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Old 02-14-17, 03:31 PM   #1
Sarequads
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Should I upgrade/fix current bike or buy a new bike?

Should I upgrade/fix current bike or buy new?



I am new to cycling, I was bike daft when I was a kid back in the 90s early 00s when id go about mostly on a bmx but i have had to get a sensible bike due to the distance I need to cover on a daily basis.



I use my bike for commuting about 100 mikes per week (10 x 10 mile journeys, to work and back 5 times per week). I have an Innate Alpha Cyclocross by 13 Bikes. I bought it second hand in good condition for £275 in October and have done over 1000 miles. The bike is great for my needs, it weighs 12.2 kg according to the official specs and this although heavy is fine. I use carbon fibre soled road shoes and wear a Boardman cycling bib.



Currently the brakes need tightened, brakes make a sound on the disc, front wheel bearing feels a bit loose and probably needs replacing, some mudguard parts have rusted and fallen off, gears work but are not as sharp as when I first got it, they jump up 2 rather than 1 and take ages to do so and im scared to sprint on it as there have been a couple of instances where its changed gear mid sprint. The bottom bracket may be starting to go also, not cornflake sounding yet but a wee bit of movement. Where the frame meets the fork there is a bit of give, possibly only 0.5mm but still. I feel that the wheels donít roll that well, when you spin them they stop pretty quickly. It has a 175mm crank length but after doing calculations found on GCN YouTube channel I may need 165mm, ive been told they dont come this short though. Finally, I never use my 2-3 smallest gears on the back and I feel that I could do with more mid ranged ones.

I clean my bike at least once per week following instructions found on GCN. I will have the chance again soon to do the cycle to work scheme so may do that or just fix up this one. What is more cost effective/worth it.
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Old 02-14-17, 03:53 PM   #2
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Most of the problems you have are things that would eventually happen again with a new bike. It sounds like the primary problems are:

-The shifting needs adjustment. You may need new cables.
-The brakes need adjustment.
-The headset needs adjustment.

These are all minor maintenance tasks that you ought to consider learning to do on your own in light of how often you're riding the bike. You'll need a couple of tools -- a cable cutter, a 5mm hex wrench and a pair of pliers. You can find lots of instructional videos for how to do these things.

It's hard to say what's going on with the wheels without being able to examine them in person. New wheels would be a nice upgrade. Again, if you ride in wet weather the hubs will require periodic service. You'll save money in the long run by learning to do that yourself. Unless the person before you put a lot of miles on the bike I wouldn't expect the bottom bracket to need to be replaced. If it does, that's a cheap part.

Crankset arm lengths vary and are commonly available from 165 to 175 mm, but most people can use any length in this range. If you aren't having mobility issues or knee pain, I wouldn't worry about that.

Mudguard parts shouldn't rust. They're made to be in contact with water. New, higher quality, mudguards are probably a good idea, regardless of what you do.


So let's get to your title question. It comes down to what you think of the frame. Do you like it? Does it fit you well? If no, then go ahead and buy a new bike. If yes, I'd go ahead and repair/upgrade this one. You can always upgrade the frame down the road if you want to.

The components you have a basic, entry level pieces but all good enough for daily use. I wouldn't necessarily replace anything that's working or can be made to work unless you want to spend a bit in the name of fun. New wheels and maybe a change of cassette might be all you need. Post details about your gearing and people here will be happy to offer suggestions.
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Old 02-14-17, 04:14 PM   #3
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^^Pretty much nailed it^^ @Andy K

Regarding your cassette, I assume you have the stock 8-speed 11-30 on it. You could possibly change that out to something like a 12-25, or even a 13-26. Unless you really need the 30t cog, this will give you more usable gears.

I wouldn't bother to upgrade the drivetrain on it to get more gears. Adjust the brakes, shifters/derailleurs, and perhaps servicing or replacing the wheels should make a very noticeable difference to the ride.
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Old 02-14-17, 04:46 PM   #4
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I would do both. That way you have a backup bike.
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Old 02-14-17, 04:52 PM   #5
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I agree it sounds like some maintenance would be more cost effective than a new bike, if you like doing that sort of stuff. You might want to purchase the appropriate tools to get into the hubs and replenish the grease there, and probably get the cones tightened correctly.

Fixing shifting, Andy_K suggests that you "might" need new cables and of course he's right, but if you want to save some time and be done with it upgrade that "might" and get new cables and compressionless cable housing at the start and go from there.
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Old 02-14-17, 06:24 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responces. The gearing is compact 34/50 and an 11/30. Defo needs a service right now anyway. I will learn how to at some point, ill make that my next project after my current one. Thanks again.
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Old 02-14-17, 06:30 PM   #7
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I would do both. That way you have a backup bike.
This is the correct answer.
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Old 02-14-17, 06:51 PM   #8
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Thanks for the responces. The gearing is compact 34/50 and an 11/30. Defo needs a service right now anyway. I will learn how to at some point, ill make that my next project after my current one. Thanks again.
So are you saying that you never use the 11T and 13T cogs (smallest physically) or that you never use the 30T and 26T cogs (lowest gears)?

