Can We Turn A Cheap Bike Into A Super Bike? Ep. 1

Can We Turn A Cheap Bike Into A Super Bike? Ep. 1


– Following on from our cheap
bike versus super bike videos on GCN I thought to myself,
can I turn a cheap bike into a super bike but within a budget? Now what am I gonna do with this? Well obviously I’m gonna
upgrade the components on it as well as maybe making it
look a little bit cooler too. Now I have set myself a
budget for this of 900 pounds which is about $1,100
roughly, because quite frankly I don’t wanna spend 1,000 pounds. And in true GCN does science,
I will in fact pit this bike up against the super bike both pre and after I’ve pimped it up a bit. Of course we can’t just build
up that bike on a budget and compare it to a super bike. Instead we need to actually
scientifically record the results in order
to see the differences. More on that later though. I’m genuinely really nervous
about standing on pedals. I might have to go for a bit
of a weave across the road. (air rushing) (metal ringing) So for this project I’ve
decided to head over to eBay to try and find this cheap
bike and well, I’ve spent many a late night over
the years scouring eBay for a bargain here and there
so I’m pretty experienced when it comes to knowing what to look for. Now one tip I can really give you is to search out the lazily listed items. So by this I mean things which
include spelling mistakes. One of my favorite
websites for this is called FatFingers.com where
you can type in the word that you’re looking for
and it gives you variations around that spelling so hopefully you can find yourself a bargain. Then another great thing
I do is to save searches so I get an alert whenever a matching item of my saved search is listed. Finally sorted or searching
within a set distance is also a good feature, ’cause many people would prefer to not ship a bike. So you could strike gold
with a bike local to you. Or in the case of a friend,
he even bought a bike in the north of Scotland and
in a relay race sort of method thanks to his circle of friends, it was transported from
various weigh points to him in the southwest of England. In my case, I’m pretty lucky
actually with what I’ve found. I’ve found myself this Trek road bike Lance Armstrong replica for
around about 18 or 19 years ago. Complete with a Shimano 105 groupset. It has had some new wheels
added at some point though. Now I wanted to go for an aluminum bike because with this budget
that I’ve set myself, buying carbon could be quite risky because any damage is not always visible where as with aluminum bikes,
you’re a lot more likely to be able to spot any problems on there. Plus let’s face it, super bikes
can be built from aluminum too because Pete Sagan road one earlier on this year at the Tour Down Under. It’s not all about carbon remember. What is ultra important too is to have good communication with the seller. So in the case of this one here, well I’ve asked loads
and loads of questions as well as the fact that the seller’s got 100% positive feedback, that fills me with quite a bit of confidence. Admittedly this whole
process can be quite daunting and possibly not for the
untrained because buying a bike of this age does come with its risks. The possible seized bottom bracket or seat post for instance, yeah
that can take a bit of time to actually free up from a frame. But well, I think I’m up
for to the job with this so let’s go and get it. (calm music) Alright I’ve made it, about
an hour away from the office so it’s been a nice little drive. I’m a little bit nervous, a
few butterflies in my stomach because it’s new bike day after all and I’m not wholly sure exactly
what I’m gonna be getting. Yes I know that I’ve been
talking with the seller as well as seeing pictures
and asking for more pictures and getting excited, but
this is gonna be the basis for the cheap bike being
turned into a super bike. Let’s go and get it. (upbeat music) Johnny. – Hello there.
– Hi, John. – Nice to meet you.
– Nice to meet you, come on in.
– Right let’s see what I’ve bought. (laughing) (upbeat music) Right Johnny here it is, the beauty, the beast that I’ve bought from you and well I’ve had a look around it and it’s in pretty good
neck to be fair, isn’t it? I’m always a little bit,
whenever I buy anything on eBay I’m always a little bit unsure, but well you seem like
a decent guy anyway. (laughing) – No I stitched you up, I stitched you up. No it’s a really good bike, it’s served me well to be honest. So I updated the wheels and
that was a few years back. I put a new chain on it but
I didn’t change the cassette so probably not a done thing. – [John] Yeah I’ll have
to have a look at that. Also you’ve got a split cable down there but I’m not gonna tear
your arm off about that. You sad to see it go? – I am, I’m really sad to see it go. I’ll probably want it back actually. – Yeah when you
– Once you’ve fixed it up. – see what I do to it I
think, well I hope anyway you’re gonna be biting my arm off. Maybe we’ll put it up for
auction then, you can bid on it. – [Johnny] Yeah buy it back. – Right well I won’t take
any more of your time. But do keep an eye out on the channel because I reckon you’re gonna see this turned in to a super bike
and well, you’re gonna be super jealous at the end
but thank you so much for taking some time off of work – Yeah absolutely.
– to let me come up here and visit you. Alright a big thanks
to Johnny for making us feel so welcome up here. Let’s look at the bike then. Well first up a Trek aluminum
frame we’ve fought with. What I really like about it
is the fact that it’s got a horizontal top tube on there. It’s a real classic looking bike, controversial though possibly that bit. Full Shimano 105 groupset. Again this groupset is from
around about the year 2000 up until 2003 from memory,
it’s quite a long time ago now. Now the only parts of the
bike which are non-standard I think are probably the
saddle, that’s likely to have been an upgrade
and also the wheels. These are some newer
Shimano wheels on there and also the brake calipers,
they’re Shimano Tiagra. Now the bike itself, it
will need probably about five minutes actually in the
work stand just to make sure the gears and brakes are
working absolutely fine before we do the first part
of the comparison test. But all in all, I think I’ve got myself a really nice bike here. Headset, that’s in good condition, that’s a diacompe AheadSet, it’s a beautiful looking bit of kit still. Bottom bracket, really
small amount of play. Again in the work stand I might be able to sort that out, who knows. Interestingly, a 53/39 chain set on there, because well compact chain sets were just merely a pipe dream. But all in all, I’m impressed with it. So from the first five minutes, I can just tell already this
is an absolutely great bike and it’s more than up to the job. But we’re not gonna leave it there are we. Oh no, no, no. All the parts on it are
actually gonna be replaced but before I do that,
well I’m gonna have to take this back to the gang
to show them in the office because one of them is
gonna have to ride it so we can get a marker time
so that when we compare it to it in a few weeks time, we can see exactly the progress. I wonder what they’ll think of it when I take this in to the office. Something though they will be happy about is the fact that the bike
computer, Johnny told me it didn’t work, I moved
the sensor and now it does. Three, oh 9.3 miles an
hour, 13 degrees Celsius. (calm music) Now I hope you’ve just
said goodbye to that bike because that is the last time you’re ever gonna see
it looking like that. There’s a little hint for you
in what’s coming up next week. So stay tuned for that
makeover and as ever, remember to like and share
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