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Save or Spend? Cycling Upgrade Hacks | Maintenance Monday

Save or Spend? Cycling Upgrade Hacks | Maintenance Monday

– Most of us upgrade or at least dream of upgrading our bikes. So, replacing individual
parts for ones that perhaps work better, look
better, or add new functionality. But not all upgrades represent good value. So, when moneys tight, this is where you think you should invest. It’s time for GCN’s, save or spend? Spend or save? Save or spend? Save. Right, first up, here
is a tip from the pros. Now many world tour
teams believe it or not, actually buy there own components. And so, they also look to save money. Therefore, when you have
a look at their bikes you may well find Ultegra
cassettes instead of Dura Ace or SRAM force instead of Red. So, yeah, there is a weight
penalty between the two. Maybe 60 grammes or so,
but that all important performance is similar. And then same thing
when you look at chains. Ultegra instead of Dura Ace. Yeah, there is still a weight penalty of 12 grammes, and you
do lose that low friction coating that you get
with a Dura Ace chain, but you also save
yourself a bunch of cash. What are we gonna do with it then? Where are we gonna invest it? Spend. Tyres. That’s where. The difference between
a run of the mill tyre and a great tyre is absolutely massive. Genuinely tangible performance benefits. Now a good tyre is likely to be lighter, so it will probably feel a bit more lively when you’re accelerating
or when you’re climbing. But we’re really talking
about rolling existence here. Great tyres roll much, much faster. We’re talking upwards of ten watts here. Per wheel. And, if you’re going to upgrade this area, you might as well try
a wider tyre, as well. Definitely a bit of a
trendy topic at the moment, but with good reason. Wider tyres, generally faster, definitely more comfortable. Save. For many years, and in
particularly mountain biking, bike brands would often put more expensive rear derailleurs on
bikes they were selling in order to make it seem like the specification was better. So they would then say, oh yeah, it’s got a
mix of Ultegra and 105, meaning that actually it
has a full 105 groupset but with a Ultegra rear derailleur on. In performance terms, zero upgrade. In terms of weight savings,
probably about 40 grammes. So, when it comes to
replacing rear derailleurs, and you do need to do
that from time to time, then personally, I would always replace like with like. And then with the money that I saved, I would then invest it elsewhere. Spend. A set of high end gear cables can make a big difference to your shifting. With their super smooth inners and outers. But, living as I do in the U.K. With average to poor riding conditions for about 359 days out of the year, I would personally generally shy away from expensive cables, unless I’m instructed to do otherwise. So, in case of Shimanos Dual
Race groupset is needing Shimanos Dual Race cables. And instead what I would do is invest in a massive stash of replacement less expensive cables. Meaning, as soon as my
current set deteriorate, I wouldn’t think twice
about whipping them off, sticking a fresh set on and keeping that performance tip top. And the same of course,
is true for brakes, as well as shifting. Save. Handlebars can seem
like a tempting upgrade. But, in terms of grammes
saved for cash spent, they’re actually not the best
value upgrade you can make. Having said that, I have
bought more handlebars in my time than I care to remember, but always the reason was
to actually get a shape that was more to my liking. Because an upgrade, for me, is getting my hands literally on a set
of compact road drop bars. I’ve bought compact wider
bars for my cross bike. I’ve bought compact narrow
bars for my road bikes. And always, in a less
expensive aluminium model. Yet, there is a slight weight penalty, so it’s not suitable for
your ultimate super bike, but they feel just as good. Save or Spend I tend to save by bulk buying standard bootile inner tubes. Now I personally feel
that having a slightly thicker inner tube makes
it more puncture resistant, and I also think that saving money here means that when you do get a flat tyre it’s just that little bit less depressing. However, light weight inner tubes are actually the best
value weight saving upgrade you can make. With a cost per gramme ratio
far in excess of anything else. Generally about 30 cents or
30 pence per gramme saved. As opposed to well in excess of a dollar, euro, pound per gramme. And then further more, many people feel that if you actually upgrade to a latex inner tube, you actually improve the ride quality of your bike and get lower rolling resistance. Spend or Save Many of you watching this will no doubt ride your bikes with flat pedals. And that’s often out of
choice with good reason. It’s convenient and it’s also easier. But, making the upgrade
to clipless pedals, which are slightly confusing in name because they clip your feet into them, is, we think, a good upgrade. Now, there’s a little
bit of contention there, but, like I said, all of us at GCN feel that clipless pedals
are a great upgrade. But, here is also a
point where you can save. If you’re already using clipless pedals, then you can take
another tip from the pros and use less expensive ones. Yeah, there is a slight weight penalty, but functionally,
they’re exactly the same. And the reason I say it, is because at the Tour de France this year, I noticed that Team Katusha were using
the cheaper Look Keo Max Pedals as opposed to the lighter,
more expensive Look Keo Blades. Last of all, Spend it. If you’re after performance,
ie you don’t just ride, you also train, which is, I
think an important distinction. Then a Power metre is likely
to get you better, faster. Now, they are of course
a significant investment, but the good news is,
they are getting cheaper. So this new Power2Max
NG Eco actually retails for less than 500 Euros. And that, remarkably, is with
cranks and rings as well. Of course, you do still need to put hard work in, but power
metre is pretty much guaranteed to make that hard
work actually do more for you. So, save or spend. Let us know what you think are the best value upgrades
you can make to your bike. Or, in fact, are you
more like Eddie Merckx who legend has it once said
that you shouldn’t buy upgrades, you should ride upgrades. Which is all well for Eddie to say, but let’s face it, he had
the pimpest bike going when he was racing. Now, do make sure you subscribe
to GCN following this video. That’s probably the best
upgrade you can make on the Internet if you’re a cyclist. And if you want some
more content right now then we’ve got how to
make your bike faster just down there, some great upgrades. Or how to make your bike look more pro, which is in itself also an upgrade. Just down there.

