Best bang for the buck upgrades?
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  1. #1
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    Best bang for the buck upgrades?

    Hi all! I'm considering getting my first ever road bike. It'd be an old steel Fuji that is in good condition, but entirely stock. I'd be using it to train and race/participate in triathlons. Assuming a pretty low budget, and for the sake of argument assuming I'm not getting a new bike any time soon, where would you recommend starting to make the bike more rideable? I'm thinking clipless pedals first, then no clue. Aero bars? Crankset? Thanks for any advice!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jumbolaw View Post
    Hi all! I'm considering getting my first ever road bike. It'd be an old steel Fuji that is in good condition, but entirely stock. I'd be using it to train and race/participate in triathlons. Assuming a pretty low budget, and for the sake of argument assuming I'm not getting a new bike any time soon, where would you recommend starting to make the bike more rideable? I'm thinking clipless pedals first, then no clue. Aero bars? Crankset? Thanks for any advice!
    Wheels and crank set carry a lot of weight in older bikes...that said what you are going to invest in new upgrades, could be better spent looking for a new or new to you bike.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmaciel View Post
    Wheels and crank set carry a lot of weight in older bikes...that said what you are going to invest in new upgrades, could be better spent looking for a new or new to you bike.
    Really depends a lot on the equipment of the old bike, and its condition.

    Certainly, pedals are a good first investment. And a saddle that suits you (that can take some experimentation to find.

    If the cranks are aluminum rather than steel, keep them. Same for the seatpost. Ditto handlebars, unless you don't like the shape.

    If the bike is a low-end model, it may have chromed steel rims. An upgrade to aluminum wheels would save much weight, and improve braking, especially in the wet.

    So tell us more about how the bike is equipped now. And how old it is.

  4. #4
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    Depending on just how old the Fuji is, you could be facing some compatibility issues on wheelset upgrades (27" versus 700c's), so I'd advise caution but agree with JC that alu versus steel offers some advantages. Cranksets aren't going to buy you much, IMO.

    Generally speaking, my advice is to use older bikes 'as is', replacing/ repairing like (or, one for one) parts/ components as needed.

    That said, I'd suggest staying with things that can relatively easily be moved to another (future?) bike, like the pedal system and aero bars mentioned. The latter having to be removed in mass start races and group rides anyway.

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    I have a soft spot for fancy tires.

    Others have already addressed stuff that makes the bike fit better. That'd be my starting point too.

    I wouldn't worry about "fastering" it until you've actually finished a triathlon.

    Depending on your personality, training tools can be fun and seem to motivate some people. That's stuff like cycling computers, heart rate monitors, etc. Actually I'm looking into a heart rate monitor myself lately. I'm hoping to "faster" myself. My bikes are all capable enough...

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    How old?

    Quote Originally Posted by jumbolaw View Post
    Hi all! I'm considering getting my first ever road bike. It'd be an old steel Fuji that is in good condition, but entirely stock. I'd be using it to train and race/participate in triathlons. Assuming a pretty low budget, and for the sake of argument assuming I'm not getting a new bike any time soon, where would you recommend starting to make the bike more rideable? I'm thinking clipless pedals first, then no clue. Aero bars? Crankset? Thanks for any advice!
    Depends totally on how old the bike is. There is a huge difference between 5 years old and 20 years old. Upgrading a 20 year old bike seldom makes sense - you should invest the same amount of $$ in a newer used bike. And upgrading a 5 year old bike is moderately pointless for the same reasons. Ride a lot to get in shape and replace what wears out or breaks.

  7. #7
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    Tires will have the most effect on how the bike rides assuming the bike fits you.

  8. #8
    Urb
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    Aero bars by far. Over wheels, carbon frames, fancy bottle holders, pedals, helmet or whatever. You simply can not beat the performance gain aero bars, or clip on aero bars for any price. After that an aero helmet. Pedals really don't help you that much but get those anyways.

