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Upgrade or buy a new bike

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Upgrade or buy a new bike

Old 06-16-21, 06:11 AM
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bettrave
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Upgrade or buy a new bike

Hi,
I presently own a Trek Madone series 5 2011 with about 7500km (4600mi). However, Recently, I started to ride a lot more.
It is a 10 speed with the original cassette (10-28) and crankset (50/34). The chain is new and I bought a set of carbon wheels two years ago.
I often find my myself changing between two gears to have "my optimal" cadence.
I am very tempted by buying a Sram Force axs groupset (I have a deal on a 46/33 with 10-33 cassette). For one, precision of electronic gear changing and for two, closer gear ratios
Here's my dilemma.
Should I invest in a new group set for my current bike, but I would still have rim brake (which I don't find braking that great with carbon wheels)?
Or buy a new bike, maybe more aero and with disc brake?
I know, that is a personnal choice, but your thoughts could help me decide.
Thanks!!!
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Old 06-16-21, 09:21 AM
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Is the constant changing between two gears the thing that bugs you? You'll probably have the same with any 11 or 12 speed bike.

More gears just give you more choices to help you find that perfect cadence/power/speed combination. But road conditions are constantly changing, at least for me they do. The slightest change in grade will have me changing gears.

I have found that having more in between gears while riding in groups helps me pick a better gear for the speed of the group. But still the changing grade has me constantly shifting. Though when solo it's never a big deal for me.

As for upgrading or buying a new bike. I'd go for buying the new bike. However if your issue is that you ride on the big tooth count gears on the rear all the time, then that just needs a change of cassettes and maybe chain rings/crankset, which might require a change of DR's. If you go that far and beyond trying to upgrade, then maybe again a new bike.
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Old 06-16-21, 09:47 AM
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The upgrade your looking at will cost you your higher gearing. I like my high gear too much for that plus I envy your 10T cogging. I'd go new bike with all the bells and whistles, disc brakes, e shifting, new everything.
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Old 06-16-21, 12:53 PM
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Mostly agree with Iride01- if the primary problem you're trying to solve is simply shifting less, going 12 speed via upgrade or new bike probably isn't going to help much and will theoretically see you shifting more frequently. That said, the smoothness and consistency of electronic shifting may make that pain point a lot less painful for you. Easy enough to figure out with a test ride.

Upgrading vs new bike, I'd be inclined towards the latter. A contemporary drivetrain (mechanical or electronic) is going to perform leaps and bounds better than decade-old mechanical, the benefits of disc brakes are obvious if they apply to your use case, and as silly as it may sound, the ability to run much wider tires is probably one of the stronger selling points.
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Old 06-16-21, 12:58 PM
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Do a gear chart and look at what gearing options you get with a different cassette. It will be hard to either change to a different shift system OR get a new bike as nothing is in stock currently, parts or bikes. You *might* source a different cassette, maybe not.
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Old 06-16-21, 12:59 PM
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Too easy, this. The answer is, do both. Upgrade the old ride to modern whatever you want. And, buy the new bike of your dreams, within your budget. People, we just can’t have too many sweet rides.
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Old 06-16-21, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by zatopek View Post
Too easy, this. The answer is, do both. Upgrade the old ride to modern whatever you want. And, buy the new bike of your dreams, within your budget. People, we just canít have too many sweet rides.
This
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Old 06-16-21, 02:38 PM
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Thank you all.
It is true about gear ratio.
One thing that I did not said well enough: is it worth upgrading vs buying a new one?
A new would cost me around 8000$ (taxes inc).
Upgrading around 3000$
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Old 06-16-21, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by zatopek View Post
Too easy, this. The answer is, do both. Upgrade the old ride to modern whatever you want. And, buy the new bike of your dreams, within your budget. People, we just canít have too many sweet rides.
Slight modification to this idea. Buy a new bike. On the old bike, consider buying only a new cassette.
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Old 06-18-21, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by bettrave View Post
Hi,
I presently own a Trek Madone series 5 2011 with about 7500km (4600mi). However, Recently, I started to ride a lot more.
It is a 10 speed with the original cassette (10-28) and crankset (50/34). The chain is new and I bought a set of carbon wheels two years ago.
I often find my myself changing between two gears to have "my optimal" cadence.
I am very tempted by buying a Sram Force axs groupset (I have a deal on a 46/33 with 10-33 cassette). For one, precision of electronic gear changing and for two, closer gear ratios
Here's my dilemma.
Should I invest in a new group set for my current bike, but I would still have rim brake (which I don't find braking that great with carbon wheels)?
Or buy a new bike, maybe more aero and with disc brake?
I know, that is a personnal choice, but your thoughts could help me decide.
Thanks!!!
To get the gearing you want, it's probably as simple as a new cassette with different learning. There are a *lot* of choices. Going from 10-11 or 10-12 gears isn't going to make a huge difference, unless you *really* wanted that new bike. Then, of course, it will be ALL the difference in the world. (I'm also a bike-a-holic gadget freak. I've used this rationale more than once too.)

