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Is it worth putting $200 into my old Trek bicycle?

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Is it worth putting $200 into my old Trek bicycle?

Old 08-18-20, 05:58 AM
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RideBike2020
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Is it worth putting $200 into my old Trek bicycle?

I have a Trex bicycle that I purchased around 1994. I always loved that bike. It has about 24 gears, if I recall correctly.
I local bicycle repair shop said he would have to put a new rear wheel on, which includes sprockets to make the gears move correctly, and I also wanted new gear shifters, since the old one's are sticky and deteriorated. He said the repair of $200 is really not worthy it, since I could not sell it for $200 after the repair. I appreciate his honestly.

Do you think it's worth it?
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Old 08-18-20, 06:07 AM
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What you asked the LBS to do is not that difficult. Have you considered doing it yourself? you could probably do it really cheap with used parts.

200 is probably not worth it unless the bike is something "special" for you.
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Old 08-18-20, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by RideBike2020 View Post
I have a Trex bicycle that I purchased around 1994. I always loved that bike. It has about 24 gears, if I recall correctly.
I local bicycle repair shop said he would have to put a new rear wheel on, which includes sprockets to make the gears move correctly, and I also wanted new gear shifters, since the old one's are sticky and deteriorated. He said the repair of $200 is really not worthy it, since I could not sell it for $200 after the repair. I appreciate his honestly.

Do you think it's worth it?
If you plan on keeping the bike long term, then resale value shouldn't matter. If you love the bike, it rides well for you, and you have no plans of upgrading, I wouldn't hesitate to put $200 into it.
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Old 08-18-20, 06:13 AM
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For me, the worth of a bicycle is measured in how much I want to ride it. If I loved the bike, it was comfortable, it held nostalgia, and I just liked being on it, it would be worth more to me than any $1,000 bike. For me, that would mean that I would put several hundred dollars into it, and resale value would not be a concern.

If I had no particular attachment to the bike or it didn’t fit right, then I would treat the problem transactionally as a pure economics problem like the shop employee.

You wouldn’t apply the same logic to restoring your first car, or a host of other hobbies that people have.

You might also start with changing the cables before replacing shifters. The “sticky” is usually in the cables, not the shifters.
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Old 08-18-20, 06:44 AM
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Agree with all above statements about repair. Probably the most you will need to do for the shifting (unless the bike has been left outside and the shifters are corroded) is replace cables and housing. Cassettes or freewheels are relatively inexpensive and try to locate a used wheel if yours is toast.
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Old 08-18-20, 06:48 AM
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I just replaced a bike from that era that I'd ridden for 22 years, mainly because of the brakes. The old bike had cantilever brakes and those are a couple of major upgrades out of date. That's something I'd consider before putting cash into it.

I agree, it may be a case of cleaning and lubrication with the old shifters and cables. If there's a bike co-op in your area, look into that for less expensive ways to keep your old bike running, and to learn something doing it.
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Old 08-18-20, 07:04 AM
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If you like the bike, it's worth the cost. The used bike market is tough these days and you aren't likely to find another used bike that you actually like at the same price. Most used bikes are going to require a little work after you buy them so that adds to the potential cost. If the bike isn't a rust bucket and the frame is straight and solid, get the repairs done and ride the heck our of it.
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Old 08-18-20, 08:51 AM
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I suspect that many of the parts they want to replace just need some service. Gives us more details like model of bike, model of shifters etc.
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Old 08-18-20, 08:53 AM
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What model is it?
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Old 08-18-20, 12:17 PM
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Unlike cars, bicycles, especially "older-simpler ones" are relatively cheap to fix. The engine is you, of course.
All the parts that wear out are replaceable, and then you practically have a new bike (unless the frame gets really rusted, if you live in "salty" conditions).
So on a good quality frame that fits the rider well, replacing stuff can be easier than testing new bike, making sure it fits etc.
I do all of the maintenance myself, get parts when on discounts, so in terms of money at least, it doesn't end up costing more than a new bike would (parts bought separately cost more than when you buy a whole bike with all that on it).

Also - I always say: bicycle that gets ridden is worth the money, while a bike that stays parked was too expensive, no matter how little it had cost.

