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Some 'upgrade' suggestions

Old 12-31-11, 10:13 PM
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Burton
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Some 'upgrade' suggestions

Upgrades

Thought I'd share a few suggestions I make to*people looking for the most effective upgrades or are looking for advice on buying a bike based on the 'most for your money' principal. *Some can be negotiated onto the sale of a new bike - getting you an exchange or credit for components you don't want anyway. Feel free to add your own to the list or make suggestions.

(1) Upgrade to lined brake and cable housing:
Believe it or not - unlined housing and tinned cable is still stock on most bicycles. And is still used by shops doing tune-ups and repairs. Those same shops usualy also have lined cable housing and stainless cable or kits with both. Ask!*

Cables are either tinned or stainless and the difference is less than fifty cents a cable. Installation costs are identical.*
But tinned cables will corrode - particularly in cable installations where the cable housing is routed in a downwards loop that trathem posture. And the cable will eventually seize or wear through.*

The cable housing issue is similar to the cable issue. Corrosion under similar circumstances and similar issues with cable seizing as a result. Lined cable housing was originally introduced to minimize friction on high end machines. It also solves corrosion issues and it's neither expensive nor hard to find.*
Installing a combination of stainless cables and lined housing is probably the cheapest 'upgrade' anyone can do and pays for itself through cost avoidance - it'll typically outlast several 'normal' cable/housing installations.
Bikes that are stored outside or driven in the winter are most prone to these issues and cables are typically changed every year.*
Unless they're stainless - in which case failure due to corrosion is eliminated.

OK - alternatively you could change the cables and housing every year using unlined housing and tinned cables and still get almost the same performance.

(2) inspect, grease and adjust front and rear wheel bearings.
For some reason bicycles seem to be assembled new with a minimum of grease and most people never seem to service their hubs. Every client I've ever done this for has noticed an improvement in smoothness and reduced pedaling effort afterwards. Sometimes it was a new machine that hadn't been properly prepped, sometimes it was an older machine that had simply never seen any bearing maintenance.*If you can feel the bearing when the wheel is spun with your fingers on the axle - its better to do something

OK- you could alternatively get increased smoothness and reduced pedaling effort by buying a new wheel set too.

(3) Upgrade the tires and inner-tubes on your hybrid or roadbike:
Tires and tubes are available in different qualities and anyone that just goes for the cheapest available is just trading performance for money. All tires cost the same to install and repairing a flat costs the same on all of them. Adding a Mr Tuffy to a cheap tire just makes a heavy tire/tube combination heavier.*
In case you didn't know - cheap tubes don't have the same manufacturing standards as high-grade tubes and tend to lose air more rapidly. And they're heavier.
Just to give an example - installing Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires and Schwalbe tubes on the average road or hybrid bike will shave off more weight than upgrading to DuraAce wheel set. And give a better ride and unbeatable flat protection too.

For customers shopping for a new bike where I work, this upgrade is offered as an option with a credit given for the retail value of the tires and tubes already on the bike. Short of exotic road machines - the tires and tubes that come stock on new bikes are another place where the manufacturer cut corners to deliver a lower list price.

But OK - to shave the same weight you could always spend a lot more money and get a better wheel set and live with the sane tires and occasional flat instead

(4) Upgrade the seat
People are built differently and not everyone will be comfortable with what comes stock on the bike.
Best time to upgrade a seat is BEFORE you take it out the door!*

(5) Upgrade the brake pads:
Brake pad material isn't all the same and the generic stuff that comes with entry level bikes and that's used for most tune-ups is a pretty sorry excuse for brake pads. It works but .....
High end brakes work amazingly better and it's not just because the mechanism is better engineered *and lighter. Some people think the brake pads used in Shimano brakes are all pretty much the same and that you just pay for a name. It ain't so. The pad material isn't the same across all models.*And although every year Shimano announces small weight savings in each brake model - during the past few years they've announced BIG improvements in braking performance - particularly in wet weather performance. For the 7900 series, Shimano announced a 201% wet weather improvement and a 120% dry weather performance for DuraAce pads. When the Ultegra system was upgraded to the 6700 series the Ultegra brakes got the same material. As far as I know - it hasn't trickled down to the 105 brakes yet, although their pad performance is slightly improved for 2012.
So although CoolStop make good brake pads for hybrids and MTB bikes, in my experience, XT and XTR pads will outperform them. And installing those new Ultegra pads on an older road bike will still give a massive improvement in braking performance without buying a complete new brake system.*
Yeah - they're pricier than that generic stuff - there's a reason. And just be happy you don't live in Canada. Parts here are typically double the price that people pay in the US.
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Old 12-31-11, 10:37 PM
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Interesting about the brake pad material- I've always heard that Kool Stop Salmon were the cat's meow.
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Old 12-31-11, 11:39 PM
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This info is very informative. It should be made a sticky unto the forum...

