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Old 01-24-10, 11:06 PM   #1
lukathonic
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Upgrade old mountain bike or buy new?

I just destroyed the back wheel on my '96 Norco Team Issue. (high quality bike in its time ... now losing a few teeth) It is a nice bike - it handles really well and the frame is very high quality, but this is yet another thing on my list of necessary upgrades. Here's what it needs:

New front fork - the old marzochi is leaking like crazy and wasn't that great to start with. Candidates include the Tora 308 and Dart 3.
Rear derailleur - this one just got destroyed along with the back wheel and a dozen spokes
Back wheel - The whole thing is trashed. BTW, have you ever had spokes tear right out of the rim before? Once the first one ripped out the others all followed suit. Having seen how it blew, I would replace both wheels before I get a repeat on the front.

It could probably also use a whole new set of cables and a thorough tuneup.

The brakes are great. One other improvement would be a step up from 7 to 8 speeds. Sometimes I top out on the roads ...

I could upgrade all this for maybe 300-400.

OR ... I could look at a new bike. My suspicion is that any bike I would get in the range of 500-800 would not compare with my old bike in many ways.

What do you think? Upgrade/fix the old bike or get an entry/mid level mountain bike?
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Old 01-25-10, 08:16 AM   #2
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new. it's time!
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Old 01-25-10, 08:41 AM   #3
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If you really like the bike that you have, I would do the fix/replace/upgrade- then start saving up for a full suspension bike.

I say this because this is pretty much what I did myself. I have a Parkpre team 925 that I really love riding. Of course I have replaced everything on this bike over time as things wore out/got trashed. When it came time to upgrade the 7-speed drivetrain (about 4 years ago!), I jumped right to 9-speed. 8-speed is gonna be a bit difficult to find since the predominant stuff is 9 these days. Do the 9-speed unless you already have the 8 lined up.

On the fork choice, I would do the Tora waaay before any Dart, considerably better fork.

Once you have this hardtail back up and running, it will be time to start thinking about the full suspension bike in your future!

PS- You'll want more opinions than just mine, so stay tuned here.
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Old 01-25-10, 09:15 AM   #4
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another bike is in your future but based on what you wrote - rebuild for now then revisit the options next year
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Old 01-25-10, 12:15 PM   #5
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Agreed, rebuild as a 9 speed then save for new.

If you don't already have a "town bike" I would go for a rigid fork. That would save you a ton of money toward new bike, and will be more efficient on roads. After all, you did say "I top out on roads." As far as wheels go, I wouldn't spend a ton on them. Matrix 550s seem to be plenty strong enough for XC and dont' go for that much money.
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Old 01-25-10, 12:20 PM   #6
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of course - you can always do what many of us have done ... fix this one up AND buy a new bike! :-) just be sure the new one is a different kind of animal. no sense in having 2 MTBs or 2 road bikes ... right? :-)
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Old 01-25-10, 12:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluetrane2028 View Post
Agreed, rebuild as a 9 speed then save for new.

If you don't already have a "town bike" I would go for a rigid fork. That would save you a ton of money toward new bike, and will be more efficient on roads. After all, you did say "I top out on roads." As far as wheels go, I wouldn't spend a ton on them. Matrix 550s seem to be plenty strong enough for XC and dont' go for that much money.
Agree about setting it up as a Road bike- but Wheels-----

Cheap crappy wheels will always be cheap crappy wheels and give you problems. No need to go high end either but there is a minimum that is recognised. LX hubs mated to a Mavic rim that is suitable for your weight and riding. I personally go for XT hubs with 36 spokes to lightweight Mavic rim as I am lighweight and mainly do XC riding. Probably have to be hand built but choose the builder and they are not expensive.

And if they are better than the ones that come with the new bike- then they can be swopped over easily.
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Old 01-25-10, 12:28 PM   #8
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I was thinking more of "get this one back running, get it good enough for roads and get him as much money saved for new bike"

But, I do agree that cheap wheels are always cheap wheels in the end just like any other part. However, you gotta figure the trickle down of technology from 1996 to now will make just about any factory wheel better than what he had, unless it was a high end race bike.

YMMV, but I know a local wheelbuilder that feels the 550 is about as good as you can find in a factory wheel. He's been at it for a LONG time.
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Old 01-25-10, 09:52 PM   #9
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I would recommend that you fix up the current bike & save for a full suspension MTB. I just put new XC wheels, right shifter/brake, 8 speed gears & crank on my old MTB for $300. I bought the wheels 50% off, 75% off for the shifter/brake, 15% off the 8 speed cog, & 35% off the crank. Yeah 8 speed is old tech, but you are saving for a new bike so minimize the cost of the upgrades and save for the new bike. When you get that new bike then you could convert your old MTB to a commuter with just some new tires.
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