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Next upgrades for my 2013 Giant Defy 3 Composite

Meerkat16Meerkat16 Posts: 320
edited April 2013 in Workshop
I have a 2013 Giant Defy 3 Composite (Full carbon) I have upgraded the rims and wanted to know what everyone would upgrade next without having to take out a new mortgage lol The following is a list of the specs
Shifters - Shimano Tiagra
Front Derailleur - Shimano Tiagra
Rear Derailleur - Shimano Tiagra
Brakes - Tektro TK-R540 w/ cart pads
Brake Levers - Shimano Tiagra
Cassette - Shimano HG50 11x28, 10s
Chain - KMC X10L
Crankset - Shimano Tiagra - 50x34
Bottom Bracket - Shimano Integrated


  • Have you thought about upgrading the stem and handlebar? They'll make the ride feel much better, where as changing out components will be more 'marginal' gains.

    Other then that, I'd probably change out the brakes first to get those to Shimano. You could go for Tiagra, but I'm assuming you'll want to go to a higher spec in the long run. Ultegra is probably where you'll want to end up for the whole groupset. You could get some Ultegra calipers but bear in mind if you get the updated dual pivot ones you'll need the Ultegra STI's to get the right cable pull from the levers.
  • Meerkat16Meerkat16 Posts: 320
    Thanks for advice. Knew the brakes were a no brainer. What you say about stem and handlebars make sense. I am fairly new to all this so would you have any recommendations? Also I would like to end up with full Ultegra group set but will make sizeable dent in my wallet if I upgrade in one go. Can you upgrade each part of the groupset as and when finances allow?
  • Since your Tiagra groupset is 10spd then you'll be fine to upgrade piece by piece. Just take note on the dual pivot brake issue.

    There are many opinions for upgrading a groupset piece by piece, however I would personally say that you should start with shifters and then the front mech. These are commonly overlooked components.

    There is an interesting article ( that mainly talks about MTB and XTR components, however the concepts are easily transferable. The rear mech may do a lot of moving, but at the end of the day it's just a single spring and some pivots. The STI's tell the mech when to move, where to move, and how far to move. Lower quality shifters have a lot more plastic in them and the tolerances are lower.

    Shifting is primarily improved by the shifter, not the shiftee (mechs).

    With that being said, the rear mech only moves very slightly with each shift, whereas the front mech in comparison has a huge distance to have to move the chain. A better front mech has stiffer materials and pivots which will help it to shift that chain the distance it needs. Making the shifting on the front smoother.

    Most of this is in the article, however this is just a quick run down.

    In regards to the cockpit, there's nothing wrong with the Giant carbon handlebar and stem. They're well made, will match the bike and are very comfortable, however there are plenty of options you can try. Take note however that stiffer and lighter, don't always mean more comfortable.
  • Meerkat16Meerkat16 Posts: 320
    Thanks again for the advice and the link which has interesting. Think i will keep looking on the items for sale section and see what comes up.
  • jomojjomoj Posts: 777
    If you're doing a gradual upgrade then you have a couple of options to consider when budgeting - replace when something has worn out or sell it ASAP while it's still fresh and commands a better second hand price to offset a new purchase.

    For example:

    Personally I would consider selling and upgrading the chainset soon for the following reasons: 1) Chainsets depreciate quickly because they pick up scratches + the rings & bearings wear out making them less attractive 2nd hand buys. 2) Tiagra chainsets are heavy and like most shimano road c'sets IMHO, are ugly as hell. I would also avoid Ultegra chainsets because they lock you into buying very expensive replacement chainrings, something like a SRAM Force would be my choice.

    Conversely I would consider replacing the levers later because you'll feel more of a benefit with both a new and upgraded lever over your current newish Tiagra STIs.

    In all honesty the Tiagra stuff is pretty reliable anyway, as is 105 and most of these component upgrades make the bike look nicer and shift a little snappier but they won't speed you up or make you go further. The wheels and tyres are the best place to put your money and you've already done that.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    If it fits you and you're comfortable on it I'd just ride it as it is and enjoy it. Replace stuff as and when it wears out.
  • Depending how comfortable you are on longer rides, I would consider the saddle as the first area to upgrade.
    I put a Charge Spoon on my bike and it totally transformed the ride for me.
    2015 Specialized Tarmac Expert Ultegra
    2016 Focus Mares CX Ultegra
    2016 Specialized Stumpjumper HT Comp Carbon 29
    2012 Boardman Road Race 105
    2013 Specialized Hardrock Disc
  • kfotherkfother Posts: 12
    If those Tekro brakes are the same 540`s they put on the GIANT Defy 1 (2012), i`d drop them in a heart beat.

    I can honestly say it was a huge difference going from Tekro R540`d on my Defy 1 to Ultegra`s on my GIANT Defy ADVANCED.

    Even after changing to Kool stop Salmon on the R540`s, they were either On/Off.

    Seriously.. it was a big difference, and felt much safer moving to shimano.
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