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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

upgrade frame, keep components/upgrade components keep frame/all new bike?

Old 05-08-15, 01:30 PM
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earlymantis
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upgrade frame, keep components/upgrade components keep frame/all new bike?

Hi everyone, long time lurker -- finally registered so that I can make my first post.

Background: Exactly a year ago yesterday I purchased my first road bike -- 2014 Giant Defy 5 (size small for anyone curious). The hobby/sport is definitely something I'm going to stick with though I don't know if I'll ever be super competitive beyond a handful of "charity" rides a year. My average distance on weekday (after work) rides is 10-15 miles and weekends I'll usually bump it up to 20 or so.

Question: Even though my experience in the sport is limited, I've already got the itch for something new. So I've been wondering what my "smartest" option is, in everyone's opinion. If I were to upgrade to a new bike, my budget would be maxed at $1500 but I'm also considering either starting to put better components on my existing bike (which is bone stock) OR getting a new frame, transferring components and slowly but surely upgrading the components as well.

Any info I might be missing, to help you answer, just let me know. And I also realize that buying a new frame and swapping stock Giant components will be my hardest task and will most likely involve changing other parts as well, but it's still bouncing around as an idea.

Thoughts?
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Old 05-08-15, 01:39 PM
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That's an entry-level road bike, with an alloy frame and an Al fork, low level components, and so on. It's not worth upgrading.
With $1500 , you can buy a Cannondale CAAD 10 105, and for just a little more than that, you can begin to get a basic carbon framed bike.

Buy a new bike and keep the Giant as a second bike.
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Old 05-08-15, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
That's an entry-level road bike, with an alloy frame and an Al fork, low level components, and so on. It's not worth upgrading.
With $1500 , you can buy a Cannondale CAAD 10 105, and for just a little more than that, you can begin to get a basic carbon framed bike.

Buy a new bike and keep the Giant as a second bike.
Thanks for the fast reply!

So now the $1500 question: Canndonale or basic carbon (how much is a little more)?
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Old 05-08-15, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by earlymantis View Post
Thanks for the fast reply!

So now the $1500 question: Canndonale or basic carbon (how much is a little more)?
See what is available at your local LBS's, ride a CAAD or a Specialized Allez E5 frame and test ride their entry level carbon bikes. You have to ride them to know which one is for you.
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Old 05-08-15, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
See what is available at your local LBS's, ride a CAAD or a Specialized Allez E5 frame and test ride their entry level carbon bikes. You have to ride them to know which one is for you.
Agreee. Check out several LBS's to see what they have.

Also, since you know what fits and have some experience, check out the CL bike ads in your area. You might find a really nice bike that fits your budget, is only a few years old but cost $2500-$3500 when new.

Where do you live? That might help people recommend LBS's or CL bikes.

GH
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Old 05-08-15, 02:23 PM
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You might want to start off by asking yourself why you want to upgrade. What is it about your current bike that is compelling you to seek out something else? I'm not questioning your decision to upgrade but I think you owe it to yourself to analyse what it is you hope to achieve by upgrading. Only then can you understand your requirements in order to seek out the bike that best fulfils them.
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Old 05-08-15, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ColaJacket View Post
Agreee. Check out several LBS's to see what they have.

Also, since you know what fits and have some experience, check out the CL bike ads in your area. You might find a really nice bike that fits your budget, is only a few years old but cost $2500-$3500 when new.

Where do you live? That might help people recommend LBS's or CL bikes.

GH

^ This. You can get a 3-5 year old top line CF bike that was a $4K bike just a few years ago, for around $1000 used, and use the rest of your budget to get it tuned like new and maybe upgrade one or two things on it.
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Old 05-08-15, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by D1andonlyDman View Post
^ This. You can get a 3-5 year old top line CF bike that was a $4K bike just a few years ago, for around $1000 used, and use the rest of your budget to get it tuned like new and maybe upgrade one or two things on it.
Somebody posted this bike in another thread.

2007 Trek Equinox TTX 9.9, Dura Ace, Never ridden! Tri Bike $5799 new

GH
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Old 05-08-15, 03:08 PM
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for $1500 definitely get a new bike. You can easily get a bike with new 11 speed 105 or entry level carbon with Tiagra/105 if you shop around. If you like the Defy (a great bike btw), start at the shop where you bought it and see what kind of deals they have. You might be able to move up to entry level carbon with Tiagra in your price range

Defy Advanced 3 (2015) | Giant Bicycles | United States

or at least Defy 1

Defy 1 (2015) | Giant Bicycles | United States

If it's the same shop/Giant dealer maybe they will take the old bike as a trade in
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Old 05-08-15, 03:19 PM
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With all due respect for those who are advising you to hunt for bargains on CL, I disagree. You can find great bargains that way if you know what you are doing, but if you aren't sufficiently expert you can end up with a bike that doesn't fit or is in the wrong style or that is defective in ways that you won't discover until it's too late.

Based on your description of your experience, I don't think you'll know what fits you, what geometry is suitable for your style of riding, what's in good condition (Particularly with a carbon bike!), what bikes have had the valuable components swapped out, and so on.


