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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so my road cycling experiment is in it's 3rd month. I've put around 250 miles on the bike I got and I've stayed pretty well within my $500 budget.

The bike I currently have:
Schwinn Fastback Sport Road Bike (Sport Alu) - Giantnerd®
I got this when it was on Special for $399, shipped free.

The toe in pedals were just recently replaced with Nashbar Iozard?
$26 "returned" shipped free
I got the $30 Serfas shoes from Jensonusa minus $5 coupon for $25 threw in some MTB jerseys on clearance and it was all shipped free.

Had an extra bottle cage and bottle, assembled it and tuned it myself, (thanks youtube).

Total investment is $450 (using my Giro MTB helmet and old Canari jersey with Lycra shorts)

I weigh in at 162 lbs, 5'10", have been riding MTB for 10 years on and off. Cat 3 racing, soon to be moving to Cat 2, 37 years old. I was tested to be at 84% of my total possible fitness level.

Tracking my rides with my Garmin forerunner 110 with heart rate monitor. I rode 41 miles today with roughly 1000' of elevation change during the ride, averaged 18.2 mph in a crowded field typically average 19-19.4 in training rides sub 20 miles. My average wattage is 180-200 watts, heart rate is typically 130-160 peak average in the 140-145 range.

Anyway, the Schwinn weighs in around 21.5 lbs (size large), I can already tell the hubs/wheels are heavy and slow. Using Strava and comparing myself to other riders I'm exceptionally average to mediocre, of course I have no idea what those people are riding.

I'd like to race road and MTB and possibly a tri, I'm fairly competitive on the MTB, but it's not a crap bike. I've spent money on it.

So the question is, is my mediocrity my bike? My lack of riding time? Both? Should I upgrade my current bike? Or sell and get new? Oh and still have a very limited budget, maybe $1000 total, assuming I could get a couple hundred for the Schwinn.

So what do you think?
 

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Wait. But really the question is budget. You sound like you are doing very good. But for a real upgrade you will blow the budget many times over.

If you are ok with that, do it. If not, then hold off until you can get what you really want.
 

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It is always easier to hang parts on your bike than it is to train.

Blowing a lot of money on the "Latest Greatest" is a sure road to frustration and the path spending lots of dosh on stuff you'll not use.

Think of it as music lessons. If you started taking violin lessons would you immediately demand a Stradivarius to learn on. New riders don't need top range bikes. I know as a musician some of the best guitars are bought in garage salesd and pawn shops because some body bought a nice Martin and then gave up learning to play it. The same thing happens with bikes except that bikes especially carbon fiber ones, have very little resale value

If you've been riding 3 months I council waiting. You are not going to change bikes and suddenly find you are riding faster. Give it time. Even rather low end components today shift better that top end stuff from 25 years ago.


Resist the temptation to think that you can go faster by hanging parts on your bikes.

When you out run someone riding a $7000 wonder bike you'll know you've become a racer

Its about you not the bike. Don't base your enjoyment of the sport on equipment.
 

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I don't think you are mediocre, I'm about the same as you (maybe a little bit better on the road, I'm not that good on the MTB) after 3 months your doing very well. I would keep your bike for another 6 months or so until you really need to change things that are breaking and then do one large upgrade to another bike. Your local Craiglist should be a great reference. You oughta be able to get a used cannondale CAAD bike with decent components for not much more than your current bike + upgrades will cost you.
 

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So you're saying $700 or so in upgrades isn't worth it?
It is not worth upgrading the components on that bike. Sora works OK. Replace the saddle if it is uncomfortable for you.

You could get new wheels. You're right that cheap bikes always have slug wheels.

Go to Harbor Freight and get their 1000g digital scale on sale for $10-$12 and weigh what you have now. Bare wheels; no cassette, tires, tubes, rim tape or skewers.

Realizing that you can build <1500g wheels for less than $300, start shopping online. Ask your LBS what they have. Look at Nashbar and all the vendors you like. Check the threads here on RBR for cheaper wheelsets.

You're better off in the long run to learn to build wheels but some don't want to do that; if you do there is a whole section here on wheelbulding and how to do it. Bike Hub Store has good prices on hubs, rims and spokes. About Us
Keep in mind that you don't have to buy the absolute lightest parts that you can find. A little more weight sometimes provides a lot more durability. Don't go with superlow spoke counts to save a couple of ounces.

Weigh your tires and tubes. It is likely that you can remove quite a bit of weight there with careful shopping and you probably want to replace the cheap tires anyway.

Lighter wheels will help you now and you can use them for trainers when you buy a better bike.

Good Luck!
 

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I weigh in at 162 lbs, 5'10", have been riding MTB for 10 years on and off. Cat 3 racing, soon to be moving to Cat 2, 37 years old. I was tested to be at 84% of my total possible fitness level.
You are moving to Cat 2 and you are asking these questions. What am I missing.
 

