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Old 11-10-08, 08:59 PM   #1
sknhgy 
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Is my bike worth upgrading?

I am wondering; do I put money into this bike or buy a better one?
My bike is a Trek 820 MTB that cost $275 new about 3 years ago. Since then I've been replacing things as they break. My main investment has been to replace the freewheel with a hand-made wheel with a freehub ($170). I figure that if I ever get rid of the bike I would keep the custom made wheel.
Other than that I've replaced consumables like the tires, tubes, chain, cables, cassette, bearings, axels, etc. This is my off-road bike so it gets semi-rough treatment. It's even been submerged.
I also had to replace the front fork due to a 30 mph crash with a dog. I found a used fork for $25.

My question is, can I make this a better bike by replacing worn out components with better components, or do I need to look into getting something better to begin with? Aren't "good" bikes just bikes with higher end components?
Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-10-08, 09:21 PM   #2
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Depends on what you mean by better. Do you mean faster? Less maintenance? Stronger?

Riding a bike with nicer components is a lot nicer. Some would argue that a nicer bike is not just nicer components. Some would say it doesn't matter.

I personally would rather spend as little as possible at once and do the break and upgrade to a nicer part route. Yes, my bikes have come out to be better bikes, but I can say positively that a stock bike with the same component levels I upgraded to would be better than my bikes with the component upgrades due to nicer frames (as of model year 2005/6).

On a side note, I think your bike is steel. You might not want to submerge it. The bearings probably don't like that either.
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Old 11-10-08, 09:35 PM   #3
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Aren't "good" bikes just bikes with higher end components?
nope. good bikes start with a good frame. i don't know that particular bike, but my guess is that you'll spend a lot of money fixing that one up over buying a better bike to begin with.
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Old 11-10-08, 09:57 PM   #4
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On a side note, I think your bike is steel. You might not want to submerge it. The bearings probably don't like that either.
I didn't submerge it on purpose. I sometimes happen to ride where there is a lot of water. The bearings got repacked afterwards.
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Old 11-10-08, 10:48 PM   #5
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The bearings got repacked afterwards.
That's a good thing. I got a buddy from work who loves to ford streams and who never bothered to get anything repacked. Guess who's stuck rebuilding the bike from the ground up. He can dis me for walking my bike across if he wants but I won't submerge bearings unless I'm on the old bomber.

It sounds like you've gotten your money's worth out of the bike. I'd say you could certainly justify something better but wear and tear is always going to be an issue. About the only moving part I haven't managed to break or wear out over the last 10 years is an XT square taper bottom bracket.

On the light, durable, cheap,... choose any two front I've always made durability the #1 concern. Even then, I have to budget about 10 cents per mile for maintenance on the mountain bikes, a little less for the road race bike, and about half that for the two commuter bikes. For me that adds up to about $350 per year.

The thing is, you don't mind spending that much maintaining a nicer bike. It's a drag for a cheaper one. There's always a point where durability starts going back down but I get ten thousand miles out of a good bottom bracket and only four thousand out of an inexpensive one. Superlight racing components don't seem to last as long as the solid not quite top of the line stuff either. That means, given my mileage, $50 bottom brackets don't cost me any more than the cheapies in the long run but the race specific ones do. I guess this is why I'm a Ultegra/XT guy and not an Sora/Alivio or Dura-Ace/XTR sorta guy.

I'd say milk it until the next big thing comes up for rebuild or replacement, then get yourself something in the 50 cents per annual road mile plus $1 per annual mountain mile range.
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Old 11-10-08, 10:56 PM   #6
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Junk wears out fast . . .
Quality lasts.
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Old 11-10-08, 11:16 PM   #7
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The Trek 820 has been made for what, nearly 20 years now - and always a decent bike. (I'm a steel fanatic, though). The frame should be solid for years yet. If it fits you I would say put the best components on that you can afford, and keep riding. If you want something newer, there are probably quite a few commuters who'd happily take that frame. The geometry and eyelets on the 820s make them really good for commuting.
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Old 11-11-08, 10:15 AM   #8
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The Trek 820 has been made for what, nearly 20 years now - and always a decent bike. (I'm a steel fanatic, though). The frame should be solid for years yet. If it fits you I would say put the best components on that you can afford, and keep riding. If you want something newer, there are probably quite a few commuters who'd happily take that frame. The geometry and eyelets on the 820s make them really good for commuting.

Good solid advice, mate! Listen to it.

It sounds to me like you've a bad case of "car fever" only your's is for a new bike you really don't
need. Remember that many a car (bike) buyer has buyers remorse when the understand what they've
done.......to themselves.

That old saying of ......."If it ain't broke don't fix it" really applies well in your case here.
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
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 11-11-08, 01:37 PM   #9
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I think the 820 is a solid ride. More money might get you a frame that is a bit lighter.

I would probably stick with what you have for a while unless you have some extra cash. If that is the case always remember n+1.
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Old 11-11-08, 07:46 PM   #10
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Before I posted this thread, my thoughts were to keep the bike and just keep fixing it. I just thought maybe I was throwing good money after bad.
This bike sees a lot of mud, water, ice, snow, etc. But I still want it to be a good bike because I ride it more than my other "clean" bike.
I have learned the hard way not to ride through streams, or in my case, floodwater.
On the other hand I have learned a lot about bike maintenance from this bike.
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