GCN’s Cheap Bike To Super Bike Upgrade Challenge – The Finished Bicycle!

GCN’s Cheap Bike To Super Bike Upgrade Challenge – The Finished Bicycle!

– The moment you’ve all been waiting for. The GCN Cheap Bike, which I’ve
gradually been transforming into something which
hopefully is going to resemble a Super Bike in terms of performance. But hey, I’ve got Chris Opie
to do that tough work for me. But many of you will remember how this bike started its life. It began as a Trek road bike that I bought off of eBay for 260 pounds, that was simply advertised
as a Lance Armstrong replica. Let’s have a close look
at what I’ve done to it. (snappy upbeat music) Let’s start with the frame then, shall we? Well it’s an aluminium frame
and it’s size 57 centimeters. The original paintwork and
loads of you will remember, it was that United States Postal Service, just like what Lance rode
back in the early 2000s. Well that just had to go didn’t it? We wanted to change it. So I asked some of my fellow presenters, how shall I paint it? And they told me. So I decided to do that, and well, I was waiting for that
phone call from Oliver. – What is the last paint job
that the viewers, or anyone, is gonna expect you to put on a bike? Whatever that is, do that. – So that’s how it ended up in this, well, rather resplendent
looking Celestial colorway. So I decided to do that, and thanks to the folks at spray.bike who sent me some cans of spray paint. And well the results, I have to admit I’m pretty
pleased with it to be honest. If I had more time I definitely would have
sanded it down more and more, just to get it ultra smooth. But well, for the money,
seven pounds 99 per can, it’s certainly not bad. Then came the decals, as well as a final coat
of lacquer on there, and to be honest, I’m impressed. Let’s talk about the cockpit then. Well, I opted for the Deda Zero Seatpost, stem, and handlebars, purely
’cause I thought the black would really look great
against the Celestial colorway. And I’m sure you agree, I’m
not wrong with that am I? So seatpost, that’s a
size 27.2 millimeter, and the stem, that’s 120
millimeters in length. Bars, 42 centimeters
wide, and as you can see, they’re kind of a
semi-compact style design, so they’re pretty shallow there, so when Chris is up battling his PB, he won’t be giving himself a sore back. Now, the eagle-eyed of you at this point will probably notice that
in one of my previous videos I mentioned about the barrel
adjuster here on the down tube, and the thread in it was,
well virtually non-existent. So whilst building it
up, I thought to myself, I’m gonna have that wound all the way in, so I don’t risk pulling it out whatsoever, and then fit an inline
barrel adjuster here on the front derailleur cable. So that just went on nice and easy, and it’s gonna give me just
that bit of fine tuning there for the front derailleur,
should I need it. Whilst we’re at the front end, let’s talk about the shifters. Shimano 105 5800, and they
are so light in their action compared to the originals
that were on there. You’ll remember as well, they have the old external
cables poking out of there, the Flight Deck buttons and all that. None of that anymore, it’s
all hidden away nicely. And then finally the bars, well they’re wrapped off in
some LifeLine handlebar tape. I do like it, it’s got a
slight silicone feel to it so it’s nice and grippy there too. Right, let’s move on to the wheels then. We’ve got a pair of Vision Team 30s, and I’m sure you’ll agree
they look fantastic. And loads of people in the office, when I wheeled this bike through, actually asked me what they
were and how much they cost, and simply couldn’t believe it. That’s how impressed they were. They come with seal bearings, we’ve also got bladed spokes here too, and importantly, external nipples. Because if you were to
have to true them up, well you don’t have to take off your rim tape, your
tires and all that jazz. So it’s super impressive to get that for such a bargain price. Tires, we’ve got a pair
of Continental GP 4000s, in a 25 millimeter width. A certain upgrade over
those old Michelin ones that were on there that
came in a 23 millimeter. They would definitely be a
pair of bone shaker tires if I had to ride that bike. And then actually, one of the
components on the wheel set is one of the only bits
which I managed to salvage on this bike from the original one. And that is the inner tubes. They were all in great condition, so I was happy to be able to reuse those. Oh, and I got the Vision
skewers included too. All right, let’s talk
about the groupset then. Because I managed to get
this as a complete item, but there was a few changes
from the full 105 groupset which I initially thought
I was gonna be getting. So whilst the brakes
were a slight downgrade from the 105 5800, I did get a pair of Shimano R561 calipers. So similar really to the original bike that came with a full 105 groupset, yet the brakes on there were Tiagra. So it’s a pretty similar
comparison to make. And that rear derailleur, as you can see, is standard short-cage rear mech. It does manage to accommodate, though, that 11 to 28 cassette there on the rear. Then the chainset, I’ve opted for 170
millimeter length cranks and a 53/39 chainring combination. The reason being that’s exactly the same as what came on the original bike, so I thought, well let’s
replace like for like, or as close as possible. Now something else that was different from the original 5800 groupset was actually this front derailleur. So it’s an Ultegra 6800 Braze-On one. Now the shop, when I bought it from them, they just didn’t have the 5800, so they upgraded that one for me. And I think that’s good because it’s a nice
light-action front derailleur. Admittedly, you don’t use
the front mech that often. But when you do, you wanna
make sure it’s nice and easy and there’s no strain there whatsoever. Then also the bottom bracket,
that was exactly the same too. They managed to upgrade that from the 105 to the Ultegra version. And it is also that
newer Hollowtech style. So you remember the original one that had the Octalink chainset on there, those bottom brackets weighed an awful lot compared to the actual overall weight of the chainset and bottom
bracket on this bike, because you’re using a hollow spindle, and it’s a much more slimline affair. Particularly, the fact that
the actual external cups there are almost the same diameter
as the bottom bracket shell. Something which I’m a big fan of compared to the original
Hollowtech bottom brackets that were released. Now the chain itself, that’s
not Shimano 105 either. Instead, it’s a KMC 11EL model. That stands for extra-light because it’s got
considerable weight savings, so it only weighs about 245 grams. And they’ve come to save some weight thanks to the slotted-out sides here on the links of each individual piece. Right, but what actually remains then from the original bike? Well, other than the frame and the forks, we’ve got the seat clamp
here, which was a BBB one. Well let’s believe it
was an aftermarket one when I bought the bike from Johnny. And also the headset here. Luckily those bearings
were in perfect condition. Now the bike, it has
been set up for Mr. Opie, but I’m sure he will
fiddle around with this. But don’t worry, I’m gonna change these silver headset
spacers to some black ones which I’ve got kicking about at home. Because it uses an old one
inch diameter steerer here, I didn’t have any in the
workshop at the GCN offices to actually fit on the bike. So I’m gonna have to go back to my own personal stash, aren’t I? Then I’ve got the GCN
headset top cap cover there, just to finish it off and look nice. And fitted on to the seat
post we’ve got a Fizik Arione, and it’s got the carbon braided rails so we’re saving a little
bit of weight there, but not sacrificing comfort whatsoever. It’s my favorite saddle, that. And the weight of the bike,
it’s coming in at 9.02 kilos. The original bike, that
weighed in at 9.85. Pretty good weight saving. Oh, you didn’t think
I was gonna let you go without hearing the freehub did you? Let’s have a listen. (wheel clicking softly) Ahh nice, that’s quite old school. There we are, the GCN Cheap Bike. Let me know what you think of it, down there in the comment section below. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed
building this bike up. So much, I want to do another series. So let me know what you’d like
to see me build or restore, down there in the comment section below. Don’t forget too, to like and share this
video with your friends. Give it a big old thumbs-up. And also, why not check out how it got on since it’s been pimped up, just down here. And for the complete series of this bike and the transformation,
click just down here.


