Newbie to the world of cycling here!
Personal information: I am a marathon runner. 5'-6" in height and 125 lbs in weight. I got into the world if bicycling via a physical therapist who recommended cycling to supplement my running and relieve the pounding on my legs on recovery days. Cycling has been wonderful for my running performance!
My current ride is a 2012 Cannondale CAADX 105. Specs are here:
I worked with my local bike shop and they recommended this as a first bike for the following:
1. I ride in a combination of paved roads and dirt. Mostly paved but I like riding on dirt and grass, something I understand a straight road bike doesn't excel at
2. Sometimes I have to ride in slightly muddy trails (not very often but it is something I wanted to consider).
3. I use the bike to carry loads in panniers sometimes to run errands, grocery shopping, etc; which meant i needed a bike with rack mounts (using Topeak Explorer rack).
4. I love going up very steep hills when fitness riding. The gearing in this bike is perfect for me. Using this bike with a speed/cadence sensor and a heart rate monitor.
5. While not a road racing bike, I can still use this as a pretty good fitness trainer to supplement my running (and I can go off-road If I want).
6. Not cyclocross racing at this time but as I get into the sport of cycling more and more, perhaps a possibility in the future.
While I could have gone with a Carbon bike as far as pricing was concerned, I could not for the life of me find a carbon bike that had mudgard mounts and rack mounts. This is mainly the reason I went with an alloy frame. I know this is also not the lightest ride out there but it seemed to hit all the requirements I had. The local bike shop recommended going with Cannondale for their reputation with Aluminum frames. I did try a Giant TCX 0 (ok), a Bianchi Zurigo (a little better), and a Specialized Tricross (not very good) to get a feel for the difference in ride. The CAADX ended up being the winner.
I am looking to the cycling gurus in this forum to help me with some upgrades to this bike:
Here's what I have done so far:
1. The Tektro CR710 cantilever brakes were complete garbage. I replaced these with Avid Shorty Ultimates which are much much better but I am still wanting for more power. I may replace the included Swisstop brake pads but I am looking for suggestions. I will also be talking to my local bike shop to tweak the cantilever setup for these brakes.
2. The included wheels felt heavy to me. The Maddux DRX 6000 rims, the Formula RB51 and RB52 hubs and the stainless steel spokes (32 per wheel) felt heavy. I replaced these wheels with a pair of 2012 Mavic Ksyrium Elites. Pretty happy so far with these.
Again, I am a pretty small guy. Any other suggestions on where you guys would proceed with upgrades taking into account my height, weight and specs for this bike?. I am pretty satisfied with the Shimano 105 derailleurs at this time. How would you continue to upgrade this bike?
Thanks for your time reading this and thanks for your suggestions. Cycling is a brave new world to me.