Questions about getting new bike or keeping and upgrading the one I have.
I have a Felt Z-70, which is the relaxed frame geometry as I have a bad back. Purchased new four years ago in May. Frame is aluminum with carbon fiber fork and seat stays. Components are Shimano 105. I have, I think, about 5000+ miles on it (I was down for awhile with health issues). So next year the bike will be 5 years old. Bike is not thrashed or anything, just curious if there's a time where the frame (BB, steering, things like that too) may start to get too old and it's time to get something new or if frames last for a great while and just upgrading wheels and components is a better way to go.
Right now I'm fairly overweight, 220 lbs, but was 240 and am losing and hope to be in the 160-180 lbs range by May, and my rides are about 30-40+ miles at 12-17 MPH on flat easy roads. If I get down to the weight I want, I may try some Cat 5 Masters races just for fun. I'll be 58 in March. I'm in No. Cal, so the weather is fairly nice, no mud, snow, salt, etc, and I keep the bike in good condition as I'm an old MX/Desert motorcycle racer, so it's in my blood to sit in the garage and keep the bike clean and maintained.
So just wondering if I my focus should be on getting a new bike, or just the upgrade components, etc. as the frame on my bike will last and I can keep it for a long time as long as it fits and feels good.
My commuter (from Sacrament to Davis) is a Raleigh R500 from '96 with Shimano RSX. If I had to guess it's got somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 miles on it. It's on it's 3rd chain and it's 2nd cassette but everything else is unchanged/original. I have the BB rebuilt and checked every year around mid-October.
Assuming there's no rust or physical damage that has compromised the integrity of a drivetrain component or area of the frame, I see no reason why the components of a 4-5 year old bike would be deemed unsafe or unrideable. When my grandfather died (in April) I inherited a bike of his that was probably 40+ years old and had hung in a damp cellar for the past 30 of those. Besides some pretty gnarly rust, I took it for a 25 mile ride after oiling the chain and it performed like a champ.
Most of the advice I've seen on these forums when people, like yourself, are in this dilemma is:
- Sell the existing bike, use the proceeds to fund the purchase of a new one
Personally, it seems silly to invest money into a used bike unless you're replacing a bad component or maintaining (replacing) a warn one. Upgrading the drivetrain to say, Ultegra, isn't going to suddenly change the performance of your bike considerably to warrant that expense.
Should be good to go, though I'd check that the chain is not rusted or stretched. You will probably need to true the wheels/re-tension the spokes if it has been sitting for a long time, even if it was well maintained.
The bottom line to me is that unless you are noticing issues, or have something specific you need to improve, you are fine with what you have.
I have no racing aspirations, but perhaps my story will be of use. I am over 300 pounds, and have ridden my 10 year old comfort bike while weighing between 300 and 365 for 4000+ miles over that time. Sometimes I leave the bike on the back of the car in the rain, but usually I take pretty good care of it.
I wanted to upgrade to make my rides a little more efficient over time, so I swapped out the suspension fork for a rigid fork several years ago. I upgraded the stem and bars to get something a little wider. And I have done some experimentation to find tires I like (and found that either I am not very particular about tires, or I happened to only buy tires that worked really well for me)
I am committed to greatly increasing my miles in the coming year, many times my riding is in the middle of nowhere. I have ridden rail trails where I saw nobody for over an hour, on bike, foot or in a car. I want to make sure that I am riding a bike with a very high chance of completing my ride. The frame/fork is still suitable, but because of the age, and my weight, I was losing confidence in my wheels... nothing has gone wrong yet other than a couple of strange sounds on my last ride, but it has weighed on me. I looked at bikes to replace it, and thought it would be nice to upgrade, and maybe even get a bike with disk brakes... but I decided to spend less money, be sure that I cohabitate well with the bike, and spent the money on custom wheels. I ordered a set of wheels that would be overkill for many people, but for me, it represents a safe relaxing ride. In the spring, I will hit the road and feel very comfortable with my steed.
Since you hope to race, you should explore what your best bang for the buck is. I didn't look up your bike specs, but in theory buying new could give you a lighter bike with a more aggressive geometry that could help you in racing... especially when climbing or accelerating... But buying a new set of racing wheels could be enough to make your bike into a worthy bike for your purposes, and give you the emotional boost of knowing you are riding something a little better than you had.
I hope you have a good time regardless of which path you choose.
The wheels are true and everything is well maintained. Equipment is good quality and most wheels cost more than the bike did. When it comes time to have to replace stuff I will just go with a quality item, but was more worried about spending money on something that wasn't worth it as compared to spending money on something newer. Sounds like I'm good either way, so I can keep what I have and just upgrade. I was just worried that once the frame and other parts get old that it is better to replace the bike at a certain time instead of pouring money into it. Sounds like that's not a problem though, so thanks for the info.