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  1. #1
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    same old upgrade vs. new with a twist

    So I debated on where to put this, I'm new, the topic fits into several categories, I didn't find what I wanted in the search, and so here it is. (I'll try to use the proper terms, but bear with me please)

    I enjoy trail riding, have been inactive for a few years, and so have been looking for a way to get the heart pumping again. I'm a big guy (6'4") and came across an old Raleigh mountain bike with a 19" frame at goodwill. It's a little on the small side (I want a 21"), but at $25, I though it will get me going and if I enjoy it as much as I remember I can buy a new bike down the road. The shifters don't work though (i've 'engineered' them to at least cycle through 6/7 of the cassettes but I can't change my cranks) and the chain is jumping off my largest crank (some of the teeth are broken).

    For now, I'm using the bike as a hybrid on streets and sidewalks, but as I get going I'd like to take it on some trails.

    My current musing of a plan is to replace the cranks, shifters, cables, and tires... then later the de-railers and cassette. When I get some money saved and find it's worth the investment, I can get a 21" frame and move everything over. What I want to know: Is this a practical idea? I don't know how interchangeable parts are and I need to find the balance between having something that can get me into the sport without sinking a whole paycheck before I know it's something I'll stick with.

    Thank you!!!
    Kevin

  2. #2
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    Depends on how old the frame is. Mechanically it would probably work. But you'll end up spending more in the long run, especially if you want decent parts. Do you know squat about bike maintenance already? Do you have any of the special tools you'll need? You can easily spend more on the crankset, shifters, cables, tools, and tires as a low end bike in the size you want from bikesdirect.

    If you want to learn how to do this, and want to make it a project for fun, then go for it. But if you're looking for an economical means of getting an O.K. bike, then you're down the wrong path.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwbyron View Post
    My current musing of a plan is to replace the cranks, shifters, cables, and tires... then later the de-railers and cassette.
    Nobody likes to fiddle with bikes more than I do but honestly, unless you have a big box of spare bike parts, that's a plan for turning a cheap old bike into an expensive old bike.

  4. #4
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    thanks for the tips, I had a feeling it wasn't the best route overall. Time to start reading about brands, reviews, and seeing if I can find something affordable.

    thanks again!!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Ride it as it is and keep looking. Maybe set a limit of what you might spend to get it just a little more ride friendly. I have bought bikes for 10 bucks and put 300 more into them but I was starting with something that really fit me and was of high quality just neglected. You can get a small frame to work but it will fight you every step of the way and when you are done it won’t be perfect just ok. Don’t stop riding while looking but this is the perfect time of the year for used bikes. Keep your eye on CL and garage sales and when you see the right one run don’t walk because they don’t last long. If the bike you have just needs a cable or a new seat you can swap out to a different bike later fix that but major gearing changes with the plan to use them later on another frame I don’t think I would do. I have many times taken 3 or 4 donor bikes and made one good one and maybe one ok one to give away. If your labor is zero that type project can be fun.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  6. #6
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    Would be looking at finding a frame which actually fits you, at 6'4" you could be riding anything from a 16" to 23" frame, it all depends on what you want from the frame & ride, and how it's designed, modern MTB's are a lot more compact that older ones.

    For putting money into an old frame, or any frame, unless you have a big spares box as mention, or a high end frame, normally it just isn't worth it financially; as you can get a lot of bike for little money of bought complete

  7. #7
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I would not spend more than the bare minimum on the current bike. Keep an eye on CL (assuming you are in the US), look for brand names like Trek, Giant, or Specialized. There are others but those are probably the top three in manufacturing volume. I would keep looking for a 21"-23" frame, they are out there. I ride 23" and larger and they can be a bit hard to come by. Do your research, I would avoid anything that has suspension, they can be expensive to repair if you don't know how to do it or what to look for.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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  8. #8
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    Since no one else has asked, can we get more info on this "old Raleigh mountain bike with a 19" frame"?
    More info on what is wrong with the current bits?
    Pictures?

    If it's mid-range or entry level, older, with suspension, I'd say the suspension is probably not worth keeping (although I could be wrong). That would mean if you don't have a nice compatible fork laying around there's probably no reason to put much into this bike.
    As long as it can be ridden safely I don't see any reason not to ride it; I'm just saying it may not be worth much time, effort, or money to improve it.

    If it's a bit older and fully rigid it may have more potential (from my perspective).

    But without more information it's pure guess work as to what the value of your bike is.

    Also your height doesn't tell us much about how the bike fits.
    How much stand over clearance do you have?
    How long is the stem and do you feel cramped riding as is?

    And where are you? I know some people avoid giving there location online, but at least knowing the general region makes it much easier for us to advise you on what kind of deals you can find and the relative value of what you have.
    Last edited by NightShift; 04-05-12 at 05:40 PM. Reason: typo
    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    I talk to myself regularly - crazy is the technical term I believe. The only time I shut up is when I'm riding. (that's the best time to listen to all those voices in your head :D )

  9. #9
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    SRAM grip shifters can be had very cheap, but in my experience the cheapest way to get a decent crankset is to find a cheap bike with a decent compatible crankset. If you have removable chainrings (the sprockets that attach to the crank) you may be able to get a large chainring cheap (some folks on here might even give you one free, and you may have a bike coop near you that could spare one).
    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    I talk to myself regularly - crazy is the technical term I believe. The only time I shut up is when I'm riding. (that's the best time to listen to all those voices in your head :D )

  10. #10
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    I'll see if i can take some pics this weekend. It is fully rigid. I'm not sure if it feels tight or not, my back and wrist are tiered after our rides.

  11. #11
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    At the risk of sounding like a shill for BD, this is a great option for you. You can get a low cost 26er or 29er for less than you'll probably invest in parts to fix that old bike and at least be riding something that's maintenance free (for a while). If you pick wisely, maybe you get something that wil be a keeper, or you can resell locally to cut your losses if you decide you are not into it.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/mountain_bikes.htm

  12. #12
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    The decals and dropouts (where the wheel mounts to the frame) may help us figure out the vintage.
    Frame material and components will help us figure quality.
    A good picture or two of the cranks will hopefully be enough for us to know what parts and tools will be needed to fix your chainring problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    I talk to myself regularly - crazy is the technical term I believe. The only time I shut up is when I'm riding. (that's the best time to listen to all those voices in your head :D )

  13. #13
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    update!
    Sorry for the delayed response. We got some rebates in the mail so I elected to get a new bike from a local shop. I have trouble getting shifters in tune, so I thought this would make sure I have a well-assembled in tune bike. I ended up with a Raleigh Talus 5.0! I tried a couple and this one seemed to just click! It's AMAZING how much a difference a well fitting bike can make. I'm at 15-20 miles/wk and climbing.

    Thanks again for everyone's tips!

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