What is the Most Important component to upgrade first?



riceknight

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Sep 14, 2004
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What makes the biggest upgrade difference? Shifters, Cassettes, Derailers, Pedals? :confused: In what order would you do it?

I'm most interested in how much of a difference upgrading a derailer or cassette makes. That is considering they are the same speed. :eek:


I'm currently using a Tiagra set, and my friend is using Soras :p
What can I say, We're poor college students. To buy a textbook or bike parts :D ?

Some good advice would be much appreciated
 

e_guevara

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Jul 15, 2004
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riceknight said:
What makes the biggest upgrade difference? Shifters, Cassettes, Derailers, Pedals? :confused: In what order would you do it?

I'm most interested in how much of a difference upgrading a derailer or cassette makes. That is considering they are the same speed. :eek:


I'm currently using a Tiagra set, and my friend is using Soras :p
What can I say, We're poor college students. To buy a textbook or bike parts :D ?

Some good advice would be much appreciated
Sora is an 8-speed group, Tiagra 9-speed. Upgrading to 9s from 8s make a big difference in gear development - meaning tighter gear ratios make for easier acceleration while trying to keep a constant cadence. Much more with a 10s group (DA or Chorus/Record). Most stock cogsets use a 12-25 toothing (11 on some 10s cogsets) - so no difference in min/max gear ratios assuming a 52-39 chainring combo.

Without considering the weight and stiffness advantages, upgrading from 8s to 9s (or 9s to 10s) by changing shifters-cogset-chain would be the most noticable difference, IMHO.
 

MaxPrime

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Jul 20, 2003
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What about saving up for a nice set of wheels or a nicer frame? (also a newbie in this stuff)
 

capwater

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Sep 15, 2003
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If you have a full Tiagra setup, chances are the frame and wheels are comparable level, one step up fron entry level. Since you are strapped for cash, what is your goal by upgrading? Changing shifters, brakes, ders, etc to ultegra won't do much if anything for your ride. A decent set of mid priced wheels on the other hand is more bang for your buck. Keep on riding and when you graduate and get a job, then you might look at a new bike with higher end components.
 

zewol

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Nov 28, 2003
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don't waste money changing a derailleur or any mecanical part until you can afford a whole new groupo, you will end up having small benefits for the money. I can conclude that your bike must not be top-end with tiagra, so instead of upgrading it part-by-part, wait till you get some cash and change the whole bike.

After all , puting a dura-ace groupo on a cheap frame is rather futile (for example), start by having a good frame, your shifters won't make you enjoy your ride as much as a nice comfortable frame!

good luck--- if you really want to spend money on your bike , the first thing would probably be to go for a carbon fork, as i said derailleur are useless if you dont have good shifters and good shifters won't work properly with cheap derailleurs.!
 

meehs

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Nov 7, 2003
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Wheels are probably the most noticable upgrade. If you put a nice, stiff, lightweight wheelset on even a crappy bike, you'd notice quite a difference. It can also be a very expensive upgrade though.
 

dhk

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Sep 1, 2003
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meehs said:
Wheels are probably the most noticable upgrade. If you put a nice, stiff, lightweight wheelset on even a crappy bike, you'd notice quite a difference. It can also be a very expensive upgrade though.
Agree wheels are the only upgrade that could be worth doing. As far as the other components, I'd wait until they wear out or break and consider upgrades only then.
 

gclark8

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Apr 13, 2004
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To buy a textbook or bike parts ?

I disagree with all the above. Renew, UPGRADE, the mind, textbooks are far more important than bike parts. You only have one chance at education, take it! Bikes will be around for a long time. A bike is only a consumer item and in 2-3 years most of todays will be junk.

Do I sound like a parent? Good! My son is at Uni in Sydney, his bikes come for free, uni mates, foot path collections, etc.
 

Bianco

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Aug 19, 2004
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Definitely wheels (if that can be considered a component). I had a better than decent road bike, and then I was able to add to it a used pair of Mavic Kysrium SSL SC that i got on ebay for $400 (they're $800 new). Difference is night and day.
 

RC2

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May 21, 2004
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Have you all forgoten skewers? HUGE performance gains. Definitely the most important thing to upgrade.
 

spragger

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Jul 13, 2003
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[With that base kit I agree until you can buy a decent frame group combo

Wheels can be expensive - £200 on Ebay for something decent
 

tcklyde

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Dec 17, 2003
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riceknight said:
What makes the biggest upgrade difference? Shifters, Cassettes, Derailers, Pedals? :confused: In what order would you do it?

I'm most interested in how much of a difference upgrading a derailer or cassette makes. That is considering they are the same speed. :eek:


I'm currently using a Tiagra set, and my friend is using Soras :p
What can I say, We're poor college students. To buy a textbook or bike parts :D ?

