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Old 05-27-03, 11:40 AM   #1
McGuillicuddy
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Upgrading components

I'm a bit of a newb but I'm getting into off-road riding more and more. My question is, is it every really worthwhile to significantly upgrade your ride?

Here's my scenario: I bought a Rocky Mountain Fusion ($800 Canadian) last year because it has a great frame for the money (Easton Elite Aluminum) and entry-level components, figuring that I could upgrade components as I go. Now I find that it's just not worthwhile to upgrade to better components because if I take the money I was going to use to upgrade, add to that what I can sell my current ride for, I can turn around and buy a new bike which is altogether better.

For example, to either go to disc brakes, or to upgrade from 8-speed AceraX to 9-speed LX/XT will likely cost me about $500. I can probably sell my bike for around $500. For $1000 I could probably buy a bike with the upgrades I want with a better fork and just generally a better bike.

So is it every really worthwhile to upgrade components or are you just wasting money when for the same money out-of-pocket you can just get a better bike?

Sorry for being so long-winded
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Old 05-27-03, 11:48 AM   #2
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Yes and no. I would upgrade your components as they wear out or break. For example, I picked up a stick and it got wedged in between the jockey pulleys of my ESP 9.0 rear derailleur. It literally ripped the derailleur off my bike. To replace it, I bought a newer 9.0 SL for only a few dollars more. Same scenario when I tacoed my stock Sun DS-1 rim. I upgraded to a Mavic D521 rim.

To do a wholesale upgrade of components or switching to discs, you are correct. It would be more economical to sell your bike and buy new!

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Old 05-27-03, 12:07 PM   #3
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Wow. Nice job on the lightning fast response

I would have to agree, that (upgrading as you break stuff) does seem to be the most reasonable way to go. The problem arises, however, when I break something that is 8-speed specific (e.g. shifter/lever, cranks/chain rings etc.). When that happens, I either sink more money into 8-speed replacement parts, or I do a wholesale conversion to 9-speed, which costs mucho $$ and brings me back to my original dilemna.
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Old 05-27-03, 12:19 PM   #4
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Agreed, switching from 8 to 9 speed components does get costly. The thing to remember, there is no difference with regards to the rear derailleur. An 8 will work with 9. There is a slight difference in the front derailleur. A 9 is slightly more narrow than an 8. I've used each back and forth and will work, just not as well as the appropriate derailleur. i.e., I've used an 8 F-der in 9-groupo, and also a 9 F-der in an 8-groupo. It's not optimum, but it'll work!

The Rear Shifters will give you a problem, b/c that's what dictates the amount of cable pull for each shift. The front is the same for 8 or 9.

Chains and chainrings will also be your nemisis. You can use an 8 speed chain on 9 speed rings, but not the other way around.

Arrgggghhh, this is getting complicated. If you want to upgrade to 9 speed get a new bike!
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Old 05-27-03, 12:24 PM   #5
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I just had this same dilema last week. I was looking into upgrading my 7-speed (Gary Fisher 98) to a 8-speed and new fork, at the least. But for just $250 more I got a whole new bike with even better components, plus a 9-speed. The majority of the components were better than my husband's $850 Stumpjumper, to our surprise. (It's a Diamondback Apex, I don't race so it's perfect for my level of riding, and a great deal from the bike shop I got it at.) The geometry of the frame is even better than my old bike. I'm happy with my purchase.

I opted to sell my old Gary Fisher. But realistically I'd get about $250 for it. So I've kept it, and now it has slick tires, a bike pannier rack and it's my commuter bike.
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Old 05-27-03, 12:26 PM   #6
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New bike!
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Old 05-27-03, 12:38 PM   #7
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Keep the frame...get discs though...i like upgrading stuff...but that is just me...
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Old 05-27-03, 01:20 PM   #8
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I thought for a while I was in the same situation as you McGuillicuddy... I own a 02 Trailhead, quite close to the Fusion differences being fork, shifters, crank and perhaps a couple of others. For a while I was all hung up and replacing just about everything, main reason being I was being left in the dust by top local riders. I had it all speced, XT everything, Deore hydros, Mavic 223 rims, MXComp ETA fork, RF stem, bar and cranks, etc etc etc.

Then last week something cool happened... I had my best race thus far. I was tearing up the course, leaving riders on high $ bikes in my wake. Ended up finishing first in the middle lap category! Suddenly I don't need lots of high buck components, only more training! With that in mind I still want the Marz fork and would like to add the RF stem, bar and crank (because they look cool). Other than that I'm happy with what I've got.

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Old 05-27-03, 02:06 PM   #9
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You don't need high end components to compete. That is training. But some things help. Wheels and a good fork were my saviour for speed and confidence. I don't seem to have issues shifting with LX level stuff (heck even deore)
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