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Bike upgrades

Grazy81Grazy81 Posts: 196
edited September 2009 in Road beginners
I was wondering what the best upgrades to a road bike are in terms of performance as i have heard that alot of people upgrade the wheels first, why is this and what other changes can i make for the most significant changes?

I currently have a Specialized Allez Elite.
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Posts

  • GarzGarz Posts: 1,155
    I would get lots of riding in first and only upgrade stuff that is either uncomfortable or worn.
  • skyd0gskyd0g Posts: 2,540
    Brake pads - to Kool Stops or Swiss Stops.
    Tyres - to decent rubber of your choice.
    Saddle - to a comfy perch.
    Pedals & Shoes.

    Any or all of the above for the best bang-for-your-buck! IMHO 8)
    Cycling weakly
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    Grazy81 wrote:
    I was wondering what the best upgrades to a road bike are in terms of performance as i have heard that alot of people upgrade the wheels first, why is this and what other changes can i make for the most significant changes?

    I currently have a Specialized Allez Elite.

    wheels are often the first upgrade because even on bikes of serious money the wheels are still cheap censored !

    They will make a difference - but look into your tyre/tube combo too - a decent set of tyres and tubes will lose as much weight as the wheels will but for much lower cost.
  • Grazy81Grazy81 Posts: 196
    gkerr4 wrote:
    wheels are often the first upgrade because even on bikes of serious money the wheels are still cheap censored !

    They will make a difference - but look into your tyre/tube combo too - a decent set of tyres and tubes will lose as much weight as the wheels will but for much lower cost.

    What is the best thing to look into for the wheels is it weight or should i look into more aero wheels and sacrafice some weight?
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    Grazy81 wrote:
    gkerr4 wrote:
    wheels are often the first upgrade because even on bikes of serious money the wheels are still cheap censored !

    They will make a difference - but look into your tyre/tube combo too - a decent set of tyres and tubes will lose as much weight as the wheels will but for much lower cost.

    What is the best thing to look into for the wheels is it weight or should i look into more aero wheels and sacrafice some weight?

    well -that depends a lot on the type of riding you do - my personal preference was for light and stiff over aero - I ended up with campag Eurus.

    I think if you are looking for a wheel for time-trials or triathlons - where you are likely to be running on flat courses at sustained speed then aero is your thing - but for general road riding, training, sportive stuff, you are better with a light wheel.

    (if you are comuting then probably strength is the main consideration in which case handbuilts with lots of spokes are the order of the day)

    I still stand by checking your tyres etc - your allez elite probably has 'alex' rims (maybe the deeper section ones?) and unbranded "specialized" hubs - they 'probably' come in around 1.8 - 2Kg for the pair (exc cassettes / skewers). To reduce that by 500g you are looking at spending probably around the £500 these days (fulcrum1's, eurus, dura-ace etc) cut it by over 300g by spending around £350 (fulcrum3s, ultegra, Kysiriums)

    but if you still have the 'mondo' specialized tyres you could save 200-250g by changing the tyres to something like Pro race3 or vittoria open corsa evo and a set of decent (not silly thin) latex inner tubes - the cost would be around £70(ish - shop around!)

    do both the wheels and the tyres to make a real noticeable difference to how your bike rides.
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Bang for buck it has to be tyres first followed by wheels, after that its a case of diminishing returns.
  • MettanMettan Posts: 2,103
    Go for the Wheels and Tyres to start with - that's in combination with plenty of riding. Some attributes of better wheels can include, lighter, less rotational weight, better Aerodynamic Rim profile, better/smoother "faster" Hubs etc, better more aero spokes, different quantities of spokes, stronger wheels, better power transfer etc. Not all wheels have all of these atributes, but you will find better stuff across the board in better wheels.
  • Grazy81Grazy81 Posts: 196
    Excellent thanks guys, i was looking to get a turbo trainer and hence would need a training tyre so i had thought of getting a better set of wheels for off the turbo as to save having to keep changing the rear tyre so now i can kinda justify a new set of wheels :twisted:
  • I would go with a carbon seatpost and stem.
    Wheels are a neccessity, and tyres and brakes do help a huge amount.

    Imagine what they do to 24hr car racing. Superlightened, better tyres, wheels, brakes, engine components.

