What are you currently riding? It might be better quality than what you are looking at. Two of the three bikes you list have front suspension but are in the price range where front suspensions are mediocre quality. A mediocre front suspension adds weight and reduces efficiency without making the ride all that much better. Many bike companies will not list the bike weight. None of these list weight. If you want a bike that climbs hills easier, the lighter the bike the easier it is to climb hills. See if you can find out what each one weighsin your particular frame size.
Check out the quality order for Shimano MTB component quality: Shimano SIS, ShimanoTourney, Shimano Altus, Shimano Acera, Shimano Alivio, Shimano Deore, Shimano SLX, Shimano Deore XT, Shimano Zee, Shimano Saint, Shimano Deore XTR. Two bikes have Alivo which is at the low end of the mid-range component list and one has Acera which is at the top end of the entry level components. I'd also be a bit wary of hydraulic disk brakes on a bike in this price range. Check out reviews on the particular brand/model of brake before you buy. You can get a list of components at each site you gave.
Thanks a lot for responding. I'm currently riding a tech pro SL (4130) I got it in about 1992 new. I know practically nothing about bikes so please bare with me. I have put a few new things on it. I wrote down what I could. The frame says cr-mo seamless tubing tange. Double butted. Shimano deore xt brakes, shimano xtr derailleur, shimano m system pads, shimano DX levers, shimano sl-m310 shifters, shimano sg-x chainring, serfas vermin-f tires. Is there anything I could do to upgrade or is it not worth it and look at getting one of the bikes I linked to and which one would be best in your opinion. Thanks so much for your help. Its really appreciated. I'm 5'6 so its a small frame btw.
Your old bike was put together with pretty high-end components and while they're getting older, they're still quality parts. Personally, I'd take it over the new ones you're looking at. With a rigid fork and mountain bike gearing, it would be hard to beat for light trail riding and commuting.
As for making hills easier, the only thing that'll do that is lower gearing. The smaller the front cog and the bigger the rear cog, the easier the pedals are to turn (and the slower you go). If your bike is like the 1993 Tech Pro SL on Bikepedia, you've got a 26-tooth small cog up front and a 7-speed cluster with a 30-tooth big cog in the rear. That's already pretty low gearing, but you could swap the gears on the rear wheel to get even lower. If your bike has a freewheel, you could use a 7-speed freewheel with a 34-tooth big cog like one of these:
Thanks a lot for the information. When I brought it into the local bike shop the guys pretty much laughed at me for wanting to put any money into it. I think I will hold onto it then until I get into some more serious riding. One thing I'd really like to do is my brakes though. They don't stop very good at all. Would having someone set them up properly do the job or what would you recommend? Thanks once again for helping this newbie out.
Thanks a lot for the information. When I brought it into the local bike shop the guys pretty much laughed at me for wanting to put any money into it.
Who knows why... Maybe they're biased toward the newer stuff they work on all the time. Maybe they're dismissive because they don't recognize the brand and assume it's junk. Maybe they see an old mountain bike and realize that if they work on it, you might spend more in parts and labor than you could sell the bike for. But so long as you're concerned only with function and not resale value, that's a moot point.
Originally Posted by reyn73
One thing I'd really like to do is my brakes though. They don't stop very good at all. Would having someone set them up properly do the job or what would you recommend?
Brake pads harden and lose effectiveness with age. New brake pads and a proper setup should make that bike stop almost as well as anything out there. Kool Stop pads like THESE come highly recommended. Cantilever brakes like yours have a reputation for being a little finicky to set up, but Park Tool has a thorough guide for cantilever brake service on their web site HERE. If the cabling's in good shape, you can probably skip to the part about pad alignment when installing your new pads. (And if you go with the Kool Stop pads, be aware that they've got a little nub to automatically set toe-in.)
Overall, after a tune-up, your bike ought to be a really nice commuter! Unless something's broken or worn out, I wouldn't change anything about it, mechanically. Not even the gearing at this point. Fix up the braking, ideally freshen up the grease in the bearings, and hit the road! (Maybe after turning around the backward seatpost.) ;-)
Thanks a lot again. I ordered those pads. It should be quite the ordeal for me to put them on and set up the brakes but the site you gave me is really informative so hopefully all works out. Another quick question, what would you suggest the psi in my serfa vermin f tires be for mostly street and light mostly hard packed gravel trail riding. The max psi is 65. I'm 155lbs if it makes any difference.
Once again thanks for taking the time to help me out. Oh and for pointing out my seat post haha. So embarassed , I just put the new seat on the other day and didn't even clue in. Its fixed now
Another quick question, what would you suggest the psi in my serfa vermin f tires be for mostly street and light mostly hard packed gravel trail riding. The max psi is 65. I'm 155lbs if it makes any difference.
Don't over-think it. Air 'em up to 60 pounds or so and see how you like the ride quality. At that pressure and your weight, they ought to be pretty firm and roll pretty easily on pavement. Let out a little air for a softer ride and more traction, possibly at the expense of higher rolling resistance on hard surfaces. If you find that you spend a large majority of your time on the street, you may want to consider a set of tires that are smooth in the center for easier rolling on pavement.
Here's hoping you get things dialed in, like the bike, and don't spend a few hundred bucks you didn't need to!
...and if you run into any mechanical problems or have any "how do I?" kind of questions, try posting in the Bicycle Mechanics forum on this site. Lots of guys there with a whole lot of experience.
So I received the kool stop pads today and then realized I need unthreaded ones. So have to return them. Do you have any recommendations for any good unthreaded ones? Thanks so much once again.
If you ordered the Kool Stop Eagle Claw II that SkyDog75 linked to, are you sure they're actually threaded? The site says these are "smooth post." If the place you ordered from sent you threaded ones instead, you might be able to exchange them for Kool Stop smooth post/unthreaded ones.
Good thing you told us what you currently ride. It had an MSRP of US$899 in 1993 and the components are quite a bit better than what you will get on a new bike costing CD700. The tools you need for changing brake pads are minimal - either metric hex wrenches or small metric open end wrenches (8mm). Once you do it, the next time it will be simple and you will have learned a new skill for keeping your bike working well. Sounds like the guys at the bike shop are a bunch of Bozos. Real bike mechanics appreciate working on quality vintage bikes and yours is one of them. If you have a choice I would check out other shops before using the one you visited.
I ordered the kool stop eagle claw 2's off of amazon not realizing in the link provided to get the unthreaded kind. I was able to send them back today. I went to a new bike shop in town and they had the eagle 2's so I got those and mounted them without much trouble. I will probably have to make some adjustments after going for a ride tomorrow but all in all I'm happy. Thanks to all you guys on here for your help. Really glad I found this site.