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Old 10-20-09, 05:45 PM   #1
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Trek 820 rebuild

Hey all;

My first post here at bike forums, but i have been lurking for a while now. I have a trek 820 which has sat idle for many years and I've decided to get it ready for commuting to school in the spring ( i now drive the 3 miles...i know, i know). Anyways my plans include a complete take down, repaint (there is some rust) and a rebuild. My main question to you all was in reference to the gears. I am not a fan of gears and was thinking of scrapping the rear gears. My plan was to leave the 3 gears on the crank and the front derailleure and and scrap the entire rear gear assembly. I can get away with this because my route is entirely flat. My question is what should i replace the rear freewheel (cassette? trek says its a Sunrace 13-34, 7 speed cassette) with? I want a single gear, do i need a whole new hub or can i just buy one cog?


Thanks in advance for the help.



I also want to mention that although the entire rebuild seems extreme, i don't often get a chance to do as much mechanical work as i want, so this is a long term/fun project for me.
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Old 10-20-09, 05:52 PM   #2
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if you want to make it a single speed, your going to need two things. One of these


Will do the actual single speeding bit. However, you also need some of these.


BMX, or short stack chainring bolts. Those will let you get rid of the extra gears up front.

You also need all the tools, likely a whole mess of allen wrenches, a crank arm extractor, and a cassette removal tool. Maybe a few more things.
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Old 10-20-09, 05:58 PM   #3
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Nothing wrong with scrapping part of it for a flat route. But you're better off scrapping the extra front rings and derraileur.

THe rear derrailleur serves two functions. First it shift the chain which you already know. Second it acts as a tensioning system to adjust the varying sizes so the chain is neither too long nor too short. So even if you did switch to a single cog at the rear if you want to shift at the front then you need to leave the rear derrailleur in place to act as a chain tensioner and still keep the front derrailleur for shifting gears. Not the simplest of actions.

The hot setup is to ditch the big and small rings and keep the middle ring. Along with this you can ditch the front cage derrailleur and the cable and control that runs it. You keep the rear cassette and derrailleur so you now have 7 or 8 speeds depending on the age of your bike. This is by far the best option for simplifying the drive train short of going to a single speed.
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Old 10-20-09, 05:59 PM   #4
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Thanks!

So you're saying scrap the front, and keep the back...interesting.
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Old 10-20-09, 06:01 PM   #5
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Actually there's a very good chance that the single speed tensioner shown will not be long enough to allow adjusting the chain over that much range. They are quite a bit shorter than the rear derrailleur cage and length counts for this aspect.
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Old 10-20-09, 06:23 PM   #6
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So lets say i scrap the front gears, just keeping the middle ring. Do you know of any options for chain protectors like on a cruiser?
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Old 10-20-09, 07:30 PM   #7
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you will need a bash guard, something like this http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...43&category=54.
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Old 10-20-09, 07:50 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Any advice in the general dismantling and rebuilding of this bike? I'm also planning on repainting.
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Old 10-21-09, 04:47 PM   #9
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Replace the BB, even if you think there's a few miles left in it. consider new wheels. bk
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Old 10-21-09, 04:59 PM   #10
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Get this tool kit. The price is good for what it gives you. You will probably be able to rebuild the whole bike with this. Even though this has some bad reviews, I have it, and I think it is great.

http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...00_20000_50004
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Old 10-21-09, 07:45 PM   #11
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So lets say i scrap the front gears, just keeping the middle ring. Do you know of any options for chain protectors like on a cruiser?
The others already mentioned the bashguard. This 1x7 or 1x8 setup you'll end up with is the same as I have on one cheapy errand bike. Using the middle ring won't make for a speedy bike but it's fast enough for most uses and keeps things very simple. If you're younger and have more lung power than I do then you can always mount the big ring on the middle ring's position for a taller gear range that will still line up well with the whole back cassette. At that point the bashguard/pant leg deflector may be harder to find but they are out there since they used to be popular from way back when cross country racing was popular but riders wanted to protect the big ring. Just ask around shops that have been around for a lot of years or in the for sale area of Bike Forums. Likely someone will have what you want in one of the ugly purple or lime green anodized colors that were popular back then....