    For a bike, that would be carbon (or very light alu) stem seatpost bars, a good set of Panaracer/continental/Vredstein tyres, better wheels, improved brake pads and brake callipers and an upgrade with your groupset(cranks, derailleurs, chain etc.,)

    Dont do it all at once, can be very expensive!!
    Must go faster.
  • geoff93geoff93 Posts: 190
    I'm with Garz on this one, there is no point in replacing something unless it's uncomfortable or worn, doing so before this point is reached, is just a waste of money. No one thing will make a huge difference to overall performance, however one thing I would suggest you do upgrade, is your brake pads as having a good set, really will improve braking performance. In terms of speed, upgrading single components will rarely get you more than a few seconds, even shaving off a kilo from the bike will only make a relatively small performance difference, when cost is factored in ;)

    Edit: buying a good pair of clipless pedals and cycling shoes, will make a big difference. That is something, if you don't already have, I would fully advise you to buy as soon as you can!
    Trek Madone 3.5 (RS80s, Arione)
    Trek Madone 3.1 (Upgraded)
    Ribble TT Bike
    Trek Mamba (Garry Fisher Collection)
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    SgtFinaldo wrote:
    I would go with a carbon seatpost and stem.
    Wheels are a neccessity, and tyres and brakes do help a huge amount.

    Imagine what they do to 24hr car racing. Superlightened, better tyres, wheels, brakes, engine components.

    For a bike, that would be carbon (or very light alu) stem seatpost bars, a good set of Panaracer/continental/Vredstein tyres, better wheels, improved brake pads and brake callipers and an upgrade with your groupset(cranks, derailleurs, chain etc.,)

    Dont do it all at once, can be very expensive!!

    Sorry I can't agree with the seatpost / stem thing - well maybe the seatpost - but not for weight reduction. A carbon post might remove some vibration from your ride but it won't be lighter than a decent alu one.

    likewise a carbon stem won't be any lighter than an alu one - although it 'might' reduce some vibration it will also be less stiff and you'd be constantly worrying about it breaking.

    I have carbon bars fitted to my posh bike - again they are not any lighter than the alu ITM ones they replaced but they are well shaped as you can add ergonomic shapes to carbon which you just can't achieve with alu tubes.

    brake pads are worth doing - i'd recommend the Koolstop 'salmons' - which are excellent and a real noticeable upgrade. I'd say 'series' calipers (105, ultegra etc) would be an upgrade over unbranded items found on many bikes.
  • GarzGarz Posts: 1,155
    Fitness > thinking about bike weight.

    It's a very expensive hobby (realising this now) and you can waste alot by want instead of thinking need. The first nice investment is Geoffs input, clipless pedals with some shoes.

    If your wanting to upgrade so much stuff you should have spent more on a better bike in the first place. The boardman I have is a great starter road bike gaining alot of experience as I ride. When I upgrade this I will know what components the next one should have.

    Good luck, and just get out on the allez more! :)
  • Grazy81Grazy81 Posts: 196
    Garz wrote:
    Fitness > thinking about bike weight.

    It's a very expensive hobby (realising this now) and you can waste alot by want instead of thinking need. The first nice investment is Geoffs input, clipless pedals with some shoes.

    If your wanting to upgrade so much stuff you should have spent more on a better bike in the first place. The boardman I have is a great starter road bike gaining alot of experience as I ride. When I upgrade this I will know what components the next one should have.

    Good luck, and just get out on the allez more! :)

    I am just below the 20 mph avg speed so i am going to get to that level through fitness before i get any upgrades and the first will be the shoes and pedals and i want a turbo for the winter and to get in those extra miles so i will prob get a training tyre with it too and to save swapping tyres all the time i will prob end up with a new set of wheels, after these then i will probably only buy things as they wear out or for comfort reasons.

    Saying that i may upgrade the brake blocks sooner as this is more of a safety thing and wont affect the avg speed so i cant cheat myself doing this.
  • MettanMettan Posts: 2,103
    What wheels have you currently got ?
  • John C.John C. Posts: 2,113
    After a set of climbing legs these are good for the descent http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Kool_ ... 300005952/

    and they will be kind to any new wheels you may get.
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,509
    Garz wrote:
    I would get lots of riding in first and only upgrade stuff that is either uncomfortable or worn.

