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!