Need manly advice...

jonesy124
jonesy124 Posts: 205
edited August 2007 in Road beginners
I will be honest with you.... I know very little about how to upgrade my bike and need some technical tips from those of you in the know.

I love my bike, it is amazing - however I can see myself wanting to upgrade some bits as I start longer rides and get more money. My questions are:

How much can I get a good set of wheels for? At the moment I have the ones which came on the bike (ambrosio 23? does anyone know how good these are compared to other sets on the market?)

If I want to upgrade from Xenon what do you recommend I upgrade to? How much should I be looking to spend?

Any commetns will be appreciated -cheers guy :)
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Comments

  • JustRidecp
    JustRidecp Posts: 302
    edited August 2007
    Hey jonesy. Probably the biggest noticeable difference you'll get for your buck is a wheel upgrade. Generally, you pay for what you get and with wheels, like bikes, you should go for the most expensive you can afford. You can get a set of mid entry level wheels such as Fulcrum 5's for about £130 notes or Mavic Kysrium equipe wheelset for just under £200 that should make a noticeable difference. There's also the handbuilt option too. As my bike's only entry level, I'm probably going to get a set of the Fulcrum's when I finally start gainfull employment!

    As for your groupset, unless you're really unhappy with it, I personally would only start replacing things when they're at the end of their lives and need to be replaced. But if you've really got the urge and sticking with the campag route - as a first upgrade - Centaur shifters and rear mech will give you really lovely shifting and they look really pretty in carbon fibre! After that maybe a front mech upgrade.

    Might be worth having a look at brakes and brake pads also. I've got unbranded brakes on my bike and they're not that great. These are the only components I want to change at the minute -other than wheels!.
    Real Ultimate Power

    "If I weren't a professional cyclist, I'd be a porn star" - Super Mario
  • heavymental
    heavymental Posts: 2,076
    Aww....I was ex[pecting a better set of questions based on the thread title... :lol::wink:
  • mossycp
    mossycp Posts: 233
    "How much can I get a good set of wheels for?" - How much cash have you got!

    It is generally regarded that the best thing to upgrade on a bike first is the wheels cos this is where the rolling weight is and where you'll notice the most difference. I'm not familiar with Ambrosio 23 but I do have Ambrosio Evolutions which are a fine wheel. A good set of wheels can range from hand builts on Mavic Open Pro starting at about £80 per wheel to lightweight carbon jobs at well over £1000 per pair. Wheels will also depend on whether you want lightweight, aero or more robust depending on how and where you ride and to a certain extent the weight they have to carry.

    Personally, I'd probably stick to around the £150 to £200 mark until you get really serious. I also wouldn't bother upgrading the other components unless they either a) wear out or b) you don't like them. Nothing wrong with Xenon as a groupset and the only real reason to upgrade without being worn out is for weight purposes and you then get to the point of wondering whether you need to change the frame or the whole bike!

    What is the bike?
    Today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way {Dr Seus}
  • HI

    I am looking to upgrade the Ambrosio wheels on my Bianchi, and a helpful guy In AW Cycels in Caversham, said the Ambrosios are 'ok, but built to a price'...which I took to mean were fine for a pootler, but something that would be upgraded pretty soon by anyone looking to improve the bike.

    My issue with them is that apparently they have quiet a low tension on the spokes, which means the wheel distorts a bit sometimes under my 14st weight - not a problem for you whippets out there.
    Chocolate makes your clothes shrink
  • jonesy124
    jonesy124 Posts: 205
    AW Cycles is my LBS - what were you doing there if you're from Southampton way?

    Im looking to spend £150 max on some wheels (when I say max I obviously mean that I could stretch it a bit if I reaaallly wanted to)

    This is my bike - except mine is silver with celeste handle bars and saddle

    http://www.awcycles.co.uk/brands/Bianch ... index.aspx
  • Lucky Luke
    Lucky Luke Posts: 402
    I wouldn't bother upgrading the groupset until things wear out . Wheels would make a difference though . You could get a nice light pair for best and use your existing pair during the winter for example .
    Luke
  • Ste_S
    Ste_S Posts: 1,173
    I'd question upgrading the wheels.

    Has anyone noticed a night/day improvement from a set of <£200 wheels over the ones supplied with an entry level road bike ?

