New bike vs upgrade - performance benefit?

bigmul
bigmul Posts: 208
edited March 2014 in Road general
Hi All,

I've got a couple of bikes and have recently been changing a few bits on the roadie (Boardman Road Race). I've put some fulcrum wheels, lighter tyres, changed bars and a couple of other small bits.

I'm looking at changing the drivetrain but wondered what people's thoughts were on the whole upgrade vs new bike debate. If I spent £xxxx and lost up to 2kg of weight getting a carbon gti bike, would I see speed massively increasing or hopping up hills?

Thanks!

Comments

  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    Would your speed increase? Yes
    Would it increase as much as you are hoping it will? No

    That said if you've already spent some money on new wheels, and bars etc you might be better off looking at a frameset upgrade, rather than a full new bike. As obviously with a new bike you're going to be paying again for the bits you already have.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    bigmul wrote:
    If I spent £xxxx and lost up to 2kg of weight getting a carbon gti bike, would I see speed massively increasing or hopping up hills?
    Yes - because your wallet would be much lighter - less weight and less aero drag = massive improvement in speed ...

    I've got climbing PBs on both my commute bike (alloy CX with rack) and my carbon road bike - and yes I've climbed the hills on both.
    The commute bike is 2-3Kg heavier than the carbon bike - so how have I got PBs on it? Because I had the legs to climb that day, the weather conditions were favourable and I put the effort in ...

    If you want a new bike then get a new bike - but don't think you're going to suddenly be up to Pro level climbing because of it ...
  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    2kg seems a big saving going from one road bike to another? Hybrid or MTB to road perhaps?
  • bsharp77
    bsharp77 Posts: 533
    I have a boardman team which I commute on daily, and a lovely Focus Izalco Pro carbon machine for the weekend.
    Im faster on the focus - but we're not talking massive differences in time - its more about the feel to be honest.

    Getting on the focus - the lightness, the acceleration and the ride is just so much fun, makes the Boardman feel so heavy and hard work! It really is a joy to ride it.....but will it make me ride like a pro?? Nope!

    Don't expect massive time differences, but if it the difference is you come back from an 80km ride with a big smile on your face, then the upgrade is worth it just for that.
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,906
    Wouldn't think it would make a massive difference, especially on UK hills that are often over in a few minutes. Most of my personal improvement over the years has come through getting fitter. Makes my legs stronger plus has helped lose those 2kg from me rather than my bike. Seems a bit more rewarding doing it that way rather than via the credit card.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Best performance benefit would be getting something like a power meter, a turbo and a sub to Trainer Road. If you train using that - you will see definite benefits. Or spend the money on a holiday in the Alps. It depends how seriously you want to take it.
  • kajjal
    kajjal Posts: 3,380
    It would make a difference but alot of it is in the mind rather than due to the bike. If you really liked the feel / look of the new bike and enjoyed riding it that would produce better results. I recently lost a stone in weight and also am now wearing my lighter , tighter (Not too tight!) fitting cycling tops which means I am going faster than before and strangely for this time of the year getting very close to setting numerous segment personal best times. For me losing a stone in weight made a big difference, especially up hill.
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    bigmul wrote:
    Hi All,

    I've got a couple of bikes and have recently been changing a few bits on the roadie (Boardman Road Race). I've put some fulcrum wheels, lighter tyres, changed bars and a couple of other small bits.

    I'm looking at changing the drivetrain but wondered what people's thoughts were on the whole upgrade vs new bike debate. If I spent £xxxx and lost up to 2kg of weight getting a carbon gti bike, would I see speed massively increasing or hopping up hills?

    Thanks!
    Depends why you're doing it and your expectations.
    You're not suddenly going to get noticeably "better" on a new bike unless there's a specific deficiency with your current one. If you buy a lighter bike you can expect to get slightly faster up the hills (the difference might be noticeable, it might not). If your current bike has poor handling, is a poor fit, has inappropriate gearing for you or you just don't like it, then you can expect to get more enjoyment out of riding a new bike and will probably perform better too.

    So my question would be why are you considering changing the drive train?
    Is this "retail theraphy" or are you trying to achieve a specific practical improvement - if so, what?

    To give you an example: I'm currently waiting on a new bike that I've ordered. My existing bike still works just fine and I could stick with it another few years if I wanted. However, it's a little too big for me so the position is slightly compromised. Also it's a pretty beefy alloy CX frame with a 2kg wheelset and Tiagra groupset so I will make a fairly significant weight saving by switching (approx 2.5kg I reckon). Finally, I just fancy something new and shiny!
    Could I get the same benefits by upgrading? No. I could reduce weight by switching out the wheels, groupset or frame but would spend a lot of money to make modest gains. I'd have to replace the frame to properly correct the geometry - lots of work! Also the existing bike is nearly 5 years old so some parts are starting to need replacing anyway.
    If I buy a new bike to get the fit, weight, comfort and newness I want then I can hang onto the existing bike and set it up with flat pedals and more upright bars for casual local urban use or I can put on CX tyres and have a perfect bike for the towpaths or light trails!
    So, in my case I've decided a new bike is the right way to go. Of course I'm biased!

    If your reason for a purchase is that you "fancy something new and shiny" then it comes down to whether a new groupset will satisfy that urge or does it need to be a new bike. If you want to achieve some other improvement in fit, comfort, weight, etc then I'd say we can't help you without knowing what you've got now and what improvement you're looking for.
    The whole concept of "upgrading" components for the sake of it is an odd one. If you think about it there's often not much logic involved but rather it's just a product of marketing. A lot of the "upgrades" we make to our bikes are negligible in terms of functional improvements and what we're really buying is a psychological hit. I'm not suggesting I've never done it! Just saying it's not always something that makes much objective sense.
  • bigmul
    bigmul Posts: 208
    So background to that, I have a Boardman CX Team and a Boardman Road Race. The CX is the newer bike and I love it! However....the SRAM Apex on the CX has shown up just how much I'm not keen on the Sora on the road bike, hence thinking of upgrading - so purely from an enjoyment perspective rather than a need.

    The thought around new bike / upgrade was just to get thoughts. Performance benefits would simply be icing on the cake really. The weight I mentioned (2kg) was based more around me looking at shiny bikes in the £1000-£1500 bracket which are around 8kg(ish) and my roadie nigh on 9.5kg-10kg (or 10.5kg for the CX).

    Ta
  • diamonddog
    diamonddog Posts: 3,426
    My money would go on a new bike, you always pedal harder on a new bike so a definite perfomance benefit. :)
  • Weight is hugely overrated as a factor in cycling, but compare any potential saving to any bottles or tools that you may or may not be carrying. A full 750ml was just shy of 1kg last time I put it on the scales, and some multitools are very heavy.
  • bigmul
    bigmul Posts: 208
    If you always have the tools and bottles no matter what bike then it doesn't matter surely?
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Weight is hugely overrated as a factor in cycling, but compare any potential saving to any bottles or tools that you may or may not be carrying. A full 750ml was just shy of 1kg last time I put it on the scales, and some multitools are very heavy.
    I agree for flatter routes. Weight isn't terribly relevant for performance. But on steep hills a few kg does make a significant difference.