100 comments on “Save or Spend? Cycling Upgrade Hacks | Maintenance Monday

  1. My hacks, my own bike stand built out of bits of wood (and steel pipe for seat post clamp). Chain hot wax dipped, using a slow cooker from a salvation shop – wax paraffin oil and candles. Mark on tyres where valves are so when you get a flat you can work out where the tyre and tube were in relation to each other.

  2. Hi GCN! I'm looking for a powermeter. I've never owned one before, and are a bit confused.
    What I'm looking for is to see my wattage, be able to use it on my bike that I have today, AND use it on my next bike I will buy in the future. I also want it to be Bluetooth compatible.

    I have canpagnolo record/chorus group-set, from around 2009-2010. So it is a 10 speed cassette.
    If I buy a powermeter, and then change to shimano, am I able to use the same powermeter?
    Thank you in advance.

  3. Best upgrade I've ever made was replacing the OEM brakes on my road bike with Ultegras. The confidence found in being able to stop much more quickly has given me greater confidence to ride faster. Safety + performance = win.

  4. Thanks GCN, refreshing to see cost saving suggestions and not pushing to upgrade to pro level equipment which the average rider will not experience a difference with, but will most likely break the bank. Also worth mentioning, as others have, that it's nice to see that deep section/carbon wheels did not make the cut in this video. They are the most expensive bank breaking upgrade you can probably make that won't make much of a difference for an average recreational rider, (i.e. you have to be going 40km/h + to gain any aerodynamic advantage) which for said rider is usually very difficult to achieve/sustain. Enjoy riding your bike and if you're racing or have the disposable cash then upgrade to bling stuff if your heart desires. My two cents. 🙂

  5. Eehrr, OK so I'm not sure what to make of the Kabukicho host club version of Si presenting this video but I just saw boxes going back and forth and totally lost the message…. Anyway, great! Probably.

  6. I went tubeless this spring, will not go back to tubes. Incredible difference. Want to go instantly faster? Lighter wheels and tubeless tyres.

  7. Saddle must be up there. Doesn't change much about your bike but if you're more comfortable or can get more aero (further forward) you can go faster for longer.

  8. I have trek alloy frame domane with tiagra group set and SPD pedals. I ride faster than folks with more expensive stuff. So I question the value in expensive bikes and upgrades if one isn't racing or cycling very fast. I do agree that tires, saddles, bars, stem and bar tape are important. Ride comfort is the most important thing, bar being able to stop quickly.

