Bella Velo. Interior
  • jules

    1. upgrade gradually. use upgrades to reward yourself as you progress in cycling. don’t go and splash out on $5000 in new stuff when just starting. you will look like a hubbard (sorry, but it’s true, even if I sound mean).
    2. buy second hand. it’s tonnes cheaper. i’m not saying don’t buy new, but for your first bike – see rule #1.
    3. get someone who knows what they’re doing to help you choose what is value for money.
    4. do whatever you like and ignore my advice if you please!

    • Chris

      I’d point out that ‘upgrade’ suggests, as stated at the start of the article, that this is for someone who’s been riding for a while, not starting out. If you have 5 grand to spend, why not? The idea of “I won’t spend that much because I’m not good enough yet” just wastes money once it’s time to upgrade your upgrade later. If you know you love cycling and you’re going to stick with it, go nuts if you have the money to do so.

      • jules

        there’s lots of responses to that, or my post, and no absolute right or wrong.

        I took the article to be addressed at newcomers. upgrading is fun and worthwhile. but I find it more fun if done gradually, kind of like not eating a whole bag of lollies in one sitting :)

    • Jessy Vee

      2a. Don’t buy secondhand knicks… EVER! (eww…)

      • jules

        I did! they were quite new, apparently sold due to ‘poor fit’. I don’t regret it :)

        • Jessy Vee

          New/tried on once or twice for fit is probably a bit different to ‘wore for a season and now I’m making room’… lol

    • Dave

      2b. Buy life insurance before a second hand carbon fibre frame.

      • jules

        yes, I’ve seen some 2nd hand carbon frame fail catastrophically the moment someone hands over their money. one minute – fine, the next – bang!!

  • Jessy Vee

    My 2cents.

    Good knicks and a stylin’ kit: If you’re strapped for cash, I don’t believe that you NEED to spend $300 on ‘on-trend’ knicks to get a good pair that will keep your bum comfy. Look for sales (Specialized dealers often offer 50% off at the end of season – $250 knicks down to $125 is ace!) and scour the net for local bargains (local Melbourne favourite Hells500 currenly stocks my FAVOURITE bib knicks for only $150), and peeps like Fondo and Spoxe and even Rapha offer discounts on end of season stuff, but sizing may not be available.

    But definitely try them on if you can. Too big/small may chafe, and you’ll be able to feel the extra density of a high quality chamois.

    Lights: Fyxo’s ‘King Bright makes me happy… Both on the eyes and in the wallet department! (ideal for commuting. Probably not for weight weenies)

    Wheels: Pro-Lite makes a sweet set of light wheels with nice rolling ceramic bearings. I bought the 24mm Bracciano wheelset when I started crit racing, and for my $240 I felt a noticable difference. Good idea if you’re unsure, don’t want to spend too much and still new. Cyclingtips wrote a review on them a while ago.

    Shoes: V, you forgot shoes! I started with a cheaper mountain bike style shoe, then to a midrange (but still heavy-ish) road shoe. Upgrading to light stiff carbon soles hugely improved how much power I was able to push through the pedals. Again, you don’t have to spend $400+. Shimano’s high end “Pro” R321 shoe comes in at $280, with a slightly heavier but just as stiff R171 at $170 if you shop around. There are plenty of other brands available, but try them on first! Too narrow a shoe and you can get uncomfortable hotspots.

    • lowercasev

      I did forget shoes! Sorry… I totally agree… I kind of wanted the article to start a discussion like it has! I agree that you can find some bargains on sale – kit, shoes, socks etc… Its about keeping your eye out. Your 2 cents are greatly appreciated!

  • I’d argue that a value for money upgrade would be spares: spare chains/cassettes/brake pads/derailleur etc. As well as all the items you need for basic maintenance. A spare set of wheels is also useful. These are all items I have have broken/worn out over the time, and going for a few days without is a massive pain in the a$$. They can all be repaired/replaced at home too.

    Also agree on the multiple kits, and quality well-fitting shoes.

    Everyone’s budget is different too – I have just returned to racing and am blown away by the proportion of riders across all grades who race with mid-high end carbon wheels – incredible!

  • Spider

    bike fit then touch points (shoes, seat, shorts, gloves) without these you’ll get injured or won’t enjoy the sport and shorten your riding (or cease all- together).

    Devil’s advocate: Bike fit doesn’t have to a be a $300 job either, just someone who gets you in the ball park – an experienced and trust worthy salesperson is a great start???

