Unsure whether to replace whole bike or just parts

woj101 Posts: 8
edited August 2007 in Road beginners
Prelude: When I was a boy I had a single-gear bike with a racing frame and I loved pretending to be Greg Lemond on my road. I then fell into the mountain bike trend of the '90s but was forever disappointed with the lack pace available. When I had a mtb stolen in 2000 I decided to try a return to road bikes and the insurance company provided me with a Claud Butler Vuelta. Ever since I have ridden it as hard as I could, still pretending to be Greg Lemond, in blissful ignorance of the road bike market and I'm very low on my jargon knowledge and technical know-how.

A few months back I rode it too hard over a raised cobblestone and burst the back tyre on my way to football training. I left the bike locked there for 36hrs until I could return with my car. In the meantime someone decided to remove the intact tyre, and wheel, from the front, and ever since I have been without my faithful 2-wheel option for local travel and evening country rides.

This is because I figure it is going to cost me at least £50 to get a new wheel (even if I go for 2nd hand on Ebay), inner tube and tyre, and I've been struggling to decide whether to do this or just get a new bike (although new probably means 2nd hand / Ebay due to lack of funds at the mo).

I know very little about bike specifications. I do know the Vuelta is very much a budget bike, but I couldn't say what material the frame is made from (is it steel or aluminium), or what type of wheels it's got. What I do know is that recently the cable that controls the front cogs has become loose and unreliable. I also know that I'm not a big fan of the positioning of the gear shifters (between my legs on the diagonal tube, although I've no experience of riding a road bike with them on the brake levers), and I think I can relate to some people saying the gear ratios are a bit low, so overall I would quite like something different gear-wise (but I don't know if that's a job I could do, or how much new kit would cost).

My first impulse was to trawl ebay for a 2nd hand bike, hoping for a £500-600 bike for around £200, that had up-to-date kit on, gears, carbon forks and seat-post etc. I'd like to ride more and maybe try a few local races, but at the same time I like to ride my bike into town etc. and just leave it locked up to the nearest lampost etc, plus I live in a flat and don't have space for it indoors, so I'm struggling with the conundrum of getting a newer bike that's more liable to theft/vandalism and also require regualr maintenance (which doesn't particularly suit me) or stick with my clunky old Vuelta.

Sorry for banging on, but I'm trying to paint the full picture. I think it comes down to the fact that if I could believe that up-to-date specs will buy a noticeable amount of extra speed (or anything else significant) from my Vuelta then I would be prepared to get a new bike, but is this the reality of modern bikes in the £500 region?

Thanks for reading, and dare I say, commenting.


  • wors
    wors Posts: 90
    For £500 you would be able to get a bike that is a world apart from what you have now. Lighter frame,wheels and components and better functioning components as well. You will notice a huge difference. Have a look at Giant, specialzed, Trek and you won't go far wrong.
  • RufusA
    RufusA Posts: 500
    I don't know the Claud Butler Vuelta but a quick google reveals a Steel frame, Shimano Sora gears, and possibly not their finest hour for build quality etc. As you suggested a budget bike.

    Given the likely mileage you've done on it, and lack of maintenance I'd suggest it might be time to let her go. With new wheels / tyres it might be worth £50 odd, but you'd have to spend that and more to get it in to that condition. If you also want to tweak the gearing and the shifter set-up isn't to your liking IMHO you'd be throwing good money after bad.

    For your £200 budget there are probably a number of circa 2004 road bikes with al frames, decent components and a history of care. I'd suggest looking for something like a Specialized Allez, as they seem well liked although all the big names seem to have good road bikes.

    eBay doesn't always seem to offer the best vfm, so trawl bike sites, local papers, adverts down the gym etc. As the summer turns to winter some of the fair weather cyclists will be hanging up their clips for good!

    HTH - Rufus.
  • nmcgann
    nmcgann Posts: 1,780
    As Rufus says, time to send your old bike to the tip. Trying to fix it up to a more modern spec will be a money-pit.

    Something like a 2nd hand basic Specialized Allez or Giant OCR would be a good bet, decent modern budget spec (8 speed is less likely to need regular fettling too), but not tasty enough to be worth nicking if locked up properly.

    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."