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  1. #1
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    Fix up old bike or buy new?

    Hi,

    Complete newbie here (though I did ride bikes as a kid quite a lot).

    I want to start biking again, maybe 2x per week on average, just on the trails that are in my area. I suspect some of the trails are paved, others are gravel. Nothing too crazy.

    As you may have guessed, I already have a Phoenix Boulder mountain bike. This was purchased 25ish years ago and was never ridden much. It has spent most of it's life (and certainly the last 17-20 years) in the basement, safely away from any elements and wear and tear. But that's not necessarily a good thing...I imagine it needs some work to get it back in shape. A tune up, new tires, new brakes, and then some. Going by a price list at one bike shop, I figure this could be $300, possibly more.

    For that amount I could buy a new bike. But does $300 buy a lot of bike nowadays? I can see that specialty bike shops tend to sell more expensive bikes, and that for $300 I'd have to go to a general sporting good store and purchase a brand like Reebok, CCM, or Schwinn. Is it possible that these brands make good bikes? I'm not even sure how good my bike is, but I know it was bought at a bike store and so I assume it's decent.

    Any guidance you guys can offer is appreciated. If I keep my current bike, should I ask to get certain things done to it, or is it best to like the bike shop either go to town on it or give it a thorough inspection and then recommend service based on that?

    My bike is the same model as this one: http://www.policeauctionscanada.com/...&aunbr=6853267

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    Are you serious? If the tubes don't hold air, get new ones. Watch a youtube video if you're not sure how to change a tube. The tires should be roadworthy unless dry-rotted to where there are big cracks or holes.

    Test the brakes. If they grab, good enough. Very old brake pads do get hard and have little friction. If you need new ones, that's under $20 and you can install those yourself with ease. Lube the chain.


    Then start riding. If you're riding paths 2x a week, what you have is more than fine. When you find yourself riding a lot and wanting a new bike, then get one.

  3. #3
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    Okay then, I seem to be making things more complicated than they actually are. I thought all that time would have more of an effect on the bike, but I guess not. Brakes, tires, tubes, chain. I will do those things and then see how it goes. I've watched a few YT vids and it all seems pretty simple to do the work myself.

    Thanks for the help, I appreciate it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mr,grumpy's Avatar
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    I'm kinda going through the same thing myself right now. I need cables, pads, probably housings, a FULL tune up (the kind that's a PITA to DIY) and probably a bottom bracket. THAT my friend is adding up. Probably 150-200 bucks. Now factor that if I (we) buy new bikes we not only dont have to pay for a tune up (70 bucks or so) but our NEXT one will (generally) be free as well. ($140). Factor in whatever you can get in trade or frome selling the old bike ($50-100 or more) and now you are saving $250ish just on tune-ups. Add in the cost of the other parts and bits and bobs (not including tires if you need them which can be another $100 or more for good ones) and you are well into the 300-400 range. For an extra hundred bucks or so you get a brand new bike with modern technology and components. It's tempting isn't it?
    "I'm built like a marine mammal. I love the cold! "-Cosmoline
    "MTBing is cheap compared to any motorsport I've done. It's very expensive compared to jogging."-ColinL
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  5. #5
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    Yup. Before reading your post I was actually just running through the costs of fixing up my bike...tubes, tires, brake pads. I'm not even sure what a tune up involves yet (remember, I am a total newbie). If I was to buy a new bike I was thinking of getting a Reebok (inexpensive), however reading online suggests that is not the way to go (I kind of had an inkling that going to a proper bike store would be the right move). So if I buy I'll spend slightly more to get an entry level Trek.

    But, I don't want to waste money needlessly. So first thing is that I want to determine whether my bike is actually a good fit for me. If it is I might try it first, and if I really get into riding then I can buy something. But you know, if $300-400 really is an accurate estimate of getting my bike road ready, then I'm just going to buy a new bike. A Trek 7100 is $340; a 3500 is $450. I dig the shocks, something my bike does not have. However, Colin's post above suggests that the cost of getting my bike road ready doesn't need to be this high.
    Last edited by Phoenix Boulder; 07-25-13 at 12:16 AM.

