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Specialized Sequoia - Upgrade Path

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Specialized Sequoia - Upgrade Path

Old 10-11-21, 01:27 PM
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YoughRiverDavid
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Specialized Sequoia - Upgrade Path

I have a trusty Lemond Poprad that is 20 years old. I enjoy the bike but I am ready to move onto a ride that can handle more than 30mm tires. The bike is limited to 30mm tires. And as I age – soon to be 59 – I am looking for a more comfortable ride. The bike is a 55cm and probably a tad small for my height of about 6-1. My current pandemic weight is hovering at 215lbs.

I primarily ride rail trails – not into road riding or precarious gravel descents or climbs.

I picked up a leftover Specialized Sequoia Elite in 56cm. I am concluding this bike is a slug. The Lemond has a 53/39 crank and the Sequoia has a 48/32. Lemond is equipped with Continental 30mm Continental tires and the Sequoia has the 42mm Sawtooth. The Sequoia has the factory loaded Hayfield rims/wheels. (Also known as boat anchors - at least that is how I have read them to be defined.) I have not weighed both bikes – but online stats say the Sequoia is about 4lbs heavier.

Can I bring some “life” into the Sequoia by changing the wheels and tires or would I be better off selling the bike and moving onto something like a 2022 Checkpoint? (Or Topstone, Diverge.) I prefer steel – but those options are limited to Niner RLT or Jamis Renegade. Also, not easily found in the wild. I don’t want a carbon bike – just because – and partially due to cost.

If I put the Specialized Roval Terra CL wheels and 38mm Pathfinders on the bike would that alter the feel of the bike? How about a Hunt carbon wheelset? (I'm not a Specialized fanboy - but hey they seem to be very good options.)

How much does the “gearing” change the feel of the bike? Does going down to a 48 tooth from a 53 make a world of difference in “feel”? (Do I need to get gearing charts out?) Does the gearing change cadence? Will I need more “revolutions” on the 48 to travel same distance on the 53? (I guess that depends on the gear used on the rear cassette.) Maybe I could drop a 50 or 52 crank on the bike to replace the 48.

Am I better served putting the money to a new bike rather than buying blingy wheels?

How would the newly updated Checkpoint ride compare to the Sequoia? I recently read where the 2022 wil be less snappy that the previous Checkpoint.

Thanks
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Old 10-11-21, 03:24 PM
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pdlamb
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Did you know apples aren't the same color as oranges?

You're comparing a loaded touring bike to a lightweight road bike; don't expect them to feel the same.

That said, if you want to spend a bit and get some lightweight tires to put on the Sequoia, that's likely to make it feel a bit sportier. Of course, one of the reasons your Lemond feels sport is that you get that nice road buzz through the tires; you can't get that with wider tires (the ones that give you a smoother ride) unless you pump them up to the same high pressure you've got on your 28s. So even if you're going faster, the Spec is going to feel slower.

You can try down-shifting a gear, too. That'll make it feel like you're accelerating faster. You still won't get the buzz, though.
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Old 10-11-21, 05:17 PM
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Swap your old 30mm tires to the new bike and go for a ride.
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Old 10-11-21, 09:54 PM
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If you like the Poprad, then find a new bike with similar geometry. Then buy some quality wheels and tires.
There ya go- a bike that will be more fun and more useful.

Some other steel frame carbon fork options to look into...
Fairlight Secan
Ribble CGR 725
AllCity Cosmic Stallion
Ritchey Outback
Brother Mehteh
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Old 10-12-21, 08:22 AM
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My buddy has the same bike. He went with lighter wheels (dropped over 2 lbs!) and said the bike feels transformed... I'd go that route before looking for a new bike. He also swapped out to lighter tires.
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Old 10-12-21, 08:31 AM
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A lot of questions, a couple answers...

