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Repair vintage Trek or buy new?

Old 04-15-20, 11:48 AM
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Dk20
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Repair vintage Trek or buy new?

Hi all,

New here. I have a women's Trek Multi-track 720 bike from the late 80s that needs much repair. The frame is in excellent condition, however, it needs lots of replacements/repairs (tires/tubes, cable housing is rusting, new kick stand, pedal assembly replacement, tune up, and more. Took it to the Trek shop that they are telling me $315 for the overhaul. The bike hasn't been ridden in about 10 years. Bike was mainly used down the shore and around our local neighborhoods. I always felt the bike was a bit tall for my 5'4" frame and when stopping, I have to lean it over a bit for foot on ground, though it was/is duable.

I don't know much about bikes other than what I've read over the last few days, and am surprised at what new bikes costs these days. I'm guessing we paid $300ish for my Trek (I suppose that was a lot back then too). I'm not sure if it's worth fixing or getting a new bike. Is this vintage bike a good one...worth keeping? I was looking at the Verve 3 or Dual Sport 2 or 3 as a potential replacement for around $750, or if you have other suggestions. I ride mostly on the road, though sometimes through flat park trails. I like the uprightness of the mentioned bikes, but, it's not a deal breaker. Riding will start out slow...5 miles...and increase to 10-15-20 miles as I get used to riding again, and my butt obliges. I'm in average shape (do yoga, walk, hike), and am 60 if that matters, though looking to incorporate the biking.

If I'm leaving out pertinent info, let me know. Anyway, your thoughts on repair or buy new (btw, I can afford new). Thanks for your replies. I want to make a decision asap.

Last edited by Dk20; 04-15-20 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 04-15-20, 12:07 PM
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Where are you located? Many of us would do this for you for less, including parts. Someone on this forum might do the work for you. Once the COVID-19 restrictions are safe to lift, of course. It's only 3 or 4 hours of work once all of the parts have arrived, and that's overhauling all bearings, replacing all cables, cleaning and lubricating, new tires, etc. It's a pretty easy job unless something like the seatpost or stem has corroded itself stuck inside the frame. Photo of the bike?
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Old 04-15-20, 12:19 PM
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My opinion, why put that much money into refurbishing a bike that is too big for you. It is still going to be too big. Also, most of the bike is still going to be 30+ years old. I think spending a few hundred more, if you can afford it, for a brand new bike that fits you makes much more sense. Have you discussed the size concerns with the Trek dealer? If you go the new bike route, components are up to date for that level. If anything goes wrong during the warranty period, you are covered. Putting a few hundred into a used bike is by no means a guarantee that all is good. I have nothing against used bikes. I have purchased numerous used bikes, but I got a specific style that I wanted, and I do all the work myself. Whatever way you decide, enjoy the ride and be safe.
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Old 04-15-20, 12:54 PM
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I always felt the bike was a bit tall for my 5'4" frame and when stopping, I have to lean it over a bit for foot on ground....
Can you say more about that, because it's crucial to your choice. Your bike may fit, or it may not.

When I come to a stop at, say, a red light, I usually like to stop by a curb, because I like to keep my butt on the saddle. If my butt stays on the saddle, my foot can't reach the ground unless I lean it. If I can rest my foot on a curb, I don't have to lean.

If your bike fits you, I'd ask for help from Bike Forums first. If that wasn't forthcoming, I'd look for a bike co-op, where you'll find people who will help you fix your bike up and teach you to do it yourself - DIY is cheaper than a bike shop, and faster, too. third choice is paying to have bike fixed. 4th is new bike. BUT ... if you have a new bike bug, get yourself a new bike.
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Old 04-15-20, 12:55 PM
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What you have now is a crummy old cheap bike that doesn't fit you.

If you have the shop or somebody fix it up for you you'll have a more expensive crummy old bike, with a few new parts, but that still doesn't fit you.

