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  1. #1
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Wanting to upgrade a bit

    Okay, I currently only have 1 bike: http://klassickona.com/oldgold/2006/smoke.htm.

    It is a rather nice bike (save for the freaking short chainstays), but I think that something with 700c wheels and a bit higher gearing would suit my needs more. Only thing is, there are a bunch of bikes that fit that profile!

    I ride on pavement, grass, and whatever surface that I encounter between me and my destination. Hills aren't a major factor for now, but as my fitness level improves, they will be.

    I know I don't want a suspended fork, but am on the fence about disc brakes.
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Had to cut my OP short, but I'll also add that budget is under $1,000 US. More concerned with finding a bomb-proof frame that is worthy of upgrading over time, as opposed to great components on a crap frame.

    Also, brand selection will be somewhat limited as I am limited to just two LBS in my area*. Offerings there (in stock, though not all models at once): Giant, Felt, Kona, KHS, Surly, Sun, Marin, Masi, Scott. <-those are just the brands that offer anywhere near what I'm looking at. Jamis could be ordered by one, but as they are a former authorized dealer of that brand, warranty work might be an issue.

    *These two shops offer lay-a-way plans. All of the other shops idea of financing is using credit cards, which I've sworn off.
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    Senior Member AdelaaR's Avatar
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    So if I understand this correctly:
    you want a bike
    you want a rigid fork
    you want disc brakes
    you want it under $1000
    There are at least 100 bikes that fit this category ... just go to your LBS and buy one

  4. #4
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    The Kona Dew series bikes have rigid forks and disc brakes. The Dr. Dew usually sells for around $800 to $900.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    I'm unsure of the disc brakes, nor do I know the difference in mechanical vs hydraulic disc brakes.

    I think I'll narrow it down some for y'all to comment on:

    From Kona- Dew, Dew Plus, Smoke, and the Worldbike. That last one might make a good winter beater, as well as an intro to IGH.

    From KHS- Urban Xpress.

    From Giant- Seek 2, Via 2, and Escape City.

    From Felt- X-City 6, Speed 50.

    That's just what interests me at just one of the two LBS. Like I said, some of those models are readily in stock, where others could be ordered. If I had something ordered and didn't like it, then I'd feel obligated to purchase something that they already have in stock.
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  6. #6
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Also need to point out I'm a Clyde of about 235 lbs or so. Wheelsets need to be able to handle both my mass and the abuse they are gonna get.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Firstly, given your fitness is too low for hills, why do you want to change the gearing to make climbing them even harder???

    Secondly, when you really need different gearing then a simple cassette or chainring change at your local store will give it to you. A cassette change is easier and faster than fixing a flat tyre.

    As for 700c wheels: there really isn't any point in changing to them. Wheel size for different types of road bike is very much a convention rather than of performance.

    Put some ergon grips and better tyres on the bike - the tyres fitted as standard are usually awful; for riding on the road try Rubino Pros - and keep it until you have a real reason to change it - at which point you'll be glad of the extra cash squirreled away.
    Last edited by meanwhile; 07-10-10 at 06:43 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    .

    Put some ergon grips and better tyres on the bike - the tyres fitted as standard are usually awful; for riding on the road try Rubino Pros - and keep it until you have a real reason to change it - at which point you'll be glad of the extra cash squirreled away.
    This seems like good advice. While there are always newer shinier hybrids, we are still talking about hybrids, unless you want to switch to a flat bar road bike.

    I too have occasionally felt the urge to get some new gear, but maybe upgrading the tires might be just the thing. Honestly, if the brakes on your current bike stop you adequately, why change? Also not sure if you have these or not, but using clipless pedals/shoes would also be a big improvement in performance if you are not already using them.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Actually, the tires aren't a major issue for me at the moment. My main gripes about the bike are admittedly trivial, but still annoy me- 1) the chain stay length is rather short, 2) the grip shifts, and 3) the placement of the second water bottle on the outside of the downtube part of the triangle.

    I know that a different rack could fix my heel strike issues, the grip shifters could be swapped out for some trigger shifters, and there are other ways of adding bottle cages to a bike.

    The 700c thing is just that I kinda buy into that 26" vs 700c argument that the bigger wheel will roll further, faster (given the same output) than the 26" wheel and that they roll over obstacles easier.

    IIRC, I did ask about the viability of changing out the front chainrings with the LBS. They said I would need a new bottom bracket, as well as the cranks and rings. Add the labor, and the price they quoted was rather steep for me.

