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GT Saddleback purchase, and fork advice

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GT Saddleback purchase, and fork advice

Old 03-01-16, 07:53 PM
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dabigboy
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GT Saddleback purchase, and fork advice

Hi all,

I am new to the forums, my wife and I are just getting into cycling. I have her set up with a nice old Schwinn Crossfit, and just picked up a 2000 GT Saddleback on CL for $50. It needs some love, but I like tinkering with things, and I think this will make a fun build.



The good:

- Frame is straight and not rusty
- Brake and shifter components look to be serviceable once I replace the cable housings
- Rims are good
- Tires look pretty good

The bad:

- Fork is shot
- Needs a new seat (stock seat looks to be uncomfortable anyway)
- Surface rust on several components
- Probably need to replace the chain
- Missing kickstand

I'm not sure what to do on the fork. I plan on using this bike for a mix of road use and light off-road riding. I'm 6'1", and about 215lbs, on a good day.....if I exhale. Do you think a nice quality suspension fork would be worth my while, or should I just convert to a rigid fork? Any particular brands/models I should seek out?

Thanks in advance,

Matt
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Old 03-02-16, 03:06 PM
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jimc101
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Originally Posted by dabigboy View Post
I'm 6'1"
Looking at the bike, it looks to be a 18" which if it is, is way to small for you.

For the bike, if it does fit, as the fork needs replacing, you will probably find it's not cost effective to do anything with it, as even a basic one (and the other parts you need) will end up costing the same as you should be able to pick up another bike for.

For the kickstand, it's a MTB (your a MTB forum), and no MTB should have one if used as an MTB.
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Old 03-02-16, 03:18 PM
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As Jimc stated, that frame looks too small for you. I guess you could put a offset seatpost, longer stem and a cheap steel rigid fork on it. This fork would be about as cheap as they come:

Nashbar Rigid 26-in. Mountain Bike Fork

At $50, the fork cost what you paid for the bike... see the issue you will run into?

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Old 03-02-16, 04:19 PM
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Looked it up... 2000 GT Saddleback - BikePedia Hiten/Tourney/Acera/freewheel, an inexpensive bike. At that component level, there's nothing inside that fork but springs and bump stops, no preload screws even, so there's nothing to rebuild. If you take it apart you can just clean it and lube it. Agreed on no kickstand for real MTB use. It goes twanggg and you worry about it popping open when you land.
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Old 03-03-16, 12:56 AM
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Good eye on the frame, it is indeed an 18". I wondered if this might be too small, but I feel pretty well extended when I sit on it....then again, I have very little riding experience with a proper quality bike. Would something like a 21" be more appropriate for a fellow like me?

I already expected to put more into the bike than what I paid for it....for that matter, I just spent $28 on a frame pump and $7 on some spoke wrenches. After some research, it looks like a decent entry-level MTB is going to run me north of $300 for used in good condition, a little more for new. I've seen mention of the Saddleback being about a $100-$150 bike with stock components and everything working......if I can put that much into it in parts and have a decent general-use MTB/hybrid for starting out with, I'll be happy.

If this bike would not really benefit from a nice suspension fork, I'll just go with a basic rigid. I see some NOS and used forks on ebay for $20-$30 (some off-brand, some GT, Spinner, and other known brands). For that matter, I suppose I could hack this fork into a rigid, but I presume it's heavier than a good rigid (heavier still if I stick some steel rods in it). The main issue with the fork is that the lower section is loose, worn bushings I suppose? I guess it's ridable, it just seems kinda shaky to me.

OTOH, if I figure out this 18" frame is really not a good fit, I won't put a lot of money or effort into making it fit. There are too many other good used bikes on the market (though not a lot of big frames, from what I've seen).

Thanks for the tip on the kickstand.....I never thought about it falling down on the trail, but that makes perfect sense! Hey, one less thing I'd have to buy if I end up going through with this project.

Matt
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Old 03-03-16, 11:11 AM
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I don't think anyone here would advise you to put money into a bike that cost $324, sixteen years ago, unless it was a perfect fit or had sentimental value. Just get it running in the least expensive way possible, then decide whether you really want to do the fork conversion.

The fork on this bike has a 1-1/8 steerer. Unless your local bike shop has the thread die for this somewhat oddball size, it might be easier to convert to a threadless headset and stem, which uses the same diameter. But either way it will be more $$ than just buying a fork.
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Old 03-14-16, 01:08 AM
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Hi again,

I got sidetracked on the GT project, came down last week with some kind of nasty flu bug. This weekend I am finally back up to speed for the most part, so I took some time to finish tearing down the bike, cleaning/oiling/greasing/adjusting as necessary, and got it all put back together today. It was too late in the evening for a proper shakedown drive, but I did take it up and down my street once.

On the good advice of you all here, I decided to go through the bike as it is and not put any money into new parts yet. The good news is I do not need a new fork (well, no more than I need one to replace this cheap thing in the first place). This is a pretty barebones fork....it turns out there are a couple of big plastic bushings that are supposed to keep the lower fork positioned in the top section. These bushings had floated up off their bases on the lower fork, causing the slop. Only solution was to whack away with a rubber mallet to put them back in place, but the fork is now tight and wobble-free!



Frame was almost totally stripped, but not quite....bottom bracket seems to be good. I was going to take it apart and grease it for good measure, before I realized the newer style ones are not serviceable. Removal of the left crank was thus pointless, except to test my crank puller (it works...). Cable housings will probably get replaced if I keep the bike, but for now they are clean enough that a light oiling is all that was needed.

I probably will go ahead and get a new seat, this one is pretty uncomfortable....I can always put the seat on something else.

I don't know if the frame is too small or not....with the seat up a few inches from the frame, and the handlebars raised to the min insertion level, I got down the road alright. Perhaps time will tell. I need to find some larger bikes to test-ride, probably. I do have to say, it felt good to be on a bike again!

Matt

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Old 03-15-16, 01:22 PM
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Looking shiny! I do love those GT seat stays.
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Old 10-29-19, 07:17 AM
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Stumbled across this thread as I was looking to fix the same bushing issue on my GT. Can you give some more details on how you got them back in?
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