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What shifter and tires (or wheelset) should I get?

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

What shifter and tires (or wheelset) should I get?

Old 02-07-08, 10:04 PM
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What shifter and tires (or wheelset) should I get?

Background: Mostly weekend rider, ever so occasional commuter (2-3 miles one-way). Otherwise, weekend long rides and a few distance charity rides a year. Basically, I'm not racing.

I recently acquired an older Trek 2100 Composite from a friend. Everything is in good shape except the front shifter (won't click over to stay on the second chainring) and it needs new tires (tubulars).

So my dilemma is twofold:
1. Do I stick with the tubulars or go clincher? Current rims are Mavics (don't know the model) and the shop guy says they're in fine shape. I see some wear on them, but don't know how much (black rims - some silver spots alternating with the base black). So do I stay tubular, spending roughly $30-50/tire (any suggestions on good value [inexpensive] tires?)? What concerns me most is blowing that much to replace a punctured tire. Else do I invest in new clincher wheels (suggestions? shop guy likes Mavic Aksiums) and of course tires to go with them?

2. What should I do about the shifter? Shop guy suggested just going with a Tiagra - said the comps I have on there now are compatible (and albeit older, are good) and otherwise in fine shape. My concern is that a few guys mentioned to me that if I ever go to 3-chainring (currently it has a double), lower end shifters can be dodgey (even though they may be 2 and 3 ring compatible). Additionally, how should I go about getting a new shifter? Go through shop guy? (said Tiagra would be around $60 for a new front shifter) Or is ebay okay? Seen some okay deals come through.

Any suggestions are much appreciated - thanks!
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Old 02-07-08, 10:16 PM
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If you can get a Tiagra front shifter for $60 to replace what you have, buy it. That's a good price. Forget anything you've heard about lower end shifters being dodgy with a triple. You probably won't go to a triple anyway, unless you ride in a very hilly area, and the thought that they aren't reliable is crap. I ride Sora (below Tiagra) on a triple and never have a problem. Competant adjustment is key, but you should learn the skill anyway.

Personally I say keep it simple and ride clinchers if you are going to buy new wheels. For now, if the wheels are OK get yourself a folding tubular and glue for a spare, and a new one which you ask the shop to show you how to install. They'll charge you for the install, but you'll know how to deal with it.I don't ride tubulars so I can't offer any meaningful advice about choices there.

When it's time to change over, the Aksiums are fine. I like Specialized Armadillos but that may be considered blasphemy. Continental Gatorskins are also well liked for being durable.

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Old 02-07-08, 10:56 PM
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For you....ditch the tubulars. You will actually have to buy a new wheelset or have the shop swap rims for you if the price is right.

Tubulars are great if you know what you're doing. You don't sound like you do. (sorry)

For the shifter....what are you currently running? Is this an actual failure of the shifter or is it really just adjusted incorrectly?
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