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  1. #1
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Close call, winter maintenance

    I just wanted to clean off a front brake pad, and due to recent neglect and a comedy of errors it sort of cascaded to the rear derailleur. I'll spare the details but after finally getting everything in shape and back together I noticed that the pulleys were needle-sharp. Thinking why put $9 pulleys in a well-used $18 DR, just buy a new one. Then upgrade fever struck. I was looking at lists on the weight weenie site, checking off gear wrap capacity and thinking about the relationship of bearings vs bushings to watts wasted, not to mention how nice anodized surfaces and an actual model name would look back there ... but in the nick of time reason prevailed and my natural cycling parsimony asserted its ascendancy.

    I didn't realize how dangerous neglecting routine maintenance might be in provoking the fever. Is it a lost cause? Are you still holding out against unnecessary upgrades, or is it inevitable? Maybe constant maintenance and replacing cheap parts before temptation builds is the only cure?

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    Pulley and bearing watts are pretty dang small. I wouldn't worry about them unless they're thoroughly gunked up. Friction facts did a report on it.

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    I firmly believe that the best upgrade you can do to your drivetrain is achievable using bottle of degreaser and a bucket filled with warm soapy water. Of course Dura Ace shifters, 11 speed cassette and chain are a close second

  4. #4
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sullalto View Post
    Pulley and bearing watts are pretty dang small. I wouldn't worry about them unless they're thoroughly gunked up. Friction facts did a report on it.
    Right you are - that's how insidious the upgrade fever can be. A watt or two, why not, and then having said "A", ceramic wheel bearings don't seem that unreasonable. I think it must be a slippery slope once you get started on that path.

  5. #5
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yankeefan View Post
    I firmly believe that the best upgrade you can do to your drivetrain is achievable using bottle of degreaser and a bucket filled with warm soapy water. Of course Dura Ace shifters, 11 speed cassette and chain are a close second
    I was there with the bucket and degreaser on my way to the back DR, and I know that after the DR upgrade a new chain would have been next, but I would have had to decide on a cassette simultaneously, most likely. And then whether I really wanted at least a 9 speed, or 10, or 11 speed and all that that implies ... it feels like dodging a bullet. Starting with a brake pad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    I was there with the bucket and degreaser on my way to the back DR, and I know that after the DR upgrade a new chain would have been next, but I would have had to decide on a cassette simultaneously, most likely. And then whether I really wanted at least a 9 speed, or 10, or 11 speed and all that that implies ... it feels like dodging a bullet. Starting with a brake pad.
    Drive train upgrades are a slippery slope. The minute you decide you want an extra speed then you essentially will have to buy a new chain, shifter(s) and a possibly a rear mech. Even running a larger cassette of the same speed can mean getting a new chain & mech if you have a short arm derailleur. I'm always in favor of putting off upgrades until they are inevitable.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    IMHO the best upgrade is to go FG/SS and then you don't have to worry about any special maintenance. I love the simplicity and fun I get out of my FG/SS drivetrains.

  8. #8
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    Oh, absolutely! So many things to fuss with and yet it will never be novel.
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  9. #9
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    I also just pulled myself back twice from costly unnecessary upgrades.

    It was the rear dérailleur most recently also. Hmm why not move to ten speed? Cause I don't need it.

  10. #10
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    A derailleur is about the last thing I'd consider upgrading. Replace when necessary, yes.

    Lower end D's work wonderfully even with a minimum of maintenance, and the weight difference is negligible.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  11. #11
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    I feel that retrogrouchism, much like our beneficial gut bacteria, can aid in keeping diseases such as this "upgrade fever" you speak of at bay.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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  12. #12
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    I feel that retrogrouchism, much like our beneficial gut bacteria, can aid in keeping diseases such as this "upgrade fever" you speak of at bay.
    Ah, that's a good one I can cling to. The downtube shifter on my beater still shifts just fine dadgummit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
    A derailleur is about the last thing I'd consider upgrading. Replace when necessary, yes.
    Lower end D's work wonderfully even with a minimum of maintenance, and the weight difference is negligible.

    LOL!