- Slim
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Old 01-01-12, 01:18 AM
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[QUOTE=Burton;13661680]Upgrades




(2) inspect, grease and adjust front and rear wheel bearings.
For some reason bicycles seem to be assembled new with a minimum of grease and most people never seem to service their hubs. Every client I've ever done this for has noticed an improvement in smoothness and reduced pedaling effort afterwards. Sometimes it was a new machine that hadn't been properly prepped, sometimes it was an older machine that had simply never seen any bearing maintenance.*If you can feel the bearing when the wheel is spun with your fingers on the axle - its better to do something

Most new bikes with Mavics come with cartrage bearings as are several other brands. At least on all but the entry level bikes. Might be a reagonal thing.

OK- you could alternatively get increased smoothness and reduced pedaling effort by buying a new wheel set too.

Agreed


(3) Upgrade the tires and inner-tubes on your hybrid or :
Tires and tubes are available in different qualities and anyone that just goes for the cheapest available is just trading performance for money. All tires cost the same to install and repairing a flat costs the same on all of them. Adding a Mr Tuffy to a cheap tire just makes a heavy tire/tube combination heavier.*
In case you didn't know - cheap tubes don't have the same manufacturing standards as high-grade tubes and tend to lose air more rapidly. And they're heavier.

Just to give an example - installing Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires and Schwalbe tubes on the average road or hybrid bike will shave off more weight than upgrading to DuraAce wheel set. And give a better ride and unbeatable flat protection too.


Last time I checked most stock wheel sets were about 2200 grams. A Dura Ace Wheel set is about 1500 grams. That is 700 grams of rolling weight. I don't think even Marathons and tubes are 700 grams lighter than lets say Gatorskins.

For customers shopping for a new bike where I work, this upgrade is offered as an option with a credit given for the retail value of the tires and tubes already on the bike. Short of exotic road machines - the tires and tubes that come stock on new bikes are another place where the manufacturer cut corners to deliver a lower list price.

But OK - to shave the same weight you could always spend a lot more money and get a better wheel set and live with the sane tires and occasional flat instead

Yes New tires and tubes are a lot less than $1000.00 to $1300.00 for new Dura Ace wheels. Even the new Ultegras are $600.00 here.

(4) Upgrade the seat
People are built differently and not everyone will be comfortable with what comes stock on the bike.
Best time to upgrade a seat is BEFORE you take it out the door!*

Reasonable but how would someone know what saddle to upgrade to untill after they try the one on the bike? I have moved to an SMP but most dealers aren't going to simply exchange a $250.00 saddle for a stock $30.00 one.
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Old 01-01-12, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
This info is very informative. It should be made a sticky unto the forum...

- Slim
It's good advice...but it leaves unanswered the big question: Why would anybody wait three months for spoke nipples? There's more than one source.
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Old 01-01-12, 12:33 PM
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OK I guess I need to post some details

Let me start by saying that I can't really know what's actually on your bike or what might be on the bike you're looking at - so these examples are simply being given to illustrate that you MIGHT get more bang for the buck by looking at different priorities. It's also addressed primarily to the average buyer, who where I live, buys a bike that costs between $400 and $1,200 and covers Haro, Norco, DeVinvi, Giant, Rocky Mountain, Miele, Louis Garneau, Kona etc. In that price range no models come with Mavic hubs or cartridge hub bearings. Yup - in the same store there are higher end models and a few exotic brands like Argon 18, but thats not where the average sale is. And customers looking at bikes for $5K to $15K are usually familiar with what's being posted here.

