• Welcome to AlpineZone, the largest online community of skiers and snowboarders in the Northeast!

    You may have to REGISTER before you can post. Registering is FREE, gets rid of the majority of advertisements, and lets you participate in giveaways and other AlpineZone events!

Crappy components ?

Bumpsis

Active member
Joined
Mar 25, 2004
Messages
1,026
Points
38
Location
Boston, MA
This is a question that's directly related to recent post by Zakyr, asking for advice on getting a new road bike. I'm actually in the same situation as Zakyr, shopping for a new road bike in the $800 range. My current road machine, Specialized Sirrus is about 20 years old or a bit more and I'm really due for a new bike.

So, I looked at a few bikes that would be about $ 800 and this includes the Trek1.1, 1.2 and Specialized Secteur. What caught my attention in the mentioned discussion in Zakyr's thread was the term that was used for the components on the Trek 1.1 (applies to the Specialized as well). The term was "crappy". What do you guys really mean by that?

Does this mean that the shifters and derailers won't shift properly? Won't last, will skip gears, lose calibration, or what specifically? The deraliers and shifters on the said bikes are Shimano 2300. Are these of lesser quality that I should avoid?
Please, define "crappy". I'm not looking for an argument, just advice.My riding is essentially for fitmess and recreation - 20 miler on week day evenings and perhaps 40 + mile rides with groups on weekends. No racing, although one of the reasons why I really like road biking is speed, but given the aging process - I'm using this term in a very relative manner.
I guess what I'mwondering about is why would Trek or Specialized use components that somehow will not work well.
I have a "stable" of older bikes and the components on these are mostly various Shimano and Suntour - shifters, derailers, casettes, cranks. They all work well. I know that none of them are top of their line, but they all shift crisply, stay in gear and are just fine.

rivercOil wrote:

"For $800, I'd strongly recommend used that way you can get something with either a minimum component setup of Shimano 105 or SRAM Apex. You aren't going to find a new bike at an LBS for $800 with either of these drive trains. If you are only going to be a casual rider, entry level drive trains are okay. But if you are getting in for keeps, you might as well start with some good gear.

Brand names are pretty much useless. Brand names cost more because they sponsor pro tour riders and factor in the cost of free bikes and sponsorship money into the price of your bike. Though certainly avoid big box stores. But don't feel like you need to get a "big name" just to ensure quality. I'd look more at component levels. There are some shoddy frames out there but they usually aren't being sold with reasonably good components (i.e.SRAM Apex or Shimano 105 or above). Tiagra isn't too bad but they are seriously upgrading it for the next year so it would bite to get in at that level before it got level'd up to old 105 spec.

The most important thing really is fit. You can use crappy components if you have a great fit but you'll be hating life regardless of your drive train with a bad fit. So ask for a test ride."

 

MR. evil

New member
Joined
Nov 29, 2007
Messages
3,547
Points
0
Really the best way to figure out what 'crappy' components are is to try a bike with low end 'crappy' comments and then immediately try a bike with nicer components. The difference in feel and function will be very obvious.
 

riverc0il

New member
Joined
Jul 10, 2001
Messages
13,039
Points
0
Location
Ashland, NH
Website
www.thesnowway.com
As Mr. evil suggests, the best thing to do is try a bunch of different components out. Zakyr seemed to actually prefer the lower end thumb shifters which surprised me. Maybe you find the difference is not worth the extra price, or maybe you'll be similar to my opinion that once you try one of Shimano's STI shifters that you'll never use anything less.

Here is the deal: anything you get at an LBS is going to be better than a box store POS. But on the flip slide, if you love the shifters, you'll shift more and be in a better gear more often. If you plan to ride 20 mile rides mid-week and 40 mile weekend and group rides, it sounds like you're taking it seriously enough that you should splurge for better product. But you'll have to make the call on that. I can't speak for 2300 but even with Sora (current model, next gen gets STI) you're going to get reasonably crisp worry free shifting.

I still think that if you are going to be riding regularly for any sort of distance (sounds like you are), then paying an extra $100-200 for something in the Tiagra/105 or Apex/Rival range is a very good investment in your future enjoyment and performance. And I say performance in the sense that I think you'll shift more and be in a better gear if you have a better system. I've used down tube shifters before going to 105 and it was the most amazing thing making that jump.