If you love the bike and it fits well, then upgrading the components is pretty simple and can make a world of difference. If you have a great fit and that's all tweaked, sometimes you lose that when you go to a different frame. So you have to figure that out for yourself but I'd not discount the fit if it's good.

That said, if it's a mech bike and you're upgrading to electronic, the SRAM wireless stuff is a piece of cake and it goes really well. It's also *really* nice. If you save all the old mech stuff, you can take off the electronic, buy a frame you like move the electronic to the new frame and sell the old bike. I've done that many times. I've also upgrade mech bikes to SRAM eTap and it was super easy - maybe took me an hour to 90 minutes from the time I got the boxes open. Very quick and easy without cables.

As far as the bike you have, depending on how you've used it, you're probably closer than farther away from replacing the chainrings and cassette anyhow. So that cost will be mitigated a bit with a new AXS group.

You can probably do something about the braking by experimenting with different pads and making sure you clean the rims periodically.

On buying a frame you like - there are a ton of options to do that and then you have the ability to get the frame made to fit you perfectly. I have two bikes I've done that with and I smile every time I get on them. They fit perfectly. Custom frames can be expensive but they don't have to be if you shop around.

All that said, I've never needed much prodding to buy a new bike. Disc brakes are as good an excuse as anything. If saving money is key, then this is the wrong sport or hobby.

Last edited by JohnJ80; 06-18-21 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 06-18-21, 04:08 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
Slight modification to this idea. Buy a new bike. On the old bike, consider buying only a new cassette.
I like this. On my Lynskey, depending on terrain, I'm in the 15, 17, or 19 tooth cog in the back. Mind you, this is all on -0.5% through 0.5% grades, so practically flat. Depending on wind (and how I feel that day), 15 tooth might feel a bit too rough, and my legs feel like they're going faster than they're comfortable for in 17. A 16 tooth cog would be great in those conditions, but I don't have one, so I end up cranking in 15, spinning in 17, and wishing there were something in between.

I'd count how many teeth are on each of your cogs, keep track of which one you're in when riding, and see if there's a cassette that offers gears in the sweet spot. For me, I'm going to try a SRAM PG-1170 at some point, which has single-tooth jumps from 11-17. If I can't find a good cadence there, then I guess I'm SOL.
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Old 06-18-21, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by aliasfox View Post
I like this. On my Lynskey, depending on terrain, I'm in the 15, 17, or 19 tooth cog in the back. Mind you, this is all on -0.5% through 0.5% grades, so practically flat. Depending on wind (and how I feel that day), 15 tooth might feel a bit too rough, and my legs feel like they're going faster than they're comfortable for in 17. A 16 tooth cog would be great in those conditions, but I don't have one, so I end up cranking in 15, spinning in 17, and wishing there were something in between.

