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Richard D 02-09-02 10:59 AM

Help me spend my money!
I think after next payday I can probably afford a small upgrade to the commuter. I'm thinking of either bottom bracket, cranks and chainset (all cheap suntour at the moment) or a new rear wheel and cassette (basic machine built alloy wheel with 7sp cassette, a bit heavy but seems to roll okay).

Which is probably the better upgrade - I think they'll be a similar price?

My thoughts are the chainset/bb. I was thinking of Shimano Deore (any better ideas at a similar price, or good reasons for going higher). Should I go for the new octalink(sp) spline? Any advantages?

If I go for the wheel, what bits?



MichaelW 02-09-02 12:13 PM

Bottom bracket is always a good upgrade, even if you cant show off about it. Shimano UN72, or the Tange equivelent (same factory, different label) is good, but make sure it fits your cranks. Royce is maybe a bit over the top.
A good handbuilt rear wheel is always better than a machine built one. You dont need to go with fancy components, an LX hub(what are they called these days?) with a Mavic rim and DT/Sapin spokes will do very nicely. Your old wheels are always useful as spares. You do need to get it done at a competant lightweight bike shop.

It pays to start with a good frame and adaquate components, then upgrades are really worthwhile.

toolfreak 02-09-02 01:52 PM

Richard, the best upgrade on my touring bike wasn`t a new crankset and neither the high- end seatpost, but it was the handbuilt wheelset!

It was like Michael said a fancy XTR hub , lol, with mavic D-521 rims and Dt butted spokes, this is truely the best investment i have done.

Good wheels are stiffer, you get better accelaration, more control and feeling in turns and off course they don`t need to be trued as much as factory wheels.

Hope you can make a good choice about your upgrade,

thbirks 02-09-02 06:20 PM

Richard, I'm sending you a s.a.s.e. Please place your extra moneys in this envelope and drop it in the post. Your problem is solved. Don't mention it.:)

Seriously, a handbuilt wheel is the best upgrade you can make. I'd rather ride a cheap frame with good wheels than an expensive frame with crappy wheels.

I generally don't replace something untill it's worn out. Maybe just hold onto the money and wait to see what needs attention first.

Richard D 02-13-02 01:42 AM

Thanks for the advice.

Am I right in thinking that replacing the rear wheel should give me 75% ish of the improvement of replacing both? I'm asuming being the drive wheel and bearing slightly more weight it would make the bigger difference?


Rich 02-13-02 02:04 AM

Sounds about right to me Rich.

When I had my first pair of wheels, the difference in performance really surprised me.

Happy birthday mate!!!


chewa 02-13-02 02:11 AM

I agree with Mark. Change the wheels first. Nice handbuilt wheels really make a difference.

If you wait until I've done my wheelbuilding course, I'll do them for you! (for a fee) :D

RainmanP 02-13-02 06:33 AM

As long as you are getting a new wheel, spend the extra couple of bucks, er, pounds and get a Deore XT hub for 8-9 speed. The shop can supply a spacer that allows you to use a 7-speed cassette so your shifters will work. Then you are set if you decide to take another step later. This is what I did for a few months while I saved up the money to continue the upgrade.

EDucator 02-13-02 02:50 PM

Wheels to a bicycle are what speakers are to a stereo system. Good quality speakers will give impressive results from even a standard quality amplifier and it's other components. Crappy speakers connected to a 500 watt monster will do nothing for the ability of that amp or its other components like the CD player, etc.

I have alot of wheelsets of varying brands and models. I can take an old set of Suze' or Weinmann hubs and similar rims, build them up and adjust the freakin' heck out of them for precision performance and they'll roll nicely. Then again, I can do the same to a set of Campy Record hubs on a super Mavic rim and truly feel the increase in performance. Now that's revolutionary -- excuse the intended pun!:rolleyes:

John E 02-13-02 03:05 PM

If yours are old and/or cheap, don't overlook pedals as a very cost-effective upgrade. For about $25, I recently replaced the decent-quality 1988 Shimano pedals on my mountain bike with a lighter-weight, smooth-turning pair of sealed-bearing Wellgos.

I agree with everyone else, however, that the wheelset is arguably the most important part of the bike. I replaced the junky original wheels on my younger son's Ross mountain bike with machine-built Supergo closeout specials (Parallax/DT/Mavic), and immediately noticed the difference. I then installed a UN-72 BB and RSX crankset and ended up with something good enough to get him through his teen years. My only problem/disappointment is that cranks do not seat fully onto the RSX spindle. I have experienced this on both boys' bikes, with White/Sugino cranks and Shimano RSX. I would have expected at least the latter to fit properly onto a Shimano BB spindle!

Richard D 02-26-02 08:15 AM

On the advice of the lbs, I'm upgrading the BB and crankset before the wheels. He thought I'd notice more of an improvement, as in his opinion the stock wheels on my Giant run pretty well but if in a couple of months time I want a couple of wheels he's got a few 2000 and 2001 model hubs he'll build up at a good discount.


Widget 02-26-02 09:04 AM

I recently replaced the bottom bracket on my commuter, an old steel touring bike I picked up at a rummage sale a couple of years ago. The mechanic showed me the crumbled rusty metal and bearings he pulled out. The new sealed bottom bracket is great. I think I was probably losing about 20 percent of the energy from every pedal stroke with the old one. Plus it only cost $40.


LittleBigMan 02-26-02 04:52 PM


Originally posted by Richard D
I think after next payday I can probably afford a small upgrade to the commuter.
I think after next payday I can afford the repairs to our only nice car.

For $800, I could have gotten my "dream recumbent."

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