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New bike? Or new wheels?

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New bike? Or new wheels?

Old 03-31-19, 09:28 AM
  #1  
wtt9808
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New bike? Or new wheels?

I have been riding a Specialized Roubaix for 9 years, and I still love my bike. The problem is I'm falling behind the other riders in my club in the "arms race" so to speak. Many people who I have ridden with for years have upgraded, some more than once, since I bought my bike, and I am having more and more difficulties staying with people I used to regularly lead! I don't particularly want to spend $5000 or more on a new bike, but I'm getting tired of falling off of riders who are not any more fit than I am. So, in the considered opinion of the forum, should I upgrade wheels (I'm still riding the stock wheels from 9 years ago), or bite the bullet and get a new, sleek, light, aerodynamic bike?
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Old 03-31-19, 09:47 AM
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Forget new wheels or a new bike; I doubt that A new bike would make much difference, A better training program would be much more helpful.
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Old 03-31-19, 09:52 AM
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Agree it’s unlikely the bike or wheels holding you back.

If your goal is bling, get new stuff.

If your goal is to improve your fitness for group rides, buy a power meter and get a training program.
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Old 03-31-19, 10:00 AM
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Obviously, both. get a new bike (at least one) and a couple sets of wheels. Deep aero wheels for the flat routes and super-light climbing wheels for the hilly days.

Or maybe ... it's not the bike?

Unless you ride thousands of feet of climbing and your bike is ten pounds heavier than theirs ... likely the bike is not the problem.

But don't take chances. Buy a bike and new wheels.

I think we would need to know more to actually offer meaningful (?) advice. A 2010 Roubaix shouldn't be a drawback. Does it have 6700 (10-speed?) ought to be plenty of ratios to find the right cadence. I cannot imagine that one more cog is the whole difference. According to the sites I visited, the bike also came with 10-speed 105. Same deal. Full CF frame and fork with Zertz inserts? 19.25 pounds showroom weight?

What do you think a new bike would do that the old Roubaix is not doing? maybe the now-faster riders are on bikes three pounds lighter ... but that shouldn't be the difference from the front of the pack to off the back. On the flats it shouldn't even be noticeable.

if the riding position is too upright, flip the stem, or get a longer one.

How much do the wheels weigh? if your group is averaging 22+ mph then areo wheels might make a difference ... a very small difference. if you are climbing a lot, lighter wheels might make a difference--and even tinier difference.

Probably the best investment you could make would be more training time or a more focused training regimen.

But of course ... the Right answer is Always "Buy a new bike."
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Old 03-31-19, 10:25 AM
  #5  
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The best thing is to stop aging,

But after that get excellent tires and a race cut jersey.

I had plenty of time yesterday to check out one guys bike with exposed shift cables, 9 speed & chunky Mavik wheels

from behind as I tried to keep up.

New wheels are fun, 'tho.
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Old 03-31-19, 08:43 PM
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Bike. I bought a new bike after riding my Gallium for 9 years. Totally re-invigorated me to ride again. Couldn't be happier.
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Old 03-31-19, 08:55 PM
  #7  
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Wheels are a a significant portion of the bike's characteristics. Fit, riding position, wheels/tires, shifting/drivetrain, frame. If the rest is fine, get wheels. Even if you bought a new bike you may find yourself ditching the wheels it comes with in favor of upgraded ones. I upgraded my wheelset, a few drive train components, and ended up feeling like I'm on a new bike, but for a lot less, and with the specific components I wanted.

I'd upgrade your wheels, and whatever else really annoys you, and keep riding that bike if you like its fit .
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Old 04-01-19, 10:35 AM
  #8  
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Could it be as simple as compact vs non-compact crankset? A 53-11 vs 50-12 might make a difference. Tire width/pressure?

I'm kind of with the others. I don't think a new bike makes you faster, unless there is something really wrong with the current one, which doesn't appear to be the case from what you described.
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Old 04-01-19, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by wtt9808 View Post
I have been riding a Specialized Roubaix for 9 years, and I still love my bike. The problem is I'm falling behind the other riders in my club in the "arms race" so to speak. Many people who I have ridden with for years have upgraded, some more than once, since I bought my bike, and I am having more and more difficulties staying with people I used to regularly lead! I don't particularly want to spend $5000 or more on a new bike, but I'm getting tired of falling off of riders who are not any more fit than I am. So, in the considered opinion of the forum, should I upgrade wheels (I'm still riding the stock wheels from 9 years ago), or bite the bullet and get a new, sleek, light, aerodynamic bike?
My 1989 Schwinn Prelude stays with my group just like my 2017 Pinarello.
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Old 04-01-19, 04:55 PM
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Improving your motor will get you your greatest gains in speed. However, improving your wheels can help you improve your aerodynamics. When I upgraded to carbon wheels, I could feel the difference in my usual rides. It isn't a huge difference, maybe 1 to 2mph difference, but that could be the difference of being dropped or not. Improving your tires, working on your form on the bike and riding more aero makes a huge difference.
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Old 04-01-19, 08:12 PM
  #11  
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I upgraded my wheels to Mavic Cosmic Pro (Cannondale Synapse Ultegra) and was surprised at the difference it made. I intentionally bought them late last year rather then waiting for spring so I could assess the impact of the wheels with a known conditioning level. If I bought the carbon fiber wheels this spring I would not be able to evaluate the affect of the wheels vs my change in conditioning over the winter. Wheels accounted for about a 10-15% reduction in my split times with the same cadence. (no power meter).
That being said I added spin classes to my winter training regiment, added sprint intervals and a some new weight routines and I've seen an overall improvement of about 20% since last year. The spin classes really helped in improving my lungs as you don't stop for an hour with lots of sprints. The other surprise from spin classes is I can now get up off the saddle for hills if needed since spin classes can be 50% or more off the saddle. So I figure the wheels were responsible for about 50% of my improvement and my conditioning the same. I'm 67 so pretty happy I haven't slowed down yet as I get older. Starting riding 5 years ago following hip replacement surgery.

