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Hmm, would you upgrade?

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Hmm, would you upgrade?

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Old 02-19-09, 04:05 PM
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CCrew
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Hmm, would you upgrade?

Would you upgrade a bike that's not really worth a lot of $, but is totally comfortable to ride? At what point is it better off to just "say no" and find something else?

Here's my dilemma... I have a Gary Fisher Tarpon MTB. It's by far not a high dollar bike, but the thing fits me like a glove and I could ride it all day. It's my backup commuter. I ride a much nicer quality GF 29'er fully set up for commuting most days. But I enjoy riding the Tarpon also.

Thing is that it's 7 speed freehub, and has absolute junk for wheels, to the point where they need to be trued about every two weeks. I'm 175lbs, so not a Clyde, it's just that the wheels are cheap to make the bike's price point.

I'm seriously considering upgrading the wheelset, but this nagging voice in my head says that by the time I do 8/9 speed to get a decent wheelset, and considering the chain, shifter, cassette, and probably the RD, I'll have near as much invested as the bike probably cost. More because I won't buy total low dollar chinese parts, but also because if I do it I also want it to last. I'm talking low end Mavic/etc wheels, and prolly Deore level cassette, RD and shifter, not thinking XT/XTR or anything.

Would you do it and ride the wheels off of it, or just pack it in and use the $ toward another bike that has the nicer bits (but may not fit as well?). I'd be interested in opinions.

Thanks!
Roger
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Old 02-19-09, 04:16 PM
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I am in a very similar situation. I have a fully rigid Jamis mtb that I just love! That things fits me like a glove. Once I have a "relationship of trust" with a bike, it is hard for me to give it up for a new one.

For what it is worth, I am in the process of bringing it up to 9 speed right now. I really had no reason to upgrade as I like all the 7 speed STX parts just fine...But I only did so because 1) I realized I was reaching for that old beater more often than my Giant NRS1 on everything but fast club rides off road and 2) my buddy gave me most of the parts (9 speed LX).

I am pretty sure I would not have done so if I had not been given the parts for free.

Hey, come to think of it....you could have my 7speed wheelset for the cost of shipping. They are just sitting around and the hubs are in great shape. They are the Titanium colored shimano STX hub laced to Bontrager rims.

2 things:
1) The rear needs some new nipples and maybe a couple of spokes to true up well.(some of the nipples have deteriorated such that they must be replaced).
2) As with other bontrager rims, they are not the most friendly for mounting some tires. I find them a little tight.

Any way.....let me know if you want them....I would rather have them being ridden than sitting in a garage. Besided, other forum members have given me stuff so it all evens out.

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Old 02-19-09, 04:19 PM
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Sounds to me like you want this to be more than a "backup commuter". If that's the case and you enjoy building up bikes, keep the frame, upgrade the components and ride it. If you think you can get a comparable (to the rebuilt bike) bike for the same or less money, I would seriously consider that route. By building yourself, however, you can truly get exactly what you want in terms of components and hopefully not be in the position where you've bought a new bike and find yourself wanting to tweak it in some way or another.
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Old 02-19-09, 04:26 PM
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Thanks Sawtooth for the offer. My added dilemma is that I already have a lot of the parts. I have a beautiful disc and V compatible XC wheelset with stainless spokes (high end Cannondale pulls) , a cassette, and the chain and shifter. I had it earmarked for a frame that I have sitting here, but after the latest wheel noodle (I swear they warp when the temp changes) I'm just wondering why I just don't go ahead and use them. Out of pocket maybe $30 bucks for the RD in the near term, but still good $ in the overall and clearly nicer parts than a bike at its price point will ever have.

I think I'm more looking for a reality check that says I am or aren't crazy.
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Old 02-19-09, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by twilkins9076 View Post
Sounds to me like you want this to be more than a "backup commuter"
It was bought at its price point to be a winter beater, but yes, "backup" at this time would be a misnomer. I's more liken it to "alternate". You hit the nail on the head.


Originally Posted by twilkins9076 View Post
By building yourself, however, you can truly get exactly what you want in terms of components and hopefully not be in the position where you've bought a new bike and find yourself wanting to tweak it in some way or another.
Oh, yes. I love wrenching. I haven't left one alone yet

And just to clarify... this isn't an old bike. It's a 2008 model that my LBS gave me for a song because of all the business we've done with them and brought them. Paid a whopping $200 for the bike brand new. But they know me and that they'll prolly make twice that off the bike during my ownership

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Old 02-19-09, 04:31 PM
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Well, one way to look at it is that if you are only looking at $30 out of pocket, it is not so much an "upgrade" as it is just playing in the garage for an hour or two to see how you like the parts (that are already just sitting there) on your old frame

Shoot, if you don't like it, just swap them back. Better to have good parts on a Low end frame than just sitting somewhere, IMO.

