Spend £350 on upgrades or £550 on new bike?

papekani
papekani Posts: 33
edited January 2013 in Road beginners
I'm posting this in the 'beginners' forum in the hope that no one will take me to task for either a) buying a bike from Halfords or b) not having an unlimited budget.

I bought a Carrera TDF from Halfords in September 2012 to see whether road biking was for me. It either was, or I was just stupid enough after a few rides to sign up for a London-Paris charity ride in July this year. So basically I don't have the option of giving it all up.

It has a Shimano 2300 groupset, and I have added a few things like cycle computer, bottle cages, etc. However, I am beginning to discover the limitations of the TDF, most notably the double rather than compact chainset (sorry if I'm using the wrong terminology here) which I personally hate, preferring to spin wildly rather than grind to a halt. I also need to buy a few more bits of kit for the ride in July.

So the dilemma I now face is whether to spend £350 on a few choice upgrades to the TDF (I find the size and position pretty comfortable, but then I have nothing to compare against), or to sell it and try and find something better for around £550 (new or used, I'm not hugely fussy).

So a few questions for you experts:

1. Faced with the same choice, would you spend £350 upgrading the TDF or £550 on a replacement?
2. If you'd go the upgrade route, what would you prioritise given what I need it to do? Wheels, forks, seat, groupset? Any specific product recommendations most welcome.
3. If you'd go the replacement route, what bike would you plump for at £550 (and preferably why)?

Thanks a lot in advance. Please be gentle to this newbie.
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Comments

  • nochekmate
    nochekmate Posts: 3,460
    Not worth spending £350 upgrading the tdf - riding mote will resolve the need for a compact. £550 new will not buy much of an upgrade.

    £550 secondhand is a fair option - PM re 54cm carbon road bike if that's your size.
  • leepez
    leepez Posts: 33
    Hi,
    I was in a similar situation to yourself some 5 months ago when I decided to take up cycling. Halfords had some offers on at the time with the Carrera bikes which I really did think about but in the end I opted to buy a 2nd hand Trek 1.2 instead. Luckily for me the bike was nearly brand new and had seen very little use and I had it for £400 which I thought was a bargain. The bike was fitted with a compact.

    The bike has been brilliant and I have since changed the stock Bontrager wheels for a set of Mavic Kysrium Elites, again another 2nd hand bargain £280 with Conti 4000S tyres and the difference has just been amazing!

    So, to answer your question if it was me I would sell your bike and buy something 2nd hand which is better overall (mainly frame) and also with a compact like you mentioned and possibly look for a good set of 2nd hand wheels.
  • declan1
    declan1 Posts: 2,470
    Sell the TDF and get an Allez or something. Would be a pretty big upgrade.

    Road - Dolan Preffisio
    MTB - On-One Inbred

    I have no idea what's going on here.
  • Calpol
    Calpol Posts: 1,039
    You should be able to get £200+ for your Carerra, maybe £250. The BTwin Triban is £300 so I figure £250 is the ceiling for your bike. For a budget of c£600 you can get something quite nice if you are patient and look in the 2nd hand market.

    The Boardman bikes are well regarded and seem to go for about £500 - £700 on Ebay. I think you can get Tiagra or Sram apex setup for that sort of money. Bigger name brand cost more of course but occasional bargains can be had. Take your time, learn the market for 2nd hand and keep riding your Carerra in the meantime. Good Luck.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    nochekmate wrote:
    Not worth spending £350 upgrading the tdf - riding mote will resolve the need for a compact. £550 new will not buy much of an upgrade.

    £550 secondhand is a fair option - PM re 54cm carbon road bike if that's your size.

    +1

    What's wrong with a double ? They were good enough for decades until the compact came around.
    What ratios do you have and what's the problem ?
  • cougie wrote:
    nochekmate wrote:
    Not worth spending £350 upgrading the tdf - riding mote will resolve the need for a compact. £550 new will not buy much of an upgrade.

    £550 secondhand is a fair option - PM re 54cm carbon road bike if that's your size.

    +1

    What's wrong with a double ? They were good enough for decades until the compact came around.
    What ratios do you have and what's the problem ?

