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Frame, grouppo, wheel set - where to spend the $$$s(20 posts)

Frame, grouppo, wheel set - where to spend the $$$scraigg
Apr 30, 2002 5:57 PM
OK all you founts of knowledge.

As a novice roadbike rider, I've been trying to canvass the views of friends as to the relative impact of the main bike assembly components (Frame, gear group set, wheel set).

When purchasing a roadbike, which component should one spend more on to improve the quality ?
Frame & wheels. [nm]Ahimsa
Apr 30, 2002 6:23 PM
Agreed, with frame having the edge [nm]Val_Garou
Apr 30, 2002 6:42 PM
It's unanimous.look271
Apr 30, 2002 6:48 PM
I'd get the best frame and wheels you can afford. It's easy to upgrade other components later.
an alternative view ...bianchi boy
Apr 30, 2002 7:02 PM
The conventional wisdom is to buy the best frame possible, then perhaps wheels, and go with a lesser component group if necessary. I disagree, and here's my reasoning. One of the most expensive things to do on a bike is to gradually upgrade the components. You can spend a fortune. However, if you start out with a good component group (Shimano Ultegra or DuraAce; Campy Chorus, Record or Centaur) and decent wheels (eg, Mavic Open Pros), you can upgrade the frame later if you so desire.

For a newbie, one of the hardest things starting out is figuring out what size fits you best, what type of frame geometry you prefer, frame material, etc. I would start out by paying for a professional frame fitting at a bike shop that sells Serottas or some comparable fit system. Then at least you'll know what size you need.

Without spending a lot of money, you can buy a quality steel frame from gvhbikes.com and lots of other places (excelsports, eBay, etc.) for anywhere from $400-700. Or, if you really want a ti or carbon frame, you can find good deals on eBay or closeouts of last year's models. That way, you don't have a lot of money invested in the frame if you decide later that you need something bigger or smaller, or with a longer or shorter top tube. Personally, I am glad I didn't shell out $1,500-2,000 for a frame when I first got back into road biking. I am virtually certain that I would have bought a frame that was the wrong size and/or geometry and I would have taken a big loss. Instead, I bought a decent used bike with Ultegra gear. As it turned out, the frame didn't work out for me, but I was able to sell it for a decent price and swap the gear to a frame that fit me better.

I bought a new bike a year later with Campy Chorus 10 group, Open Pro wheels and a relatively inexpensive steel frame (Gios). I got the entire bike for about what a ti, carbon custom steel frame alone would have cost. The Chorus group has performed flawlessly and the Gios frame, although a little heavy, is very comfortable and fits me great. I haven't regretted that decision a bit. If I decide I want something better down the road, I can swap all the Chorus gear to another frame for relatively little cost.
You're allowed your opinion, butlook271
Apr 30, 2002 7:13 PM
why put really good stuff on a not so great frame? The parts that you will affect the ride and handling of the bike are it's frame and wheels. Even 105 or Campy's lower components work nearly as well as say, D/A or Chorus or Record. You can always sell components on e-bay or other places.
i'm not that concerned about weight ...bianchi boy
Apr 30, 2002 8:01 PM
Most of what you are paying for in a high-priced frame is for the light weight materials. I would stack my Gios frame up against many higher priced frames in terms of quality of finish, comfort and ride. It's just heavier than many more expensive frames, although it's light compared to what was available 8-10 years ago. If I decide I want a lighter frame at some point, I would be willing to bet that I can recover more of my investment selling the Gios frame than I could a used Shimano 105 or Campy Veloce group set.
i'm not that concerned about weight ...elviento
Apr 30, 2002 8:14 PM
"I would be willing to bet that I can recover more of my investment selling the Gios frame than I could a used Shimano 105 or Campy Veloce group set."

Actually component groups almost always have a higher resale value.
Why a better gruppo doesn't prevent the cost of upgrading. . .Val_Garou
Apr 30, 2002 8:36 PM
Moving your complete Ultegra to a nicer frame once you've decided which nicer frame you like most works well in theory, but here is where it is weak in practice:

Different frames have different specs. A move could require a new BB, a new headset, a new stem, a new ft. der., and a new seatpost. Admittedly, that's a worst-case senario, but still.... And, of course, even in the best-cases, moving up a frame is always a good excuse to bump up to DA levers or crank, isn't it?

Besides, parts wear out. The pain of upgrading really isn't that bad if it's spread around as things fail.

And everything fails, eventually. And even if it doesn't fail, it gets scratches and stains. What's the joy in moving a bunch of half-crapped out parts onto your gorgeous new frame?

Just my two cents, but I stand by my original answer.
pedals and shoes and tiresgtx
Apr 30, 2002 7:10 PM
You didn't mention a price range, but assuming you get a good fit with the frame and like the handling, and have hand-built wheels from half-decent components, that's where I'd put the money.
Where? What about everywhere?elviento
Apr 30, 2002 7:53 PM
I don't see why it's not a good idea to have a bike with parts/wheels/frame of a similar caliber. Upgrading is always expensive. And having Sora on your Pina Prince or Record on your KHS is just bad taste. Don't laugh, I actually saw an OCR with Ksyriums once. If you are a new cyclist on a budget, don't count on upgrading, just get a $500-800 bike with good fit. When you have gotten deeper into the sport and want to upgrade, sell it at 60% retail and get a new better bike.
The highest end OCR comes with Ksyriums and dura ace(NM)mixinbeatz
May 1, 2002 10:21 AM
Confused - but good responsescraigg
Apr 30, 2002 8:49 PM
OK Folks, obviously there is no right answer here but ...

