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Upgrade Questions

Old 04-01-18, 07:17 AM
  #1  
ChiefTJS
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Upgrade Questions

Bottom line question, what does a bike need to be upgradeable. Can any Acera or Alivio bike be upgraded to Deore? Can any Tourney bike be turned into a 105? A 1x10 to a 8spd triple or vice versa? Are hangers universal and cranks interchangeable, does one bottom bracket style preclude upgrades while another welcomes it? Obviously anything can be done if you throw enough money at it but I'm looking for a bike that would lend itself to being upgraded over time and as finances allow. Anything specific that I should be looking for in a bike with an eye towards future upgrades.

From the above you should all easily gather that I am by no means a mechanic or even mechanically inclined. I'm just a guy with limited resources, trying to get a bike that suits him. Thanks for any input at all.
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Old 04-01-18, 08:07 AM
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You are asking for a ton of information. Back in the days of friction shifters we could pretty much mix and match anything. Today there are variances in dropout widths, cable pull requirements and bottom bracket shell variations. That's the bad news. The good news is we don't have to fret over French threading anymore.

My first question is "What are you thinking that you want to improve?" Honestly, even low end components today are really pretty good. The performance range from the cheapest components to the most expensive stuff is really pretty narrow. Prices as you move up the food chain, however, escalate at an exponential rate. You can spend a ton of money to achieve a very modest, if any, performance benefit.

You used the words "as finances allow." How much do you suppose Trek has to pay Shimano (or whoever) for a rear derailleur? Now now much do you think you would have to pay for that same new part? As a general rule, a frame set plus all new separate components will cost the consumer much more than buying the equivalent brand new complete bike off the floor. You get the satisfaction of getting exactly the parts that you want and you get the satisfaction of doing it yourself, but you aren't going to save any money. In fact, it's probably going to cost you significantly more money.

I've been fooling around with bikes for a lot of years. I started when I didn't have ANY money and I actually used to prowl the subdivision on garbage days to look for other people's cast offs that I could salvage parts from. My bikes have gradually improved over the years but, honestly, my performance has stayed relatively about the same. The people that I used to struggle to keep up with I still struggle to keep up with.

Once you get over about 15 MPH, air resistance accounts for over 50% of all the factors that are holding you back. As you speed up from there, air resistance becomes an increasingly dominate force. If you want to go faster, work on your position on the bike. If I were starting out today, I'd spend less effort and money on componentry and more on my positioning on the bike. I've never had a professional bike fit but, if I were starting out today, I'd definitely spend the money to get one. I think that would be a much, much better "bang for the buck" package than a higher end drive train.
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Old 04-01-18, 08:43 AM
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I truly appreciate the response and I know I asked for a lot of education that I don't need. I'm a recreational rider and will never be more, I don't try to keep up with anyone so performance and speed are of little use to me. What I'm looking for is adaptability and durability mostly. When I say "as finances allow" I guess I really mean when the lower end stuff wears or craps out, can I replace it with better stuff so I get an improvement?

If I get a bike that comes with a sunrace triple crank because it's all I can afford, can it later be replaced with a higher quality Shimano or Sram triple crank without reengineering the whole bike?

Is there anything I should be looking for on a new bike that makes it upgradeable so I can throw a couple hundred bucks at parts every few years instead of buying a whole new bike every few years. That seems to be a better way to word it.
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Old 04-01-18, 09:31 AM
  #4  
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Buy the best frame you can afford. What you will replace are the components (derailleurs, cranks, cogset, chainrings, brakes and levers, shifter, etc.). Keep in mind that, should you sell later, you will not get back what you put in financially, but otoh you will have been riding a bike you "created" and enjoyed. I did that with one of my bikes...replaced components piecemeal as I had the $ and found the right deals. Any bike that takes standard components can be upgraded, you'll just have to find the appropriate size compatible parts. Since you said you aren't a mechanic, I would look for a community based bike workshop near you. They will help you decide what to upgrade and teach you to do the work yourself - if you upgrade by paying a LBS for labor the cost will not be remotely affordable. In that case, you're better off saving and buying the bike you want from the start.
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Old 04-01-18, 09:33 AM
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My advise is often to upgrade a bike by upgrading to a different bike and selling the old one. Get what fits your needs and budget now. If you have a bike shop, co-op or knowledgeable friend who is willing to help assess it, a used bike can be a great deal. Unless you are able to determine that the frame on a bike is the same as one on a bike with much higher components then you're engaging in a silk purse - cow's ear exercise in changing out components. In addition less expensive bikes can have radically different components than what come on better ones, notably bottom brackets, cranksets and headset/stem configurations.

