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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok I am a photographer and I have everything thing from multi thousand dollar cameras all the way down to the one on my cell phone. My best camera though, is always the one I have with me.

That being said, I get that the Denali is not supposed to be a good bike, but its been good to me so far and its the one I have.

I am very pleased it, but I would like to know if every bike is "upgradeable"? I didn't want to spend weeks or months researching road bikes. I did that years ago and ended up getting nothing. I was so confused. I spent a lot of time in two LBS and there was a lot of contradictions at the time. My weight was and is my concern with choosing a bike (260ish). I didn't want to speed a lot on a bike and tear it up because I was too heavy (which was basically what I was being told at 320 lbs). I have no doubt that they were right. They are the experts.

I'm a little bit lighter now and in the market for a bike. I found it more important to get going than to sit at my computer and look at hundreds of bikes. The Denali has got me going for less than what I used to spend on fast food in a month, so there's no way to lose there.

Can I upgrade the things that I don't like? Like the twist/grip shifters? Can I get better gears down the line?

I can afford much more bike, but I have nothing to compare my limited experience with. Right now, I like everything else. I see others spending hundreds to thousands on a bike and still upgrading for hundreds and thousands. To each their own. I get it. I do the same with my camera gear for specific reasons.

I know the drill. Even if you have a 2000.00 bike, some people with 5000.00 bikes that have never ridden yours will call it crap and the 7000.00 folks will return the favor to them.

I'm rambling at this point, but I'm confused. I'm overweight and tired of being overweight, so I had to get going. How much would I be able to upgrade a lower end bike?


Thanks. Jay
 

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Congrats on the weight loss and continued effort.

Yes, you "could" upgrade quite a bit on the Denali. But I wouldn't bother unless something is clearly an issue. Possibly the brakes. The brakes on that thing are probably pretty terrible. You could get a set of brakes rather cheap and have better stopping and a safer ride. Maybe some tires could give you a nicer ride.

Beyond that, just ride the bike. Lose weight. Save up your money for when you're ready for a better bike and invest it that way.
The amount of money you'd have to invest upgrading the Denali for any noticeable difference (if possible) would buy you a new bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Congrats on the weight loss and continued effort.

Yes, you "could" upgrade quite a bit on the Denali. But I wouldn't bother unless something is clearly an issue. Possibly the brakes. The brakes on that thing are probably pretty terrible. You could get a set of brakes rather cheap and have better stopping and a safer ride. Maybe some tires could give you a nicer ride.

Beyond that, just ride the bike. Lose weight. Save up your money for when you're ready for a better bike and invest it that way.
The amount of money you'd have to invest upgrading the Denali for any noticeable difference (if possible) would buy you a new bike.
Perfect. Looks like I'll be getting another bike soon then. That twist shifter is a major issue for me. I hate it. I feel I'm constantly moving my hands all over back and forth at some not so ideal times. Not very ergood in my opinion.
 

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Perfect. Looks like I'll be getting another bike soon then. That twist shifter is a major issue for me. I hate it. I feel I'm constantly moving my hands all over back and forth at some not so ideal times. Not very ergood in my opinion.
I'm a little confused. Looking this bike up, it looks like a road bike. Does it really come with grip shifters? Those are usually on mountain and hybrid bikes. If you are looking to get a pair of STI road shifters, they will probably cost you about what you spent on the bike. Is this the bike:

https://www.amazon.com/GMC-Denali-Mens-Road-frame/dp/B00DRF8BME

Grip shifters aren't a bad thing, but very impractical in this application because they are so far away from the brake levers. In fact, I haven't ever heard of them being used on road handlebars. It was probably a cost cutting measure.

I don't know how many miles you have on the bike so far. Remember that this is a budget bike. If you can tolerate the grip shifters, I would just ride it until things start to break, then upgrade to a better bike.

Keep up the great progress on your weight loss and fitness!
 

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That bike is made to sell for as little as possible, hence the twist shifters. Unfortunately, none of the parts are good enough that it's worth upgrading. I'd spend as little as possible to keep it going until you can afford something better.

You have triple chainrings up front with 7 cogs in the back.
No one makes new 7x3 shifters anymore (even MicroShift) so you'd be lucky to find some used ones somewhere (ebay?).
I had a 7x3 bike 25+ years ago. You'll have to be careful that any levers you do find aren't worn out.
Your 7-speed rear hub won't take an 8-speed cassette so you can't upgrade there.

When you check the prices of parts you'll see that it's usually more expensive to upgrade than it is to buy a whole bike.

Now that you've gotten some experience (and know what you want) you can get a new name brand bike for less than $1000 at a shop that will take the time to fit it to you. Fit is critically important as you spend more time in the saddle.
 

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Fit is critically important as you spend more time in the saddle.
This.

As I have said before in other posts, when you are ready to purchase a bike, shop for your bike shop first, your bike second. A good bike shop worth their weight will put you and your new bike on a trainer, watch you pedal and make adjustments to dial in your fit just right.

A bike that fits correctly will make riding more enjoyable, make you want to ride longer and reduce the chances of injury down the road.
 

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And as already mentioned, you won't find sti shifters in 3x7 configuration, at least not easily. You could opt for bar ends shifters, set in fiction mode. That would be fairly inexpensive. Oh, if you want those twist shifters off, you'd have to replace the handlebars; the bars are cut, shifters slid on, then bar welded and a clamps around the wells seam. So those shifters aren't coming off.

The expense of replacing shifters on that bike really just isn't worth it, in my opinion.

If you want a new road bike, there are many that will suit your needs very well. Just make sure the wheels are double wall rims with 32 spokes or so, and you shouldn't have trouble, even at your size. I have plenty of friends on road bikes who ride hard that are over 250.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·


Thank you to everyone for the info on upgrading. I understand the importance of fit. I think the Denali will be going back. I rode it on a 30 mile ride this yesterday and it did just fine. Again, I HATE the twist shifters.

