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Old 09-06-07, 11:55 AM   #1
I922sParkCir
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Just Bought a Used 1999 Trek 520 With Some Problems

I just bought a used 1999 Trek 520 Touring Bike and I'm noticing very weak braking, and the front derailleur is either shifting to first and second or to second and third depending on how I adjust it. I don't know if it is broken or if it is the cable or housing.

Also, on every right stride, I hear a sqeaking noise from the cranks.

I don't know much about bikes so I'm hesitant to fix it myself. I really want to be able to though.

My LBS quoted me around $140 to do their "Peak Performance Tune-Up", should I go for that, or try to do it myself.

I'm a college student without a car and a 17 mile ride to school, it is important for my bike to be in good shape.

So should I be overcharged or risk fixing it myself.

P.S. Can any one recomend any good books for someone in my condition.
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Old 09-06-07, 01:16 PM   #2
Sheldon Brown
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I just bought a used 1999 Trek 520 Touring Bike and I'm noticing very weak braking,
See: http://sheldonbrown.com/canti-trad.html

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and the front derailleur is either shifting to first and second or to second and third depending on how I adjust it. I don't know if it is broken or if it is the cable or housing.
See: http://sheldonbrown.com/derailer-adjustment

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Also, on every right stride, I hear a sqeaking noise from the cranks.
See: http://sheldonbrown.com/creaks

Sheldon "User Serviceable" Brown
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Old 09-06-07, 04:36 PM   #3
BikingGrad80
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The 520 uses V-brakes with diacompe 287-V levers instead of canti's. My guess your weak braking is due to
1. oily residue on wheel rim and pads. clean with simple green followed by water
2. cable too slack and thus brakes to far from rim while not engaged.
3. pads are bad, hardened with age, worn out, or improperly positioned and not hitting the rim ideally.

go here
http://sheldonbrown.com/canti-direct.html
or here
http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=21
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Old 09-06-07, 07:22 PM   #4
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Since you NEED the bike now and your safety depends on it, take it to the LBS and have them do the job properly. Right now you don't have the time or knowledge to tackle it's problems and do the job right.

Once the bike is operating well, study a couple of good repair manuals and web sites such as Park Tools and Sheldon Brown's. By the time the bike needs significant further attention you should have the background to begin doing the jobs yourself.
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Old 09-06-07, 07:47 PM   #5
Michel Gagnon
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I'm assuming here the bike is configured as it was in the store: with 287-V brake levers and bar end shilfters.

About the brakes.
When you depress the brake lever and then release it, does the brake opens very quickly or does it opens like it were stuck with molasses?
Did you or the former owner readjust the position of the brake levers?

If you answer yes to either of these questions, it's most likely that the cable housing isn't properly aligned at the point in enters in the 287-V lever. I would suggest that you unwrap the handlebars (at least the top part), untape the brake cable housing and work the brakes a few times while the cable housing isn't attached to the handlebars. Then find the proper routing (near the brake lever) that allows the levers to work most effortlessly and tape the housing at that place with electrical tape. Retry the brakes to make sure everything is good and if so, apply handlebar tape.

About the derailleur
Check on Park Tools website. It should be fairly easy to make it work correctly. As you have bar-end shifters, there is no front indexing or trimming to adjust.
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Old 09-06-07, 07:51 PM   #6
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Careful on the LBS--make sure to get an estimate on time. If you need this bike, then I would make sure that they don't wind up with it for a week--or two. Just make sure your need is well explained; perhaps ask if they can do the work while you wait.
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Old 09-07-07, 12:21 AM   #7
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$140 is a fair price for the amount of labor involved in a major overhaul. You will be surprised how good the bike is when a good mechanic completes the work. The Wrench will probably find things that need to be replaced like cables, ball bearings, cones, brake pads, etc, especially if the last owner didn't take care of the bike. I some times hang out at a good local LBS and watch how even new bikes not well cared for are destroyed by abuse. Ask if there is normal expected replacement of parts included in the Major Tune and what parts you will be expected to cover.
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Old 09-07-07, 12:26 AM   #8
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Great News. I got a flat, and since I'm very new to biking I didn't have the extra tube or the tools to fix it. Now for the great part, I got a flat right in front of a bike shop. I take it inside, they fix the flat, swap out the cable housing on the breaks and the derailleur and half an hour and $45 later, I have a totally working bike. Thanks for all your help, sugestions and questions.

-Jai
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Old 09-07-07, 06:38 AM   #9
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Now for the great part, I got a flat right in front of a bike shop.
I guess Murphy doesn't always prevail. You just used up your share of good luck for the next several months.

I hope you bought some tire levers, a tube, patch kit and frame pump while you were at the shop. You can't count on being that lucky ever again.
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