Bottom line, if you can't afford anything better you'll do okay with 2300. Though I think paying $800 for a bike with 2300 is ludicrous. You're better off buying a used bike with better components for the same price. And you could get a radically better used bike for the same money.
 

bvibert

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Aug 30, 2004
Messages
30,394
Points
38
Location
Torrington, CT
I know next to nothing about road components, but my vote is to try a few different levels out to see how you like them, unless you're pretty firm on your price point and don't want to go used, then there's not really any point trying the better stuff. What you don't know can't hurt you...
 

Bumpsis

Active member
Joined
Mar 25, 2004
Messages
1,026
Points
38
Location
Boston, MA
Thanks for the feedback. I'm keeping myself open to both options, used and new, but what I see being offered (in my target price range) on the used market is not that far off (in price) from what new bikes offer. As to higher end components vs lower (ex. Shimano 2300), it sounds like I really ought to try both. The extra $ 200 in price can really become negligible over the the time of ownership and if it significantly feels better, I can probably spring for it.

So here's another question: triple gearing on the crank (32-42-52) or the compact double (50-32)?

Some of the stores I visited so far are really pushing the compact double. Given a 9 gear cassette, both seem offer a similar spread of gear options. I'm leaning towards the triple which I think may give me smaller jumps between gears (52/42) and still give me great climbing options.
I still remeber the pain of climbing over the Middlebury pass in VT on the lowest gear that my current bike has: 39 front and 28 in the back. I definitely need something lower than that.
 

MR. evil

New member
Joined
Nov 29, 2007
Messages
3,547
Points
0
Not sure where you are located or how tall you are. But if this fits, its a pretty good deal on a nice used bike.

http://forum.bikerag.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=19397

I have the 2007 or 2008 version of this bike which is pretty much the same exact thing. I am 6'-0" tall and ride a 56cm. His asking price is a little high you could always make a lower offer. Its got a very componet group and the frame looks to be carbon fibre.

I also bought mine used last summer and it has been great. I am very glad I went with a high end used bike over a lower end new bike.
 

Bumpsis

Active member
Joined
Mar 25, 2004
Messages
1,026
Points
38
Location
Boston, MA
Not sure where you are located or how tall you are. But if this fits, its a pretty good deal on a nice used bike.

http://forum.bikerag.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=19397

I have the 2007 or 2008 version of this bike which is pretty much the same exact thing. I am 6'-0" tall and ride a 56cm. His asking price is a little high you could always make a lower offer. Its got a very componet group and the frame looks to be carbon fibre.

I also bought mine used last summer and it has been great. I am very glad I went with a high end used bike over a lower end new bike.

Thanks for pointing this out. I'm in Boston, about 5'6" and my current Specialized is a 53cm frame. I'm trying to stay within $900. Willing to drive out 30-40 miles to see a bike if it's a sweat deal. If you run across something interesting like the above, I'll look. However, my fever to grab a new or new to me bike has to subside for now. I'm heading to Europe for a couple of weeks. Back to bike hunting when I come back.
I appreciate all the comments and advice - it really does help the decision making process.
 

riverc0il

New member
Joined
Jul 10, 2001
Messages
13,039
Points
0
Location
Ashland, NH
Website
www.thesnowway.com
Thanks for the feedback. I'm keeping myself open to both options, used and new, but what I see being offered (in my target price range) on the used market is not that far off (in price) from what new bikes offer. As to higher end components vs lower (ex. Shimano 2300), it sounds like I really ought to try both. The extra $ 200 in price can really become negligible over the the time of ownership and if it significantly feels better, I can probably spring for it.

So here's another question: triple gearing on the crank (32-42-52) or the compact double (50-32)?

Some of the stores I visited so far are really pushing the compact double. Given a 9 gear cassette, both seem offer a similar spread of gear options. I'm leaning towards the triple which I think may give me smaller jumps between gears (52/42) and still give me great climbing options.
I still remeber the pain of climbing over the Middlebury pass in VT on the lowest gear that my current bike has: 39 front and 28 in the back. I definitely need something lower than that.
You should be able to get at least, at minimum, Tiagra components used for the same price as Shimano 2300 new (assuming similar frame and other specs), maybe 105. You can always make someone an offer. Used bike prices really drop off... which is why you are better buying as much as you can afford up front. That way you are not stuck upgrading components or upgrading a bike latter on.

Regarding compact or double: my opinion is that this decision cannot be made independent of also picking your cassette. A triple lets you have a really tight cassette with lots of small jumps. Check it:

http://www.gear-calculator.com/#KB=...16,17,19,21,24,27&GT2=DERS&TF=85&UF=2099&SL=2

A triple with 12-23 cassette is almost the same total range as a compact with a 12-27 and you get an 18t with the 12-23 and no three tooth jumps. But... there is a crap load of needless overlap. Do you really need it? It depends on how you ride and what your preferences are. If you are planning on doing gaps in VT, I'd recommend the triple with a 12-27.