    Ultimately, it comes down to n+1. If I were to put the bike into the shop for all the 'upgrades' that I'd like to do, then I would be out of use for a time. That is not possible at this time, as I've come to rely on it too much. I suppose that I could ask for an estimate on all of the 'upgrades' and see if I could schedule an appointment where I could drop it off in the morning on Sat. and pick up prior to close on Sunday.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Actually, the tires aren't a major issue for me at the moment. My main gripes about the bike are admittedly trivial, but still annoy me- 1) the chain stay length is rather short, 2) the grip shifts, and 3) the placement of the second water bottle on the outside of the downtube part of the triangle.

    I know that a different rack could fix my heel strike issues, the grip shifters could be swapped out for some trigger shifters, and there are other ways of adding bottle cages to a bike.

    The 700c thing is just that I kinda buy into that 26" vs 700c argument that the bigger wheel will roll further, faster (given the same output) than the 26" wheel and that they roll over obstacles easier.

    IIRC, I did ask about the viability of changing out the front chainrings with the LBS. They said I would need a new bottom bracket, as well as the cranks and rings. Add the labor, and the price they quoted was rather steep for me.

    Ultimately, it comes down to n+1. If I were to put the bike into the shop for all the 'upgrades' that I'd like to do, then I would be out of use for a time. That is not possible at this time, as I've come to rely on it too much. I suppose that I could ask for an estimate on all of the 'upgrades' and see if I could schedule an appointment where I could drop it off in the morning on Sat. and pick up prior to close on Sunday.
    I have, over the years, had a number of hobbies, from biking to stereos to watches. I understand the impulse to get something new, but I also have learned that when you do upgrade, make sure what you get is a clear upgrade, rather than just something different. In the bike context, this could be something like upgrading from a relatively heavy hybrid to a true roadbike that would clearly be lighter and faster than your current bike. Many new hybrids might be only slightly better, or maybe just different from your present bike.

    No bike is perfect, especially when we are talking hybrids built to a price point. It has been my experience that it takes awhile to figure out the quirks of each bike. If you buy a new bike, you may just trade one set of headaches for another. IMO if you can address some of the things that annoy you about your present bike at a moderate cost, IMO you should do it.

    Clearly, some things are just not practical to switch out, like the wheel size. Maybe others with more experience have an opinion, but I can't imagine that changing from 26" wheels to 700c will make all that much difference. I would think changing to a lighter, smoother tire might make a bigger difference. Changing out the the front chainring also seems impractical. Are you looking for a bigger top gear?

    The other things could probably be addressed at a reasonable cost, and certainly less than the cost of a new bike.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    ^Point taken. Wasn't looking to change out the bike from 26" to 700c (I'm not sure that is even feasible with this frame), but getting a new bike that remedied some of my dislikes of the bike I already have.

    Do I want a higher top gear? Yes, as there are times when I feel that I have more in me, but the drivetrain doesn't. Also wouldn't mind a lighter weight bike, either.

    Of those that I mentioned earlier in the thread, I find myself drawn to the Felt Speed 50 for it's light weight (sub 24 lbs.!) or the KHS Urban Xpress for the steel frame and slightly lower msrp.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
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  12. #12
    Gouge Away kaliayev's Avatar
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    If you are not happy with your bike in general, the changes you are talking about making will probably not make a big enough difference to make you happy. I am probably in the minority here, but instead of buying new why not look for used. To me the "golden age" of hybrid manufacturing was the early to mid 90s. Many hybrids of this era are made of steel, have longer chain stays, and better geometries than todays hybrids.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    I personally have no negative feelings about used. It's just that finding something that fits could take a while. That and most of the CL ads here are for big box BSO's that people regret buying and are asking for what you could buy new for.
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  14. #14
    Gouge Away kaliayev's Avatar
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    That's a bummer. In my area really nice older bikes are constantly to be had for $100-$150.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Just got back from the LBS. The estimate to swap shifters, bigger triple crankset (used), front der was in the $200-$250 range. Bottom bracket that I have will work, though a new one would cost only $25.

    They helped me whittle down the potential list for a new bike from the ones that i posted earlier: The Seek 2, Escape City, and the Kona Dew Plus. That's also the pricing range from high to low as well.
    Last edited by no1mad; 07-11-10 at 03:44 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
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  16. #16
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Actually, the tires aren't a major issue for me at the moment. My main gripes about the bike are admittedly trivial, but still annoy me- 1) the chain stay length is rather short, 2) the grip shifts, and 3) the placement of the second water bottle on the outside of the downtube part of the triangle.

    I know that a different rack could fix my heel strike issues, the grip shifters could be swapped out for some trigger shifters, and there are other ways of adding bottle cages to a bike.