  9. i actually prolong my cable live quite a lot. My cables and outers are housings resilient to weather. this is how i actually save a lot of money.

    1. I NEVER EVER buy cheap stuff. Quality stuff always works better and lives longer, compared to cheap stuff, compared in equal conditions. i save money from less replacements of stuff, buying cheap stuff few times, for the same timespan until quality stuff fails it turns i spent more money on cheap stuff, compared to the money i spent on quality stuff.

    2. I use Teflon coated cables, so they do not corrode, they do not hold water and dirt

    3. I use factory pre-lubed housings with Teflon coated inner cable liner in combination with the Teflon coated inner cable. these also do not hold to water and dirt.

    4. I use special ferrules for my housings, with a guide on them. The guide does two things.
    4.1. – It reduces the amount of water and dirt penetrating, by a lot. I use them on all places there is, all frame stops, all cable stops, so i really begin to feel the benefit, in all weather/all conditions scenario and financial scenario.
    4.2. Advantage of the guide on the ferrule is that it protects my inner cables from friction on all places like frame cable stops/frame stops and rear derailleur.

    In total, in general, i can go ride in any weather, on any terrain and still not care, because i can rely on the mega protection i have. This greatly prolongs the life of my equipment. This is best best value for me, if i have to consider how much i pay and how much i get in return for my money. This is how i save the most money, i mean real save my wallet can feel!

  10. Well a few years ago I finally dropped the dough down for a modern road bike. I was riding my 1990 Concorde Gavina (PDM racing team colors), up till 2014. Overall the new bike was 'the' up grade, but I have to say that what I noticed the most that improved my performance and efficiency was the Brake Shifters. Wow, so much easier to change gears than the gear levers on the down tube. The Brake Shifters are a great improvement, especially with my new bike having 11 cogs on the back.

  11. 5 Good spends:
    1) Carbon wheels (sorry but they DO make a noticeable aero difference if your ride speed averages 30 km / 18 mph or better)… 2) Clipless pedals / shoes (Shimano SPD are 'good enough' without being too spendy, IMO)… 3) Conti tires w/ Conti Racelite tubes and Tire Liners (Armadillo or Tuffy's) you add a little weight back using the liners but more than make up for that with the relative lack of flats – what good is 100g less weight (w/o liners) gaining you 0.2 mph, when a single flat sets you back 10+ minutes at ZERO mph..? 4) Comfortable saddle. The better you feel, the faster you will go… 5) Pay for a pro bike fit session. At least the first time (you can apply what you learn to future bike adjustments)

    5 Freebies worth doing:
    1) Clean and lube your bike, especially the chain / cassette / rear derailleur. Do it often (at least monthly; more frequent if you ride in rain / poor weather)… 2) Check tire pressure every 100 mi. ridden (or once a week) at minimum… 3) Adjust brake / shifter / derailleur cabling to eliminate flex and / or loose linkage… 4) Make sure saddle is parallel to center bar and not crooked… 5) If you don't require a lot of hydration – ditch the bikes larger water bottle and insert a store bought bottled water in your holder instead. The empty bottled water 'bottle' weighs about 1/4 of your bikes hydration bottle…

  12. with the Power2Max can I get it on a trek emonda with only 4 bolts and will it attach to ultegra cranks and chain rings

  13. Spend – a proper saddle. Spending (pun intended) countless hours on a bike can leave you with a sore bum or groin area if your saddle doesn’t quite fit your body shape.

  14. No use for a powermeter if you do not have the suitable cycling computer to take/store readings(. To add on to power readings, body readings. Therefore….

    SPEND: on a decent cycling GPS computer. Get a cadence/speed and heart rate sensor. Heart rate will indicate your level of effort and cadence will tell you how fast you're spinning the legs. These two combined will allow oneself to pace properly. Garmin/Bryton looks good, get the HRM/Speed/Cadence bundle, and you're pretty much set.

    Powermeter is for when you want to get to the next level of your training i.e pacing via watt output, and as of right now I think I am ready for a powermeter. The thing is, I can't afford one, so I'll have to stick with using my heart rate and speed to gauge my level of effort.