    Nothing replaces training though. So much fun getting up at 5am to go for your 6am swim before work.
    You get all the sleep you need when you are dead

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    Seeing as though you plan on doing tri's Aero bars would seem to make sense. And as mentioned you could carry them over to you'e next bike so they make sense that way too.

    I've never used aero bars but I get the impression you don't just slap 'em on and get benefit but you'd need to make sure you're in an efficient position with them. So perhaps rather than dumping the money into the bike get some paid help with the aero position (that might lead to a new stem).

    Good tires is never a bad move. I don't really consider that an upgrade to a bike though because tires wear and get replaced regardless.

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    If weight is an upgrade I always lean towards wheels first. Clipless too.

  11. #11
    Urb
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    Quote Originally Posted by EliBroccoli View Post
    If weight is an upgrade I always lean towards wheels first. Clipless too.
    But it's not. Even the best wheels over low end might be worth 30 seconds over 40k. Wheels are bling. $2000 for 30 seconds over 40k. That can easily be made up by practicing your transition. The OP appears to be on a budget. For $100 or less you can net 1-2 mph faster with aero bars.

    Agreed that getting expert help on setup is the way to go.
    You get all the sleep you need when you are dead

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urb View Post
    Aero bars by far. Over wheels, carbon frames, fancy bottle holders, pedals, helmet or whatever. You simply can not beat the performance gain aero bars, or clip on aero bars for any price. After that an aero helmet. Pedals really don't help you that much but get those anyways.

    Nothing replaces training though. So much fun getting up at 5am to go for your 6am swim before work.
    Revising as I just read the whole thread and saw the comment that he plans on doing Tri...in that case, clipless pedals, aero bars, skin suit, proper fitting, aero helmet...

    Wheels work but are expensive and thus offer low value (benefit per dollar spent)

    As for the comments on "carbon frames" - they are nice, but not sure I would call that an upgrade versus calling it "buying a new bike" -- also, some aluminum frames are now comparable to most mid-range carbon in terms of weight, stiffness, etc...

    http://www.active.com/cycling/Articl...enefits?page=2

    http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/a...is-aero-19273/
    Last edited by dnmoss; 11-27-2012 at 06:02 AM.

  13. #13
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    Doing Triís, weíre likely talking about a flat TT so weight isnít a big factor. Clipless and aero bars are good and as mentioned, can be brought over to another bike.

    I was also thinking shifter upgrade if you have downtube friction but then I read that itís for a Tri so scratch that. Maybe a new set of brake pads.

    Hard to say unless I know what the bike currently is like though and what you mean by ďoldĒ. I have a steel Fuji that is a 1985, itís old but still has aluminum rims.

    Aside from products, a good service upgrade would be to get a professional fitting geared towards maximizing TT power.
    I ride mostly in the honorable pursuit of being kissed on both cheeks at the same time by one blond and one brunette. But not redheads, they scare me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    Depends totally on how old the bike is. There is a huge difference between 5 years old and 20 years old. Upgrading a 20 year old bike seldom makes sense - you should invest the same amount of $$ in a newer used bike. And upgrading a 5 year old bike is moderately pointless for the same reasons. Ride a lot to get in shape and replace what wears out or breaks.

    Good tips.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    . And upgrading a 5 year old bike is moderately pointless for the same reasons. Ride a lot to get in shape and replace what wears out or breaks.
    My bike is going on 5 years, replacing it with a brand new bike would simply leave me with less money and really no difference in anything. My bike is still compatible with almost all the modern standards of everything. Normal external BB, but press in BB's are sort of irrelevant. 5 year old bikes are every bit as good as 2013's. If the bike is around the 2000's, its basically "modern" by compatibility standards.

  16. #16
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    after checking with someone who can competently look at your position on the bike for time trialing you may want to consider a reverse seatpost to give you the effect of a steeper seat tube and TT saddle that is comfortable for you while using clip on TT bars and in an aero tuck position.
    "The problem with losing your mind is that by the time you realize it's gone, it's too late to get it back."
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