The one departure from the above recommendation relates to Retro's comments. I bought the bike that seemed to best meet my needs, but then changed out the stem, bars, saddle and pedals. In other words, all the points of contact between my body and the bike. I did so for comfort and fit, because nothing goes without the rider, and if the rider is not comfortable or efficient then no amount of high-end components will help. I don't know that you need a professional fit session - not everyone who offers them is necessarily skilled at matching the fit to the rider's needs. But at least peruse a lot of the info available online under a search for bicycle fitting.

Now that I see you have made another post - Yes, you can change out the crankset, but changes are dependent on the frame's bottom bracket. Rather than me explaining, just Google bottom bracket standards (Parktool and Sheldon are typically very helpful).

Actually, now that I did a quick Google search, I'm surprised you're even on this forum when you apparently have outstanding resources right there in Omaha:
Re-Cycle Bike Shop
https://www.communitybicycleshopomaha.org/

Online may be quick, but nothing trumps in-person help.

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Old 04-01-18, 09:41 AM
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I often recommend reading a book in print on bike repair, that you can check out, for free, from the public library ..

To get an overview of bike mechanics ...

Often replacing worn parts helps, without Upgrading.. just fitting an un worn down same sort of part..






....
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Old 04-01-18, 10:08 AM
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Depends on what you intend to upgrade. If you want more flexibility in tires for example, then you'll need a frame that can accommodate the widest variety. I think a hybrid frame is the most flexible since they're in the middle and can go either way.
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Old 04-01-18, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ChiefTJS View Post
Bottom line question, what does a bike need to be upgradeable.
The first and most important thing to allow upgrading is money. Given enough of that you can upgrade anything.
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Old 04-01-18, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
The first and most important thing to allow upgrading is money. Given enough of that you can upgrade anything.
Why really should be the first question, absolutely nothing wrong with Acera or Alivio, but generally they are fitting on lower end bikes (lower end but still good bikes, far from BSO level) and there is often little point in upgrading the groupset, as all the other parts will be lower end as well, as mentioned above, look to at a better bike with the higher spec parts fitted already, as all the other parts, like the frame, shocks, wheels etc will normally be better as well.

Even if your looking at replacing worn parts at this level, you need to look at the overall cost of replacements vs just replacing the whole bike.
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Old 04-01-18, 01:44 PM
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Good info all. Thanks, it gives me a lot of stuff to mull over. I've actually been down to the Re-Cycle bike shop here locally and they're a great bunch, just hate to engage them in long drawn out questions when they are busy. I figure the reason folks come here is to talk bikes so thought I'd throw out something to talk about. Looks like the general consensus is that If you want high end then buy it in the first place, Good info to tell the wife.
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Old 04-01-18, 01:56 PM
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Yea hard to beat the buying power of a factory buying things like components in the 10 thousand piece lots..
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Old 04-01-18, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
Why really should be the first question, absolutely nothing wrong with Acera or Alivio, but generally they are fitting on lower end bikes (lower end but still good bikes, far from BSO level) and there is often little point in upgrading the groupset, as all the other parts will be lower end as well, as mentioned above, look to at a better bike with the higher spec parts fitted already, as all the other parts, like the frame, shocks, wheels etc will normally be better as well.

Even if your looking at replacing worn parts at this level, you need to look at the overall cost of replacements vs just replacing the whole bike.
Not for what they're designed for. But its like comparing a Toyota to a BMW: both will get you from A to B, but one is a lot more refined than the other.
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Old 04-01-18, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiefTJS View Post
. . . upgraded over time and as finances allow. . .
The best upgrade is to your bank account -- save over time, wear out your current bike by riding over time, then buy the upgrade as a complete bike.
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Old 04-01-18, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Not for what they're designed for. But its like comparing a Toyota to a BMW: both will get you from A to B, but one is a lot more refined than the other.
Guess you haven't kept upto-date with Acera and Alivio, using your analogy, they are like a 1/2 series BMW, and Deroe is a 3 series, That said, would rather have a Toyota than BMW, better reliability and they come factory fitted with indicators that work.
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Old 04-01-18, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiefTJS View Post
Good info all. Thanks, it gives me a lot of stuff to mull over. I've actually been down to the Re-Cycle bike shop here locally and they're a great bunch, just hate to engage them in long drawn out questions when they are busy. I figure the reason folks come here is to talk bikes so thought I'd throw out something to talk about. Looks like the general consensus is that If you want high end then buy it in the first place, Good info to tell the wife.
I worked at a shop partly because I got paid to talk bikes with customers. I had no problem letting them know that I had other things that I had to get done if necessary, but usually just helped them get to the point quicker than they could have on their own. I would think the bike co-op there would be the perfect place to talk bikes.
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Old 04-01-18, 08:14 PM
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Start with a lovely, future-proof frame. Just ensure that you are getting a frame with standard modern sizing (e.g. modern brake caliper clearance, 130mm rear dropout spacing, etc.), and you will certainly have plenty of runway to upgrade over time. At that point, your only issue is internal parts compatibility; your frame, the "core" of your build, is not going to hold you back.

