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Just got my old Trek 820 from home. Needs some TLC. Converting to commuter. Thoughts?

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Just got my old Trek 820 from home. Needs some TLC. Converting to commuter. Thoughts?

Old 09-11-15, 06:21 PM
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Just got my old Trek 820 from home. Needs some TLC. Converting to commuter. Thoughts?



Had my folks box it up and send it down to me. I bought it in 1994 I think - it was middle school. The first bike I bought with my own money. It's been sitting in my parents garage/basement since ~1999.
20 years later, I'm hoping I she can become my new commuter bike.
I'm planning on keeping the 26" knobby tires, not sure if it needs new wheels. She needs a new chain most likely, and the gears need cleaning and inspection. Probably will need new cables since they have never been changed.

Any thoughts or ideas on what else I should do, or check, and if this was your new project - what would you do?

Do you think it's worth it to change the grip shifters to rapid-fire thumb shifters? (I was planning to)
Was also thinking of new stem & bars - and taking off the bar ends.

I was also entertaining the idea of turning it into a single speed (not fixed), since Houston is pretty flat and it works for my commute. But not sure I want to go through all that trouble?

Anyway, just curious what y'all might do.
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Old 09-11-15, 06:37 PM
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Great bike for commuting! Sometimes it's great to buy new stuff to make a bike feel fresh again. But putting that aside, here's what I'd do:

1. Get something to sit and roll on
2. Fix anything that's broke
3. Don't fix anything that ain't broke
4. Commute with it a couple of times to see what's what
5. THEN start buying / changing stuff

Personally, I'd keep the gears, bars, stem and most other stuff. Consider buying:

1. A Rack!! I don't get why people commute with backpacks on instead of throwing stuff in a rackable bag.
2. Slick tires instead of knobbies.

Fenders if you ride in rain?

If you went to 1x9 you could get a nice chainguard to protect pants and still gears.

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Old 09-11-15, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Machine Age View Post
Great bike for commuting! Sometimes it's great to buy new stuff to make a bike feel fresh again. But putting that aside, here's what I'd do:

1. Get something to sit and roll on
2. Fix anything that's broke
3. Don't fix anything that ain't broke
4. Commute with it a couple of times to see what's what
5. THEN start buying / changing stuff

Personally, I'd keep the gears, bars, stem and most other stuff. Consider buying:

1. A Rack!! I don't get why people commute with backpacks on instead of throwing stuff in a rackable bag.
2. Slick tires instead of knobbies.

Fenders if you ride in rain?

If you went to 1x9 you could get a nice chainguard to protect pants and still gears.
The seat is on the shelf off to the side - just need to put it on!
Yeah I'll ride it a few times before I dissect it.
I already have a rack - topeak Explorer with one of the easy click bags. I also have a Seattle Sports rain rider pannier.
My current commuter bike has slick 28s, and they're pretty good but I'm thinking of keeping the larger knobbies since houston roads are...terrible.
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Old 09-11-15, 08:23 PM
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Make sure the crank is not one of the ones from the mid 90s recalled by Shimano:

CPSC, Shimano Announce Recall of Bicycle Components | CPSC.gov
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Old 09-11-15, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by jimincalif View Post
Make sure the crank is not one of the ones from the mid 90s recalled by Shimano:

CPSC, Shimano Announce Recall of Bicycle Components | CPSC.gov
Complete coincidence, but I pulled the crank from my mountain bike today, for a tune-up before the winter sets in, looked up its model number, and happened upon this recall notice. Mine was not one of the recalled cranks, but for the OP, the model number is molded into the aluminum on the inside of the drive side crank arm.

Also a coincidence, I think that I have nearly the same bike, but sold under the Gary Fisher brand. The old rigid steel mountain bikes make fine commuters with virtually no changes. Mine now has swept handlebars, which are more comfortable for me. I've also made it my permanent winter bike, with studded tires, which I expect you won't need in Houston.
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Old 09-11-15, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Machine Age View Post
Great bike for commuting! Sometimes it's great to buy new stuff to make a bike feel fresh again. But putting that aside, here's what I'd do:

1. Get something to sit and roll on
2. Fix anything that's broke
3. Don't fix anything that ain't broke
4. Commute with it a couple of times to see what's what
5. THEN start buying / changing stuff

Personally, I'd keep the gears, bars, stem and most other stuff. Consider buying:

1. A Rack!! I don't get why people commute with backpacks on instead of throwing stuff in a rackable bag.
2. Slick tires instead of knobbies.

Fenders if you ride in rain?

If you went to 1x9 you could get a nice chainguard to protect pants and still gears.
+ 1. I'd do as little as possible other than an overhaul, replace consumables, rack, fenders, lights, and slicks.

MTBs make really killer commuters. I did a drop bar conversion on my 1987 stumpjumper comp and it is a lot of fun to ride around town.
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Old 09-11-15, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post

Had my folks box it up and send it down to me. I bought it in 1994 I think - it was middle school. The first bike I bought with my own money. It's been sitting in my parents garage/basement since ~1999.
20 years later, I'm hoping I she can become my new commuter bike.
I'm planning on keeping the 26" knobby tires, not sure if it needs new wheels. She needs a new chain most likely, and the gears need cleaning and inspection. Probably will need new cables since they have never been changed.

Any thoughts or ideas on what else I should do, or check, and if this was your new project - what would you do?

Do you think it's worth it to change the grip shifters to rapid-fire thumb shifters? (I was planning to)
Was also thinking of new stem & bars - and taking off the bar ends.

I was also entertaining the idea of turning it into a single speed (not fixed), since Houston is pretty flat and it works for my commute. But not sure I want to go through all that trouble?

Anyway, just curious what y'all might do.
The first thing I want to ask about this, is does the bike fit you? If not, there is no sense in spending a dime on it to make it into a commuter.
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Old 09-12-15, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by jimincalif View Post
Make sure the crank is not one of the ones from the mid 90s recalled by Shimano:

CPSC, Shimano Announce Recall of Bicycle Components | CPSC.gov
Whoa, thanks for this. I'll check today. Should it be one of the recalled is there anything they'll do 20+ years later lol? Or should I just call it a wash and buy a new crank?

Originally Posted by TenSpeedV2 View Post
The first thing I want to ask about this, is does the bike fit you? If not, there is no sense in spending a dime on it to make it into a commuter.
I'm only 5'5", haven't grown much over the course of my life. I won't know for sure until I put the wheels on today and take it for a spin on the neighborhood, but I'm pretty sure it'll still fit me.
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Old 09-12-15, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
The seat is on the shelf off to the side - just need to put it on!
Yeah I'll ride it a few times before I dissect it.
I already have a rack - topeak Explorer with one of the easy click bags. I also have a Seattle Sports rain rider pannier.
My current commuter bike has slick 28s, and they're pretty good but I'm thinking of keeping the larger knobbies since houston roads are...terrible.
All the more reason to go with slicks. Knobbies are made to dig into dirt trails. Slicks are actually safer and handle better on roads.

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Old 09-12-15, 07:32 AM
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Been there, done that. Ditch the knobbies. Get 26x1.75 road tires, deflate a few psi, Smooth ride even over potholes. Look into higher gearing with a bigger front chainring if possible. You'll still have adequate low gearing.
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Old 09-12-15, 07:43 AM
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Cool bike! For road riding, I think the best thing you can do is get the bars up a little higher and replace the flat bar with something that sweeps back a little. You can probably find appropriate bars and stem on eBay for a total of $50 or $60. That requires changing the cables, but you probably want to do that anyways.
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Old 09-12-15, 09:03 AM
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Regrease BB, headset, hubs. new cables and brake pads, lube brake pivots, replace chain, clean and lube derailleurs, check spoke tension true wheels. If it's Shimano 7s rapid fires are cheap. Even cheaper I'd only do the rear as you likely won't shift the front much.
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Old 09-12-15, 12:26 PM
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I'd put slicks on it too, knobbies aren't good for pavement. Check everything, clean and relube, use it for a few days. If you like it, add fenders, rack, lights if necessary.
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Old 09-12-15, 12:28 PM
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If you decide to go s.s. you're going to need a new crank or at least smaller chainring bolts. Possibly new brake levers (if brake lever and shifters are one piece. ) and spacers for the rear cog. You get the cog from taking apart the old cassette.

I love s.s. for commuting. I find that I'm just as fast on s.s. as on geared. And I would ditch the knobbies also. I ride 26x1.5 Drifters smooth ride and we have lots of road construction here in Vegas.
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Old 09-12-15, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jimincalif View Post
Make sure the crank is not one of the ones from the mid 90s recalled by Shimano:

CPSC, Shimano Announce Recall of Bicycle Components | CPSC.gov
Mine is FC CT91. Woo-hoo! Not recalled!

Just finished putting the pedals back on and seat and inflating the old tires so I can ride it quick to see if it still fits me.
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Old 09-12-15, 11:35 PM
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Started cleaning it this afternoon. Lots of re-greasing and lubing, and just general cleaning off 20+ years worth of grime. It's actually not too bad because I rode it for a good 4 or 5 years during summers around town, and only a few times on the trails in the mountains, so it hasn't been beat up that much. It's just been sitting in the garage & a basement for the last 15 years.

Ended up grabbing some 26x1.75 slick tires, and some new brake pads as well. I wanted to take off the bar ends, but when they added them all those years ago, they cut away the rubber grip to fit them on, so if I took them off the ends of the bars would be bare. So, I'll have to wait until I order some new grips.