If you buy a new bike you'll probably pay a little more but you'll have a bike with all brand new parts, that comes with a new bike warranty, and also fits you.
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Old 04-15-20, 01:02 PM
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I am not sure there is evidence here that the bike is too large. People often put their saddle too low and feel that they should be able to touch the ground without getting off the saddle, which is wrong. If the bike was bought for you, it is presumably of the right size. A bit off size is easier to tolerate with women's than men's frames. Within steel bikes, and even within all, Trek 720 is an excellent choice. I would not give up on it.
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Old 04-15-20, 01:04 PM
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I think your bike shop's estimate to get the bike up and running is too high. All the part are pretty basic and inexpensive and I am guessing an independent shop, or maybe a bike coop can get it up and running for under $200. ,AndI believe the frame and fork are full Cro Moly steel, which is a very good thing. Those American made Treks were seriously good quality bikes.

Is it possible that bike is from the early 90s? Because I don't believe the 720 hybrid was made much before then. Either way, it is a bike well worth putting a few dollars into as it is very likely a Wisconsin made Trek, which you cannot find today.
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Old 04-15-20, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
What you have now is a crummy old cheap bike that doesn't fit you.

If you have the shop or somebody fix it up for you you'll have a more expensive crummy old bike, with a few new parts, but that still doesn't fit you.

If you buy a new bike you'll probably pay a little more but you'll have a bike with all brand new parts, that comes with a new bike warranty, and also fits you.
Those American made Treks were pretty nice. In some ways nicer than current entry level made in China Treks. Not the ultimate in performance, but well made and nice riding bikes.
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Old 04-15-20, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
What you have now is a crummy old cheap bike that doesn't fit you.

If you have the shop or somebody fix it up for you you'll have a more expensive crummy old bike, with a few new parts, but that still doesn't fit you.

If you buy a new bike you'll probably pay a little more but you'll have a bike with all brand new parts, that comes with a new bike warranty, and also fits you.
just because something is old does not make it crummy. my wife has never told me that i am crummy so at least so there is that.
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Old 04-15-20, 01:43 PM
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f Bicycle Blue Book is correct, this model bike was made in either 1993 or 1994. It has an MSRP or less. The model was resurrected again in '97 in a road bike form and again in 2000 as a MTB.
https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/valu...product/43903/ https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/valu...product/13116/ https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/valu...product/45875/ It is definitely an entry level bike with entry level components. You are seeing that labor costs for refurbishing an entry level bike often outstrip the cost of the bike new. There are so many on-line tutorials these days that you can avoid using a bike shop and do it yourself. If you were to buy the replacement parts online and do the labor yourself it might make more sense especially if you really like the bike. No matter what, it is still going to be an entry level bike which these days goes for as much as $500 for similar quality entry level components.
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Old 04-15-20, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
f Bicycle Blue Book is correct, this model bike was made in either 1993 or 1994. It has an MSRP or less. The model was resurrected again in '97 in a road bike form and again in 2000 as a MTB.
https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/valu...product/43903/ https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/valu...product/13116/ https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/valu...product/45875/ It is definitely an entry level bike with entry level components. You are seeing that labor costs for refurbishing an entry level bike often outstrip the cost of the bike new. There are so many on-line tutorials these days that you can avoid using a bike shop and do it yourself. If you were to buy the replacement parts online and do the labor yourself it might make more sense especially if you really like the bike. No matter what, it is still going to be an entry level bike which these days goes for as much as $500 for similar quality entry level components.
According to Bikepedia, this model was made from 1993 to 1999. The 1993 model year is somewhat better than '94 or '95 as the frame and fork were Japanese made Tange Cro Moly Steel. In '94 and '95, the frames were Cro Moly main tubes with high tensile stays and fork, which is ok, but clearly a downgrade over the full Cro Moly. My guess is, if you wanted full Cro Moly frame in those years, you needed to go up to the 730 or 750 models. And all those models up until the mid 90s were American made. But either way, it was still a well made bike and well worth repairing over an entry level Chinese made aluminum bike.

https://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/...k%20&model=720
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Old 04-15-20, 02:39 PM
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you could learn to do everything the shop will do if you choose. If you don't want to, buy a new bike. It's a few hundred dollars and could change your life for the better
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Old 04-15-20, 04:18 PM
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Honestly, while the old Trek was an entry level bike, but good enough to rehab, unless you possess the the tools and talents to do the work yourself you'll probably be better off with a new bike.

While the none of the work required is highly technical, by the time you have purchased consumables (tires/cables/brake pads etc), have regreased all the bearings, and purchased the necessary tools to perform this work, your putting a couple hundred into a $150 - $250 bike in my market.

