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Home » Cycling » The Quote is “Don’t Buy Upgrades, Ride Up Grades”. I prefer a little bit of Both…

The Quote is “Don’t Buy Upgrades, Ride Up Grades”. I prefer a little bit of Both…


May 2018

My cycling buddy, Mike, who also happens to own a Trek 5200, is in the middle of a dilemma; he’s worn out his chainrings (I think he’s gotten 75,000 miles out of them so it’s about time). Unfortunately, they don’t make those chainrings any longer so he’s going to have to get a new crank. He wants a lightweight one, of course, so it’s going to cost him in the neighborhood of $400-$500 if memory serves… Oh, and he’s upgrading to 10sp triple in lieu of his original 9…

Now, that leads me to an interesting problem of my own – but keep in mind, my problems tend to be pretty good as problems go. Eventually I’m going to have to replace my chainrings as well, they’re getting a little long in the tooth, if you know what I mean.

Another friend of mine, whilst we were riding last Monday morning, asked if anyone was interested in his Ultegra 10sp. groupset because he’d upgraded to 11sp.. I jumped on the set. I’ve already installed the Ultegra derailleurs (they’re butter compared to 105) on the Venge and I’ll put the 105 set from the Venge onto the Trek, and put on a decent compact crank on that. I’m going to break with the triple, though. I’ve loved it dearly but I’m going with a compact double (50/34) instead. The triple is just a touch too finicky for my liking and the doubles are simply too easy to work with.

And the best part is, I saved the original crank that came on the Venge. With a little work, I’m told it can be made to fit the Trek.

I’m going to get away with only having to buy a used Ulregra groupset and a couple of chain rings, and I’ll get an upgraded, lighter transmission for the Venge (I anticipate dropping another half-pound between shifters and derailleurs, meaning the Venge will weigh 15.4 or 15.5 pounds) and a new compact double ten speed transmission for the Trek, and both road bikes will have matching transmissions so wheels will then be swappable in seconds (which will also drop weight going from a triple to a double and then updating the components by 14 years). That’s a straight up winner, folks.

Better, after all of that’s done, my Ultegra 9sp. triple hardware from the Trek is going to go on my wife’s gravel bike.

So, to the suggestion that one should ride up grades rather than buy them, to get faster, I agree wholeheartedly.  On the other hand, I’ll take an upgrade every now and again.  They’re good for the soul.  ‘Er somethin’.


  1. joliesattic says:

    My hubby sells many out of stock bike parts on eBay. Your friend might want to check that out at some point. I don’t know if he’d happen to have what he needs right now, but he can always check there. Right now, his stock is a bit low as his sources in California are not nearly what they were when we were in Colorado and Alabama.

  2. Can you still use your S-WORKS crank arms?

    • bgddyjim says:

      There’s a funny story with that. The S-Works crank is absolutely staying. I wouldn’t do anything that would require dumping it – that’s the best money I’ve ever spent on a piece of cycling kit. It performs perfectly and after what I’ve seen from other cranks (FSA and Praxis), I wouldn’t want to take any chances.

      Now, when I upgraded the crank, the shop had to install metal cups and pitch the plastic ones… The metal cups required an intensely strong epoxy… that the shop mechanic accidentally got on the threads of the crank. The only way that crank is coming off is if the shop drills it and buys me a new crank.

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