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  1. #1
    Senior Member szewczykm's Avatar
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    Curious about upgrades and why

    I have a 2010 Giant defy 2 : http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/defy.2.triple/3882/37100/

    I'm loving the bike and other than some things like bags, a Brooks saddle, and new clipless pedals I've done nothing to it.

    I have to admit that I'm something of an equipment hound and I'm ready to start learning more about road cycling equipment.

    I'm curious to know, if you were going upgrade something on this bike, what would it be and why?

    Oh, I replaced one tire with a gator skin because I had gotten a couple of flats in quick succession, but they may have been pinch flats now that I'm reading about those.
    Last edited by szewczykm; 06-30-12 at 11:09 PM.

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    Well,......that all depends on your priorities.

    For me, personally, the first thing to get swapped out would be the Sora cranks, for set that are available in 180mm. Purely, a leg length and leverage thing.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    If it works for you, don't upgrade.

    Tiagra stuff is fine. 105 is better but if the Tiagra works, there's no point.

    Wheels look good. Bike looks good. Only upgrade what annoys you. IE don't upgrade just for the sake of upgrading.

  4. #4
    Senior Member redvespablur's Avatar
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    If the pinch flats really bother you go road tubeless. Campy, fulcrum and shimano all have road tubeless wheelsets

  5. #5
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    Depends on what type of riding you do. I am learning to tackle more climbs so I went with a different rear cassette for those rides. Switched stems a few times, upgraded rims and head set.

    Those were more of a bit fit issue really.

    You have a solid bike and I wouldnt change much. Maybe it is time to get a used bike and start fixing it up.

  6. #6
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    Best rule of thumb i can give, is dont change anything until you get real serious with your riding. I.E. 100 miles plus days in succession. You will find out real quick what you do and dont like on your bike.

    If you ride it now as it is, and you find that it suits all your needs, and your not saying "this bit here feels weird" regularly, then leave it as is. As you become a stronger rider, the bike will tell you what it needs.

    For an example, when i got my bike, the handlebar was too narrow for my broad shoulders. So i got wider ones. Then the stem that was on the bike with the new wider handlebars became inadequate (flexed too much). So i tried a different stem, then i noticed the bars flexed significantly. So i switched to another new stem (Thompson Road) and to a larger 31mm bar. That tightened up the front end right up, and gave me the feel i wanted, and more importantly the confidence to lean on the front tire harder. At the same time, i also started messing with different bar tapes. Still havent found one i prefer just yet.

    Then I had a crash. Crash broke my Shimano 105 shifters. Unfortunately, while my bike was waiting to get repaired, i rode a friends bike with SRAM Force on it. Loved it. The shifting was much more crisp, and had a more mechanical solid feel to it. So i upgraded to SRAM Rival levers, and RD. Which actually ended up costing less then the 6700 Shimano stuff i wanted. But ended up being better ergonomically, and much better mechanically for my riding style. So it was wins all around. Actually kinda glad those broke looking back on it. Because it was a fantastic upgrade to my components.

    Then i found i wanted more midrange gearing with my new shifting feel, so i switched from an 11-25 to a 12-28 rear cassette.

    Then i had a couple of puncture flats with my Vitoras, so i got some Gator Skins (liking my Conti GPs), hated the feel and had no confidence in them, so i tried some Michelins, didnt like them. Tried some Schwalbes, and ended up with the Durano Plus tires, because i felt the most comfortable, and confident on them. And their ride felt significantly better on the chipseal roads here in WA.

    Then i found that my butt hurt in the saddle, and i was having to hold on to much while climbing. So after much fiddling, i settled on a flat nose, slight up kick in the rear, with a tail bone relief area in the saddle (Specialized Romin).

    There are other upgrades i did to the bike "just because" (like new bottle cages that fit the bikes motif better), but most of the major stuff has been because of a need to improve feel and security in the bike. So unless you need to improve your confidence in the bike, or replace something that is broken, or try to correct a problem with a discomfort...dont bother wasting the money. You can only ride to what your limits will allow, not what your pocket book can handle. More money does not always equal a better riding experience. As the multiple 10k+ bikes i pass with tired, frustrated looking Freds on them, can attest to. Each one of them looking in disgust as i go past them.
    Last edited by Buck_O; 07-01-12 at 07:45 AM.

