Rebooting My Entry Level Trek
I own three bikes. My best bike, in terms of quality by discipline, is my BMX bike. Second would be my Trek 4500 I think, and then my new (old) Shogun road bike. I don't care so much about weight, I used to ride with an extra 50 pounds of me, so in my mind weight isn't a huge deal. What I do care about is money, because I'm a broke college kid who only has a minimum wage job during the summer. My bike maintenance has to wait for the summer money to flow in, or me me to suck it up and beg my mother for cash to fix stuff when I break it. Because of this, and because I just bought a brand new BMX bike, I have to live with my Trek for at least one more year.
However I think I want to change it up a bit. I have been bitten by the single speed bug. One of the guys I ride with at school has a ss MTB and he kicks our butts all day on the trails. I now own a ss road bike and I totally get why he loves his ss and I want one now too. So my option is buy new or convert the old. The convert sounds SO much cheaper.
What are your thoughts? I need a new rear wheel, I think, because mine is sort of bent and can't make a full rotation without knocking my brakes. What do I do for gearing?
Also, I have the basic shocks that came with the bike. I don't do much in the way of hang time on my bike and when I do I usually catch the impact with my arms and legs, a habit from BMX, so I honestly don't know if I even want shocks, because the good ones cost a lot and the cheap ones suck. So either solid front, find good cheap front, or just keep the old front...
Anyways, thoughts? Anyone recommend something entirely different?
Oh, I forgot to mention, we ride a lot of downhill stuff, mostly technical, not much jumping. We also do a fair bit of crosscountry single tracks, and there is a bit of climbing, but we tend to walk a good bit of this stuff because the grade on some of these hills is ridiculous.
Since my family fleet includes a circa 2007 Trek 4500, I can make some suggestions. First off some good inexpensive wheels are in order since after a few years the rear on my wife's 4500 wouldn't stay true so we got a set of the readily available Sun RhynoLite on Shimano Deore machine built wheels which have been pretty solid over the last 3 years and make it possible to convert to disk brakes. Also definitely get rid of the Rockshox Dart fork, it weighs a ton and doesn't work all that well. A steel rigid fork or a good used suspension fork will save a bunch of weight and can't ride any worse. I just found an early Rockshox SID at a garage sale which knocked 4 pounds off the bike although I would not recommend a 15 year old XC racing fork for your application. If you want to go SS the quickest and cheapest option would be to get a cog and spacer kit for your existing freehub plus a tensioner like the Surly Singleator and run the middle ring of your triple.
Alternatively, fix your rear wheel, sell your Trek and find a good used Redline Monocog.