  1. Have you been inspired to try a project of your own? Head on over to our Facebook group at https://gcntech.co/FBUpgradesGroup to share yours!

  2. Great series! Thanks, Jon and team. Only a "Nice!", though. The stack of spacers has to go: it makes this cheetah look like giraffe. 😉

  3. So… how cheap did it all come to? Funny you skipped the original striped paint debacle. What happened there?

  4. There's no real story here, just an old re-sprayed frame with new parts and no idea of cost. making the most of original parts and a limited budget would have been more interesting and relevant.

  5. These have been my favourite videos from GCN for a while – would love to see a gravel bike built up on a budget! 👍🚵🏻‍♀️

  6. Nice! I have a similar old Trek frame in original colors but terrible paint, I may get energetic and respray but for now I am riding it.

  7. How about a late 90’s early 2000’s classic steel frame (Merckx, DeRosa, Pinarello) with a modern groupset & Wheels?

  8. Super fun series! Would've loved a reminder on total costs at the end, as well as a road test on how it felt before and after. And even what the bike would be worth now with all the changes compared to what it was when purchased. For next time, get one of those old department store road bikes with super wide tire clearances transformed into a bikepacking/gravel rig. Maybe get crazy and change tires from 700 to 650b.

  9. I'm sure you could've gotten it sub 9Kg if you had stripped off that first awesome paintjob instead of spraying over it 😛

  10. The issue being that what you've spent on this in total could have got you a better new bike or much better used bike.
    While it looks a million miles better, the ride of it will not be so much better than it was because the frame being the same & a basic alloy one at that.
    The frame is the heart of how a bike performs, then wheels, then components.


  11. Remake something made from steel or a nishiki, bianchi, Peugeot and experiment welding hydraulic disc breaks, the largest tyres that can possibly fit and a 1×13 mtb groupset. It would be so cool

  12. Suggestion for next project: re-build a classic steel pro bicycle from old spare parts and used stuff you find on ebay. I would love to see Jon mount a Campagnolo 50th anniversary gruppo and give it some serious drillium. After completion, it'd be great to see Matt ride an Eroica on the bike as a guest appearance.

  13. Jon,
    Would love to see you build up my 2008 Specialized Tarmac Elite. Full carbon – non-aero frame – rim brakes.
    Personally I wonder if my $750ish used bike with some updates would compete against the new tarmac non-disc. I think it’s sad walking in a bike shop and thinking people are turned off by all the bikes over $4,000. Old bikes can make you smile the same.

