1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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Thread: upgrading

  1. #1
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    upgrading

    Ok, I just bought a new kona blast and I was wondering one thing about upgrading. When or why (besides weight of course) would you upgrade things such as headsets, or seat posts, handle bars? I am definately getting the upgrade bug because my LBS gave me a steal on the kona blast and upgraded the drivetrain to all deore for about 515 bucks!!! anywho I have some left over cash and I am already getting some clipless pedals and shoes, but do I just wait until stuff is broken? Do headsets and handlebars and the like break? I know those are probably DA questions but I am pretty much a complete newb. thanks

  2. #2
    Bike to the Bone...
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    Quote Originally Posted by DP1112
    Ok, I just bought a new kona blast and I was wondering one thing about upgrading. When or why (besides weight of course) would you upgrade things such as headsets, or seat posts, handle bars? I am definately getting the upgrade bug because my LBS gave me a steal on the kona blast and upgraded the drivetrain to all deore for about 515 bucks!!! anywho I have some left over cash and I am already getting some clipless pedals and shoes, but do I just wait until stuff is broken? Do headsets and handlebars and the like break? I know those are probably DA questions but I am pretty much a complete newb. thanks
    I don't think they are stupid questions, and very valid ones. I think I upgrade stuff a lot more often than necesarry. lol

    I would recomend you to replace when something breaks. Which is not that common unless you're jumping or dropping down stuff, but it happens. I wouldn't worry too much about the headset, it could last your frame lifetime.

    How does your bike fit? If it does feel fine, then wait a little bit before upgrading. Along its life, tires will wear out, saddle might also. But if they're not bad, I wouldn't pay too much attention right now.

    It's great you're starting with clipless now, it will make it easier in the long run

  3. #3
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    Ok, so are the only reasons to upgrade things pretty much weight and cool looking logos? I mean, I gotta admit a bike looks pretty cool when it's got easton written on the handle bars, thompson on the seat, chris king on the headset, etc, but is this just for weight or do these items serve more of a function? I guess that's my question I don't really know just chime in on this with ANYTHING if you guys can!

  4. #4
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    First a question...

    Quote Originally Posted by DP1112
    Ok, so are the only reasons to upgrade things pretty much weight and cool looking logos? I mean, I gotta admit a bike looks pretty cool when it's got easton written on the handle bars, thompson on the seat, chris king on the headset, etc, but is this just for weight or do these items serve more of a function? I guess that's my question I don't really know just chime in on this with ANYTHING if you guys can!
    did you pay $515 extra for a deore upgrade? What level deore? LX, XT or just deore? The first reason to upgrade is you wear something out. The next is to make it function better. After that would be because you can afford it. Upgrading for "cool looking logos" is really not what most folks upgrade for. I suppose if a person is a bit shallow they might though. As for why buy Thomson(no "p") or chrisking it's because they are a better product and for me this meant stronger, last longer and also lastly the cool factor.

    Upgrading for the non racing rider is really only truly necessary when the part is worn out. But if you can afford to spend the cash then go for it. Nothing wrong with bling on your bike, but it's usually less expensive to just get a better bike to begin with.

  5. #5
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    Ride it a lot. If you hate the way a part functions, replace it with a better one. If a part breaks (and one will), replace it with a better one.

    On a 500 dollar bike, if I was looking to replace anything off the bat it would be:

    The saddle
    The tires
    The grips
    The fork

  6. #6
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeep_Nut
    On a 500 dollar bike, if I was looking to replace anything off the bat it would be:

    The saddle
    The tires
    The grips
    The fork
    And even that only if you feel that there is something wrong, or you do not like the component. Do you already have helmet, some tools, pump, spare inner tube? Maybe a maintenance guide?

    Tyres and chains do not last forever and people sometimes wreck their rear deraileurs in contact with rocks and such. Keep a little money in case you desperately need to replace a part.

  7. #7
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    haha no I didn't pay 515 for the upgrade alone, I meant for the bike, it originally came with acera X f and r der. so i switched to deore. the bike is is 600 msrp...anywho. thanks SO much jeep nut, I guess that's what I was really looking for. I just don't know for example the difference between the "feel" or performance advantages of a after market headset, or handle bars, etc., but that's a good start for an upgrade guide though. I am not necessarily going to upgrade right now, but having an idea of what the next upgrades should be would really help me out. thanks guys

  8. #8
    Going for a ride......
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    In my opinion upgrading should be done when things start to wear out, or if your skill has grown above the ability of the equipment you have. For example I had my Hardrock for 5 years (probably 2 good years of riding - cos I had kids after that) and it was after that amount of time I really started to notice how much the fork was lacking (being a basic Judy TT). Mind you it probably needed a really good service too which wouldn't have helped, but it was just like a pogo stick on the trails. Anyway in my case it was more cost effective to just get a whole new bike (dual suspension).

