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  1. #1
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    Advice on upgrade

    My husband has a Giant OCR3 from 2005, and for Christmas I want to buy him some upgrades. He can do most of the installation himself, but I want it to be a surprise so I don't want to ask him what he wants.

    I haven't decided yet how much I have to spend, although I'd like to keep it under $500, and I will probably wind up going to the LBS where we bought the bike at some point, but I know they will try to up-sell me so I thought I'd ask here first.

    Here's the spec list for the bike; I'm 99% sure that everything on his bike is exactly what's on that bike, except he has a second set of wheels he uses sometimes. I think he's complained in particular about the front derailleur, and I know he'd just as soon keep a triple up front. I also know he doesn't really care about upgrading to a 10-speed in the rear, but maybe an Ultegra 9-speed cassette? New cranks?

    So tell me, what would be the best upgrades to that bike?

  2. #2
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    Whatever you decide, get it from the same dealer with the understanding that he can bring it back for an exchange. Actually a gift certificate would be a lot more practical.
    Looking at the list my upgrade preferences would be the tires, to Michelin Pro Race 700 X 23's, a chain to 9-speed Dura-Ace, and pedals to a good road pedal and possibly SIDI Genius shoes. Upgrading the cassette to 9-speed Ultegra 12-25 would be OK. An Ultegra front derailleur (9-speed triple) would be nice but wouldn't expect a big improvement in performance.

    Al

  3. #3
    It's ALL base... DScott's Avatar
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    How about a gift certificate to the LBS or Performance/Nashbar?

    That is assuming he likes the obsessing/shopping part...

  4. #4
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    If I bought a gift certificate he would just spend it on my bikes. I'm not kidding, he never spends any money on his own bikes; he always looks for what he can find used, or what's on the lowest possible sale. He spent about $300 on components for my bikes last month, and I can't remember when he spent that much on himself.

    And I should have clarified that he has already replaced the pedals, the saddle, the tires (that bike came with huge squishy tires) and a few other things. The things that are stock would be the crank set, the rear cassette, the derailleurs, the brakes, the levers. (I don't think he's replaced the chain, but I could be wrong.)

    I think he is probably going to get suspicious if I keep casually bringing component upgrades over dinner, especially since my bike is all Campy so I have no particular reason to ask him what he thinks of the various Shimano options.

  5. #5
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    I agree. An Ultegra (FD-6503) ~$65 or 105 (FD-5504) ~$40 triple front derailleur (both becoming quite hard to find at retailers, though they are fairly common on eBay). Get the braze-on style and he can use adapters if he has the banded style. Dura-Ace 9-spd chain (CN-7701) ~$25 (still common). Not much else to upgrade.

    Otherwise nice shoes and pedals are what I'd like. E.g. Time RXE pedals and Sidi shoes.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF
    I agree. An Ultegra (FD-6503) ~$65 or 105 (FD-5504) ~$40 triple front derailleur (both becoming quite hard to find at retailers, though they are fairly common on eBay). Get the braze-on style and he can use adapters if he has the banded style. Dura-Ace 9-spd chain (CN-7701) ~$25 (still common). Not much else to upgrade.

    Otherwise nice shoes and pedals are what I'd like. E.g. Time RXE pedals and Sidi shoes.
    New pedals and shoes. That's what I was thinking too.

  7. #7
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    If you really want to spend the money you could upgrade the shifters, cassette, chain, and both derailleurs to 10-speed Ultegra. You could probably get a component group discount. 10-speed will be around a lot longer than 9. That would make a really nice present.

    Al

  8. #8
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    If it were me and I never spent any money on my bikes, i'd want to make sure I get what i want when i finally did get to. So, I'd suggest you just ask him what he wants to upgrade, then buy it. Upgrading a front derailleur isn't really much of an upgrade unless the current derailleur is disfunctioning.

  9. #9
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    Forget buying component upgrades. Buy him some waterproof/cold weather gear you know he's lacking.

    Or for christmas, I dunno some sort of romantic ride around on fixed gears with the snow falling lightly. Buy him a fixed gear!
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  10. #10
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    For that kind of money for a wintertime cycling gift? Get him a fixie from Harris Cyclery. That will make him much faster than any $500 you can bolt on that Giant (other than a drive motor).

  11. #11
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    Heh. We have fourteen bikes in this house, five of which are singlespeed conversions. He won't ride a fixed gear because of a bad knee -- three surgeries and a big metal plate that limits his range of motion pretty significantly -- but he would kill me dead if I brought a ready-built fixie into this house. And the man has more cold weather/waterproof gear than anyone in California needs. He is also about to buy himself new shoes, and he bought new pedals just a few months ago.

    I guess I'll buy him a gift certificate. Maybe he'll use it to buy me a new wheelset or something. And then I'll show him this thread to prove that I tried.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  12. #12
    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    Put the money towards a vacation that involves cycling. Credit card tour of the wine country in CA sounds nice.

  13. #13
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    lol, sounds like our home

    I like the cycling vacation idea. Maybe a cycling camp? Phinney or Walden? A trip to see Tour of Georgia of Tour of Utah? Sponsorship to do some really big benefit ride? (Livestrong, Triple Bypass, Ride the Rockies?)

    A 2nd set of wheels might be nice. Something deep-section, aero, and strong, to offset the lighter wheels that came on the bike. Then he can choose based on a given ride.