The problem with the double is the jump from small to large. It is 16 tooth difference (vs compacts are 10 and standard crank is 14. Check out the Gear Calculator link above... notice the jump from 34/13 to 50/17... 12%. Friggin Ouch. You only get one more gear (three tooth jump comparatively) by going triple instead of double with the same cassette. But the triple doesn't have that ball break jump between small and big rings.

My plan for my next bike? Two wheels: one with a 12-27 for the hills and one with a 12-23 for the flats. That is the best way to make a compact work. I don't think the Compact is a very good option unless you have two cassettes to swap out or you don't ride hills and can get a small cassette.

FWIW, my notes above are assuming 10 speed but you get the gist.

There is nothing wrong with a triple. I ride a triple right now and it gets the job done just fine. I've gotten to the point in which I NEVER use the 30t unless I am screwed. So I am basically riding a 40-50 double. Why the compact double wasn't standardized at 36/50 with a 14 tooth jump is beyond me. It would have solved all of the problems with the compact double.
 

bvibert

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Aug 30, 2004
Messages
30,394
Points
38
Location
Torrington, CT
My plan for my next bike? Two wheels: one with a 12-27 for the hills and one with a 12-23 for the flats. That is the best way to make a compact work. I don't think the Compact is a very good option unless you have two cassettes to swap out or you don't ride hills and can get a small cassette.

Make sure you check the derailleur alignment when you switch wheels, especially if the hubs are two different models. There can be slight differences in the exact position of the cassette relative to the dropouts, even among the same make/model of hubs. Chances are it will be fine, but you may need to make a small tweak here and there. Just something to keep in mind.
 

mattchuck2

New member
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Messages
1,341
Points
0
Location
Clifton Park, NY
Website
skiequalsmc2.blogspot.com
I've been using Shimano 2300 shifters with a Sora derailleur on my road bike for 3 years and like 3,500 miles. Still shifting as well as they did at the beginning. That said, I've tried other bikes that have better components and the shifting is noticeably crisper. I guess my answer is: 2300 is fine until you want something else. I figure I'll upgrade when everything wears out (which should be pretty soon).
 

Bumpsis

Active member
Joined
Mar 25, 2004
Messages
1,026
Points
38
Location
Boston, MA
Bought a new bike!! New to me that is. The advice given in this discussion was very helpful and I did try a range of lower to higher end components on the various Treks and Specialized bikes at local shops.

Well, it's probably not a surprize that the more pricey options felt much nicer - smoother shifts and no chain rub against the deraileur cage that was a bit of a surprise on the Trek 1.1. I wasn't crosschianing either. What I was finding at the LBSs and liked was a good few hundred $$ over my budget.

I found a very good deal on a Motobecane Vent Noir with Tiagra shifters and Shimano 105 in the back. Originally it was ordered from Bikesdirect.com. Got the bike from the seller for $ 600 which was about half of what I was about to spend with a local shop for a Specialized Alleiz. Here's a link to picture and specs http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/ventnoir_xii.htm

I don't mean to plug the bikesdirect.com. It was not an option for me to buy a bike without trying (and I usually do support the LBS - bought a mountian bike locally), but since it was already bought, it seemed like a really sweet choice. I know that at this point the Motobecane brand is no longer the venerable French make, but the bike is very light and in all aspects, comparable to what I was trying out in stores. I had a Motobecane touring bike in the past and really liked it, so even if the new owners of the brand keeep a bit of the reputation for quality intact, I will be happy with my choice.

I am having some custom adjustments made so the bike fits me well. I'm having the stem raised (through stem raiser and change to a very short stem) and the handlebars brought closer so I don't have to strain by upper back. It will cost a bit to get this done but I favour comfort over aerodynamics.
Over all, I'm quite excited to get a light, fast bike with gear shifting at my fingertips. Thank you for all your comments that helped me with this choice.

I hope that I get to ride with some of you that may be riding in the general Boston Metro area. I will be joining the Charles River Wheelmen on their evening fitenss/ pace line rides and probably weekend rides as well. If you see a guy on a new looking Motobecane with Speedplay Frogs on it, say hi.
 

riverc0il

New member
Joined
Jul 10, 2001
Messages
13,039
Points
0
Location
Ashland, NH
Website
www.thesnowway.com
Was the bike pretty much brand new? $600 second hand for an $800 bike seems a bit much unless everything is still near new condition. I bought a BD bike, they are solid bikes and you get a lot for the price since you aren't paying 25% extra to cover pro team sponsorships.

