How much benefit upgrading bike?

alasdairgf

New Member
Location
Liverpool
So I've recently (matter of weeks) started cycling again for the first time in 20 years, using a bike that was given to me in a roundabout way from a local council 'free bikes' scheme. It's newish, but it's a really heavy hybrid and frankly it's pretty poorly put together. Going down hill - the only time I can go fast! - the rear wheel wobbles alarmingly (perhaps I'd better take it to a bike shop to see if there's something wrong), and there seems to be quite a bit of unnecessary play in the crank (think that's the right word, btw pedal & frame), and the brakes always seem to rub ever so slightly against the front wheel.

I guess that (accurately) paints me as an utter noob!

I'm skint now, but hoping to get a better job soon (just got to finish my frikkin' PhD which is taking ages), and was wondering how much benefit one really gets from getting a more expensive bike? I mean, I'm a bit old to have any ambitions of getting into much off-road biking or long cycling holidays, but I've surprised myself by really enjoying the few weeks of cycling I've done so far, and I think I'll be keeping up with the cycling (oh god please let me get fitter). So is it worth it? Should I start saving up for a new bike (or even good 2nd hand)? Or for a bumbler like myself, might it be a better idea just to keep with what I've got?
 

BrumJim

Forum Stalwart (won't take the hint and leave...)
Upgraded from an old second hand cheap Peugeot (Carbolite) to an aluminium Specialized Allez Road bike.

Like a different from of transit. Much lighter, hills disappeared, and I now want to go on much longer rides, spend less time driving, do longer distances, etc. Like the difference between Mum's clapped out Fiesta and Dad's brand new Audi, is probably the best description.

If it isn't a little too sexist/old fashioned/narrow.
 

RedBike

New Member
Location
Beside the road
Basically you get more speed for less effort. Hills will suddenly disapear.

You've got to be very carefull with the upgrading route or it will cost you a fortune. To re-true the wheels you're looking at ~£10 each and a new bottom bracket will be ~£20 + labour. So say ~£50. This will be cheaper than a new bike so provided you're current bikes good quality AND NOTHING ELSE IS WORN then it's probably worth spending the money.

If you need new wheels or if the drivechain is worn then you could easily be looking at £150+. In which case you might be much better off spending £200 on a new bike.
 

accountantpete

Brexiteer
Basically the more you pay the lighter and stiffer the gear becomes and less energy is wasted.

For example take your average wheel, the spokes and rim deform under pressure especially going uphill meaning that part of your energy is wasted. Add to that an under inflated tyre and you are virtually tightening up the spokes and pumping up the tyre every time you press down on the pedals.

An expensive pair of wheels have strong rims and spokes at a high tension that deform much less and the tyres will have a 120psi capacity to minimise the deformation in that area.

The same is true for the rest of a bike - but it does cost!

Personally I reckon that the older you get the more you need better kit.
 

jamesxyz

New Member
Take it to your LBS and have it fully checked to see what's worn / needs replacing and get an estimate - then you can judge if its worth upgrading or getting a new one.

QUite honestly: better bike = easier ride = more enjoyment = longer rides = desire for better bike = bottomless pit of cash etc etc.

You say you're a pHd - if you have part time work you might be able to get something through cycle to work- then a decent bike £4-500 ish could cost you £200-300 - in other words not much more (possibly) than repairing your hybrid. If not get saving - a crap bike may put you off riding and that vould be the worst mistake you'll ever make ....
 
OP
A

alasdairgf

New Member
Location
Liverpool
Thanks for the responses - I took the bike down to Picton Cycles this afternoon, they guy there reckoned I was lucky the back wheel hadn't fallen off yet! He's doing a full service for me for £30, after showing me that it was both wheels that were loose (might have stuffed up the bearings on the rear, we'll see), the stem & crank were both v loose too, essentially it had been put together badly! So, my free bike starts to cost money already :laugh:

Good point about cycle-to-work, when I get a contract for next job (about to finish my current one, sob), I'll def look into that.