  15. Thinking of upgrading to carbon bars! I need a wider bar than my current bars but thinking of going carbon. Not for weight saving, but for increased comfort…. Will I notice a difference??

  16. I like the video, but you really need to make a critical distinction. Are you riding for fun or performance/racing.

    If you are just riding for fun, anything that gets you to want to ride your bike more is a good upgrade. Looks are often just as, it not more important than performance for casual riders. Second for me is anything comfort related, new seat, handlebar tape etc.

    If you are about performance, you want to start with anything wheels, and then reduce weight. One thing to mention also though is that if you are training, it doesn't really matter how fast you go, it matters what you get out of the ride. Riding a pair of $4k wheels doesn't help you train better, but it sure does hurt when you hit a pothole and destroy them.

  17. I have checked Power2max web page and the price of $ 499 is for powermeter only no crack arms or rings are included ……

  18. If you commute , use SPD pedals, the cleats don't wear out for thousands and thousands of miles and you can walk in them in case you have a mechanical.

  19. The pro teams don't do it to save money. You're forgetting their bikes are feather light and more often than not have to be brought up to a legal race weight.

  20. Hi GCN! I've really got into cycling recently after a few years and am actually starting to TRAIN (not just ride). I have an absolute entry level bike (11kgs, shimano claris groupset). Would I be better investing in a power meter or a new bike? I already use a HR monitor. Thanks☺️ #torqueback

  21. Bought myself some continental gp4000ii and wow its insane. More grip . Visible speed difference over a ride and just all round more confidence. Go for it!

  22. With regards to the quote from Merx, BikeRadar put a neat spin on it in that one should first buy upgrades, then ride up said grades that bit faster.

  23. Making your own rear disk! Probably Conti GP4000sII 28c/25c tires with latex tubes & mountain bike style clipless pedals probably the two first best upgrades going!

  24. Hi, do you know where can I find handle bars with a clamp diameter bigger than 31.8mm and in an oval shape?
    I need a help 🙂

  25. I was given a beat up bike that consists of 105 components. Is it an option/good idea to transfer all the good 105 components to a new frame? #torqueback #gcn

  26. My father's riding buddy always told me that rather than spending $$$ to save a few grams, one should just ride more to lose a few pounds. Needless to say, we spent the saved money on post-ride beers, so there was always more weight to be lost.

  27. wider tires generally faster????? what I miss??
    take 19mm and push 10bars for front, will see
    23mm rear 9bars

  28. Are clipless pedals so called because they don't have toe clips (ie the cage to position your fit that clip on to flats)? I always assumed they were.

  29. It's funny how the bike industry is either really cheap or really expensive… I don't really see any in-between. Things are either a couple dozens of bucks or many hundreds!

  30. The best thing about clipless peddles is that is forces people to position their feet correctly o. The peddles. Pet peeve of mine is people who peddle with their arches over the peddle.

  31. Get a good chain. I'm really happy with RockNRoll chain wax. The times when the wind is quiet in my ears and there's nobody around but the blue jays and grasshoppers are especially nice when I can feel the links landing into the chainring and it sounds like an ivory xylophone half a mile away.

  32. My hack is a pair if vibram five fingers and flat pedals … I would love pedals shaped such that I can grip them with my toes!

  33. Ok, my bike is 180 euros, I don’t think I can spend anything more. I don’t even have a spare inner tube! That’s how broke I’m lol

  34. Agree 💯 percent. No point in going above 105 group if you are not competing in a professional way. Everything above is only grams of savings per a lot of bucks… However I do run ultegra casette with my 105 but only because it comes in 11-34T. And an Ultegra shodow RD as I have converted mine 105 to a one by, had to keep the chainslap in check.

  35. The term save or spend are human terms. Jesus would not have done the will of the unseen Father had he talk about those human terms. Jesus is for free one to another.

  36. 1. Tires; (kevlar); agree on slightly wider too, easier to change and a good compromise on bad roads/trails
    2. handlebars; I literally broke an aluminum suntrour handlebar; fatigue failure. I ride so much, I'm sticking to steel.

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