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What to upgrade? (Detailed context within)

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What to upgrade? (Detailed context within)

Old 06-26-22, 11:04 AM
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rhuds5fa
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What to upgrade? (Detailed context within)

Hi, I have a question for you all about what to upgrade, if anything. Heres some context:
  • Im 36, 61, 165 lbs, longer in the legs than torso, decently fit
  • Im getting into cycling
  • I have a 2021 Roubaix base model (Tiagra), with head tube spacers as low as possible
  • My bike weighs 21.2 lbs ready to ride (excluding water bottles though)
  • I averaged 16.2 mph over 25 mile ride yesterday, with moderate uphill and downhill grades along the way
  • I probably wont race, but I will ride 1-3 times a week, 20-60 miles, sometimes solo, sometimes group rides, sometimes timed group events (and probably no hardcore mountain climbs)
  • I want to be able to go as fast as possible but also be reasonably comfortable
  • I am open to spending $3,500 in the next year

Based on the points above, especially the last two, what would you do? Keep the bike but upgrade certain parts like wheels and group set? Skip the upgrades and just get a better bike, possibly a more race-oriented bike (Tarmac, Emonda, TCR)? Do nothing and just ride?

Let me know your thoughts! Thank you for reading!
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Old 06-26-22, 11:17 AM
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If you're looking at spending that (assuming that's USD) you could likely build a full on carbon/hydraulic Ultegra build and sell your current ride. I'd continue to ride what you have, make notes of what you like and don't like so you can make better decisions later on when picking parts. That's just my opinion though.
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Old 06-26-22, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Ryan_M View Post
I'd continue to ride what you have, make notes of what you like and don't like so you can make better decisions later on when picking parts. That's just my opinion though.
This is very sound advice for the OP, especially before switching to a different bike, and more especially if the Roubaix is his/her first road bike, because he/she needs to ride for a while to learn what geometry works for him/her, because his/her position on the bike would change as he/she gets fitter and more used to riding a road bike. A few things for the OP to try to see if he/she can get used to a "racier" geometry: (1) using the drops more often, especially when descending; (2) flip the stem to reduce the angle to the ground; (3) relocate one or more steerer tube spacers from below to above the stem (make sure to lower the expander plug correspondingly).

One inexpensive potential "upgrade" that may yield immediate returns on speed is a close range cassette, but only if the OP can ride where he/she wants without one or more cogs in the 11-34 cassette that comes default with a base Roubaix. A close range cassette (e.g., Ultegra 12-30) may allow him/her to stay in his/her power band (i.e., optimal range of cadence) which yields immediate speed gains.
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Old 06-26-22, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by rhuds5fa View Post
Hi, I have a question for you all about what to upgrade, if anything. Here’s some context:
  • I’m 36, 6’1”, 165 lbs, longer in the legs than torso, decently fit
  • I’m getting into cycling
  • I have a 2021 Roubaix base model (Tiagra), with head tube spacers as low as possible
  • My bike weighs 21.2 lbs ready to ride (excluding water bottles though)
  • I averaged 16.2 mph over 25 mile ride yesterday, with moderate uphill and downhill grades along the way
  • I probably won’t race, but I will ride 1-3 times a week, 20-60 miles, sometimes solo, sometimes group rides, sometimes timed group events (and probably no hardcore mountain climbs)
  • I want to be able to go as fast as possible but also be reasonably comfortable
  • I am open to spending $3,500 in the next year
Based on the points above, especially the last two, what would you do? Keep the bike but upgrade certain parts like wheels and group set? Skip the upgrades and just get a better bike, possibly a more race-oriented bike (Tarmac, Emonda, TCR)? Do nothing and just ride?
Let me know your thoughts! Thank you for reading!
Sounds like a great start for some performance cycling!
And your current ride is quite nice and certainly will work well for what you're doing. Tiagra is quite good stuff and more than adequate for a good motor. Bike design is also quite all-round good road. I would hold the money for now, on new machinery.
Work on developing the cycling legs and knowledge - there's a lot to it and will provide the most gains for you.
Learn how to effectively use the gearing you currently have. Find out how your body reacts to different ways to 'ride' (higher cadence, gearing and power, hills, flats) and what you're best attritbutes are (allowing you to also pay attention to strengthening the weaker areas. VERY IMPORTANT to develop a good bike posture relative to how the bike fits - KEY!
If you plan on riding in 'sportive/competitive' groups, learning how to ride in groups and how group dynamics happen is a strong skill to learn. Learning how to ride in a group is not only important for performance, but also to insure a safe ride and outcome. Bike skills come with being attentive to the act of riding in multiple ways and conditions.
... so much to actual riding, as opposed to equipment...
Down the line you'll recognize areas where equipment can further improvement.
The internet is replete with those for whom equipment is every answer - but riding is more about the rider than the bike.
If possible, when the time comes to get 'more' bike, think 'Additional', making the current bike a backup. Having 2 bikes is always a positive thing, for so many reasons.