In either case, check out this online gear calculator (filled in to compare your setup to the same crank with a 13-26 cassette):

HTML5 Gear Calculator

You might need to use the small chainring a bit more with the, but it would give you the mid range gears you want.
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Old 02-14-17, 06:55 PM   #9
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Fixing shifting, Andy_K suggests that you "might" need new cables and of course he's right, but if you want to save some time and be done with it upgrade that "might" and get new cables and compressionless cable housing at the start and go from there.
This is pretty sound advice if you want to do things right. The reason I hesitated to suggest it is that changing the cables requires the tools I mentioned (cable cutters, hex wrench, pliers), while simply adjusting the shifting to get it to work as well as possible with the current cables can be done with just your fingers. I'll admit, however, that there's a very good chance that working "as well as possible with the current cable" may still be pretty unsatisfactory. Fresh cables do wonderful things for shifting performance.
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Old 02-15-17, 10:12 AM   #10
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So are you saying that you never use the 11T and 13T cogs (smallest physically) or that you never use the 30T and 26T cogs (lowest gears)?

In either case, check out this online gear calculator (filled in to compare your setup to the same crank with a 13-26 cassette):



You might need to use the small chainring a bit more with the, but it would give you the mid range gears you want.
I never use the 11 and 13
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Old 02-15-17, 10:51 AM   #11
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I never use the 11 and 13
In that case, you could also replace you 50T ring with a 46T ring like the one here:

https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...&category=2628

You'd need a 110 BCD ring and it would be best to have a pinned and ramped ring. It doesn't have to be FSA, but theirs seem to be competitively priced. Don't worry about the fact that it says the 46T ring is made for use with a 36T inner. It will work with your 34T inner and the gap when you change between rings won't be so bad.

Using the 46-34 combination with a 13-26 8-speed cassette would give you this gearing:

HTML5 Gear Calculator

That lacks the low end of your current 34-30 ring combination but it has the rest of the range you use with a bunch more mid-range options.
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Old 02-15-17, 12:13 PM   #12
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Thanks for the responces. The gearing is compact 34/50 and an 11/30. Defo needs a service right now anyway. I will learn how to at some point, ill make that my next project after my current one. Thanks again.
Its valentines day, and you are thinking about your bike? ;-) Or do you not celebrate that in the UK?

LOL.
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Old 02-16-17, 03:25 PM   #13
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Its valentines day, and you are thinking about your bike? ;-) Or do you not celebrate that in the UK?

LOL.
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Old 02-22-17, 11:25 AM   #14
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Update; got the bike serviced, changed my 50t to a 46, replaced the bottom bracket and rear hub, £90 total.
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Old 02-22-17, 11:45 AM   #15
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Update; got the bike serviced, changed my 50t to a 46, replaced the bottom bracket and rear hub, £90 total.
Great

I was looking at the Innate Alpha Cyclocross by 13 Bike, and it looks like it would make a great commuter bike.

The cycle to work scheme is a unique loan program in the UK. I'm not big on the idea of taking on more debt, but the tax incentives are equivalent to a HUGE discount off the selling price. So, it might be worth considering a second fun bike / backup bike.

There are some books on bike mechanics. It might be worth the investment, also to help your bike last longer.
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Old 02-22-17, 01:01 PM   #16
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Now if you had spent the money on tools and a bit of time researching online or getting a repair book, you'd be all set. Next time, buy quality tools and do the work yourself. You won't regret it, and your bike will always be working properly.
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Old 02-26-17, 06:39 PM   #17
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Now if you had spent the money on tools and a bit of time researching online or getting a repair book, you'd be all set. Next time, buy quality tools and do the work yourself. You won't regret it, and your bike will always be working properly.
Im a personal trainer and so i work in the service industry and i like having a professional look at my bike in the same way people like to hire a pt etc. I get that it is less cost effective but i save money in so many places such as cutting my own hair for pretty much most of my life.
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Old 02-26-17, 06:50 PM   #18
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Im a personal trainer and so i work in the service industry and i like having a professional look at my bike in the same way people like to hire a pt etc. I get that it is less cost effective but i save money in so many places such as cutting my own hair for pretty much most of my life.
That's perfectly ok if it works for you, but it's also a good idea to learn and be prepared for some basics so you can handle issues that come up when out on the road, or when you're heading out the door.
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Old 02-26-17, 07:23 PM   #19
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That's perfectly ok if it works for you, but it's also a good idea to learn and be prepared for some basics so you can handle issues that come up when out on the road, or when you're heading out the door.
Yeah thats a good shout
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Old 03-11-17, 02:12 PM   #20
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I'd get a new bike
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Old 03-12-17, 08:32 PM   #21
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I'm in the same place. But I have put some money into mine (which I got off CL) and I don't think it has ever ridden or felt *right*. Instead of staring at it in the corner, I'm going to sell it and take the money into something new.

But that's just for me.
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