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I'm torn on what to do. Looking for help.

Old 04-10-17, 01:03 PM
  #1  
FACE01
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I'm torn on what to do. Looking for help.

Currently I have 3 bikes in my arsenal.

The one that is in question is my Norco Bush Pilot. I purchased it new in 1996 and it was the 1995 model. Paid $300 cash for it from a LBS.

I've had very, and I mean very, little work done on it. It's been a great bike and it has a bit of sentimental value as my brother had bought it off me 2 years after I bought it. He passed away in 1999 and I acquired it from the estate.

Never ridden much but has seen a lot of the elements as it's gone with me from move to move. Stored indoors and outdoors (in leaky sheds). Replaced the chain last year.

Rims are showing some pitting, derailleurs coating is flaking, cassette and sprockets are showing a lot of wear on the teeth.

Recently I purchased a front and back rack with panniers. I want to make it a commuter but don't know if it's worth upgrading all the parts or just retiring it and buying something that is in good shape.

If i do upgrade, what would be a reasonable value to put into it.

If I don't, what budget should I look for in a new bike taking into consideration what I paid for this and what $300 value in 1996 would equate to now?
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Old 04-10-17, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by FACE01 View Post
Currently I have 3 bikes in my arsenal.

The one that is in question is my Norco Bush Pilot. I purchased it new in 1996 and it was the 1995 model. Paid $300 cash for it from a LBS.

I've had very, and I mean very, little work done on it. It's been a great bike and it has a bit of sentimental value as my brother had bought it off me 2 years after I bought it. He passed away in 1999 and I acquired it from the estate.

Never ridden much but has seen a lot of the elements as it's gone with me from move to move. Stored indoors and outdoors (in leaky sheds). Replaced the chain last year.

Rims are showing some pitting, derailleurs coating is flaking, cassette and sprockets are showing a lot of wear on the teeth.

Recently I purchased a front and back rack with panniers. I want to make it a commuter but don't know if it's worth upgrading all the parts or just retiring it and buying something that is in good shape.

If i do upgrade, what would be a reasonable value to put into it.

If I don't, what budget should I look for in a new bike taking into consideration what I paid for this and what $300 value in 1996 would equate to now?
What would you do with the old one? It needs reapairs either way...the longer you wait the more you'll have to spend on it.
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Old 04-10-17, 02:15 PM
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Is it a bike that you want to commute on? Some people put slick tires on old MTBs, and prefer them for commuters. Others choose road bikes, or other more aero bikes. Distance is one of the factors going into the decision.

Do you do your own maintenance, or are you hiring someone to do the tuneup?

If you're frugal, you should be able to have the bike roadworthy for < $100. Used parts? Bike co-op? If you want "the best", the sky would be the limit.

A lot of rust can be cosmetic, and won't affect performance. You have to choose if that is acceptable
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Old 04-10-17, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Whynot1999 View Post
What would you do with the old one? It needs reapairs either way...the longer you wait the more you'll have to spend on it.
Well, I really don't know what to do with it if I choose to get a new one.

Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Is it a bike that you want to commute on? Some people put slick tires on old MTBs, and prefer them for commuters. Others choose road bikes, or other more aero bikes. Distance is one of the factors going into the decision.

Do you do your own maintenance, or are you hiring someone to do the tuneup?

If you're frugal, you should be able to have the bike roadworthy for < $100. Used parts? Bike co-op? If you want "the best", the sky would be the limit.

A lot of rust can be cosmetic, and won't affect performance. You have to choose if that is acceptable
My commute to work one way is 15km's. I will say that on 2 occasion I did ride it for 60km's round trip but the efficiency wasn't the best.

I do my own repairs and I do have the basic know how for the most part, on how to tear down and build up a bike. With the exception of hubs and rims. I steer clear of that....... LOL.

The reason I want to keep the basic structure of the bike is because it's setup perfectly for the bike racks and panniers I currently have on the bike. If I can get away with updating the parts for around $100 than I'll definitely invest in it rather than get a new one.

The rust isn't bothering me as much as the bearings, and sprockets that are worn down.
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Old 04-10-17, 02:26 PM
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Clean it up, lube what's easy and ride i o get a sense of what else it might need, as opposed to what just looks bad.

Once you know, you'll be able to work up an estimate of cost and make an intelligent decision.

