What to Upgrade First?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Mojo Johnson, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. Mojo Johnson

    Mojo Johnson New Member

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    Hey everyone - I have an opportunity to make an upgrade to my main ride but am not certain as to what will give me the biggest bang for my buck.

    I have a 2008 Specialized Allez Elite (double compact) that is bone stock. The two areas that I feel need upgrades most are the groupset (Shimano Tiagra) and the wheelset (Jalco Dynamics).

    My goal is speed. I am not racing (yet) but I have been training and riding really hard and I'm interested in improving performance and speed so that I'll be ready to start racing later this year or next season.

    What are your suggestions on the best place to start upgrading to get the biggest relative advantage?
     
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  2. Sid Nitzerglobi

    Sid Nitzerglobi New Member

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    The overwhelming majority of opinions I've read/heard on this would suggest wheels/tires have the potential to make the most noticeable difference.

    Seems like with any upgrade how much of a difference you'll notice is going to depend on what you're upgrading from and to though.
     
  3. Mojo Johnson

    Mojo Johnson New Member

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    Yes - unfortunately I don't have much frame of reference. The Jalco rims that came on my bike are not widely known or reviewed.

    I do have experience riding on Mavic CXP14's which I found to be fast and durable, but on a different bike.

    Does anyone know if something like Mavic Cosmin Elites would be better (lighter) than my Jalco Dynamics?
     
  4. gman0482

    gman0482 Member

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    IMO, (and also what my shop told me) is that on an entry level bike, it is not really worth it to do much upgrading. Rather just ride it for a good long time, and when you feel like you are out-performing your bike, then by that time hopefully save enough to get a next level bike. You will spend more $$$ on grouppo's and wheels, than a new higher-end bike.

    My $0.02... (That's what I'm doing. I have a good bike now, carbon with 105, but instead of upgrading everything, I'll ride it for some year(s), and save up for one with Ultegra/Dura, or Sram already with it.)

    But, whatever floats your boat... ;)
     
  5. Mojo Johnson

    Mojo Johnson New Member

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    I hear ya, gman. That approach probably makes the most sense since a Tarmac has all bells and whistles that I really want right off the showroom floor.
     
  6. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Well, the only upgrade that's going to make you faster is upgrading your body. That said, a new gruppo certainly won't make you faster. It might weigh less and provide better functionality, but speed it won't give. Wheels? Having a good set of wheels never hurts. If you were to upgrade to new wheels, I'd opt for a custom built set. Going that route, you can end up with a wheelset that weighs less than 1400g or so and is cheaper and more durable than any boutique wheelset (like Mavic Ksyriums et al). My daily wheels are Kinlin alloy rims laced 24f/28r, with Sapim CX-Rays, to White Industries H1 hubs. That wheelset cost $550 and weighs 1380g. Aero wheels make the biggest performance difference, and that difference is still small: an additional 0.5 mph at 25 mph for the best aero wheels. People go on about reducing "rotating mass", but the effects of such reductions are really small. Human's accelerate slowly on bikes; the moments of inertia of rotating bike parts are small; and total mass of the bike rider system is the driving factor, and in that light most weight changes on a bike are very small.

    If I were you, I'd save my money for a new bike and ride your current bike into the ground. When you get the new bike, you can eBay the wheels from the new bike and get a nice custom set.
     
  7. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Until you get your new bike, try a good set of tires. I replaced a pair of Continental Ultra Sport tires with Hutchinson Fusion 2 Kevlar tires and it made a little difference. Whenever I rode with the Contis, it felt similar to a brake dragging. After I changed the tires, the ride felt free, no drag whatsoever. I don't know all the physics behind it but it feels like there is less rolling resistence with the Fusion 2s than with the Ultra Sports. So if you want an easy inexpensive upgrade, try better tires.
     
  8. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    The physics: rolling resistance is the result of heat losses in the tire carcass, caused by the tire flexing and deforming as it moves through the contact patch. Thicker tires, with more plies, have, in general, higer CRR than thinner tires.

    OP, changing tires is a cheap performance upgrade....well, with cheap depending on the tires you try. Race tires tend to have lower coefficients of rolling resistance. Examples would be Michelin Pro Race 3, Michelin Pro Race 2, just about any Vittoria or Veloflex tires, Schwalbe Ultremo R tires, Conti GP4000 tires, anything by Deda Tre,.....Just keep in mind that with lower rolling resistance usually comes lower flat resistance and/or thinner tread.
     
  9. PeterF

    PeterF New Member

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    How do you like the White Industry hubs? 24f, 28R? You skinny guys have all the fun.

    I wholeheartedly agree about a custom set of wheels. You will spend less, have something that is fast/durable/light and you aren't up the creak if you break any part of it.

    Handlebars and stems are important to me. Stock bikes often have bars that are too narrow and stems that are too short. Long hours in the saddle require a bar that is comfortable in all positions and not too cramped. Personally the new Ritchey Logic II is perfect for my hands. Don't get hung up on grams too much. There are some areas where you can shave weight but it shouldn't be a saddle, bar or stem. Get something comfy and the right size.

    Nothing wrong with Tiagra, but you can swap parts out for 105 or Ultegra over time.
     
  10. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I love my WI hubs. I have had 'em (uhm, the wheels) for 4+ years. My next set of wheels will have WI hubs, too. Skinny? Maybe.....6'1", 175 lbs. Is that skinny?
     
  11. PeterF

    PeterF New Member

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    It is for me....:(
     
  12. Akadat

    Akadat New Member

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    It's similar to this old computer. What to upgrade? Memory, graphics, or a new monitor. I went for the monitor.

    Good wheels and tyres are forward compatible. Motherboards are not.
     
  13. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    In your analogy, what, on a bike, is the "motherboard?"
     
  14. Mak'em Lad

    Mak'em Lad New Member

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    I'm not in any way, shape or form qualified to give advise in the way others in this thread are as I have just started out in the cycling game.

    So FWIW I found that changing the tyres for thinner ones made the bike easier to ride and increased my average speed.

    I have looked at the upgrade route and judging from what I have seen it is an expensive route to take. To buy all the component parts that make up any bike will cost a lot more than the complete bike new. It could be hard for you to sell each component you replace for a reasonable amount (if they all will sell that is).

    Depending on your weight you could loose more weight (in my case quite a bit more :eek:) & save money going on a diet than you will changing the components.

    As I have said, I'm no expert. If fact I've learned two things lately.

    1: What the 4 levers on my 27 speed gear set up do.

    2. Follow the advice given on this forum by 'those in the know'.

    3. Cycling is not cheap (whoops that's three)
     
  15. nbfman

    nbfman New Member

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    Out of curiosity, how much riding would you expect to be needed to drive the OP's 2008 bike into the ground? It seems like something so new will hold up for quite a while longer, unless it is abused. Also, what is the criteria for when a bike has been run into the ground? One of my rides is a Look from 2005, which has a 5 year warranty on the carbon frame/fork (finish only 1 yr). Now that 5 yrs have passed, I have been wondering when I should consider a frame change. It seems to be holding up perfectly well, so I do not intended to do anything. But, I was curious what others thought out there.
     
  16. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    Alienator is right. If you want to go faster pretty much the only thing that will make a big difference is upgrading your body. That means losing weight and gaining power and endurance.

    If you could just buy speed, then everyone would be fast. It's not that easy I'm afraid.
     
  17. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    A frame is good as long as it is structurally sound and the rider is happy with it. If either of these are missing, then it is time to look into replacing the frame.
     
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