Bicycle Mechanics - upgrade thoughts
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07-04-11, 08:52 AM
I have an old Raleigh Banana. Shop standard, weighs 22.8lbs. The new Raleigh Airlite (which is about what I can afford) weighs 23.5lbs. Given this, I thought, rather than upgrade to a new bike would I be better of buying newer components for the late 80's Raleigh.
This weekend I tried my first sportive - 100miles - I managed to keep up with most other bikes on the flat and downhill, but uphill I got left miles behind. I thought it might be the weight of the bike, the gearing (40/49 - 14/28) and my fitness (which could be a real factor, though I train twice a week mostly on hills 10% occasionally steeper. Factoring in all the variables etc I think it must be a combination of the above, weight, fitness and gearing. My question is, really, should I fork-out for a new bike albeit slightly heavier, with better components of should I just upgrade my slightly lighter old bike. I'm always short of pennies, so the cheapest option is always appealing.
Many thanks to anyone who responds to this thread.
07-04-11, 09:38 AM
I have an old Raleigh Banana. Shop standard, ??? Let's see it.. Post some pictures .
40/49 double dates it a while back.. perhaps a whole new chainset? to get a bigger difference.
a 5 bolt 110 bolt circle, lets the small chainring be a 34t
I have a riveted together 52/36 combination for old 3 arm cranksets, fitted to 70's Peugeot's.
so scrounging in older bike shops storage bins has some findings there, too..
07-04-11, 10:05 AM
Would suggest that before you spend any money on the bike, try going riding with a club, this will get you faster than any upgrades, when you are able to keep up, would be looking at a new/er bike, the problem with bringing an old road bike up to new specs is it will need just about every part changed; and depending where you are, old part availability can be very poor.
You don't say where you are, but ebay for most countries is a good place to pick up road bikes a few years old, at much cheaper prices than a new bike.
07-04-11, 11:38 AM
209164209163209162209160 I must admit, I do like the bike and the colour scheme - but, will willingly except advice on whether it's worth an upgrade. Many thanks for the advice regarding the 40/49. I have thought about looking into a more compact front gearing, but I have the feeling I'd have to replace the bottom bracket etc to accomodate it. If I'm looking at £200-£300 then maybe it's not worth it. Really nbot sure - totally undecided.
In my personal opinion, a couple of pounds will not make that much difference. If you are a competitive racer, that's different. Just looking at the bike, it may be your riding position. The stem appears tall and short. If you are sitting fairly upright, the wind resistance would probably make more difference than a couple of pounds. Maybe have someone fit you to a bike and see how the measurements compare to yours. I don't race, but I read that body position plays a big part in how effective you transfer power to the road. Before changing bikes, I would try a smaller inner chainring and see if you climb better. Time yourself on a climb with the current setup, then with a smaller ring.
07-04-11, 07:16 PM
From the looks of your bike, you're probably over 183cm (6ft) tall, yes? Are you skinny like a toothpick? Or medium build? Or chunky? I agree with the others on reservations about upgrading just for a couple of pounds of weight. Big guys, unless endowed with tremendously good VO2 max are going to languish on long hills due to limits of relative aerobic capacity to smaller folks. It's not even aerodynamics so much because you're going much slower up hills. Usually, it's just power-to-weight that is important for climbing, and little riders have much less weight, and fractionally less power. But on flats and downhills, it's more power-to-surface-area ratio. So you do better.
But more training on hills is likely to really help build aerobic capacity and get you to be able to ride more comfortably close to your physical limit than just riding on the flats. Personally, I'm a fairly big and really heavy guy, and at my best fitness in grad school, I rode 12 - 30 miles daily up mountains with grades of 5 - 17% sustained for 2 - 4 miles at a time. Even though I blew past most commuters slogging it up the hill. The small club riders still smoked me. And my best times weren't achieved with a 40x32 gear ratio, or even a 34 x 32 granny, but a 42x21 or 42x23.
07-05-11, 12:30 PM
5' 10" but I have long legs which accounts for the high saddle and a not to flexible back which accounts for the high handlebars; medium build 12 stone. I guess the size of bike should be higher, maybe that would help. Being a novice I always think it's an upgrade of equipment that would solve the problem, but maybe training harder and accepting limits are of more probable help. Thanks for all the advice.
07-05-11, 12:42 PM
Pilaties for the back, drop the stem to a sensible height, have a feeling that bike will be very twitchy with the ultra short stem.
For upgrading, for that bike, you would be far better looking at a new / 2nd hand bike, look at the Carrera range at Halfords, they are about the cheapest decent road bikes around, the Boardman are better, to get an idea of what a current bike is like, you would be looking at a Medium frame.
07-05-11, 12:56 PM
If you're comfortable with that bike as is, you might keep it. But for what you described, you may need a frame with a shorter effective top tube and/or moving seat slightly forward and higher. Going to a bigger frame size can work if you find a maker that slopes the top tube up and keeps the effective top tube length shorter. With a short stem, it should help you ride very relaxed and make it easier to pull forward and step up to honk on the hills.
The only issue with short frame road bikes is going to be twitchiness on downhills. This might be compensated if you find a road bike with slightly longer chainstays. Or a shallowered fork angle. That will also help with any issues of toe/shoe overlap on the front wheels if you have big feet.
BTW, do you ride the drops? Or do you ride the hoods? I looks like you ride the drops more. If you switch out to aero levers and maybe some dual-pivot soft pull brakes, and tilt handlebar up slightly, you might be able to lower the bar a tad and ride very comfortably and sit back further and spin up the hills.
You may want to try that with existing equipment and ride for a week or two to figure it out. It may be quite a bit of fun. It took me years to figure out my optimal riding position, and it changed a little as I got smoother with spinning. I now sit pretty far back and ride the tops and hoods and no the drops except going downhill. But I have long torso, short legs and short arms.
07-05-11, 01:29 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions. I haven't visited the whole re-positioning thing for a while. I have some time on Thursday so I'll have a look then. Interestingly I have already dropped the saddle since I started after finding out more about positioning. Maybe i can drop the stem and the saddle then try the hills again. I have looked at the carrera range but cycling plus thought the Raleigh airlite 100 a better deal. Anyway, the posts have given me food for thought before any need to splas the cash. Many thanks.
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