The only discomfort I had was the bottom of my palms and wrists. I ride a sport bike (Yamaha R1) so I'm pretty good about not leaning on my wrists. I found it pretty difficult to stay off my wrists on the road bike. My seat height seems to be perfect according to m LBS. He said the bar height would be a matter of preference depending on how aggressive I wanted to ride.

Sorry, I'm getting off topic. Anyway, the bike may be going back due to the twist shifters and the amount of times the chain seemed to be between gears. I'd be riding along, change gears and nothing. Then 300-500 feet or so, it would change gear unexpectedly to the gear I wanted, but the conditions may not be the same. It would cause my pedal cadence to change erratically causing me to be unsteady for a split second.

I looked at a 2016 Fuji Sportif 2.5 with STI shifters, but I noticed it had Shimano Tourney gearing. I had the trigger shifter version of the Tourneys on a mountain bike and they seemed to perform just like the Revo shifters/gears, not that great.



I may have the LBS look at the gears, cables, ect on the Denali, because at this point, If I can get that worked out and get my hands to stop hurting, I’d rather get something with the Shimano 105 system. I just want to gain a little more experience first.


The Walmart manager is already expecting the bike to come back, because I called about the shifting issues. I just don’t want to trade bad shifting (Revo) for more bad shifting (Tourney) at a higher price.


I’m willing to spend a grand, but it needs to be an informed purchase. I also don’t want shifting issues. If that still happens at 1000.00. I’m good on the 500.00 Sportif. The twist shifters have to go. I think.
 

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Especially considering clearance sales for previous year models where the only thing different is often the paint job, you can find plenty of bike for $1000, or may just a tiny bit over. The Walmart stuff is pretty much meant to be disposable, not worth upgrade as you've figured out.

Not that I would totally support mail-order bike with no test rides, but as an example you can get a Nashbar-branded bike equipped with 11-speed 105 drivetrain for $900. It wouldn't be the lightest thing in the world, but would perform like it was many classes above the Denali.

Really you can find great deals in local shops, just need to be patient. And if willing to buy used, you can get even more bang for buck (craigslist, eBay, etc).
 

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I looked at a 2016 Fuji Sportif 2.5 with STI shifters, but I noticed it had Shimano Tourney gearing. I had the trigger shifter version of the Tourneys on a mountain bike and they seemed to perform just like the Revo shifters/gears, not that great.


Tourney is Shimano's bottom of the line entry level group set. Probably not where you want to go. It is not designed for precise shifting or high mileage riders.


I’m willing to spend a grand, but it needs to be an informed purchase. I also don’t want shifting issues. If that still happens at 1000.00. I’m good on the 500.00 Sportif. The twist shifters have to go. I think.
Forget about the Sportif with the Tourney. You can certainly find a decent road bike for around $1,000:

http://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/Bi...parentid=0c830f41-ceda-4129-8dce-779bb5bec710

It's a Sora group set which is not as good as 105, but waaaaaay better than Tourney. If you want 105, you will pay more $$$. Sora is better than it used to be.
 

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In the $1K price range, you can get a new bike from a LBS and get sizing/ fit assistance (most important), and post purchase services (tuneups/ warranty assistance).

A Specialized, Giant, Fuji, etc. bike in this price range will be light years ahead of your current bike. Don't be afraid of Shimano's lower end groupsets. The current Sora/ Tiagra groups will serve you well.

I say stop fighting with this bike and get something of quality that you can ride and enjoy. It may well be cheaper in the long run.
 

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$1000 will buy you an awesome new bicycle from a good bicycle shop.

Return the GMC because it'll cost you more to upgrade it and you'll still have a lower quality bicycle than if you bought one new with the money instead. There are a lot of technical issues which aren't worth explaining here, but the upshot is upgrading that GMC is like throwing money into a moped trying to turn it into a crotch rocket, i.e. a terrible idea and waste of money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok. Denali has been replaced. Got a 2015 Fuji Roubaix 1.0 from my LBS. Really like it. My bum is killing me though. Thanks for all the suggestions.
 

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Ok. Denali has been replaced. Got a 2015 Fuji Roubaix 1.0 from my LBS. Really like it. My bum is killing me though. Thanks for all the suggestions.
Did your LBS do a detailed fit for you? Your bum will hurt until it gets used to your riding more. If after riding a lot, it still kills, it could be that like me, you may have to experiment with different saddles until you find one that works for you. The important thing is that you don't get pain or numbness in the naughty bits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Did your LBS do a detailed fit for you? Your bum will hurt until it gets used to your riding more. If after riding a lot, it still kills, it could be that like me, you may have to experiment with different saddles until you find one that works for you. The important thing is that you don't get pain or numbness in the naughty bits.
I don't believe it was a detailed fit, but I'm going back because I think seat is too high where they moved it. I sat on it with the sales man and what not who said that they would do a detailed fit once the tech inspected the bike and made adjustments if necessary. It would take like an hour. I had to get to work, so I picked it up after and there was a note that it was adjusted to fit, I think they just based it off inseam. They were about to close so they said just bring it back when I can to do an actual fit with a tech.

Thanks
 

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I don't believe it was a detailed fit, but I'm going back because I think seat is too high where they moved it. I sat on it with the sales man and what not who said that they would do a detailed fit once the tech inspected the bike and made adjustments if necessary. It would take like an hour. I had to get to work, so I picked it up after and there was a note that it was adjusted to fit, I think they just based it off inseam. They were about to close so they said just bring it back when I can to do an actual fit with a tech.

Thanks
Definitely go back and get the fit when you have time. It will make a big difference in your enjoyment of the bike.
 
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