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Old 08-22-08, 09:03 AM   #1
Red_Label
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Mtn biking noob [sort of] with gear questions...

Hi all. Apologies in advance for the long-winded post that follows.

I'm 40 years old and more or less haven't been mountain biking for seven years. So the other day I decide to get my 1999 Raleigh M-80 out of storage and get back on it. When I first bought it new I used to ride pretty hard. But due to many factors, I'd stopped since about 2001.

One of the factors was that I couldn't stand the handle bars. My wrists are trashed from years of punching the heavy bag in martial arts and the stock bars and ergos are hard on me. So I ran down to my local bike shop and bought a pair of 2" Woodman riser bars with the "fat" tube and also a very short FSA 4-bolt stem. That seems to have helped the feel of the bars for me a bit.

So now I'm contemplating which upgrades to get and in what order. I had put a pair of Avid 1.0 brake levers on this bike years ago, so I'm happy with those. But I am considering replacing those with an integrated pair of Shimano XT or XTR brake levers and shifters. Everything else is stock (pretty cheap).

Should I just go with XTR shifters/brake levers, brakes, cogs, etc? I'm thinking that I'd like to go with the best I can afford so as to make this bike last long. Would XT's be good enough? How big of a difference is there between them. Also, what should I replace my stock Jett C fork with that's reasonable in cost?

I'm not wanting to go too crazy with this project. Don't want to go with disk brakes or spend $500 on a new fork. I don't intend to race or ride downhill or anything like that. I just like tearing it up a bit on single-track when I'm on a bike. And this Raleigh frame seems like a good enough frame so as to be worth upgrading for me, especially considering the availability of good, used parts on Ebay and the cost of a decent new bike these days. I may buy a new bike gear more towards downhill later on, but would just as soon upgrade my Raleigh for hardtail duties.

Thanks in advance for your much-needed advice on this. The internet is a wonderful thing!
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Old 08-22-08, 09:19 AM   #2
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The thing with the XT XTR brake/shifters is I think (not positive) but they are set up for hydraulic brakes. You should keep your levers and just get some XT 9 speed shifters and a XT rear derailer. Also consider Sram drivetrain. X7 or X9 is also good but any way you go you should go nine speed. As for a fork a Tora is a good option. It's a solid XC fork for in the $200-300 range.
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Old 08-22-08, 09:41 AM   #3
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Thanks jcook. Do I have to upgrade hubs and everything else to go 9-speed? I've been looking at used 8-speed Shimano and SRAM components on Ebay thus far, so I could just upgrade my components one at a time if need be. I'm seeing some nice SRAM rear cogs. Are those good, long-lasting cogs? Also, I suppose that since I'm doing this, I should upgrade my chain as well. I don't need to upgrade my chain and rear cog right now, but I do see some wear and figure that I might as well do it since I'm in the mood to work on my bike right now.

I was poking around a local pawn shop for bikes and stumbled on a 2007 Trek 3700 in flat black that I liked. So I was tempted to get that bike and upgrade it over time and have two bikes so I could always be working on one and riding the other (cause I hate it when I want to use one of my toys but can't because I'm doing maintenance on it). But anyways... I got to checking and it doesn't look like the Trek is even in the same league as my bike (at least based on it's new selling price). So that's why I was thinking that I should just upgrade most of the parts on my Raleigh and do that route instead.

The shifters are definitely something I'd like to upgrade soon. And I've read that the Jett C is not highly regarded by riders. I don't hate it, but I don't know enough to hate it I guess. I will definitely look into the fork you are recommending. I had been looking at some used Judy forks on Ebay.
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Old 08-22-08, 09:45 AM   #4
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Forget the bike. Spend the money on Blue Label instead of Red Label, and I assure you, you will be pleased.
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