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Old 12-17-12, 04:03 PM   #1
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Is she worth upgrading?

Hello folks:

I bought a 2010 Specialized Steel Allez 2nd (maybe 3rd) hand from a fellow Clydesdale (I'm 6'1/230lbs). He informed me that he essentially wrecked the original wheelset and replaced it with a no name wheelset (literally no name... the hubs have an "A" in a remote corner and the rims say absolutely nothing on them).

Surprisingly these wheels held up pretty well until I got into a collision. My LBS deemed both unfixable and I replaced them with some highly recommended Deep-V/DT champion/105's (very nice, and weigh even less than the no names, go figure), which I am told should be sturdy enough to last with me from bike to bike (should I want a cross check one day or something like that).

In looking over the rest of the bike, I see that the brake levers are tektro somethings (which also got jacked up due to the collision), the brakes calipers are literally no-name as well, blah blah blah... I'll get to the point.

Is this FRAME (which geometry I love!) worth upgrading the other components (calipers, levers, derailleurs, cranks, etc., all of which I'm getting a VERY good deal on) to make it a more "worthwhile cycling experience" instead of a melange of no-named-ness (apparently prone to collision)?

As always, I submit my ignorance to the forum.
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Old 12-17-12, 04:08 PM   #2
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If the bike fits, has your long term geometry goals, and is a pleasure to ride why not? Now if your going to upgrade it enough to cover the cost of a brand new bike... that's a whole other story and you'll just have to compare your needs with it's capabilities.
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Old 12-17-12, 04:16 PM   #3
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No pics??!!??
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Old 12-17-12, 04:36 PM   #4
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A lot of "no name" stuff can work just fine if properly maintained.
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Old 12-17-12, 04:48 PM   #5
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Alot of "no name" stuff is the same as the stuff with a name, 'cept without one.

I have a Specialized road bike and it probably has a lot of the same no-name components. Some I've replaced, others are still there. I really haven't had any issues with them.

My view is the same as RaleighSport's. Sometimes the cheapest way to get nice components is to buy another bike, - with the added advantage of giving you another bike to ride or sell.
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Old 12-17-12, 04:53 PM   #6
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A lot of us are riding bikes that have been upgraded over the years, stock components often get upgraded when they wear out to the point that the bike you're riding now isn't the one you bought years ago. I know mine isn't, and I know I'm not the only one here that can say that.
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Old 12-17-12, 04:59 PM   #7
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Personally, I think that's a good frame. One of the nice things about steel is that within a certain quality of steel, the main differences are geometry, construction and paint. For instance, you've got a TIG-welded steel frame, almost certainly 4130 chromoly. The tubing is the same quality as you'd get with a Surly (for instance). Seeing as your frame is from Specialized, I think you can also count on it being well-made and having decent paint. The only thing you'd 'gain' by getting another 4130 frame is different geometry, color, braze-ons. That is, that frame will more-or-less last forever if you don't crash it badly.

So, is the frame worthy of upgrades? Sure. I wouldn't put Dura-Ace parts on it -- unless I had them with nothing better to use them on. I'd say 105 wouldn't be wasted on that frame.

That said, you should think about what you want to get out of the deal. One of the things that you get by "upgrading" from an 8-speed group to a 10-speed group is reduced durability in the drivechain, particularly the chain. That's not to say that 10-speed parts aren't durable, because they are, but 8-speed parts are cheaper and last longer. Shimano's 10-speed groups are really nice if you like the STI shifters. If you'd be happy with bar-end shifters, I think you'll find that the 8-speed Shimano SL-BS64 shift as crisply as anything on the market. I've got a set of those on my 26-inch frankenbike with 24-year old "Mountain LX" derailleurs and it shifts like a dream (though it improves a better rear derailleur). I would expect Shimano's downtube shifters (which I believe you already have) to work similarly well. So I would decide about shifter upgrades based on the type of shifter you want.

Brakes...I have to confess here that my only experience with caliper brakes is with my 2001 LeMond Nevada City. It had no-name calipers on it when I got it, and I upgraded to Ultegra 6600 brakes before I even put it on the road. The Ultegra brakes are great, and look really nice. They weighed, I think, 5 grams less than the no-names, and functionality is probably also similar. Probably the biggest upgrade you can make with brakes is to get good pads.

Crankset...I've upgraded a few cranksets in the past, and I've never been convinced that the upgrade made a noticeable difference. Good chainrings make a big difference in shifting performance, but if you're using friction shifters then that doesn't matter. Lots of manufacturers like to talk about how stiff their cranksets are, but I have never been able to feel the difference between the best and the cheapest I've had.
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Old 12-17-12, 05:08 PM   #8
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It's probably a pretty nice frame, so i wouldn't say it's unreasonable to upgrade things if you actually think they'll improve performance for you, or if parts are genuinely wearing out, or you really want. Tektro stuff is often pretty good, do you find the braking performance lacking, and is that actually the result of a problem that can't be fixed with better tuning and/or brake pads? Is the shifting performance poor for reasons other than a need for cleaning/tuning or a new chain/cassette/chainrings? Is the gearing suitable for you? If you need to change a major part of your drivetrain (smaller chainrings, new cassette, etc) then upgrading the drivetrain makes more sense.

I looked up your bike, and pretty much the big thing would be going to STI, and possibly 9/10sp, if you want your bike to behave more like a modern performance road bike. If your gearing range is too high you could also just change the crankset to a compact or a triple. Theoretically going to STI will require shifters, a new chain, new crankset, and new cassette, and it might not be a terrible idea to replace the derailleurs, although they might run fine. This is a pretty expensive proposition--probably $350-500 with new components. The new 9sp Sora or older 9sp Tiagra would probably be the least expensive components I'd consider very worth upgrading. A cheaper option would be keeping your drivetrain the same and getting 8sp STI shifters, is the best new component, but as with anything buying used is the best way to save money(aside from being happy with what you have).

If you want to really fancy up the bike (and like SRAM ergonomics) Apex groupsets are available for about $500.
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Old 12-17-12, 06:43 PM   #9
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Provided the frame and fork aren't damaged I'd say yes it's worth it. As you pointed out nice parts can always be transferred to another frame later. I would get a second opinion on the condition of the frame and fork before proceeding though. Wheels often hold up better in collisions than frames do, depending on the type of impact.

Where upgrading a bike gets expensive is if you're not doing your own wrenching. Also, some shops are cool with customer bringing in their own parts, and some less so. Your best approach is to get as much stuff hanging on the frame as possible before bringing it in to a shop.

How much to upgrade is another question. For a commuter strong and reliable matter. Component weight and finish, not so much.

I personally like downtube shifters for commuting, but that's what I grew up with so I'm used to them. They're simple, reliable, light, cheap, and tend to survive crashes pretty well. Also, ease of recabling and having a friction mode available are nice.
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Old 12-17-12, 07:13 PM   #10
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My personal view on 'upgrades' isn't bicycle model dependent. I buy components I really like and move them from bike to bike. Bikes may come and go but the components I like the most just stick around indefinately.
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Old 12-17-12, 07:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Burton View Post
My personal view on 'upgrades' isn't bicycle model dependent. I buy components I really like and move them from bike to bike. Bikes may come and go but the components I like the most just stick around indefinately.
+1. Buy good replacement parts when you need to, transfer them if you upgrade (or break) frames.
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