If you have a 'competitive' edge and want to let that out - you'll want to ride a bit more than 3x (in-season) allowing a good variety of 'rides' which complement you personal development plan.
Don;t get into Bike burnout - variety is important, both in ride and your mental approach to riding - not every ride needs to be high effort/training/competition. Continue to develop an appreciation of what cycling provides to a happy life - and it will continue to be as important as breathing, water and food...
Ride On
Yuri

EDIT: worth while investments for now, besides multiple varieties of 'Kit' (clothes, shoes, helmets, etc...)
a good start is getting a Heart Rate Monitor for gauging your body - if you are using a smart phone, I can recommend something like a Wahoo Kickr with an app you like - really helps in getting to learn about yourself, on a daily basis as well as longterm devleopment.
More money and additive would be a power meter - but maybe a design - like pedal based - which can easily transfer to any bike... That would seem to be an easy way to throw $1K at your riding - and get something for it... LOL!

Last edited by cyclezen; 06-26-22 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 06-26-22, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by rhuds5fa View Post
Hi, I have a question for you all about what to upgrade, if anything. ...
  • I want to be able to go as fast as possible but also be reasonably comfortable
  • I am open to spending $3,500 in the next year
Focusing solely on the two emphasized point, and reading them literally, leads to only one answer: sell the Roubaix, and apply the proceeds plus $3,500 to buy an e-bike.

Just kidding, please don't do that.
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Old 06-26-22, 05:31 PM
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I'd question the low bar position the OP is now using. Not really necessary for riding the OP is doing, someone just getting into cycling. You can ride fast and comfortably they're not mutually exclusive. For a non-racer, that extra comfort getting saddle and bars closer to same height can increase the miles you ride and thus get you fitter. You'll go faster and farther just because you're more comfortable.
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Old 06-26-22, 06:58 PM
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A different bike won't make that much of a difference taking into consideration you state "I will ride 1-3 times a week, 20-60 miles". You won't get very fast.
But do what you want and good luck to you.
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Old 06-26-22, 07:21 PM
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Deep section carbon wheels.
High quality, fast tyres.

Or just keep saving and eventually buy a "better" bike.
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Old 06-26-22, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Recycled Cycler View Post
I'd question the low bar position the OP is now using. Not really necessary for riding the OP is doing, someone just getting into cycling. You can ride fast and comfortably they're not mutually exclusive. For a non-racer, that extra comfort getting saddle and bars closer to same height can increase the miles you ride and thus get you fitter. You'll go faster and farther just because you're more comfortable.
A Roubaix has a relatively high stack for a given reach, so slamming the stem is not as extreme as on a more racy bike. And lower is not necessarily uncomfortable; the position just has to suit one's body and fitness level.

Originally Posted by Kai Winters View Post
A different bike won't make that much of a difference taking into consideration you state "I will ride 1-3 times a week, 20-60 miles". You won't get very fast.
OP is merely striving to be "as fast as possible" why remaining "reasonably comfortable," not necessarily becoming "very fast."
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Old 06-26-22, 07:48 PM
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Yes, ride this for at least until fall. Your idea of a good fit will likely evolve.
Meanwhile:

Use the drops effectively.
I like the bars high enough that the drops are a very comfortable position. I'm probably 50% on the hoods, 40% on the drops, 10% on the tops.
So many riders have their drops set so low that I essentially never see them in the drops.

In the drops:
way better control on very rough roads and descents.
my hands need the relief of having pressure across my whole palm, instead of more concentrated on the hoods.
stretch out my back a bit in the drops. And this is easier on my hands and shoulders too.
immediate aero benefit, of course.

Tires!! By far the biggest improvement for the cost.

Are you riding these stock tires: Specialized Espoir Sport, 60TPI, wire bead, double BlackBelt protection, 700x28mm.
These probably have very good puncture protection. But that depends where you ride: City streets may have more glass and sharp bits?
I stay off the shoulders, there's always debris there. I ride in the right tire track on the road, since car tires kick the debris to the side of the road. And cars won't try to close pass me when I'm riding there.

Good tires in 28 mm, like Continental GP5000, are so nice to ride. And better grip in the corners too. They flex over tiny bumps instead of vibrating/bouncing the bike.
Lightweight tubes are good to go with this.
At your 165 pounds, try 70-75 psi front, 80 psi rear. Very comfortable on rough roads, reasonable pinch flat protection. You'll be just as fast as a tire pumped rock hard, and likely faster on rough surfaces.

Save the old tires, and put them back on if you sell the old bike!

Cassette
A different range cassette might be good, depending on the hill grades and lengths, and also how fast you are riding. I like close shifts at flat road speeds where I'm working hard to hang on. And still have low gears to use on climbs.