    Surely you jest? Doubles are ok if you live somewhere relatively flat but if you need to go up any significant hills you're going to be in trouble. Claiming otherwise is just bravado.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,427
    cougie wrote:
    nochekmate wrote:
    Not worth spending £350 upgrading the tdf - riding mote will resolve the need for a compact. £550 new will not buy much of an upgrade.

    £550 secondhand is a fair option - PM re 54cm carbon road bike if that's your size.

    +1

    What's wrong with a double ? They were good enough for decades until the compact came around.
    What ratios do you have and what's the problem ?

    Surely you jest? Doubles are ok if you live somewhere relatively flat but if you need to go up any significant hills you're going to be in trouble. Claiming otherwise is just bravado.

    So how did people cycle in hilly areas prior to compacts coming on the market then? They've only been around for about a decade. I live in a hilly area and still run a double set up yet still manage to ride significantly lower gears than I did 15 years ago when the normal low gear for pretty much everyone was 42 x 21 and 39 x 23 was considered a really low gear. You adapt to what you have, back then people rode up hills with a lower cadence but not many were 'in trouble'. Riding a 34 with a 12-27 cassette only gives you one gear easier than riding a 39 with the same cassette.
  • Hi there.

    Thanks for the responses so far (and for the debate about compact vs double – not one I intended to spark, I promise – I had just heard that compact was generally more forgiving for the novice rider like me who doesn't yet have masses of muscle power but plenty of enthusiasm!).

    It does seem that a replacement is the best way to go and I'm in no hurry, so I will heed the advice here and take my time making sure I find the right bike for me, and enjoy my TDF in the meanwhile (and even its double chainring).
  • gda65
    gda65 Posts: 3
    Merlin cycles have some excellent bikes in your price range Sensa Romagna from about £650.
  • gda65 wrote:
    Merlin cycles have some excellent bikes in your price range Sensa Romagna from about £650.

    For my budget, I'd probably have to look more at the Sensa Umbria Tiagra Special. Question is whether this would be a better choice than something secondhand?
  • zx6man
    zx6man Posts: 1,092
    I swapped the double for a compact on mine. spending 550 on a new bike like say an allez, doesn't seem like much an upgrade really. same running gear almost, so 550 better spent on a frame and fork maybe and use the bits For info I paid 260 new for my tdf , so you would be lucky to get 250.
  • zx6man wrote:
    I swapped the double for a compact on mine. spending 550 on a new bike like say an allez, doesn't seem like much an upgrade really. same running gear almost, so 550 better spent on a frame and fork maybe and use the bits For info I paid 260 new for my tdf , so you would be lucky to get 250.

    Interesting. The problem is that if I was reusing the groupset from the TDF, I wouldn't have 550 to spend on a frame and fork, only 350 as I wouldn't be able to sell the TDF. Question is whether that is enough to get an OK frame and forks and still be left with something running a 2300 groupset. You must have done well with the price on your TDF - there's one on fleaBay at the moment selling for 230.
  • I am quite shocked by the suggestions to sell your TDF and buy an Allez, the Allez isnt much better than the TDF this years spec is shocking for the money.

    I would just change the standard chainset to a compact and maybe pop some better wheels on.

    On the price front my mate bought a TDF this year brand new for £289 from Halfords and it's been faultless.
  • zx6man
    zx6man Posts: 1,092
    I am quite shocked by the suggestions to sell your TDF and buy an Allez, the Allez isnt much better than the TDF this years spec is shocking for the money.

    I would just change the standard chainset to a compact and maybe pop some better wheels on.

    On the price front my mate bought a TDF this year brand new for £289 from Halfords and it's been faultless.

    +1

    It was 299 with an extra 10% one bank holiday. The compact crank and front mech was 30 quid (so its 2300 all round). For me I would have to consider a £1000+ bike to warrant such an upgrade. I have only ever ridden a trek 1.5 and the allez elite (other than my tdf) and didn't think there was much in them to be honest.

