Road Bike Upgrades
in Sports & fitness MoneySaving
11 replies 2.5K views
I've just bought a 2011 Specialized Allez road bike on FB...it looks like it needs some love and attention (a few rusty bolts). I don't want to spend too much, what would you recommend that I spend money? Also, do I need cycling shoes and clips if just starting out in the world of road cycling? Thanks
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A bit of WD40 and some grease and oil should sort out most of the rust. Anything peripheral but badly corroded ought to be cheap enough to replace. Assuming the main components -- drive chain, gears and so on -- are in good shape, if the tyres are worn or looking ropy I'd recommend a set of reliable tyres as a worthwhile upgrade. Assuming you're not training for the Tour de France, something like Zaffiro from Halfords I've found to be a decent and economical choice. Replace brake blocks too, if worn.
Beyond that, a nice padded pair of cycling shorts will make journeys much more comfortable. If you've budget left over, a long-sleeved cycling top (just wear a t-shirt in hot weather) is handy. I've never bothered with cycling shoes and clips, and get along just fine with normal pedals. There's a tiny loss of efficiency -- without clips or similar you cannot pull a pedal up, only push it down -- but as I'm cycling alone and purely for pleasure that's no issue. A small bag is handy for phone, wallet and keys. I use one that attaches to the crossbar with velcro, so nicely out of the way. It cost all of £1.68 from Amazon including delivery.
There's almost no end to what you can spend on cycling gear these days, but I've found that the point of diminishing returns on the curve comes relatively quickly. Provided your bike is safe, comfortable to ride, set up correctly, and lightweight, much of the rest of it seems to be only a marginal benefit. I regularly ride 25-30 mile trips on my Allez (no clips, padded shorts) and it's perfectly enjoyable.
Problems I had were concerns about cracking on the fork and cable ends seizing in the guides on the frame. The fork has carbon fibre legs and an aluminium alloy steerer and my one developed some cracks on the carbon where it joined. The cable guides were alloy and part of the frame. The cable end seized in the guide and I broke the guide trying to remove it.
In addition I did a lot of upgrades, bottom brackets, wheels and brakes. I had the elite version, with Tiagra gearset, but Tektro brakes and they were rubbish. I bought a pair of 105 brake callipers and they made a huge difference.
In terms of components, google is your friend! Although you might be able to pick most of them up at your bike shop for less hassle (and less postage cost). You can also look to ebay if you want second hand components.
On reflection, I do feel like the money would have been better invested in a new bike - especially if you have access to 0% finance. That said I think there have been some upgrades that were worth it more than others.
My stock wheels were poor and kept buckling. After numerous new spokes and rebuilds, I got a pair of wheels hand built from some h+son rims and 105 hubs. The new wheels made the bike more responsive, especially out of the saddle. I'd recommend you keep the old set for winter riding/a trainer tyre.
Maintenance always made a difference! New gear and brake cables (decent ones) improved performance substantially. I later swapped the tektro stock brakes for 105 because they'd stopped releasing properly. 105 brakes have been great. A new chain makes more of a difference than you'd perhaps first think as well.
Changing my tyres to GP4000II's was quite surprising. Not only fewer punctures (less £££ on inner tubes) but also +2kph average the very next ride.
I also changed my handlebars and saddle to something that I thought would be more comfortable. I can't say they have really made any difference. Perhaps due to spending a year off the bike because of work - who knows. I haven't had a bike fit yet, but I'd prioritize that over new contact points if I were to do it all again.
If I were to buy a new bike tomorrow I doubt I'd change anything but the tyres and bar tape as I already have a hand built wheelset. I guess I'd change the saddle if I had one that fit me perfectly.
.It has been proved that there is little benefit to be gained as the theory of the "pull up " to increase efficiency is ridiculed by experts.
It is just a way to sell you something you do not need and will never need.
If you are keen on spending money I would recommend a pair of tyres which resist punctures. So far in three years on my narrow 23 mm tyres I have never had a puncture.
There are still good reasons to use clip-less peddles,
I m afraid that people have been brainwashed by the cycling industry. There are plenty of online advice extolling the silliness of locking someone into the pedals citing a greater efficiency in the pedal action but nearly all the advice I have read is by companies who want to sell the pedals and the shoes which are then needed as a double whammy for extra sales. The greater efficiency only exists in the imagination of the cyclist and does nt really stack up. The myth of the upstroke has been explained by proper study. There is no logical reason to clip yourself into the pedals as if you are on a pair of ski s
Two two new expensive articles to sell to an unwary public.
They are definitely not needed for the average cyclist heading off on his daily commute or a run around the countryside. Possibly they are of some small benefit to racing cyclist s going flat out but even that is debatable
In an emergency braking situation the unlocking of the foot is not automatic and has had cyclists tipping onto their collarbones heading for a visit to A and E all because they have been well and truly brainwashed to increase sales.
Do a little googling on "The myth of the upstroke " by Jeff Broker who after a decade of study came to the conclusion it is innificient and can lead to injury in the long term.