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Old 09-27-08, 05:20 PM   #1
BadKarma62
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Good Parts vs Bad Parts

I'm getting a mid 90's steel MTB and going to convert it to a knock around/expedition bike. This is more aimed at me learning to work on my bikes than anything else, but I still want a decent bike to beat around on.

So, I need advice on what parts to use and what ones to avoid as far as:

Derails. front and rear
Hubs
Cranks and chainrings
Rear sets
Brakes

Big question: How hard is it to convert an older MTB to Disc brakes?

I've got Bicyclings Maintenance Book, but I am very mechanically inclined.
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Old 09-27-08, 05:51 PM   #2
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This is a wide open question but I'll give it a shot anyway.

What to avoid: department store junk basically. Anything Shimano Acera and above will do the job for you. The higher models with work smoother and be lighter, but having a bike with over 10,000 miles on perfectly functioning Acera components, I can't say the reliability of the more expensive stuff can be that much better. You'll also find that it gets quite cost prohibitive to buy the higher level stuff as individual components.

With cranksets, the main things to look for are replaceable chainrings that are ramped and pinned. The ramps and pins make shifting up front a lot smoother and replaceable rings allow you to replace only your most used chainring without having to scrap the whole crankset.

I have seen adapters for adding disc brakes to frames/forks that do not have the required mounts but I can't say that I'd recommend using them. Frames and forks for disc brakes are reinforced at the mounting points and it's just not possible to get that level of reinforcement with a bolt on adapter. So, for the rear of the bike, you are probably out of luck for adding a disc brake. For the front though, you can just replace the front fork with one with disc brake tabs. There are many cheap options available for this. Make sure to get one with the same steerer tube style as your current bike.
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Old 09-27-08, 06:18 PM   #3
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Thanks joe, great post.

Any chance on getting a name list from the Acera up to the "OH MY GOD LOOK AT THAT PRICE" level?

Or it would be killer if there was a website or article with this kind of information.

Thanks
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Old 09-27-08, 06:21 PM   #4
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimano...bike_groupsets

http://sheldonbrown.com/shimano/
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Old 09-27-08, 06:32 PM   #5
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That is a great post Pepper. That helps a ton.

Thank you.

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Old 09-28-08, 12:56 AM   #6
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If you're mechanically inclined, and the bike is intact and sound, you'll probably not need to buy anything for the bike other than consumables (chain, tubes, tires and such). Everything else could probably be simply adjusted, lubed, and used.

I'm sure it's possible to retrofit disc brakes on the bike. But it's probably a headache and waste of money. The cantilever or V brakes on the bike will work just as well.
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Old 09-28-08, 06:32 AM   #7
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+1 Get a bike with decent components to start. Yesterday I picked up a 97 Kona, with Shimano Deore DX rear derailleur, for $5. The chain and cassette are pretty rusty, and it will need new cables and tubes, but it will be a good rider with some reasonable work. You can spend quite a bit on components, its better to get a bike that already has decent components to start.

+1 Disc brakes would be a waste of money for a learning to wrench, knockaround bike.

I have two knockaround bikes I keep as riders: one is a older steel Trek 950, bought off of C/L for $75, and came with Deore LX and DX components. The other is a Schwinn Crisscross with Suntour components, picked up at a garage sale for $10.

Just get a decent brand, with a cromoly frame, and you will be set. I picked up three of them this week at various thrift stores: a Trek, a Giant and the Kona. The most I paid was $45, and that bike was in ready to ride (or sell) condition.
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Old 09-28-08, 08:22 AM   #8
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Finding a bike on C/L or in a thrift store, my size, is almost like playing the lottery. I'm 6'4". But I keep looking. I'll pretty much take what I can get in my size, but the real focus is the wrench learning. I may not replace componants, but I'll remove inspect lube and return everything to learn and make sure all parts are ready to go.
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Old 09-28-08, 09:24 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
+1 Disc brakes would be a waste of money for a learning to wrench, knockaround bike.
I don't know how to echo this once more.
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Old 09-29-08, 07:44 AM   #10
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I already know I'm not putting one on the back, but I just may do this with a new fork on the front.

wrk, if you happen to find one that would fit Bigfoot, let me know and we can talk shipping!!!!!

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Old 09-29-08, 04:30 PM   #11
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New Posters - please READ THIS

Also be aware that the early "MTB"s were not much like modern mountain bikes. More like 'cross bikes with lower gearing and wide rims. A lot will depend on the particular bike.

Fwiw, there are very few "bad parts" in the industry, unless you discover them on a bottom end Wal-Mart bike. Just about anything with Shimano, Sugino, Suntour, etc on it will be decent, even if dirt cheap.

I recommend that you first spend a good deal of effort identifying exactly what's on the bike, what the frame and wheel dimensions are (and thereafter find out whether it fits you), and what the condition of each element is. Do that and you'll be so far along that doing the mechanicing will seem like second nature.
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