A wheel tire upgrade will do wonders for how the bike feels. A 38mm or 42mm tire will always be heavier than a 30mm tire, if it was designed with any kind of durability in mind. Regardless, lighter wheels with a proper tire can dramatically change how the bike feels in terms of acceleration and response to steering inputs, and the right tire for the surface(s) you're riding on will also increase enjoyment and confidence. For the record, the Sawtooth is actually a great trail tire, not so great in the really loose stuff or mud, but it is an excellent light/medium gravel tire and quite durable. Pathfinders (Pro version) are even better, great on just about anything that isn't wet, sloppy mud. I ran my first set tubeless between 36-38psi and they lasted more than 5000km. Buying wheels is less expensive than buying a whole new bike, and losing weight in the wheels is much more meaningful to the overall handling and feel of a bike than losing it anywhere else (except maybe on the rider...as I contemplate my own path back to 75kg).

Gear inches are gear inches regardless of the actual teeth counts f to r. Get out a gear calculator and compare your new gear range to your old one. If it isn't sufficient for your needs, you could always swap in a 50/34 chainset to get a slightly taller gear range (Praxis makes rings that should bolt to your crank if you still have the original crank the bike was spec'd with). I would not mess with the cassette, since that is really about widening (or shrinking the total range) at the low end, and that bike should be geared plenty low already. Gearing won't change the bike feel much, but it could make climbing easier or descending faster.
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Old 10-12-21, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Caliwild View Post
My buddy has the same bike. He went with lighter wheels (dropped over 2 lbs!) and said the bike feels transformed... I'd go that route before looking for a new bike. He also swapped out to lighter tires.
A mate of mine did the same and remarked the same. New wheels will make it feel much more lively.
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Old 10-12-21, 05:43 PM
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Everything about the Sequoia is a tank and if you change tires and rims it will feel like a slightly lighter weight tank. Best bet is to sell it as is for top dollar right now with the market crazy for used bikes, then buy what you like. Be prepared to order and wait for what you want though. Many shops would even take that Sequoia on a trade also.
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Old 10-14-21, 07:58 AM
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Thanks for the feed back to all.

A number of good points. Some of the common sense comments are sinking in.

Yes, this bikes designed purpose and as equipped is not going to "feel" like a race worthy (in it's day) cross bike.

I need to time clock a few rides. Just because the bike "feels" slower doesn't make it so.
Swapping the tires out from the Sawtooth 42's to a lightweight 36mm could make a noticeable difference.
Any type of wheel upgrade is also going to be a noticeable improvement.
Swapping the crank for a Praxis would also be a worthwhile upgrade.
Most of these parts are available - a new bike is not. I can make the changes and always go bike shopping or place an order for a new bike if things don't work out.

Cheers!
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Old 10-15-21, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by YoughRiverDavid View Post
Swapping the crank for a Praxis would also be a worthwhile upgrade.
My apologies, I was going off memory, thinking you already had a Praxis crankset. During that timeframe Spesh was using Praxis cranks on a lot of their bikes, using an M30 BB, and when I saw your current chainset spec (48/32), I just assumed it was a Praxis Alba. Regardless there are easily sourced 5 bolt 110-BCD chain sets that will fit the FSA crank you've got on there now. But, if you were going to go to the trouble of changing the crank, and not just the chainrings (a much easier route, or at least faster), I'd say look at the SRAM DUB format and upgrade your BB at the same time to allow running a stiffer crank (better power transfer and a minor upgrade in feel). That bike has a threaded BB (huge plus!), and it is a cinch to swap these out.

And yes, the bike will never be a bantam weight CX racebike, but then the long duration/distance comfort on the modern Sequoia is its real selling point. One of the factors adding to that is the larger volume tire it was designed to accommodate. If you are really looking for something that rolls faster, but don't want to fully sacrifice the comfort, investigate the Pathfinder pro tires (as I mentioned above). They come in a 38 or 42 width, the 38s are a fantastic tire, and with a smooth center section will roll really well on pavement, and with the knobbly bits on the shoulder will give you the kind of grip and confidence you'll not want to sacrifice on the gravelly parts.
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