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Upgrade or new bike?

Hi guys, would love some advice on this.

Currently ride a 2009 Giant defy 4 which I brought for £450. Done just under 15000 miles on it and it has served me well. However, I'm starting to think it may be holding me back and as I am improving I am looking at way to further these gains.

I potentially have £1000 (absolute max) to spend on a new bike. However I am sceptical that upgrading in this small price range will give the performance benefits I want. I do feel the bike is weighing me down (its over 11kg). The other option is to a buy a £400 wheelset (as the wheels are ridiculously heavy and it is more efficient to save weight here) and upgrade other parts.

I feel comfortable with the current bike and riding position, so I don't know whether simply changing the wheels and maybe upgrading to 105 groupset will be enough to improve my performance.

Currently looking at the Giant defy 1 which just got 4.5/5 on cycling plus and is 8.6Kg.

Any advice is welcomed.



  • My initial reaction is that unless you look around for a good second hand bargain this is a difficult dilema. For example a new £750 bike with have little performance advantage over your current bike. Where it will be better is in respect to the quality of the groupset and this should help with reliability. What I think you show in the post is that lower cost bikes are not a real issue, if you can look after them well the fact you have done 15000 miles does not surprise me but rather indicates the bike has been well serviced.

    If you upgrade do so on all rotational moving parts first as this is where a weight saving does relate to perfromance. Wheels, tyres, tubes, chainset, pedals in that order. My feeling is as individual components this will still cost a bit.

    My choice would be to get a second hand bike but don't make the mistake of repeating the scenario and pick something up which might have a carbon frame and better groupset but again having a weak link in the wheelset, and a lot of bikes are like this it is how manufacturers hit price points, people will look at what groupset but know nothing in respect to the wheels on the thing when making an initial purchase. Have a look around the clasifieds in the road cycling press for a month or so, as these are likely to be race bikes and will be a better balanced package. Even a four of five year old race bike initially costing say £3000 will have been well looked after, might not be fashionable, but will be a significant performance upgrade and in your price range. Keep the Defy as a winter trainer.


    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Specialized-R ... 3f12967df7

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/hed-carbon-ro ... 2a187506a3
  • Thanks LR. I will be keeping my eye on 2nd hand bikes as a good alternative for getting a great buy with limited money!
  • No problem. Just had a look at what the two picks eventually went for on e-bay. The Roubaix crept over the grand mark just, but think the wheels were a pretty good upgrade. In effect I missed the mark by about £300, need to try harder, (noted the bike has been relisted so might go for less taht the grand second time around).

    If you are not in a rush it is worth playing this game for a month or so. Suspect a lot of racers and MAMIL's will decide on a new bike in a couple of months at the start of the season and so this is a good time to pick up a bargain as they try and get some money back off the old steed when there is a bit more competition. What you do need to be aware of is how much you can get for your bucks and not get excited and jump at the first thing and regret it as better bikes go for less cash on the folllowing weeks.
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    A thought, can you get help under the cycle to work scheme?
    Info on how to set one up here
    http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/facts/d ... m-employer

    As above, upgrade components and you can end up spending more than buying new - e.g. my Focus tri bike cost £900, to buy the components separately would have cost £900 so in effect the frame was free

    PX Carbon frame SRAM Red groupset tad over budget £1299, if you can get under Cycle to Work net cost about £750-£800

    http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/CBP ... _road_bike

    Over budget but under Cycle to Work about £900 net and you will have a very credible racing bike for Tris and TTs - use the Giant for group rides and sportives
    http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/CBP ... trial_bike

    PX quite often put out special deals so worth watching out for

    Boardman £1199 but again if you can get Cycle to Work
    http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... yId_165710

    Others, Wiggle - on the drip

    Evans - on the drip
    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/qui ... e-ec025906

    I am pushing the budget a bit but unless you can get a quality 2nd hand bike you will not get that quantum leap you are looking for. The quantum leap you are looking for is a tri bike, they aint cheap but the Felt is a decent as are the PX models, V popular - and carbon!
    Lots out there, just need to sift through them and be patient.

    My story - same event:
    Year 1 £60 Halfords steel MTB
    Year 2 £450 Giant SCR2 triple, 10min faster
    Year 3 £900 Focus Izalco tri bike, 5 min faster
    Year 5 Cervélo P2C (swapped over components from the Focus, it was that well specced, new wheels) 5 min faster still
  • Tbh I have been looking at the Ribble TT and Ribble Chrono TT as they seem cracking value to get a TT under a 1K.

    Have you guys had any experience of them? I have heard a few bad things about customer service.

  • Ribble cycles are real close to me and I use them a lot. Don't think of them as a bike shop, they have evolved as a distributor of bike components and have droped their shop in Preston to consolidate their mail order bussiness.

    They have a front of house show room where you can see the bike range and place an order. You can also go here to pick up your order. Behind this front there is the office and a warehouse and they have other warehouse facilities.

    The reason I use them is simple, I know what I want, am not really seeking advice, and they are cheap because they have done what they can to minimise overheads. In a region which is a hot bed for road cycling I hope you can see why they have done well taking this approach.

    On the other hand if you want loads of advice and are inexperienced I would say at these prices do not expect the service you would get from a LBS. They get through a lot of bike sales and as such I am not saying they are throwing the things together but they have a high turn around. My advice to anyone would be strip down any new bike and rebuild it yourself, I would do this on a ten grand machine as a matter of course. If you can't do this get soemone you trust to do it. I doubt their build quality is any worse than any other factory built bike from a small producer at this price point.

    The last point is that framesets are imported units badged up as ribble and they are pretty cheap in cost. This means that as they are a distributor for components you get a pretty high spec bike for your money. Most other bikes at this price point would have more money weighted towards the frame and less on components. An advantage with this is you get better wheels than most which is a plus.

    Just a few thoughts...
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Gosh LancsRider, forgot entirely about Ribble. I know 2 guys who race them and they are happy enough with them.

    Depends on what distance you want to do and future intentions.
    Well under budget, alu frame:
    http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/bikebuild ... type=RIBTR

    A tad over budget, carbon frame, frames are not silly prices eithet
    http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/bikebuild ... type=RIBTR

    I would go for 105 or SRAM Rival, I have Rival with FSA Chainrings and they work nicely enough (although they seem to shift better when the FD is set a bit higher)

    I went from a road to alu Tri bike - Focus Izalco. The Focus was so well specced that I bought a Cervélo P2C frame and PX R50 wheels and had the components swapped over by a chap who runs a shop with his dad who used to build and race TT frames.

    So lots to think about, have a look around and let us know hoow you are getting on.
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