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Upgrading - what would you do??(7 posts)

Upgrading - what would you do??toowoombarider
Jan 25, 2004 11:47 PM
I have decided to get back into riding for recreation and fitness after many years away. I have an old Graecross which is approx 12 years old. The frame is in great condition as are the wheels. However, due to its age it is only a 12 speed.
There are several things I would like to do but don't know whether they are worth it so ask your thoughts:
Replace fork - it is a 1" steerer so do I buy a new unthreaded fork or live with the threaded one that I already have??
Replace stem -this is a definite as I managed to snap the existing one (don't ask).
Replace handlebars - existing bar is only 38cm and makes me feel as though I am riding with my hands tied together it is so narrow. Would be looking for a 44cm.
Replace seatpost - existing seatpost is very short and even with my XL frame I feel like the seat needs to be higher.
Another question is should I be able to put a 8 or 9 speed cassette on my existing rear hub or do I need to replace the hub/wheelset.
I plan to use the bike for training for my other great love MTB. I would expect that I would participate in some of the local road club rides and would use the bike on my trainer but cannot see that I would race. Therefore I am not particularly concerned in getting the bike superlight or anything like that. What I am concerned with is doing these upgrades as cheaply as possible.
Lastly can you please provide some recommendations for mailorder stores that are good for road bicycle components. I will probably order from the US as I have found in the case of MTB parts that the cost of purchasing in Australia is sometimes 3 times what I can order from the US.
Thanks in advance for your help.
re: What I would do...Mike Prince
Jan 26, 2004 5:36 AM
If the frame and wheels are OK, then you are good there. The 6-speed cassette (assuming it is a cassette), is not easily upgradable to 8 or 9 speed. Also, if you frame is not steel, you would not be able to change the rear spacing to accomodate a wider hub, but that's a secondary concern. For the money it would cost to upgrade you are better off buying an 8 or 9 speed bike either new or used.

Back to the upgrades, unless something is wrong with your fork, keep it. Quill stems are still out there and not too hard to find. A new fork/stem/headset will run a relatively large amount of money ($100-$300 for a fork, 20+ for a stem and 20+ for a headset) if you go threadless and that doesn't include the install costs. The stem and bars don't sound like an upgrade, but rather a requirement. If you have been away from road cycling for a long time, you will appreciate the adjustability of a quill stem setup as you get used to the road riding positions.

Seatpost should also be relatively inexpensive - Excel has Ritchey Comp on sale right now for $15. Not the best post, but reasonably light and a proven design.

So long story short, get a new stem, handlebars and seatpost. Buy 'em all through your LBS and get a tune-up too. Come up with a budget (example: $50-75 for tuneup, $30 for stem, $30 for bars, $25 for seatpost, $50 contingency) so you can express your expectations to the shop. Personally I would hesitate to put much more than $200 or so into the bike unless it is something really special (which only you can answer). 12 speeds and downtube shifters will not handicap you - I rode a similar setup on my travel bike (RIP) last year on many fast club rides and it did not hold me back.

Have fun.
Fiddle with the fit first.Spoke Wrench
Jan 26, 2004 5:49 AM
I'd deal with all of those fit issues first. You only shift gears now and then, but fit affects your comfort and performance every single minute that you're on the bike.

The often overlooked benefit of fit is that it's portable. A bike that fits better will be lots more fun to ride. That'll make you want to buy a better bike and you'll be ahead of the game knowing what size you need.
junk it...C-40
Jan 26, 2004 7:42 AM
It's not worth spending a lot of money on a old bike like that. when you can get a new Shimano 105 equipped bike for $800.
Can you say single speed/fixed gear?MShaw
Jan 26, 2004 10:18 AM
Seriously. If the bike's that old, just make it a single speed/fixed gear (I'd lean towards FG) and buy a slightly used bike of the right size with much better components.

You'll be surprised at how inefficient you are once you've ridden a FG on the road!

BEFORE you go spend your hard-earned money whichever route you choose, I'd go get a professional fit session done. Ask around. There's guys out there that don't know their arse from a hole in the ground... That way, you KNOW that you're getting a bike that fits/makes you faster.

My $.02

Like the other guys saidKerry Irons
Jan 26, 2004 5:31 PM
You could get a much newer used bike for what you're contemplating spending to upgrade this. Upgrade-itis is a never ending quest because so much of what you try just doesn't seem to work out. Fix whats broke and ride it, or just move on.
re: Upgrading - what would you do??Explosif98
Jan 27, 2004 4:49 PM
I hear you about the cost of parts here. I'm building up an MTB and am getting most of the parts from the USA. Way, way cheaper. In your situation I pretty much agree with the opinion already expressed that you should look at a new bike or even a recent secondhand one in good condition. It seems like you would have to go to a lot of trouble and a fair bit of expense, even if you did get stuff from the States, for not a whole lot of result. Apart from the things listed you would also have to get STI levers ,or separates, which aren't cheap either.You can get something with 9 speed 105 for anywhere from $1500-$2000 or you could drop down to Tiagra and get something for around the $1200 mark. Not sure of the bike selection in Toowoomba or what they are like but you may find something to your liking there. Avanti do some good value stuff. Otherwise you could always make a special trip to Brisbane. Then again I'm not sure of your budget so you may be prepared to spend more or less than I've yakked on about. Hope this helps.