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Hardtail Upgrade

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Hardtail Upgrade

Old 12-12-19, 08:04 AM
  #1  
spinconn
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Hardtail Upgrade

I got a Marlin 7, mostly to ride on easy to moderate single and double track, rails trails and gravel. I liked it so much I ended up riding it on bike paths and the road as well. I ride a little over 100 miles a week and generally at a moderate pace. I lost interest in riding anything else eventually and sold my road bike, and now am thinking of selling my hybrid as well. So, I must be a happy camper with my bike.

But, I feel like a little upgrade for Christmas, not because I have any complaints about my bike but just for the fun of it. I tend to like a high value purchase point where I am paying for reliability, durability and performance. I like light weight but not enough to pay extra just for that and certainly not at the expense of durability. I like performance but not at an extravagant price. As an example of my tastes, I found the Shimano 105 group set to be the perfect price/quality level for my road bike.

I'm thinking of upgrading either the front shocks or the groupset, but not both. Two questions I could use some help with.

1. What is the mountain bike equivalent of the 105? Reading the descriptions my guess is it would be the Deore M6000, but I am just guessing. I currently have an Altus M2000 FD and Acera M3000 RD. I am not all that worried whether I go 1X, 2X or 3X. I like them all and at my moderate type of riding I can adapt to any of them.

2. I really don't even need a front suspension for my riding but for some reason I enjoy it, even when on pavement I usually do not lock it out. I have a RockShox XC 30 Coil Spring. I am pretty confused about suspensions based on what I read. This is pretty vague, but any suggestions on what I should do as a next logical step up as far as make and model of front shocks? I am not mechanically inclined and value simplicity so would not enjoy anything fussy about tuning or maintenance.

Finally, I know other upgrades are possible, like tires, wheels, brakes, etc. but it is only the group set or FS I am looking at now. I am not worried about any particular price point, just as long as I am not being wasteful or extravagant. The bike is an inexpensive bike to begin with. Thanks.
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Old 12-12-19, 10:29 AM
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Most important upgrades are to the contact points, not mechanical. Pedals, grips, bars and saddle make the most difference in your ride quality. Most of those are not something easily recomended because we all have different fits and riding style. Upgrading the driveline is a total waste, I have seen all the fads and engineered obsolesence in 25 years of this. Ride it 'til it won't work and hope they haven't changed the standards when you need replacement parts.
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Old 12-12-19, 10:32 AM
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If it's new, I think the specs on it are pretty decent. I'd continue to ride it the way it is until something needs to be replaced..

Replace the pedals if they're the originals.

Maybe buy some accessories for it instead? A rack or some bags? A set of tires for the pavement?

Upgrading the fork, would be an expensive proposition.
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Old 12-12-19, 10:43 AM
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Drive train and fork are two of the most expensive parts, bike wise. Try this, sell your bike, add $ 500 and shop new. Much easier and probably cheaper to upgrade that way. Most mt bikes come in say 3-5 price points. At least look at whats on the shop floors, say last years models.
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Old 12-12-19, 12:07 PM
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Sounds like you are enjoying the bike, so "ride it like you stole it!". So long as everything is working, keep having fun, My old '96 mtn.bike was spec'd ok for what it was back then. But as parts wore out, or broke, I replaced them with better, upgraded parts. The original susp.fork was not doing what I wanted-so it did get replaced with a better one, about the only part which was replaced when it was still working-tho "working" wasn't what it was doing from my point of view.. So, fix as needed-doesn't sound like much is needed just now, so ride the hell out of it, then upgrade when a part needs replaced.
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Old 12-12-19, 03:34 PM
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Marlin's are great entries into the sport. There's a new thread on upgrading an entry level bike here at least once a month.
As most suggest, spend zero dollars till the wheels fall or you know the bike is limiting your skill levels. Upgrades will minimally add to bike and highly likely no transferable to your next bike.
Save the coins burning in your pocket for the next bike upgrade instead
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Old 12-12-19, 04:31 PM
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I have done the same with every new bike I have ever owned, ridden it exclusively while the others gathered dust. Guess what, all the new bikes now are gathering dust while I ride a frankenbike. I built this into a touring bike from a used frame and a bunch of scavenged parts. One of the new bikes gathering dust has several hundred dollars of “upgrades” that didn’t really make it much different from the original configuration, but I just had to make it more mine by changing something.
The best way for me to feel closer to my bikes is by fixing what breaks myself.
i doubt in a year or so this bike will still be your favorite so I would suggest ride it and enjoy it until the next wonderful bike comes along and don’t spend money on upgrades like I did.
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Old 12-13-19, 05:20 AM
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Thanks for the good advice guys.
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Old 12-14-19, 10:58 AM
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A really nice set of tires costs about the same as a very bottom level air fork, and you could try tubeless conversion.
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Old 12-17-19, 08:42 AM
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When you say “groupset” do you mean drivetrain or brakes as well?

