Cycle Doc: Racing bike gears

I bought a racing bike for just under £1,000 last year. It has a Shimano 105 groupset and I am thinking of replacing this with Ultegra gears. What do you think?
BJ, Appleby, Westmoreland

A groupset, the collective name given to a bike’s gears, hubs, bottom bracket and headset, is expensive when bought without a bike.

The list price for the Ultegra groupset is £919, although Parker International ( is currently offering it at £690. Unless your components are very worn, you won’t notice that much difference if you upgrade.

Buying better wheels, on the other hand, can have a dramatic effect on the feel and performance of your bike. Parker is offering the Corima Aero+ carbon-fibre wheel for £505; a pair of those could make your bike feel as if it has sprouted wings.

I am trying to find out more about my great-grandfather, who for a time managed a cycle manufacturing company in Coventry. Any idea where I might start?

PA, Andover, Hampshir

You might want to have a look at the International Cycle History Conference. Its proceedings are available to buy, and several of its papers have touched on areas close to your own research (

You could also consult the National Cycle Archive, which is kept by the Cycle Touring and Countryside Trust ( at Warwick University’s Modern Records Centre. It welcomes researchers — but you need to work out what you want to look at from its online catalogue before you arrange a visit.