I'd count how many teeth are on each of your cogs, keep track of which one you're in when riding, and see if there's a cassette that offers gears in the sweet spot. For me, I'm going to try a SRAM PG-1170 at some point, which has single-tooth jumps from 11-17. If I can't find a good cadence there, then I guess I'm SOL.
Exactly. The inclusion of the 16T cog is why a few of us are on 12-25 cassettes.
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Old 06-19-21, 08:41 PM
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I have some experience with this sort of decision. Last year, I did a complete overhaul/upgrade of my 2001 Eddy Merckx Team SC (Aluminum/Scandium frame). It sort of happened by accident. I wasn't initially planning on replacing everything - just the chainrings and cassette to add lower gearing, but once I got started, one thing led to another, and I have now replaced literally every piece of the bike except the water bottle cages. I upgraded from 10sp to 12speed (Campy Chorus mechanical/rim brake), went from a 53/39 chainrings to a 50/34 compact. I also got wider rims and went from 23mm to 28mm tires (plus new carbon bars, stem, seatpost, saddle, power meter pedals, etc.). In hindsight, it may have been a little bit bananas to spend that much on a 20 year old aluminum frame. On the other hand, I've always loved that frame and still think it rides great. There's something about the geometry and the Scandium mix that give it a great feel, and I have a bit of an emotional attachment to it. I haven't actually done the math to add up the full cost vs. what I could have gotten in terms of a new bike, but I really love the way it rides. The new wheels are much faster and more comfortable than my old ones, and the new gearing (compact chainrings and wider range 12-speed cassette) have really helped me out with the hills. I don't regret doing it at all. (btw, I bought nice alloy wheels, so the rim brakes work really well and I feel comfortable running tubeless). For comparison sake, I also have a carbon gravel bike with carbon wheels. I'm not convinced that I'm any worse off with the alloy frame and wheels (if I were racing these days, I might feel differently). Also, when the derailleurs are tuned right, the shifting is incredibly precise and fast. Electronic shifting won't make you any faster (unless, perhaps, if you are racing and could miss a shift). I would think the biggest advantage of electronic shifting over high-end mechanical is that it doesn't start lagging due to cable stretch over time. But I keep mine pretty well tuned. YMMV.

Probably the smartest decision is to buy a slightly used bike. That usually gives you the best bang for the buck.

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Old 06-20-21, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by aliasfox View Post
For me, I'm going to try a SRAM PG-1170 at some point, which has single-tooth jumps from 11-17. If I can't find a good cadence there, then I guess I'm SOL.
Well, if you're enterprising enough, you could take my half-finished electronic half-step triple project and run with it... (link in my tag). I might even be able to dig up my Arduino code in a couple of months (just moving house right now).
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Old 06-20-21, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
Well, if you're enterprising enough, you could take my half-finished electronic half-step triple project and run with it... (link in my tag). I might even be able to dig up my Arduino code in a couple of months (just moving house right now).
Thanks, but got my own (less ambitious!) build to worry about!
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Old 06-20-21, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by aliasfox View Post
Thanks, but got my own (less ambitious!) build to worry about!
Fair enough, it's a tall order. Although, I seem to recall that somebody has actually made a servo designed to pull shift cables, which was about where I was at when I gave up. Although the reason I gave up was more of a show-stopper - the need for a FD with a cage designed for 38/50/52.

I am proud of cramming those rings onto a double crank though; IMO if 38/50/52 ever becomes a thing, it shouldn't need wider Q, since the half-step rings can be spaced quite close.
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Old 06-21-21, 06:44 AM
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Has anyone made an electronic shifter capable of shifting a triple? It seems like it'd be a simple addition to the programming and the only problem would be if they needed to make a special FD. I love my 53/42/30 and would have a hard time giving that up (assuming I had the disposable income to move to electronic shifting - which I don't).
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