Upgrading the Bike

Guest poster Don Blount has been making improvements.

I am really enjoying my new bike. At the same time I am not missing my old bike. That’s because my new bike is my old bike but improved. I did the next best thing to getting a new bike, I upgraded components on my old bike.

After about 18 months of riding I just wanted my bike, a Scattante CFR Comp, to perform better.

I don’t know if I could say that I outperformed the bike but it seemed that I was putting too much work into keeping the bike moving (if that makes sense) and wanting it to be more comfortable as the saddle began to become unbearingly uncomfortable. Also riding in the hills, which are not forgiving, and a difficult metric century I have targeted for late June motivated me to want to have the bike running at its optimum.

This evaluation came on the heels of replacing a chain and cassette, which is not included in the cost below since that was routine maintenance. Once I started with the saddle, everything else followed.

The bike has a carbon frame and seatpost and a combination Shimano Ultegra and 105 drivetrain. Those parts along with the cable covers, stem and brake levers are the only original parts remaining.

I did a lot of comparison shopping, buying everything online and on sale from various retailers.

Here is a list of the original part, the new part and the cost in order of replacement, including tax and shipping:

Original Part New Part Cost
Forte Saddle Selle Italia SLR Gel Flow Saddle

$99

Xero Element Wheelset Williams 30X Wheelset

$529

Tektro Brakes Ultegra Dual Pivot 6600 Brakeset

$100

Truvative Rouleur Crankset Ultegra 6650 Crankset

$190

Transit Saddlebag  (110 cu in) Fizik Saddle pack (30 cu in)

$11.50

Forte Precision Alloy Handlebars Ritchey Pro Carbon Matrix Handlebars

$117

Total $1046.50

I spent a few hundred dollars less on the upgrades than I spent on the bike brand new. Why not just get a new bike? Because I didn’t want to spend three or four times this amount. The wheelset was the big ticket item but also had the biggest impact in terms of performance. I would advise anyone considering upgrading parts on their bike to do that first.


Some of Don’s upgrades. Click on each picture for a larger view.

I learned a lot by this as well. For example, despite a professional bike fitting, I was never comfortable riding in the drops. I learned that my handlebars were too long and the drops too deep. The new ones are not as long, the drop shallower and a much better fit for me.

All the new parts are lighter and so is the bike by a pound or two. Overall, it is a better ride.

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5 thoughts on “Upgrading the Bike

  1. Hey Don-

    Looks like you had a shopping spree. I’ve heard a lot about wheels, and you mention it was the biggest change. What, exactly, is the difference? Where do you notice it?

    Enjoy the new ride!

    • Jeff,

      The biggest difference with the wheels is less rolling resistance and less weight, both of which make the bike easier to move. It would be akin to switching from running in hiking boots to racing flats. The first time I rode the wheels, I started the bike up and while coasting noticed the bike moving on when its own when in the past I would have had to pedal.

  2. OUCH!! I though all the upgrades I did to turn my “MTB” into a “Road/Tourer” Hybrid was expensive! Glad I didn’t feel I needed new wheel’s, I think all the upgrades and additions I put on the bike, equal the price of your new wheelset. Oh Boy, I now know it’s gona be “expensive” to get the upgraded hubs/wheel’s I’d like to have. LOL, good thing the basic bike only cost me $500.00 new! Your machine looks good and I’m sure is faster, ENJOY! :)

    • Ray,

      The new bars are the same width as the originals, I think 42 cm. The carbon does help dampen vibration, although I couldn’t quite say by how much. The biggest differences are that the reach and drop of the bars are shorter than the originals, which fits me better.

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