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Buy an expensive frame then use cheaper components?

LionLion Posts: 5
edited November 2014 in Road beginners
Hi,

So I got into cycling over the summer. I got the bike I'm riding at Halfords extremely cheap to see if I liked the sport, and now that I'm enjoying it I'm looking to upgrade sometime in the near future.

I'm riding a 2014 Carerra TDF - similar to the one here Bike Radar Review - Carerra TDF ltd. So what I thought (maybe in a stupid bout of madness) was - 'I have the wheels and brakes etc on this thing.. why don't I just buy a better frame?' Maybe this is just my naive, begginnery instincts coming through; but seriously is this possible or is it just a stupid idea?

If I could source a nice-quality frameset with a bit of a discount (preowned or something) off of gumtree or ebay (e.g. This Specialized Tarmac frame or this Ridley frameset), could I just plug all of the components from the Carerra onto this and get going? Maybe in time, I could upgrade the other bits-and-bobs as my wallet sees fit.

I kind of understand that cyclists are all about weight right down to the last gram, and I suspect that maybe people will say that, "why spend money on a light frame if you're going to stick clunky heavy components on" or something.

So questions for answer-fication:

1) Is this possible? - Can you forage bits and bobs off one one bike, and stick them onto another frame?
1a) If this is possible - could a beginner like me build it myself, or would a LBS be willing to help.. or would I be laughed at?
b) Is this a good idea? Has this been tried before, or should I just steady my horses and get an average bike this time round?
c) Any other tips?

Cheers!

Dave

Posts

  • gethincerigethinceri Posts: 1,123
    I'm doing the reverse, taking a clunky heavy frame (Trek H2 from my 1.1) and doing a "Trigger's Broom" with it. Fulcrum wheels and Conti tyres so far, just bought a Campag Veloce groupset for it and I'll fit that in spring then carbon forks, cockpit will follow before a nice paint job.
    I love the fit of the frame so I want to keep that and I'm learning on the job by changing components. Is this a sensible thing to do? I don't know and I don't really care, it's my bike.
  • LionLion Posts: 5
    gethinceri wrote:
    I'm doing the reverse, taking a clunky heavy frame (Trek H2 from my 1.1) and doing a "Trigger's Broom" with it. Fulcrum wheels and Conti tyres so far, just bought a Campag Veloce groupset for it and I'll fit that in spring then carbon forks, cockpit will follow before a nice paint job.
    I love the fit of the frame so I want to keep that and I'm learning on the job by changing components. Is this a sensible thing to do? I don't know and I don't really care, it's my bike.

    I appreciate the reply and actually; doing the opposite of what I suggested is something that never crossed my mind, and probably is fairly sensible actually - I will look into this.

    However, since the name on my frame may aswell say 'beginner' rather than 'carerra', I feel like getting something more stylish would mean that people at my club don't regard me as the newbie. But then again; you shouldn't always follow the crowd and especially not follow the brands.
  • SoSimpleSoSimple Posts: 301
    I can see where you're coming from but assuming your bike is the same spec as the review bike, you'd be throwing good money after bad by doing what you are proposing.

    The Carrera TDF is a decent entry level bike, but to get to the price point, there are serious compromises on the kit supplied with the bike.

    Even if you were to buy a slightly better known bike,e.g. Bianchi, Trek or Specialized (to name a few, not an exhaustive list) they still have compromises on kit to get to a price point.

    It's not all about weight, although the quoted 3.8kg for the TdF wheel set v ~2kg for a reasonable replacement should make a noticeable difference up hills.

    Depending how far you've ridden on your Carrera, the components are all consumables and could be starting to wear, so transferring them won't be a long term fix.

    My advice would be to sell the Carrera on ebay as they go for decent money and either build a frame from scratch, buying a frame and/or components from either the classifieds here or elsewhere. Shop around online and you can get some great deals on new components.

    Alternatively, some of the direct sales firms, Ribble, Planet X or Canyon do some great deals and let you make certain spec choices.

    As for building up a bike, your local LBS, or even a mobile mechanic will do that for you without laughing at you. Suggest you give them a component list first to ensure everything is compatible, otherwise they may snigger!

    All this will be directly related to your budget and cycling aspirations over the next couple of years, so you'll need to do what everyone does and spend many hours of research!
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 18,633
    Ride your carerra to death. As things wear out, upgrade. Eventually upgrading the frame. The frame is in my opinion the most important bit of the bike. The longer you spend riding the more if an idea you'll get of what you want.

    As for club mates dissing you for having a carrera? With any decent club that's a nonsense.
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  • In principle, it should be worthwhile to buy parts and then transplant them onto a new frame. You might end up with compatibility issues, but you won't necessarily get that much for your money - you could spend a few hundred on something pretty similar to an Allez, or you could spend half on a (used) actual Allez.