That is pretty much what I am doing.

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Old 02-19-09, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Sawtooth View Post
Well, one way to look at it is that if you are only looking at $30 out of pocket, it is not so much an "upgrade" as it is just playing in the garage for an hour or two to see how you like the parts (that are already just sitting there) on your old frame

But then they won't still be in the pretty plastic! *sniff* LOL.

Good point tho. Now how to get past the "but don't you have a set of wheels?" question from the wife when I want to buy an even better set for the "project" bike I've been collecting stuff for. ( I have a 2.8lb NOS Schwinn double butted 525 Reynolds CroMo frame in the garage - from the era that Schwinn made real bikes - frame actually made by Easton )
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Old 02-19-09, 05:13 PM
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I would totally put $2-300 into a wheelset rather than into a new bike. It might take some effort to find a 7 spd cassette I guess so you wouldn't also need a new derailer and/or shifter...

I dunno, I'm coming to think that a frame is a frame and if you have a frame you're happy with, stick with it and replace the other bits as it becomes appropriate.
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Old 02-19-09, 05:25 PM
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As we tell the noobs all the time... fit is THE most important consideration when buying a bike.

So put the nice wheels on, and enjoy the ride.

Oh, and once they're on the backup bike, you don't actually have a set of wheels sitting around anymore, when your wife asks.*

*Disclaimer: I would never try this logic with my wife. If you actually attempt it, let me know how it turns out.
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Old 02-19-09, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by hardyweinberg View Post
i would totally put $2-300 into a wheelset rather than into a new bike. It might take some effort to find a 7 spd cassette i guess so you wouldn't also need a new derailer and/or shifter...

I dunno, i'm coming to think that a frame is a frame and if you have a frame you're happy with, stick with it and replace the other bits as it becomes appropriate.

[ Besides, other forum members have given me stuff so it all evens out. ]

Speak of the Devil!!! .
+1

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Old 02-19-09, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
But then they won't still be in the pretty plastic! *sniff* LOL.

Good point tho. Now how to get past the "but don't you have a set of wheels?" question from the wife when I want to buy an even better set for the "project" bike I've been collecting stuff for. ( I have a 2.8lb NOS Schwinn double butted 525 Reynolds CroMo frame in the garage - from the era that Schwinn made real bikes - frame actually made by Easton )

Re: the wheels: Unless you loan the bike out...you can really only ride one bike at a time, so what is wrong with sharing the wheels between frames?

I have worked hard to get all my various wheel sets as completely interchangeable between all my bikes of a given wheel size (kind of like deciding what kit I want to ride in that day). That is one MAJOR reason why I am so disinclined to go to 10 speed on the road bikes (I have way too much invested in 9 speed).
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Old 02-19-09, 06:28 PM
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Craigslist is your friend. You can find good parts used.

I just upped my T700 from a 7 speed with Bar ends to STI.

used 9 speed Tiagra STI's $100
105 long derailer $35
Thrown in 26/39/48 Crankset
Thrown in Tiagra FD.
Thrown in 11x26 9 speed cassette

New Chain $35

New wheel 8/9 speed caught at REI Scratch and dent. The wheel was NEW but overstock and last year model. I had picked it up becasue I had a bent back wheel. Was goign to run a spacer tor un the 7. Got the wheel for $35.


So $205ish for the conversion. New Tiagra brifters are $250. Mtb shifter are cheap and you can pick up new for $50. I see decent wheels all the time on CL for $50-100 for a set.
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Old 02-19-09, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
Would you upgrade a bike that's not really worth a lot of $, but is totally comfortable to ride? At what point is it better off to just "say no" and find something else?
This is not hypothetical for me. I have a 1992 Giant Nutra that's probably worth $50 stock, and I have $240 of parts that just shipped from Jenson! The old critter's gonna be 9-speed.


Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
Here's my dilemma... I have a Gary Fisher Tarpon MTB. It's by far not a high dollar bike, but the thing fits me like a glove and I could ride it all day. It's my backup commuter. I ride a much nicer quality GF 29'er fully set up for commuting most days. But I enjoy riding the Tarpon also.