  14. I might be late here, But you should do a build-up of an older school Steel bike, and maybe compare that to a modern one

  15. The moment a component labeled Ultegra was put on the bike, it stopped being a cheap bike. Even 105 groupset bikes are rather expensive.

  16. Jon,,, your ideas is what keeps this channel going. Great work, would love to see reynolds and /or columbus tubbing open up to fit a campy 11 speed. my 1972 steel Derosa got upgraded to campy 11 speed ,, and at my 60th birthday thats all i need.
    No carbon,,, just enjoy the ride

  17. Excellent job Jon!

    Suggestion for new series is; "from scrap to beauty" or something like that. Ask people to send in pictures of cycles that just trowed away in nature, pick one and fix it up. A proper form of recycling!

  18. #GCNTech #Cheapbiketosuperbike Awesome series, what about converting a Hybrid flat bar 700c commuter bike to either a tourer or gravel bike on an eBay/gumtree style budget?

  19. i have been inspired so i build a road bike with 780mm handle bar and a shimano tourney groupset and mountain peak disk brakes with 2 pc lasco 53,38 tt

  20. Soooooo…….. 800g saved. What's the performance dividend Jon? All those parts changed is just cosmetic unless there is a quantified performance gain.

  21. Jon, what about going through a dream bike build? Start to finish custom, hand built bike. Selecting builder, frame materials, geometry, and components I think could make an interesting series!

  22. for the next project, how about getting an old bike and converting it to single speed would be interesting to know what frames are suitable / what to look for make it into a cool city bike or maybe even use for a crit?

  23. Hi Jon. As of recently, sometimes (say 10% of the times), when trying to shift to the big ring, the front derailleur (FD-R9100) won't move all the way toward the stem in one go and will only allow a micro shift. Only then, when the micro shift is done and I have released the shifter (ST-R9120) from my hand, will it allow me to move it all the way toward the stem in order to shift to the big ring. I am pretty sure that the derailleur is set up properly. What could be the cause of the problem? Cable is about 9 months old. Thanks in advance for your reply.

  24. Great Job!
    But such paintjobs are sadly often easily destroyed because the paint does not last very good

  25. Next project: What about a real vintage Italian steel classic? Budget limit might be a major question, as well as the time to spend in search of the parts.
    So why not make this the next but one project and continue firstly with the MTB dirty drops/gravel grinder?

  26. Great series! I did something similar with a 2006 Trek carbon bike (eBay $900). It came with an Ultregra groupset, including a hairy old triple crankset, and I changed it out to new Ultegra for about $600 (plus things like carbon bars, pedals, saddle and seatpost for another $200 or so). I love this bike!

  27. Just did something like this with a bikesdirect.com Windsor Wellington 2.0 road bike for 299$ free ship.
    Wanted to do a super budget build so i went with the Windsor because of its cheap price and solid race style Kinesis aluminum frame (really good frame). Put about 250$ maybe slightly more into it. Turned out great. A solid trainer that's tough as nails (and pretty fast) for the rough NY streets/roads…And it's yellow! Lol Way too many drab looking all black bikes out there these days. Spice it up alil people! Hahaha I like the color you chose 👍

  28. this bike looks so good. I do miss the whole US Postal thing but can't deny the amazing upgrade.

    hope to see more upgrade videos, especially some good "best bang for your buck" or see what you can do with a tiny budget.

  29. Let's see if u can build mountain bike old Apollo or religh and make it new that's what my next project will be check my channel am clark77 be more videos soon thanks

  30. you need to do some preparation if you want your paint to actually last more than five minutes. effort required to make paint presentable.

  31. How about pimping out a tandem? You can easily grab a cheap Cannondale and convert it into a nice ride. Good luck finding the right size for bothe the pilot and stoker. This is the part that adds a new level of fun to the project.

  32. When can we see it in action? The only clickable option in the end of the video leads to the playlist with the first 4 videos (this one is not on there btw)

  33. Gcn scared of old bikes I've noticed yea sure the presenters will ride n review them but in disgust and praise new bike think they are forgetting its the vintage bikes is why we are where we are today.

  34. Soo…. what happened? the new and improved (not cheap in the upgrades) bike had a better performance or not?

  35. Like to see a series where start with a 100$ fixie and upgrade it with a 50$ budget per monthly upgrade. Ending with a great bike for under 700$. Great project for ppl on a tight budget.

  36. I'd love to see what you can do with a very cheap gravel bike, like my own B-Twin Triban 100, which is a great choice for modding.

  37. I own a Stevens San Remo from 1999, almost the same frame and equipment. Meanwhile, I have got the Vision Team 30 wheelset and the Fizik Arione saddle, am currently looking for a Shimano 105 R5800 groupset and will repaint the entire frame in Ferrari red.

  38. This video, in combination with the gravel one you're building is giving me inspiration to revive my inherited Giant GSR200 into a gravel. So scared 🙂

  39. Hey Gcn and Gcn tech can i please get that bike cause here in the philippines we use Mtb on road and a want to have a Roadbike but i dont have enough Bugdet

  40. I'd like to see an MTB build! Maybe a really cheap walmart (or equivalent department store in your area) bike at a 200 pound original cost max!!!

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