    I am looking at the ribble gran fondo with 105 groupset as my next steed.
  • rich164h
    rich164h Posts: 433
    I'm not sure I understand where the £350 figure has come from. Why do you think you need to spend that much? You said that you're happy with the size and your position and you're only issue seemed to be with the gearing, so why not change the chainset for something like this: http://www.wiggle.co.uk/shimano-tiagra-4650-hollowtech-ii-10-spd-compact-chainset/ and possibly change the rear cassette if you still need lower gearing (http://www.wiggle.co.uk/shimano-cs-hg41-8-speed-cassette/ and just ride the bike as it is. £70 and you're done. No need to spend £350. You might even be able to claw back some of that £70 by selling the old parts on ebay! I should add that wiggle was the first place I looked and you might be able to get these parts cheaper than £70 as well.

    If you want to spend more, that's a different issue though and things like wheels, saddles etc can all be transferred onto a new bike if you decide to upgrade later so I don't see this as being a case of "wasting" money on an inexpensive bike.
  • My advice. Sell your bike and buy second hand triban3. Will effectively cost you nothing and you will get a triple chainset and carbon fork for your efforts. Save the rest of your cash for some nice wheels or the bike of your dreams in a year or so.
  • rich164h wrote:
    I'm not sure I understand where the £350 figure has come from. Why do you think you need to spend that much? You said that you're happy with the size and your position and you're only issue seemed to be with the gearing, so why not change the chainset for something like this: http://www.wiggle.co.uk/shimano-tiagra-4650-hollowtech-ii-10-spd-compact-chainset/ and possibly change the rear cassette if you still need lower gearing (http://www.wiggle.co.uk/shimano-cs-hg41-8-speed-cassette/ and just ride the bike as it is. £70 and you're done. No need to spend £350. You might even be able to claw back some of that £70 by selling the old parts on ebay! I should add that wiggle was the first place I looked and you might be able to get these parts cheaper than £70 as well.

    If you want to spend more, that's a different issue though and things like wheels, saddles etc can all be transferred onto a new bike if you decide to upgrade later so I don't see this as being a case of "wasting" money on an inexpensive bike.

    The £350 was purely a maximum budget. If I don't need to spend that much, then even better. I assume I would need a new bottom bracket for that chainset too. Are these generally easy to replace?
  • zx6man
    zx6man Posts: 1,092
    the 2300 compact is fine for 30 notes new. 2300 rear mech goes to 26T, so to get lower the rear mech would need changing too. the hollowtech would need a new BB yes.

    This was mine

    http://www.parker-international.co.uk/1 ... n=pid16483

    50/34 - 11-26 on mine. I am not the fittest person but that can get me up over holme moss ok :-)
  • jotko
    jotko Posts: 457
    You can get a lot of bike for £650ish second hand, especially if you are not hung up on a carbon frame.

    Keep your eyes on the classifieds on here - much less of a punt than ebay, you should be able to get at least a 105 or equivalent spec used bike for your budget.
  • jotko wrote:
    You can get a lot of bike for £650ish second hand, especially if you are not hung up on a carbon frame.

    Keep your eyes on the classifieds on here - much less of a punt than ebay, you should be able to get at least a 105 or equivalent spec used bike for your budget.

    Thanks. My budget for a new bike would be only around £550.
  • i bought a TDF last year with a haggle and a works discout i managed to get it for £170.

    Im not sure what your going to spend £350 on as the bike is fine really and is very tough and reliable (i off road on mine :lol: ). Although i agree the chain rings could be compact but that is nothing that time in the saddle cant change and once your use to a standard anything else either tops out or seems slow. Trust me i shouted and swore at my bike and even through it in the hedge when i first got it due to the standard chain rings....(everytime i go for a cycle i have a 700ft approx climb back to my house on the last 1.4km :evil: ) but now i just ride on up RULE #5.

    the only things i changed on mine were:

    tyres = major upgrade in feel and speed over kendas
    pedals = standards are very heavy... i went for some large MKS BMX pedals :D very comfortable and an instant performance increse for me, i just dont like clipless.
    Seat = standard is small and uncomfortable supprised it didnt get lost lol. i went with a Selle TRK for man comfort :wink:

    and thats it really and the only other thing i want to change is the bar tape as the cork does not offer enough padding.

    to be honest the bike is good and if it was unbranded people would like it and ask what it is so i wouldnt change for anything under £700 really as there is nothing to be gained. If you do/allowed to spend on it in aid of this charity ride i would change the wheels as they weigh 3.91kg combined and £100 - £210 wheel set from a shop or ebay (cheaper) will half that easy. Most useful upgrade honestly and one on my list to do once my fitness can easily handle Spinning the 4kg weights.
  • There's a couple of things to consider here.

