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  1. #1
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    MTB Experts: Is upgrading my bike worth it

    Well this is the thing

    I have a Rocky Mountain Hammer (1997) 19.5 inch frame

    2 years ago I did the following

    Put on

    RS Judy XC Long travel shocks
    Shimano LX Quickfire brake leaver/shifter
    Rino Rims/raptor WTB Rear tire
    New Saddle
    Cheap Crank/sproket

    The frame, although scratched is in good condition. I want to get back into mountain biking since im now back in the country, but the gears skip like their is no tomorrow, and i put a cheap sproket which is fading quickly, and the derailers i think have had it too, crank is also warped

    Is it worth Butting a new Derailer/crank/sprocket set on this, and if so, is LX (what it originaly had) worth spending on this bike?

  2. #2
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    On a 97? Nope. You'd be better off just biting the bullet and getting a new one.

  3. #3
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    Oh yeah?

    The thing is, i dont want to spend another 1600 bucks (Cnd what i paid in 97) for a bike. And the bikes i have seen in the price range I want to spend (about 500 cnd) Dont seem to compare to my bike if I rebuilt the components?

    Im a big guy, and abuse the bike quite a bit, thats why i am affraid a 500 dollar bike wont hold up??

  4. #4
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canuck_2005
    Oh yeah?

    The thing is, i dont want to spend another 1600 bucks (Cnd what i paid in 97) for a bike. And the bikes i have seen in the price range I want to spend (about 500 cnd) Dont seem to compare to my bike if I rebuilt the components?

    Im a big guy, and abuse the bike quite a bit, thats why i am affraid a 500 dollar bike wont hold up??
    You asked my opinion. The frame you have is 8 years old it's time to move on. You can upgrade the components all you want, but it's STILL 8 years old. Even a $500 bike would be more worth it to upgrade than what you have. Believe me a Judy is nothing special, Rhynolites are $120 laced to XT disc and LX is simply bang for the buck. It's not like you have Paola Pezzo's Golden Gary Fisher or something here (if you did it should be on a wall). Move on

  5. #5
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    What sort of bike would you suggest?

  6. #6
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Look through the $500 MTB thread even the last couple of pages will give you ideas

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canuck_2005
    The frame, although scratched is in good condition. I want to get back into mountain biking since im now back in the country, but the gears skip like their is no tomorrow, and i put a cheap sproket which is fading quickly, and the derailers i think have had it too, crank is also warped

    Is it worth Butting a new Derailer/crank/sprocket set on this, and if so, is LX (what it originaly had) worth spending on this bike?
    I personally don't see an advantage of a new hardtail frame unless yours is very heavy or it doesn't fit well. When I started to ride a lot, I spent something like $400 on my $ 700 mountain bike to get it the way I wanted. Same with the wife's bike. I only got a new ATB when I went to full suspension. Even then, I spent $600 to upgrade the new $1600 (list) bike which I bought discounted to 1200. I also transferred a lot of good stuff i had on the hardtail to the new bike.

    When I realized that I would have to pay a lot to change any new road bike to get one the way I wanted, I decided to just get a frame set and build it myself. Did I save any money? I doubt it, but I do have exactly what I want.
    I also upgraded my ability to work on my bikes.

    Take a look at Race Face cranksets and SRAM cassettes. Good stuff for less money than LX. SRAM chains are the way to go.

    Al
    Last edited by Al.canoe; 05-17-05 at 06:27 AM.

  8. #8
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    Don't ditch a Hammer for a $500 bike! A steel Rocky or Kona is a slick bike that deserves another chance to hit the trails, it's so much nicer to ride than a $500 aluminum bone crusher. Any shifting issues can be quickly ironed out by your LBS for a few bucks. Worst case, you need new deraillers, cassette, chain and chain rings. Go with a mix of a bunch of LX level gear and you'll have a bike that shifts like new for a couple of hundred bucks. If the crank is screwed and not just the rings, you can get a new Deore crank with BB for just over $100.

    Keep that Hammer going! It's totally worth keeping a quality frame going, much more so than going with a 'throw away' $500 bike.

  9. #9
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    1990's steel hardtails can last an ungodly long time. They do tend to get a little soft over the miles, so it will depend on how much it has been ridden. But I know of a guy who has put over 30,000 km's on a 1995 steel frameset, and there is really nothing wrong with it other than aesthetic issues.

    Restrict upgrades to stuff that isn't frame-specific (don't spend much on an odd-sized seatpost for instance) and you can transfer the higher-end parts over to the new frame when you are bitten by the new-bike bug.

  10. #10
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    I have the same problem/question. I have a 97 RM Caridac (basically the same frame as the Hammer), and am considering upgrading it. It is an excellent frame, and both the Hammer and Caridac frames are very similar to the current RM Hammer. Seems to me that there is little reason to through out such good frames. They can't be upgraded to disk brakes, and a long travel fork with out upsetting the frame geometry a bit. But other than that, if one wants a cromoly frame - why not upgrade?