Also, i absolutely LOVE the shade of sparkly green this thing has. Beats the hell out of black bikes any day.

One thing that was disappointing - I thought it was aluminum, but it's chromoly. Boo. Oh well.
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Old 09-14-15, 06:35 AM
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You may be glad you left the bar ends. I rode my old mtb as commuter for awhile and appreciated the bar ends for multiple hand positions, allowed me to stretch out a bit while going into the wind, etc.

I think you'll like the slicks. Have fun!
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Old 09-14-15, 09:08 AM
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After a new chain and some laboring on the drivetrain, I took her the first commute ride this morning. She was so smooth. The tires soaked a lot of the usual rough road I dealt with, and the grip-shifts held up surprisingly well after all this time. I might need to adjust the FD/RD just a tad, but I mean, barely.
Will be doing a bunch of shakedown rides this week.
BTW, platform pedals are terrible and I can't believe how used to riding with toe-clips I got. Definitely need to rectify that ASAP.
This isn't the final look - Like I said I might swap out the stem & bars for a more modern look, and I'm undecided about the bar ends. I think I'd rather switch those and the old rubber grips out for these ERGON BIKE ERGONOMICS but I'm not sure how they'd work with the width of the grip shifters. We'll see.
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Old 09-14-15, 09:51 AM
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Nice bike, story, and pictures. Thanks. Enjoyed reading it.
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Old 09-14-15, 10:15 PM
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Good job cleaning it up and putting it back into use. I like the ergon grips, comfy and definitely worth the investment in my opinion. Of course, as you said, only if they'll fit with your grip shift. I kept my old bar ends, wrapped with leftover pieces of handlebar tape. Ugly, but worked.
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Old 09-15-15, 08:33 AM
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Ergon has a shorter, by about an inch, grip shift version , with more or less Integrated bar ends , 5 longest 4,3,2 shorter
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Old 09-15-15, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
Started cleaning it this afternoon. Lots of re-greasing and lubing, and just general cleaning off 20+ years worth of grime. It's actually not too bad because I rode it for a good 4 or 5 years during summers around town, and only a few times on the trails in the mountains, so it hasn't been beat up that much. It's just been sitting in the garage & a basement for the last 15 years.

Ended up grabbing some 26x1.75 slick tires, and some new brake pads as well. I wanted to take off the bar ends, but when they added them all those years ago, they cut away the rubber grip to fit them on, so if I took them off the ends of the bars would be bare. So, I'll have to wait until I order some new grips.

Also, i absolutely LOVE the shade of sparkly green this thing has. Beats the hell out of black bikes any day.

One thing that was disappointing - I thought it was aluminum, but it's chromoly. Boo. Oh well.
Disappointing? You can get an aluminum bike anyplace and they ride, OK. A good steel frame rides better.
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Old 09-15-15, 12:12 PM
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ENVE fork, HED Jet 9s, Profile T1s, use a fanny pack.

Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
Disappointing? You can get a steel bike anyplace and they ride, OK. A good aluminum frame rides better.
Fixed.
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Old 09-15-15, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
BTW, platform pedals are terrible and I can't believe how used to riding with toe-clips I got. Definitely need to rectify that ASAP.
Well THOSE platform pedals certainly look like nothing special, higher quality pinned platforms would go a long way to distributing foot pressure. But if you're married to clipless, that's great too. 'Steal' a pair of pedals off another bike for a while.
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Old 09-15-15, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Ergon has a shorter, by about an inch, grip shift version , with more or less Integrated bar ends , 5 longest 4,3,2 shorter
Aye. I noticed that as I was browsing their website yesterday. Probably what I will end up getting.

Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
Disappointing? You can get an aluminum bike anyplace and they ride, OK. A good steel frame rides better.
Oh don't get my wrong, I love the way it rides. It was mostly a weight issue. The bike is pretty heavy - and adding the rack and my pannier full of stuff just makes it heavier! That's all.

Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Well THOSE platform pedals certainly look like nothing special, higher quality pinned platforms would go a long way to distributing foot pressure. But if you're married to clipless, that's great too. 'Steal' a pair of pedals off another bike for a while.
Yeah they were pretty terrible.
I'm not talking about clipless cleats, for my commuting I use lighter platforms with toe cages.
Ordered these last night: Amazon.com: Origin8 Pro Track Light Pedals in blue to put onto my old commute bike ('84 Raleigh in blue), and these https://www.amazon.com/MKS-STL-Toe-Cl...=mks+toe+clips
Those will go on the Raleigh, and I'll take the nearly same exact thing (older pedals though) and put them on this Trek.
I don't want to mess with clipless while commuting. I too often have to stop at lights and put my foot down, plus walking into work, etc, I don't want walk around with cleats. toe cages are tops for this.
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