You are relatively new to the game and you should be in the hands of an LBS that will put you in a new bike at a fair price that is not a special bargain but that fits you and that is protected by a warranty. Plus, it sounds like you will benefit from test riding a range of bikes before you buy, and this is a service an LBS can offer.

BTW, don't be shy about telling the different LBS that you are comparison shopping - tell the Specialized dealer that you are also going to do a test ride at the Trek dealership or the Cannondale dealership.

People are going to post and say that it's easy to buy a great used bike on CL, they got such and such a deal, and anybody who can't do similar is an idiot or paying too much. Don't listen to them.

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Old 05-08-15, 04:27 PM
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Your bike already has a nice ALUXX frameset. A $1500 bike will get you a frame no better than what you have and it will have 105 components, maybe Ultegra if you get one on sale, and a low end heavy wheelset. You can buy a 105 group from Merlin for less than $400 and find a nice wheelset in the $3XX range and have a better bike than what everyone is recommending, and have $7-800 left over.
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Old 05-08-15, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
With all due respect for those who are advising you to hunt for bargains on CL, I disagree. You can find great bargains that way if you know what you are doing, but if you aren't sufficiently expert you can end up with a bike that doesn't fit or is in the wrong style or that is defective in ways that you won't discover until it's too late.

Based on your description of your experience, I don't think you'll know what fits you, what geometry is suitable for your style of riding, what's in good condition (Particularly with a carbon bike!), what bikes have had the valuable components swapped out, and so on.


You are relatively new to the game and you should be in the hands of an LBS that will put you in a new bike at a fair price that is not a special bargain but that fits you and that is protected by a warranty. Plus, it sounds like you will benefit from test riding a range of bikes before you buy, and this is a service an LBS can offer.

BTW, don't be shy about telling the different LBS that you are comparison shopping - tell the Specialized dealer that you are also going to do a test ride at the Trek dealership or the Cannondale dealership.

People are going to post and say that it's easy to buy a great used bike on CL, they got such and such a deal, and anybody who can't do similar is an idiot or paying too much. Don't listen to them.
I think what some of us are saying is to check several different LBS's and check CL.

You can cross-reference a CL bike with several on-line resources to see what type of bike it is and general price range. If the OP is not sure about mechanical condition, then he can always meet the person at a local LBS, and pay them to do an inspection.

Check out several different LBS's. If you like the shop you bought your first bike from, ask them if the bike has any trade-in value, if you upgrade. Decide whether you're going to keep your first bike as a rainy day / commuter / beater bike (n+1), or if you just want to have only one bike.

If nothing else go to the LBS's to see how the better bikes feel, so if you do go CL, you'll have an idea of what you're looking for. And if you can't find a CL bike that you like within a certain time period, go back to the LBS and get the bike you liked the best. But since you already have a bike, you can take your time.

Speaking of your old bike, what do you like about. What do you not like about it. You need to think about these, so that the next bike really is an upgrade, and you're not just buying a more expensive bike.

GH
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Old 05-08-15, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Your bike already has a nice ALUXX frameset. A $1500 bike will get you a frame no better than what you have and it will have 105 components, maybe Ultegra if you get one on sale, and a low end heavy wheelset. You can buy a 105 group from Merlin for less than $400 and find a nice wheelset in the $3XX range and have a better bike than what everyone is recommending, and have $7-800 left over.
...but aluminum fork. He would also need new 11 speed compatible wheels. So if he wants a carbon fork, wheels, 5800 he is looking at $800 in parts conservatively estimated. Assuming he can't do his own work another $100-150 in labor. So maybe $1000 upgrade. And the Defy 5 is not the same aluminum frame as the Defy 2 and Defy 1 which are SL alumnium. So....I would say get Defy 1 or 2 or Defy Advanced and sell the current bike or see if shop will give him partial trade
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Old 05-08-15, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
...but aluminum fork.
Oh. Well, disregard what I said haha
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Old 05-08-15, 11:47 PM
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There is also the argument that if you don't know what you want to do with respect to a new bike or upgrades, you may want to ride more on your current bike until you know what deficiencies you'd like to address by upgrading or buying a new bike.

With a $1500 budget, you won't necessarily get a bike that is head and shoulders above what you're riding now. If you're set on a new bike for the sake of riding something new, then ride a lot of test rides. Make sure the bikes are adjusted and set up to fit the same as your current bike to avoid confounding a bad fit with a bad riding bike.
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Old 05-09-15, 01:03 PM
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Thanks everyone for the input!

A lot of questions, thoughts in the responses so I'l try to keep this organized.

The main reason for this modify existing/new frame/new bike is because even though the Defy is a year old, I'm mildly unhappy with my purchase. I realize it's mostly my fault for not researching enough but my LBS (who have been great in regards to tune-ups, adjustments, etc in the learning process) convinced me that it was a great entry-level bike. In retrospect, I wish I would have spent a couple extra bucks and gotten a step up perhaps in the Allez family (though not as high-up as the E5) or a Defy 2 or 3 as opposed to the 5. Their guidance was that it's my first bike, in a sport I don't know I'm going to stick with, so it's not worth it to get a bike with higher components from the get-go. Maybe they were investing (read: banking on) in the thought that I'd quickly want to upgrade for something new.