Say I've purchased bike (e.g. Trek, Ultegra group set, SL Aluminum frame, Mavic tyres) - say $US1200.

If I wanted to then upgrade this bike (although happy, I wanted to go to the next level and wanted to spend another say $US1K to $US2K), should I

a) Purchase a carbon or higher quality frame
b) Get better wheel set
c) D/A gear set or similar

and what advantage (say in percentage) can I expect to get.

Cheers and thanks for the great responses ...
b)
Confused - but good responsesgtx
Apr 30, 2002 9:13 PM
You can buy a very nice bike for $2000--for example, hand built steel w/Chorus. Upgrading a $1200 bike doesn't really make sense to me. Buy the best you can afford and replace things as they wear out. If you want something significantly better, sell the whole bike and buy something else.
Quot capita, tot sensus (nm)mduell
Apr 30, 2002 9:13 PM
I doubt that you could assign a percentage..Lone Gunman
May 1, 2002 4:51 AM
to an upgrade in parts or frame. What is better for one rider may not better for another rider. Don't assume that a carbon frame is best, personally I have no interest in CF, and alot of riders swear by new Alu. I like steel. I rode a set of the DA 7700 wheels for a week or 2 and could not tell the difference between my Rolf Vector Comps, not enough to go spend that kind of money on new wheels. The higher up you get in components, you begin splitting hairs as to what is better and why. Part of the reason why I think the whole Shimano vs. Campy arguements are so silly. They both work great. The best frame in the world will not be comfortable to you if it does not fit, so find one that fits. Buying a set of ultralight race wheels is not wise to ride every day commuting, sport riding, training...get a set that is repairable and durable. I have been looking at American Classic hubs with Velocity rims @ oddsandendos.com as a potential replacement for my Rolfs should the time come. Bottom line is educate thyself through experince and buy what will make you happy and can afford.
re: Frame, grouppo, wheel set - where to spend the $$$sbic
Apr 30, 2002 9:32 PM
As a novice why would someone need anything above 105 or centeur? A set of open pros on same hubs and rest spent on a good or better frame with a fit by pros. Will last for years and if an upgrade is needed or wanted will keep the bike as a what ever.

To answer your question, the frame and fit.
Look at it as a packagepmf1
May 1, 2002 4:43 AM
In the end, you have a complete bike and everything should be of equivalent quality. If you buy a C-40, but only have money left over for Tiagra components, then clearly you spent too much on the frame. Same goes with putting Zipp wheels on a low end Trek. Things should pretty much match up.

I think one place you can spend a lot of money that might be unnecessary is wheels. I admit to having several sets of high end wheels. But if it were the choice of Dura Ace over Ultegra with the cost being a set of $350 wire wheels over a set of $700 Ksryiums, I'd opt for the wire wheels and the DA. You can always buy the Ksyriums later and be left with two sets of wheels -- an extra set is handy. Upgrade the components and you're left with one set of wheels and a bunch of extra parts in need of a frame. Plus, if you're not a good mechanic, you have to pay someone to swap components. Upgrading components is the ultimate waste of money in my opinion. Road bike components last a good long time. Get what you want at the outset. Planning to upgrade is like planning to pay twice for something.

I knew this woman who bought a low end Specialized bike a few years ago. Aluminium frame with RSX components. I think she spent $750 on the bike. She got into riding and decided that the bike was uncomfortable and needed a carbon fork. So she goes out and buys a Look HSC2 fork for $350 -- probably one of the most high end forks at the time. The guys at her LBS urged her not to put that fork on the bike -- even offering to buy it from her and install something a bit more appropriate. She insisted on getting that fork. In the end, it didn't make that big of a difference because the rest of the bike was so low end. I encouraged her to buy something nicer, but she never did. I don't think she rides anymore.
re: Frame, grouppo, wheel set - where to spend the $$$sIcefrk13
May 1, 2002 7:14 AM
IMHO , which is very limited is also look at some of the non-name brand frames. A lot of them are as good as some of the name brand frams but at a fare greater savings.
seatpost, for suredjg
May 1, 2002 10:28 AM
Sorry--I apologize.

If we're voting, I vote with the:

1) Frame
2) Wheels
3) Parts

block. That is, if you can swing 105 or Centaur or better, I think you'll be happier, and get more overall performance, with a better frame and wheels. It's not that better parts aren't better; they are. It's just that moving up one notch in a Shimano or Campy line is not all that likely to change your experience on the bike. A really good frame or wheels can. And make sure it fits--if you're not up to this yourself it's worth paying for a fit session (a mediocre bike with a good fit is better than a great one that doesn't fit at all).