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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    164

    How much of a difference does a bike upgrade actually make?

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    I am starting to get the itch to upgrade my entry-level road bike. However, I am also cheap, so this is causing some cognitive dissonance

    I have a 2010 Specialized Dolce (purchased new in 2011) with a carbon fork, Tiagra derailleur, and Sora shifters. I've never exactly felt like the bike is holding me back, but it is entry-level and a bit old so I am beginning to wonder if I've outgrown it. This is the first season where I'm starting to feel almost like I'm a little bit fast, and I keep wondering how much faster I could be, as I watch people pass me on nicer bikes.

    I wouldn't spend a crazy amount of money on a bike -- I think 2K is about my upper limit -- so it's not like I'll go full carbon or anything. I want a durable bike, anyway. Really I'd prefer to buy a used one on Craigslist because new, nice things stress me out!

    The husband is trying to push me instead to upgrading my groupset on the current bike. I don't really get why that would make the bike faster, though? I don't have any shifting complaints currently.

    OR maybe I should save my money and just work more on the engine

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    If you want to look at new bikes, I noticed the other day that my LBS (in Reston, VA) has some from last year on sale. They're a Trek shop, not Specialized. Other shops closer to you might also have some of last year's bikes on sale, and they should all have some at the end of the summer when the 2016s come out, if you want to wait. They also tend to have sales in July to coincide withe Tour de France.

    As for whether you need a new bike... I did not really get faster when I upgraded from an aluminum road bike to a carbon frame. My new bike is much more comfortable, though, due to different geometry as well as carbon's ability to absorb bumps in the road.

    One thing you might want to consider is new wheels. There are various old threads here you can search for. I think a wheel upgrade might make a difference, and they could also be used on a new bike if you decide to get another one in the future. I could ask my friends in southern MD if they can recommend a good wheel maker, if you're interested. I know there's a good on at Spokes, etc., I think at their store on Quaker Lane in Alexandria.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    164
    I think I just need someone to say what you just did -- new bike does not equal faster rider.

    What about upgrading the groupset, though? Is there any actual point to that? My husband salivates over nice groupsets but then has a hard time explaining what the point of them is.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    164
    Thanks Muirenn! I am now intrigued by the Specialized Amira.

    I am super short and definitely cannot ride any men's bikes. I'll probably have to get a shop to order the Amira for me but I might call around to check. The effective top tube length is the same as the Dolce so it looks like I'd need a 48.

    I do feel a little silly about upgrading my bike when I could just upgrade myself, but I doubt many men would say that to themselves....I may be starting a little bike fund

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Montreal, QC
    Posts
    764
    I have a Amira sl4 expert and although everyone said it was aggressive, it is nothing like the Kuota Kharma I had.

    I'm 5'3 (or 5'4'' - no longer sure), and I have a 51cm. Fits perfectly well.

    So far, I LOVE my Amira. When you nail that pedal down, you are already far ahead. Hill climbing? No issues. It has so much kick-off. I have no issue with the steering, no issues with getting it back on track if I happen to go over a bump or whatever. Wished I had found this bike before the Kuota and saved myself lots of money. hihi

    Everyone love its colour but I totally hate it. Flat black with zebra stripes! For someone like me who likes colour, it's hard to deal with but the comfort of the ride and feeling safe on it, outbeats any colour. I'll just pimp it one day. hihi

    But I did keep my American classic wheels that I had so bike + wheels + ultegra, I could certainly not ask for a better bike.

    Good luck in your search and as most of us would tell you : Go get your dream bike! Only one life to live. hihi
    Helene
    Riding a 2014 Specialized Amira LS4 Expert - aka The Zebra!
    2015 Specialized Crux e5 - aka Bora Bora bike

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dallas metro
    Posts
    169
    I started on a LeMond Tourmalet (entry level relaxed geometry), and after a few years upgraded to a Mrazek BOH RD (more aggressive geometry) with an awesome set of Topolino wheels on it. I think the wheels make more difference than anything else. It's still an aluminum frame. The other big difference was switching to Campy which came on the newer bike... You might try test riding a bike with Campy or even SRAM, just to see what you think of a different groupset. I really have enjoyed the Campy though I probably wouldn't have sprung for the extra cost if the bike didn't come with it. The hoods are smaller, brake levers easier for me to grab, and thumb shifters. Since I got the new bike I rarely ride the LeMond (anyone want a LeMond? :-) Definitely test ride a few to see how they feel. I haven't regretted my upgrade in the least. You do know the perfect number of bikes is n+1, right? <g>
    Specialized Oura or Romin Evo Saddles

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    164
    Do you like how quickly I went from 'you're right, I don't need a new bike' to 'YOURE RIGHT I NEED A NEW BIKE!' Haha.

