I've had my downtube nova for just about a year now. Got around 1600 miles on it, and have been slowly upgrading or changing out some of the parts in an effort to make it a "better bike". So far:
1. Saddle - not really an optional change. No seat issues after swap.
2. Changed from riser to flat handlebars with bar-ends.
I guess this marginally increased comfort. The bar-ends really help when climbing, even though the bike makes horrible creaking noises when riding out of the saddle.
3. Clipless pedals
Probably the most worthwhile performance upgrade, IMO. Saw my average speeds go up a small amount, and am able to do high cadence pedaling more easily. In terms of convenience, eh.. not so much.
4. Tires: Schwalbe Kojaks
This 'upgrade' is WAY OVERRATED. Honestly, I don't think I notice any performance difference besides a bumpier ride from the increased pressure. My riding speeds have pretty much stayed the same, and the riding doesn't feel any easier than the stock tires. Definitely not worth swapping out a perfectly good set of tires IMO.
So, anyhow, the next thing I was thinking about is upgrading the gearing to get an 11T cog (which means getting a new rear wheel that has a freehub body instead of dealing with questionable quality freewheels), and possibly changing the crankset to a compact double.
.. but then, I got to thinking. When's enough, enough? I mean, most of these changes so far haven't made HUGE differences to the bike. Even everything combined, I'd say, it's pretty much still the same ol' bike. Is upgraded gearing really going to make a big difference?
Is it time to just buy a different bike, and leave this poor bike alone for what it is: a portable, but slow-paced, cruising bike? Thoughts?