To throw out a personal favorite, consider a Cannondale CAAD9 with a standard English threaded bottom bracket. Exceptional performance, easy maintenance, overall compatibility with modern components, reasonable cost on the used market.
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Old 04-01-18, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiefTJS View Post
.............Anything specific that I should be looking for in a bike with an eye towards future upgrades. .............
From the above you should all easily gather that I am by no means a mechanic or even mechanically inclined. I'm just a guy with limited resources, trying to get a bike that suits him. Thanks for any input at all.
Originally Posted by BeginnersMind View Post
Start with a lovely, future-proof frame. Just ensure that you are getting a frame with standard modern sizing (e.g. modern brake caliper clearance, 130mm rear dropout spacing, etc.), and you will certainly have plenty of runway to upgrade over time. At that point, your only issue is internal parts compatibility; your frame, the "core" of your build, is not going to hold you back.

To throw out a personal favorite, consider a Cannondale CAAD9 with a standard English threaded bottom bracket. Exceptional performance, easy maintenance, overall compatibility with modern components, reasonable cost on the used market.
I'm going to tack on to this as pretty good advice. From what I can see, you (OP) doesn't already have a bike, right?

Get the Nicest Bike You Can Afford. If your budget only affords a new Tourney bike from Target, or a 12-y/o Ultegra bike from CL, get the older high-end bike (provided it's not too thrashed). Allow that you may need to budget for tires/grips/cables on a used bike. Since you have access to a co-op, doing some of these simple service items shouldn't be a budget-breaker.
The older, high-end bike will give you a better 'future-proof' platform that will get more 'bang' out of upgrades to 'modern' stuff; see the 'Retro Roadies' thread in Classic&Vintage for ideas of how far you can go with even older bikes.
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Old 04-02-18, 07:35 AM
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Great info folks, thanks! "Futureproof", that's exactly where I'm looking, thanks for giving me that word!!

I actually do have a bike that's been great to me and still running like a champ, my Trek 7300 MultiTrack that's going nowhere. While "serious" cyclists would scoff at it all day long, it's been a fabulous bike for me. I'm not near broke but like everyone, there's a budget. Looking at a new bike and hate to make a decision only to find that I can't keep up with future trends or that I'm stuck with a certain brands products. you guys have given some great advice and I thank you all for it.
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Old 01-14-22, 10:19 AM
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Upgrading my Trek Multitrack 7300

Hello everyone,
I'm delighted to have found this place!

I have recently acquired a wonderful TREK Multitrack 7300 in pristine condition (it must have spent the past 20 years in a garage) after falling in love with the frame geometry. I love it for its hybrid quality, combining roadbike blood with commuting and touring potential. We named him "Napoléon".

Sadly I can only post a photo after 10 posts, and this is my first one, but I'll upload one asap!

Upgrades so far:
- swapped the Bontrager saddle for a Brooks cambium carved C17, which is really comfy!
- swapped the nasty butterfly bar for some nice drop bars and some used brake-shift-levers of the Shimano variety
- gave him a sturdy rack (840g) which can carry up to 25kg of cargo
- and some Schwalbe Marathon tires (ironically I got a flat today).

At his current state he weighs a whopping 15kg and I would love to make him a bit lighter. My next plan is to replace the saddle pole with something lighter, ideally carbon. I am however confined to a minimum budged and am heavily relying on second hand / ebay goods for this project.

Someone said that replacing the crankset with modern, much lighter parts is impossible because technologies have changed. I have seen blog posts of people who have done it somehow, though, so now I am looking for information on this, as well as some advice on how to modernize my gem while maintaining his wonderful hybrid qualities. I would love to eventually swap the drive-train for something lighter, potentially similar to te 3x8 setup the bike came with (Shimano Nexave).

Please help us out if you can - I'm grateful for any advice!

