deraileur jam goes it was your fault for fiddling around with it.
Live and learn. It's likely your drivetrain, front derailleur specifically, is out of adjustment or setup poorly. You didn't say where you got it, its history, or anything really. I'd suggest having it tuned up or learning to do it yourself. Working on bikes is a doddle, even for those not mechanically inclined. There are loads of video tutorials on YouTube, and there are scads of written tutorials. If you want to learn, perhaps the best first stop would be the Park Tool Repair site which has tutorials for virtually anything you could want to do to a bike. Likewise, Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM all offer instructions online, in pdf format, for mounting and adjusting all their components. FYI, there are a number of reasons for why your derailleur may have "jammed". Pay heed to what Davereo said. There is decided lack of **** on the component group market these days (at least between Campagnolo, Shimano, and SRAM). Even the lowest spec systems have benefitted from the advances of the highest spec systems and will perform just fine. It'd be far cheaper and far better to learn the proper procedures for the repair and maintenance of bike bits. Likewise, you should familiarize yourself with the things that needed looked at and taken care of at regular intervals: tire condition and inflation; chain lubrication and wear; bolts properly torqued; and etc. You can search this forum for those answers, and there are, as expected, many places on the web that offer guidance for neophyte riders.
I would not concern myself with the quality level of the components. As far as function goes, they are 90-95% up to snuff with what a professional racer uses.

If unsure how to tackle the maintenance, have a local shop adjust your derailleurs if you think they are not performing as the should/did before you jammed the front one up. All you probably did was to force the shifter and/or knock the cage a bit out of alignment...no big deal.

For tackling the hills...as long as you have low enough ratios to ride them on, you should be good to go. What is the current gearing on the bike and how does that gearing match your expected fitness and abilities? One rider will climb comfortably in a 39 x 27 while the next guy may feel better in a 30 x 29. If you have reasonable gearing, have at it 'as is' to see where you develop.