  11. #11
    Ski and Canoe
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    Canuck 2005 - did you find putting the long travel shock on your Hammer affected the frame geometry, and therefore steering? Thanks

  12. #12
    Light Makes Right GV27's Avatar
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    Anything older than 2 years is junk. You'd be better off buying a $100 bike from Wal-Mart.

    Really, people act like bike technology is like computer technology and doubles every year. It's just not so! In fact I'd say it advances VERY slowly. Especially in the area of hardtail frames. Fancy shapes and gimmicks have come and gone but a high-end hardtail still looks basically the same as it did 20 years ago. - two triangles.

    Don't listen to anyone who tells you your bike is trash because it's 8 years old - mine's 4 years older than that and is an excellent bike. I doubt you'll find any XC bikes that are significantly lighter or stiffer than my old bike without spending many thousands (of course that's what mine cost new....). I've modernized components as they wore out or broke over the years and the frame is still light, stiff and strong. Eventually it probably will start to crack, then I'll just buy a new frame and put my old parts on it. I just can't find any reason to throw out perfectly good parts and buy a whole new bike. Especially not in your case (or mine) where you have a damn nice frame with nice parts to be replaced by a cheapo "new" bike.

    A lot of people have the "new" disease. Just look at parts - with most things you could buy "last year's" part for half or less than "this year's" nearly identical part. There just isn't that much difference.

    But then I feel the same way about new houses and new cars.
    Last edited by GV27; 05-17-05 at 10:09 AM.

  13. #13
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    Easy with the big long forks on older bikes. They are basically longer levers for breaking off the head tube, even if they are single-crowns. Found that one out the hard way.

    It's no accident pretty much every bike since '00 has had a gigantic rectangular head tube junction. If freeriding, rather than XC riding, is the agenda, you really will need a new bike.

  14. #14
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    This thread is interesting for me, since i'm getting back into biking, and i have a much upgradede 1993 Specialized Stumpjumper. Again, a very nice high quality 1990's Tange Prestige steel frame that i love. But i'm tempted by suspension.. front and back.

    I've considered putting a suspension fork on this frame, but it would mess up the geometry, i think.

    (sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread or anything)

  15. #15
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GV27
    Really, people act like bike technology is like computer technology and doubles every year. It's just not so! In fact I'd say it advances VERY slowly. Especially in the area of hardtail frames. Fancy shapes and gimmicks have come and gone but a high-end hardtail still looks basically the same as it did 20 years ago. - two triangles.
    Except for the fact that the older frames were designed around MUCH shorter forks than what is common today
    Quote Originally Posted by GV27
    Don't listen to anyone who tells you your bike is trash because it's 8 years old - mine's 4 years older than that and is an excellent bike.
    It may be an excellent bike but it's not worth upgrading with a new fork etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by GV27
    I just can't find any reason to throw out perfectly good parts and buy a whole new bike. Especially not in your case (or mine) where you have a damn nice frame with nice parts to be replaced by a cheapo "new" bike.
    Nobody said to throw it out. It would make a perfectly good tooling around bike. Even a "cheapo" bike will out perform a 8,9,10 year old bike and will be worthwhile to upgrade.
    Quote Originally Posted by GV27
    A lot of people have the "new" disease. Just look at parts - with most things you could buy "last year's" part for half or less than "this year's" nearly identical part. There just isn't that much difference.
    I do this all the time, however advances are made that do make old stuff less availiable and or obsolete. For example how many higher end MTB's do you see with square taper bottom brackets and centerpull cantilevers any more.

  16. #16
    THIS BIKE'S 4 U !!!! Killer B's Avatar
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    Frames made before 2000 won't be ISO compatible for disc brakes, if you so choose to add them sometime..... That alone would tell me not to upgrade that heap. No offense.

    I have a bike downstairs in the same predicament. I doubt I'll ever ride it again, but I still hold on to it for some reason....

  17. #17
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    Ok well I took my bike into the local shop today

    Although my paint is scrated, and stickers are ripped up (which i think ads character), All the bikes I saw around the 500-800 dollar range were really bulky and I wasnt impressed at all, the ones from 800-1000 still didnt have the same quality componets that i could put on my bike for much less, and to tell you the truth, i perered my frame to all those ones as well.

    After talking to you guys nd visiting a few shops, I think that I still have quite a few seasons left, and aside from disk brakes, Upgrading will be a much better choice then a new sub $1000 dollar bike

    The shop is going to do what they need to do to bring my bike back up to par, First they are going to do a complete tune up and then tackle one issue at a time, they figure worst case senario it will be about 300 bucks to replace everything, but first they are just starting with the chain


    Thanks for all the help

  18. #18
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    I wouldn't worry about disc brakes. They are nice to have, but really are better only on steep mountain trails. V's do fine in the mountains too.

