Tuesday, January 28, 2014


In the course of a year and 3 months, I have managed to upgrade my road bike part by part:

- seat upgrade from stock Selle Italia to a Fizik Antares 00
- wheelset upgrade from stock Fulcrum 7 racing to a Generic Carbon 50mm
- groupset upgrade from Shimano Tiagra to Shimano Ultegra 6800
- and several bar tape changes

The overall cost of the bike, less the money earned from selling the "old" parts, could be almost twice the price I bought for the bike when I first got it. The itch, a.k.a. upgraditis, is so much to blame. Interestingly, upgraditis appears in the urban dictionary (see Urban Dictionary: upgraditis).

Grabbed from bikewar.files.wordpress

It's addictive really, especially for someone as OC as me. I would look at my bike for 5-10 minutes and almost every time I would think that it'll look/perform better if this part or that part is upgraded. Once I get that part replaced, then I would see another part of the bike to upgrade, sometimes just for cosmetic reasons. Thus, an endless cycle ensues.

The peak of my upgraditis may have been late last month, after I got the company bonus. With the money I got, I thought that it was time to either upgrade the bike frame or buy a tri bike for my duathlons. Both options were pricey, right up there in the "how can I spend this much money?!" range. Should I take the tri bike route, I will get it with stock parts and that'll lead to another round of upgrades again. That'll mean more money coming out of my pocket.

I decided to wait and wait further until the itch subsided, and opted to look into getting a coach. I thought that I should upgrade myself first, bike second. A new frame or tri bike will have no effect if the way I train/race remains the same. I feel that this 40-yr old body still has much left in the endurance/speed tank and I just need someone, a coach, to tell me how to do it properly.

In my first meet up with my coach, I asked him if I should get a tri bike. I thought that if he says yes, then that's a good enough reason for me to buy one (and thus scratching my itch to ugprade). He paused for a few seconds and said NO. What he said was like an antibiotic that virtually erased my upgraditis. He simply said that I should just train hard and make it a motivation to beat those in good looking aero/tri bikes during races.

It was like I was doused with cold water. True, I would often get dropped by older looking bikes, just like that 64-yr old cyclist that I encountered in the Valle Verde Loop. His bike could've been used during Eddie Mercxx's or Greg Lemond's hey days, when carbon, Di2, or even aero was still something that was never thought of. The last time I rode along side him (or tried to ride alongside him), he wasn't able to set up his gearing so he rode in one gear combination. He was pacing at probably 110+ cadence as he flew ahead of me...with his old looking bike....again.

I'm not saying that I won't upgrade ever. But I would like to "earn" that next upgrade, be it just a bar tape, my next pair of pedals, or that N+1 "requirement" of having a second/tri bike. Hopefully what I've just started will take me there: an upgrade that I truly deserve to get, not just because I want to.

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