    The basic personal things are a good start - grips, tyres, pedals, seat.
    Depending on your riding style and ability, the next major thing that would make a huge difference is the Fork - but very expensive too.
    It's great that you got good shifters etc to start with because I don't think they tend to wear out. Your chain & cassette will wear out in time though & probably the front chainrings, cables.

    If you're starting out I wouldn't upgrade too much, ride the bike, grow your skills and if you're still happy to keep the bike then upgrade when stuff starts to wear out or you think you could really use something better. Otherwise it is more cost effective to buy a whole new bike with all the bits you want in due time - with new stuff coming out and lately bikes are better and better at lower prices each year.

    You did say that you had some spare cash though -so by all means get the bits that will make you really happy - or consider what accessories would make life that much better. (spare set of tyres?). Otherwise if you have the money, and you don't mind spending it, well there is completely nothing wrong with that. Of course people upgrade parts to something that is better, stronger and looks cool - we are all suckers for marketing and we all want what's considered the best, at the moment it's Thompson & Easton tomorrow it could be Race Face & Synchros - who knows.

    I could have easily gone for a more expensive bike than I did, or upgrade a few things like the brakes, but in the end I'm buying this one to keep for a long time, I will ride it, get to know it and maybe in a couple of years think of upgrading if I need to (or it may be more of a want).

    Sorry for the long post - think I got carried away here
    energetix



  9. #9
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    Don't upgrade just for the sake of upgrading

    Don't upgrade a new bike just for the sake of upgrading. If you just want to spend your extra money, buy accessories, like a couple good pairs of shorts and jerseys, or a Camelbak, or a light for night riding. Also tools, chain lube, bike rack, work stand, etc.

    The things that will wear out first are your tires and the drivetrain - chain, chainrings, cassette, and shifters. Also cables need to be replaced every year or two, depending on how much you ride.

    Headsets, seatposts, and handlebars dont' often need replacing unless they break or wear out, or like you said, if you just want to save weight. I'm not terribly concerned about weight myself - I wouldn't replace perfectly good parts just to save a few grams. I'm also cheap, but if something does break or wear out, I try to replace it with something better.
    Of course if you are unhappy with something, that is another story. For instance, my wife didn't like the riding position on her bike, so I upgraded her flat handlebars to 2" riser bars, to give her a more upright position. I got Easton EA50 bars, which were overkill for her, but are lightweight and look cool.

    Here's what I upgraded on my Kona Munimula. I'm not a hard-core rider anymore - probably average 10 miles/week. In general, I only replaced things when they broke or wore out, but I always replaced them with somthing better:
    1. Seatpost, after about 2 months, because it bent. Replaced with Thomson - expensive, but the best there is, and I didn't want it to ever break again.
    2. chain, three times in the first couple years, because the Shimano chains kept breaking. Finally replaced Shimano chain with SRAM PC-59, a better chain IMHO. I love the powerlink, because I suck at breaking chains the old-fashioned way.
    3. Tires, after about 2 years. I liked the stock Tioga tires OK, but I replaced them with Panaracer Fire XC that I got cheap for $34/pair. about 2 years later, I replaced them with some Michelins I got free.
    3. Cranks and bottom bracket, after about 2-3 years, because the chainrings were worn, and the old square-taper cranks kept creaking and coming loose. I'm 200 lbs and ride pretty hard. I got a great deal on some splined Shimano cranks for $60. It would have cost almost that much to replace just the chainrings. Also upgraded the cassette at the same time - a little worn. Chain too
    4. Shifters around the same time - the rear shifter got really mushy (Deore)
    5. Wheels and brakes after 5 years. The stock Mavic 221 rims were always a little wimpy for my 200 lbs, and had to be trued often, and I broke several spokes over 5 years. I upgraded to disk wheels and Avid mechanical disk brakes, which was the best upgrade I have ever done. Shimano XT disk hubs on Rhyno Lite Rims. Only about $300 for cables and everything.

  10. #10
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    wow big thumbs up to ya'll guys for responding with long posts, this newb appreciates it greatly, definatley saving those. I just am pretty new to the biking world so I didn't understand the whole upgrade thing, but that cleared a lot up for me. Ya'll are great. (Yes, I am from Texas). hopefully see ya on the trails sometime!!

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