we're always tinkering with our bikes, no? what are the best changes you made to your rides that have improved both your race or training performances? i'll go first:
1) a pair of Dugast Typhoons in 32c. maybe it's just placebo but this rubber is so far better than any other tubulars that i've tried (Vittoria Cross Evo XGs, Challenge Grifos) it's not funny. So much so they should actually be illegal.
2) 1cm shorter stem. before the road bike and the cx bike were set up identically for position. but now with the shorter stem it makes a huge difference. no joke what an improvement it has made in being able to stay upright and move the center of gravity back over the rear wheel.
new hoops!!!! my bike had some awful wheels on it, with heavy no-name hubs!!!!I had an old set of mavic kysrium elites on my singlespeed, so i through the front one on my cx bike, and had a real wheel built with dt swiss rr1.1 rims, a miche technology track hub, with 28 bladed radial spokes!!!!! the bike fly's now!!
Yeah, I'd have to agree that wheels make a huge difference. I rode a few races and practices on clinchers, then switched to Grifo tubulars on an old set of wheels I had lying around. Instant performance difference. Better control, more comfortable, lost the fear of the dreaded pinch flat.
1) 34mm Tufo Primus Flexus tubulars with sealant on ultegra/mavic wheels
2) K-edge chain catcher
The common thread between the two upgrades is they keep me riding almost 100% of the time over any terrain and there is very little dicking around with equipment involved. Cross (in CO at least) is just brutal on gear, and for those of us with limited time it is worth the few extra grams to have a rig that will hold up through the entire season. Having to get off and fix a dropped chain or run to the pits with a flat will quickly eliminate any advantage gained from lightweight stuff. I'm going to get a set of the dry conditions tufos for next season. They don't have the suppleness of the challenge or dugast, but from a durability standpoint, they are a magnitude better...
Using my carbon tubular wheels and slapping some Vittoria XG's on them. Bought some used online for cheap just in case I didn't like them. Tires stick to the ground like glue now, and I can worry about other things than my tires slipping around tame corners.
My next upgrade I think will either be some new custom tubular wheels and tires for dry courses, or if I can get one reasonably, a singlespeed cross bike. Nothing like making a drive worthwhile than racing twice each day!