That vent noir is already pretty relaxed. If you need a very short stem, the bike may be too big for you. One problem with short stems is it can unweight your front wheel and make stability a little worse.

You might want to consider a tighter cassette. That link shows a 12-30 cassette on a triple. Unless you are going up some major climbs, a tighter cassette will have you pedaling more efficiently. The 12-30 has no 16t which isn't the end of the world, but that is two less single tooth jumps in the middle of your cassette. A 12-27 would fix that and with that triple, you could even drop down to a 12-23 (which would have an 18t) unless you plan on biking somewhere with a lot of hills.

Pedal a bunch and you if you find yourself swearing when you shift between 15 and 17 on your cassette, you'll know what to do. :)
 

Bumpsis

Active member
Joined
Mar 25, 2004
Messages
1,026
Points
38
Location
Boston, MA
Was the bike pretty much brand new? $600 second hand for an $800 bike seems a bit much unless everything is still near new condition. I bought a BD bike, they are solid bikes and you get a lot for the price since you aren't paying 25% extra to cover pro team sponsorships.

That vent noir is already pretty relaxed. If you need a very short stem, the bike may be too big for you. One problem with short stems is it can unweight your front wheel and make stability a little worse.

You might want to consider a tighter cassette. That link shows a 12-30 cassette on a triple. Unless you are going up some major climbs, a tighter cassette will have you pedaling more efficiently. The 12-30 has no 16t which isn't the end of the world, but that is two less single tooth jumps in the middle of your cassette. A 12-27 would fix that and with that triple, you could even drop down to a 12-23 (which would have an 18t) unless you plan on biking somewhere with a lot of hills.

Pedal a bunch and you if you find yourself swearing when you shift between 15 and 17 on your cassette, you'll know what to do. :)

Ineed, the bike is in almost new condition. The seller claims he put less than 500 miles on it and the bike looks and feels like it.

I'm having the handlebars brought up and in because I have a somewhat unorthodox built. For the most part, a mesomorph but my torso is short (not much reach) and my legs are longer than usual. The frame size is 54 cm (lenght of the seat tube) but I have to extend my seat post fairly high to have a comfortable leg extention.

This really puts the seat a good 5-6 cm above the handlebars. Add to this the 10 cm streach of the stem and, at least for me, having my hands on the rubber rests of the shifters was pretty uncomfortable. Streamlined, yes I could tell that even 30 minutes in that position would cause pain.
I have some chronic issues with upper back so no sense aggrivating that.

The bike that I'm replacing also had the "stem surgery" to the same level as the current Noir Vent. It it's also a 54cm frame. I could actually fit onto a 56cm frame, but the reach to handlebars really would be as much of an issue. Height, probably not so much. 54cm frame really is my size.

The cassette on the new bike is actually a bit different from the specs. It's is tighter. It's actaually an 11-25, 9 gears. It's rather astute of you to catch that detail.
I probably will not engage the 30 of the triple much. My nightly excercise rides take me through the roads around the Blue Hills (Milton/Canton/Braintree) and although there are some nice streches of uphills, unless I'm clibing to the top of the Big Blue, I probably will be happy with what the front 39 and the gear choices that the current cassette delivers.
I'm really excited to have this bike (and not having to spend big bucks). Can't wait to get it back from the shop and ride it.
 

riverc0il

New member
Joined
Jul 10, 2001
Messages
13,039
Points
0
Location
Ashland, NH
Website
www.thesnowway.com
The cassette on the new bike is actually a bit different from the specs. It's is tighter. It's actaually an 11-25, 9 gears. It's rather astute of you to catch that detail.
I probably will not engage the 30 of the triple much. My nightly excercise rides take me through the roads around the Blue Hills (Milton/Canton/Braintree) and although there are some nice streches of uphills, unless I'm clibing to the top of the Big Blue, I probably will be happy with what the front 39 and the gear choices that the current cassette delivers.
I'm really excited to have this bike (and not having to spend big bucks). Can't wait to get it back from the shop and ride it.
Nice find! Definitely good price for less than 500 miles. Also sweet that the cassette was already replaced. I'm pretty obsessed with gearing for some reason. I don't think the combinations of cranks and cassettes currently available standard on most bikes are good options for most riders. People are being sold a load of rubbish and customizing is hard to do, and costly. Wide cassettes are just dumb unless you plan on cycling mountains or you are in absolutely atrocious shape. I think this topic deserves a rant of its own.
 
Top