NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS!
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: From Sarasota, FL sitting in front of a computer spewing random thoughts!
Bikes: Intense Uzzi SL, Masi Speciale, Trek 3700 Nashbar Single Speed, Old Cilo Road frame
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Forget about the chain. If the link was stretched, have the shop replace it under warranty. As far as it being noisy, that is usually due to improper tension on the shifter cables.
The bike is more of a comfort bike vs. a mountain bike. Great for commuting around school, which is why I presume you purchased this bike.
If you plan on taking this bike off the pavement an onto some trails, you kinda bought the wrong bike.
If it's going to stay on the pavement and some ultra light off road, then it's the right bike for you.
As far as upgrading. I'd start with your "touch points" the areas that are very specific for each individual rider.
The saddle (seat) is a big one. Everyone's butt is a bit different. It takes a lot of trial and error to find a saddle that is really really comfortable. This however is a new rider's nemisis. If you haven't ridden in awhile, ANY saddle is going to hurt. You need to tone your butt muscles to get used to riding a bike again. This usually takes a week or so of regular riding. After that, your butt doesn't hurt as much.
Other touch points include the grips which really make a big difference in the "feel" of the bike. Stock grips are usually the cheapest crap that the manufacturers can find to stick on new bikes. Grips come in different diameters and durometers (hardness) and materials (rubber, cork, foam).
If you've got smaller hands, stick to a smaller diameter grip.
Personally, I like ODI lock-ons, in the ROGUE model. I've tried the Ruffian's, but prefer the squishier (sp?) Rogue model. The YETI ones are also very comfy. www.odigrips.com
You are already getting new pedals, so that's the last touch point.
Other things to consider are new shorts, gloves, jerysey, shoes.
You DO have a helmet right? If not get one! I've been hit by a car three times and have had too many other crashes where I've banged my head to NOT be an advocate for helmet use.
Other things are a saddle bag to hold a mini-tool, tire patches, spare tube, some change and such things.
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
"Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger