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I am currently riding a 2004 Giant TCR carbon bike and I am in the process of deciding if I should upgrade the build kit or just buy a new bike. I can replace pretty much everything on it with comparable level components for about $1500 or I can buy a new bike of about the same level for about $3000.

My question is (assuming that my frame is OK which I'm sure it is) would a new bike really be much better? What performance advantages would a new frame have? Stiffer? Faster? More compliant? If light it couldn't be by much as my bike (depending on wheels & such) has been sub 16 lbs. The geometry isn't really an issue as I'm quite comfortable on the old bike.
 

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I am currently riding a 2004 Giant TCR carbon bike and I am in the process of deciding if I should upgrade the build kit or just buy a new bike. I can replace pretty much everything on it with comparable level components for about $1500 or I can buy a new bike of about the same level for about $3000.

My question is (assuming that my frame is OK which I'm sure it is) would a new bike really be much better? What performance advantages would a new frame have? Stiffer? Faster? More compliant? If light it couldn't be by much as my bike (depending on wheels & such) has been sub 16 lbs. The geometry isn't really an issue as I'm quite comfortable on the old bike.
If you're willing to build up the bike, and the frame fits and rides comfortably, go with the upgrade. A new bike that would do everything "better," entirely subjective depending on what one wants to do on the bike, would cost north of $5000 these days.

Others who have owned TCRs will correct me, but it had a rep for being a great bike back in '04, known for its stiffness and response. Don't know how it rated on centuries, but heck, put some 25C tires on it and go.

You probably won't have to replace much, maybe a nice pair of wheels, unless dropouts are now wider to accommodate 10 and 11 speed cassettes. The difference between 9 speeds and 10 or 11 is negligible unless you're old and fat and live in the mountains. I'll also guess someone is making aftermarket 9 speeds, as with 8,7,6 speeds. I can find any parts I want on ebay for my two '80s bikes. Don't believe Giant used any proprietary parts on the TCR, so replacement BBs and headsets are still available.
 

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Banned Sock Puppet
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My first question would be do you like the bike you have now?

My second question would be is there something about your bike frame that you would like different on a new bike? Possibly a stiffer (less flexy) frame? The only way you would know is by test riding new bikes to see if there is anything that wows you more than what you are on.

Carbon fiber frame characteristics have evolved in the last decade, but only you can decide if that matters to you in a way you can distinctly feel. I can definitely feel the difference in frame flex/stiffness between my 2007 Trek Pilot and my 2014 Cannondale Synapse Carbon.

The three characteristics you mention:

1) Stiffer - possibly.
2) More compliant - maybe.
3) Faster (lighter) - no.
 

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Some new frames will be stiffer, some won't. Some new frames will be more compliant, some won't.
No new frames will be faster (or slower).

I 'upgraded' my 2010 carbon bike with a steel one. New bike but I think the actual tube technology goes back to the 1990s. It's a much better bike in every way. The moral of the story is that there's more than the passage of time involved on one thing being better than the other.
 

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Some new frames will be stiffer, some won't. Some new frames will be more compliant, some won't.
No new frames will be faster (or slower).

I 'upgraded' my 2010 carbon bike with a steel one. New bike but I think the actual tube technology goes back to the 1990s. It's a much better bike in every way. The moral of the story is that there's more than the passage of time involved on one thing being better than the other.
Which steel bike did you buy? I would be interested to know what you liked better about it than the 2010 carbon bike.
 

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Which steel bike did you buy? I would be interested to know what you liked better about it than the 2010 carbon bike.
It's a Honey. I later got a Titanium Seven which I like even more.

It's more stable (despite not being much slower handling), corners much better and is smoother on the road compared to my previous carbon bike.
All those are probably due to geometry and design not material. Which would also be the case when comparing like materials as the OP is.
Unless weight is a big factor for the OP than it's all about geometry and design anyway more than any so called 'advances in technology'
 

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It's a Honey. I later got a Titanium Seven which I like even more.

It's more stable (despite not being much slower handling), corners much better and is smoother on the road compared to my previous carbon bike.
All those are probably due to geometry and design not material. Which would also be the case when comparing like materials as the OP is.
Unless weight is a big factor for the OP than it's all about geometry and design anyway more than any so called 'advances in technology'
Honey bikes is a brand I hadn't heard of before. I learn something new all the time. :D

I would have to agree with you about geometry and design having a bigger impact than material. I believe shaping of tubes makes a difference too. I believe that's why my 2014 carbon bike (shaped tubes) feels less laterally flexy than my 2007 carbon bike (round tubes.). The geometry of the two bikes is very similar.

I am eyeing the Jamis Renegade Exploit (Reynolds 631). I'm just waiting for my shop to get one in my size.
 

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I would have to agree with you about geometry and design having a bigger impact than material. I believe shaping of tubes makes a difference too. I believe that's why my 2014 carbon bike (shaped tubes) feels less laterally flexy than my 2007 carbon bike (round tubes.). The geometry of the two bikes is very similar.
Round is a shape and as good as any for bike tubing. Flex, or not, has to do with size wall thickness and in the case of carbon lay up mainly. Any shape can be made to flex or not.
 

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Round is a shape and as good as any for bike tubing. Flex, or not, has to do with size wall thickness and in the case of carbon lay up mainly. Any shape can be made to flex or not.
Interesting. So can I assume that tubing with thicker walls will be stiffer (less flexy)? Of course there is the weight trade-off there and the bike makers know that less weight sells. Though I would guess little to no difference with carbon, more difference with steel and aluminum being somewhere in between.
 

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I would get a new bike.

Why? Safety. Safety first man.

A bonded carbon/alloy steerer that's quite old now isn't the safest thing. There's some horror stories out there.

Companies like Canyon x-ray all of their carbon forks before building bikes with them. Things like this will offer you better safety out on the road.

For sure you can find a more compliant bike. The new "endurance" bikes are super compliant with all of their fancy tricks like iso speed and future shock and such.

You'll want to match the same geometry the best you can and match your fit perfectly. Maybe just get a frameset and keep your bars and saddle and buy what groupset you want and such.
 

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I am currently riding a 2004 Giant TCR carbon bike and I am in the process of deciding if I should upgrade the build kit or just buy a new bike. I can replace pretty much everything on it with comparable level components for about $1500 or I can buy a new bike of about the same level for about $3000.

My question is (assuming that my frame is OK which I'm sure it is) would a new bike really be much better? What performance advantages would a new frame have? Stiffer? Faster? More compliant? If light it couldn't be by much as my bike (depending on wheels & such) has been sub 16 lbs. The geometry isn't really an issue as I'm quite comfortable on the old bike.
Biggest difference in my book is that there are a lot more high quality frame options with more tire clearance now than in 2004.

That may or may not matter to you.
 

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the older bike has a threaded bottom bracket i'm guessing. do the upgrade. newer group set may or may not be an upgrade. more gears doesn't necessarily mean better, shimano has improved braking so that's something to consider. one thing that many may not appreciate are the advances in handlebars. new road bike handlebars these days are far more ergonomic and fit better than some of the older choices available. wheel choices have improved as well. If we were talking steel which you are not i'd say there are new steel formulations.
 

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It's simple, bikes have gotten lighter and more aero. How much lighter depends on how much you can spend ($3000 isn't enough to make a difference). How much more aero also depends on money and also your current wheelset. If you can only spend $3000 on a new bike you're probably better off just putting some upgrades on your pretty good bike.
 

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It's simple, bikes have gotten lighter and more aero. How much lighter depends on how much you can spend ($3000 isn't enough to make a difference). How much more aero also depends on money and also your current wheelset. If you can only spend $3000 on a new bike you're probably better off just putting some upgrades on your pretty good bike.

sometimes. there are other reasons a bike frame may go for more.
 

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Cooper1960
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My philosophy is simple. You don't know what a new bike will do for you until you spend time riding one. I vote you buy a new bike and keep your old bike "as is" for a back up.

Everyone should have at least two bikes, it's the law.
 

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My philosophy is simple. You don't know what a new bike will do for you until you spend time riding one. I vote you buy a new bike and keep your old bike "as is" for a back up.

Everyone should have at least two bikes, it's the law.
That is certainly better than getting mad at the bike shop because they can't give your bike a full tune-up this morning so that you can join the group ride this afternoon...
 

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That is certainly better than getting mad at the bike shop because they can't give your bike a full tune-up this morning so that you can join the group ride this afternoon...
I never got rid of my Trek. I still use it occasionally such as when the Colnago has been packed up for a trip. Last year when the airlines temporarily lost the C-59 it again proved useful. As much as I like the Firefly it doesn't really have a road bike geometry so for good weather and roads should the C-59 not be there, the Trek is useful.
 

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That is certainly better than getting mad at the bike shop because they can't give your bike a full tune-up this morning so that you can join the group ride this afternoon...
You're a considerate fellow. :)

When I mech'd in the LBS, riders would do just that! I'd slap the bike in the stand, whirl the crank arm, shift it up and down the full range front and rear, pinch the brake levers while checking brake pad-rim clearance, determine both quick releases are tight, pinch the tires, take it out of the stand and bounce it on the floor. Less than 2 minutes.

If there was anything wrong with the bike, and people were in line for service, I'd say "Forget it. Leave the bike!" If not busy, I'd tweak the bike, air up the tires and send him out the door, no problem.

We used to have contests to see who could change a tire fastest. The money rolled in.

I learned the technique from the Japanese. Techies from Panasonic fixed a failing 1/4" tape recorder we had in the barracks in Vietnam in about two minutes. For them, it was an athletic experience, kung fu of muscular coordination. Ah so.
 

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We used to have contests to see who could change a tire fastest.
Yeah, my club has those contests. But in real life situations, I'm not impressed when that fast-as-lightning tire change means the offending source of the puncture wasn't found and the rider gets another flat less than a mile down the road.
 
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