That Spin Doctor kit or the equivalent Park kit is a great way to go if you don't already have a lot of the specialized bicycle tools. It's impossible to do a good job without such specialty items. They'll earn their keep over the years so don't squabble with yourself about getting one or the other. It's also a much cheaper way to get the basics than by buying one at a time.

Stripping, cleaning and replacing the balls in the wheel hubs on an older bike will do wonders for making it run better. You can even clean the freehub or freewheel by getting it off the hub and dunking it into a pot of mineral spirits. Dunk and drain about 10 times with some spinning while it's in the solvent. Let drain and dry overnight. Then dunk it into a mix of thicker motor oil such as straight 50 weight cut with equal part mineral spirit and spin it then let it sit to drain. It'll sound a bit funky at first but over a day or two the solvent will dry away and leave just the right film of thicker oil and the pawls will sound nice and there shouldn't be any bearing grinding at that point. If there is and it's really bad then the freewheel or freehub was beyond saving. But find a replacement before to think about tossing the old one or just use it as long as it still works.

In the intrests of ecomony I'd keep the BB unless it's already really noisy or shows some slop. Or if it's one of the old cup and cone open bearing styles then try cleaning it. But if you see rust pitting on the bearing paths then toss it and get a new square taper sealed BB. The LX level square taper BB's (don't remember the model number at the moment) are great bang for the buck. They last for years, keep rain out really well and once broken in spin like perpetual motion.

New cables and housing should go without saying. NOTHING spruces up the feel of any bike like fresh control cables in unworn housings. Splurge on this, you'll be glad you did. The cables with the ground outer finish that feel smoother are also a nice touch and add a lot of slickness to the system. I won't buy anything but those now. They come under different names but the Jagwire Slick is one such.

New grips if the old ones are crumbling and if the bike has the old canti brakes then a set of V brakes and levers will be worth the upgrade. Along with that splurge on a set of Koolstop salmon colored pads. Unlike the other options that seem to be more about color the salmon pads are a special iron oxide ingredient that gives them their color and excellent stopping performance both in the dry and wet. They also give better grip for less lever force so you can do true one finger stops up to and including that life saving panic stop. Any mid to better V brake calipers are fine but try to get Avid Speedial levers. A true #1 product.

Clean and relube the steering head bearings while you're at it. And pull the seat post and lightly grease the post and seat tube. Rust in there can weld those parts together in short order. Grease avoids the issue.

Do all this and the bike will feel at least as good as new.
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Old 10-21-09, 08:03 PM   #12
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Two points of contention BCRider
One, V-brakes are not really a worthwhile upgrade, at least not compared to the much cheaper alternative of properly setting up your cantilevers with Koolstop pads.

Two, you can have a bash ring in any size you want. All it takes is about 10 minutes with a grinding wheel.
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Old 10-21-09, 08:45 PM   #13
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Sorry, I should have explained why I prefer V brakes to cantis. My love of V brakes vs the old cantis isn't just for stopping power. Although I found that V's did stop slightly better mostly it was about the ease of adjusting the pads with V brakes vs the old post and clamp cantis where you had to be an octopus to have enough hands to hold it all in place along with the anti squeal shim. When I saw how V brakes worked I could not change over my own two bikes at the time fast enough. Now having said all this I've even got a set on my newly built up Soma Double Cross touring/cargo bike and love them. They are the new style cantis that use the V style pads. I don't know why I wasn't thinking about those when I suggested changing to V brakes. Just changing the actual canti calipers would not require a new set of levers and would end up a bit cheaper.

As for that bash ring I'm assuming you're talking about taking the teeth off another chainring? Yep, that'll work and it's a great option. But he'd need to find one that's about 5 or 6 teeth bigger than the one he wants to use for that to work. But if the available sizes for his cranks support that then it's a superb option and one I hadn't thought of.

