When chosen correctly, factory complete road bikes are a fantastic option for two kinds of rider. The first are those new to riding yet to discover the benefits of customisation. The second include riders wanting to better their performance. Both rider experience levels widely vary, however the reason behind the buying choice is the same : Trust in a brand to provide a sound frame installed with dependable components to result in good performance. What then compels a rider to alter, adjust, exchange, replace and upgrade parts?
Here we take a look at why choosing your components can give you a better bike and what that means to your original buying decision.
When you're riding steep descents at 60+km, you really want to trust the engineering, expertise and proficiency of your bike manufacturer. You want to depend on a bike with good consistent handling, smooth and appropriate gearing, a supportive comfortable saddle, handlebars that fit your hands both on and off the drops and match your shoulder width, as well as a stem set at the correct length for optimal reach. When any of these things are incorrect or not to standard you likely notice them as time goes by.
While the convenience of buying a complete bike is attractive, it is rare to meet riders who fail to make personal additions to their bikes over years of cycling.
Customising a first bike or a new bike isn't for everyone. Firstly, the price of a factory complete bike is usually the cheaper option. Building a frame with separately sourced and installed components may have additional intallation costs or require specific knowledge and expertise beyond the rider. It also takes additional time.
Time and budget restrictions play a large part in bike buying. Sometimes you can still get the combinations right on a complete bike suitable for your purposes. Other times a sweet deal has negative consequences as it fails to perform in a way that you require, or doesn't hold to your increasing levels as the years pass.
Either way, the idea of changing components, be it a wheel set or a saddle, is done so with the idea to enhance the ride experience. What are the changes most seen within our workshop?
Lets look at the two riders.
John R and the Orbea Orca
first we will take a good look at John R's incredible Orbea Orca. The paintwork was a chosen customisation but the frame geometry and all the components were provided in original factory provision by Orbea.
John R. is a seasoned rider and while he'd had a period of time off the bike due to injury his choice in purchase gave him a fantastic complete bike ideal for his re-entry into cycling.
Not long after his purchase we acquired the latest Deda Elementi handlebar and stem, the Vinci. This is an aero integrated bar and stem completely ridding the bike of external cables. The result was a minimal and sleek finish.
The Orbea Orca with original handlebar and stem
The Orbea Orca with the upgraded Deda Elementi Vinci Integrated bar and Stem
Now, John R. could have continued riding the bike as it was originally purchased from Orbea. But he chose to alter it with a very effective upgrade. As appealing as the new additions were, the change wasn't simply for looks.
A bar and stem may seem a rather unimportant change. But to a rider such as John R it was both important and effective. Firstly, the ergonomic shape of the bar offered more comfort. The shape and wider size of the grip better supported his hands. The reach was shallower, and so access to the drops was more efficient and certainly more sustainable. The Vinci bars were significantly lower in weight and offered an incomparable stiffness. Wider handlebars in carbon notably reduce the road vibrations. Lastly, the integrated stem provides a huge advantage in terms of stiffness. This is important when the ride requires increased power or speed during a sprint or climb.
While Orbea provide a perfectly acceptable handlebar and stem, for a more experienced rider such as John R, an upgrade is an ideal way to better the performance. John R was aware how the bar would enhances particularly personal requirements needed during his rides.
John and his Wilier Cento10NDR
Another change or upgrade made to a rider new to road cycling was a second John. John had several friends who rode. Therefore he was particularly conscious of keeping up. john has a tall frame and required a robust yet high performance bike. We selected a Wilier Cento10NDR.
The Cento10NDR is an incredible frameset and Wilier have impeccable options for many riders. But we needed a wheelset that offered support, safety and comfort that John's size required. From the original build we replaced the wheels for a set of economic DTSwiss E1800 Spline Disc. As DTSwiss advertise, these wheels are "Reliable. Robust. Forward driven".
While John was new to riding he trusted our expertise in selecting a tough wheelset aligned to his riding needs. The wheels needed to be chosen according to his personal performance and comfort goals.
The second change we made to John's Wilier was the saddle. We recognised during the bike fit that John needed a better option. John needed a wider fit and a different shape than the original saddle offered. The SMP Dynamic has a distinct ergonomic shape providing the needed assistance with climbs. The rider can push against the rear of the saddle during climbs and, because it also stabilises the pelvis, his power through the pedal strokes is enhanced.
These changes would rarely be provided by larger department style bike shops because it requires distinct product knowledge and expertise. Drawing on the trust that a client has in our services it is our duty to provide long term fulfilment of a riders individual needs.
While we understand that a complete factory bike is a very efficient time and in some cases money saver, we do appreciate changes that can cater to the our differences. Those differences occur as much by the activities we perform off the bike as on it. The differences accumulate over time, and they should be accounted for during the process of buying a bike.
Ultimately any change made to a Complete Factory bike should be done with compatible parts by reputable Companies. A bike shop must provide expertise when it comes to installing components so that any changes are done professionally, safely and with experience. Chainsmith has customised bikes since its inception 2014. Our aim is to enhance a riders experience on the bike, and out goal is to ensure their unique attributed and riding traits are accounted for. Any changes are done to improve performance and not to simply add appearance value. We work with incredibly skilled manufacturers and brands who are held in esteem throughout the cycling industry.
For further information on how you can enhance performance to your ride with upgrades or alterations, or if you would like to buy a new road bike, we are here to help. Contact one of our Team for any information.