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  1. #1
    Streetfire HopedaleHills's Avatar
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    To rebuild or not rebuild?

    General question for you guys.

    I have a 1991 Trek 800 ATB that I bought new. Haven't ridden it much since I got the road bike but the other night I just didn't feel like changing shoes so just hopped on the 800 and took off. That old bike was really fun to ride and I was amazed at how easy the hills were with the gearing it has. So here goes.

    I got to thinking I should improve the bike somewhat. It's a pretty good Chromoly frame, seven speed, with the Biopace crank, knobby tires. But I am undecided between to avenues I could go.

    1. Just do new wheels and tires and do a good cleanup, or
    2. Really do the whole ball of wax: new wheels and tires, new group w/8-9 speed cassette, new shifters, new brakes, and even a paint job. I would probably keep the Biopace crank, it has a 48 big ring and I kinda like it.

    So, would it be worth putting $400-500 into it or should I just go the cheap route? I think it would be a good bike for the MUPs or just putzing around on short rides.

  2. #2
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    I'd get new tires now and then upgrade as things wear out. That's my two cents.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  3. #3
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    I agree. Get new tires, check the wheels, check the cable, and go. If the shifters and DR's still perform well that's all you need.

  4. #4
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    All I hear is cheap. The issue for me would be; Can I even put an 8 or 9spd cassette on the bike. If it will fit, upgrade the drivetrain. You'll still be ahead of an equivalent qnew bike. bk

  5. #5
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackberry
    I'd get new tires now and then upgrade as things wear out. That's my two cents.
    +1
    Why does it need new wheels?
    Before spending all that money trying to upgrade the old bike and the problems you are sure to encounter with compatibility to new components, take a look at what those dollars would buy in a new bike (or used).
    Now, if it were a nice lugged frame, I might feel differently
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HopedaleHills
    General question for you guys.

    I have a 1991 Trek 800 ATB that I bought new. Haven't ridden it much since I got the road bike but the other night I just didn't feel like changing shoes so just hopped on the 800 and took off. That old bike was really fun to ride and I was amazed at how easy the hills were with the gearing it has. So here goes.

    I got to thinking I should improve the bike somewhat. It's a pretty good Chromoly frame, seven speed, with the Biopace crank, knobby tires. But I am undecided between to avenues I could go.

    1. Just do new wheels and tires and do a good cleanup, or
    2. Really do the whole ball of wax: new wheels and tires, new group w/8-9 speed cassette, new shifters, new brakes, and even a paint job. I would probably keep the Biopace crank, it has a 48 big ring and I kinda like it.

    So, would it be worth putting $400-500 into it or should I just go the cheap route? I think it would be a good bike for the MUPs or just putzing around on short rides.
    why not just enjoy it the way it is?...you'll have a fit isse trying to install a 8/9 spd cog set between the chain stays, I'd look at new tires and tubes if they're over 15 years old...maybe brake pads as well...but if the cables are OK, if everything works...i'd just clean and lube the drive train and have fun (after 15 years i'd check the headset, just to make sure that it's not loose...best way is to lock the front brake and rock the bike...if it wobbles, i'd look at replacing it for safety's sake)

  7. #7
    Luggite bsyptak's Avatar
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    7 speed stuff is better than 9 speed anyway. Keep it 7.

  8. #8
    Perpetually lost
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    I pretty much agree with all that has been written, I'm a big fan of restoration. But--and big but here: the 800 was pretty much an entry level mountain bike at best. It was heavy, the components were low end, and there's been a lot of improvements in ATBs made in the past decade--a lot. I'm thinking too that it probably has a steel fork--I haven't seen too many 800s with front suspension, at least not in this area.

    $500 will buy a pretty decent ATB nowadays. Before I'd put that kind of money into an older 800, I'd do some shopping. Since this is high summer, some of the LBS's are beginning to wheel and deal already and there are some good deals out there--new bike markdowns. I'd be willing to bet that you can come up with a whole lot more bike for that kind of money than you could build.

    Other considerations: yes, the 7 speed was wonderful but getting replacement shifters--especially the Rapid Fire stuff--is near impossible. If you break a lever you're pretty much left with generic thumb shifting. Used is still available but you're taking chances on 15 year old, used, plastic parts. Ditto on the Bio Pace stuff, once it wears out there's not a lot of options but to replace the whole set.

    So if you're really considering spending $500, I'd shop for a new bike. Even if you were to invest that amount into your 800, you'd still have a entry level bike worth maybe $75 to $100 or so (I just sold one in perfect condition--absolutely mint-- for $60). They just don't have a lot of value.

    On the other hand, a couple of tires, a new chain, a good teardown, cleaning and lube, pads and a sealed bottom bracket, will cost you under $100, and will make a world of difference. You then have a good, solid, servicable bike that will last a long time. But I sure wouldn't recommend spending $500.

    John
    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."
    George Bernard Shaw

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Just a comment that I'm sure will raise an eyebrow. I had recently looked at road bikes... Trek Pilot, Giant OCR, etc., all being 105 and Ultegra grade. In my opinion the Deore STX group on my 10+ year old 7 speed mountain bike shifts crisper and sharper than Ultegra and brifters on the bikes I road. (go ahead and chunk rocks at me if you wish!!)

    It is difficult, but certainly not impossible, to find 7speed Rapid Fire shifters if you need them. SRAM still makes excellent twist shifters for 7 speed in both short and long barrels.

  10. #10
    Streetfire HopedaleHills's Avatar
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    Thanks Guys. I knew I could find the voice of reason here. Seeing as though I really don't want a new bike or to spend alot of money, it's new tires and cleanup and have some fun on it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Step 1. We admitted that we were compulsive bike tinkerers and that our lives had become unmanagable.

    Step 2. We came to believe that a power treater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

  12. #12
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    HopedaleHills: WAIT... You've got to get rid of those bio-pace chain rings. Didin't they discover a year or so after they reached their peak in popularity that they were enginered incorrectly and actually did damage to the knees? I
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

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