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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-29-11, 09:18 PM   #1
RuggerJoe
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New bike or rebuild for a big guy?

I'm making my way down to 300 lbs and hopefully less. And in that pursuit I want to get back into riding, hopefully to and from work at least a few times a week. My questions is should I rebuild my old bike, a '90 Specialized Hardrock, or get something new. The hard rock has definately seen better days. At a minimum it needs new/rebuilt wheels and who knows what else.

If I go for something new what are good bikes these days. Companies can change alot in 20 years.
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Old 03-29-11, 09:33 PM   #2
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I'm having good luck with my Surly Cross Bike. I weighed 260ish when I got it. Down to 230 now.
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Old 03-29-11, 10:07 PM   #3
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RuggerJoe, Welcome to the forum. Your Hardrock would be a good choice. Take it to your LBS (Local Bike Shop) for a complete tune up. This is the most economical stratagy while you're also evolving a cycling schedule.

The good bicycle manufacturers of the '90s are still the good ones today. There's been quite a bit of evolution, but essentially a bike is a bike.

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Old 03-29-11, 11:02 PM   #4
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upgrade what you have. My main ride is a mid 1980's Schwinn World Tourist (made by Giant) that I purchased new - the frame, fork and crankset are original, everything else has been changed. My back up is a newer Raleigh Venture with a heavy duty rear wheel (12 ga spokes), 13-28T freewheel (was 14-34T), 48-38-28 crankset (was 44T) and a low end Shimao front derailleur. I commute, weather permitting, 12 miles each way.
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Old 03-30-11, 08:46 AM   #5
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Well it's the evolution thats making me wonder if I should get a new one. If I will be spending almost as much to rebuild/upgrade should I just get something new?
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Old 03-30-11, 08:53 AM   #6
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the problem is no new bike is going to come with a suitable wheelset anyways so you will almost definately need to get some built. beyond that you can probably salvage much of your old bike, do you have any pics of it to show us?
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Old 03-30-11, 10:18 AM   #7
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I don't have any, but I can take some when I get home. Anything in particular that you would like to see? I do think the wheels are the biggest problem. They are in bad shape, corrosion wise and I don't think they are true at all.

What would the cost be for rebuilding and upgrading be?
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Old 03-30-11, 10:38 AM   #8
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in particular I'd like to see your drive train, what kind of shifters, how many speeds, are they in working order, how is the crank, are there teeth missing off of it. ARe the deraileurs working or are they totally beat up. has the bike been stored in a climate controlled setting indoors or has it been rusting away outside.

IF the shifters and brakes are in good working order than your probably simply looking at just putting some new cables on, a new chain, maybe some new brake pads, all small little cheap things. as others have said, at the end of the day, it's still a bike, 2 wheels and a frame, not too many crazy changes.

The reason why upgrading potentially makes sense is that your looking at around $400 for an ENTRY level MTB with low end components on it that probbly still needs a set of wheels built for it. but if you only need to change out a few parts and service a few others and are willing to invest the TIME you can upgrade and buy some slightly better parts and save a bundle on labor by doing it yourself.

ARe you planning to truly take it off road or are you going to use it primarily on streets?
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Old 03-30-11, 11:48 AM   #9
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IMHO it's a good idea to get your Hardrock tuned up so you can just start riding. Then, figure out how committed you are to riding and what type of riding you do. If you stick with it and discover you really like riding, then you can figure out if you need a new bike, and if so then the correct type of bike.

When I got back into riding, I had a 12yr old Homegrown mtb and just knew I wanted a newer mtb because I never really enjoyed road riding. But after almost a year of riding my bike both on and off road, I found myself buying a road bike because I realized I am able to ride the road much more often and I do enjoy the long road rides.

My suggestion is to get your current bike working and ride it for at least 6 months, figure out if biking is for you and what type of riding you like to do. Then, if you still want/need a new bike, you will have a better understanding of exactly what type of bike you need (plus you can use that time to save some extra $$).
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Old 03-30-11, 12:07 PM   #10
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When I got back into cycling 3 1/2 years ago, it was on an '86 Diamond Back Ascent MTB that I got for $40 on Craigs List. It was in rough shape but with a little elbow grease and a few inexpensive bits and pieces, it took me my first 1K miles and helped me figure out what I wanted for my first new bike.

I'd suggest either fixing up what you have or, if it is too far gone, picking up something similar but in better shape off Craigs List and riding the heck out of it.
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Old 03-30-11, 12:08 PM   #11
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I'll snap some shots when I get home tonight. My plan is to use it primarily on the streets of Chicago commuting to and from work.

Off the top of my head its 21 speed Shimano LX with rapid fire shifters. The last time I rode it a few years back, everything worked fine, though it definitely needed a tune-up. I don't think there are any missing teeth. The bike for most of it's life has been stored in an attached garage and or in an enclosed porch, not completely climate controlled but not out in the elements either.