    Unless the wheels are really poor ,and the ambrosio ones aren't, I'd save up your cash for a nicer set of wheels for when the rims start to go or the spokes start to ping.

    If it's just to make your bike look more blingy though, fill your boots :wink:
  • Eurostar
    Eurostar Posts: 1,806
    Seems like a nice bike. I know I'll be criticized for saying this, but before I were to spend money on improving it with lighter or more efficient or blingier components, I'd invest in making sure my position was spot on. If you think about it the science behind the interaction between your limbs and your bike is very complex, and small changes can make a big difference. How do you know your saddle is just the right distance behind the bottom bracket? Should your cleats be a bit further forward? Or backward? Or angled? Should they have a shim? What if you had a shorter stem? There are literally dozens of measurements to get right. You can try it yourself with a book like this http://tinyurl.com/3aypn8. Or you can go somewhere like this www.cyclefit.co.uk and consult the experts. I did the latter and all I can say is I wish I had done it a lot sooner! For far too long I had trusted in the 'traditional' (i.e. primitive and simplistic) approach taken by my LBS, which is quite a famous name in bespoke bikes, beginning with C.

    I know half of you (er, scrap that, I mean 95% of you) will be scoffing by now, but if you get these things 100% right when you are jonesy's age, you'll get so much more out of your bike, however humble it may seem. Whether your bike costs £500 or £5000, your foot position is equally important. That £150 that's burning a hole in your pocket....if you spent it on these http://www.cyclefit.co.uk/lemond.html or on this http://www.cyclefit.co.uk/what_is_a_cyclefit.html instead of on some new wheels, which would make you go faster and give you more pleasure in the long run?

    I would ring Cyclefit, or drop in, tell them about your bike and your wish to get serious with an initial investment of £150, and see what they say. The worst that can happen is that you'll learn something.
    <hr>
    <h6>What\'s the point of going out? We\'re just going to end up back here anyway</h6>
  • Back in the Bronze Age, when I worked on Mountain Biking UK, people used to write in and ask what they should buy for 150 quid to improve their riding.

    I used to write back: a week in the Pyrenees.

    Same goes for road riding. No amount of spending money on equipment will improve things more than just getting out and riding. If you really want to spend money, throw it at a coach who can guide your riding so you improve as fast as possible.
    John Stevenson
  • Eurostar
    Eurostar Posts: 1,806
    Wot John said.
    <hr>
    <h6>What\'s the point of going out? We\'re just going to end up back here anyway</h6>
  • McBain_v1
    McBain_v1 Posts: 5,237
    Hello jonsey124

    I'd go for some Fulcrum R3 if you can stretch to it - a lovely wheelset and after Sunday's calamity (which saw me take a tumble) I can attest to their robustness!

    I am going to presume that you intend to source your next groupset from the Campagnolo stable? In that case I'd recommend a jump to the Campag Centaur Ultra-Torque 10spd (£385.00 from Total Cycling). If not, you could consider Shimano 105 (£324.99 from Total Cycling). Not much in terms of weight saving but smoother and more certain shifting certainly pays dividend on the longer rides.

    Alternatively, you could start small, e.g. Titanium lockring for your rear cassette (from Enigma, saves 15g in weight over the comparable Campag lockring, for £50), new saddle with Ti rails, some lovely Nokon gear and brake cables (£80), a new stem from USE, etc. The list of small but lovely bike-bling is almost endless :)

    The thing to keep uppermost in your mind is that your entire bike cost about £600. It doesn't make sense therefore to lust after the SRAM Red groupset when this alone would cost double the price of your entire bike :wink:

    What do I ride? Now that's an Enigma!
  • Ste_S
    Ste_S Posts: 1,173
    McBain_v1 wrote:
    Hello jonsey124

    I'd go for some Fulcrum R3 if you can stretch to it - a lovely wheelset and after Sunday's calamity (which saw me take a tumble) I can attest to their robustness!

    I am going to presume that you intend to source your next groupset from the Campagnolo stable? In that case I'd recommend a jump to the Campag Centaur Ultra-Torque 10spd (£385.00 from Total Cycling). If not, you could consider Shimano 105 (£324.99 from Total Cycling). Not much in terms of weight saving but smoother and more certain shifting certainly pays dividend on the longer rides.

