On my first bike, a Specialized Allez that featured heavily in posts during my first year of Giro di lento, I upgraded many many components over a period of time.
This list included:
- Brake pads – Koolstop Salmon (great brake pads by the way)
- Tyres – First Continental GP4000s and then Vittoria Pave
- Inner Tubes: Michelin Latex
- Saddle: Specialized Phenom SL
- Stem: 3T Arx Pro
- Handlebars: 3T Ergosum Pro
- Bar tape: Fizik Microtex
- Wheels: Easton EA90 SLX
- Cassette: Shimano UItegra 12-27
- Chain KMC X9SL
- Chainset: Shimano R700 Compact
It’s quite simple, if you’re going to change anything (assuming you ordered your bike with the right gearing and for any beginner I recommend ordering a compact version of your bike to give you lower gearing to get fit with), these are the things to change in order of priority:
On my Trek winter bike, I’m practising what I preach. As soon as I got the bike, I took the stock wheels off it as they were very heavy and by not using them at all I hope it will help as and when I decide to sell this bike on. I initially put my much loved Easton EA90 SLX wheels (http://www.eastoncycling.com/en-us/road/wheels/race/ea90-slx/) on the bike (which retail for £500-600) with a pair of Vittoria Open Paves (http://road.cc/content/review/15731-vittoria-open-pave-evo-cg-folding-tyre) which for me are the best winter/wet weather tyres I’ve ever ridden. However recently I swapped the wheels out for a set of Mavic Ksyrium SLs (http://www.mavic.com/wheels-road-triathlon-ksyrium-sls-c#.U9VTib1dV8E) shod with Hutchinson Atom Comp tyres (http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/components/tyres/road/product/review-hutchinson-atom-comp-reinforced-tyre-11-44879) and I have to say these are an even better match for the bike. I’m enjoying the Trek more than I have so far with these wheels and they look great on the bike too. I do need to point out though to reinforce my key message here, the Trek 1.5 retails for £800 as a complete bike. My Ksyrium SLs retail for £750 a pair (although you can easily find them cheaper with some googling) and the Hutchinson’s retail for more than £40 each before you shop around. So to be clear I’ve put wheels and tyres on that are worth more than the bike and they’ve transformed it to pretty much as good as it’s going to get. I really can’t tell you how much I like them on the bike though, they’re great and they’re a much better match than the Eastons and will be staying on for the foreseeable future.
The only other change I’ve made is the saddle. I put my favourite Specialized Phenom SL saddle on the bike after giving the Bontrager one a go but it never really worked for me.
If you make these three changes, you’ll be getting the best out of your current entry level bike and the wheels will also make a good improvement on your next bike too as you should keep them and transfer them onto the next bike you buy.
Thanks for reading