Sunday, 10 January 2010

Specialized Secteur Sport Upgrades

Here's a quick summary of the bits I've upgraded on my bike since buying it, primarily aimed at anyone considering buying the same bike: -
  1. Tyres. Standard tyres that come with the bike are 700x25C. I changed these after about four months and put on 700x23C tyres and felt a noticeable difference in my speed. I'd recommend you do the same, you can spend anywhere between about twenty five quid and fifty quid for a set, depending on what you go for.
  2. Wheels. As standard these comes with Alex rims, which are budget rims for a starter bike. I picked up some Bontrager rims on e-bay for about £120.00 and they roll much better. I'm using them for the spring/summer and the Alex rims for winter.
  3. Pedals. Total no brainer. Buy some clips and cleats, don't stop with the standard pedals. You'll get some starter pedals and half-decent shoes for about £100.00 or less. I was looking on e-bay earlier and a guy was selling new Diadora road bike shoes for about £30 a pair, some basic Look pedals you can get for about twenty quid, so that would have been £50.00 for a basic set-up. Why they don't include some basic clip pedals on bikes nowadays, I don't know.
  4. Brake pads. It's taken me until now to realise that brake blocks are an easily overlooked part of the bike to a newcomer. You get caught in the "brake blocks are brake blocks" aren't they, that is, they're all the same. Answer = no they're not. Invest forty quid or so in some decent brake pads, the standard ones that come on the bike aren't that good. You'll see a noticeable difference in your stop speeds in dry and wet conditions.
  5. Saddle. The saddle that comes as standard is pretty comfortable, however as you build more miles, you'll quickly realise that an upgrade is money well spend. I got a Bontrager saddle on e-bay for about thirty quid and noticed that my ride comfort improved over longer distances. If you're just nipping about on the bike, you'll probably be happy enough with the standard saddle.


  1. A lot of manufactures seem to cut costs in these areas fitting poor tyres and wheels, no pedals and the harshest saddle available.

  2. Hi,
    just bought a Secteur Sport and initial impressions are good.
    Generally agree with your upgrades (peddles are an absolute must) but am intrigued about tyre choice. Living in London the roads are terrible and am more interested in avoiding punctures than out-and-out speed. Are the original tyres OK in this respect or do you have any suggestions for the best line of defence?

  3. Tim,

    Thanks for reading my blog and for your comment. It's down to personal choice really. All the experienced cyclists will slate me for saying that, but when you're new to cycling, you don't think so much about tyres, brake blocks, groupsets so much. You just want the bike to be comfortable!

    Nevertheless, the standard tyres it comes with are 700x25C are OK, particulary if you're riding pothole ridden London streets, I rode them for the first three or four months then I moved to the 700 x 23C to speed up, I felt the tyre change made a noticeable difference.

    Depending on whether or not you've got money to spend on lot's of upgrades, I'm going for a set of Michelin Pro 3 tyres next (about £50 a set on e-bay), you get the toughness and the narrow profile (so best of both).

    Only other tip for you is to get yourself set up right on the bike (saddle height particularly to get the pedalling optimised).

    Keep on cycling!

  4. Nice blog. I've got a standard Secteur as a commute bike, and was intersted to read this. I would have switched tyres and paid the difference at the point of sale (as I did with my previous bike in the early 90s), but wasn't allowed to. Presumably switching rims would have meant a new wheel build, perhaps with a higher spoke tension?
    Anyway, nice blog!

  5. Hey thanks for your blog. I just bought the Specialized Secteur Sport and it definitely does feel better than the ill fitting bike I was using for a month or so to see if I even like cycling. Your comments about the upgrades are helpful and I will keep them in mind as I move forward.

    Thanks again.

  6. Good blog - just out of interest what size are you, Im 6ft2 and tried a trek 1.2 60 the other day. It just seemed huge and think I would prefer a 56 or 58.

    Im used to a brompton so have been v. upright till now. The trend seems to be buy too small, get used to road bike then buy bigger, then get better decide the loss of weight, position with a small bike is preferable and go back to small - thoughts ?

  7. Thanks for the compliment!

    I'm the same size as you. I think 56cm would be too small for you, 58cm should be OK. Frame size depends on your body shape.

    Arm angle on the hoods should be 45 degrees (ish) for a comfortable ride, assuming your seat is adjusted properly so that your knee goes through the pedal spindle with a plumbline.

    You can always adjust the bars to be closer to you by fitting a shorter stem too. If you have long legs (say 34"/35"), the 60cm may be better as it should come with longer crank arms which will help with caence.

    Ultimately, if you feel really stretched out, go for the 58cm. I ride a 58cm on the Spesh and a 59cm on the Dolan for comparison.

  8. Hello mate,
    Really enjoyed reading this section - although I realise I'm a bit out of date with my topic.
    I'm going for the Secteur or Allez as a first road bike from my local Specialized dealer tomorrow (both 2010 versions since I'm trying to save some money), I've never really been in to cycling since I was a kid and am just going to use it for a 6 mile each way commute. Since they're so old, I probably can't test them (unless I buy them), so which would you/others recommend?
    I'm a big unit 6"2" 17ish stone - so that might be a factor. I fancy the look of the 61cm Secteur, but still on the fence.
    Cheers in advance.
    Phil - Plymouth

  9. Hi Phil from Plymouth,

    Both the Secteur and Allez are similar, not much between them really. Personally prefer the graphics on the Allez with the big Specialized logo.

    In terms of sizing, I'm 6'3 and 15 stone, with a 34 inch inside leg. I ride the 58cm frame, which is absolutely spot on. 61cm might be a bit on the large size for you, unless you've got a really long trunk.

    Ideally your arms should be around 45 degrees bent when riding on the hoods, any more than that, you might feel you are stretching too much on a 61cm.

    Get a decent pair of brake pads on it in the shop, standard fit aren't up to much.

    Both are very comfortable to ride, great starter bikes. Just pick the one you like the look best of as ride performance is practially identical.


  10. I have my secteur to thank for a newly developed addiction to cycling. What a great bike. I've upgraded my sport with a 105 comapact 5700 groupset and Aksiums. I would spend all day on it if I could.