  7. #7
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    I'd put my saddle and pedals on there, but that's about it. Maybe swap out the handlebar; but all of those are comfort/preference items, not "upgrade" in the sense of 'gee, component X really needs to be of better quality.'
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  8. #8
    Senior Member szewczykm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    If it works for you, don't upgrade.

    Tiagra stuff is fine. 105 is better but if the Tiagra works, there's no point.

    Wheels look good. Bike looks good. Only upgrade what annoys you. IE don't upgrade just for the sake of upgrading.
    Im pretty happy with everything. Mhowever, it's funny what you forget. I had a real thorough fitting and we did add an extender to the neck.

    What makes the 105 better than tiagra? I'm curious. It don't think I'm going to change anything on this bike, but I really want to make more sense of the many different models of bikes. It seems like canondale has 100 different road bikes, how do you distinguish between them all?

  9. #9
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by szewczykm View Post
    Im pretty happy with everything. Mhowever, it's funny what you forget. I had a real thorough fitting and we did add an extender to the neck.

    What makes the 105 better than tiagra? I'm curious. It don't think I'm going to change anything on this bike, but I really want to make more sense of the many different models of bikes. It seems like canondale has 100 different road bikes, how do you distinguish between them all?
    Geometry, frame material, construction methods, configuration of components.
    Bottom bracket height, wheelbase length, rake and trail, seat tube and head tube angles, relative position of saddle over cranks, crank arm length, width of cranks that drives pedal position. Lots and lots of variations for lots of reasons driving to varied net effect in ride feel and fit/function for an intended purpose.

    But basically figure out what you want to end up with (which may change with seasons and conditioning) and find what will get you to your goals.

    A touring bike is different from a criterium bike which is different from a cyclo-cross bike, any of which could be perfect for your needs, or any of them might be the wrong choice.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by szewczykm View Post
    Oh, I replaced one tire with a gator skin because I had gotten a couple of flats in quick succession, but they may have been pinch flats now that I'm reading about those.
    When you get a flat, the most important part of changing the tube is inspecting the old one and the inside of the tire, so you have an idea of what caused the flats.

    Pinch flats are easily diagnosed. They'll be two parallel punctures that resemble a snake bite.

    A puncture on one side of the tube could be due to a foreign object embedded in the side wall.

    A hole on the underside of the tube could be due to a foreign object.

    Top side of the tube, either bad rim tape or a loose spoke.

    Of course, bad rim tape is eliminated as the cause if you replaced the tire and haven't experienced any more flats.

  11. #11
    Senior Member CJ C's Avatar
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    If you have the money and want to upgrade, do it. Help the economy, you will be happy, its a win win. Personally i dont think you need to upgrade anything, i test rode the defy and really loved it. I have tiagra and it works flawlessly and i abuse it and it still works well.

    But if you "need" to upgrade, upgrade comfort things. Start with the contact points. You have a brooks already so try wheels and tires. I went from the stock vittoria zaffiro's to mavic aksions and they are so much more smoother and take bumps better. Some new bar tape. a new carbon crank.

    Get a garmin 500 with cadence and HR, they are fun.

  12. #12
    Senior Member szewczykm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ C View Post
    If you have the money and want to upgrade, do it. Help the economy, you will be happy, its a win win. Personally i dont think you need to upgrade anything, i test rode the defy and really loved it. I have tiagra and it works flawlessly and i abuse it and it still works well.

    But if you "need" to upgrade, upgrade comfort things. Start with the contact points. You have a brooks already so try wheels and tires. I went from the stock vittoria zaffiro's to mavic aksions and they are so much more smoother and take bumps better. Some new bar tape. a new carbon crank.

    Get a garmin 500 with cadence and HR, they are fun.
    What does a carbon crank get you?