Might see if I can borrow a good bike from a friend to see how different it feels!
 

Manonabike

Über Member
RedBike said:
Basically you get more speed for less effort. Hills will suddenly disapear.

You've got to be very carefull with the upgrading route or it will cost you a fortune. To re-true the wheels you're looking at ~£10 each and a new bottom bracket will be ~£20 + labour. So say ~£50. This will be cheaper than a new bike so provided you're current bikes good quality AND NOTHING ELSE IS WORN then it's probably worth spending the money.

If you need new wheels or if the drivechain is worn then you could easily be looking at £150+. In which case you might be much better off spending £200 on a new bike.
Rubbish!!!!
 

RedBike

New Member
Location
Beside the road
Manonabike said:
Rubbish!!!!
alasdairgf said:
Like, total codswallop, or mild exaggeration?!
Ok exaggeration, but if you don't know what I mean then you've clearly never had the experiance of riding a clapped out piece of junk one day then switching over to a high end bike the next.

At the moment I'm commuting on a mountain bike shaped pile of junk I found abandonded in a tree. I can assure you that I notice far more hills enroute using this bike than when I use a high end road bike. Whats more the hills all seem to be a lot longer!
 

Willo

Well-Known Member
Location
Kent
Suppose I am only reiterating what others have said but, from being in a similar position, I was lucky that I could get a new bike through C2W and went for a road bike (Specialized Allez) to replace my old and heavy MTB with slicks. I would say that the main 2 benefits for me are:

a) lighter, faster, easier and generally much more pleasurable bike to ride

:biggrin: a new bike that I really enjoy riding inspires me to get up early and take the scenic route to the station in the morning as part of my exercise routine

The downside: I immediately started eyeing up the next bike to buy for which I have no justification or cash:biggrin:
 

snailracer

Über Member
Cheap bike + bad assembly = cr@p bike.
Expensive bike + bad assembly = cr@p bike.
Cheap bike + good assembly = good bike.
Expensive bike + good assembly = very good bike.

Road bike is 1-2mph faster than a slicked-out MTB under most real-world conditions.
 
OP
A

alasdairgf

New Member
Location
Liverpool
Got the hunk o'junk back from the bike shop today - £30 to get it all tightened up and 'rebuilt' as they put it on the invoice. Amazing! OK, my 'free' bike is now a '£30' bike, but what a difference... stable, sturdy, almost silent, brakes work when I want them to (and keep away from the wheels when I don't!), gears shift more predictably, both up and down... it's like the scales have dropped from my eyes.

Now if only they could have shaved 5kg off the frame weight!

To anyone else who stumbles on this thread in a similar situation - I highly recommend getting a service on yr bike. Great way to blow £30.
 

RedBike

New Member
Location
Beside the road
alasdairgf said:
Got the hunk o'junk back from the bike shop today - £30 to get it all tightened up and 'rebuilt' as they put it on the invoice. Amazing! OK, my 'free' bike is now a '£30' bike, but what a difference... stable, sturdy, almost silent, brakes work when I want them to (and keep away from the wheels when I don't!), gears shift more predictably, both up and down... it's like the scales have dropped from my eyes.

Now if only they could have shaved 5kg off the frame weight!

To anyone else who stumbles on this thread in a similar situation - I highly recommend getting a service on yr bike. Great way to blow £30.
It sounds like this could be the start of upgradeitus.
 

Arch

Married to Night Train
Location
Salford, UK
alasdairgf said:
I mean, I'm a bit old to have any ambitions of getting into much off-road biking or long cycling holidays,
Look up Anne Mustoe. Actually, let me...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/6790125/Anne-Mustoe.html

She took up long distance cycle touring in her 50's. It's never too late...:biggrin:

And I'm glad to hear that the service did the trick. Now you can have many happy hours riding, and planning your n+1...

(the ideal number of bikes to own is n+1, where n = the number of bikes you have now...)
 
Top Bottom