Saddle
So many different saddle preferences with different riders. And there's no easy way to pick the best one for you. Some shops have a loaner / trial saddle program.
I wouldn't change it unless the stock saddle is just uncomfortable after riding it for 4-6 weeks at least.

I don't think I'd upgrade anything else on this bike, it's just not that effective.

Last edited by rm -rf; 06-26-22 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 06-26-22, 08:00 PM
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Fast-for-you group rides!
A group ride that's just a little too fast for you! But first, if you are new to group rides, some group ride practice at a moderate pace for you will give you needed experience on group riding methods.

I used to do a Tues evening ride that had multiple speed groups. After a few rides with them, I picked the speed group where I'd have to work pretty hard to hang on. But not get dropped on the first hill, and make it to the end. I can't go nearly as fast solo -- there's a group ride motivation to go "keep going just another 30 seconds" at what seems like my max pace. (And keep those gaps closed, it's hard to catch up.) The speeds tend to get faster later in the season, for each of the speed groups, but they probably won't announce an increase. The regulars are just fitter than early in the year, so speeds increase a bit.

Having the route in my GPS and knowing there were more speed groups on the route was good, in case I just couldn't keep up that week.

And you'll likely find some other riders that go at your pace, for separate small group rides, or just knowledge of other good rides in the area.

~~~
"1-3 rides a week"
I need at least 2 rides a week, and these are usually 2 hours or more each. Preferably 3 or sometimes 4 rides a week.
I'll sometimes do about an hour, solo, but then I'm climbing any hills at my max effort -- it's fun to not have to think about saving some reserves for later in the ride.

To keep up with my usual groups, I have to ride regularly. It's a great motivation. Otherwise I tend to find excuses to go "later" which turns into "skip it".

Last edited by rm -rf; 06-26-22 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 06-26-22, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
Yes, ride this for at least until fall. Your idea of a good fit will likely evolve.

Tires!! By far the biggest improvement for the cost.
Key points here. I cannot believe that after I looked up what comes stock on a Roubaix, I forgot tires and suggested a close range cassette first.
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Old 06-26-22, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Kai Winters View Post
A different bike won't make that much of a difference taking into consideration you state "I will ride 1-3 times a week, 20-60 miles". You won't get very fast.
But do what you want and good luck to you.
You're not wrong but we all get something different out of cycling, besides being on the actual bike. I'm a big proponent that your bike needs to be your little red sports car. Do I really need Brembo brakes or Z rated tires? Certainly not. Is that higher end piece of equipment going to get me to use it more? Hard yes. I built a bike that is way better than my skills... I appreciate the better mechanics and it gets me on it more often. Solid win in my books.
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Old 06-26-22, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Ryan_M View Post
You're not wrong but we all get something different out of cycling, besides being on the actual bike. I'm a big proponent that your bike needs to be your little red sports car. Do I really need Brembo brakes or Z rated tires? Certainly not. Is that higher end piece of equipment going to get me to use it more? Hard yes. I built a bike that is way better than my skills... I appreciate the better mechanics and it gets me on it more often. Solid win in my books.
Lol - have to agree. I have Z rated tires on my wifes SUV. 😜
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Old 06-26-22, 09:25 PM
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another vote for a tire upgrade

not familiar with the tire spec'd on a 2021 Roubaix - but the tire could be a 400 gm steel bead tire

switch to a top level tire * could shave some weight, reduce rolling resistance, and provide better grip / ride / feel etc

(* and light weight tubes if not tubeless)
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Old 06-26-22, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by t2p View Post
not familiar with the tire spec'd on a 2021 Roubaix - but the tire could be a 400 gm steel bead tire
Good guess! Comes with a Specialized Road Sport 700 x 32C 60 TPI wire bead tire at 460 g. Definitely the first candidate for upgrade.
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Old 06-27-22, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by rhuds5fa View Post
Hi, I have a question for you all about what to upgrade, if anything. Heres some context:I averaged 16.2 mph over 25 mile ride yesterday, with moderate uphill and downhill grades along the way

I will ride 1-3 times a week, 20-60 miles, sometimes solo, sometimes group rides, sometimes timed group events (and probably no hardcore mountain climbs)
I want to be able to go as fast as possible but also be reasonably comfortable
I am open to spending $3,500 in the next year

Based on the points above, especially the last two, what would you do? Keep the bike but upgrade certain parts like wheels and group set? Skip the upgrades and just get a better bike, possibly a more race-oriented bike (Tarmac, Emonda, TCR)? Do nothing and just ride?
Let me know your thoughts! Thank you for reading!
If you are only going to ride one to three times per week, then you are already going as fast as you are ever going to go, so if you are interested in comfort just go to a bike dealer and say "I want the most comfortable bike you have for $3500.".
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Old 06-29-22, 04:23 PM
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The OP said he wants to go as fast as possible "but be reasonably comfortable".