Thing is that it's 7 speed freehub, and has absolute junk for wheels, to the point where they need to be trued about every two weeks. I'm 175lbs, so not a Clyde, it's just that the wheels are cheap to make the bike's price point.

I'm seriously considering upgrading the wheelset, but this nagging voice in my head says that by the time I do 8/9 speed to get a decent wheelset, and considering the chain, shifter, cassette, and probably the RD, I'll have near as much invested as the bike probably cost.
I debated that for a while myself. Here's what I ended up deciding - if I decide it's a mistake, I can get a better frame on CL and move everything over. I also got a wheelset that is disc and rim compatible in case I ever get a 700C disc-compatible frameset.

I wouldn't do this for a road bike, but for my hybrid (which uses mountain parts), the drivetrain costs less so it can make sense. Contrast with a road bike, where you can get a nice used bike for the cost of the brifters alone.

Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
More because I won't buy total low dollar chinese parts, but also because if I do it I also want it to last. I'm talking low end Mavic/etc wheels, and prolly Deore level cassette, RD and shifter, not thinking XT/XTR or anything.
Good rationale. You can always wait until you find good deals too. One great thing I discovered - Jenson will do a price match on any online retailer and it's stupid easy to submit the price match. Cambriabike does basically the same thing. So basically, wait until *other* shops put enough good deals up so you can pricematch it all with Jenson. That's what I did for a set of canti brakes I was looking at. So if you're patient and do your research, you can get great deals (like an XT shadow RD for $80, for instance, or a Deore low-normal RD for $30).

In my case, for $240 I'm getting a full drivetrain upgrade at SRAM X.7 level (except crankset), Tektro CR720 cantis, cheapo levers, and all the cables/housing I need. I also got a great deal a couple months back on a wheelset on ebay (Mavic A319 laced to XT hubs that are both rim and centerlock disc compatible) for $100 shipped. So for about $350 total, I'll have replaced everything except the cranks, BB, and headset. And I'll have better parts than I could get on most sub-$800 bikes thanks to shopping around and being patient.

Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
Would you do it and ride the wheels off of it, or just pack it in and use the $ toward another bike that has the nicer bits (but may not fit as well?). I'd be interested in opinions.
Well, after the above you know what I'd do. But I did go back and forth a few times like you are. I'd say if you have a frame you love, the actual value of it is immaterial. I'd also disagree that the new bike would have nicer bits, necessarily, if you're willing to shop for deals and maybe go for deals on closeouts and OEM takeoffs. I'm convinced that when I get done with mine, there's no way in hell I could find that level of quality for the price I'm paying - if you ignore the fact that the frame is 35 lbs. But the frame is steel and comfortable as hell. And I've had it since I was like 14. So who cares?

That's just my take. Good luck whichever way you go.
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Old 02-19-09, 11:48 PM
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I bought a cheap Giant mountain bike for this winter riding. Fall in love with the bike I decided to change parts on it, and make it my main commuter. I am also upgrading my trek hybrid. I have swap some parts between the bikes. I have replaced both seat post, and pedals. I brought king grips for my mountain bike, and love them. I have a mary handlebar on order, and some slicks. Will leave everything alone, until it wears out. I will buy a chain in a few weeks. I would say go ahead, and make your upgrades. Its your bike, money, and happiness.
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Old 02-20-09, 02:44 AM
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You don't HAVE to upgrade to 8/9 speed!
IF the new wheel set has an 8/9 speed FH body, you can simply add a 4.5MM spacer ring and use the 7 speed cassette. (or swap your current 7 speed body over, although that will "shorten" your OLD by about 3MM)
http://www.loosescrews.com/index.cgi...d=440141517497

My LBS has them for $2 ea.
You could upgrade to more speeds at a later time, if you want.
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Old 02-20-09, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
You don't HAVE to upgrade to 8/9 speed!
IF the new wheel set has an 8/9 speed FH body, you can simply add a 4.5MM spacer ring and use the 7 speed cassette. (or swap your current 7 speed body over, although that will "shorten" your OLD by about 3MM)
http://www.loosescrews.com/index.cgi...d=440141517497

My LBS has them for $2 ea.
You could upgrade to more speeds at a later time, if you want.
Oh, maaaan, suck all the fun outta upgrading why don't ya :-) Yeah, I could make it work as you say, but considering the wheels I have it's like putting a 4 cyl in a Ferrari Nice doublewall rims with Cannondale Delta disc hubs with stainless eyelets and 2mm stainless spokes
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