If you decide it needs more than you're willing to invest, you can consider the option. Sell it AS IS, or donate it to a co-op or charity that fixes up bikes for folks who can't otherwise afford one.
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Old 04-10-17, 02:29 PM
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Don't think I understand your question.
Commuter bikes tend to live hard lives and log some hard miles.
I just about never "upgrade" my commuter. I ride it until a problem develops. Then I get it good enough to use, then I ride it until it isn't. Then I fix it up again. Repeat.
The cost you put in into a commuter that sees serious use IMO isn't a big deal. With regular use, the cost-per-mile can quickly drop into a tolerable range.
And on a high-mileage bike, chains and cassettes will need regular replacements anyhow.
And why worry about the surface treatment of the derailer?
As long as it shifts, ride it.
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Old 04-10-17, 02:44 PM
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Personally for that distance I wouldn't want to ride a MTB. Even if you put some better rolling tires on that thing it's not most idea, but you might want to test it out for a time see if you can tolerate it.

As others have said, 'upgrading' could be done cheaply. A new 6-sp freewheel is $10. Your rims are likely still fine. You could service the hubs yourself; you just need a cone wrench and some grease.

As for getting another bike, your $300 budget from 1995 could be $600-700 now, and you could get a hybrid of some kind with disc brakes from you LBS new, or better, get something in the used market.
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Old 04-10-17, 04:20 PM
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Simplest thing to do is bring old bike to the shop and ask them how much the materials to repair it assuming you do the work yourself vs the net cost of a new bicycle.
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Old 04-10-17, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by FACE01 View Post
Well, I really don't know what to do with it if I choose to get a new one.
I have a bike like that too, it's a british road bike I got from my dad, it's too small and I'll never ride it. It's been hanging from my garage roof for a couple years. I've already sold a bunch of drivetrain bits on eBay, maybe someday I'll sell the rest for somebody to turn into a fixie.

It sounds to me like all the value in this bike is sentimental. And that's ok. I'd say if you're going to keep it around, it might as well make itself useful, so do regular maintenance. Chain, cassette (freewheel?) if it needs it. 1996? Probably 3x7, right? Pretty cheap parts.

Does it have a rigid fork? It can probably do a great job as a commuter/errand bike. Get some smooth tires on there and let it rip. If it has a suspension fork, it's probably a very bad and worn out fork by current standards.

But I've got a GT Backwoods(? or is it a Saddleback?) that's probably similar vintage. Some slick tires on there, and even with its crappy old fork it zips around town.

Use, enjoy, remember your brother.
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Old 04-10-17, 10:34 PM
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I'm not much into sentimental value of "things." I have memories of loved ones that have passed that I cherish... but, having their things to help me remember???... doesn't do much for me, especially if it rarely gets used, has little monetary value, and takes up a bunch of storage space.

A bike is just a tool to me. I want a quality tool, but once it's gone beyond it's reasonable useful life... it's time to move on (upgrade.)
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Old 04-11-17, 07:25 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
I have a bike like that too, it's a british road bike I got from my dad, it's too small and I'll never ride it. It's been hanging from my garage roof for a couple years. I've already sold a bunch of drivetrain bits on eBay, maybe someday I'll sell the rest for somebody to turn into a fixie.

It sounds to me like all the value in this bike is sentimental. And that's ok. I'd say if you're going to keep it around, it might as well make itself useful, so do regular maintenance. Chain, cassette (freewheel?) if it needs it. 1996? Probably 3x7, right? Pretty cheap parts.
What do you mean when you say 3x7? Chain has been upgraded but I do think you are right. I need to replace the cassette and the cogs in the derailleur.

Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Does it have a rigid fork? It can probably do a great job as a commuter/errand bike. Get some smooth tires on there and let it rip. If it has a suspension fork, it's probably a very bad and worn out fork by current standards.
It does have rigid forks and I really like them. I've stayed away from suspension forks and frames and don't really find a use for them. Besides, the setup on my front rack and panniers do not allow for a suspension fork.
I can see having meaty tires on the bike would create a lot of drag so I will definitely look into getting some smooth tires.

Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
But I've got a GT Backwoods(? or is it a Saddleback?) that's probably similar vintage. Some slick tires on there, and even with its crappy old fork it zips around town.

Use, enjoy, remember your brother.
I will say that I have ridden it 60 km's round trip non stop and aside from not being on a bike for about 20 years it went well with very minimal problems. Well I did blow a tire with 2 km's left in the ride but I just walked it home from there. I did notice a lot of drag on the bike but I attributed it to the hubs, tires, derailleur, BB or a combination of all the above.

Thanks for all the input. I will take pics of how it sits now and will keep you all posted on what I decided to do with it. I will post pics when I'm allowed to.
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Old 04-11-17, 08:57 AM
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By 3x7 I mean 3 chainrings in the front (at the pedal&crank), and 7 cogs in the rear (at the wheel). That's the most likely configuration I think for 1996. Are you sure you need to replace the cassette? (Are you sure it even is a cassette? (read more here). Do you have an estimate of how many miles of wear the existing cogs have, plus or minus 5000 miles?