  14. #14
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barba
    .. tour of the wine country in CA sounds nice.
    Remember. There is no shame in using training wheels in Napa Valley (only).
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  15. #15
    Senior Member mattface's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xeney
    We have fourteen bikes in this house, five of which are singlespeed conversions.
    Maybe the reason he doesn't spend any money on his bikes is because he doesn't actually need anything more? How many of those 14 are his? I've got a terrible bike fetish myself, and could easily see myself owning 14 bikes, but I also know there is a limit to how many bikes one man can ride. If he's set for bikes maybe look elsewhere for a nice gift idea OR (I know this would work for me no matter how many bikes I had) try to find out what bike he always wanted. For instance the 1978 Paramount he used to fog up the bike shop window over, and try to find that bike, or at least a frame set. A frame set is a gift that keeps on giving. That should give him a project to focus his disposable income and spare time on for a while. What about a Kogswell PR. There is a frame that could be built up a LOT of different ways.

  16. #16
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Naughty lingerie for yourself might be just the gift he wants.

    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  17. #17
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    I have a 2006 Giant OCR Limited, which is essentialy the same bike but with Ultegra 10 speed components. I have made several upgrades, but the biggest bang for the buck, in order are:

    1)Tires. Lose the Michelin Dynamics and get some Michelin ProRace 2's. Very noticable difference for not much money. See HERE for the best price ($27/ea), free shipping, and no tax. Don't let the England location fool you - they'll be on your doorstep 5-6 days after you order.

    2)Wheels. The OEM Xero XSR-3 wheels are flexy, and HEAVY. A good set of hand built wheels from your LBS might be a real nice upgrade. Or give Mike Garcia at http://www.oddsandendos.com/ a call - he'll build a kick-a$$ custom set for relatively cheap, and your husband won't be dissapointed.

    3) Crank. I upgraded from the Truvativ to a Shimano Ultegra, and the shifting is much crisper and more precise. You'll need a bottom bracket with a 118.5mm spindle and a crank. See Nashbar:

    CRANK

    Bottom Bracket

    These are all upgrades I've done on my bike, and all have made a big difference. Leave the drivetrain alone, you won't see much (if any) performance boost by going from 105 to Ultegra.
    Last edited by bigbossman; 10-12-06 at 12:30 PM.
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  18. #18
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    Oh, that is really helpful. How do I know whether I need the 68x118.5 or 70x118.5 bottom bracket?

  19. #19
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xeney
    Oh, that is really helpful. How do I know whether I need the 68x118.5 or 70x118.5 bottom bracket?
    68x118.5 - standard English threading. The 70x118.5 is Italian threading.

    The first number specifies Threads Per Inch in the bottom bracket shell, and the second number specifies spindle length. The Giant uses 68tpi, and the Ultegra triple needs a 118.5mm spindle.

    EDIT: I'm all wet - the first number is the SHELL WIDTH..... D'OH!!
    Last edited by bigbossman; 10-12-06 at 04:43 PM.
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, itís the triumphant twang of a bedspring."

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  20. #20
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    I cant wait for christmas and my birthday because there has been a 700c fixed wheel set I have been fogging up the glass for and I would like to upgrades my t-shirt to a jersey oh this about some one else uh nice pre-built bikes usually come all set except for wheels and seat
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

  21. #21
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    Thank you so much for the help. He did tell me what shoes he is looking for and they are well within my spending limit, so I think I will get him the crankset and bottom bracket (the TruVativ cranks are probably the ugliest thing on the bike) and the shoes. He does want a wheelset but (a) there are too many wheels in this house and the next wheel upgrade is mine, and (b) he has strong feelings about wheels and so he should pick his own.

    And in this house, men buy the lingerie, like God intended.

  22. #22
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xeney
    Thank you so much for the help. He did tell me what shoes he is looking for and they are well within my spending limit, so I think I will get him the crankset and bottom bracket (the TruVativ cranks are probably the ugliest thing on the bike) and the shoes.
    Your welcome, and I agree - the truVativ crank is U-G-L-Y. That's whay I upgraded mine. It was a bonus when I discovered that they worked better, and looked better doing it.

    BTW - get him off those awful Michelin Dynamic tires and onto the ProRace2's. They're cheap, and make a HUGE difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by xeney
    He does want a wheelset but (a) there are too many wheels in this house and the next wheel upgrade is mine, and (b) he has strong feelings about wheels and so he should pick his own.
    Then you should call Mike Garcia, and get a little something for yourself while you're in a spending mood. He'll ask you all kinds of questions about your riding, and build a wheelset around your answers. Can't say enough good things about him, and the wheels he delivers.

    Quote Originally Posted by xeney
    And in this house, men buy the lingerie, like God intended.
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, itís the triumphant twang of a bedspring."

    S. J. Perelman

  23. #23
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    He ditched those tires first thing, actually, if those are the big fat ones that came on the bike? I tried them out for a while and I hated them, too.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbossman
    68x118.5 - standard English threading. The 70x118.5 is Italian threading.

    The first number specifies Threads Per Inch in the bottom bracket shell, and the second number specifies spindle length. The Giant uses 68tpi, and the Ultegra triple needs a 118.5mm spindle.
    I always thought the first number was the shell width???????

  25. #25
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portis
    I always thought the first number was the shell width???????
    Yer right, of course - I'm blaming it on the head cold........
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, itís the triumphant twang of a bedspring."

    S. J. Perelman

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