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New road bike or wheels?

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 JamButty 09 May 2022

My road bike is getting on a bit.  Its a 8yr old Felt F75,  Aly frame and carbon forks 105 throughout. Wheels are the standard ones with open bearings.  I ride pretty regularly up to 100km and use it for triathlons.  I love the bike,  and generally look after it,  either myself or LBS.

I'm far from a biek expert,  but I've been thinking about a carbon framed bike for a while especially as my wheels are shot especially with the open race bearings.

I've been thinking around £1500ish,  but not sure if that gets me the step up I was looking for,  so am considering whether I upgrade my wheels to get more life from the current bike and then get a newer one in a few years.

I am asking a climbing forum,  as you guys are the wealth of knowledge for everything so I'm hoping you can help me.

Cheers all.

 Kalna_kaza 09 May 2022
In reply to JamButty:

Planet X do some good value carbon bikes and normally have stuff in stock ready to shift rather than a long lead time. On the down side some of their bikes have appalling bad colour schemes, an acquired taste of I was being polite. 

 Macleod 09 May 2022
In reply to JamButty:

A good set of wheels & tyres will usually be a much bigger upgrade on a smallish budget than a new frame (provided you like the frame you have).

In reply to JamButty:

I bought some nice Hunt carbon wheels for my 6 year old Scott last summer.  Generally very pleased with the decision, toyed with upgrading the whole bike but budget wouldn't stretch to anything better than what I already had.

I will briefly add that nicer wheels are great, but with rim brakes slowing down can feel expensive.  Biggest argument I can see for disc brakes on a road bike is that you only wear out the disc, not the whole rim.  For you, as for me, the only solution to that problem may be a new bike

 GPN 09 May 2022
In reply to JamButty:

I don’t think you’ll get a worthwhile upgrade for £1500 unfortunately. For £500 ish you should be able to get a big upgrade on the wheels and tyres which will make a bigger difference. 

2
 nniff 09 May 2022
In reply to JamButty:

If:

- you like the frame (stiff enough for racing, good size and shape for you)

- it's not industrially heavy

- you're not into hills as a big thing

Then new wheels would probably be a better spend, but look carefully at what you're spending your money on.

You could go value for money, say Pacenti Forza at <£400 ex tyres., or buy some really good hubs and get them built up.  Chris King hubs and, say, DT Swiss alloy rims will set you back £1000 but the hubs will last forever if you look after them - put new rims on when needed. 

Then some decent tyres for either option - Vittoria Corsa for me.

If the ride's a bit harsh, put some Enve bar tape on it (£40) and buy a new Fabric saddle and a carbon seat post.  New wheels will make the ride a lot more comfortable than 'stiff' machine-made wheels

Total spend wheels £1000, saddle £50, tyres £100, seat post c. £100, bar tape £40.  £200 in change....

For £1500 on a new bike, but you'll have a slightly lighter frame, and some new bits and shiny paint, but you'll probably have heavy wheels and it's unlikely to be all 105.  So finish it all off with a bottle of car polish and give old faithful a real clean and polish 

 Basemetal 09 May 2022
In reply to JamButty:

What's actually 'shot' on your wheels? Most bits should be replaceable or upgradable -bearings, hubs, even rims, for that 'back to new" feeling or better.

My 3 bikes are 2, 20 and 40 years old (alloy/carbon; all alloy; all steel) and I think the 40yo is currently on its second bearings on its 3rd rear wheel -but I used it for a lot of 'rough stuff" and it's had a few hard landings.

I get where you're coming from though -but it's funny how we can think something is too expensive to bother with... then happily spend ten times the amount by thinking in a different 'category'. 

HTH.

1
 LastBoyScout 09 May 2022
In reply to JamButty:

Some good thoughts already, but something else to consider is getting a new frame (and maybe matching forks) and wheels and porting over the rest (105 groupset, bars, stem, etc).

This would be a really good option if:

  • you have the time/skills to do it
  • your current frame is limited on tyre width
  • your current setup is rim brake.

Potentially, you'd only need to get a set of disk brake calipers (cable will be OK to start with - you can upgrade to hydro later).

If that's not appealing, then I'd get a semi-decent set of wheels to keep this one going while you save up for a new Sunday Best bike and then keep this one as your winter/commuting bike.

 Jon Greengrass 09 May 2022
In reply to JamButty:

Open race bearings(cup and cone) are my preference and Shimano's, they are better sealed than most cartridge bearing hubs and they are easy to clean and service at home with a couple of spanners and don't require an expensive bearing press.

As other have said, lightweight aero wheels will make your faster per £ than a new bike.

 kevin stephens 09 May 2022
In reply to JamButty:

Is this the spec you have?

https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/bikes/road-bikes/felt-f75-review/
 

If so it would have very basic wheels so an upgrade would be very noticeable plus Continental GP 5000 or equal spec tyres. You could transfer to new wheels to a new bike when you can justify it. £2,500 would get a decent frame with Ultegra 11 speed groupset, which would be brilliant compared to your existing bike

 abr1966 09 May 2022
In reply to JamButty:

Getting a new bike is a great feeling....for £1500 you can get a really nice bike or 2nd had a very good bike!

I'd definitely go this way...

 gethin_allen 09 May 2022
In reply to JamButty:

Depends on what the rest of the bike is like.

After 8 years of what sounds like fairly regular riding there will be numerous small things that are starting to get worn unless they have already been replaced. If this is the case then I'd be tempted to look at a new bike (not necessarily carbon) and then relegate the old one to commuting/getting around. You will likely find any new bike comes with disc brakes now, which although not really necessary imo for good weather normal riding will really change things if you ride a lot in crap weather or in big mountains. And it keeps the wheel rims good for longer.

Bike prices are pretty high at the moment so you'd have to check what you can get for your price range. 

If you've been keeping on to of maintenance and replacing stuff as they wear then maybe new wheels could be an option.

As with most thing there is a serious case of diminishing returns. I bought fulcrum racing LG5s to replace the stock giant wheels on my TCR and they made a significant difference to the feel of the bike even if the weren't that expensive and have a bit of an issue with the freewheel bearings not being that well sealed.

Saying all this, cup and cone bearings aren't the worst thing, Shimano still uses them a lot and they can be more than adequately sealed while being very easily and cheaply serviced.

 Yanis Nayu 09 May 2022
In reply to JamButty:

Wheels. 

In reply to LastBoyScout:

> Some good thoughts already, but something else to consider is getting a new frame (and maybe matching forks) and wheels and porting over the rest (105 groupset, bars, stem, etc).

Having done this previously, I would be cautious about it as a route to money saving.  Seatpost, bottom bracket, headset, stem, front mech are all items which have a high risk of not being directly transferable, costs for replacement quickly mount up.  If you like fiddling with bikes, the process can be fun, but it's time consuming working out exactly what you need and getting it all installed.

 kevin stephens 09 May 2022
In reply to Sam W: also the 105 groupset appears that be of an older iteration and quite inferior to the current 105 groupset. New wheels would be a good stepping stone to a new bike. Dolan and others will do a bike build using your existing new wheels at some point in the future 

OP JamButty 09 May 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

> Is this the spec you have?

Mines a bit newer with 105 throughout,  and the rims are Mavic CPX22,  which I believe are ok,  but are showing signs of wear.  The hubs are not sealed, and loose bearings,  so I've had to clean them out quite regularly,  but they're pretty pitted.

Thanks for the advice all,  £2500 is pushing it for the amount I use it.  I am swaying to new wheels so I could add them to a new bike in future.

I'll have a sniff as to some good wheels at a sensible price,  unless there are good recommendations?  Wiggle seem to have offers for some under £400?

 Timmd 09 May 2022
In reply to JamButty:

I get the sense that the amount of grease put into Shimano hubs seems to be less than in the (remaining) ball bearing hubs & wheels manufactured by Campagnolo, something I do always with Shimano hubs is to put more grease in before using them, it doesn't do any harm to.

 JimR 09 May 2022
In reply to JamButty:

I got a virtually unused Trek Emonda SLR for £1200 on eBay (including original receipt) ultegra 11 spd, rim brakes but cheap wheels. So there are bargains around if you know what you are looking for. Having said that , a decent set of carbon wheels are well worth it. My carbon wheels have done over 30,000 miles on rim brakes with no rim wear but I use yellow Swiss stop pads and clean rims with a floor tissue after ever ride. Never had issues when braking either

In reply to JamButty:

> I'll have a sniff as to some good wheels at a sensible price,  unless there are good recommendations?  Wiggle seem to have offers for some under £400?

I'm pleased with my Hunt 3650s, they ride nicely and look good, have just started running them tubeless as needed new tyres anyway.

If you're picking modern wheels, rim width may well be wider than your old ones.   Check your callipers can take the wheel, mine didn't so I had to buy a new front brake too.

 JimR 09 May 2022
In reply to JimR:

Also, if you are doing triathlons, then a tri/tt bike would be a good investment. A cannondale slice (a brilliant bike IMHO) may well fit into your budget.

 LastBoyScout 10 May 2022
In reply to Sam W:

> Having done this previously, I would be cautious about it as a route to money saving.  Seatpost, bottom bracket, headset, stem, front mech are all items which have a high risk of not being directly transferable, costs for replacement quickly mount up.  If you like fiddling with bikes, the process can be fun, but it's time consuming working out exactly what you need and getting it all installed.

Yes, you're right in principle, but careful choice of frame would mitigate that. You'd only need to change the stem if you were making a big change to the geometry and most road frames would be a braze-on front mech.

The biggest cost would likely be changing from screw-in BB cups to press-fit (or vice versa) and so having to also change the cranks.

You can also offset any replacement costs by selling the ones you don't need - including the old frame/forks.

The last 2 frames I bought both came with the headset and 1 also came with the matching seatpost.

The other thing to consider is if you only change the frame, will the steerer on the existing forks be long enough for the new head tube.

Edit - I have done this on one of my mountain bikes and the only 2 things I changed at first were the rear mech (eBay), but that was mainly as I wanted an excuse to get rid of the low-normal mech that was bugging me, and the stem, for a slightly shorter one I already had in the garage.

Post edited at 00:17
 kevin stephens 10 May 2022
In reply to LastBoyScout: I gradually upgraded my Ridley Compact aluminium bike over a number of years. First the frame, then wheels, then groupset, lastly stem and bars. All I have left from the original is now saddle and bottle cage

 Dave Cundy 10 May 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

My bike's the same Kev.  It's 13 years old and the only original parts left are the frame and the brake blocks.

To JamButty:  Do you really need a new bike?  As in 'what's wrong with the old one?'  I'd just put some better wheels on it along with 25mm tyres.

My Al/carbon bike's done 20,000 miles and still going strong.  My original Miche wheels lasted about 5,000 miles (the rims became too thin) but my newer summer wheels (Fulcrum Racing 3) have done 10,000 and are still going strong.

Also, I used to have regular (i.e. several a year) punctures on my 23mm tyres, regardlesd of tyre quality.  Changed to 25mm and the problem has disappeared.  I get one every year or two now.

In reply to JamButty:

Just an opinion but if it was me I'd get a new bike. I love feel and lightness of a carbon frame and upgrading to disc brakes was like night and day. I've always found my old bike is more worn out than I realised - test ride a new one and see how responsive it feels! 

If you are using it regularly then you have your justification in my book. You only live once and all that....


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