  6. #6
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Boulder View Post
    However, Colin's post above suggests that the cost of getting my bike road ready doesn't need to be this high.
    Correct. If you can't get your old MTB running with new tubes, chain lube and maybe brake pads then DO NOT spend more and instead get a cheap new or used bike.

  7. #7
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Fix your current bike. It's your least wasteful option at your budget and with your riding requirements.

    Pump up the tires and post a sideways photo of you on the bike (after having adjusted the seatpost height). That'll tell you whether you fit.

    Next, replace only the front brake pads for starters. That's easily done.

    Then lubricate and wipe the chain. Lubricate the derailleur pivots, and brake caliper pivots.

    Begin riding. As mechanical issues arise, then fix them one at a time. You can replace cables over the winter while weather and darkness give you time.

    You don't need a suspension fork for the riding that you've proposed.

    Good luck. PG

  8. #8
    Senior Member mr,grumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    Correct. If you can't get your old MTB running with new tubes, chain lube and maybe brake pads then DO NOT spend more and instead get a cheap new or used bike.
    Unless he needs to take the hubs/BB/Headset apart and grease the bearings (it was kept in the basement). Then he needs a bunch of special tools and to figure out how to do all that and possably replace some or all of those parts. I don't think he knows how to do that. I DO know how and would gladly pay the kid in the LBS the $70 to do it for me! I'd be shocked it he weren't throwing good money after bad on this thing.... BUT... there certainly a lot of really great "barn finds" out there and his bike could be one of them. You might be 100% right! Not being able to inspect the bike in question, I can't tell. What I would hate to see is him nickel and dimeing himself through $80, 90 100 or more, still not having the bike function correctly (or maybe even not safely) and have him NOT be able to afford to buy a new bike at that point and get discouraged and walk away from the sport/hobby/lifestyle.
    "I'm built like a marine mammal. I love the cold! "-Cosmoline
    "MTBing is cheap compared to any motorsport I've done. It's very expensive compared to jogging."-ColinL
    Rides:
    1999-ish Diamondback Sorrento (I'm not Dead Yet! I feal happy. I think I'll go for a walk!)
    1980ish Raleigh Marathon (Vintage Steel)
    2007 Gary Fisher Advance (giving the Sorrento a break)
    2006 Trek 820 (Captain Amazing)
    2010 Specialized Tricross (Back in Black)


    My little bike blog.

  9. #9
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    Unless it is rusted out, he can easily ride it with whatever carnage time has inflicted on the bearings and chain for at least 100-200 miles. Bare minimum.

    And by that time he'll know if he's riding enough to warrant a new bike, or fixing the current one.

  10. #10
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    If you need to depend on your LBS for your needs, you may want to reconsider $300 as your budget. Most shops work on the $400 entry level price point. before I spent anything, I would do as suggested and pump up your tires, lube the chain, and test out the bike. You may find that the riding position, seat, etc. isn't as comfortable as it was to you 25 years ago. If that's the case, don't spend a dime on it, buy a new bike more suited to you. If you are comfortable, take a bunch of detailed pictures of the tires, chain, brakes, derailleurs, etc. Post them up here and people can help you better determine what needs to be done.

  11. #11
    Senior Member mr,grumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    Unless it is rusted out, he can easily ride it with whatever carnage time has inflicted on the bearings and chain for at least 100-200 miles. Bare minimum.

    And by that time he'll know if he's riding enough to warrant a new bike, or fixing the current one.
    Probably true. I have had differnt experiences though.
    "I'm built like a marine mammal. I love the cold! "-Cosmoline
    "MTBing is cheap compared to any motorsport I've done. It's very expensive compared to jogging."-ColinL
    Rides:
    1999-ish Diamondback Sorrento (I'm not Dead Yet! I feal happy. I think I'll go for a walk!)
    1980ish Raleigh Marathon (Vintage Steel)
    2007 Gary Fisher Advance (giving the Sorrento a break)
    2006 Trek 820 (Captain Amazing)
    2010 Specialized Tricross (Back in Black)


    My little bike blog.

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