If your current drivetrain is working OK, and you don’t care to spend extra just to lose weight, then there is zero benefit to be gained replacing the drivetrain before it wears out.

Regarding suspension: Going with a higher end fork will feel different on rougher surfaces, but the differences you pay big money for are lost on bike paths and pavement.

Also, a major advantage of high end suspension is the ability to fine tune them. If you don’t want to mess with knob-twiddling, then there is no point paying for the knobs.

Maybe consider an air fork, as that will let you easily adjust how firm the fork is. Of course, if the coil you have is already the right spring weight for you then there will not be much to gain in that department.

I would be looking at stuff like tires or a pedal/shoe upgrade if you have not already done so.

What tires are on there now?
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Old 12-17-19, 10:53 AM
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Thanks Kapusta,

I mean drive train, not including brakes. I find the 105 to be smoother, quicker, quieter and more precise than what is on my Marlin. I know I am willing to pay for that but am simply asking what MTB components are the equivalent of the Shimano 105. It was my impression I could not just put a 105 on it.

As for the suspension, your comments answered my question precisely and I can eliminate that upgrade from consideration based on your input.

As for other components, I know they can help but I am not interested in them at this time. My current tires are Bontrager XR2 29X2.2 and I like them.
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Old 12-17-19, 12:09 PM
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Shimano's Deore RD-M591 Long Cage Rear Derailleur will work for the rear and provide better shifting.
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Old 12-17-19, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by spinconn View Post
Thanks Kapusta,

I mean drive train, not including brakes. I find the 105 to be smoother, quicker, quieter and more precise than what is on my Marlin. I know I am willing to pay for that but am simply asking what MTB components are the equivalent of the Shimano 105. It was my impression I could not just put a 105 on it.

As for the suspension, your comments answered my question precisely and I can eliminate that upgrade from consideration based on your input.

As for other components, I know they can help but I am not interested in them at this time. My current tires are Bontrager XR2 29X2.2 and I like them.
I would say SLX is the rough equivalent of 105. Both are 3rd from the top level (Dura Ace /Ultegra / 105 for road, XTR / XT / SLX for MTB). If I was going to spend time and money on a drivetrain upgrade, I would probably go with that. I think of 105 as components good enough that I never get afflicted with the upgrade itch. I feel the same way about SLX.

One thing I will say, though, is that I notice more functional difference between high-end and low-end with road brifters than in MTB shifters.
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Old 12-17-19, 01:46 PM
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spinconn
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I would say SLX is the rough equivalent of 105. Both are 3rd from the top level (Dura Ace /Ultegra / 105 for road, XTR / XT / SLX for MTB). If I was going to spend time and money on a drivetrain upgrade, I would probably go with that. I think of 105 as components good enough that I never get afflicted with the upgrade itch. I feel the same way about SLX.

One thing I will say, though, is that I notice more functional difference between high-end and low-end with road brifters than in MTB shifters.
That is an important point about functional difference. Think I'll think on it for awhile.
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