Some good advice would be much appreciated
I don't mean to be snarky -- that's not my style -- but if you're not having problems with any of your equipment now, why upgrade at all? If the equipment you mention isn't broke, why fix it? Upgrading any of the parts you mention will not make you faster. With all the equipment you mention, there is no new "trick" that upgrading will provide. Unless you go DA 04 or Ultegra 05, you don't get an extra gear. Cassettes are just so much metal. Shifters will make a marginal difference in noise, but it's all indexed at this point. Pedal tech, while differing in things like float, weight, and in some cases, engagement mechanisms, mostly operate on the same principle. I'm a graduate student myself and, barring the invention of affordable 100 gram carbon nano-tube bikes, I'll be riding the same workable set up for the forseeable future.

Ride a lot and upgrade your legs.
 

cachehiker

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Sep 30, 2003
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Has anybody considered tires?

Good ones are much cheaper than a wheelset. It's much more important for mountain bikers to have tires that match their style and the terrain they're riding on, but considering the Michelin Dynamics and other models that come on a lot of Tiagra equipped bikes, a good set of Pro Races, Vredesteins, etc. could easily make as much of a difference as a better wheelset.

After all, riceknight hasn't given us too many clues as to what the other components his bike is equipped with.
 

Doctor Morbius

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Mar 15, 2004
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tcklyde said:
I don't mean to be snarky -- that's not my style -- but if you're not having problems with any of your equipment now, why upgrade at all? If the equipment you mention isn't broke, why fix it? Upgrading any of the parts you mention will not make you faster. With all the equipment you mention, there is no new "trick" that upgrading will provide. Unless you go DA 04 or Ultegra 05, you don't get an extra gear. Cassettes are just so much metal. Shifters will make a marginal difference in noise, but it's all indexed at this point. Pedal tech, while differing in things like float, weight, and in some cases, engagement mechanisms, mostly operate on the same principle. I'm a graduate student myself and, barring the invention of affordable 100 gram carbon nano-tube bikes, I'll be riding the same workable set up for the forseeable future.

Ride a lot and upgrade your legs.
Agree 100%.

Riceknight, try upgrading your components in this order and give it some time to see how effective it works out:

  • Legs, VO2 Max - your best bang for the buck upgrade!!
  • Tires - thinner & lighter weight compound for less rotational weight
  • Wheels - less rotational weight
  • Bike - because a tiagra equipped bike may be a tad on the heavy side and it wouldn't be sensible to upgrade a heavier lower end frame with deluxe components
 

e_guevara

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Jul 15, 2004
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capwater said:
If you have a full Tiagra setup, chances are the frame and wheels are comparable level, one step up fron entry level. Since you are strapped for cash, what is your goal by upgrading? Changing shifters, brakes, ders, etc to ultegra won't do much if anything for your ride. A decent set of mid priced wheels on the other hand is more bang for your buck.
Agree with capwater on this one. It depends on why you want to upgrade.

Tiagra is already a 9s, just like Ultegra (expensive) - no sense upgrading 10s if you have a low-end frame. Sora to Tiagra was the point on my original post.

Agree also that wheels make a good upgrade choice, a little expensive though.

I ride my bike to train. As long as I have a decent set of wheels, I'll live with them.

tcklyde said:
I'll be riding the same workable set up for the forseeable future.

Ride a lot and upgrade your legs.
gclark8 said:
Renew, UPGRADE, the mind, textbooks are far more important than bike parts. You only have one chance at education, take it! Bikes will be around for a long time.
Yup, my thoughts exactly.
 

riceknight

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Sep 14, 2004
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I was more or less just really curious if upgrading single parts of your groupset can make a difference. Just want to make it clear that i'm not suddenly going to go out and buy myself a dura ace crankset or something.

I'm actually running on a GT Force with Shimano RSX parts all around. It's a triple with 8 gears. It's a good comfy steel bike but definately not the lightest. Can't even find the weight listed :mad: . Don't know much about RSX components but it seems decent. The only thing i've upgraded are the pedals to clipless. I got it for 200 bucks which i think is a good deal, though i wonder if its ever worth upgrading.

Anyway thanks for all the advice, just wanted to clear everything up.

Oh, and I have a worn Tiagra groupset, but the rear derailleur is sorta busted. Was thinking of upgrading my Bridgestone RB-1 which is a twelve speed. Guessing the 105 derailleur isn't gonna like my tiagra 3x9 combo though. -=/
Anyway that's why i got confused and wrote that i had tiagra parts.

Sorry, it's late and i'm rambling :D
I may be new to the road bike world but i'm loving it.
If only i could upgrade to lighter textbooks....
 

MountainPro

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Aug 11, 2004
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for me i find that the transmission is the most troublesome piece of kit on a bike. upgrade the mechs and shifters (cranks usually are okay) then if you have more money get the brakes sorted.
 

MaxPrime

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Jul 20, 2003
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I'm in the same spot as you - grad student with pretty decent bike. I upgraded to a nice pair of shoes (SO worth it). I was told the first thing to upgrade are contact points - pedals, seat, shorts, wheels/tires. An $80 pair of shorts is going to be a lot better than 100g lighter wheels when you've been in the saddle for 4 hours.

My suggestion? Save it. Get yourself comfortable and riding centuries - ride, ride, ride. I buy myself stuff like shoes when I hit big mileage milestones.
 

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