Do they take trade ins?

https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/sea...query=trek+720
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Old 04-15-20, 04:51 PM
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If you can get the old bike repaired for half the price of a decent new bike, I think you should do it. While it won't be as shiny as a new bike, and will likely be a bit heavier, performance of the new bike won't be that much better.

Last edited by MRT2; 04-15-20 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 04-15-20, 05:17 PM
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If the bike fits ok, fix it. That price is fairly fair for all the work they have to do, but if it doesn't fit properly it maybe a waste of money to fix it.
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Old 04-15-20, 05:24 PM
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Dk20,
I am a pretty firm believer that you have a great bike from the 80's. And I doubt it is worn out or time to replace it. I suspect that if you lean a bit or have to slide off the seat at a complete stop is normal for a correct fitting bike. My recommendation is to get it repaired and back to riding condition. I worked in one of the largest Trek dealerships in the US as a service manager during that period in time, so yes, my opinion is a bit jaded. (But I also still have my 670 and 770 models from that time.)
All of that said, the cost of the tires,cables&housings, new bar wraps, chain, and other bits should not be more than about $140. Other costs are mostly labor rates for the shop, and unfortunately the rate for an overhaul is 4,1 hours of labor. The suggestion of finding a local co-op is likely one of the best options for you. Here in Bloomington, IN, our co-op has guys like me helping teach repairs to a bike for owners to make them self sufficient. That would be your best option. Paying the local bike shop would be a good option as well if you don't wan't to do the work or learn how to do it.
You would be money ahead in repairing this bike and riding it. Money spent on things like a Terry seat, and incremental upgrades of things like pedals, etc. you will have a great classic bike that most here would love to see in the Classic and Vintage forum here. JMHO, MH
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Old 04-15-20, 05:45 PM
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Recent thread on Google Groups: What's up with vintage Treks?, if it can help.
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Old 04-15-20, 07:46 PM
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Yea have to agree with others, if it's too big or not comfortable better to put $350 towards something that fits you.
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Old 04-15-20, 08:13 PM
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In response to dedhed's posting; The trek 700 series from that era was the second line just below the 170. And not an entry level bike, but at the top of the line. Saving it is going to be a good bike for a long time to come. I still have two of those 700 series bikes that are worth close to a thousand $ each. Be very careful about some of the advice given here. Look up the exact model online and find out it's true value. Smiles, MH
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Old 04-15-20, 08:55 PM
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Get a few more quotes from other bike shops. But still, my opinion is if you are unable or unwilling to do the work yourself then you are probably better off getting something new. When I say new I mean a good decent bike not a big box store machine. But really it all depends on what you expecting to do with the bike. If all you want is a machine to ride around the block once a week then put as little money into what you have and ride. Most posters on this forum are riding 1000s of miles a year, you are getting advice from that mindset. Most of us also have at least a few basic tools and are not going to pay someone to do this kind of work, we do it ourselves. And you can do it yourself also. Bikes are not that complicated and you are simply doing general repairs not radical modifications. The advice on finding a local co-op is a good piece of advice. Another option might be to seek out a local riding club. There you might find someone willing to help guide you along.

I say all this as someone who has the tools, knowledge and desire to do major upgrade and repairs to old bikes. I took one of my mid 80s Asian road bikes all the way down to the frame, replaced literally everything including brakes and levers, kept the old shifters but replaced the RD and cluster, replaced all of the bearings, chain and BB plus tires and tubes. My cost was less than $300 and the bike looks great and runs solid but when I compare it to my now 10 year old Cannondale there is no comparison.

Right now I'm in the process of obtaining two used bikes, one for each of my adult kids. I have been searching searching searching the used market for months. I'm just about ready to get one for my son, it's a mid 80s made in Japan, Tange double butted frame, SIS shifting but mid grade components. The frame is nice, that is what I'm buying not for the components. If I get this particular bike I will have less than $300 in it when i give it to him. It will fit him perfectly and he can expect to ride it hard 2000+ miles with no expectations of anything other than minor mechanical issues.But if it were not for the fact that I have the tools and desire to do the work I would be better off buying him something new. It's a complicated decision you are prolly thinking bikes are supposed to be simple why is this so complicated? That is the real question I must say.
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Old 04-15-20, 09:09 PM
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What's the frame size? You can measure from roughly the center of the bottom bracket spindle up to the top of the seat tube, and get a basic size for the bike. This will give the peanut gallery a chance to debate about whether the bike is the right size for you at 5'4", and possibly advise on what you could adjust to make the bike fit you.