    Alternatively, you could start small, e.g. Titanium lockring for your rear cassette (from Enigma, saves 15g in weight over the comparable Campag lockring, for £50), new saddle with Ti rails, some lovely Nokon gear and brake cables (£80), a new stem from USE, etc. The list of small but lovely bike-bling is almost endless :)

    The thing to keep uppermost in your mind is that your entire bike cost about £600. It doesn't make sense therefore to lust after the SRAM Red groupset when this alone would cost double the price of your entire bike :wink:

    Eeek it's all gone weight weenies !

    I wouldn't bother upgrading anything until you're replacing broken/worn out bits, the spec on the Via Nirone looks fine for an entry level bike.

    Third's on what John said.
  • JustRidecp
    JustRidecp Posts: 302
    50 quid for a lock-ring!? For 15 grammes! You'd be better off going to the toilet before a ride!
    Real Ultimate Power

    "If I weren't a professional cyclist, I'd be a porn star" - Super Mario
  • domtyler
    domtyler Posts: 2,648
    edited March 2011
    As above, if you really want to spend your money, spend it on clothes and/or accessories. You won't get much of a speed boost for ??150. A flash new jersey and bib shorts will certainly make you look faster though.
    ________
    OXYGEN VAPORIZER
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Porridge not Petrol
  • jonesy124 wrote:
    AW Cycles is my LBS - what were you doing there if you're from Southampton way?

    MY wife was having her hair done in Bracknell (for which I got abuse in Cake Stop when discussing our coming weekends...), and I had heard about the shop and tracked it down - was impressed.

    After chatting to them know what to do wheels wise - and what I will do with the old Eddie Merckx bike I bought at our local dump for £5!
    Chocolate makes your clothes shrink
  • Cunobelin
    Cunobelin Posts: 11,792
    There are no upgrades that will live the performance improvement that can be achieved by your own activity.

    Personally I would upgrade the bike bits as they wear out - exactly as suggested before.

    What I would invest in is a heat rate monitor and some advice on training, either books or practical.

    Improving your own fitness will allow you to extract more performance from your bike, and as a bonus because it is YOUR achievement it tastes all the sweeter.
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • ricadus
    ricadus Posts: 2,379
    I love my Campag Eurus wheels, they are bomb-proof, light and roll fast – great for mountainous cyclosportive riding – but Campagnolo have hiked the price in the last couple of years (mine cost me about £375 in 2004).

    Maybe, if you are only spending a couple of hundred quid, consider other upgrades that will collectively improve the comfort of the ride, such a better saddle or handlebars – assuming you find better than you already have on the bike. Or perhaps a good pair of light(er), stiff(er) soled shoes.
  • If you are considering a new set of wheels (and a decent set of wheels does make a lot of difference to the way the bike handles and accelerates) and you are on good terms with your LBS - why not go in with your bike and ask to try a pair to see how much difference they'll make over your current wheels? I think that's the only real way you'll find out - by riding them and seeing if you can feel a big enough improvement to the ride to justify the cost
    Has the head wind picked up or the tail wind dropped off???
  • Ste_S
    Ste_S Posts: 1,173
    If you are considering a new set of wheels (and a decent set of wheels does make a lot of difference to the way the bike handles and accelerates) and you are on good terms with your LBS - why not go in with your bike and ask to try a pair to see how much difference they'll make over your current wheels? I think that's the only real way you'll find out - by riding them and seeing if you can feel a big enough improvement to the ride to justify the cost

    I'd question that. What would you say is the starting point for a decent set of wheels ?

    I'd say Miche hubs on Ambrosio rims are perfectly decent.
  • top_bhoy
    top_bhoy Posts: 1,424
    I'd question the need to upgrade an entry level bike at all until parts have worn//broke or unless it is something like the stem which affects riding position.

    For 1, you will never get anything like the expediture back if you ever sell it and 2, wait until you know more about what it is you exactly want - unless you have wads of cash which isn't probably the case!! :lol:

    As suggested, maybe get someone to help make sure the ride position is OK and save the cash for the next bike and just go out and enjoy the ride on what is after all, a very nice bike.