    I don't HAVE to upgrade anything. The base price of the defy is $1100. There are $2,200 bikes that people buy. What motivates people to buy the expensive bikes?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by szewczykm View Post
    What does a carbon crank get you?

    I don't HAVE to upgrade anything. The base price of the defy is $1100. There are $2,200 bikes that people buy. What motivates people to buy the expensive bikes?
    Same as people who want to upgrade in cars really.

    Again, you have a solid bike. I would recommend getting a fixer upper to fix the crave of wanting to fix and change things out.

  14. #14
    Senior Member CJ C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by szewczykm View Post
    What does a carbon crank get you?

    I am under the assumption carbon kills "road buzz" and softens hard impacts. Cranks/pedals are one of your contact points (along with fork/bars and seatpost/saddle then you bikes contact point tires/wheels). so in theory if those points are made to provide comfort then you can ride longer, push harder and on consecutive days.

    I personally noticed a harsher ride going from steel to aluminum but would rather ride the aluminum as it just doesnt feel noodly and flexy like the steel.

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Yea the Why is the question., you wanted a roadie bike, and you got one..

    I have a road bike , It has no Mudguards, so I rarely ride it..

    I get the most use out of the one with Mudguards

    and a front rack to carry my rain gear in the panniers.

    about chipseal..

    I read about the PanTour suspension hub, the axle-bearing assembly
    is suspended from the hub-shell by elastomers..

    minimizing un sprung weight is part of getting a compliant suspension ,
    so in that case un sprung weight, is just the rim/ tire/ spokes
    and the outside of the hubshell.

    made in California .. wouldn't weigh much more than the added Elastomer suspension elements..
    I have to admit that I'm something of an equipment hound and I'm ready to start learning more about road cycling equipment.
    N + 1 .. acquire another bike, different type?
    Last edited by fietsbob; 07-02-12 at 01:13 PM.

  16. #16
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    For my tastes, I built the bike that I wanted to start with...then I ran out of cash when it came to the wheels, so I got a pair that I believe was less than $150 and weigh in at 2200 grams or so. So, I would like to upgrade the wheels, and I think now is a good time as they are beginning to fall apart. I am also considering a new fork, but not for the fastest, lightest, most aero fork. I just want womething with a longer steerer tube on it as the one I currently have is pretty short and I believe I can get a more comfortable position with higher bars. Other than that, I really like my bike. I too am an equipment hound and I love reading about the latest and greatest stuff to dream about.

    If you have the funds and want to upgrade, then do it. But you shouldn't feel you have to, if your bike works for you as it is. Good luck either way!
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  17. #17
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by szewczykm View Post
    .... What motivates people to buy the expensive bikes?
    I have a bike that costs what most people consider to be at the upper end of the spectrum... why? Good question. For many years I rode and was happy with my Lemond Zurich. Its still a great bike and I use it for commuting.

    But since I have been a serious rider for better part of 30 years, I always wanted a custom ride and finally after saving my money I had one built. I decided to add the best of everything (although not Dura-Ace I went Ultegra because of design/look, material and durability) because this was going to be my last bike purchase and I wanted everything to last.

    No question. there is a difference in performance between the different gruppos. Even from Tiagra and 105, there is a certain smoothness and ease of shifting you will notice. Of course with Ultegra I get 10 speed which I don't believe is available in Tiagra or 105. I also added some bling to my bike just because... my cassette is the Sram XX 36t - a work of art. I added CK headset and had wheels built with CK hubs. The wheels are bomb proof.

    Anyway... how and what you upgrade is all up to your budget and sensibilities. Easy and expected upgrades are saddle, peddles and then handlebars and crank. I almost think its best to buy a new frame to upgrade components (would be cheaper in the long run) because then you start thinking about materials... do you want aluminum, steel, ti or carbon? I love steel bikes... good high end steel is almost like ti. I was willing to pay for that... something to think about.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    The most important upgrade is the engine.

    Beyond that, I'd suggest getting to know the bike very well. And as parts wear out, buy better ones. I'd suggest better tires (they will feel faster and stickier -- try GP4000s), better brake pads, better crank...then wrapping your own bar tape, etc.