Cogs in the derailleur are called pulleys or jockey wheels. Replacements can be had cheap, but likely they can also be cleaned, greased, and still used. Just be aware that they are not necessarily the same upper/lower. When you replace your chain is a good time to take out the jockey wheels, rub them clean with a rag and maybe some degreaser, and then reassemble them with a little fresh grease. Make sure the upper and lower pulleys return to their original positions. If I remember correctly, the upper one is intentionally a little 'wobbly' to allow the chain to float to the cog even if the RD is not in perfect alignment.

A rigid fork actually makes this bike more useful. Suspension forks are for bumpy, rocky trails. For any street riding, you should be able to get all the suspension you need from wide, cushy tires. A suspension would only cause energy loss from some of your pedaling energy going into making the frame bob up and down. If you search this subforum, when people show up asking "what kind of bike should I get for commuting?", the #1 recommendation for a starter bike is to get a 90's era rigid fork mtb and put smooth tires on it.
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Old 04-11-17, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
By 3x7 I mean 3 chainrings in the front (at the pedal&crank), and 7 cogs in the rear (at the wheel). That's the most likely configuration I think for 1996. Are you sure you need to replace the cassette? (Are you sure it even is a cassette? Do you have an estimate of how many miles of wear the existing cogs have, plus or minus 5000 miles?

Cogs in the derailleur are called pulleys or jockey wheels. Replacements can be had cheap, but likely they can also be cleaned, greased, and still used. Just be aware that they are not necessarily the same upper/lower. When you replace your chain is a good time to take out the jockey wheels, rub them clean with a rag and maybe some degreaser, and then reassemble them with a little fresh grease. Make sure the upper and lower pulleys return to their original positions. If I remember correctly, the upper one is intentionally a little 'wobbly' to allow the chain to float to the cog even if the RD is not in perfect alignment.

A rigid fork actually makes this bike more useful. Suspension forks are for bumpy, rocky trails. For any street riding, you should be able to get all the suspension you need from wide, cushy tires. A suspension would only cause energy loss from some of your pedaling energy going into making the frame bob up and down. If you search this subforum, when people show up asking "what kind of bike should I get for commuting?", the #1 recommendation for a starter bike is to get a 90's era rigid fork mtb and put smooth tires on it.
RubeRad, I cannot tell you how much of a help you have been. The fact that you took time to answer my questions has been a tremendous asset to me gaining some knowledge on this forum. Nice to know that they aren't all elitists out there.

One of the reasons I am looking for a new LBS (and not the one in my own hometown) is because of the way he treats me when I go and talk to him about stuff to get answers. Part of the reason why I don't give him the business I should.

But I digress, it's good to know that I'm starting off with a good foundation. I don't think the bike has ever been taken apart and cleaned properly. I don't even think there is that much km's on it as I never rode it much after re-aquiring it from my brother's estate.

I think I'm going to keep it and upgrade parts as I need to. I don't really want to put panniers on my road bike as I ant to use that one for day trips and not a commuter bike.

To be completely honest with all of you, I eventually want to do some very light weight weekend bike camping with this bike.
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Old 04-11-17, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by FACE01 View Post
I don't think the bike has ever been taken apart and cleaned properly.
I have a 1997 Nishiki mountain bike that was my main commuter for 18 years, and is now my snow bike/back-up/and utility bike. I put taller gearing on it when new for faster cruising and although heavy, makes for a comfy ride. I just rode it last weekend after switching back to smooth street tires from the winter studs.

I'm not a great mechanic, and a few years ago I removed the rear cogs to remove a broken spoke and inadvertently spilled out the ball bearings. So I wiped out what was left of the 15 year old grease, and regreased and repacked the bearings with new grease and OMG! It was almost like a different bike! It rolled and pedalled with so much less effort! I still haven't done the front hub or the bottom bracket, but it still rides very nicely.

I took my other other old bike, a 1983 Nishiki road bike in for a regrease and repack of the hubs, bottom bracket and head tube and it felt fantastic afterwards, although it had not been used or abused like my MTB. It had been lightly used and garaged by a fastidious friend of mine.

Sentimental value counts for a lot with me. And if it turns out the bike does not fit your future plans, donate it so that someone who needs transportation can use it.
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Old 04-11-17, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by FACE01 View Post
RubeRad, I cannot tell you how much of a help you have been. The fact that you took time to answer my questions has been a tremendous asset to me gaining some knowledge on this forum. Nice to know that they aren't all elitists out there.
I am very happy to help, I have received at least 100x as much help from this forum myself!