Having said that, in terms of resale value, only cosmetic "fixes" are worth it. If you intend to sell the bike, don't invest in any real repairs/replacements.
Also, for commuter bicycles that get left outside (locked), it could be advisory to invest just what's necessary to get safe/reliable steering and braking, with the bike looking as ugly as possible. For this last thing, old, worn looking frame can be more valuable, since it practically makes the bike safer, less of a thief magnet.
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Old 08-18-20, 01:34 PM
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Buy $100 worth of tools and do all the work yourself. Old bikes are super easy to work on ... unless they're ancient or French.

Last edited by SurferRosa; 08-18-20 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 08-18-20, 01:39 PM
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After it gets fixed up, what do you plan to do with the bike?

If your plan is to sell the bike, than it clearly isn't worth it because you will like have difficulty getting an additional $200 when you sell it.
If your plan is to keep it and ride it yourself, do you think you can find a different bike, this good, for less than $200.00?
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Old 08-18-20, 06:00 PM
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If you're looking to sell it, the best way is to do yourself whatever work is required to be able to sell the bike in a legitimately ready to ride state... If the bike is close to that as it sits. Cables, housing, bar tape, tires. Under 100 bucks. Clean bike, tune bike, sell bike. Bikes that don't need work to be ridden sell more quickly and for more money than bikes that need work to be ridden. If you don't want to do the work, sell it as is for what you can get... You can't make money paying shop labor rates.

If you're planning to ride it, older Treks are fantastic bikes. There isn't a quality road bike made since about 1970 that is obsolete. Obsolescent, as equipped, yes, but that's not the same thing. There hasn't been any advancement since then that makes everything else worthless for general use. And, with the exception of disc brakes, all of the important ones are trivially easy to put on an older steel frame.

Yeah, you'll never get the 2-3 extra pounds out of the frame. But the bike will ride just as nicely as it did in the 80s, it'll just work better. And, in the case of a vintage Trek, that's pretty nice.

--Shannon

Last edited by ShannonM; 08-18-20 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 08-18-20, 07:41 PM
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It always depends. If it is a high end bike then probably yes especially if you are still riding it and enjoying it. If was a low end bike at the time probably not unless again you really love it and enjoy it and have tried other bikes and don't like them. If you have LX or XT or XTR parts on it then probably not a bad one to keep going but if it says tourney or Acera or Shimano A probably not. My old Trek hunk of piece from the 90s with Acera that needed a lot of work wasn't worth it, I gave it to a friend and said it needs a lot do with it what you will. I then proceeded to get a nice Surly Disc Trucker and never looked back (now I don't have the Disc Trucker and moved on to a lovely Co-Motion Cascadia and have a bunch of other bikes as well)

However it is important to keep in mind bikes are hard to get right now so that can be a factor in your decision.

Shifters can sometimes be brought back when you remove old caked up grease inside with some degreaser or heat (best from a parts washer or something that won't cause damage to anything) usually not just shift cables and housing but that can sometimes be the case.

Ask yourself do I love this bike and would I give anything to keep it running? If not move on, if so follow your heart.
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Old 08-18-20, 08:06 PM
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You might, or might not, want to disregard everything I said...

I read 1994 as 1984. Big difference. By 1994, I was out of cycling, and I don't know what they were selling then. Odds are, you've at least got a great frame, based on the early to mid 90s Treks I saw at the shop I worked at in the mid-Naughties. Most of those, if they were road bikes, were the bonded aluminum and aluminum / carbon fiber bikes. All of which are still pretty sweet.

Any higher-end 1994 Trek frame will take all modern parts, except disc brakes, without a hitch.

--Shannon
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Old 08-18-20, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by RideBike2020 View Post
I have a Trex bicycle that I purchased around 1994. I always loved that bike. It has about 24 gears, if I recall correctly.
I local bicycle repair shop said he would have to put a new rear wheel on, which includes sprockets to make the gears move correctly, and I also wanted new gear shifters, since the old one's are sticky and deteriorated. He said the repair of $200 is really not worthy it, since I could not sell it for $200 after the repair. I appreciate his honestly.

