Thanks to everyone who commented on my previous post. I’ve narrowed my options down and would really appreciate advice on the more specific ideas I have in mind at this point.

I'm considering making the following upgrades to my 2019 Specialized Allez. I’ve budgeted about $500 (not including LBS install costs). I've listed the current specs first, followed by the set of upgrades. I would appreciate any advice about compatibility issues, alternatives, or costs (or inadvertent downgrades) I may be overlooking.

For context, I need to replace the rear derailleur due to damage and I want to replace the cassette with a narrow-range alternative because it’s pretty much flat everywhere here and I’ve found that I never use the top 2 or 3 largest gears on my current 8-speed 11-32. I don’t think I’ve ever used the 11, either. The other upgrades are for performance and safety.

So, here goes.

Current specs

Brifters: R2000 Claris

Front/Rear Derailleur: Claris

Crankset: R7000 105 with 52/36T rings

Cassette: SunRace 8-speed 11-32

Chain: KMC X8 w/ Missing Link™, 8-speed

Brakes: Tektro, alloy, dual-pivot

Wheels: Axis Sport

Tires: Espoir Sport, 60 TPI, wire bead, double BlackBelt protection, 700x25mm

Additional specs about the frame, etc. are listed here: https://99spokes.com/bikes/specialized/2019/allez

The only difference from the specs listed at that link is that the bottom bracket has been swapped for a SM-BBR60 round bracket.


Rear Derailleur: Replacement Claris RD, plus a new shifter cable ($32)

Cassette: SRAM PG-850 8-speed 12-23T ($30)

Chain: SRAM PC-870 Chain 8-speed ($18)

Wheels: Campagnolo Calima (cheapest I’ve found is ~$180)

Tires: Continental Grand Prix 5000 (~$105 with tubes)

Brakes: R7000 105 Dual-Pivot Caliper Set ($92)

Total Cost: $457 (on a ~$500 budget)

I'm leaning toward making these upgrades because selling my bike would probably net me at most $500, which would leave me with a budget of about $1k.

Accounting for the above upgrades to my Allez, could I buy a much better new (not used) bike at the $1k price point? Or would making these upgrades be the better option? I'm leaning toward upgrading, but please let me know if there are better new bikes at the ~$1k price point that I’m overlooking.

Upgrading to 4700 Tiagra 10-speed would cost about $260 more, which I could save for, but I don’t know that it would be worth it. I’d also appreciate any advice on this point.


  • 1
    What is the actual question? Please note that this is not a forum for free flowing discussions or shopping advise. Have a look at the tour.
    – gschenk
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 12:20
  • For discussion and opinions you may come to chat though: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/214/the-velodrome
    – gschenk
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 12:22
  • 3
    Full answers already cover the most parts, but I'd recommend trying replacing brake pads before replacing the entire brakes. Original Tektro pads aren't that good and rubber degrades over time, so new Kool Stop, Swisstop or even most no-brand pads would be an upgrade.
    – ojs
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 12:31
  • And if brakes are still not good, replace cables with quality ones.
    – mattnz
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 19:12
  • @ojs Thank you for recommending alternatives for brake pads. The Tektro brakes have served well enough and I was vacillating over whether to replace them altogether. I'll probably skip the 105 caliper upgrade and just get new pads. If issues persist, I'll look at replacing cables as mattnz has suggested. Thanks to you both!
    – startover
    Commented Nov 11, 2020 at 0:35

2 Answers 2


$1K USD new would get you in the range of 9 speed Sora with a low to mid-range aluminum frame, so it wouldn’t be too bad of an option either. In the used market, you could likely get 105 11 speed mechanical on a mid-high end aluminum frame.

Those Campagnolo wheels appear to come with the campy freehub body, so you’ll need to factor in the cost of a conversion to HG for Shimano cassette compatibility.

If you’re happy with the 8 speed setup, go for it. If you want to go to Tiagra, then just buy a new or used bike with the additional budget. Having a shop install an entire groupset will get expensive quick. Speaking of which, how much of this work would you be willing/capable of doing yourself? Your own time and/or LBS expenses need to be factored in too.

  • 1
    @startagain I have the same cassette as you on my commuter and the jumps are ridiculous. The 12-23 is a good idea. Even if you don't think you'll win, you still want to compete as hard as you can. You never know, and you can certainly improve your field ranking!
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 4:21
  • 2
    @startagain The new cassette and GP5000s will make the biggest immediate difference. Maybe start with those - you can resell the cassette later, and keep the GP5000s for the new bike if you do decide to go that route.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 4:26
  • 1
    Thank you. I was entertaining doubts about my impression of the 11-32 8-speed. I may not win many races on this bike with a 12-23, but at least I'll have fewer excuses. That means more incentive to keep at it. And I'll probably beat some of my Strava PRs. That's always fun. Thanks for the encouragement there.
    – startover
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 5:13
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    @startagain You are very welcome! At this pricepoint, almost all wheels will be the same (save for some really bad value-for money brands). Brand or model doesn’t really matter here, just find the best deal you can with the dimensions you want.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 5:42
  • 1
    Great! I'll probably opt for the Calima set then, in part because they're offered with the HG/shimano compatible variant. I'll double-check that they'rw compatible, though. Thanks again!
    – startover
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 5:55

I don’t think the wheel set will be much of an upgrade. I see them for 141€ in Germany and they are quite heavy at 1826g. They also don’t look like they make up for the weight with better aerodynamics. Edit: Something like the Vision Team 35 Comp SL or Fulcrum Quattro LG would probably be an upgrade, especially since they are more aero which should benefit you on a flat course.

Is it really that flat and windless in your area? 52/36T chainrings and the 12–23t cassette only give you a speed range of about 16km/h to 56km/h: https://www.ritzelrechner.de/?GR=DERS&KB=36,52&RZ=12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23&UF=2135&TF=90&SL=2.6&UN=KMH&DV=speed

That’s something even pros would only use on a flat course.

Are the existing brakes really that bad? Does the cable glide smoothly? If not, maybe you only need new cables+cable housing (and maybe some good brake pads, at least on the front brake).

You might not need a new chain if your existing one has very little wear.

I’d invest the remaining money into some good bicycling clothes, if you don’t have them already.

  • I'm not a pro but I'm still using 12-23 cassette with 52/39 crankset. It gives me speed range from balancing on spot to 70 km/h.
    – ojs
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 10:16
  • 1
    @ojs: I weigh 66kg, when going uphill on normal normal roads even with a 34 chainring and a 11–32 cassette I regularly have to go above 220W to maintain more than 80rpm cadence. At least for me that’s too much intensity for an easy training ride. Of course when you live in an area where the highest and steepest ascent is an overpass you might be fine.
    – Michael
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 11:15
  • that sounds like an odd set of constraints. There's no shame having cadence below 80 at power level that low. I think in that situation one could also walk the bike up the hill and take really short steps to maintain cadence.
    – ojs
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 11:55
  • 1
    @ojs: At least I have a hard time doing less than 80 or 75rpm. There is a reason why even pros now often have easier gears (e.g. 38t chainring + 30t cassette) for racing, not to mention for training. But it really depends on terrain. I’m in the alps, I love easy gears and can’t imagine totally flat terrain. My after-work cycling route has 600m of elevation gain over the first 19km with lots of long 7% – 10% grade sections.
    – Michael
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 12:49
  • I have understood that there is a middle ground between Alps and overpass, and most cyclists' legs don't shut down at 75rpm. It's totally okay to write from your personal perspective and be unable to imagine anything different, but it should be declared right at the beginning of the answer.
    – ojs
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 13:58

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