One of the reasons I am looking for a new LBS (and not the one in my own hometown) is because of the way he treats me when I go and talk to him about stuff to get answers. Part of the reason why I don't give him the business I should.
I totally get that. I hate the vibe of high-end performance-oriented LBSs. Before I moved I used to live near a used/vintage bike shop that was great -- they repair and sell old bikes all the time, and never turn up their nose at anybody's beater. If you can find a co-op in your area (or maybe make a day-trip to a nearby big city?) you should find that same kind of friendly, helpful atmosphere. If you put your general location in your profile, somebody that lives in your area might be able to recommend local stores or co-ops.
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Old 04-11-17, 08:01 PM
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What I'm currently riding to work is 30 years old and not exactly a beauty. The fork is from a different bike that kinda-sorta matches. The front wheel has a black rim and the rear rim is green. The frame is red with a silver seat tube. The decals are wearing off, etc. You get the picture.

On the other hand it has some relatively new parts in places. I've spent far more on parts by now than I did on the bike itself which I think was $75 at a garage sale.

I like it and it's probably not any thief's first choice when it comes to bikes to steal.

My guess is that decent new bike of equivalent quality is going to cost you more than it would to fix that one, - assuming you do the work yourself.

What it really comes to though is whether or not it's something you want to ride. If it's just going to sit in the garage than either sell it or donate it. If it has some sentimental value then I'd be inclined to donate it to an organization that does some good in the world or pass it on to a relative or friend.
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Old 04-11-17, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by FACE01 View Post
it has a bit of sentimental value as my brother had bought it off me 2 years after I bought it. He passed away in 1999 and I acquired it from the estate.
This is your answer. If the bike has sentimental value, the cash value isn't what is relevant (to you, anyway).
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Old 04-26-17, 10:44 AM
  #18  
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So an update to my ever indulging need to work on my bicycles .............. does this craving ever stop? ;P

I took it all apart except for the bottom bracket and headset. Cleaned the derailleurs and noticed that the back one was out of alignment. No problem there as I have a spare rear derailleur anyhow. The front one is held on by a bracket that looks to be screwed into a plat that is held on by the bottom bracket. All good though as i don't see the need to take it apart and if I do I'll bring it in as it looks to need a special tool anyhow.

Took the crank arms in as I thought there was excessive wear on the sprockets. My sprockets are not upgrade able and the LBS had indicated that they were recalled 20 years ago due to breakage. Problem is, they have no replacements. The sprockets are 38, 32, 24. They told me that if I upgrade the crank set than I need to upgrade the front and rear derailleurs. So I put the old crank set back on. Chain is already brand new.

I cleaned the cassette and chain. Those look to be okay. Wheel needs to be trued.

On to the Cantilever calipers. Took them off and the plastic parts that cover the spring are all broken. Levers look to be okay but they are resin. I asked the LBS if I can switch to linear pull calipers and he indicated that I needed to change the levers to match the style of calipers I put on. I never heard of that before but than again I'm not the expert.

So far i upgraded from a 7/8" quill stem to a threadless adapter and a 1 1/8" stem with a 31.6mm shim adapter for the original bars.

So my question is, do I replace the broken cantilevers with cantilevers or linear pull? Is it necessary to replace the levers as well? If so I do have a set that came off a Norco Pinnacle that used linear pull brakes but only has one set cause the front utilized a disc brake.

Is there a thread that discusses cantilever over linear pull and vise versa?
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Old 04-26-17, 11:42 AM
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Whether you switch to linear pull or stay with cantilever is up to you. The shop guy is right that you'll need new levers if you switch to linear pull.

I'm glad you're getting the bike back in shape. It sounds worthwhile.

I recommend either you or the shop overhaul the bottom bracket and headset, if they have serviceable bearings. It will pay off.
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Old 04-26-17, 11:45 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by FACE01 View Post
The sprockets are 38, 32, 24. They told me that if I upgrade the crank set than I need to upgrade the front and rear derailleurs.
I'd get another opinion on that.

On to the Cantilever calipers. Took them off and the plastic parts that cover the spring are all broken. Levers look to be okay but they are resin. I asked the LBS if I can switch to linear pull calipers and he indicated that I needed to change the levers to match the style of calipers I put on.