    Are you actually going to be able to sell the TdF for a reasonable amount of money? Given Halfords have been knocking them out at £299 new for the last few months, there's a question mark to be had there.

    Secondly, is £550 going to get you something noticeably better than a TdF, of a better overall spec? This again is debatable.

    However, a lighter bike with the same groupset will be easier to ride with the same gearing, albeit marginally.

    A friend of mine has just replaced his TdF with a Trek 1.2 (at £750 IIRC) and reckons the difference is night and day. So perhaps have a hunt around for a secondhand Trek 1 or 2 series. I've just put my 2011 Trek 1.1 on eBay at £150 starting price, and there's two others on there for less than £200. Despite not being hugely better than the TdF, that's probably a better 'upgrade' than throwing money at the TdF... the bonus is you end up with two bikes.
  • to be honest the bike is good and if it was unbranded people would like it and ask what it is so i wouldnt change for anything under £700 really as there is nothing to be gained. If you do/allowed to spend on it in aid of this charity ride i would change the wheels as they weigh 3.91kg combined and £100 - £210 wheel set from a shop or ebay (cheaper) will half that easy. Most useful upgrade honestly and one on my list to do once my fitness can easily handle Spinning the 4kg weights.
    I'd go with that. For £100 I got a set of wheels that, with the tyres, tubes & cassette added still weighed less than the bare wheels. SwissSide St Bernard if you're interested, although they're a tad more expensive now.
    Climbing some of the steep hills around Kendal, it felt like I had an extra gear or two. I've added clippy pedals and changed the stem, but not from any upgrade perspective.

    Changing to a compact should be pretty painless - I'd be expecting the BB to die shortly (I think the bearings are made of cheese), so putting a better-made one in at the same time as changing the crank would be a good idea. Its a standard square taper as far as I recall. Just double-check you don't have a compact already. mine came with a compact, although all the specs say its supposed to be a standard. Count the teeth and/or measure the bolt centre.

    I'm considering upgrading brakes at some point. I've had a few hariy moments when I've been headed down a steep hill and the brakes have only given me that 'stop going faster' feeling, rather than actually slowing down.
  • yes well said i upgraded my brakes as well as they did not stop me, but due to the relatively good spec cartridge brakes. All the upgrade involved was a £4.99 pair of grippy brake pads.

    mind you i think the brake performance depends on riders weight :roll:
  • ic.
    ic. Posts: 769
    The TdF is now £599 on Halfords website, so that may help selling yours for the money you want. I'd suggest you may get £200, anything more and you will have done VERY well.

    The second hand market for £550 is full of decent bikes. Cubes, Boardmans, Trek 1.2s and of course the Allez.
    2020 Reilly Spectre - raw titanium
    2020 Merida Reacto Disc Ltd - black on black
    2015 CAAD8 105 - very green - stripped to turbo bike
    2018 Planet X Exocet 2 - grey

    The departed:

    2017 Cervelo R3 DI2 - sold
    Boardman CX Team - sold
    Cannondale Synapse - broken
    Cube Streamer - stolen
    Boardman Road Comp - stolen
  • mind you i think the brake performance depends on riders weight :roll:
    I'd already done the better pads. Clarkes multi-compound cartridge things - made it better, but even so, approaching a hairpin on a road with a dodgy surface and about 1 in 4, nothing is going to help lots.

    And can I add....


    Cheeky Bugger! :P
  • nochekmate
    nochekmate Posts: 3,460
    cougie wrote:
    nochekmate wrote:
    Not worth spending £350 upgrading the tdf - riding mote will resolve the need for a compact. £550 new will not buy much of an upgrade.

    £550 secondhand is a fair option - PM re 54cm carbon road bike if that's your size.

    +1

    What's wrong with a double ? They were good enough for decades until the compact came around.
    What ratios do you have and what's the problem ?

    Surely you jest? Doubles are ok if you live somewhere relatively flat but if you need to go up any significant hills you're going to be in trouble. Claiming otherwise is just bravado.