So here's a few random specifics to illustrate that wheelset vs tire/tube/tire liner weight comparison:

DuraAce wheel set WH-7900-C35-CL lists by Shimano at 1,664g
Shimano's entry level wheel set for triathlon and time trials is the WH-R501-30 which specs at 2001g

That's a difference of about 340g between the two wheel sets

Coyote 700c Hybrid Bike Schrader / Valve Tube
According to them - known as one of the best quality tubes available in the market place!
Size: 700c x 35/38c*
Valve: Schrader
Average Weight: 214 grams

Schwalbe tube 700 x 28-38 Schrader Valve
150g

Weight saving by upgrading tubes - potentially100g/pair

Vee Rubber city wolf*
700 x 38c*750g

Michelin city 700x 38c
780g

Kenda K‑180 Hybrid 700 x 38
Weight: 760g


Schwalbe Marathon Supreme*
700 x 32c*375g
700 x 35c 440g
700 x 40c 495g

difference is about 600g/pair

Add flat protection weight like Mr Tuffys into the equation adds about another 55g per tire

So vs an approximate 350g difference between an entry level wheel set and a top-of-the-line model, I'm seeing the potential for someone using average tires and tubes and tire liners to shave about 800g off the wheels while getting a tire that lasts 4 times as long and gives a better ride.

No-I'm not expecting anyone to try to put 38c tires on a road bike, so that particular example is slanted towards hybrids. And it's pertinent because I personally run Mavic Cosmic Elites on my hybrid - which is a wheelset upgrade.
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Old 01-01-12, 01:58 PM
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What do you suggest as my upgrade path? The Schwalbe marathon 700 x 28C is 310 grams, a Forte Strada is 368 grams so the pair would only save 116 grams. I just weighed my tube and it was 124 grams vs Schwalbe AV 15 at 105, so 38 grams per pair (using the alternative AV17 would cost me 50 grams).

So the grand total is 154 grams. It seems like a mid-range wheelset would save three or more times that weight for not that much more money.

Last edited by wphamilton; 01-01-12 at 02:02 PM. Reason: made it nicer.
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Old 01-01-12, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
What do you suggest as my upgrade path? The Schwalbe marathon 700 x 28C is 310 grams, a Forte Strada is 368 grams so the pair would only save 116 grams. I just weighed my tube and it was 124 grams vs Schwalbe AV 15 at 105, so 38 grams per pair (using the alternative AV17 would cost me 50 grams).

So the grand total is 154 grams. It seems like a mid-range wheelset would save three or more times that weight for not that much more money.

My apologies but my intention in starting this thread was to post general information to possibly help a few people make their own decisions. 'Upgrading' is a very relative thing and is based entirely on personal priorities and objectives, individual riding habits and routes, and should use an analysis of the complete rider / bike details to make an evaluation. You really haven't posted much info.

But the tires you mentioned don't have good reviews for either flat protection or durability and you also need to decide if any of that is an issue. And before springing for a new wheelset the question is why? If you're looking an a midrange wheelset then obviously you are currently driving on a low end wheelset. Is that an issue? Will the loss of a few grams affect your ride?


The best way to approach an upgrade is to identify the 'weakest links' in your current setup. Sometimes that's weight, sometimes it's reliability, sometimes it's comfort.

Last edited by Burton; 01-01-12 at 09:04 PM. Reason: I can' spell!
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Old 01-02-12, 09:00 AM
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Ah I see what's happened - you don't pay much attention to the lower end which is perfectly fine. I'll elaborate with my two cents about that in general then, and anyone feel free to correct me. I'm talking about road bikes.

The question is whether tires or wheelset upgrade can give you more bang for the buck. Weight, performance, durability.

The Strada's (Performance brand inexpensive tires) are dinged for being heavy and slow. The strada kevlar is 10 grams heavier, presumably slower, with good puncture resistance. They do not have a particular bad reputation for flats or durability (sorry Burton), although surely not at the same standard as Shwalbe marathons. They're 116 grams heavier than the marathons.

Low end wheelsets (as opposed to crap wheelsets) are heavy - we're talking about a difference of pounds not grams. On the up side, they cost less than the tires you're recommending - mid range costs more of course - which more or less moots the durability consideration. You're not much concerned about stiffness, "feel", or staying precisely true at that level.

