Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts
7 posts • Page 1 of 1
I currently have an old but very loved full alloy Cannondale road bike with Shimano 600 components (8 speed). I am seriously considering upgrading to a Giant TCR Composite 2 (2006) with 105 components and 10 speed. This bike fits into my very limited budget but I would not want to upgrade if it was only a small step upwards or worse still a sideways step. I have been told that due to being Carbon Fibre and the new 105 gearing it will be a big step up. what is everyones thoughts? and what are everyones feelings on Composite Carbon Fibre Bikes? I have heard horror stories and great stories. I would love your feedback.
I think that that's a tough question.
In their day, the 600 components were Shimano's top of the range, so a move to 105 10-speed might not be a great step forward (other than 'freshness'). It would bring about a move to STI levers, and - in my opinion - that's a great step forward.
However, I think that any move from an all alloy bike is a big step forward. Even (or should that be especially?) to steel.
The only way to tell is to have a decent ride, after doing what you can / are allowed to with regard to fit. A significant part of the 'very loved' description of your Cannondale probably stems from it being a good fit to you, so a move to a less well fitting bike - while it may seem good initially - isn't likely to be satisfying in the long run.
So, what are my thoughts? If the bike's full carbon and a good fit, go for it.
Modern carbon bikes are safe - they don't take the punishment of steel, nor of aluminium, but we're talking crash damage, not riding around damage. Good carbon frames haven't been around long enough to know whether they'll last as well as your old Cannondale. Most horror stories with carbon relate to the older technology or to people who didn't realise that carbon often/usually breaks from the inside out, to people who kept riding the thing after a crash. However, to claim that going to carbon is a great step up from anything else is just elitist bulldust - a good frame is more than just the material. What you will be getting, is a bike with more refined geometry (one would hope), certainly more modern thoughts on geometry. You will probably be getting a bike that is lighter, but we're still talking less than a full bottle of water. You'll probably be getting a bike that is more comfortable - the early aluminium bikes suffered a harsh ride which carbon can be used to reduce, but as you describe your old girl as 'much loved', I'd have to wonder if that is an issue.
Gears. I'm guessing you've got down tube shifters. If so, going to brifters is a big step forward. Modern gear systems change quickly and silently, so you will notice a big improvement there. The braking will probably be a lot better ... things have improved over the years.
However, 105 is the baseline racing gear (it's good stuff, don't let me give you the wrong impression, you'll be happy with it). Seeing you love your old bike, how about giving her a birthday and treating her to a modern groupset. You may need to have the rear triangle reset and that may be an issue with aluminium, but it may not be either (nor may you need it, I don't know). That way you'll be able to go one step further to Ultegra (no need to go to DuraAce unless you are racing) and shout her a new set of wheels while you're at it. Cripes, you could even try Campy. Just another option.
Thanks for your prompt replies, I really appreciate it. I do have STI levers on my bike (600) with 600 derailer and ultegra crankset. So as far as STI levers thats one thing I already have. I did have a pair of spinery wheels (4 spoke) that I crashed I absolutely loved them so much. Now I am running Campag Shamal 8 spokes which I purchased along time ago and never really liked (very hard ride) I think my real problem is I hate these wheels! They dont seem to work well with my bike. I really do love my cannondale so maybe I should look around for some new fast wheels and upgrade to 10 speed if possible. (not sure if I can or not) any suggestions? I am really loving getting some feedback and ideas.
Thanks all, Debbie
As far as the upgrade goes Debbie, the problem will be in the spread of your rear forks - are they wide enough? A steel frame can be reset quite easily and there are frame builders in every state who will do it. To be done properly, the bike needs to be clamped to a jig to ensure you get the correct alignment. However, I don't know if aluminium can be reset ... but just ask your frame builder.
New wheels sound like a good move - buy good wheels and if you then decide to buy a new bike as well, you can use them on the new bike with an appropriate change to the purchase price.
If the only thing you don't love about your Cannondale is the wheels, then I'd be inclined to simply get new wheels. Generally 5, 6 and most 7 speeds have rear stays that are 6mm narrower than 8, 9 and 10 speeds.
If you really do want extra cogs on the rear, then you are pretty much up for an entire group set, which when combined with the cost of the wheels would seem to make upgrading not as good value as getting an entire bike.
Frame materials is a passonite subject and the difference between the weights of all the materials available in quality frames is about 1kg. There are quality Carbon Fibre bikes and some rubbish out there, Giant is one of the brands to select from as there Carbon Fibre frames are built well, using a one piece construction. The negative for Carbon Fibre is that it tends to not survive crashes as well as the other materials.
Fit to frame is the most important thing to consider and many females end up buying male bikes that have too long a top tube making the ride uncomfortable.
All the best, Michael.
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