Do you think it's worth it?
Of course its worth it. And so could a new $1000 bike. When I had many bikes and rode a lot a bike went through a wheel set every couple years and drive train once or twice a year.
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Old 08-18-20, 10:22 PM
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see if there is a local bike co-op. there are good source of help/instruction/parts and DIY
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Old 08-18-20, 10:30 PM
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These sorts of discussions tend to be co-opted by the DIY'ers to evangelize investing in tools and learning to fix bikes yourself. Which is fine, if it's something you have interest in, but the decision to buy tools and learn bike mechanics is independent from a decision to invest in an old bike.

If the $200 is all the bike really needs to return it to full/good running condition and there isn't any bad corrosion, crash damage, etc., then it's probably a decent investment and you can either ride out the value or sell the bike. (Some pictures and/or specs would solicit better comments here.) But if the bike is a beater and the $200 is the tip of the iceberg, then it's probably not worth it - you'd be better off investing more in a better condition bike. The cheapest way to own a bicycle is usually to buy a new one and take care of it.

- Mark
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Old 08-19-20, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
What you asked the LBS to do is not that difficult. Have you considered doing it yourself? you could probably do it really cheap with used parts.

200 is probably not worth it unless the bike is something "special" for you.
I wondered if I could do it myself too. The bike is special to me, but to tell you the truth, I would love to invest in one of the new bikes. However, knowing me, I would want to spend $6000! lol
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Old 08-19-20, 06:15 AM
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The two factors I would look at how much I like the bike and its fit, and how much a new bike, which may not fit as well as the old, would set me back. Even a new bike will cost money yearly, and massively depreciate in just a couple of years. Cash value of the bike to me is negligible. I just stuck another $100 (probably $200+ if I had the bike shop do the work) into a bike worth maybe $200, but I like the bike and see no reason to spend $2500 on a new bike. I guess it is kinda like my truck - worth $3000, spent $1500 last winter in parts, but it only has 200k so why ditch it?
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Old 08-19-20, 06:17 AM
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At the risk of being a preacher for the fix-it-yourself crowd, another thing to consider is does $200 just get the bike to function or does it make it fully road worthy for a few years? For example, if the bike shifts like crap and the wheels are out of true and you get that fixed but are you looking at 25 year old tires, cables and brake components that will fail from old age after a few weeks of riding?


I agree with the fix it yourself advocates. Why? Because many of us were fixing our bicycles since we were 10 years old. Fixing bicycles, in particular that age bike isn't all that hard and allows you to make small fixes in a few minutes instead of going to a bike shop for every little thing. You can get a generic repair guide for less than $20 or youtubes or interwebs for free. A few select tools and a workspace then get out on the bike and ride.


Granted there are times when using a bike shop for repairs makes sense. But I would at least make an attempt to get the thing working, functioning at a basic level by yourself. Most of us on this forum take our bikes seriously and keep them at the peak of perfection. It's a hobby that we enjoy but most of us understand that for some it's not that way. One thing I can say is it is unlikely that you will find a working bike these days for anywhere near $200 But commonsense tells us that a good chunk of that $200 is labor so providing that labor yourself has it's advantages. Not to say that there are not some repairs that are not head scratchers for those of us that are not professional bike mechanics.
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Old 08-19-20, 06:21 AM
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As A bicycle store owner/ mechanic for over 12 years, I find the term "a different rear sprocket to move the gears more correctly" disturbing. The mechanic is making up this terminology up. NEWSFLASH: there are no sprockets that will make your gears move more correctly. This is very similar to a car mechanic saying that your muffler bearings are shot! (in case you didn't know it, mufflers do not have bearings).
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Old 08-19-20, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by RideBike2020 View Post
I wondered if I could do it myself too. The bike is special to me, but to tell you the truth, I would love to invest in one of the new bikes. However, knowing me, I would want to spend $6000! lol
If the bike is special, I'd look for used parts at a good price. A year ago I bought a Shimano 26" wheelset including cassette and 180mm rotors for 40€. Had to true the rear wheel and overhaul the hubs though, but they are serving well and only had to invest 1h of work to get them in good shape again.
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Old 08-19-20, 07:16 AM
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Well none of this adds up.

Sure. To get a new rear wheel, a new cassette and new shifters installed. And possibly cables, housing, and maybe a chain for only $200, on a 1994 Trek?

If it is a road bike, even less likely.

John

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Old 08-19-20, 07:29 AM
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It really depends on what it is. A low end hybrid or early front suspension mtb? Maybe not. A better than that bike? Maybe, especially if you can do the work yourself.
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