A pound is a pound, regardless of your setup or objectives. I'm gonna guess that in the majority of cases, the majority of bikes being ridden, upgrading the wheels and buying good inexpensive tires is going to be the most effective, cheapest way to improve weight and durability.
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Old 01-02-12, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Ah I see what's happened - you don't pay much attention to the lower end which is perfectly fine. I'll elaborate with my two cents about that in general then, and anyone feel free to correct me. I'm talking about road bikes.

The question is whether tires or wheelset upgrade can give you more bang for the buck. Weight, performance, durability.

The Strada's (Performance brand inexpensive tires) are dinged for being heavy and slow. The strada kevlar is 10 grams heavier, presumably slower, with good puncture resistance. They do not have a particular bad reputation for flats or durability (sorry Burton), although surely not at the same standard as Shwalbe marathons. They're 116 grams heavier than the marathons.

Low end wheelsets (as opposed to crap wheelsets) are heavy - we're talking about a difference of pounds not grams. On the up side, they cost less than the tires you're recommending - mid range costs more of course - which more or less moots the durability consideration. You're not much concerned about stiffness, "feel", or staying precisely true at that level.

A pound is a pound, regardless of your setup or objectives. I'm gonna guess that in the majority of cases, the majority of bikes being ridden, upgrading the wheels and buying good inexpensive tires is going to be the most effective, cheapest way to improve weight and durability.


OK - for the sake of simplicity let's agree on that. In which case the easiest cheapest way to get an upgraded wheelset is normally to move up to the next model at the time of purchase, which avoids having to pay for two wheelsets and gets a better price anyway since the mark-up is lower on the overall package. But I'm personally unaware of any entry level road bike that comes with a wheelset so heavy that you could get a major improvement simply by upgrading to an intermediate set - pounds of difference would really surprise me. How about an example?

I guess since a pound is a pound - there's no point putting water bottle cages or bottles or fenders on a bike then either. Personally I'm more interested on the performance of the overall package and not just how much or little it weighs. In fact the bikes I spend the most time on are the ones that are the most fun - which don't happen to be the lightest ones.

As for durability - please post some number against your tires. Some reviewers claim to have worn out rear tires in as little as 600 miles and more than one poster had stated that the Kevlar didn't prevent flats. My personal experience is zero flats across 3 sets with about 2,000kms between them and after putting 1,200kms on one set of Scwalbes, I expect well over 6,000 from these. The casting flashing in the center of the tire is still there on the front tire!

And there's really no point insisting that there's one solution that works for everyone. If yours works for you that's great and it's just another point of view which is really all that should be important to you.

One of the shops I work in is close to a university where many students feel spray-painting their bike with graffiti to make it less likely to be stolen is a security upgrade.

Last edited by Burton; 01-02-12 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 01-02-12, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Burton View Post
I guess since a pound is a pound - there's no point putting water bottle cages or bottles or fenders on a bike then either. Personally I'm more interested on the performance of the overall package and not just how much or little it weighs. In fact the bikes I spend the most time on are the ones that are the most fun - which don't happen to be the lightest ones.
A two-pound bottle would be two extra pounds compared to a two ounce one. The same two pounds whether you have a high-end racing bike, a full suspension mountain bike, or a recreational cruiser.

For low and mid-range wheel sets, that's the difference to put it bluntly. There isn't any difference in performance.

Originally Posted by Burton View Post
As for durability - please post some number against your tires. Some reviewers claim to have worn out rear tires in as little as 600 miles and more than one poster had stated that the Kevlar didn't prevent flats. My personal experience is zero flats across 3 sets with about 2,000kms between them and after putting 1,200kms on one set of Scwalbes, I expect well over 6,000 from these. The casting flashing in the center of the tire is still there on the front tire!

And there's really
I thought about it, but you'd think I was exaggerating so I'll pass. But if you press I'll say this much: I've had on average more than the 6000 km that you expect from your Marathons between replacing the tires, and only one puncture flat from the last four. They're good tires.