    Wheels are generally a good upgrade.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    1) easiest thing in the world. There are seven bits to bother with* - front brakes, rear brakes, front mech, rear mech, BB, chainset, bars. And some cables to join them together. It's lego engineering - p!ss easy.
    1a) you'd be laughed at for not having a go. You need an Allen Key set, a Philips screwdriver, and not much else.
    B) nothing to lose. Give it a go, treat it as a learning curve.
    c) stand in front of your current bike and look at it. Have a chinese takeaway, save the plastic tubs it came in then strip your bike down to its individual components, putting the bits in the chinese takeaway tubs. Note how many chinese takeaway tubs it occupies. That's how trivial it is. Clean everything to look like it just came out of the shop, then put it back on the bike. That's how easy it is. If you get stuck, look on Youtube - ideally some comedy or decent music, then go back and look at it again and marvel at how quickly the answer presents itself.

    Bikes is the easiest things in the world. All you need to do is to strip your bike and rebuild it, once, and you're free of your LBS forever.

    * eight. Saddle.
  • Replacing worn out or sub standard parts is something I have taught myself over time. You'll have to buy some bike-specific tools and take some advice from this forum and You-tube but it will serve you well in the long run.
    Upgrading is not always the most cost effective way to a nice bike but if you learn how to maintain it along the way, it's a surprisingly rewarding way to run a bike.

    IMO - I'd sell the Carrera as a complete bike and start with a nicer bike/frame that deserves nicer components. Lots of expensive bikes(with good frames) are also available with lower level components for a lot less money. I think this would be a better start point.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    +1 on only upgrading if bits wear out or break.

    Basically I'd ride the carrera (esp thru Winter) and put money aside each month. That can replace worn out kit, or eventually get you a new 'summer' bike.
  • In general is it viable to upgrade your frame and keep the same components, yes! I've done exactly that. I went from a Trek 2.1 to a Scott CR1 with the same groupset and everything else.

    However in your case, that bike is really bargain basement and nothing on it is really worth the hassle of keeping. Better all around for you to keep that bike and ride the hell out of it while you save up for a better one.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    In general is it viable to upgrade your frame and keep the same components, yes! I've done exactly that. I went from a Trek 2.1 to a Scott CR1 with the same groupset and everything else.

    I did exactly the same; couldn't resist the CR1-SL frameset when Westbrooks were selling them off cheaply, but I was so impatient to see how it felt I just stripped everything off the existing 5 yr old alu bike and stuck it on the Scott. The only extra thing I needed was a seatpost cos they were different diameters.

    Then a bit later I bought a mixture of new and used parts to allow me to build 2 complete bikes, the (marginally) lighter stuff going on the CR1 and the heavier, more robust kit going on the Racelight Tk which has become my dedicated wet weather bike.

    The whole process was pretty straightforward, but I've in essence built 3 bikes and ended up with 2. Most satisfying!
  • TjgoodhewTjgoodhew Posts: 628
    Personally i dont think it would be worth it.

    As others have said the components on the TDF really are bargain basement and i wouldnt want to put cheap nasty components on a nice frame.

    Another idea - Ride the hell out of the TDF over the winter and at the same time start purchasing bits for a new bike. You will be amazed at how cheap you can buy new components for - especially Shimano10spd Ultegra. You can then build yourself a nice best bike ready for next summer and then either sell the TDF or keep it as the winter hack.

    This would be the way i would do it anyway
    Cannondale Caad8
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  • PituophisPituophis Posts: 1,025
    Tjgoodhew wrote:
    Personally i dont think it would be worth it.

    As others have said the components on the TDF really are bargain basement and i wouldnt want to put cheap nasty components on a nice frame.

    Another idea - Ride the hell out of the TDF over the winter and at the same time start purchasing bits for a new bike. You will be amazed at how cheap you can buy new components for - especially Shimano10spd Ultegra. You can then build yourself a nice best bike ready for next summer and then either sell the TDF or keep it as the winter hack.

    This would be the way i would do it anyway

    Totally agree with this, that's how I built my best bike. (And the winter one to be fair :roll: )
    With the exception of maybe building your own wheels, there isn't a job you can't do yourself on a new build.
  • LionLion Posts: 5
    Thanks all for the replies.

    Given me some food for thought here! Think before I do anything, I will ride through the winter on the Carerra; and save my pennies for later next year and get something I'm truly happy with.
  • Lion wrote:
    Thanks all for the replies.

    Given me some food for thought here! Think before I do anything, I will ride through the winter on the Carerra; and save my pennies for later next year and get something I'm truly happy with.

    This is a good way to proceed; it also gives you some time to think about what you want in a bike, and how much you want to spend on it.
  • Lion wrote:
    Thanks all for the replies.

    Given me some food for thought here! Think before I do anything, I will ride through the winter on the Carerra; and save my pennies for later next year and get something I'm truly happy with.

    Yup, I'd definitely do that. The Carrerra TDF is an OK bike, but unfortunately even the frame isn't really worth keepijg and upgrading unless you specifically want to keep it as a winter/ heavy training bike.

