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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It has the following specs:

FRAME
Caribou
FORK
Devinci Cr-Mo with disc brake
hanger
REAR DERAILLEUR
Shimano LX M581
FRONT DERAILLEUR
Shimano Tiagra 4503
CRANKSET
Truvativ Touro 3.0 Power Spline 52/42/30T
SHIFTERS
Shimano Tiagra 4500
WHEELS
Shimano M475 disc / Mavic A319/  DT Swiss Champion
TIRES
Kenda Kwick Roller 700x28C
reflective / puncture resistant
BRAKES
Tektro Oryx 992AG
STEM
FSA OS-190LX 31.8mm
HANDLEBAR
V2 Gyro roadbar 6061 butted 31.8mm
SADDLE
Selle Italia XO trans am
SEATPOST
FSA SL-280 27.2mm

One thing that I have thought about upgrading were the wheels. The tracks seems too large/dense for road riding. Approximately how much does it cost in total to upgrade them to road wheels?

Also, I have thought about upgrading to disk brakes. Does the "disk brake hanger" mean that I can readily place a disk brake in there? And again, how much would this cost approximately?

Thirdly, the shifting on this bike doesn't feel very smooth. What should I upgrade to improve the shifting? The shifter, or front derailleurs, rear derailleurs, or both?

And finally, can anyone suggest anything else that I can upgrade to improve the performance?
 

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Money pit.

I understand your desire to 'upgrade,' but your Caribou is a mid-range multi-purpose bike which does a lot of things well, but none really well. The money you're thinking about spending will do nothing to change that fact. If you're never going to ride dirt roads, putting some skinnier tires on your wheels wouldn't hurt. There's no reason for the bike to not shift smoothly—perhaps you need to make some adjustments. If it's the wrong bike for you (as it seems to be), keep it original, clean and well-maintained, then trade it for something more to your liking.
 

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- More expensive derailleurs last longer, weigh a little less, look better and shift a little crisper given matching shifters. There's no measurable performance gain, front or rear.

- Climbing power is generated by the rider, not the bike. But anything you can do to make the bike lighter will increase climbing speed. Keep in mind that reducing weight of the bike alone is just part of the equation, so the percentages aren't that great:

24 lb. bike + 166 lb. rider = 190 lb. combination
20 lb. bike + 166 lb. rider = 186 lb. combination
4 lb. difference = 2% weight reduction

In terms of speed, you're only talking 30 seconds or so faster on a 5-mile climb with a 6% average grade. And you're still pushing uphill a long-wheelbase, multi-purpose Caribou frame that's not really suitable for fast climbing. Seems to me you're the guy who bought an SUV, but now wishes he'd bought a sports car instead. Trade, if you can—instead of sinking money into a questionable weight-reduction project.

/w
 

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Hi, do you mind elaborating on why bikes with long wheelbase are poor climbers? How can I notice such a thing as to avoid it the next time?
No, not at all. When you climb out of the saddle, you shift your weight forward. With the rear wheel tucked in, under significant power you get a little more traction between the road and the tire than with the rear wheel trailing back behind you. This is not on the order of a revelation—it's just another small advantage that you have to see in the context of everything else that makes an excellent climbing bike.

I never said long-wheelbase bikes are poor climbers.Your Caribou is not a poor climber. It'll climb for you without complaining, as best as a 24-pound multi-purpose, long-wheelbase, touring/commuter bike can. What had me going on about this is your idea to make your Caribou into something that it'll never be. Believe me, I understand your desire to ride a light, responsive climbing bike and wish you well in finding or building one.
 
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