So if the question is new bike vs new wheels and budget is an issue go with the wheels first.

Last edited by tobey; 04-01-19 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 04-02-19, 06:54 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by wtt9808 View Post
I have been riding a Specialized Roubaix for 9 years, and I still love my bike. The problem is I'm falling behind the other riders in my club in the "arms race" so to speak. Many people who I have ridden with for years have upgraded, some more than once, since I bought my bike, and I am having more and more difficulties staying with people I used to regularly lead! I don't particularly want to spend $5000 or more on a new bike, but I'm getting tired of falling off of riders who are not any more fit than I am. So, in the considered opinion of the forum, should I upgrade wheels (I'm still riding the stock wheels from 9 years ago), or bite the bullet and get a new, sleek, light, aerodynamic bike?
Hate to break it to you.. but it is not the bike. It is you. Train more, get fitter. Unless you are riding a Walmart bike that is horribly set up.. But a Specialized Roubaix should be a good quality bike.

Don't be fooled by the marketing and the "arms race" of equipment, that is really just marginal gains, provided everything else is already optimized to the maximum. Most people are riding "aero" bikes while having a horrible position on the bike for instance: idiotic.

If you really want to go faster without training more, I would look at these things, in order of importance:
- Your position on the bike: get lower, more aero. Will benefit you more than any mechanical upgrade. Can save you about 30 watts, for free
- Lose weight. If you ride hilly terrain or mountains. Losing weight off yourself is cheaper than losing weight off the bike.
- Get some tires with lower rolling resistance. Between a "slow" tire and a "fast" tire can be as much 10 watts per tire (Continental Gatorskin vs GP5000 for example). 20 watts total is a lot, and doesn't cost much! Check out this website: https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/
- Maintain your drivetrain well: is your chain clean and lubed, is your bottom bracket bearing worn?, is your derrailleur squaking? All this can save you 10 watts between a well maintained drivetrain and not..- Some deep section wheels can cost you a lot, and save you about 10 watts total. Not worth it in my opinion, but its your money.

Check out this video: If you compare your Roubaix with a "midrange bike" and your buddies bikes as "superbike": The difference over a 9 minute course is just 10 seconds. That is NOT the difference between getting dropped and not getting dropped.

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Old 04-02-19, 11:35 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Agree its unlikely the bike or wheels holding you back.

If your goal is bling, get new stuff.

If your goal is to improve your fitness for group rides, buy a power meter and get a training program.
This.
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Old 04-09-19, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post

I had plenty of time yesterday to check out one guys bike with exposed shift cables
I've actually been wondering about how much aero improvement (in terms of watts saved) comes from cleaning up the cockpit. Does anyone know of any data on this? There's not much to be done about the brake cables on my bike, but eTap would get rid of the shifter cables. Not that I'm seriously considering doing this upgrade in the near future, but I'm curious about the aero benefits of eTap in addition to the lower weight and shifting crispness.

Generally I'm in agreement with the advice here. As much as I'd like to justify purchasing aero upgrades - or a whole aero bike - the small, rational part of my brain knows that it won't actually make that big a difference to my riding.
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Old 04-09-19, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr_Crankypants View Post
I've actually been wondering about how much aero improvement (in terms of watts saved) comes from cleaning up the cockpit. Does anyone know of any data on this? There's not much to be done about the brake cables on my bike, but eTap would get rid of the shifter cables. Not that I'm seriously considering doing this upgrade in the near future, but I'm curious about the aero benefits of eTap in addition to the lower weight and shifting crispness.
Don't think any data exists on that, but I'd wager 1-2 watt, if that.

If you see that aero wheels are only like 10 watts at 40kph, aero helmet is only like 10 watts at 40 kph.. I can't see something as marginal as shift cables be much more than 1-2 watts.

Honestly, with the whole "aero marginal gains" thing, this is just a new iteration of the "ultimate weight savings" thing: people spending hundreds of dollars (or euros) to save 20 grams on a saddle... just not worth the money. If you just want the nicest bike money can buy, go right ahead. But don't fool yourself that it is a worthwhile investment. Manufacturers are ever so clever at marketing to make you think that it is totally worth it.

Last edited by maartendc; 04-09-19 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 04-10-19, 12:59 PM
  #16  
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I’m guessing the OP knows the answer does not lie in the new bike. He just needs us to confirm that buying a new bike is a good idea��.
9 years is a good amount of time on a bike. Going new is always fun and invigorating. I know it’s against the rules to say this but new rims seem like a marginal difference to me.
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