Get New Bike or Upgrade?

Hi, friends. I have had my road bike since 2014 when I bought it new. It’s a 2014 Specialized Tarmac SL4 Sport (Tarmac SL4 Sport | It’s been a trusty and reliable steed, and I have not made any changes to it except to add better tires and new handlebar tape. As you’ll see if you look at the specs, it has pretty basic components, including a mix of Tiagra and 105.

I have previously considered upgrading it, but people generally say that it’s not worth it, and you should just buy a new bike. My question is this: would it really be crazy to upgrade a couple key aspects of the bike, such as buying deep carbon wheels designed for rim brakes (HUNT 50 Carbon Wide Aero Wheelset – Hunt Bike Wheels US), adding carbon handlebars, etc.?

I appreciate everyone’s opinion.

For me it depends how much you like your current frame and your budget. Your budget may only stretch to a good wheel set and that wouldn’t get you a good replacement in that case IMO it isnt crazy. I added deep sections to my 2012 Kinesis Ti for circa the hunts in circa 2014, but I couldn’t have afforded to replace the frame at that time. Lol, at 40,000 miles on the clock it was replaced in 2018 and the deep sections were transferred to my TT bike a couple of years before but IMO the use/enjoyment I got out of them certainly wasn’t crazy.

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I’m mulling over a similar issue myself. I have a 2014 S3 which I’ve upgraded everything except the frame at this point.

It depends how much you value features that are intrinsic to the frame. ie are you going to want disc brakes or the ability to run wider tires now or in the future.

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Depends on the budget and wacht the key items are you want in the next setup (for some it’s deep rims, for others it’s electronic shifting, and others might really want disc brakes. If it’s all of the above, you need a new bike, if it’s only one, upgrading is fine.

Remember, if you don’t make a living on race results, it’s all marginal gains for nothing ;).
But if you have money to spare, it’ just how much you are willing to spend on your “hobby”

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Bike tech has evolved substantially over the last 8 years…disc brakes, wide rims, better shifting, etc.

This is a no brainer, IMO…If your budget allows it, get the new bike.


I went through this same thing this past spring. My bike was a bit older as a 2008 and full ultegra, but with mid to low end wheels. It ended up being a no brainer to buy a new bike instead of upgrades. I like my old frame and would have upgraded it if it made sense - but for the $$ it was better to put it towards a new bike. My old one sits on the trainer now.

This is a huge benefit too!! Anything to make training easier, i.e. not having to move bikes, is really a plus.


Or option 3 and keep an eye on the used market and pickup a bike from someone that bought high end during the pandemic that no longer wants to ride it. They’ll ask too much, you’ll low ball, and if you’re luck meet up somewhere in the middle.

Maybe split the difference and upgrade to a 2020 SL6 rim brake version of the tarmac. You might even get some decent wheels. In my opinion, the rim brake vs disc isn’t worth the fuss. I got a deal on an amazing SL6 that I added the aero fly bars to. I really like my bike, but sometimes wish it was rim brake. I have a really nice trek speed concept tri bike that’s rim brake and I will never upgrade that unless it breaks…and I’ll probably just get another one.

I have HED Jet black rims that are machines to help braking, it makes a noticeable difference. Check them out. You can get some deals on eBay, mybikeshop or slowtwitch (Tri site).

Good luck!

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are the upgrades going to fix whatever you hope to change? Would really suck to spend the money on new parts, only to realize it didnt refresh the bike as much as you hoped, only to spend the money again on a new bike. Buy nice, cry once!

105/tiagra stuff from 10 years ago will never feel like even modern 105, no matter how much you dress it up. I had a Dura Ace bike from around that era and modern 105 felt leagues better than the best I ever had that set up. My vote is youve gotten 8 strong years outa that. Stop dumping money into it and start fresh!