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wheels aside, what are the most important bike upgrades?

Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

wheels aside, what are the most important bike upgrades?

Old 06-24-13, 05:40 PM
  #1  
mrkm
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wheels aside, what are the most important bike upgrades?

just wondering what, aside from wheels, are the most important upgrades one can make to their bike.

would be great to see a list of what you think.
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Old 06-24-13, 05:42 PM
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Saddle.

I'm not even convinced wheels are that big of a deal anymore, as long as they roll straight and are durable and not super flexy or super heavy.
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Old 06-24-13, 05:53 PM
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+1

Bibs, saddle, shoes and bars. Anything that touches the bike will keep you on the bike longer if it fits and comfy for any length of time.
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Old 06-24-13, 05:53 PM
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I'm with Trojanhorse on this. Except, I'll expand my top line to include:

1. "Contact Points". All of them. Saddle, Shoes, Pedals, Bars, Gloves, Shorts. And getting there positions right.

2. Durable, no fuss, wheels and tires.

3. Shifters. I have for years viewed skepticly the manufacturers tendency to pair higher end rear derailers with lower grade shifters and even more importantly cassettes. I believe the greatest difference in shift quality can oftern be found first in upgrading the cassette. Have you noticed that Ultegra grade cassettes have two shifting ramps per cog vs 105's single? And then the shifters/brifters themselves.

4. Everything else
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Old 06-24-13, 05:54 PM
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You mean besides a newer, stronger engine? (j/k)...

Seriously, I start with the three main points of bike/body contact...saddle, comfy bar tape, good cycling shoes and pedals.
Other upgrades are bike and situation dependent.
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Old 06-24-13, 06:12 PM
  #6  
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1. Lights (two in front, two in back - one steady, one blinky both ends)

2. Reflective tape and hi-visibility clothing

3. Rear rack and good waterproof panniers (my Ortliebs are the best piece of bike gear I own)

4. Fenders

5. IGH rear hub

6. Saddle


Can you tell I'm an all-weather commuter in urban street traffic?

A lot depends on your intended use.... Being a clyde, a well-built rear wheel and solid overall assembly are important to me, too.
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Old 06-24-13, 06:45 PM
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N+1
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Old 06-25-13, 10:05 AM
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#1 . What ever is broke or worn out.

#2 . Quality shorts.

#3 . A seat that works for you.
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Old 06-25-13, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
Saddle.
Yup! First thing that gets swapped out, even before that inaugural ride around the block. Wheels can wait, but not a seat.
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Old 06-25-13, 10:57 AM
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I guess I am on another page... in terms of the bike alone I think upgrades would be:

Wheels
shifters
brakes
drivetrain
stem
seat post

From experience I can tell you the difference wheels and a new drivetrain can make. For instance: recently, because of a little "accident" I had to purchase new shifters for my mountain bike. I decided to upgrade from SLX to XT and boy what a different! Shifting went from OK to very smooth and swift. Well worth the price!

I tend to get the seat I want when I purchase the bike - I negotiate that in with the shop or online vender - but a good saddle is also worth the price. I also usually get a CK headset thrown in.

And don't discount little things like new crankarms (especially if the ones used previously are the wrong length), seat post, stem etc. I think any little upgrade or improvement is noticeable but I can understand not wanting to spend the money if things work fine as they are.
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Old 06-25-13, 04:32 PM
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Forget wheels. Contact points are the prioroty; saddle, bars and pedals. Everything alse is just details.
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Old 06-25-13, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by volosong View Post
Yup! First thing that gets swapped out, even before that inaugural ride around the block. Wheels can wait, but not a seat.
It should only get swapped out if it doesn't work for you. In my case the stock saddle on my bike was the one I eventually ended up with after a dozen or so other test saddles.

I'll agree with the majority on contact points and then a bike fit...
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Old 06-25-13, 05:41 PM
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After the contact points, a good set of tires made a big difference on my road bike.
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Old 06-25-13, 07:08 PM
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In order of importance for me:

Getting a bike fit
Getting a new saddle
New wheels

The fit was the most valuable and the least expensive. The wheels were the least valuable and the most expensive. But they all contribute to making long rides a positive experience.
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Old 06-25-13, 07:19 PM
  #15  
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The engine.
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Old 06-25-13, 08:21 PM
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I'll second the notion of putting a tire upgrade ahead of wheels. If you're riding around on wire bead, heavy rubber with some form of urethane puncture protection, a simple change to kevlar (folding) bead tires with reasonably light sidewalls (suited to your conditions) and an aramid puncture defense under a resonably light tread can shave hundreds of grams of rotating weight off a bike for a minimal amount of coin.
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