One thing I'd like to mention about my shop is that they offer free tune-ups for life on any bike you purchase there. Is that normal?

I don't want to say that I've out-grown the bike but that's really the only way to describe how I feel when I'm on it(?) -- as if I notice the basic, entry-level components (which is what prompted the upgrade components portion). I also realize that I've never spent time on anything other than a comparable Jamis (forget the model) when making my purchase decision.

Perhaps this is just that everyone always wants another bike bug? You know the whole how many bikes should I own, n-1 deal? haha.
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Old 05-09-15, 01:23 PM
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Just thoughts:

If you hated cycling, you would be applauding your LBS for saving you money. In my experience, it is always best to buy the least expensive first bike possible. And I don't work for a bike shop.

Responding to the rest of your post, if you are emotionally disillusioned with the Defy, don't spend money upgrading. You can overcome an aluminum fork, and cheap heavy wheels, but you won't overcome dislike. Some people don't get attached to their bikes, while others do. You write like the attachment type, and once severed, it rarely returns.
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Old 05-09-15, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by earlymantis View Post
Thanks everyone for the input!

A lot of questions, thoughts in the responses so I'l try to keep this organized.

The main reason for this modify existing/new frame/new bike is because even though the Defy is a year old, I'm mildly unhappy with my purchase. I realize it's mostly my fault for not researching enough but my LBS (who have been great in regards to tune-ups, adjustments, etc in the learning process) convinced me that it was a great entry-level bike. In retrospect, I wish I would have spent a couple extra bucks and gotten a step up perhaps in the Allez family (though not as high-up as the E5) or a Defy 2 or 3 as opposed to the 5. Their guidance was that it's my first bike, in a sport I don't know I'm going to stick with, so it's not worth it to get a bike with higher components from the get-go. Maybe they were investing (read: banking on) in the thought that I'd quickly want to upgrade for something new.

One thing I'd like to mention about my shop is that they offer free tune-ups for life on any bike you purchase there. Is that normal?

I don't want to say that I've out-grown the bike but that's really the only way to describe how I feel when I'm on it(?) -- as if I notice the basic, entry-level components (which is what prompted the upgrade components portion). I also realize that I've never spent time on anything other than a comparable Jamis (forget the model) when making my purchase decision.

Perhaps this is just that everyone always wants another bike bug? You know the whole how many bikes should I own, n-1 deal? haha.
I echo RollCNY's comments' Your LBS definitely did right by you. You were an noob and they sold you an entry level bike. A lot of the shops around me would try to sell you a $1500 mid range bike AND convince you that you NEED to spend another $1000 on the spot on shoes, pedals, multiple bibs and jerseys and every other accessory in the store. That's all great if you get the bug but if you don't then you'll have buyer's remorse. I don't know the stats on how many people buy a first road bike and never ride it but from personal experience about half the people I know that bought bike didn't ride them more than 10 times before loosing interest. And a lot o people I know spent $2000+ on their first bike alone because they got convinced by sales people that they would regret it if they didn't buy carbon and 105 for their first bike. Now they have expensive paperweights.

The reality is that you will want to upgrade no matter what you bought and you will be lucky to get 50% of what you paid when you resell so buying a bike for $700 and reselling for $350 a year later is better than spending $1500-2000 and getting half that in a year.

If you bought that Tiagra bike you would wish you got 105. If you bought the 105 you would wish you got the Ultegra etc. What exactly is not working for you with the bike you have? Have you riddenn higher level bikes to know the difference?
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Old 05-09-15, 03:47 PM
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Echo the others- your LBS did right by you the first time and it suggests that they are trustworthy, rather than money-grubbing upsellers. They had no guarantee that you'd get hooked and need a new bike in a year.

Believe it or not, better components (e.g., brakes and derailleurs) don't make that much of a difference to your riding experience. Geometry is paramount. Weight, frame material, wheels are also important. Components come after those. If you don't like your current Defy, you really need to know why before you buy again. I think the only way to know is to test ride some other bikes. Note that there are different geometries - for example, for the Cannondales, the CAAD is more aggressive, the Synapse is more relaxed. For Trek, the Madone is more aggressive, the Domane is more relaxed, etc. Try both kinds.

You said before that your typical ride is 10-15 miles. When you test-ride, do about that much. And don't ask yourself, "Am I faster on this bike?", because you really won't be able to tell. Ask yourself how the ride feels - your position on the bike, the handling, etc.

If you really are hooked, this second bike also will not be your last. But my second bike (the Trek 2.1 - now I think that would be a Madone 2.1) is similar in cost and class to what you will now be seeking. It was and is a great bike and I still ride it all the time, even though I also have something yet sportier and costlier.
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Old 05-10-15, 09:18 PM
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Thank you everyone for the input! Very much appreciated for my first post here. I definitely have a lot to think about. I'm for sure going to ride out the summer/fall on the Defy 5 (pardon the pun). Given everyone's input, I think an all new bike might be the best option.
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