    +1 Don't buy new "stuff" before the old is worn out. Unless you've just got to spend money. FWIW, there are very few, if any, "UPGRADES" that will turn your bike into a rocket, as some would have you believe. It's the most overused word on the BikeRadar
    forum. Seems as if everybody thinks they can go faster by buying things. Ain't gonna
    happen.
  • ChrisszChrissz Posts: 727
    Buying new stuff won't make you any faster at all :(

    But it will look prettier and make you feel better when you ride it :lol:
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,509
    skyd0g wrote:
    Brake pads - to Kool Stops or Swiss Stops.
    Tyres - to decent rubber of your choice.
    Saddle - to a comfy perch.
    Pedals & Shoes.

    Any or all of the above for the best bang-for-your-buck! IMHO 8)

    Nothing personal, but I consider the above very bad advice.
    Why would you simply replace brake pads with another brand? Who said that Campy
    or Shimano pads, that probably came with the bike, are not as good as some aftermarket
    brand? Switch to these pads? Says who? Why?
    Decent rubber? What does that mean? ....of your choice? Huh? Asking about tires on here is like asking for a list of all the major manufacturers? There is no consensus what so ever. Probably because most of it is "decent rubber".
    A comfy saddle? Now you're making sense.
    Pedals and shoes? What about them? What are you trying to say? Are to trying to say go
    out and buy new, expensive, shoes and pedals because they will........?????
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    dennisn wrote:
    skyd0g wrote:
    Brake pads - to Kool Stops or Swiss Stops.
    Tyres - to decent rubber of your choice.
    Saddle - to a comfy perch.
    Pedals & Shoes.

    Any or all of the above for the best bang-for-your-buck! IMHO 8)

    Nothing personal, but I consider the above very bad advice.
    Why would you simply replace brake pads with another brand? Who said that Campy
    or Shimano pads, that probably came with the bike, are not as good as some aftermarket
    brand? Switch to these pads? Says who? Why?
    Decent rubber? What does that mean? ....of your choice? Huh? Asking about tires on here is like asking for a list of all the major manufacturers? There is no consensus what so ever. Probably because most of it is "decent rubber".
    A comfy saddle? Now you're making sense.
    Pedals and shoes? What about them? What are you trying to say? Are to trying to say go
    out and buy new, expensive, shoes and pedals because they will........?????

    Dennis, sorry but if you don't believe this then you need to try some aftermarket pads - the std shimano / campag ones are useless in comparison.

    the Koolstop salmons on all my bikes beat them hands down - when I build my new bike last year with all campag centaur I didn't even fit the std brakes blocks to the bike - i replaced them with the salmons before i even build them and put the OE centaur ones in the spares box (want to buy them?).

    the koolstops give better stopping power in wet and dry, they have more 'feel' (difficult to describe - is this what people call 'modulation') and they don't (unlike shimano pads) pick up bits of alu swarf which will wear your rims down faster.

    They are easily the best £6.99 i ever spent!
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,509
    gkerr4 wrote:
    dennisn wrote:
    skyd0g wrote:
    Brake pads - to Kool Stops or Swiss Stops.
    Tyres - to decent rubber of your choice.
    Saddle - to a comfy perch.
    Pedals & Shoes.

    Any or all of the above for the best bang-for-your-buck! IMHO 8)

    Nothing personal, but I consider the above very bad advice.
    Why would you simply replace brake pads with another brand? Who said that Campy
    or Shimano pads, that probably came with the bike, are not as good as some aftermarket
    brand? Switch to these pads? Says who? Why?
    Decent rubber? What does that mean? ....of your choice? Huh? Asking about tires on here is like asking for a list of all the major manufacturers? There is no consensus what so ever. Probably because most of it is "decent rubber".
    A comfy saddle? Now you're making sense.
    Pedals and shoes? What about them? What are you trying to say? Are to trying to say go
    out and buy new, expensive, shoes and pedals because they will........?????

    Dennis, sorry but if you don't believe this then you need to try some aftermarket pads - the std shimano / campag ones are useless in comparison.

    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I've used every brand available(I think) and have never failed to come to a satisfactory halt or slowing. Useless is a pretty strong statement and I doubt that you would find much support for a view like that. I can't imagine Campy & Shimano putting "useless" pads on their brakes. You're making way more out of this than the actual reality of it all(IMHO). They're brake pads, not rocket science. :wink:
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    OK - perhaps 'useless' is too strong a word - but I still think that the Koolstops are a "significant" upgrade - both in terms of stopping power but also the important point of not picking up bits of swarf.
  • Dont forget to shop around with your upgrades.
    The reason i went for carbon swaps was to ease the vibration. Im on a ridley, which is as stiff as they come.

