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Old 10-02-06, 12:07 AM   #1
hack
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new bike, newer rider, and questions

so...I finally got myself a bike and had some potential upgrade questions.

First off, I purchased a Novara (REI) Forza. This has a road bike frame with a flat handle bar (nice and comfy for the bike path riding)

Components are as follow: Sora Rear, R443-B Front, 52/40/30 crank, Shimano SL-R440 x3 x8 shifters (front and rear). Not sure on the cassete other than it is an 8.

Now for the questions: I am sure in the future I would like to make some upgrades. How difficult would it be to upgrade to 105 or Ultegra? I know the chain, cassete, and crank will have to go. Can I get a 9 or 10 gear shifter for a flatbar? Would it be more cost effective to go to Ultegra or just get a new bike altogether down the road?

Another question: I like the flat bar, but would like a little bit of drop. However, not as much as a traditional drop bar. Would it be a cyclist no no to get a triathalon set up w/o the aero bars (bullhorns only)? Also, can you mount the flatbar shifters to this bar (I know new break levers would be in order)?
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Old 10-02-06, 12:44 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by hack
so...I finally got myself a bike and had some potential upgrade questions.

First off, I purchased a Novara (REI) Forza. This has a road bike frame with a flat handle bar (nice and comfy for the bike path riding)

Components are as follow: Sora Rear, R443-B Front, 52/40/30 crank, Shimano SL-R440 x3 x8 shifters (front and rear). Not sure on the cassete other than it is an 8.

Now for the questions: I am sure in the future I would like to make some upgrades. How difficult would it be to upgrade to 105 or Ultegra? I know the chain, cassete, and crank will have to go. Can I get a 9 or 10 gear shifter for a flatbar? Would it be more cost effective to go to Ultegra or just get a new bike altogether down the road?

Another question: I like the flat bar, but would like a little bit of drop. However, not as much as a traditional drop bar. Would it be a cyclist no no to get a triathalon set up w/o the aero bars (bullhorns only)? Also, can you mount the flatbar shifters to this bar (I know new break levers would be in order)?
sounds like to me you bought the wrong bike. ride the bike as is or get the bike you really want -- tho it sounds like you may not know yet what you really want.

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Old 10-02-06, 04:51 AM   #3
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The differences between 105 and Ultegra are mainly in weight and some durability.They both work well and an upgrade is really not worthwhile. When stuff gets worn out you can upgrade but that is a few seasons away.
There are a variety of semi drop bars. Nitto make some which are popular with tourists. Touring drops such as 3TTT tend to have less drop than race bars.

Quite a few riders fit small aerobars to flats for extra positions, aerodynamics and comfort.
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Old 10-02-06, 07:32 AM   #4
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Forget upgrading. You will have to change bloody everything. Ride the current bike until you know what you want. Then spend the $$.

I'm biased, but I wouldn't trust my cycling needs to anyone other than a shop with established cred, and REI ain't one of 'em...

We have folks that put aero bars on flat bars-no problem. Drop bars are to give you more hand positions for long rides. They don't necessarily have to have to significant drop. Check out the "Short 'n' Shallow" bar by Salsa.

Oh, and WELCOME. Support businesses that support cycling at your local level. The other guys just want your money...
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Old 10-02-06, 07:39 AM   #5
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Now for the questions: I am sure in the future I would like to make some upgrades. How difficult would it be to upgrade to 105 or Ultegra?
Why? Because you think it works better? Because you pay more?
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Old 10-02-06, 07:48 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice...I suppose I am not really sure what I am looking for in a bike just yet...riding this one as is until I figure that out will be the plan.
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Old 10-02-06, 07:50 AM   #7
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Why? Because you think it works better? Because you pay more?

Thanks for the response

Because I have been told that the higher level components will allow smoother shifting...would be nice on the hills I thought.
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Old 10-02-06, 08:09 AM   #8
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Thanks for the response

Because I have been told that the higher level components will allow smoother shifting...would be nice on the hills I thought.
Money spent has little to do with smooth shifting. Sora works better than Dura Ace did 10 years ago. If you are shifting properly, that is, shifting before you need to and not getting bogged down and then shifting under high chain tension, then you shouldn't be having any issues. What extra $ gets is longevity and upgradability and not suprisingly, less weight to drag around.

I'm glad you have decided to run what you have for now. It's the smart option, IMO.
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Old 10-02-06, 08:36 AM   #9
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Hack:
Check this out. I have a 1988 Trek mtb with simple Deore front and rear and Shimano Light Action thumbers. The crank set is Sakae OvalTech. It shifts as quiet and smooth, and as accurately, as my Trek 520 and my new Specialized Sequioa Elite. They both have 105 stuff.

All these guys are right. Stay the course and let this bike be your teacher. It won't be your last one anyway.
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Old 10-02-06, 08:42 AM   #10
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right on...thanks a bunch for all the advice...
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Old 10-02-06, 10:15 AM   #11
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When the Sora rear derailler starts showing wear in its pivots (sloppy shifting), upgrade to a 105. This may happen after a couple of years.
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Old 10-02-06, 11:17 AM   #12
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This is one of the cool things about Shimano, SRAM, and other component makers. Because their stuff is constantly improving over time, when a part wears out, a replacement is almost always a nice upgrade.
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Old 10-02-06, 11:37 AM   #13
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A good bang for your buck upgrade would be a quality set of tires. You'll notice that difference there more than anything else you can do right now. That, and a good saddle - and maybe a quality pair of cycling shoes with the approppriate pedals/cleats.

And all these can be moved over to your next bike, when you really upgrade.
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Old 10-02-06, 12:49 PM   #14
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Like others said...you got the wrong bike. But, I am sure you will get plenty of use from this one. Just ride it for a year, then buy what makes sense then. I wouldn't put a ton of money into the REI frame.

I really don't get the whole flat bar road bike thing. Either get a road bike with drop bars that have a ton of different hand positions or get a mountain bike with a flat bar because you need the wide easily controlled bar to get through rugged technical trails. But if you ride on the road or bike path...you need drop bars. Flat bars just limit your hand positions.

Marketing wise..I imagine the whole drop bars are intimidating to newer riders. They look at the flat bars and it looks easy to handle. This must be the primary reason they exist. I certainly can't figure out a rational reason for it.
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Old 10-02-06, 01:38 PM   #15
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I really don't get the whole flat bar road bike thing......
They make sense riding in the city/about town, or commuting. They allow you to ride a lighter, faster bike than an mtb, while keeping your head/body more upright for visibility and stop-n-go.

But you're right, for longer rides they wear thin pretty fast. This is something my daughter is learning - she did not want a road bike with drops cuz it was "too hard", so she bought a road bike with flat bars. After many 40-60 mile bike rides, she regrets the descision.
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Old 10-02-06, 01:52 PM   #16
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They make sense riding in the city/about town, or commuting. They allow you to ride a lighter, faster bike than an mtb, while keeping your head/body more upright for visibility and stop-n-go.

But you're right, for longer rides they wear thin pretty fast. This is something my daughter is learning - she did not want a road bike with drops cuz it was "too hard", so she bought a road bike with flat bars. After many 40-60 mile bike rides, she regrets the descision.
the flat bars also attract new people to road bikes, which is a good thing for everyone.

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Old 10-02-06, 02:18 PM   #17
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hack, the question will probably occur to you whether you can change to a drop bar. The answer is, yes, but you'll have to change out the shifters, shift and brake cables, and front derailleur. Shifters are particularly expensive.
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