It's never a good idea to grind aluminium. Sand them off or cut them off but please don't grind them off. It's a great way to plug up a grinding wheel or disc and makes the wheel or disc both dangerous and unusable until it's cleaned off.
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Old 10-22-09, 05:39 PM   #14
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Do it like my old 930. It's mostly used parts pulled from other bikes. You don't need a tensioner if you choose you gears carefully. I don't see any reason to use the middle ring instead of the outside ring. It's not the hot setup unless you are going to use a bash ring. Why would you need a bash ring on a commuter bike? Lining up is not an issue when you're dealing wth spacers on a cassette hub. V brakes work well, but they're the ugliest brakes ever invented, IMHO.

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Old 10-23-09, 06:04 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Today I went to the bike shop to remove my crank (i had the wrong type of extractor) and the BB is pretty worn out. We tried to remove it but its stuck in there really good. The master mechanic is going to get it out tomorrow, so I should have the fame back soon. I found a place in town to powder coat it so that's coming up next. I got some street tires and i will buy new cables and housing soon. My idea is to get the bike up and running for sping. You can follow my progress at 820rebuild.blogspot.com

I'll be purchasing a new bb and maybe a new crank set soon.
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Old 10-24-09, 03:25 AM   #16
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At the risk of raining on your parade I'd be a bit hesitant to spend gobs of money on an 820. It wasn't one of their higher level frames. A budget rebuild to get you riding is for sure a fine idea. But the cost of powder coating it takes the project to a point where you'll easily have double what it's worth into it.
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Old 10-24-09, 06:25 AM   #17
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At the risk of raining on your parade I'd be a bit hesitant to spend gobs of money on an 820. It wasn't one of their higher level frames. A budget rebuild to get you riding is for sure a fine idea. But the cost of powder coating it takes the project to a point where you'll easily have double what it's worth into it.
+1. The 820 was the lowest model in Trek's MTB line. The frame was heavy and not butted, the components were low line and the OEM bottom brackets were particularly poor on these.

The 930 Dirtdrop pictured above was a far superior bike in terms of both frame quality and components and it was nothing special.

I would put very little money into upgrading the 820 frame beyond a rattle can paint job and simplifying the current components.
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Old 10-24-09, 02:45 PM   #18
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Well, the place is painting my bike for 50$, so that really isn't an issue. Its either stick with this bike, or upgrade to the next level, which is about 350/400$, which I don't want to do. I also enjoy learning/working on bikes, so whats the fun of buying a new bike. Also, the used market in this area is horrible (small southern city) so that's out of the question. I don't think I will have spent more than 100$ getting the bike in shape for commuting. Well worth it, including the fun i have fixing it.
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Old 10-24-09, 07:15 PM   #19
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Just so you know that you've put that $50 into a bike that'll be worth about $40 when you're all done.....

Just ribbing you now. By all means if you'll get a $100 worth of riding out of this project and learn as you go then it's not money badly spent by any means. And it's always nice later on when you have better bikes (it IS a sickness I hope you realize ) to have a beater for loaning out or taking on sloppy weather errands.
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Old 10-24-09, 10:24 PM   #20
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I have a feeling this is going to balloon out of control. I'm a medical student and thus far sitting in a quite workshop getting greasy is the only thing that relaxes me. Its better than pharmaceuticals.
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Old 10-25-09, 08:56 AM   #21
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I have a feeling this is going to balloon out of control. I'm a medical student and thus far sitting in a quite workshop getting greasy is the only thing that relaxes me. Its better than pharmaceuticals.
You've got the right attitude. How much the bike is worth when you're finished is not important. Enjoy making it the way you want it and then enjoy riding what you have created.
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Old 10-25-09, 11:27 AM   #22
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I have a feeling this is going to balloon out of control. I'm a medical student and thus far sitting in a quite workshop getting greasy is the only thing that relaxes me. Its better than pharmaceuticals.
You'll live longer too. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that when I'm in my workshop the aging process is suspended......

I'm thinking of moving my bed in there so I can live forever....
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Old 10-25-09, 12:45 PM   #23
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Replace the BB, even if you think there's a few miles left in it. consider new wheels. bk
I always love the random irrelevant advice you give. It's pretty funny.
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