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Upgrading - Not worth it?

Old 05-24-05, 06:47 PM
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Diggy18
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Upgrading - Not worth it?

Lately I've been thinking about upgrading some parts on my bike, or even just doing (or having done, more likely) some maintenance like replacing the cables and cable housings. But when I think about the price, jeeze I wonder if it's just not smarter to save a bit and then get a whole new bike.

My current bike only cost me $210 new 14 months ago. It's a Diamondback Outlook. It worked great for the past 14 months or so, but I rode through a Northeast winter with lots of salt and slush, plus last fall I did a lot of rain riding. And the wear and tear is starting to show.

I guess you guys that talk about upgrading are starting with high quality bikes, huh? Otherwise it doesn't seem like it's worth it.
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Old 05-24-05, 06:56 PM
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What is the wear and tear showing on?

Upgrading doesn't always have to be expensive. If you are patient you can find great deals on new/used stuff on e-bay.
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Old 05-24-05, 07:09 PM
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Learning to do basic stuff is easy; there are plenty of books and online references. Saves loads of shop-rate labor expenses.
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Old 05-24-05, 07:29 PM
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A $200 bike rarely has a frame that makes any sense to 'upgrade'. Replaceable parts that do make sense are the cables, maybe the housings esp if the cables are rusted inside the housings, the brake pads, tires and chains. Anything more is gilding the lily and makes little sense. An exception would be gift parts, ones obtained at essentially zero or say less than 20% of bike shop mail order price. Even then, as others note if you don't do the labor yourself, it would be a waste of money. Silk purse/sows ears comes to mind. Bikes in the $600-1000 range are so good these days that most would not be able to tell them apart from $2000 bikes. And there is not a big increment from $2000 to $4000 either unless you are in the top 10% athletically and riding hundreds of hours a year on a bike. Safety factors make cables a top priority in maintenance and the extra few bucks for stainless steel cables is worth it IMO. You have a good beater/winter commuter, leave it as such. Steve
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Old 05-24-05, 07:31 PM
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I've found the only real reason to upgrade parts on a beater would be if you were eventually replace the frame, and wanted to have good components when you got the new frame...
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Old 05-24-05, 07:51 PM
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Well with me i could not afford a nice mtb so i upgraded from an Xmart bike piece by piece as i got more $. Im very happy with the result and i believe that a bike of equal level components would have costed much more if i had bough it new alread made and all
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Old 05-24-05, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2
Well with me i could not afford a nice mtb so i upgraded from an Xmart bike piece by piece as i got more $. Im very happy with the result and i believe that a bike of equal level components would have costed much more if i had bough it new alread made and all
But you still have a POC frame.
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Old 05-24-05, 09:35 PM
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What are the salient features that distinguish quality frames from the POS?
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Old 05-25-05, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by forum*rider
What is the wear and tear showing on?
Nothing major, but I can see that the exposed parts of the cables look a bit corroded. Plus since I already replaced the stem with a much shorter, no-rise version, the brake cables have a bit too much curvature out in front of the handle bars, so I'd want to replace the cable housings up there, too. And the rear tire needs replacing.

But I'm thinking all that (plus new brake pads for the rear) would add up to 1/4 of the price of a new bike.

I gotta admit though, I have some real problems thinking spacially and that means I suck at doing repairs myself. It takes me freaking forever to get the brake pads just right!
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Old 05-25-05, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by jur
What are the salient features that distinguish quality frames from the POS?
generally speaking, frame material, ie type of steels, or 'exotic' materials as they were once called - AL, Ti, carbon fiber etc. A reallly nice frame will be well thought out and designed, with higher quality welds or more intricate lugs. At the top you've got more hand-built than assembly line. Components generally go up in quality along with frames - you can look at Campy or Shimano websites to see the stratification of their groupsets. There are anomalies here and there but you generally won't see Dura-ace or Record parts on a low or even mid-priced frame (from the manufacturer, anyway; lord knows that hasn't stopped me!! )

As posts here state, the middle ground ($500-2000) are pretty dang nice these days! But you can easily tell a cheapo frame. If it has seat and chain stays crimped down flat around the rear dropouts, run away!! Crappy bumpy welds are another dead giveaway. Hi-ten steel (1020) usually means a heavy bike and 'dead' ride. The only hi-ten frames I've ever ridden that were okay imo were Raleigh three speeds and the occasional Schwinn old school. But a low priced bike from a big 'real' company (eg, Diamond back, giant, trek, et al, as opposed to huffy and other sports authority crap) using hi-ten or a mix of hi-ten and cro-mo can be just fine for utility use. For casual short rides the performance of hi-ten is okay, esp for a low budget pick. A frame of all Straight gauge (non-butted) cro-mo is definitely better in weight and feel. That'd be my choice for commuting and a nice blend of perfromance and value.
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Old 05-25-05, 06:39 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Diggy18
Lately I've been thinking about upgrading some parts on my bike, or even just doing (or having done, more likely) some maintenance like replacing the cables and cable housings. But when I think about the price, jeeze I wonder if it's just not smarter to save a bit and then get a whole new bike.