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Cat2 MTB...Not road...Big difference!

I race road, not MTB...I know road stuff, I know jack about MTB now...

Yes upgrading will make a difference. A 21.5lbs road bike these days is a bear, most are racing on bikes in the 17lbs and down range. Not sure if upgrading your current bike is the way to go. I'd be more apt to say starting from scratch. You can find deals as stated above and put together a pretty good bike for about $1500...
 

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Is everything comfortable? Upgrade anything that is not and use the bike you have until you have enough experience to know what you want. If you want to buy a bike I would buy a used CAAD or Allez bike for racing. I would not race your main bike if you are not willing to replace it tomorrow.

I think use is a great way to go for a first nice bike. You will buy another one after that, I guarantee it. That one should be the dream bike.
 

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Is everything comfortable? Upgrade anything that is not and use the bike you have until you have enough experience to know what you want. If you want to buy a bike I would buy a used CAAD or Allez bike for racing. I would not race your main bike if you are not willing to replace it tomorrow.

I think use is a great way to go for a first nice bike. You will buy another one after that, I guarantee it. That one should be the dream bike.
+1 ^ This is quite true.... Race bikes do crash! It just might behoove you to go with a used CAAD 10, instead! :thumbsup:
 

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Ok so my road cycling experiment is in it's 3rd month. I've put around 250 miles on the bike I got and I've stayed pretty well within my $500 budget.
This reads like you're putting in 100 miles a month. If that's the case you shouldn't even be worrying about upgrades till you're logging maybe 500 miles a month.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
This reads like you're putting in 100 miles a month. If that's the case you shouldn't even be worrying about upgrades till you're logging maybe 500 miles a month.
Yes, that's with the 55 miles I put in this week :)
I spend far more time on the MTB than I do the roadie, although the miles are about the same :) I can thank my MTB for my current level of fitness though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It is not worth upgrading the components on that bike. Sora works OK. Replace the saddle if it is uncomfortable for you.

You could get new wheels. You're right that cheap bikes always have slug wheels.

Go to Harbor Freight and get their 1000g digital scale on sale for $10-$12 and weigh what you have now. Bare wheels; no cassette, tires, tubes, rim tape or skewers.

Realizing that you can build <1500g wheels for less than $300, start shopping online. Ask your LBS what they have. Look at Nashbar and all the vendors you like. Check the threads here on RBR for cheaper wheelsets.

You're better off in the long run to learn to build wheels but some don't want to do that; if you do there is a whole section here on wheelbulding and how to do it. Bike Hub Store has good prices on hubs, rims and spokes. About Us
Keep in mind that you don't have to buy the absolute lightest parts that you can find. A little more weight sometimes provides a lot more durability. Don't go with superlow spoke counts to save a couple of ounces.

Weigh your tires and tubes. It is likely that you can remove quite a bit of weight there with careful shopping and you probably want to replace the cheap tires anyway.

Lighter wheels will help you now and you can use them for trainers when you buy a better bike.

Good Luck!
What do you think of these? If I wait till a sale I can get them shipped for around $230..

Vuelta Corsa Lite Road Wheelset - Overweight Code W
Worth it?

I gotta admit, although I've built my own bike before, building a wheel does seem a bit intimidating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Is everything comfortable? Upgrade anything that is not and use the bike you have until you have enough experience to know what you want. If you want to buy a bike I would buy a used CAAD or Allez bike for racing. I would not race your main bike if you are not willing to replace it tomorrow.

I think use is a great way to go for a first nice bike. You will buy another one after that, I guarantee it. That one should be the dream bike.
Funny for the ride today I took my carbon seat post and the seat on my mtb and used it on the Schwinn. It was definitely an improvement over the Schwinn stuff. The pedals from Nashbar along with the Serfa shoes are a huge improvement over my sneakers in the toe clips.
 

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Cat 2-3 with that much milage and bike?
I raced with those guys a few weeks ago and I got smoked, thrown off the back chewed up and spit out! Yet our Cat 4 was mixed in and I came in 3rd.

Couple things..
You don't have the miles.
You really need to ride with those guys and how did you qualify to race with them as here you need to get points to move up a class.
If your going to stick with it a used bike is a way way better deal, new you will pay way to much for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Cat 2-3 with that much milage and bike?
I raced with those guys a few weeks ago and I got smoked, thrown off the back chewed up and spit out! Yet our Cat 4 was mixed in and I came in 3rd.

Couple things..
You don't have the miles.
You really need to ride with those guys and how did you qualify to race with them as here you need to get points to move up a class.
If your going to stick with it a used bike is a way way better deal, new you will pay way to much for.
No, No, I'm comparing my road results via Strava and a "Rotary ride" not a race yesterday. I'll be moving to Cat 2 MTB racing this September. Oh and there is no Cat 4 in MTB racing, you start at Cat 3 at least in Texas anyway.
 
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