    That way you'll learn what makes how much difference.
    "how do you know you can't swim until you have drowned?"

  19. #19
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by szewczykm View Post
    I have a 2010 Giant defy 2 : http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/defy.2.triple/3882/37100/

    I'm loving the bike and other than some things like bags, a Brooks saddle, and new clipless pedals I've done nothing to it.

    I have to admit that I'm something of an equipment hound and I'm ready to start learning more about road cycling equipment.

    I'm curious to know, if you were going upgrade something on this bike, what would it be and why?

    Oh, I replaced one tire with a gator skin because I had gotten a couple of flats in quick succession, but they may have been pinch flats now that I'm reading about those.
    Throw it out and buy something better because, well, just because.

    Seriously, if it ain't broke don't fix it. I bought my MTB back in 2009 and just rode it. I swapped the tyres for puncture resistant ones, added things like bottle cages, then swapped out the handlebar grips for ergonomic ones, swapped out the back wheel when I kept breaking spokes, and aside from that it's still got the exact same parts.

    Later I bought a cross bike, changed a shifter cable because it didn't shift well (I bought it used), replaced the tyres for puncture resistant ones, and rode it. I've had it almost a year now and only just put clipless pedals on it, aside from that the parts are the same as when I bought it.

    If something breaks then you've got an obvious opportunity to upgrade it. If something doesn't do what you need it to do, upgrade it. Otherwise if you've got a bike that works go and ride it until it doesn't work any more, then upgrade it.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  20. #20
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by szewczykm View Post
    I'm loving the bike and other than some things like bags, a Brooks saddle, and new clipless pedals I've done nothing to it.

    I have to admit that I'm something of an equipment hound and I'm ready to start learning more about road cycling equipment.

    I'm curious to know, if you were going upgrade something on this bike, what would it be and why?
    Don't do it! It's an expensive road to go down.

    Quote Originally Posted by szewczykm View Post
    I don't HAVE to upgrade anything. The base price of the defy is $1100. There are $2,200 bikes that people buy. What motivates people to buy the expensive bikes?
    Why did you change the saddle that came with the bike? Your Brooks was probably at least $150, and maybe more than that. It even weighs more than the free one that came with the bike! I'm not calling you stupid for putting a Brooks on it; I'm assuming you had a very good reason (your comfort), and that it made sense for you. And that's the light all upgrades should be seen in, not necessarily comfort, but with some good reason behind them.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  21. #21
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by szewczykm View Post
    What does a carbon crank get you?

    I don't HAVE to upgrade anything. The base price of the defy is $1100. There are $2,200 bikes that people buy. What motivates people to buy the expensive bikes?
    If you're a lean mean muscle machine looking to squeeze out the last drops of performance then a $5000 bike may well offer you an edge over a $2000 bike. Since you're posting in the Clydes forum you're probably like most of the rest of us in here, and figure if you want to save a few ounces of weight you'll have a smaller piece of pie for lunch and save the $$$.

    If you're a hedge fund manager who just found $20,000 in loose change behind the sofa you might as well go and spend it on something so everyone can see what great gear you've bought. Of course you won't look so cool when the local Fred blows past you on his MTB with a child seat on the back but them's the breaks.

    Some folks don't like to admit that the weakest part of their bike is the engine and truly believe that a new bike will make them faster, better, stronger. When I bought my cross bike it didn't take me long to conclude that it had the exact same problem as my MTB, namely it needed a better rider. I'm faster on the cross bike, but the reason I'm not pacing the roadies over great distances is still primarily because I'm fatter than they are.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  22. #22
    Senior Member Padley's Avatar
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    My favorite upgrades are the ones that make me want to ride it more. Which basically includes everything
    I upgraded the bars and stem (twice now) for cosmetic reasons (also weight). A new seat. Arundel cages cuz they looked cool. Garmin 800 and now a BarFly. Gonti GP4000s tires made a big difference over Gatorskins. But the November CF wheels make me want to ride as much as possible. They completely changed the look of the bike and the feel is incredible. In the end I'm still a Clyde on a road bike, but I love it and I ride it more because I do love my bike.
    First Bike - '05 Specialized Allez elite