    Good luck and happy riding!!!
  • Cripes! Is £600 really 'entry' level?
  • Ste_S wrote:
    If you are considering a new set of wheels (and a decent set of wheels does make a lot of difference to the way the bike handles and accelerates) and you are on good terms with your LBS - why not go in with your bike and ask to try a pair to see how much difference they'll make over your current wheels? I think that's the only real way you'll find out - by riding them and seeing if you can feel a big enough improvement to the ride to justify the cost

    I'd question that. What would you say is the starting point for a decent set of wheels ?

    I'd say Miche hubs on Ambrosio rims are perfectly decent.

    All i said was a decent set of wheels makes a difference to ride - what wheels are better than those that are already fitted, and whether there is a notciable difference in these wheels is up to the rider to interpret as it's her forking out the money - hence the suggestion to try the wheels out before she spends her hard earned cash on something she might not need.
    Has the head wind picked up or the tail wind dropped off???
  • 2Smart
    2Smart Posts: 105
    Cycling Plus tested loads of wheels recently up to about £200. Some very good wheels as well. Personally I cant fault Xero XCRi's for lightweight and good for races even though I'm not light. However there were other good wheels as well and you would be well worth looking for a copy.
  • top_bhoy
    top_bhoy Posts: 1,424
    Cripes! Is £600 really 'entry' level?

    PrettyBoyTim,

    As a partially Shimano equipped, Spesh Allez, which many consider as entry level also, can probably be had for about £500 or so, then the £595 for the Campag equipped Bianchi is in the upper ballpark figure to be also considered for entry level I'd say.

    Of the entry level Spesh or the Bianchi, I'd select the Bianchi even if I had to wait a little until I saved more - purely because it has Campag. Purely personal choice though!!!
  • McBain_v1
    McBain_v1 Posts: 5,237
    Don't start a Campag v Shimano thread here please, because you know that SRAM Red will come top :lol:

    What do I ride? Now that's an Enigma!
  • top_bhoy
    top_bhoy Posts: 1,424
    McBain_v1 wrote:
    Don't start a Campag v Shimano thread here please, because you know that SRAM Red will come top :lol:

    Haha...no strife intended, only pointing out that in general, Campag equipped bikes tend to be a just little more expensive than their Shimano counterparts - with a preferential spin on it of course :D
  • McBain_v1
    McBain_v1 Posts: 5,237
    Agree, seems you pay a little more for fancy Italian styling versus Japanese functionality

    What do I ride? Now that's an Enigma!
  • Mossrider
    Mossrider Posts: 226
    I changed my wheels, then got a compact front mech, then an 11/23 rear mech so I could time trial with the compact...

    The wheels were a good change and made a real difference (though I got neutrons for £375 so one would hope so). However the old wheels were then transferred to a new winter bike I had made up by my LBS so no loss there.

    What are you going to ride through the winter? If you are to ride the Bianchi, why not put the money to a brand new bike next year...

    The reality is the upgrades make you feel good but probably don't affect your speed much unless you're racing or doing a sportif (where the neutrons / compact do make a difference, not least to my level of exhaustion).
  • jonesy124
    jonesy124 Posts: 205
    what are the main reasons for having a winter and a summer bike? (other than the obvious change in tires to cope with wet surfaces)???
  • McBain_v1
    McBain_v1 Posts: 5,237
    I have a winter bike (Olmo Giro ChroMoly frame w/Shimano105 throughout, full mudguards); an Autumn bike (Reynolds 531c frame w/Shimano 600 throughout, no mudguards by 25mm tyres); a Summer bike (Enigma Esprit Titanium w/Shimano Dura-Ace throughout), and; a Spring bike (Reynolds 631 frame w/Shimano Ultegra throughout).

    The main differences I find are that my Winter and Autumn bikes are comparably heavy beasts with lower spec components on. However, they both get the same level of care that all my other bikes do. It's just that the winter bike in particular is kitted out with permanenty affixed mudguards, lights and rain-tyres since these are the conditions it typically finds itself in.

    The Summer / Spring bikes are lighter and more responsive and are there because by summer I am supposed to be edging towards peak physical fitness and should be able to get the most out of them!

    Of course, it could just be that I like owning 5 bikes (my other one's a mountain bike) :lol:

    What do I ride? Now that's an Enigma!