My current bike only cost me $210 new 14 months ago. It's a Diamondback Outlook. It worked great for the past 14 months or so, but I rode through a Northeast winter with lots of salt and slush, plus last fall I did a lot of rain riding. And the wear and tear is starting to show.

I guess you guys that talk about upgrading are starting with high quality bikes, huh? Otherwise it doesn't seem like it's worth it.

It's pretty dated now (and prolly OOP) but try to find a copy of Frank Berto's "Upgrading your Bicycle". A great read for us cycle-frankensteiners. It deals only with road bikes, but the basic priniciples are all there, extremely well-presented. Talks about bike fit, frame quality and design, gearing and wheels. The book essentially helps you evaluate your present bike to make sure it is worth keeping, let alone upgrading. I have found this is quite valuable. I've thrown away lots of dough on parts for bikes I never rode much; in contrast any amont of money spent to twaek a frame that suited my riding needs and fit my body was always a sound investment.

He has a general rule: don't spend so much on upgrading that you could sell your upgraded bicycle and buy a higher-quality bike with the same parts already on it. In other words, tally up the total cost of parts you're thinking of adding, include any shop labor costs if you won't be doing the work yourself, and then go to a few bike shops and see if the same quality bike (ie, with a similar quality frame) using those same level parts or close as possible costs the same or less. You may be surprised that it usually does- it always costs more for an individual to buy parts separately than a manufacturer to buy in bulk. In that case you'd be better off selling your bike and just buying the new one, at least from a financial standpoint.

I would absolutely replace cables, tires, etc as mentioned above (Berto says the same thing). I just put new cool-stop brake pads on my poc three-speed. That was a good investment imo - new campy brake calipers would not be! The book also advocates swapping saddles, bars, etc to make the bike more comfy, but keep the old parts!!!!! This way you can re-sell or move them to another bike later and you can reassemble the stock bike if you decide to sell it.
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Old 05-25-05, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by sydney
But you still have a POC frame.
Is a 2001 Schwinn homegrown pro a POC frame?
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Old 05-25-05, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2
Is a 2001 Schwinn homegrown pro a POC frame?
Your original post implied you started with a huffy or roadmaster type and stuck bling on it. A D- for composition and coherent thought...The original poster is talking about upgrading a $210 bike.
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Old 05-25-05, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by sch
A $200 bike rarely has a frame that makes any sense to 'upgrade'. Replaceable parts that do make sense are the cables, maybe the housings esp if the cables are rusted inside the housings, the brake pads, tires and chains. Anything more is gilding the lily and makes little sense. An exception would be gift parts, ones obtained at essentially zero or say less than 20% of bike shop mail order price. Even then, as others note if you don't do the labor yourself, it would be a waste of money. Silk purse/sows ears comes to mind. Bikes in the $600-1000 range are so good these days that most would not be able to tell them apart from $2000 bikes. And there is not a big increment from $2000 to $4000 either unless you are in the top 10% athletically and riding hundreds of hours a year on a bike. Safety factors make cables a top priority in maintenance and the extra few bucks for stainless steel cables is worth it IMO. You have a good beater/winter commuter, leave it as such. Steve
This should be gospel for anyone thinking about upgrading. Especially read the $2000 to $4000 part.

Tim
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Old 05-25-05, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by cs1
This should be gospel for anyone thinking about upgrading. Especially read the $2000 to $4000 part.

Tim

also excellent advice for when purchasing a new ride!
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Old 05-25-05, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by pgoat
it always costs more for an individual to buy parts separately than a manufacturer to buy in bulk.
Exactly what I was thinking.

A corny thing I realized, was that if I did buy a new, better bike I would miss my old less-than-perfect ride. It's funny how you come to be attached to a bike.