    I have taken an 'entry level' bike (Trek 1.1, ~£450 in 2011) and replaced everything apart from frame, forks, handlebars and shifters so people have to look pretty close to realise it is a 1.1 and not a higher model. However, I got lucky and it turned out that with Trek (same with Cannondale, Specialized and a few others) that you pay a premium for the frame and then the components are second rate on the cheaper models so it was (and still is) worth upgrading and can be built into a nice, responsive and relatively light bike over time.

    Unfortunately to meet the lower price point the TDF also has a pretty heavy frame as well, and you would probably make a better investment overall buying a complete ~£600 bike new and slowly upgrade that as bits wear out.

    Keeping the Carrerra as a winter bike for foul weather isn't a bad idea though- training on that will make your nice bike feel all the better when you climb aboard, and the components can be kept cheaper to replace when they get ground through wintry conditions.
  • patrickfpatrickf Posts: 536
    Keeping the Carrerra as a winter bike for foul weather isn't a bad idea though- training on that will make your nice bike feel all the better when you climb aboard, and the components can be kept cheaper to replace when they get ground through wintry conditions.
    This. I ride my commuter bike a lot more than my nice bike and every time I go out on my nice bike I'm grinning from ear to ear!

    If you're going to build up a new frame take your time and learn how to do bits.

    You can get 105 groupsets really cheap from Merlin nowadays so it's worth saving for frame & groupset. If money's tight you could get a cheap set of Shimano R501 wheels for £75 to get you going.

    Christmas coming up you could always ask for some of the smaller bits or money to get you going next year.
  • cyberknightcyberknight Posts: 1,238
    As others have said the tdf is a good entry level bike, i had a virtuoso which i rode to death as a winter bike/commuter till i got another carrera frame (vanquish ) with a carbon fork which is now my winter/ commuter .Keep it if you can but there is only so much mutton dressed as lamb you can do .
    These bikes are pretty much the most bang for your buck you can get atm i think.........
    http://www.merlincycles.com/merlin-road-bikes-44117/
    If you cant afford a new bike as a one off you could look around as a lot of places will do interest free credit or does you workplace run the cycle to work scheme ? Nowadays it works out closer to a interest free loan for the bike but you can still make a saving and spread the cost .2 and a half (?) years ago i got an £800 bike for £550 on the scheme and looking at current spec to get anything better i would be looking at £1k even from direct sellers like ribble etc or even more from mainstream sellers.
    Wheels would be the best upgrade as others have stated , the r501`s are cracking for the price and easy to service and will certainly make it a lot easier to accelerate and hill climb.
    FCN 3/5/9
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,612
    CiB wrote:
    Blah blah, allen keys screwdriver, bike bits...Have a chinese takeaway, save the plastic tubs it came in then strip your bike down to its individual components, putting the bits in the chinese takeaway tubs....blah blah

    Good advice. All I can add is...wash the tubs first, seriously, I don't think Black Bean sauce is good for bearings...

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • secretsam wrote:
    CiB wrote:
    Blah blah, allen keys screwdriver, bike bits...Have a chinese takeaway, save the plastic tubs it came in then strip your bike down to its individual components, putting the bits in the chinese takeaway tubs....blah blah

    Good advice. All I can add is...wash the tubs first, seriously, I don't think Black Bean sauce is good for bearings...

    censored I've been using it for the BB and headset for a few years now, and I thought they were running rough because I'd used a jet wash :roll:

    I'm a big fan of keeping an eye out for best prices, looking for components fairly regularly, always get nagged :( because I'm looking a bike bits. Maybe start a log/spreadsheet up of the bits you might need either for new frame or to rebuild. Get to know the compatibility issues, some MTB bits are perfectly acceptable and may be cheaper. Put RRP on there and then keep an eye out to see what's a good price. Also work eBay like mad, there are lots of trickle down and upgrade effects, people buy Ultra Di2 so sell their old 6700, people buy 6700/6800 so sell their old 105, Know the prices of new and see what you can get as bargains.

    Never, ever, ever pay full price for anything

    It's just a matter of how much cheaper you want it. Most sites are really helpful you can list by price reduction. And abuse vouchers and deals from the big online, Chain Reaction, Wiggle, Planet X, Merlin, some continental sites are also very good.

    All in it passes the time, you get to know lots more about your bike, you get a great feeling of satisfaction, you can spend what you save on beer and admire what you have achieved. :D
  • crescentcrescent Posts: 1,088
    CiB wrote:

    Bikes is the easiest things in the world. All you need to do is to strip your bike and rebuild it, once, and you're free of your LBS forever.

    * eight. Saddle.

    Not wanting to see LBSs going out of business but that is one of the best pieces of advice I have seen on here.

    With regards to your original question - keep your TDF in good nick by doing the above every so often, lubricating and cleaning as you go. Save for a new bike and keep your TdF for winter/trainer.
    And any club who turn their nose up at someone riding a Carrera TdF ain't worth joining.
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    “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. “ ~H.G. Wells
    Edit - "Unless it's a BMX"
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