    • lowercasev

      Agree with you 100%. Good shorts will make riding over 1 hour so so so much more pleasant!

  • Dave

    Knog products are all made in China, not Australia.

  • kmase48

    1)Saddle, if it’s not a comfortable fit for you you won’t ride 2) shoes, ditto 3) Bibs, don’t have to be expensive but have a good chamois/pad, and then if you have the money upgrade your wheels

  • Peter Boult

    A power meter? How has this even made it on the list, a ridiculous mention for “first upgrades”.

  • bigstu_

    Best upgrades? Surely: 1. A club membership 2. A brief holiday in the hills.

  • John Parncutt

    rarely does one hear “I wish I’d bought the cheaper one”. Buy the best you can afford, or maybe just a bit more than you can afford.

    • lowercasev

      This is a great comment!

  • A training plan or coach – if you’re interested in the biggest performance gains.

    • lowercasev

      Agree! That is why the power meter/power trainer made the list too – I think that if you are looking to transition from a beginner a coach and or power training is a great way to get results! That’s how I did anyway.

  • roklando

    I just wonder whether the idea that “cycling is an expensive sport” is not just something we’ve been slowly conditioned to believe by commercial interests. This basically would mean cycling is elitist, exclusive and unequal, accessible only to those able to pay $2,000 for a wheelset (does anyone really need a $2,000 wheelset?). I find this notion problematic because I like to actually think of cycling as a “cheap” sport for most people – get on the bike, pack a sandwich and go! – yet the arms race of product upgrades seems to imply exactly the contrary, for example now we are all going to have to junk our frames and wheels because disk brakes! Pretty soon I will not be able to find a cassette for my 10 speed. Of course everyone can do what they please with their hard-earned cash. I just find over-commercialization hard to swallow. rant over. sorry.

    • lowercasev

      Opinion noted, my first race bike, a 10 speed, will have the same problem. Better start hauling cassettes! It is only as expensive as you make it, but I did find a huge difference in my overall comfort going from a $2000 bike to a $5000 bike – comfort is priceless. Just my opinion, too.

      • roklando

        Thanks for replying. I completely agree with the comfort issue, my life changed when I finally got a nice carbon frame. And let’s face it we all like to upgrade to the nice stuff, I just think we don’t need to do it as often as SRAM would like us to believe. As for the cassette hoarding, I’ve already started!! :)

  • winkybiker

    Cycling is not a “expensive sport”. Sure it can be, but unlike many other sports, you just do it from your front door. Decent used equipment is ridculously cheap. Try selling something if you don’t believe me! At cycling most basic form, there are no membership fees, driving to events, entry fees etc. The only mainstream sport that is cheaper is running; but if you use cycling for transport as well as just recreation, it actually starts to pay you back, making it effectively cheaper than even that. It also has the potential to get you out of the gym. But if you wish to compete, or participate in organised aspects then costs will obviously be higher.

    Having said that, some good advice in the article. As another poster said, the power meter advice seems a little out of place as a “first upgrade”.

    As Eddy says..”Ride up grades, don’t buy upgrades”.

  • velocite

    It would be fascinating to know how many people are reading this who think they need the advice, rather than want to add to it? I’ll refrain from adding my opinions – except on one thing which has got nothing to do with bikes. You are definitely not alone, Verita, in using the word ‘exponentially’ as though it means ‘a lot’. There are even vocab web sites that say it means ‘rapid growth’, but it doesn’t mean that either. It does refer to growth, technically to a growth curve defined in terms or an exponent, but you can just think of it like compound interest: but the rate might be very small.

    Drives me crazy!

  • Dom

    ‘once you put them on, you won’t want to ride your old training wheels.’ Truer words have never been spoken.

  • Jelena Jelic

    A good bike fitter will also help you with the insoles! People are still not aware how the insoles are important for rider’s performance.

    • A

      Or other people are still not aware how the insoles are not important for most rider’s performance.

  • Michael

    Knog lights aren’t made in Melbourne!!!!

  • Adrian

    Bike fit, knicks, shoes and saddle… that’s it… get the fit and contact points right. These are things that are really important things when you’re getting started. The rest is mostly vanity. Regarding wheels, it worth pointing out that the two recommended wheelsets are proprietary wheels which are not that durable or repairable (basically disposable). Sure they’re light but if you have a minor prang they’ll end up in the bin. If you’re going to really upgrade wheels, its far better get a set of custom wheels that will suite your riding and are repairable. Good hubs can always be rebuilt onto new rims. This is a genuine upgrade that is worth getting.


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