Hmm, maybe this just means I need a social life. Hey by the way, where'd you get your kool-stops? I have a hard time finding them at the LBSs.
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Old 05-25-05, 05:09 PM
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Im telling you, it does not always cost more to buy parts separately....take it frm me as thats the route i went and saved my $. Just look for things on sale, check ebay auctions, if your patient you will win. If you go and buy it all at regular msrp, then yes it will without a doubt cost more
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Old 05-25-05, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by pgoat
<snip> Frank Berto's "Upgrading your Bicycle". <snip>
Yes, out of print for years, but available here: ABE Books .

Easiest to search by author's name. This is a great place to find used books on all topics and the many dealers seem to have almost any bicycle oriented title desired. Prices are all over the place.

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Old 05-25-05, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Diggy18
Exactly what I was thinking.

A corny thing I realized, was that if I did buy a new, better bike I would miss my old less-than-perfect ride. It's funny how you come to be attached to a bike.
Why get rid of the old bike? You need at least two bikes so you will have one for good conditions and a "beater" for less desirable conditions.

Keep the old one and ride it until you've saved enough to buy a new one... then set it aside for a rainy day, or ride it occasionally for sentimental reasons.
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Old 05-25-05, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jur
What are the salient features that distinguish quality frames from the POS?
POS frames are HEAVY. They are stiff where you want them to be flexible and flexible where you want them stiff.
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Old 05-25-05, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by jur
What are the salient features that distinguish quality frames from the POS?
It might last a loooong time, be one of the smoooothest rides built. Because frames are tensile and structures, the flexes\strengths have to be all worked out. A bike frame rigid in the wrong place can snap or feel awful.
Really nice frames have a lot of different tube shapes\butts\diameters\bends\ovals\struts\lugs\fillets.

Competent welding has a major factor in any tubing of ferrous nature.
Alu is best used in ways that do not promote flex.

A bike 'frame' can be set up with a very simple gear system!
The frame will still be the 'unchangeable' feature of the ride.
Simple or no...a good set of pipes rocks. If good, fits right =spend, if not, save for a frame.
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Old 05-25-05, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Diggy18
Nothing major, but I can see that the exposed parts of the cables look a bit corroded. Plus since I already replaced the stem with a much shorter, no-rise version, the brake cables have a bit too much curvature out in front of the handle bars, so I'd want to replace the cable housings up there, too. And the rear tire needs replacing.

But I'm thinking all that (plus new brake pads for the rear) would add up to 1/4 of the price of a new bike.

I gotta admit though, I have some real problems thinking spacially and that means I suck at doing repairs myself. It takes me freaking forever to get the brake pads just right!
= should be under $200.
Do it your self ...or most. Let the shop just adjust the pads and do the derailers.

stem 40
pads 25
tire 40
housings 15
cable 10
lbs fee 25

I say lower, 150. A bike NEEDS money...buy lube? tires? 150$ a year is cheap costs...to me.

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Old 01-23-11, 01:49 AM
  #23  
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i think it makes a lot of sense to upgrade an old bicycle if it has a quality frame. i have two raleigh super

course mark 2s from 1975. these frames are not the the cats meow, they are reynolds 531 straight gauge in the main tubes only. while i have nicer bikes (all 531 db holdsworth pro & a klein team super) i feel the money i spent on my super courses was well spent. this was raleighs least expensive quality bike, it came with alloy rims & without the raleigh propriatery threading, & i really like those bikes. the raleigh model below the super course was the grand prix & this was raleighs best selling bike boom model, it was all steel except for the alloy brakes. the competitor in peugeots line was the uo-8 & i believe peugeot sold ten of thousands of them, they were nice too.
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Old 01-23-11, 06:13 AM
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Most component upgrades don't make economic sense. There are some exceptions:

1. Something breaks or wears out.
2. You have a bicycle that you love and plan to keep forever. Sooner or later you're going to replace those parts anyway. Insted of waiting for things to break or wear out, make the bike exactly what you want now and start enjoying it now.
3. You have CBTD (compulsive bike tinkerers disorder).
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Old 01-23-11, 07:41 AM
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Bikepedia list the '08 DiamondBack Outlook as an aluminum frame and the '09 as hi-ten. Both are listed with crappy forks and rear derailers.

I know some of the DiamondBacks have short derailer hangers that don't have enough space for a standard derailer to be installed without blocking the removal of a quick release wheel (installed derailer has an arm like the old claw type).

If the bike fits, it's the aluminum frame, and it's not the short hanger (anyone know where to get a longer hanger? I can't find one listed for DB, and I haven't had a chance to see what will fit) then I'd say get the necessary repairs/replacement parts. Otherwise I'd say save towards a new bike and sell/trade/give this one to someone who will do the repairs themself.
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