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New to Road Cycling - Upgrade options

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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

New to Road Cycling - Upgrade options

Old 05-11-17, 11:03 AM
  #1  
AL7000
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New to Road Cycling - Upgrade options

Hi I am newer to road cycling. I got into it last summer, mostly commuting to work and a few short rides in my area. This year I have been a lot more dedicated. I have started to ride with the local club doing 30 - 40 mile rides. On the weekends I do rides around 50 miles. Along with another 30 to 40 miles that I put in during the week. So far I have lost around 15 lbs and have noticed a dramatic increase in my ability to ride longer and faster. Later in the year I would like to do a few races.

My current bike is a bonded aluminum 1989 Panasonic AL-7000. Its a 7 speed with downtube shifters. Shimano Exage Sport LX groupset. I have gotten great use out of it and it has life left in it. However, some components are starting to age such as shifters not indexing as smoothly. I was thinking of doing an incremental upgrade to another bike. Possible options are:

1994 Trek 2200 carbon tubes bonded to aluminum lugs. It has Campagnolo groupset, integrated brakes and shifters. 8 speed. For $280

1996 Bianchi Veloce lugged cro-mo frame with cro-mo fork. Campagnolo groupset with a mix of 8/9 speed parts for $300.

Would it be worth it to upgrade to either of this options? Would it make much of a difference not using downtube shifters and with parts that are "newer" than what I currently have? Or should I continue with the Panasonic and upgrade in the future when I have more time cycling under my belt?
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Old 05-11-17, 11:06 AM
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rgconner
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I had a Veloce, 1999.

Very nice bike, solid group set, most Campy sets can still be rebuilt with spares.

It is the wrong color... but I won't hold that against it.
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Old 05-11-17, 11:40 AM
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I think you should ride more before worrying about Upgrading,

try a different saddle bar tape maybe, dial the fit in with a different stem..

save your money till you have a sense of need from experience..

Go to the Classic & Vintage section, they may find that bike just fine..

want newer drivetrain?, get a whole new bike..
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Old 05-11-17, 11:55 AM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by AL7000 View Post
Hi I am newer to road cycling. I got into it last summer, mostly commuting to work and a few short rides in my area. This year I have been a lot more dedicated. I have started to ride with the local club doing 30 - 40 mile rides. On the weekends I do rides around 50 miles. Along with another 30 to 40 miles that I put in during the week. So far I have lost around 15 lbs and have noticed a dramatic increase in my ability to ride longer and faster. Later in the year I would like to do a few races.

My current bike is a bonded aluminum 1989 Panasonic AL-7000. Its a 7 speed with downtube shifters. Shimano Exage Sport LX groupset. I have gotten great use out of it and it has life left in it. However, some components are starting to age such as shifters not indexing as smoothly. I was thinking of doing an incremental upgrade to another bike. Possible options are:

1994 Trek 2200 carbon tubes bonded to aluminum lugs. It has Campagnolo groupset, integrated brakes and shifters. 8 speed. For $280

1996 Bianchi Veloce lugged cro-mo frame with cro-mo fork. Campagnolo groupset with a mix of 8/9 speed parts for $300.

Would it be worth it to upgrade to either of this options? Would it make much of a difference not using downtube shifters and with parts that are "newer" than what I currently have? Or should I continue with the Panasonic and upgrade in the future when I have more time cycling under my belt?
N+1 is always the right answer. I'd lean towards the Bianchi, try to haggle a bit on the price. I bought a '99 Volpe recently that was filthy but otherwise fine mechanically for $140 (craigslist).
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Old 05-11-17, 12:46 PM
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Get the bianchi, everybody has a trek....
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Old 05-11-17, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by AL7000 View Post
My current bike is a bonded aluminum 1989 Panasonic AL-7000. Its a 7 speed with downtube shifters. Shimano Exage Sport LX groupset. I have gotten great use out of it and it has life left in it. However, some components are starting to age such as shifters not indexing as smoothly. I was thinking of doing an incremental upgrade to another bike.
What do you mean by "not indexing as smoothly"? Are you having to adjust it frequently? Have you tried replacing the cables and housing?

Would it make much of a difference not using downtube shifters
It depends.

The benefits of brifters compared with downtube shifters are:
1-Reduced hand motion means that there's on average less time between deciding to shift and actually shifting.
2-It's practical to shift while pedaling out of the saddle.
3-In finicky situations where you want to keep both hands on the bars, you can still shift.

What's "much of a difference" to you? Qualitatively and quantitatively? If you're looking to speed up your solo rides, switching to brifters would accomplish little or nothing, while an aero front wheel could make a measurable (if you measure with decent precision) difference. Want to be more responsive when group rides get punchy? The brifters might help with that a little.

Last edited by HTupolev; 05-11-17 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 05-11-17, 05:43 PM
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Save money and get some fancy alloy bikes.
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Old 05-11-17, 05:55 PM
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I don't see those two bikes you're looking at as being a huge step up from what you have. Probably more of a lateral change.

All metal/metal or metal/carbon bonded frames have a slight risk of joint failure.

Anyway, buy the Bianchi or Trek if they meet your whims, but I'd hold out for a post year 2000 carbon fiber racing bike if you are wishing to get into racing.

Or just ride what you have.
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Old 05-11-17, 06:08 PM
  #9  
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Vintage Panasonics (yes, it's only bordering on "vintage") are excellent. PM me if you plan on selling.
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Old 05-12-17, 10:00 AM
  #10  
AL7000
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
What do you mean by "not indexing as smoothly"? Are you having to adjust it frequently? Have you tried replacing the cables and housing?
What I meant was that when I downshift my right shifter fails to catch the indexed location. Almost as if it stops too soon or goes a bit too far. It clicks but sounds more like plastic snapping instead of a nice click into place. The shift is made but since its not in the right spot the chain rubs on the next closest cog on the cassette. When I try to get the shifter in the correct spot it will inadvertently downshift too far or shift back up. Very frustrating when going up a hill. Kills momentum.

I never have this issue when shifting up into a higher gear. Maybe I don't have the indexing adjusted properly.
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Old 05-12-17, 10:26 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Dirt Farmer View Post
Vintage Panasonics (yes, it's only bordering on "vintage") are excellent. PM me if you plan on selling.

Oops, I missed that it was aluminum. Vintage steel Panasonics are great, but yours looks in very nice condition. Just upgrade your Panasonic.
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