Greetings Everyone & Happy Monday! Big Question
I'm Brian 30 y/o Accountant/Audtior realtively new to the Chapel Hill Area of North Carolina. I'm looking to get back in after a near 12 yr hiatus. Raised in MA, Summers with Grandparents in NH; then I met my wife sophomore Yr Undergrad in VT. We moved back to Rhode Island, so she could get her Masters in Public Health, I would insane hours as an Auditor with a territory that included all of NE & NY. Then wife got into med school VT, I was lucky enough to find a really high paying job for a 25 yr/old in VT (I was able to pay her tuition!) actually heading a major division of State Government. Then 2.2 Yrs ago, the Algorithm that does the "matching" placed her here in NC for her 5 yr Surgical Residency.
So, due to the winters; her hours. The fact that cycling in VT is dangerous (winding mountainout); plus the weather, namley week long -30 stretches in Winter, the extremely steep hill I lived on (the who city was on), and finally my friends and colleagues didn't ride and wife was studying.
I scored big on my first bike, a Green GT-Timberline-solid fork, brand new for $150. Except of course it was at this warehouse store that sold irregulars, seconds, and insurance lots. This was the latter, Victims of Sprinklers/Fire Hoses etc; and it was the best one of out 50 that we looked over. Got it to my friens house; everything was horribly rusty; handle bar snaped the first day (rotted from inside out. We fixed everything. I had STX-RC Derailers, LX Shifters-It was awesome! Until someone stole it out of a friends garage (Only crime ever committed in my home town). My friends all had XT (One had all XTR-A SumpJumper; poor bt worked a lot he actual cracked the frame and got a new one; which he used to but his firest car). It was not bad for someone acustomed to building and riding monsters made out of the 12 different junk bikes my friends and I had built as a hobby-contstantly; 12-16.5 every PM when there was school, all-day everyday all summer and weekends. Of course actual rides. We didn't have internet access and I owning a P.O.S. snowmobile in NH w/studs; We always rod on the snow, even more on a ponds where even on the slickest ice you never had a problem unless you tried to slow, brake, or turn. After 2 weeks and all of everone's father's screws, washer, duck tape (my dad copper foil); we pulled it off. I paid my way through school and childhood except the Christmas after I got my license; I recieved a red Trek 830 (in lieu of a car).
Took the red trek to college; liked the look and feel, hated the Alivo derailers and grip shift. Although I locked it up, it and every over remotedly decent bike were stolen within the 1st moth of freshamn yr. It was the Bick Pen "trick".
So I, who work's very close to Duke, Did daily driveby's of what the Kids were throwing out (did well-solid cherry coffee table, TV for home office, brand new "Ionic Breeze" in Bos,etc. But my greatest find (and I know they are crappy-but I just bought my new house) were a Trek 4300-Silver and Blue w/ a Gila G-5 Fork, and a Specialized Hard Rock-Greyish Silver-Gila T4 (2002-2005?). The former was in rough shape particularly the fork, the later looks good but has non-branded everying but ACERA Rear Dereailer. The Trek has Alivio rear and unbranded a top pull front.
I managed to completely disassemble both and (one of my clients is a gunsmith) put them in a 2000 gallon tank of Kerosene for 1 week (everything but frames); everything is 1000% better but the T-5 and more importantly the derailers present an issue.
The T-5: I had to use a wirebrush on a grinding wheel to clean up the "stearing tubes" concerned about damage to upper shock gasket.
Both rear derailers (Alivo Forward Gear, Acera Rear Gear) are completely dichomatic in condition of teeth; one on Each 95%, the other being unusalble.
The Front are just cheap. Cranks and everything else look great.
My question is-I intended to use my bike daily on this 100 mile bike trail behind my house, my wife on weekends. If I'm sucessful finding a little to no cost solution; I may be able to get a nice road bike for christmas.
I've honestly been to every bike shop 15+ with a 40 mile radious. No one sells used parts. There's none on ebay-that aren't rediculous (or rediculous for these frames). I've looked on this sight-no luck. Nothing on craigslist.
What year did they start the 8 speed cassetts? Do they over-lap the STX/STX-RC that I was fond of? I love the feel of true rapid fire (and like turning it more); I would really enjoy that set-up.
Is there some secret auction site where people put there comparitive "junk"?
What is the deal with Gila?
Thank you so much for your advise, and help.
*How can I find out how many links I am supposed to have on my new chains. I think the old ones were altered.