    Upgrading derailleurs makes a huge amount of sense to me because:

    1) I have purchased all 3 ultegra 10 speed derailleurs I currently use for less than $50.
    2) The stock ultegra rd has fluorine-coated pivots which weareducer (and friction).
    3. The stock ceramic/composite bearings/bushings are more durable than those in low end or medium range rds.
    3) Ultegra drive trains shift like butter.
    5) A low end sora 9 speed rd weighs ~40 gms more than a ~189 gm ultegra 6700. paying $10-20 extra for a 40 gms weight reduction (with pulleys that retail for $15-20) seems like a very good deal to me.
    This is why motorists hate us, and why I've given up riding on the road...You should be ashamed yourself, and you should be reviled by cyclists everywhere.

  14. #14
    just ride
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    Maybe constant maintenance and replacing cheap parts before temptation builds is the only cure?
    Don't see how replacing a cheap part before it is completely worn would inoculate you against upgrade fever. You will still be contemplating a purchase before executing that purchase and studies have shown that is where the disease is contracted.

    Believe that the only way to resist this malady is to constantly add bikes to the stable with whatever features your current ride might be lacking. Then replacing a part is simply replacing a part - because the other bike that you have purchased (or will in the future) already has/will have that other feature and the proper spare can be called upon when the conditions or mood dictate.

    Pretty sure this isn't what you wanted to hear but sometimes the doctor has to deliver bad news.

  15. #15
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubbagrannygear View Post
    Don't see how replacing a cheap part before it is completely worn would inoculate you against upgrade fever. You will still be contemplating a purchase before executing that purchase and studies have shown that is where the disease is contracted.
    Because there won't be multiple parts due replacement, tempting you, and you can keep the cheap "still has some life yet" one in your parts box. When it's needed on some bike, just use this spare instead of buying a new one ... bypassing the "this is a convenient time to upgrade" rationalization.

    Even if the parts remain there in the box until they're hopelessly obsolete, they still facilitate the retrogrouch defense that ThermionicScott so kindly pointed out.


    Quote Originally Posted by bubbagrannygear View Post
    Believe that the only way to resist this malady is to constantly add bikes to the stable with whatever features your current ride might be lacking. Then replacing a part is simply replacing a part - because the other bike that you have purchased (or will in the future) already has/will have that other feature and the proper spare can be called upon when the conditions or mood dictate.

    Pretty sure this isn't what you wanted to hear but sometimes the doctor has to deliver bad news.
    I'm afraid that you're already lost, down that slippery slope Because I was just mulling over looking at Craigslist, for take-off parts upgrades, and pointing this out doesn't help much with the fever. I think that rainy winter must be a dangerous time, when you start thinking about these things.
    Last edited by wphamilton; 01-04-15 at 01:37 PM.

  16. #16
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    LOL!

    Upgrading derailleurs makes a huge amount of sense to me because:

    1) I have purchased all 3 ultegra 10 speed derailleurs I currently use for less than $50.
    2) The stock ultegra rd has fluorine-coated pivots which weareducer (and friction).
    3. The stock ceramic/composite bearings/bushings are more durable than those in low end or medium range rds.
    3) Ultegra drive trains shift like butter.
    5) A low end sora 9 speed rd weighs ~40 gms more than a ~189 gm ultegra 6700. paying $10-20 extra for a 40 gms weight reduction (with pulleys that retail for $15-20) seems like a very good deal to me.
    You are an evil tempter. Especially since it would be more like 100 grams in my case, plus another 100 with the cassette, and a bit more since the chain is lighter ...

  17. #17
    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    IMHO the best upgrade is to go FG/SS and then you don't have to worry about any special maintenance. I love the simplicity and fun I get out of my FG/SS drivetrains.
    As with all things, this depends on the individual situation. Someone who lives in the mountains and has a 20 mile commute is unlikely to like singlespeed. I don't think I would myself - there are parts of my ride that are up fairly steep hills, and other parts where I have 2 mile long flats on rural areas where in the summer I almost run out of gear inches at the top end. I think going single speed would seriously hurt my commute time, as in order to keep the gearing low enough to make it up the hills, I wouldn't be able to get to the 30 or so MPH I usually manage on the flats.

    If one piece of advice such as "go single speed" worked for everyone, there would only be one kind of bike in the world.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  18. #18
    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    FWIW, I am planning to move down to a cheaper derailleur when I wear out my drivetrain (again). It'll probably be another 10,000 miles or so. I only got a 10 speed rear because that's all I could find on a road bike. It's ridiculous overkill for me - I was happy with 8 speed and there are shifts on the 10 speed that I have now where I can hardly tell that anything changed, and I always wind up shifting again.