I'm not afraid to do the work myself, with the right instructions/manual. I'm fairly competent mechanically (I've done a lot of maintenance on my cars). Though I'd like it to be road ready sooner than later.

Ultimately, I don't want to spend so much that I've paid for the bike again. At that point I might as well spend a little more and buy a new bike with newer technology. While I don't think most of the newer tech is enough to warrant a new bike, I am interested it disc brakes as I understand they are much more effective when compared to caliper or cantilever brakes. Is it even possible to upgrade a bike to disc?
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Old 03-30-11, 12:49 PM   #12
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My questions is should I rebuild my old bike, a '90 Specialized Hardrock, or get something new.
The answer is always both.

That 90's Hardrock can be very versatile. Depending on what you want to do, it may not be that expensive to fix it up (plus there is nothing wrong with learning).

Nothing in the rulebook stating your next bike has to be new. It only has to be new to you. Just get something that fits, and you enjoy riding.
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Old 03-30-11, 12:53 PM   #13
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I do think the wheels are the biggest problem. They are in bad shape, corrosion wise and I don't think they are true at all.

What would the cost be for rebuilding and upgrading be?
Usually new wheel sets would cost about $100 and up, however there are always sales. To rebuild a wheel really depends. It is probably best to speak with your LBS.

If you give us a list of problems, we might be able to give recommendations. You can always bring your bike into a LBS and have them itemize what needs to be done.
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Old 03-30-11, 12:55 PM   #14
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I'll snap some shots when I get home tonight. My plan is to use it primarily on the streets of Chicago commuting to and from work.

Off the top of my head its 21 speed Shimano LX with rapid fire shifters. The last time I rode it a few years back, everything worked fine, though it definitely needed a tune-up. I don't think there are any missing teeth. The bike for most of it's life has been stored in an attached garage and or in an enclosed porch, not completely climate controlled but not out in the elements either.

I'm not afraid to do the work myself, with the right instructions/manual. I'm fairly competent mechanically (I've done a lot of maintenance on my cars). Though I'd like it to be road ready sooner than later.

Ultimately, I don't want to spend so much that I've paid for the bike again. At that point I might as well spend a little more and buy a new bike with newer technology. While I don't think most of the newer tech is enough to warrant a new bike, I am interested it disc brakes as I understand they are much more effective when compared to caliper or cantilever brakes. Is it even possible to upgrade a bike to disc?
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The answer is always both.

That 90's Hardrock can be very versatile. Depending on what you want to do, it may not be that expensive to fix it up (plus there is nothing wrong with learning).

Nothing in the rulebook stating your next bike has to be new. It only has to be new to you. Just get something that fits, and you enjoy riding.
Yes, I agree. The 'rock was a great bike in it's day and is still a very good bike today so don't give up on it. It has a lot going for it not the least of which is a steel frame.

So IMO I'd say rebuild the 'rock so that you have a bike to ride that you can stand to loose if someone steals it but who steals ugly bikes?
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Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 03-30-11, 02:13 PM   #15
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...I am interested it disc brakes as I understand they are much more effective when compared to caliper or cantilever brakes. Is it even possible to upgrade a bike to disc?
If you ride in wet conditions, disc are better. In dry conditions, caliper or cantis are fine as long as they are adjusted properly and you have good pads. Upgrade to disc requires the frame and fork to have disc mounts which your bike won't have so that really isn't an option.

As others said, there is nothing wrong with fixing up this one with the plan to use it as a backup bike whenever you decide to buy a new one.
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Old 03-30-11, 07:48 PM   #16
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So here's the old bike. it's disturbing that it's old enought to dring since it make me older than i want to admint. definately need some TLC.

it's funny I could have sworn theye were Shimano Delore LX.

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Old 03-30-11, 08:32 PM   #17
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that bike is definately an ideal candidate for a little fixer upping. REason why i was asking if you were gonna ride on the streets or offroad is because i just built a commuter using Nashbar.com Microshift MTB shifters. They are 9 speed shifters and are $30 and work great, I cant attest their durability in actual MTB situations but as flat bar road shifters they are great. The matching FD and RD are also $30 each.

The wheels don't look too bad but the casette looks like it's seen better days i don't know if a serious dose of WD 40 will do the trick or not. But all in all it appears to be a solid frame, crank looks alright and i'm going to assume it's the proper size for you so spending short money to get it up and riding again is probably worthwhile and then you can relegate it to a rain/utility bike if you elect to get something nicer down the road.

Definately get some slicks for it since your gonna be doing mostly road riding with it.
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Old 03-30-11, 08:46 PM   #18
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If you can save the casete and chain (which looks possible), the rest should be no problem. The 200GS RD means you probably have the 200GS shifters. Those are awesome. Lube the heck out of everything and you will have a great bike. And the wheels don't look bad at all. Fix it up and ride it then keep it as a back up bike when you decide to buy a new one.
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Old 03-30-11, 09:35 PM   #19
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So here's the old bike. it's disturbing that it's old enought to dring since it make me older than i want to admint. definately need some TLC.

it's funny I could have sworn theye were Shimano Delore LX.