As you know, a lot depends on how and where you ride them, the pressure etc, so when some reviewer has an outlying claim you have to take it with a grain of salt. Frankly I think a lot of reviewers see the superfluous tread wearing off and feel like the tire is worn out.
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Old 01-02-12, 01:08 PM
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Yup - I think you're exaggerating a little. Shimano’s WH-RS10 is an entry level wheelset that comes stock pn many entry level road bikes and is considered heavy even for an entry level wheelset. The official weight for the pair is given as 1848g, without skewers, so to shave off a few lbs by moving to ANY wheelset let alone a mid range one - the wheelset would have to weigh less than nothing.

Unless of course you're talking about trying to upgrade a 30 year old road bike with steel rims. I've had a quick look through several catalogues that handle really cheap wheelsets Babco and Damco here in Canada) and even there O can't find any road wheelsets that weigh anywhere the 4 or 5 lb range. Unless you want to come up with a specific example - I'm not taking you seriously.

Last edited by Burton; 01-02-12 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 01-02-12, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Burton View Post
Yup - I think you're exaggerating a little. Shimano’s WH-RS10 is an entry level wheelset that comes stock pn many entry level road bikes and is considered heavy even for an entry level wheelset. The official weight for the pair is given as 1848g, without skewers, so to shave off a few lbs by moving to ANY wheelset let alone a mid range one - the wheelset would have to weigh less than nothing.

Unless of course you're talking about trying to upgrade a 30 year old road bike with steel rims. I've had a quick look through several catalogues that handle really cheap wheelsets Babco and Damco here in Canada) and even there O can't find any road wheelsets that weigh anywhere the 4 or 5 lb range. Unless you want to come up with a specific example - I'm not taking you seriously.
This https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...00_i00_details weighs about two and a half pounds, the front about two and a quarter. That's close to or a little lighter than the wheels they replaced. It wouldn't be hard at all to knock more than a pound off that, two if you went all out. I'm surprised to get an argument about this.

https://weightweenies.starbike.com/li...ype=roadwheels

You can see there's quite a range there.

If you think I'm exaggerating about the miles those tires last or between flats, I don't know what to tell you. I'm understating it if anything. Perhaps you should try one of those.

Unless you want to come up with a specific example - I'm not taking you seriously.
Don't take this wrong, but that's not really a priority. I'm just putting this out because this is a forum, and people tend to use it as a reference. I think they need to see all the facts.
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Old 01-05-12, 12:59 AM
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[QUOTE=wphamilton;13667385]This https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...00_i00_details weighs about two and a half pounds, the front about two and a quarter. That's close to or a little lighter than the wheels they replaced. It wouldn't be hard at all to knock more than a pound off that, two if you went all out. I'm surprised to get an argument about this.

https://weightweenies.starbike.com/li...ype=roadwheels

You can see there's quite a range there.

If you think I'm exaggerating about the miles those tires last or between flats, I don't know what to tell you. I'm understating it if anything. Perhaps you should try one of those.



Don't take this wrong, but that's not really a priority. I'm just putting this out because this is a forum, and people tend to use it as a reference. I think they need to see all the facts.[/QUOTE


Argument? Actually you initially posted a question and I declined to answer - but you weren't really looking for an answer anyway. Just a chance to start an argument. I think that's called trolling

And you mentioned upgrading from an entry level (not junk) to a midrange wheelset and shedding a couple pounds . Now you're considering a $55 wheelset at about the same weight an upgrade? Naw.. I don't want to know what you started with. Let me clue you in: the original wheelset on my 24 year old Miyata Nine Twelve weighed less than that and even 24 years ago that was never considered anything more than an 'entry level road bike'x


And on spite of your $55 personal upgrade choice, you want to reference a list where half the wheelsets are competition grade and a few are experimental? I guess somehow that makes sense to you - it doesn't to me.


If someone told me "Burton, I don't drive fast and weight isn't all that important to me so I just buy what's cheapest" - well- I can definitely relate to that. And if you're happy with your own choices - that's really all that matters. But based on what you've posted - there's not a chance I can follow them.

Nor do I think Schwalbes are the best choice for everyone. But it was a real world example that at least made sense mathematically. And I guess I was conservative too. Schwalbe actually rates those tires as good for up to 9,000kms.

Last edited by Burton; 01-05-12 at 04:20 AM. Reason: Database crash
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