Your levers pull less cable than linear pull levers, which won't match up with the calipers. There are adapters for this purpose. I think it could be made to work, but you might not be satisfied with the result. Does the shop think that you're a picky customer, that they're only quoting 100% (spare no expense) solutions?
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Old 04-26-17, 12:15 PM
  #21  
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I would recommend getting a cheap pair of linear pull ("V") brakes and levers. Like here's a decent-looking cheap set.
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Old 04-26-17, 02:26 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I'd get another opinion on that.

Your levers pull less cable than linear pull levers, which won't match up with the calipers. There are adapters for this purpose. I think it could be made to work, but you might not be satisfied with the result. Does the shop think that you're a picky customer, that they're only quoting 100% (spare no expense) solutions?
The shop said that they no longer carry crank arms with a tooth count as low as the ones I have on the bike. With that, they recommend I replace the crankset and get new derailleurs as the new cranks are set up with the larger sprocket rings.

The shop would like me to bring the bike in, but they half joked about just getting a new bike in lieu of putting all this work into the existing bike. I already spent the following:

Yesterdays bill:
7/8" to 1" stem adapter. $10
1" to 1 1/8" shim for the stem adapter $3.99
4" long 1 1/8" Fuji stem for 31.8 mm bars $10.00
31.8 mm shim for the handlebars $12.99

2 Weeks ago bill:
Brake and Derailleur cable set $27.99 I know realize that this is made for linear pull brakes !!!!!!!
Rear derailleur Exage Mountain $5.00
Chain $15.99
Seatpost $12.99
Front and Rear racks with panniers (used) $25.00

Before you all beat me up over the stem adapter/ shim ........ I originally bought it for my road bike without the shim, but it didn't fit so I re-purposed it to my MTB.

I think I'm already in too deep on this thing but I can see the finish line now.
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Old 04-26-17, 03:31 PM
  #23  
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Ouch, $12.99 seems like a lot for a stupid shim, but cheapest I could find on eBay was $7.49, so $12.99 from a brick&mortar is not that ridiculous.

$27.99 for cables&housing, that's a lot too, but not really that exorbitant from an LBS. I think most likely it will work for either linear or short-pull brakes, the cables and housing themselves should be the same. Next time, maybe something like this or this.

Maybe you can post some pics of your crankset situation now?

It may be that if you wanted to just replace the chainrings (keeping the crankarms and spider), it would be hard to replicate the exact tooth counts. But depending on the spider size ("BCD") it should not be a big deal to replace with chainrings of similar tooth counts. And if replacing the whole crankset, there's no reason to try to match the existing tooth counts exactly. Anything similar should do.
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Old 04-27-17, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Ouch, $12.99 seems like a lot for a stupid shim, but cheapest I could find on eBay was $7.49, so $12.99 from a brick&mortar is not that ridiculous.
I thouoght the same thing but I also wanted to get the bars attached to the stem and I hate waiting on items off ebay. Also I have been turned off by the shipping costs and haven't used ebay in a long time.

Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
$27.99 for cables&housing, that's a lot too, but not really that exorbitant from an LBS. I think most likely it will work for either linear or short-pull brakes, the cables and housing themselves should be the same. Next time, maybe something like this or this.
Turns out the cable set is a jagwire complete cable set with sealed ferrules, lined ferrules, stainless cable noodles for v brakes and a cable raincoat for the rear derailleur. Didn't realize what I got until I got home and googles it. I originally bought it for my road bike but it's designed for a bike with v brakes. So i decided to use it on my MTB.

Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Maybe you can post some pics of your crankset situation now?

It may be that if you wanted to just replace the chainrings (keeping the crankarms and spider), it would be hard to replicate the exact tooth counts. But depending on the spider size ("BCD") it should not be a big deal to replace with chainrings of similar tooth counts. And if replacing the whole crankset, there's no reason to try to match the existing tooth counts exactly. Anything similar should do.
I can't replace the chainrings cause the current ones are not bolted on. They are part of the crankarms.
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Old 04-27-17, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by FACE01 View Post
I thouoght the same thing but I also wanted to get the bars attached to the stem and I hate waiting on items off ebay. Also I have been turned off by the shipping costs and haven't used ebay in a long time.
Patience is a virtue, grasshopper! In general I try to practice delayed gratification. Whenever I buy off eBay I compare the from-china price with the best US-shipped price, and if it's not much different I'll buy 'local' and usually get it in a few days.

I can't replace the chainrings cause the current ones are not bolted on. They are part of the crankarms.
Are the cranks 1-piece (one bent piece of metal all the way through), or 3-piece (two cranks bolted onto a bottom-bracket spindle)? Either way, I bet you can get by a good long time on your crankset as-is. I'd recommend finishing off renovation with the parts you have so far, and then re-evaluate buying a replacement crankset later.
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