I would start by pulling off the chain, the cables, tires, tubes, brake pads, chain. Give everything else what in photography we call a CLA, Clean, Lube, Adjust don't worry too much about that cassette, as soon as you start using it, the combination of chain and lube will clean that rust off. Should come out to about $100 in parts, installing those parts should be regular maintenance, you can take it to a shop for adjustments, should be less then $50. Your not going to find as good a bike for less then $500, so why waste your money. I would see about getting some touch-up paint and some grey Tremclad, any rust spots on the frame, use the Tremclad as a primer, then after a day or two put the touch-up over.
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Old 03-30-11, 11:10 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by RuggerJoe View Post
So here's the old bike. it's disturbing that it's old enought to dring since it make me older than i want to admint. definately need some TLC.

it's funny I could have sworn theye were Shimano Delore LX.

Joe;

I'd be happy to take it off your hands if you want to give it away looks like a great bike.

Seriously; all it is going to take is a bit of labor, and maybe cables, brake pads and tires to get it back into riding shape.

Disc brakes are not as good as rim brakes for general riding. Disc brakes are great when you are using them all the time, like down hill or on a heavy touring bike down a mountain road. For general use, V-brakes are the best - just get a good set of pads - many people recommend Kool Stop.

Nigel

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Old 03-31-11, 04:34 AM   #21
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Looks like a perfectly serviceable bike to me. But, I have a soft spot for 90's MTB's like this one. To get a comparable quality bike today would probably run $500-$600. I also like cromoly steel frames.

No WD40. Lube it up with a lube that has some anti corrosion components such as triflow, T-9 Boeshield or Breakfree CLP. The rust will come off with use. I buy all my bikes used and the rust often lowers the price considerably. This means I get more bike for the buck. So, don't be afraid of the rust.

I would lube the cables and take the wheels to the LBS to get them trued and check the spoke tension. You can ride them a little while and see how they hold up. At 300 lbs, I never have had problems with straight gauge spokes of that vintage in any of my bikes.

If you are mechanicallly inclined, sharpen up your library card and get a copy of either the Bicycling Magazine bike repair book or Leonard Zinn's Bike MTB repair book. They can walk you though the process for easy tune up activities.
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Old 03-31-11, 06:30 AM   #22
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"If you are mechanicallly inclined, sharpen up your library card and get a copy of either the Bicycling Magazine bike repair book or Leonard Zinn's Bike MTB repair book. They can walk you though the process for easy tune up activities." --Arvadaman

Good advice and libraries need the traffic.

RuggerJoe, That bike will be fine for now and beyond with a little TLC either from you or from a bike shop.

Brad
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Old 03-31-11, 06:58 AM   #23
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Looks pretty good to me, I'd say that bike would make an ideal candidate for a backup/foul weather/commuter. I'm picturing it with slicks, fenders, and a rear rack. Don't throw that bike out, it won't be very expensive to get it up and running again.

OTOH, don't discount buying a new bike while you're at it. People are motivated by many things, money invested into a hobby is one of them. Take me for instance. When I was first debating if a bike shop bike was worth it compared to a disposable bicycle shaped object found at X-Mart, I justified it to myself by saying something along the lines of: "Self, if you are going to spend 300 dollars on this bike (it was an entry level Raleigh Mojave 2.0) then you are going to ride and ride it a lot. Get your monies worth from it". That was the initial motivator for me, once I started to ride habitually...my bicycle habit spiraled out of control. It ended up being the best 300 dollars I ever spent. Oh, I was at the shop to debate fixing my old bike or not when I made that decision.

I vote for both, fix the old bike and buy a new one
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Old 03-31-11, 07:32 AM   #24
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I vote for both, fix the old bike and buy a new one [/QUOTE]

Beat me to it. I'd say tune that up, add new tires and use it. I ride in Chicago several times a year and that looks like a good commuter. If I were you, I'd get my legs back with that, start shopping, set a weight loss goal, and reward myself with a new bike after I looked at the market.

Marc
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Old 03-31-11, 12:19 PM   #25
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OR, buy a new bike and then fix up the old one.

When I decided to get back on the bike a couple of years ago I went to shed behind my house to check out my '90 Schwinn Fronteer. It had been there for the past ten years and after seeing the dry
rotted tires and all the surface rust on the chrome I put it back in the shed and went to the LBS. Came home with a new Gary Fisher Zembrano and started riding. A couple months into riding I pulled the Schwinn out of the shed again and started cleaning it up. The surface rust was the worst part of the clean up but, after some steel wool, elbow grease and the wire brush attachment on my drummel tool it to cleaned up rather nicely. The paint and the frame looked almost new and after a couple new tires and a tune up I ended up with a nice backup. Instead of fixing up the old bike and buying a new one I did it a$$ backwards but, the end result was the same. Bottom line is do it which ever way you decide but, just do it. I have no regrets.



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