    Absolute tosh - not just bravado at all.

    Beginners will find it harder of course until they have some miles in their legs but as Cougie said, compact chainsets are a relatively new phenomenon. Nothing wrong with a 53/39 and adapting the cassette slightly for hilly areas. 39/25 can work well enough for me for most hills on my rides in the Peak District. My Son rode up Wrynose Pass in the Lake District on a 39/25 set-up - not bravado, simply the truth (I did prefer to use my compact for that). Yes he's perhaps lighter than most, but the fact is that he's fit and has a few miles in his legs to go with it too.

    Too many search for compact and ride 34/32 combinations when they really are not needed IMO.
  • nochekmate wrote:

    Absolute tosh - not just bravado at all.

    Beginners will find it harder of course until they have some miles in their legs but as Cougie said, compact chainsets are a relatively new phenomenon. Nothing wrong with a 53/39 and adapting the cassette slightly for hilly areas. 39/25 can work well enough for me for most hills on my rides in the Peak District. My Son rode up Wrynose Pass in the Lake District on a 39/25 set-up - not bravado, simply the truth (I did prefer to use my compact for that). Yes he's perhaps lighter than most, but the fact is that he's fit and has a few miles in his legs to go with it too.

    Too many search for compact and ride 34/32 combinations when they really are not needed IMO.

    I dont agree at all - it all depends on the individual. It doesn't matter how many miles are in someones legs, if their pedalling style requires a higher cadence a lower gear combination is the correct thing to use. Some people spend hundreds on bike fits to optimise the geometry of their bike to suit their body so why wouldn't anyone do the same with the gearing on their bike?

    Sticking with a gear setup just because thats what people used in the old days is just perverse. Bikes of old used to have one massive wheel at the front and a tiny one at the back but were not all riding those because thats what people used to use are we?
  • nochekmate
    nochekmate Posts: 3,460
    nochekmate wrote:

    Absolute tosh - not just bravado at all.

    Beginners will find it harder of course until they have some miles in their legs but as Cougie said, compact chainsets are a relatively new phenomenon. Nothing wrong with a 53/39 and adapting the cassette slightly for hilly areas. 39/25 can work well enough for me for most hills on my rides in the Peak District. My Son rode up Wrynose Pass in the Lake District on a 39/25 set-up - not bravado, simply the truth (I did prefer to use my compact for that). Yes he's perhaps lighter than most, but the fact is that he's fit and has a few miles in his legs to go with it too.

    Too many search for compact and ride 34/32 combinations when they really are not needed IMO.

    I dont agree at all - it all depends on the individual. It doesn't matter how many miles are in someones legs, if their pedalling style requires a higher cadence a lower gear combination is the correct thing to use. Some people spend hundreds on bike fits to optimise the geometry of their bike to suit their body so why wouldn't anyone do the same with the gearing on their bike?

    Sticking with a gear setup just because thats what people used in the old days is just perverse. Bikes of old used to have one massive wheel at the front and a tiny one at the back but were not all riding those because thats what people used to use are we?

    Agreed it does depend on the individual but I do think that the desire for a compact chainset is often overrated. You are implying that a traditional 53/39 chainset is outdated - it's not by any means. Miles in the legs DO matter as never mind how fit an individual is, they are not necessarily cycling fit and this riding experience allows cyclists to maintain a higher cadence over a given distance. Some of us actually prefer a 53/39 to a compact due to the differentials that a 50/34 offers (one of the reasons why many run 50/36 compact instead).
  • elderone
    elderone Posts: 1,410
    Personally I would upgrade.I have the carrera virtuoso ltd from halfords which also came with a standard crank unlike the standard virtuoso.So Ive changed the crank to compact and also added a 30-11 casette,plus added carbon forks and I will add some shimano rs30 wheels from ribble next.Now all that lot including fitting at local bike shop will be about £250 -£270.
    Now some will say spending that on a bike that cost £350 quid is mad,but to my mind I have a bike made from 6061 aluminium and will weigh about 9.5kgs or less.I intend to keep this bike for years as my mid week and winter bike.
    So upgrade for now and ride what you,ve got and save for a better bike.
    Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori