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Upgrade Priorities - Always wheels first??(10 posts)

Upgrade Priorities - Always wheels first??CaliforniaDreaming
Mar 5, 2003 11:51 AM
I'm picking up a 2003 Specialized Allez Elite. An employee discount makes this bike very cheap and has everything I need to get out riding again. However, I will incrementally upgrade the components and would like suggestions of where to start. Has anyone ridden the ATX series of Alex wheels? Its a sealed cartridge bearing, how big of an improvement is this in a wheelset? Should I skip the wheel upgrade and move on to other parts?

I've frequently read that wheels are the best upgrade, but then what? Definately swapping the pedals and saddle. I'm thinking Look, and a Koobi. Money is burning a hole in my pocket, what to do?

This is a bike to bridge me to a nice custom purchase later this year or early next year, or maybe not at all if I make the right upgrades!
re: Upgrade Priorities - Always wheels first??PEDDLEFOOT
Mar 5, 2003 1:34 PM
When I bought my first road bike I rode it with the stock cheapo wheelset until the following year.Then I upgraded to some Mavic Open Pros with Ultegra hubs and it was like riding a whole new bike.It does make a big difference if you are going from a less expensive stock wheel set to a nice pair of quality wheels.

The saddle is more of a personal comfort preference but it might take a few to find the right one.Definitely go to clippless pedals.Good luck.
Big picture?Fez
Mar 5, 2003 2:22 PM
By your own admission, money is burning a hole in your pocket. So why not get something that you consider nice so that you don't have to worry about upgrading it.

OTOH, if you are on a budget, think about whether an employee discount is really saving you money on this bike. True you might save money on the initial purchase, but buying a new wheelset and a few more parts would negate your initial savings.

The Specialized is a nice entry level bike. Its at a nice price point, but its the kind of bike that you could spend more than what you paid for it in upgrades, and when its time to sell it, its still a Specialized Allez Elite, so don't expect to recoup much.
Mar 5, 2003 2:48 PM
I've been thinking that over also... My other option is a Klein Q-Carbon Race. A nicer bike, but still $600 bucks more expensive. To be upfront, I'm working within the confines of bike brands we carry, namely Trek, Klein, Specialized, and Serotta. I think the Specialized a better value to comparable Trek 2000 series bikes, and am not sure if a Klein Q-Carbon bike will fit properly as I've not been fitted to one just yet.

The initial logic is: Buy the Allez Elite, slap on some "nice" wheels, saddle, and pedals so that when the OCLV or Serotta calls my name, I have a solid beater/rain bike in the stable. As a finance professional by day, I know I'm probably better off with a well fitted Klein, but fear I'd never take the plunge and buy my Serotta...

Damn bonus checks are a pain in the rear when you've got an addiction like cycling.


Young and Stupid. :-)
Mar 5, 2003 3:47 PM
Sure, not a bad idea, as long as the upgrades stop there. That would make a nice winter/rain bike so the Serotta stays clean and dry.
Economies of scaleKerry
Mar 5, 2003 4:54 PM
Unless the only thing you can get is what the shop has on the floor, get the best in the line that you can afford (assuming it fits properly). It's far cheaper to buy good stuff as part of a bike than to buy the bike, spend the delta, and end up with parts in a box in the basement. IOW if you were looking at a $1K bike with a $600 wheel upgrade, you'd get a much better package buying a $1600 bike, especially with your employee discount.
You guys may not know what EP really is....russw19
Mar 5, 2003 5:13 PM
You all seem to be missing one valuable point. The guy works in a shop. Whoever gave the advice of the bike costing more in the long run after the upgrades... you forget... good wheels can be purchased EP as well. You can get a set of Mavic Ksyriums for about $400. Same for the Ti spoked Cane Creeks. EP on some of that stuff is 20% under wholesale. Which in some cases for components is half of retail.

My advice to you is if you like the Specialized, get it, replace the seat right away, no sense riding an uncomfortable seat even for a day, and get some Cane Creek Volos with the stainless spokes. They should cost you about $200 and they are as nice as a Dura-Ace/Open Pro wheelset. Or if the money is really begging to be spent, get the Ti spoked Volos. I had a set of the Aerohead Ti's which are the same thing, they just changed the name and the rear rim is now offset, and they were amazing wheels.

And keep in mind, the best part of working in a shop is this perk. You are not going to make money working in a bike shop. Most 16 year olds who work at McDonalds will make more per hour than you at the shop. But you get to buy the latest and greatest at about half the normal cost. Then after a while you can sell it for what you paid for it and someone else is still getting a deal. Then you always stay up on the new technology making it easier to sell and work on, which is what Joe Public who shops at your store really wants anyways. You, as a shop employee, owe it to your community to buy the new best stuff. So be a good community citizen and use that Employee Purchase plan and get a new bike!

Have fun shopping!

Disagree with your point...Fez
Mar 5, 2003 6:22 PM
Unless EP is only offered on a specific bike model as opposed to the whole line, I think you should buy the best bike you can afford and forget the upgrade.

You will have more bike and more money in your pocket if you purchase via EP a better level bike, rather than a low level bike and then purchase upgrades.
Disagree with your point...<- truerussw19
Mar 5, 2003 6:34 PM
Very true! Unless you like the bike, but hate the wheels...

EP makes it cheap enough that you can play around a bit before you even come close to paying retail... that's what makes it fun. And like I said, the added benefit is that you get to test the products that your customers are going to be asking you about in 2 months anyways.

EP is cool, cuz it allows you the flexability to expiriment so you don't have the off the shelf bike that everyone else has.

But like you pointed out, EP also makes it affordable in real world terms for you to ride a prolevel bike at Ultegra prices.

Don't buy upgrades, ride up grades...53T
Mar 6, 2003 8:53 AM
How about some nice cold/wet weather riding gear to make sure you get out there and reap the benifits of your bike?

Get real and get some speedplays. Don't get anything too wierd for a saddle. S. Italia or S. San Marco or Gyro should have something that fits your butt.

IMHO, all training wheels should be conventional rims on conventional hubs using conventional spokes. i.e Open Pros on Ultegra with 3 cross 14/15 spokes.