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Where would my upgrade funds best be spent?(11 posts)

Where would my upgrade funds best be spent?HouseMoney
Nov 14, 2003 9:23 AM
Cannondale CAAD5 with Centaur 9 spd gruppo except for a 13-28 veloce cassette, centaur/open pro wheels.

New frame not an option at this time. I was going to do an entire drivetrain swap to chorus 10 spd, gradually, but now I'm not so sure. Now that I've been riding more, I could swap the cassette to something with higher quality & higher gearing. I guess new wheels would be a somewhat obvious item to consider, and I could use my current set as a spare or for indoor training. A guy I ride with recently switched to Ksyriums and mentioned his Litespeed's ride was much harsher. I'm happy with my contact points (new SLK saddle just arrived, so the jury's still out on that).

I weigh about 170 lbs; plan to up my mileage and either return to mtn bike racing after a 3-year absence &/or start road racing. The 'dale will be both my training & race bike. My budget is $500-1000, but that doesn't include what I could ask santa (i.e., my girlfriend) for! In case anyone is wondering, my other obligations (mortgage, car, 401k, girlfriend, etc.) are already covered, so this $$ is set aside specifically for bike stuff.

New cassette (cheapest option), chorus 10 spd, new wheels, something else? Help me spend some money!
A few suggestions...Mike Prince
Nov 14, 2003 10:04 AM
My advice:

1.) Not sure an upgrade to 10-speed will be a big (noticable) difference, especially if you are not racing. My opinion, others will disagree I am sure. Centaur is good stuff. Spend some of your $$ on maintenance items for the group (new chain, brake pads, etc)

2.) Hard to say on the cassette. Depends on your terrain and other gearing (double/triple). You could probably do a 12-25 or even a 12-21/23 if you're a flatlander and have more closely spaced gears, which does make a difference.

3.) Your wheels are pretty nice already. Maybe a tire upgrade will have a bigger impact (?). You don't say what you run now. A change to Pro Race (or similar) tire could feel a lot better if you are on heavier, less responsive treads.

4.) Instead of the bike, how about clothing - stiffer shoes, better shorts, winter items, new helmet, better sunglasses, cool jerseys...

5.) You say you are happy with your contact points. There seems to be a lot of competition in the road pedal market in the past year. If you are on SPD's or a small platform, SPD-SL's or Time Impacts could be a viable upgrade.

6.) Accessories/tools - There's always room to spend here. Get a good truing stand, a repair stand, some books on bike maintenance. Nothing like having the right tools.

Anyway, in the end it's hard to give you a recommendation without knowing what you are looking for. Wheels are one area where it is easy to spend big $$ on the latest trend and not get much performance increase. If you are looking for something that makes you feel good about blowing $500, get a set of built wheels (K's, Velomax, Campy, etc.). If you want more performance gains, change your gearing, get better tires, etc. Less "look at my new stuff" factor, but you will ride faster and better.

Have fun - many would like to have a bike as nice as yours let alone $1K to throw at it :)

Let me add a bit more info ...HouseMoney
Nov 14, 2003 10:46 AM
My crankset is a double, 39/53. I live in west-central NJ where there aren't any mountains, but there are some tough hills where I ride. On my last 3 rides, I've refrained from using the 28 in the back (going no higher than 26), to see if I can handle a 25. Where I ride, and with my current fitness, a 23 cog would really be tough, although most of the race locales I've seen are nowhere near as hilly as my training rides.

My current tires are Michelin Axial Carbons. Pedals are Look 206. I recently purchased a work stand, new helmet, and winter gear, so most clothing/accessories are already accounted for. A truing stand & maintenance book are an option, though. I have asked my girlfriend for a new trainer (Tacx Flow) for xmas.

Considering I'll be racing 4/5 next season, I probably shouldn't spend too much on the bike since crashing may be inevitable!
I've got a great ideaPaulCL
Nov 14, 2003 11:23 AM
You mentioned "crashing may be inevitable". So, buy a second bike.

Here's what I did. I went to and bought an inexpensive Tsunami frame for $200. The aluminum frame came with a CF fork with aluminum steerer tube. I then pieced together components off of EBAY, Wisecyclebuys, and Excelsports to build up a complet bike. I had an extra set of wheels, so I didn't have to buy them. But the entire bike (with Veloce 9spd) cost me around $650. With your budget, that would leave extra $$'s to upgrade your current ride and/or get another OP wheelset for the new ride.

"Man does not live with one bike alone" Akirasho. 2003


(OK, I made up the quote, but can't you see him writing it??)
Always keep a "bail out" gear.russw19
Nov 14, 2003 11:36 AM
You will have strong and weak days on the bike. Until you start to climb in the cog lower than your 2nd lowest, don't change or you will be forced to climb in a hard gear on a bad day. What I mean is that if your 3 lowest gearest are a 24, 26 and a 28 right now and you are climbing in the 26 most of the time, don't try to go down to a 12-25 yet. Once you get to the point that you are often able to climb in the 24, then make the switch.

The other side of this is to go ahead and make the switch and just not climb anything big on your weak days. But if you like to climb, keep a bail out gear just in case you don't feel 100% but still want to train in the hills.

If you have a spare cassette for racing, don't worry about a bail out gear, in a race if you need it, your day is already done, but for a training or casual cassette, keep it on there, it won't hurt you.

Another set of wheels w/ open pro's w/ light weight tires.....MR_GRUMPY
Nov 14, 2003 10:04 AM
for racing only, and a 12-23 cassette (Maybe a 12-25 for hilly races). Stick with 9 speed. Stick with Centaur hubs, the're cheaper than Chorus.
Use cheap heavy tires on your training wheels, to save money and to make you stronger. Make it so that you can really notice when you put on your "race wheels."
You can even use the 13-28 cassette on your training wheels.
Nov 14, 2003 10:05 AM
The cassette is fine. If the gearing is OK for the area you live in, keep in until you need to replace it.

The first response to any upgrade question is: buy a new wheelset. I agree. Maybe not the K's, but how about some Zipps?? or Velomax?? For those bucks, you can get some high zoot, aero, ultralight cool looking wheels. You would really feel a difference. I have Speeddreams and record/OP's. There is a big difference in the ride feel.

My second choice: save your dollars and buy a new frame next year.

I have two bikes: one with Record one with Veloce. They both work perfectly. The record shifts more smoothly, less clatter, nicer finish, etc... But I doubt there would be a big change from Centaur to Chorus. IMHO.

Good luck. Let us know what you decide.
re: Where would my upgrade funds best be spent?asgelle
Nov 14, 2003 10:41 AM
Sorry, I don't think you're asking the right question. You ask how best to spend your money as if spending the money was the goal. Why don't you tell us specifically what it is you would like your current bike to do better than it currently does. Then we could tell you how to achieve that effect.
re: Where would my upgrade funds best be spent?glia
Nov 14, 2003 7:05 PM
I would go for an FSA compact carbon crankset. Combine it with a 11/23 cassette and you'll have better gear spacing, stiffer crank, better look and less weight. Since you will need a new cassette, also get a SRAM R89 hollowpin chain. The smaller cassette, shorter chain and carbon crank will save you half a pound or so and make the bike function better. You may upgrade you BB as well.
You're at the point of diminishing returnsKerry Irons
Nov 16, 2003 5:39 PM
Your bike is good enough that it takes significant $$ to make a significant difference. The old rule of thumb is 20% more "performance" for each doubling of price. You have to want to spend it to justify it (like me! :) Other posts suggesting better shoes, etc. might make the most difference for you.
rollers / trainer or coaching? nmDougSloan
Nov 17, 2003 8:28 AM