    Brakes and tyres first. Then wheels and seatpost etc.,
    Must go faster.
  • Grazy81Grazy81 Posts: 196
    Mettan wrote:
    What wheels have you currently got ?

    They are alex rims cp22 or something like that, with the mondo tires
  • skyd0gskyd0g Posts: 2,540
    dennisn wrote:
    gkerr4 wrote:
    dennisn wrote:
    skyd0g wrote:
    Brake pads - to Kool Stops or Swiss Stops.
    Tyres - to decent rubber of your choice.
    Saddle - to a comfy perch.
    Pedals & Shoes.

    Any or all of the above for the best bang-for-your-buck! IMHO 8)

    Nothing personal, but I consider the above very bad advice.
    Why would you simply replace brake pads with another brand? Who said that Campy
    or Shimano pads, that probably came with the bike, are not as good as some aftermarket
    brand? Switch to these pads? Says who? Why?
    Decent rubber? What does that mean? ....of your choice? Huh? Asking about tires on here is like asking for a list of all the major manufacturers? There is no consensus what so ever. Probably because most of it is "decent rubber".
    A comfy saddle? Now you're making sense.
    Pedals and shoes? What about them? What are you trying to say? Are to trying to say go
    out and buy new, expensive, shoes and pedals because they will........?????

    Dennis, sorry but if you don't believe this then you need to try some aftermarket pads - the std shimano / campag ones are useless in comparison.

    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I've used every brand available(I think) and have never failed to come to a satisfactory halt or slowing. Useless is a pretty strong statement and I doubt that you would find much support for a view like that. I can't imagine Campy & Shimano putting "useless" pads on their brakes. You're making way more out of this than the actual reality of it all(IMHO). They're brake pads, not rocket science. :wink:
    Much as I hate to contradict people, in this case I will.
    My advice (and, as others have also said) is sound and I stand by it.

    Brake pads - to Kool Stops or Swiss Stops.
    Both of the above manufacturers pads are rated above the stopping power of standard pads, including those by Shimano and Campagnolo. I did not state that Shimano / Campag pads were "useless" - your words, not mine, simply that they can be bettered in this specific area. True, it isn't rocket science - that refers to escape velocities, vectors, hyperbolic curves and tangents.
    Braking refers to friction, wear and modulation.
    A knob of butter would stop you eventually, but is hardly the ideal substance to use, is it?

    Tyres - to decent rubber of your choice.
    The standard tyes sold with most bikes are simply cheap and heavy. By decreasing the rolling resistance, reducing the weight and maintaining (or improving) the grip, you upgrade the bikes handling overall. Depending on the OP's intended use, this may be a tyre that is intended for race use, training, or on poor surfaces. Hence the "of your choice" remark.

    Saddle - to a comfy perch.
    A comfy saddle is worth its' weight in gold. This is again a personal choice as I'm sure you'll agree.

    Pedals & Shoes.
    The Elite is supplied with clips and straps as standard. I hardly need to state the advantages of going clipless, with some stiff soled shoes, do I? Again, this is an area of peronal preference and budget, as there are several manufacturers systems each with their own supporters.

    I would cordially suggest that if you have nothing worthwhile to contribute to a post, that you save the wear and tear on your keyboard. Nothing personal, but I find your comments very poorly conceived. :wink:
    Cycling weakly
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    The best 6.99 I ever spent was on the Dark Side of the Moon 25th Anniversary SACD by Pink Floyd.
  • napoleond wrote:
    The best 6.99 I ever spent was on the Dark Side of the Moon 25th Anniversary SACD by Pink Floyd.

    You bought the wrong one! :roll: It's all about The Division Bell!! :wink:
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    Obviously the Division Bell is the superior display of songwriting and creativity however that DSOTM SACD sounds ace on my hi fi.
  • skyd0gskyd0g Posts: 2,540
    napoleond wrote:
    The best 6.99 I ever spent was on the Dark Side of the Moon 25th Anniversary SACD by Pink Floyd.

    £6.99 is a very good price for an SACD. 8)
    Fantastic LP too - I have the heavyweight vinyl version. :wink:
    Cycling weakly
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    I have that too!
  • skyd0gskyd0g Posts: 2,540
    The Wall - Live in Berlin is another fave. Cyndi Lauper does a great performance.
    Cycling weakly
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