First road bike, best value upgrade?

by Cliffg   July 25, 2013  

New to road cycling, switching from the mountain bike...and have started with a Giant Defy 3 which I've had for 6 months.

Bug seems to have caught me, riding 3 times a week from 10 mile time trials to 100 mile sportive and now looking to see what upgrades could help...and look good of course!

Was thinking of a pair of shimano rs80 carbon laminate wheels and new tires which would shed around 750g of the weight of the wheels and tires which sounds like it could be beneficial to me?

All advice welcome...!

Cheers
Cliff

23 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Wheels and tyres are the obvious choice and give the biggest bang for your buck....and, if I was spending ~£300 on a wheelset, that is the one that I would go for.
Also, worth mentioning, is that Ribble are offering an additional 10% on top of their existing discount until midnight Friday.
Act fast my friend and snap up an awesome wheelset Big Grin
I'd budget for a set of Conti GP4000s (25mm) also, but the additional discount on the wheels will offset quite a lot of that cost.

posted by Al'76 [126 posts]
25th July 2013 - 19:37

3 Likes

I second the previous comment, I have rs80 wheels with 4000s tyres and they are fantastic.

posted by Charles_Hunter [88 posts]
25th July 2013 - 21:36

3 Likes

+1, most effective area to spend money on, and the RS80's are a great wheel. V light for the price. For the same price, you could get campag Zonda,.which are a few grams heavier but IME stiffer as well, which is important if you are large rider /powerful sprinter!..

Loads of people recommend Conti GP4000s so they must be good! Otherwise if you can stretch to Vittoria open corsa 320tpi plus latex inner tubes the ride is sublime, grippy and fast rolling.

posted by 700c [587 posts]
26th July 2013 - 7:59

7 Likes

You got clip on TT bars?

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
26th July 2013 - 12:10

2 Likes

My RS80s seem very nice. Ultegra wheelset (CW review) is £250 online and hardly any heavier and very similar spec. Either of these would be a good upgrade.

GP4000S, Ultremo or Pro4 SC are lightweight, fast rolling 'summer' tyres. Greater longevity and improved p******e resistance - Durano, GP 4Season, Pro4 Endurance and Vittoria Rubino Pro III. Blizzard Sport folding (~240g) now doing a surprisingly good job on the SCR for <£8 each, but the rear is wearing faster than I'd like.

http://road.cc/review-archive?tid=10729
http://mccraw.co.uk/gp4000s-vs-ultremo-zx/

Beyond wheels and tyres the Law of Diminishing Returns applies. Save your money for extra cake
Big Grin

But keep an eye on chain wear. For better cassette & chainring life replace it before it gets to the 0.75 mark on chain checker (or use a ruler). I recently fitted a new 9 speed chain & cassette on my SCR and it feels quite a bit better than before Smile

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2051 posts]
26th July 2013 - 12:26

1 Like

SammyG wrote:
You got clip on TT bars?

Not thought about them, do they make much difference on the TTs? Can imagine they take a bit of getting used to!

Think I'll take the plunge on the wheels and the GP4000s as they look like a popular choice. Thanks for the advice Cool

posted by Cliffg [5 posts]
26th July 2013 - 23:14

2 Likes

wheels you will barely notice, clip on TT bars you will gain 1mph+, get new tyres and clip on TT bars.

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
28th July 2013 - 18:49

4 Likes

GP4000's are a sweet upgrade.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
28th July 2013 - 21:18

1 Like

Clip on bars can eclipse any other upgrade in TTs. I would rather ride a cheap halfords road bike with aero bars than my £4000 road bike with normal bars.

The one thing is that you need to be aware of how to get a good position with the bars. They are of little advantage if your setup is wrong.

If TTs were not important to me I would go nice wheels tyres and tubes though as they will make normal riding nicer. I have some rd80s they are nice and seem robust. I prefer my hanbuilt wheels though.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
29th July 2013 - 10:24

5 Likes

Go for some Kool-Stop brake pads while you're at it (my experience with the OEM Shimano pads is that they overheat and glaze over very easily on fast descents)

posted by Hector Ch [52 posts]
29th July 2013 - 10:55

1 Like

Hector Ch wrote:
Go for some Kool-Stop brake pads while you're at it (my experience with the OEM Shimano pads is that they overheat and glaze over very easily on fast descents)

The stock pads seem to eat rims as well. Kool-stop salmons have been on mine for a while now - much better braking and it appears less rim wear too

posted by gw [44 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 9:29

2 Likes

You mention TT's, so clip on tri bars are an obvious choice for an upgrade. And cheap. As for them making a much more of a difference than wheels, ('which you will hardly notice') I am not convinced this is necessarily the case.

It depends on the individual rider, bike fit and flexibility etc

For example, I'm able to get an effective, low and powerful position on the drops now, yet my TT bars really did not make me feel stable, and therefore have not helped me. Perhaps I need more practice, but I noticed several people on last Saturdays sportive on TT bars, when I got onto the drops for a nice flat section, I was easily able to get away from them in their TT position. My aero wheels are a big factor in helping me maintain a good speed on the flat

Of course I am not comparing like for like, and a serious time trialist should definitely work on getting a low position, which will probably involve a set of TT bars, I would just caution against the assumption that 'TT bars will give you +1 mph, wheels make virtually no difference' -it really depends on the rider in question and the equipment used.

I admit that decent wheels are a costly proposition, however!

posted by 700c [587 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 10:14

3 Likes

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 12:14

2 Likes

700c wrote:
Perhaps I need more practice, but I noticed several people on last Saturdays sportive on TT bars...

Ooh naughty! Most sportives don't allow TT bars or other non-standard bars.

posted by Hollisharri [38 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 12:16

2 Likes

Hollisharri wrote:
700c wrote:
Perhaps I need more practice, but I noticed several people on last Saturdays sportive on TT bars...

Ooh naughty! Most sportives don't allow TT bars or other non-standard bars.

Yeah I thought it was odd, fortunately not much bunched group riding.

Sammy G, interesting graphic. It suggests the benefits of aerodynamic wheels would be significant enough to notice? Would also be interesting to see the same figures applied to a rider going up hill!

posted by 700c [587 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 13:15

0 Likes

Shoe covers 30 seconds? skinsuit worth more than bars? That must be compared to a guy wearing wellington boots and maybe a wedding dress Big Grin

It is actually debatable whether most shoe covers offer any advantage and may in fact slow you down.

The difficulty on a road bike with aero bars is that the position will tend to be too long. Ideally yu will move your saddle forward as this shortens the reach and allows you to get lower because you have a more relaxed hip angle. A limiting factor on road bike is the geometry which will start to feel a handful if you go to far forward. It is still relatively east to get it right with a little playing about.

All I know is that for the same power I am much faster using box section wheels and aerobars than I am using zipp 404s on my road bike. My position is above average but far from ideal.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 14:45

0 Likes

SammyG wrote:

How much is the EPO worth then? Devil

posted by pirnie [198 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 14:56

1 Like

ilovemytinbred wrote:
Shoe covers 30 seconds? skinsuit worth more than bars? That must be compared to a guy wearing wellington boots and maybe a wedding dress Big Grin

It is actually debatable whether most shoe covers offer any advantage and may in fact slow you down.

+1. Love the thought of wellies & wedding dress Big Grin

The skinsuit is a special Nike speedsuit, 30-60 secs is more likely. Effectiveness of an aero helmet varies with rider profile and position, there is no single 'best' helmet.

Flo reckon their 30mm (20 spokes) is worth 64secs over 40 km TT, the 60mm only 11secs more. That's compared to a 32-spoke Open Pro. If you use a low enough baseline you can make anything look good.

Equally, the possible gains from weight reduction are overhyped, but people like the idea of 'buying' speed so light weight sells.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2051 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 15:26

1 Like

700c wrote:
Hollisharri wrote:
700c wrote:
Perhaps I need more practice, but I noticed several people on last Saturdays sportive on TT bars...

Ooh naughty! Most sportives don't allow TT bars or other non-standard bars.

Yeah I thought it was odd, fortunately not much bunched group riding.

Sammy G, interesting graphic. It suggests the benefits of aerodynamic wheels would be significant enough to notice? Would also be interesting to see the same figures applied to a rider going up hill!

Thats a HED H3 and a HED Disc though, difference between that and 50mm rims would be huge.

Uphill, it would depend on the gradient, the pro's seem to like a road bike with 50mm wheels and aero bars.

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 18:08

2 Likes

Interesting that Froome won the TT in the Tour by swapping bikes at the summit - light climbing bike with light wheels for going up, aero bike set up for going down.

Simon E, it's not as simple as buying speed, (you have to train of course) but equipment clearly makes a difference, and the OP, I understand, chose to upgrade his wheels. IME, a sensible choice - and he will notice the difference, I am sure of it!

posted by 700c [587 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 21:56

1 Like

(well he won by being the fastest, and Contador acknowledged it was a tactical mistake not to swap bikes)

posted by 700c [587 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 21:59

3 Likes

700c wrote:
Simon E, it's not as simple as buying speed, (you have to train of course) but equipment clearly makes a difference, and the OP, I understand, chose to upgrade his wheels. IME, a sensible choice - and he will notice the difference, I am sure of it!

I'm sure he will. My point was that people overestimate the potential gains of lighter/more aero components. The few seconds aero wheels will save over a 25 mile TT are irrelevant when you ride on the hoods with your mates.

I'm not knocking the desire to tweak your bike, just that this seems to be a goal in itself rather than a means to an end. It seems many people think the first thing they need to do to a new bike is to upgrade it, they have persuaded themselves that the stock wheels (or whatever) "aren't good enough".

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2051 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 11:08

2 Likes

Not sure I'll be going near a skin suit anytime soon, changing from MTB baggies to road bike gear has been a bit of a shock to the system as it is Wink

Went for some Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tyres in the end which will get first outing on 80 mile sportive tomorrow and fulcrum racing 3s on the way. Went for the Schwalbe tyres as I liked the white stripe...! Smile and 100g a piece lighter than the standard kit tyres.

posted by Cliffg [5 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 22:14

2 Likes