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Old 07-14-06, 06:42 PM   #1
jandree22
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$50... tune-up or slicks?

Hey all, I'm 23 and looking to pull my bike out of retirement and start up a morning cardio program. There's a really nice 22 mile paved bike path that starts near my apartment, and it'd be a shame to let that go to waste. I have a Trek 800, that since I got it maybe 8 years ago, saw about 700 miles of use.

Just married, having a new car on order, and saving for a house (and future kids), money is of course tightly budgeted. Saying I only have $50 to spend, where is it better placed... into a new set of slicks or a tune-up at my bike shop?

From what I understand, slicks would make a really nice difference from the original knobbies considering I'll be riding about 30min each morning on 100% paved road. My current tires are also the original tires from when I bought it. However, I don't think it's been tuned once since I had the bike (and the chain has some rust and the Shimano 'rapidfire' shifter is acting up a bit.)

I'd love to go out and get into a road bike, but good lord the cheapest beginner bikes are like $600+... and since I don't know anything about road bikes, it'd be scary to buy one used on my own.

Thanks!
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Old 07-14-06, 07:31 PM   #2
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If your goal is fitness, I say to get the tune-up, or get someone to help you tune it up and ride the knobbies. For conditioning, the same amount of efort will produce the same results... You just might go a few mph slower but get the same work on knobbies.

On a paved trail, I would suggest not worrying about going fast. Go for fitness, and switch to faster tires when you switch to the road. Remember you will be sharing that trail with pedestrians.

The tune-up will make your ride more enjoyable by helping you to not worry about shifts as you ride.

Don't forget to work a patch kit and pump into your budget pretty quickly as well...
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Old 07-14-06, 07:36 PM   #3
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A tune up is a must for you to ride this bike...if you want to get any function and/or enjoyment out of it.

That being said...this may not be a possibility, but you could always learn how to do the tune-up yourself, and spend $50 on slicks.

However, riding sooner precludes the option of riding never. Get the tune up, but learn basic bike mechanics so that it's the last tune up you ever spend money on. It may seem daunting upon first glance, but a year of riding and tinkering and researching and adjusting will teach you a great deal. The Park Tool website is an invaluable resource, and you'll probably eventually need some of their tools anyway.

After much less than a year of riding the only thing I couldn't do to my bike was bottom bracket installation and wheel trueing.
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Old 07-14-06, 07:43 PM   #4
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To tell you the truth, I was planning on interval training... (1 min @ 70% MHR, 30 sec @ 90% MHR), so all out constant speed isn't necessary needed for my goals at least this summer. And you do have a point where it's more about the actual effort for fitness.

When I take it in I'll have them look at the tires to see what they say as far as their wear... I pumped them up to 60psi last night and they appear to be holding it good. (which yes, I do have a good pump )

thanks again!

edit: and banzai_f16, thanks for confirming on the tune. I wasn't really aware that tuning was possible as a DIY, but I'll definately research into it more. I wanna get riding ASAP and considering how long it's been, I'll take it in to the shop this time around, but maybe I'll take a stab myself next spring.

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Old 07-14-06, 08:03 PM   #5
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I'm a big fan of fitness training.

As a regular commuter and organized ride rider, I'll offer this. Ride for the joy of it, and ride to get there, and the fitness will simply follow. Your exercise can then be combined with so many other "normal" activities, and you'll simply find that you get both fitter and faster.

But that's just one bike commuter's take on it.
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Old 07-14-06, 08:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by banzai_f16
I'm a big fan of fitness training.

As a regular commuter and organized ride rider, I'll offer this. Ride for the joy of it, and ride to get there, and the fitness will simply follow. Your exercise can then be combined with so many other "normal" activities, and you'll simply find that you get both fitter and faster.

But that's just one bike commuter's take on it.
Yep, great perspective. Truth be told I'd actually consider the 12mi. one way commute into work on bike, but A) I carpool my wife and B) there's too many Interstates involved/in the way
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Old 07-14-06, 08:11 PM   #7
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I would learn to do the tune yourself and get the tires. I ride an 820 and just put slicks on it, it makes a world of difference. I do agree that on a fitness level it makes more sense to just get the tune up, but for na all around good ride I suggest the tires. And it never hurts to learn something. If you haven't already found it SheldonBrown.com has a lot of great resources for bike mechanics.
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Old 07-14-06, 08:15 PM   #8
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- learn how to change your tires and do your own tuneup ... for the cost of a good book, such as Park's blue book, you can do your own work and save some money (take your wife unit out to dinner somewhere nice)...
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Old 07-14-06, 08:23 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by linux_author
- learn how to change your tires and do your own tuneup ...
+1 for linux-author's advice. You can get used tires and tools on e-Bay. Free instruction on how to do maintenance is available to anybody with internet access at Park Tool's website. Were I in your shoes, I'd buy a basic tool kit - do the tune-up via internet coaching - and keep the remainder of the $50 in reserve for a set of used tires (if and only if you need them) later on.

Go enjoy the hotties on the bike path! The motto for a happy marriage is "It doesn't matter where you get your appetite, so long as you eat at home!"
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Old 07-15-06, 08:40 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by linux_author
- learn how to change your tires and do your own tuneup ... for the cost of a good book, such as Park's blue book, you can do your own work and save some money (take your wife unit out to dinner somewhere nice)...

Or for free you can go to www.parktool.com and click on repair help. Every repair, adjustment is outlined there. You will need some special tools for some operations, but not the simpler ones.
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