    Muirenn -- I actually couldn't find a chart on the Dolce's ETT but when I googled, some other people online claimed it was 506. I should probably verify this myself. I'm 5'2" so not like crazy pants short but I think I have a short reach.

    We did upgrade the wheels on the Dolce in my first year - but I'm sure there are always further upgrades.....

    I do wish I could easily test ride in my size, though!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,227
    You have a good bike now, but hey I know the want thing….there can always be better

    When I kinda knew there was going to be a lot of bicycling in my life I waited and saved for a custom built frame and don't regret the time it took to save the money now. I rode easily affordable bikes for 7 years while i saved, lots of miles, lots of good times, learned more about working on bikes and got stronger too. As already said you might think about wheels that can then go onto your custom though….....and +1 on campy....i like being able to replace a $5 brifter part with a $5 part rather than a new brifter, at least that was the case when i got campy for my two custom bikes....and no mechanical problems at all with simple maintenance over a couple of years of hard riding
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    central NY
    Posts
    402
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    ??

    Am I looking at the same thing? The current 48 cm Dolce has an effective TT of 522, and 506 for the Amira. The head tube is so much higher on the Dolce, through, that the reach is almost the same on those two: 371 for the Amira, 370 for the Dolce. So, yeah. May feel like the same size.

    Did I look at the wrong chart?!
    Specialized changed the geometry on the 2015 models. Is that where the confusion is? I started a thread about this a while ago. This is also why I'm looking at last year's closeouts.

    I went to Specialized's website and searched "archive" with the year and model. If it was no longer available, I then searched for a dealer who still had the stock, and sometimes they would have the correct geometry chart.

    ETA: the change may have been made on the 2014 models.
    Last edited by IBrakeforPastry; 06-02-2015 at 05:59 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    164
    What is NOS?

    I do have a question about the bike stiffness and power transfer. Is the Dolce NOT stiff? I asked my husband about this and he said aluminum is a stiff material but sometimes he just pretends he knows what he's talking about

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    129
    Though a new bike, or new bling on your existing bike might not make you faster in itself, if it makes you excited and happy and gets you riding more, then you will be faster pretty soon. So yeah, I'm in the "go for it!" camp

    Depending on what you like/don't like about your current bike, new wheels are a great option. You can get some *really* nice and lightweight wheels for under $1,000 and they can liven up the feel of your bike a lot. Again, they may not necessarily make you much faster (though aero wheels can really speed up your descending), but just make it more fun to zip around on your bike.

    On the other hand, a new bike is never a bad idea either
    1980-something Colnago
    2010 Jamis Quest
    2013 Wabi Classic

    mebikedolomitesoneday.wordpress.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    164
    Haha thank you for all of the encouragement!

    And Muirenn, thank you for that master's thesis on bike stiffness!!! You really know your stuff and I learned a lot reading that
    I just may print it out and file it for future access!

    I didn't even know the CAAD10 had a women's version - I will definitely check that out.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    164
    This year's CAAD 10 model is SO PRETTY. I know I can't decide on looks alone, but I waaaaannnntttt

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    Quote Originally Posted by fallstoclimb View Post
    Haha thank you for all of the encouragement!

    And Muirenn, thank you for that master's thesis on bike stiffness!!! You really know your stuff and I learned a lot reading that
    I just may print it out and file it for future access!

    I didn't even know the CAAD10 had a women's version - I will definitely check that out.
    I LOVE the women's CAAD10. Fits me out of the box, and much more comfy a ride than some carbon.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    Have you tried the CAADX? The geometry is almost the same as the women's CAAD10. My CAADX is eff TT 535, HT 140. Women's CAAD10 is 537, HT 150. Reach is within a couple of millimeters. I could ride the men's or women's CAAD10, but the men's is super aggressive. Not sure I'd want to.
    I'd try one if I could find one in my size! (51cm CAAD10 (women's) is perfect. I'd need a 48 in the CAADX, since the 51 is a bit on the long side for me, I think.)
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

 

 

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