I bought this Norco Bigfoot MTB after finding it on an online classified ad website (I'm partial to the brand and I've never seen the triple-triangle frame on any of their other bikes):
It's a one-owner bike and in pretty decent shape for its age. Other than the tires the parts all seem original. The braided cables look thick enough to support a suspension bridge.
After a brief but violent struggle to loosen the seat post and tightening the threaded headset, I took it for a long test ride. The bike has a few issues which is not surprising for a well-loved 20-year-old bike.
Raising the seatpost left my handlebars about 3" below the seat. I added a riser bar but it pulled the shifter cable housings taut, and my Ergon grips pushed the STI shifters up against the bend in the bars. That's okay since I already planned to update the cables and swap the STIs for some thumb shifters. The real issues are with the bottom bracket and the brakes.
The bike has a Shimano Exage 300EX gruppo with Biopace crankset. After reading Sheldon Brown's take on Biopace, I've decided to keep it as is. Unfortunately, the bottom bracket is clicking in an all-too-familiar way that tells me that it's on its last legs. Other than rebuilding the bottom bracket on my BMX as a kid (using a hammer and screwdriver for want of a spanner, plus packing the bearings with petroleum jelly) I've always let the LBS handle that issue. When I approach the LBS for some parts, what type/size of bottom bracket do I ask for? What other parts will I need? How about a spanner?
As far as brakes, I want to replace the cantis with some linear-pull units. Since I'm ditching the STIs anyway, new (linear-brake compatible) brake levers are a given. Are there any other issues that I should be aware of when swapping cantis for linear-pull?
Sorry for the long post, and thanks for any and all replies.
I think you probably need a standard English-threaded cartridge bottom bracket. You will need to measure the width of the current bottom bracket or look up the size to make sure you replace it with the correct one. Based on Sheldon Brown's website, an Exage crank needs a 113mm bottom bracket for a double and a 121mm bottom bracket for a triple. However, it is best to measure to be sure.
In addition to a bottom bracket tool, you will need a crank puller to remove the cranks and a large wrench for both tools. I use a 10" Crescent wrench for that kind of thing.
As for swapping brakes, linear-pull levers are all you need. However, I find that linear-pull brakes are a pain to install alongside rear racks on certain bikes, so you might want to keep that in mind if you plan to add a rack. If not, then no problem. Enjoy your massively improved braking power!