This can easily be achieved by using supple tires with latex tubes or a tubeless setup. Having a 25mm tire with a wider internal width rim or a 28mm tire can be very comfortable.

If it were me. I would probably buy a new bike with $3500. Either find a used Tarmac or TCR or build my own. There are a lot of good quality open mold frames and wheelsets out there to choose from
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Old 06-29-22, 05:00 PM
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I agree with all the 'get better tires' responses. You don't need to go hog wild, but good tires will make a lot of difference. Same thing with the inflation - lower than the max on the tire, and adjusted to your weight. Try to ride more times a week than 1. I'd say it's better to do 3 x 20 mile rides than 1 x 60, if that's every week, because you can go harder on the ride days and rest between them.

As you're riding and building up your mileage, your body will also be finding its place on the bike. There's a lot of information available online for setting up your bike to fit you and then adjusting the fit based on your individual needs. After you've been riding a few months, consider getting a professional fit. It might surprise you.

Save the $3500 till you've been riding regularly and you know what you want in a bike.
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Old 06-29-22, 06:15 PM
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Thank you

Thank you all for the great advice. Ive enjoyed and learned from each and every comment! Cheers!
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Old 06-30-22, 09:34 AM
  #21  
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I'd spend your money on a new bike. At 21.5 lbs, you probably aren't going to get significantly lighter without going to a complete Ultegra or DuraAce groups and better wheels. Then you'll be spending more than what you would on a decent tier model of the three bikes you listed. And you probably should add a Cannondale SuperSix EVO to your list.

If you can realize and get out of your mind that race fit bikes aren't endurance bikes then you'll be way ahead of those that think that way. My race fit Tarmac is much lighter than the Roubaix and is every bit as comfortable on long rides. It's lighter weight has made local riding more fun for me and there are now fewer hills that I even have to worry about as the less weight saves me energy so I'm able to climb the few remaining tough hills and have more energy left even at the end of a Century ride.
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Old 07-01-22, 01:28 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by beng1 View Post
If you are only going to ride one to three times per week, then you are already going as fast as you are ever going to go, so if you are interested in comfort just go to a bike dealer and say "I want the most comfortable bike you have for $3500.".
Please. Many of us have to work to be able to afford the toys (including bikes) that we want, and many of us have family obligations, as well. Not to mention we don't all live in climates where it's always between 65-80F, sunny, with a light breeze - I, for one, would love to go out right now (short day at work, woot), but it looks like 92F, and I know my body won't be happy with that for more than a few minutes.

I rarely crest 100 mi a week, usually in the 50-70mi range, and I can hold averages in 17-19mph range, so at 16.5mph, the OP can definitely still go faster.

Anyway, aside from the quick win of new, kevlar bead tires, the OP might want to consider a bike fit, as well. It sounds like the OP is new to cycling, and may not have years of saddle time and subtle injuries to place saddle/bar in the right places for speed or comfort, so it could be useful to understand that bit.

Is the OP riding with cycling kit? A non-flappy jersey, and shorts or bibs? How about clipless pedals? Those could also be quick wins.

Once you have those down, I would direct the OP towards new carbon wheels rather than a new groupset - not because new Ultegra isn't great, but wheels are so much easier to install - in fact, the OP could run carbon wheels with Contis and a close ratio cassette when he wants to go fast on pavement, and swap in the OEM wheels, tires, and cassette if he's going on a dirt path, or just taking the bike on a short spin to the coffee shop.

$200 on a fitting (more or less depending on shop and how involved you want it to be). $200 on a set of jersey and bibs. $150 on tires, $1200 for wheels and cassette. Comes out to about half the budget, and the rest can be saved for when bikes with Ultegra Di2 start hitting the market...
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Old 07-01-22, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by aliasfox View Post
Please. Many of us have to work to be able to afford the toys (including bikes) that we want, and many of us have family obligations, as well.
Hear, hear. Not all of us want to buy a road race bike, sell all other material possessions, give up on the rest of life, just to HTFU and win some local Strava segments.
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Old 07-03-22, 12:30 AM
  #24  
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I guess I'm questioning the goal itself. If not racing (not competing against others) the measure of faster that should matter is in relation to your current speed and you don't need to upgrade anything for that. Working on some of the suggestions others have made regarding technique, position, etc. should result in faster times. If the current ride is comfortable and you enjoy riding it, I see no reason to change anything. When the tires wear out, replace with a good performance tire and you may see an improvement in ride quality and speed.

It is possible to buy speed by spending $$$$$ on a new bike or upgraded parts, but earning it by improving your technique and conditioning will be far more rewarding.
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Old 07-03-22, 03:00 AM
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znomit
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