    Al

  19. #19
    Too Much Crazy C Law's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canuck_2005
    The shop is going to do what they need to do to bring my bike back up to par, First they are going to do a complete tune up and then tackle one issue at a time, they figure worst case senario it will be about 300 bucks to replace everything, but first they are just starting with the chain


    Thanks for all the help
    Well

    putting a new chain on badly worn rear sprocket and warped front crank and (possibly) chainring is ill advised. The front rings and rear cogs are already worn and the new chain will wear irregularly and cause slow shifting, skipping, and the like.

    If you are replacing the chain, replace the rear cassette and front crankset, in my opinion. Since you have two years worth of wear I think that is your best option. That will let everything wear evenly and you will have better shifting.

    Granted your LBS knows the condition of your drivetrain better than me, but you if you plan on getting new derailers, cassette and crankset/bb anyway (sounds like you do )I would do it all in one shot (money permitting).

  20. #20
    Ride it, don't fondle it! Wheel Doctor's Avatar
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    If it makes you happy and you ride it. Up grade it. Too often that new bike is not liked as much as the old one. I have had a series of bikes that don't measure up to my old trusted steed. I'm glad that I still have it. You might want to keep it. There are nice non Shimano cranksets available and if you hunt around there are LX and XT deraileurs available at good prices. Whole lot cheaper than the new bike.

  21. #21
    Light Makes Right GV27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Even a "cheapo" bike will out perform a 8,9,10 year old bike and will be worthwhile to upgrade.
    Could you be specific? In what way would it "out perform"? Now I'm talking an XC rig. Downhill, yeah - downhill specific bikes were brand new when I bought my frame. But XC? Sure parts have changed a little - but I've been through a lot of parts in the 12 years I've been riding my current frame. It's not like I'm still riding a complete 12-year-old Gruppo.

    I just put my third set of cranks on it - the new XT Hollowtech II - and my ancient shifter/lever combos are finally worn out so I'll be replacing them and converting it to 9-Speed w/ V-brakes at the same time next winter. My XTR rear D is probably 5 years old now and pretty worked. I can't see anything wrong with the 12-year-old XT front D though. It's got pretty new XTR hubs on it - the rear must be 4 years old now? The front is a year old and I think the third hub that's been on the bike. I just put a new fork on it that starts out 1/2" longer than the original but has the option to actually go 1/4" shorter.

    Maybe if I bought a new frame I MIGHT save half a pound. Maybe. And I might gain a little stiffness - my frame must have gotten softened up a bit over the years. But it was pretty damn light and stiff new. The bike cost me something around $3000 to build up originally and I've always used high-end replacement parts. I just can't see where going out and buying a whole sub-$1000 bike wouldn't be a big step down. Now if I went and bought a new $1000 frame I can see that being a big improvement. I know I'll have to that eventually.

    Now, Canuck_2005's rig isn't as high-end as mine, but it sounds like he's got a good bike that he likes it. Putting $300 into it 8 years down the line doesn't sound like a bad deal to me.

    C

  22. #22
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    I'm with you guys in upgrading older frames. I recently upgraded my son's circa '97 Trek Z7000 with parts I had around the shop. I now has a Marzocchi Z3, XT brake/shifter pods, XTR rim brakes, rear derailleur and Hubs/wheels, XT hollow tech crank set, etc. The bike feels so good, I am not returning it to him. I'll let him borrow it for rides with me.

  23. #23
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    For those of you who upgrade a mid-late 90's bike to suspension forks. Did it affect your geometry and steering very much? How long a travel forks did you put on?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    You asked my opinion. The frame you have is 8 years old it's time to move on. You can upgrade the components all you want, but it's STILL 8 years old. Even a $500 bike would be more worth it to upgrade than what you have. Believe me a Judy is nothing special, Rhynolites are $120 laced to XT disc and LX is simply bang for the buck. It's not like you have Paola Pezzo's Golden Gary Fisher or something here (if you did it should be on a wall). Move on
    I bought a one year old used ATB last year that listed new for $480. The levers, brakes/pads, cassette gearing, seat, rear derailleur, tires, bars, pedals, fork and grips were junk. My old 7 yr old hard tail is so much better. I replaced all the junk stuff with parts I had on hand plus some new ones and gave the bike to my grandson. I took the old fork from my hardtail (Rocschox Judy Hydracoil), the newer on was so flexible the bike steered you. It also had zero damping. The lbs said that most cheap forks come that way.

    The replacment parts reduced the weight by around 6 pounds.

    Al

  25. #25
    Light Makes Right GV27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitewater
    For those of you who upgrade a mid-late 90's bike to suspension forks. Did it affect your geometry and steering very much? How long a travel forks did you put on?
    As long as you don't go for a bunch of travel you should be fine. Most of the frames from that era were designed with suspension in mind and then equipped with a rigid fork for a lower-priced model. Remember though, they had like 60mm of travel in mind, not 160mm!

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