  23. #23
    Senior Member szewczykm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Padley View Post
    My favorite upgrades are the ones that make me want to ride it more. Which basically includes everything
    I upgraded the bars and stem (twice now) for cosmetic reasons (also weight). A new seat. Arundel cages cuz they looked cool. Garmin 800 and now a BarFly. Gonti GP4000s tires made a big difference over Gatorskins. But the November CF wheels make me want to ride as much as possible. They completely changed the look of the bike and the feel is incredible. In the end I'm still a Clyde on a road bike, but I love it and I ride it more because I do love my bike.
    I probably approached this wrong. I'm curious about my bike and what makes it tick. I want to know about gear sets, and types of brakes, and why one thing might be better than another. Not because I feel the need to swap everything out, but because I really like to know this stuff. Mithrandir made this statement - "Tiagra stuff is fine. 105 is better but if the Tiagra works, there's no point."

    Everyone is sort of repeating the "there's no point" in changing thing. What I'm asking isn't "should I upgrade" it's "you just said 105 is better than tiagra. They look the same, I can't tell the difference by looking at them and there's no online technical comparison. 105 is better, why? What makes it better???"

    Lighter, stronger, faster, more durable, what??? And what makes it lighter, stronger, faster, more durable, or whatever?

    I want to be educated about bikes and what makes them different, so if I end up buying another bike one day I'm a hell of a lot more educated.

    So, I completely understand I could take a poop and lose 100 grams of weight. When I find out that all something gets me is less weight I tune that out. But if a component is stronger and will last me longer or will make my ride smoother somehow, I'm interested.

    If I broke or bent a tiagra crank, and the 105 is $100 more, I might spend the $100 if it's a stronger crank. If it's just as strong but lighter, then I wouldn't.

    I feel a little like my quest for knowledge is being brushed off a bit.

    "Wow, that's a cool bike, why did you choose that one instead of the one I ride?"
    "Well, it's better."
    "Better how?"
    "The components are better."
    "OK, how are they better?"
    "Look, your bike is fine for you, don't worry about it."
    "I'm not worried about it. I'm curious to know, how is your bike better?"
    "It just is, now stop worrying about it."

    Another quote "And that's the light all upgrades should be seen in, not necessarily comfort, but with some good reason behind them." Unless I break something, what reason would I ever have to upgrade or change something? The problem is, I have a lack of context. When I rode this current bike for the first time, it was compared to my 20 year old mountain bike. It was a "holy ****!" moment.

    I'm not looking for that same leap, but I'm interested in how things might be improved or made worse by some mistake I might make. I can't ride every different combination, but I can learn the differences on paper.

    CJ C said, "But if you "need" to upgrade, upgrade comfort things. Start with the contact points.... a new carbon crank." What does a carbon crank do for you?? More stuff I'm curious to know!

    I took the wrong approach. I'm not sure what the right one is though. I'm loving cycling, I want to know more about it and I thought I'd start at what I have the best visibility to - my own bike.

    Also, the thought of losing my one and only bike for repair is scaring me a little. I think I might want another bike as good as or better than mine so I have two.
    Last edited by szewczykm; 07-02-12 at 02:25 PM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member szewczykm's Avatar
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    I should add that I'm VERY aware that the engine is a problem. But if there's something that may help me go a few miles further or make the time on the bike more comfortable, then I'm interested.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrien View Post
    The most important upgrade is the engine.
    X1000. An upgraded engine will show you what parts of your equipment need changing and when. As long as there isn't any mechanical issues that prevent you from completing your rides, ride the bike as is for a while, get a feel for it, and work on the engine.

    Not long ago someone posted a frame that cracked and separated at the bottom bracket. It sounded a bit dangerous at first but kept me thinking, that would be an amazing thing to say to the LBS guy: "my pedaling torque got a bit out of control and the bottom bracket separated on my steel frame, looking for a new bike, what do you suggest??"

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