Sincerely, M.Lou
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Old 01-15-22, 07:57 AM
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One way to save substantial weight would be to replace your marathons with a lighter tire. But you’d probably be giving up some durability there too.
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Old 01-15-22, 12:36 PM
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A carbon saddle pole on that bike would make little sense. Enjoy your bike.
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Old 01-15-22, 02:44 PM
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What is the time frame for the 'future' in 'future-proof'? My frame was put together in 1973, and I can still get all the parts I need or want. I just upgraded to 7-speed SIS a year ago. Brifters may be in my future. A new bike isn't, unless I shrink so much that this bike gets too big for me.

I have one bike; I've only ever had one bike that I rode. Even so, I've found that the time I spent at the University of Michigan bike co-op in 1973-74 has paid off very well. Youtube is OK, as far as it goes, but it doesn't begin to match having someone show you how to do something, watch you do it, and QC your work.

Your needs will very likely depend on what you buy. If you go the new route, I agree: get the best bike you can afford, allowing for some basic tools, spare tube, water bottle cage, water bottle, and helmet. Then teach yourself to change a tire and get set to learn to maintain hub, BB, headset in a year. If you buy a used bike, you need the education as soon as you can get it, maybe even sooner....
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Old 01-15-22, 04:13 PM
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Only upgrade when something breaks, and that's only IF there will be a benefit to upgrading. A lot of upgrades a person could do could be a waste of money if you don't ride the bike more than 15 miles from home.

The single best upgrade for the money is buying lighter tires and tubes! And if your tires have knobbies on them and you never ride off road then get a set of smooth tires, get a set of tires that are not as wide, say your current tires are 42 then get a set of 38's for example. Cheap tires can weigh 1,600 grams each (just an example of 45 wide tire could weigh), whereas a good tire might only weigh 430 grams. Cheap tubes can weigh 250 grams whereas good tubes can weigh at least 100 grams less than that. I would start by figuring out what you can do with your tires and tubes as my first improvement.

Beyond that I would change out the rims, but personally I wouldn't do that either unless they broke or wore out.

So instead of upgrading to more expensive wheels and or components, or whatever, simply save that money and add to it for the next few years and buy a bike that you really want with the cash you saved from not doing stupid upgrades.

But only buy a new bike IF you "outgrow" your current bike. For example, you're constantly doing over 20 miles from home, and on weekends you're really going over that into the 40's and 50's miles from home. Once you start exceeding certain mileages then it becomes an issue with reliability, you don't want cheap Shiman Tourney stuff breaking on you when you're 40 or so miles from home. Also, when you do buy another bike there is no reason to get components better than either Shimano 105 or Deore (or SRAM equivalent) unless you decide to get into racing and even with 105 and Deore I know people who race on that stuff so that could be questionable, but something to consider if you decide to race. Always be reasonable when buying a bike, the biking industry wants you to spend a lot of money, and most of that money is for stuff that far exceeds most people's capabilities, so use common sense.
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Old 01-16-22, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
What is the time frame for the 'future' in 'future-proof'? My frame was put together in 1973, and I can still get all the parts I need or want. I just upgraded to 7-speed SIS a year ago. Brifters may be in my future. A new bike isn't, unless I shrink so much that this bike gets too big for me..
"Futureproof" isn't as much of a time frame as it is whether it makes sense to upgrade that bike to newer/better spec. Like I gave in my example back in post #17; that even if it's 12-15 years old, a second (or third) -hand Ultegra bike would be a much better base for upgrades than a brand new Tourney-equipped bike, even if they cost the same money.
One example that's come up a few times lately is the mid-90's CAAD-3/4 Cannondales; their design was way ahead of their time, and the build quality was some of the best in the business. Upgrade the driveline to 10/11sp and fit modern wheels, and they're still the class of anything on the road.(for way less money)

Not "futureproof" would be those guys who ask about how to fit a 105 gruppo on to their $199 Big-box road bike (Kent, B'Twin, what have you) Sure, you can bodge enough stuff together to make it more-or-less work, but after you've swapped everything but the paint job, you've still got a cheap, heavy, poorly finished low-end frame.
Also, bikes that make use of a lot of proprietary tech, even if it's new, at some point, it'll be an orphan, and you'll have to either be really creative, or have to keep scrounging through a dwindling supply of spares. (I have an old Softride, I know this well)
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Old 01-16-22, 04:17 PM
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LOL. The only thing future proof is a Sturmey Archer 3 speed with drum brake. And they will last as long as you.

Anyway, good bikes just aren't going to come with junk parts.
Fast, strong, cheap >> pick one.

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 01-17-22 at 12:50 AM.
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