I'm not personally a fan of just replacing everything. When I encounter an old bike, I try to re-use as much as possible. Every $10 or $20 helps, and getting the bike in a condition to ride it will help you figure out whether to keep it or not before spending a lot of money.

The innertubes are probably OK. Tires, hard to say. Cables can be refurbished by re-greasing them, unless they're kinked beyond repair. The pedals and stuff like that shouldn't be worn out but might need lubricated.

Upright-ness is an important factor, if you prefer it. Riding your existing bike for a while might help you clarify that preference. You can sometimes get some more handlebar height by adjusting the stem within its limit.

If you get a new bike, keep the old one and use it as a training mule for getting up to speed on maintenance and repair. I believe that there are very few things that improve the cycling experience more than being self sufficient for at least basic maintenance, so you don't have to haul it to the shop every time something goes wrong. Once you've ridden a modern bike for a while, it's fun to hop on a "vintage" model and experience the difference. Some prefer the old.
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Old 04-15-20, 10:03 PM
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I get lots of bikes from people who go through what you are experiencing. They are very happy with their new bikes and I get a new project to fiddle with. Yes, $315 might be what it is worth when you finish, but you still wont have new gearing and disc brakes. People here who do their own mechanics could probably get away with a $100 investment. If you have a nostalgic attachment to your old stead, then spend the money there. If not, go new.
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Old 04-16-20, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Dk20 View Post
Hi all,

New here. I have a women's Trek Multi-track 720 bike from the late 80s that needs much repair. The frame is in excellent condition, however, it needs lots of replacements/repairs (tires/tubes, cable housing is rusting, new kick stand, pedal assembly replacement, tune up, and more. Took it to the Trek shop that they are telling me $315 for the overhaul. The bike hasn't been ridden in about 10 years. Bike was mainly used down the shore and around our local neighborhoods. I always felt the bike was a bit tall for my 5'4" frame and when stopping, I have to lean it over a bit for foot on ground, though it was/is duable.
....
My own policy is to buy a new bike every twenty-five years. You are overdue. This time, you should try to get one that fits.
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Old 04-16-20, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
In response to dedhed's posting; The trek 700 series from that era was the second line just below the 170. And not an entry level bike, but at the top of the line. Saving it is going to be a good bike for a long time to come. I still have two of those 700 series bikes that are worth close to a thousand $ each. Be very careful about some of the advice given here. Look up the exact model online and find out it's true value. Smiles, MH
While I agree a early 80's 720 drop bar touring bike is top of the line, the OP's statement of "Multi-track 720" as well as "womens" leads me to believe that the bike is actually a newer (90's?) entry level hybrid.
I don't know if any of the "700 series" you refer to were ever labeled as "Multi track" or came in a womens model but I suspect not. I also believe it to have been phased out by the mid eighties and the 520 as top of the line touring going forward.
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Old 04-16-20, 09:52 AM
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OP here. Thanks for all the replies. The reason why I suggested my bike is very late 80s is because I owned it for a few years before moving in to our current home in mid-1992. And before that we rode the same bikes on a major highway extension being build near our old neighborhood which opened for traffic in Dec. 1991. Had the bikes for about a year or 2 years riding that highway before moving in 1992. These dates are correct. While I tried looking up the bike on Trek Vintage, I couldn't find it for late 80s, but, did find it in 93, which doesn't make sense knowing 6.

Current bike is 17" I believe. Also, I live in Philly burbs, 50 mins outside the city (someone here asked) and doing a co-op search, I didn't find anything close-by. I certainly could post somewhere local and see what activity it gets for a repair person who can fix it and/or mentor me. I like the idea of tuning up my own bike(s) in the future, so perhaps utilizing my old Trek as a project is a good way to learn. I do like my old bike, though not so much the leaning over part while riding. And, I do like the step through on some of the newer womens' bikes.

The site won't allow me to post a photo until I reach 10 posts. Hummm...
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