Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Upgraditis: A terminal condition, the main symptom of which presents as the insatiable desire to upgrade. Ex: I have a perfectly functional cross bike, but I really really need that carbon fork, handlebar, etc.

I know it is only spring, but I’m already thinking about how to upgrade my ‘cross bike for the coming season. First off, I need to get some minor frame damage taken care of. Once that is done, I’m thinking about a variety of ways to really pimp out my Kelly. I’d love to hear peoples various perspectives.

My upgrade options look something like this:

1) At the very least I will need to replace my right side STI. This isn’t really an upgrade – it’s more like necessity. Part of the perils of cross racing. In all honesty, It still functions, but barely, and not in a way conducive to racing. I can do one of two things. Replace it with a new 9 Speed STI and call it good, OR replace it with a SRAM Rival setup. PRO: SRAM is PRO. SRAM is also rebuildable. CON: This of course would require new a new front and rear derailleur and a new 10spd cassette.

2) I’m thinking about going single chain ring up front. Because of limitations to my frame (it was designed around mountain bike components), I can only run compact cranks. The problem with, is that the little 34 is a bit low for most ‘cross courses, and I very rarely put it into the big ring (except on those rare courses like Hillsboro). This means that I spin like mad most of the time. Ideally, I’d like to put a bit bigger of a ring up front and call it good. PRO: 1) My cadence would balance out over a majority of courses, I’d lose a bit of weight (single ring), no front derailleur, etc., If I do upgrade to 10spd (item #1 above) I’d only need to by 1 shifter. The left side brake is much cheaper (and lighter) than a true STI. CON: Not quite as versatile on the road. (Currently my ‘cross bike is also my road bike, though, I am thinking/planning on getting a road bike this year as well.

a. OPTION: I could just replace the right side STI (with another Ultegra 9spd Option) and still go single chain ring.

3) Fork: Upgrade the Kelly Steel fork for a carbon one. Unfortunately, my options here are limited as I have a 1 inch steer tube. My choices basically consist of either a Winwood Dusty (828 grams) or a Wound up (682 grams). The price of the Wound Up is cost prohibitive and the Winwood doesn’t really save me that much over my Kelly Fork (861grams), which has been claimed by some as one of the best steel cross forks out there. PRO: Carbon is sexy. CON: My steel fork is pretty sweet as well and not that heavy… Thoughts on this?

4) New bars – Sadly, the bars on my bike are pull offs from my previous bike. I used them along with a stem as a way to save a bit of money (I’ve replaced the stem with a Ritchey WCS). My thought is to upgrade the bars to a Ritchey WCS aluminum version (actually lighter than the carbon and about 1/3 the price). PRO: If I’m going to change the STIs anyway (which will require new bar tape), I might as well go all out and replace the bars at the same time.


erikv said...

How about bars and maybe seatpost. If you want to pimp it out, go campy shifters and run 10spd with a SRAM derailleur. You sure about replacing the fork? I think steel forks are where it's at. Actually, I think steel 'cross bikes are where it's at.

erikv said...

oh and for single ring, just use the outside position, use spacers, and put the guard on outside of that. I did that quite a bit. You might need to use a wider BB spindle to clear the frame. I would recommend dual guards for single ring.

Daniel said...

I'm doubtful that I will replace the fork. There is just not enough bang for the buck as far as weight savings.

I may hit you up on recommendations when the time comes to do the single ring thing.

Patrick said...

Easy solution here.

Keep the Kelly as a B Bike/Single Speed machine.


Do a little more research on SRAM for cross, I'm hearing more nay's then yeas.

Actually for cross components my advice is to stay with whatever the majority of your parts on other bikes are, this way you can make quick fixes when you break something.

Daniel said...

If only I had the $ for a Moots.

Unfortunately my would be Moots money is going into my two kids college education funds.

Good call on the similar parts comment. Though, right now my other bikes are either fixed gear or mountain bikes so it doesn't really apply. I am however planning on getting a road bike soon - which may indeed have a different component mix... I should really think this through.

I like the idea of SRAM as it is rebuildable, but Shimano is definately reliable. Just not so much 9 speed components out there. Maybe my solution is to go single ring with Shimano Ultegra 10.

Jonathan said...

bars: yes
fork: no
single ring: absolutely, no doubt. 42T up front with 12-27 out back will do 99% of what you need for 'cross or recreational road riding (but not road racing).
SRAM vs. Shimano: dunno; let us all know....