    I can buy 8 speed chains for < $10 and 8 speed cassettes for < $20. Move up to 10 speed and I have to spend > $20 for chains and > $50 for cassettes. For something I don't have any use for.

    I will have to come up with a cable pull adapter but that should be fun to design and make.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    FWIW, I am planning to move down to a cheaper derailleur when I wear out my drivetrain (again). It'll probably be another 10,000 miles or so. I only got a 10 speed rear because that's all I could find on a road bike. It's ridiculous overkill for me - I was happy with 8 speed and there are shifts on the 10 speed that I have now where I can hardly tell that anything changed, and I always wind up shifting again.

    I can buy 8 speed chains for < $10 and 8 speed cassettes for < $20. Move up to 10 speed and I have to spend > $20 for chains and > $50 for cassettes. For something I don't have any use for.

    I will have to come up with a cable pull adapter but that should be fun to design and make.

    just run a 9 speed cog with your 10 speed derailleur.

    PS: i have a drawer-full of 10 speed chains i purchased for $11-15 and tiagra 10-speed cassettes can be purchased for ~$17-30.
    This is why motorists hate us, and why I've given up riding on the road...You should be ashamed yourself, and you should be reviled by cyclists everywhere.

  20. #20
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    I was looking at lists on the weight weenie site, checking off gear wrap capacity and thinking about the relationship of bearings vs bushings to watts wasted, not to mention how nice anodized surfaces and an actual model name would look back there ...
    Over thinking all of those details that I don't have the ability to use has cost quite a bit. Luckily I regained a bit of my senses in time to limit the silliness to 7800 Dura Ace level. Sweeet, not a lot more than new current lower level stuff but don't really need a bit of it.

    I've been happy with the Tacx Shimano 9/10 Stainless Derailleur Pulleys. About $15.

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    If one piece of advice such as "go single speed" worked for everyone, there would only be one kind of bike in the world.
    I couldn't get home from the grocery store it that's all that they sold. A neighbor down the road couldn't believe that I ride up the hill by the new animal doctor up the road. He said that he couldn't do it when he was in his teens.....had to push his bike up it. Then it comes out that he had a Schwinn Sting-Ray type from the hardware store!!!
    Last edited by gregjones; 01-04-15 at 07:46 PM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    PS: i have a drawer-full of 10 speed chains i purchased for $11-15
    I'll double your money on two, if they are a KMC 10XSL.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    I am more susceptible to the N+1 Virus than Upgrade Fever. Perhaps I should have gotten the vaccine. Upgrade Fever is much less debilitating in the long-run than the N+1 Virus because it has a natural stopping point, when your bike is decked out with the best possible components. However, N+1 seems to keep replicating and replicating ...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    I feel that retrogrouchism, much like our beneficial gut bacteria, can aid in keeping diseases such as this "upgrade fever" you speak of at bay.
    I'm contemplating obeying the complete nouvo record gruppo off my old bike in order to fund a new veloce gruppo for the modern bike, actually. Or N+1, ideally. Then just make the frame a FG/SS just to keep it rolling.

  24. #24
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yankeefan View Post
    Drive train upgrades are a slippery slope. The minute you decide you want an extra speed then you essentially will have to buy a new chain, shifter(s) and a possibly a rear mech. Even running a larger cassette of the same speed can mean getting a new chain & mech if you have a short arm derailleur. I'm always in favor of putting off upgrades until they are inevitable.
    I came to the realization that, on my 2x9 drivetrain, I pretty much always shift the back two gears at a time. I'm consciously trying to spend most of my time lately using my even cogs, to even out the wear with the odd ones I had been favoring.

    And that leaves me contemplating a drivetrain downgrade from 9sp to 5sp; do they make 5sp cassettes with a 11-34 spread?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
    I came to the realization that, on my 2x9 drivetrain, I pretty much always shift the back two gears at a time. I'm consciously trying to spend most of my time lately using my even cogs, to even out the wear with the odd ones I had been favoring.

    And that leaves me contemplating a drivetrain downgrade from 9sp to 5sp; do they make 5sp cassettes with a 11-34 spread?
    I don't think they make 5spd cassettes period. You'll likely have to get a 5spd freewheel, which means also getting a custom built rear wheel since nobody manufactures wheels without a freehub anymore. Like I said, drive train upgrades (or downgrade in your case) are a slippery slope. Very rarely can you get away with just changing one thing.

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