    The 700c thing is just that I kinda buy into that 26" vs 700c argument that the bigger wheel will roll further, faster (given the same output) than the 26" wheel and that they roll over obstacles easier.
    There's a very marginal reduction in rolling resistance for larger diameter wheels; you could get a much bigger boost by buying premiuum tyres. And a 700c bike won't be as agile, all things considered, and equally strong wheels will cost more. If you want to go faster, change the tyres.

    IIRC, I did ask about the viability of changing out the front chainrings with the LBS. They said I would need a new bottom bracket, as well as the cranks and rings. Add the labor, and the price they quoted was rather steep for me.
    Find a new LBS! The rings just bolt off. As long as you're not going from a double to a triple you certainly don't need a new BB or cranks. But having looked at the spec, a significantly larger chainring wouldn't make sense on this bike - the geometry isn't aero enough. You just haven't learned to pedal properly - you need better pedals (cheap BMX pedals with pins will do) and to learn how to "spin".
    Last edited by meanwhile; 07-11-10 at 05:26 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Just got back from the LBS. The estimate to swap shifters, bigger triple crankset (used), front der was in the $200-$250 range. Bottom bracket that I have will work, though a new one would cost only $25.
    Look at the chainrings: they're held on with bolts. They're designed to be changed. The mechanic removes the crank, changes the outer ring, puts the crank back on. (Assuming your derailer has a wide enough range.) Find a decent repair guy.

    If you really don't like the shifters, then used ones are cheap on ebay.

    Otoh, if you really don't like the bike, then keep it while you find a used one that you do like.
    Last edited by meanwhile; 07-11-10 at 05:24 PM.

  18. #18
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    There's a very marginal reduction in rolling resistance for larger diameter wheels; you could get a much bigger boost by buying premiuum tyres. And a 700c bike won't be as agile, all things considered, and equally strong wheels will cost more. If you want to go faster, change the tyres.



    Find a new LBS! The rings just bolt off. As long as you're not going from a double to a triple you certainly don't need a new BB or cranks. But having looked at the spec, a significantly larger chainring wouldn't make sense on this bike - the geometry isn't aero enough. You just haven't learned to pedal properly - you need better pedals (cheap BMX pedals with pins will do) and to learn how to "spin".
    Regarding the pedals, did you something like these, perhaps? If so, I already have them as they came stock on the bike.

    The chain rings are riveted, not bolted. There is a difference, no?
    Last edited by no1mad; 07-11-10 at 06:04 PM. Reason: fix link
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
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  19. #19
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Regarding the pedals, did you something like these, perhaps? If so, I already have them as they came stock on the bike.
    Yes. Those look fine.

    The chain rings are riveted, not bolted. There is a difference, no?
    Riveted chainrings??? My apologies to your LBS; I had no idea such a thing existed. Yuck.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    No worries. I've narrowed it down to just the Giant Escape City and the Kona Dew Plus (on paper, anyway).

    The one would come with the basic add-ons of fenders, rack, and kickstand for $500. Doesn't have disc brakes, but I'm now under the impression that I could use Kool Stop Salmon brake pads to greatly improve performance in all weather conditions. The Kona comes with the disc brakes, but then I'd have to add all that other stuff, easily negating the $11 savings on the bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
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  21. #21
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    If you get a few accessories at the same time as the bike, you may be able to argue a discount.

    I've got a Dew Plus and highly recommend them. Best thing would be to try the three bikes out if you can.

  22. #22
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    No worries. I've narrowed it down to just the Giant Escape City and the Kona Dew Plus (on paper, anyway).

    The one would come with the basic add-ons of fenders, rack, and kickstand for $500. Doesn't have disc brakes, but I'm now under the impression that I could use Kool Stop Salmon brake pads to greatly improve performance in all weather conditions. The Kona comes with the disc brakes, but then I'd have to add all that other stuff, easily negating the $11 savings on the bike.
    Discs are better than Kools, but Kools are very good. And discs can make mounting racks a pain.

  23. #23
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Called the Kona dealer about availability of the Dew Plus. Out of 56's until the '11's arrive sometime in August...

    So I hit up a couple of different LBS's on the way home (having to drive full-time this week, ugh!). One is a Giant/Specialized shop- they recommended the Giant Escape. I inquired about the Sirrus and they told me that the Escape was comparable, but at a better price point. They also offer lay-a-way (schweet!), so this is the route I'll probably end up taking.

    The other shop was a Raleigh/Diamondback shop. Nothing on the floor interested me, but what did interest me was that they give tune-ups for life, free of charge, to the original owner of a bike bought from them. I asked about the turn-around time on service, and they claim typically same-day, if dropped off early enough in the a.m. Family run, in the same location, for over 30 years now. Glancing through their catalog, the Detour Deluxe caught my eye, but it's too steep for me (even though it's listed at $849).
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
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