I've been riding a Specialized Hardrock that I scooped off of Craigslist last year. I've always been a budget buyer, and it's a very good bike for the price tag that I paid ($60). My guess is that the bike is a 1999 model. The bike is in overall good condition. I've been putting on good miles this spring - 75 to 100 a week in evening riding.
My previous bike was a GT and another specialized before that I loved. Through college, I gave up on riding, but now i've been back on the scene for my 2nd consecutive year. I did some moderate riding last year and has continued through this spring. I would always ride it hard, but my bikes were always in great shape.
I'm hitting a moment where I am not feeling "proud" of the bike that I ride. I still feel that this bike has plenty of mileage left in it, and there's no reason to jump ship if it's still running well. I'm not talking about upgrading this bike to XTR components, but I think the bike needs
1. Stem has deep scratches in it. These are not pride of hard riding, but "abuse" from the previous owner. This should be replaced. 15-60 dollars
2. Pedals need replaced - not ready to go clipless, so just your average metal mtb pedal. 20-40 dollars
3. Tires are starting to look as if they're getting cracks in the walls. Still holding strong, but worried about longevity especially as my rides get longer, and i'm in more remote areas. This seems to be from some of the weather that they were left in since the tread on the tires is still more than sufficient. 10-30 dollars a tire
4. Frame had severe chips in paint on the top tubing. This seems to be from a chain or lock possibly. Cost Unknown
5. Grip Shift still function, but also have deep scratches into the plastic.
I got some nail polish to patch up some of the blue spots where the paint was deeply chipped. However, the silver on the top of the bike seems to be a trouble area. There are no real matches that I can find to patch up these "holes". I thought about using a generally light color to patch the hole and put a decal onto the frame. Does anyone have any suggestions to how they manage this type of damage? Does the decal idea seem sufficient? I'm worried about rusting. I've already seen it begin in some of these spots.
Finally, is all of this worth it. This isn't a very high end bike, and the cost of all of these minor pieces will add up. Is it better to jump ship, and begin the shop for another bike? Will I see the benefits if I move to a newer 500 dollar mtb?
I've attached a generic picture of the bike, so everyone can visualize the items that i've described.
You'll get a nicer bike if you spend $500 new (been some good improvements since 99), and since you seem like a budget buyer (me too) that has ridden for a while you could probably find a really good used bike for that much that would be a significant step up. But if you're happy with your bike aside from the cosmetic changes, why not just fix it up and keep riding?
I used auto touch up paint on my old steel bike (lots of colour choices), and when i couldnt match i just used a clearcoat. Dings, scratches, gouges etc dont really concern me as long as everything works.
My girlfriend has that exact bike.
We changed out the bar and the saddle, but it's more or less as delivered. Mine is one model up (same year) and the only thing that's still stock on it is the seat post and the seatpost QR
Though mine has been retired from being the main offroader it's still my daily ride. They're good frames and will last forever with a bit of care. (Framesaver in the frame tubes to prevent rust) We've owned them since they were new, and (at least mine) will be in our quiver of bikes for years to come. I can't say the same for my aluminum trailbike.