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upgrading

Jul 29, 2009
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This summer, I bought a Caad 9 with the low-end, Tiagra group set and Shimano stock wheels. I think I made the right choice based on short-term and long-term finances, but I realize that the frame could certainly sustain and justify an upgrade in other components. Based on the premise that I can only afford to do this over time (let's say, $1,000 a year), what is the best order? Wheels and then group, or vice versa?
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Steampunk said:
This summer, I bought a Caad 9 with the low-end, Tiagra group set and Shimano stock wheels. I think I made the right choice based on short-term and long-term finances, but I realize that the frame could certainly sustain and justify an upgrade in other components. Based on the premise that I can only afford to do this over time (let's say, $1,000 a year), what is the best order? Wheels and then group, or vice versa?

Wheels for sure. You'll notice the biggest difference with a good set of wheels. I'm guessing your wheels are around 1800g a set. You can get 1500g for around 300 (williams cycling, neuvation cycling). Or go all out and get the hed ardennes for $900 (1350g).

What about your saddle? Stock saddles usually leave alot to be desired.

I wouldn't really touch your grouppo stuff until it starts to wear. But that said, a new rear derailleur with new shifters (say ultegra) would probably be noticeable.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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Expensive wheels that will blow the budget yet can be damaged by a bad pothole, or odd stone in the road ? I would suggest that with such a limited budget, it might be best to save the cash to replace what becomes necessary; tires, chain, cassette, brake pads, cables and housing- and don't forget some useful tools to help ensure the job is done right
 
Jul 8, 2009
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absolutely agree, wheels first. I suspect your stock wheels are closer to 2000 grams, haven't looked at the actual specs. when you consider wheels, consider more than just weight - depending on how much you way and what you're doing, there are other factors. But yeah you can get a really solid set of wheels online for the $300 range.

If you do your own work, you can actually get something close to a new full Ultegra group for the remaining $700 you have budgeted if you scour ebay at the right time of year. Bikesdirect.com has Kestrel Talons with Ultegra SL for $1500 and you could in theory sell everything except the group and get the group for under $1000.

Now, you may want to work with your LBS, which I can totally get behind. I go to mine for all kinds of stuff, I just can't justify paying double for the more expensive stuff. If you can find a place that will let you try out seats, that's something that definitely requires trial and error.
 
Jul 27, 2009
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What about your saddle? Stock saddles usually leave alot to be desired.

I wouldn't really touch your grouppo stuff until it starts to wear. But that said, a new rear derailleur with new shifters (say ultegra) would probably be noticeable.

+1 for saddle. Other (relatively) cheap and noticeable upgrades include shoes, good tires, a professional bike fit (the default fit from the LBS was way wrong - the professional bike fitter I used ended up lifting the seat well over an inch from where it was).

But the cheapest and biggest upgrade of all has to be switching from the stock brake pads to good stuff like Kool-Stops. The difference is night and day.

Beyond that, wheels do make a pretty big difference. I have some handbuilts on my bike, and the difference between them and the low-end Shimano wheels is quite noticeable.

One catch to upgrading the group is that the Tiagra group is still 9-speed. That means you can't just upgrade piece by piece to (current) Shimano 10-speed groups in an arbitrary fashion. Partial upgrades can apparently be made to work, but it's probably easier and better value to buy Ultegra (or SRAM Rival, or Campy of some kind, though Campy means Campy-compatible wheels) and replace the lot when a substantial fraction of your group is worn out.
 
Steampunk said:
This summer, I bought a Caad 9 with the low-end, Tiagra group set and Shimano stock wheels. I think I made the right choice based on short-term and long-term finances, but I realize that the frame could certainly sustain and justify an upgrade in other components. Based on the premise that I can only afford to do this over time (let's say, $1,000 a year), what is the best order? Wheels and then group, or vice versa?

Have a good wheelbuilder design a wheelset specifically for you and your needs. Take the rest and take a cycling vacation, get a coach, see a nutritionalist..spend $ on the engine.
 

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