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Upgrading older hardtrail

Old 04-09-21, 11:46 AM
  #1  
speedyspaghetti
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Upgrading older hardtrail

Hey guys -

So I've recently been getting into mountain biking more and a friend of mine gave me his old hardtail - a 2011 Bianchi JAB7500 26er. The bike is awesome, I know it's not the highest spec there is, but I love it.

There are a few issues I'd like to remedy though -
1. The bike is a big large for me. I'm 5'9, my friend is 6'1. The frame is a 53cm which I believe is different from a road 53 (if someone could correct me here I would appreciate it) and so I feel "stretched out" on the bike. It does have a pretty long stem being an older XC style bike (I haven't measured but it looks like a 100 or 110) - would putting on like a 40 or 50mm stem help with this issue, or would it cause some sort of adverse effect?
2. Chain slap is bad - the bike has 3x10 Shimano SLX with no rear clutch so especially when doing DH stuff, I get so much chain slap. Would replacing the old SLX RD with a newer 11 speed one (I believe I can use an 11 speed RD with 10 speed shifters, again someone correct me on this) solve this issue? It seems like the newer ones are meant for doubles, not triples, would this pose an issue? Alternatively, I guess I could convert the bike to 1x, but that would definitely be a lot costlier.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 04-09-21, 12:41 PM
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ClydeClydeson
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Don't put any money into a bike that doesn't fit. 53cm is about 21", which is basically 'XL' in most brands. You probably need a M bike, or maybe 16 - 18". That bike is at least two sizes too big. Certainly inappropriate for trail riding.

Thank your friend and ask if they want it back or if they mind if you sell it to get something that fits.
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Old 04-09-21, 01:40 PM
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It would be best to get a bike that fits, but depending on your finances, if you can ride downhill without any issues and you can’t/don’t want to buy a bike that fits better, just go for it.

You can get a shorter stem. It will technically speed up the steering, although you may not notice it. Everyone is different.

At that point, don’t spend anything more on it. Don’t even think of upgrading as you will be throwing your money away.

You can reduce chain slap by pulling off the outer chainring and shortening the chain and running a 2x10. That might not give you a top end you want, or you might be able to live with it. Wrap the chainstay with a old tube or rubber tape to quiet it.

John
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Old 04-09-21, 01:55 PM
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Well... if you like the bike but feel it's a bit too large you can easily try a shorter stem and/or slightly swept back bars. I run shorter stems all the time because I don't like being that far over the front wheel. Also check the seat position. Fortunately I have a supply to draw from but stems aren't that expensive of an experiment.

Until that is solved just wrap your chain stay as described above. If the bike does fit then look at the next issue.
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Old 04-10-21, 08:24 AM
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A shorter stem is cheap to try.

How wide are the bars? This is relevant.

Get a ruler and actually measure the stem and bars, and report in mm.

I would second the suggestion to consider losing the big ring and running the bike 2x10. This will let you shorten the chain a bit which helps a lot with chain slap. In place of the big ring you can get a BBG Bash Guard for about $20 shipped (google BBG Bash Guard).

You just need to determine if you will miss the big ring. I have ditched it on every mtb Iíve owned for the last 20 years, and never really missed them.

And of course wrapping the chainstay with a tube is cheap and effective.
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Old 04-10-21, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by speedyspaghetti View Post
Hey guys -

So I've recently been getting into mountain biking more and a friend of mine gave me his old hardtail - a 2011 Bianchi JAB7500 26er. The bike is awesome, I know it's not the highest spec there is, but I love it.

There are a few issues I'd like to remedy though -
1. The bike is a big large for me. I'm 5'9, my friend is 6'1. The frame is a 53cm which I believe is different from a road 53 (if someone could correct me here I would appreciate it) and so I feel "stretched out" on the bike. It does have a pretty long stem being an older XC style bike (I haven't measured but it looks like a 100 or 110) - would putting on like a 40 or 50mm stem help with this issue, or would it cause some sort of adverse effect?
2. Chain slap is bad - the bike has 3x10 Shimano SLX with no rear clutch so especially when doing DH stuff, I get so much chain slap. Would replacing the old SLX RD with a newer 11 speed one (I believe I can use an 11 speed RD with 10 speed shifters, again someone correct me on this) solve this issue? It seems like the newer ones are meant for doubles, not triples, would this pose an issue? Alternatively, I guess I could convert the bike to 1x, but that would definitely be a lot costlier.

Thanks for the advice!
Why would converting to 1x be more expensive?
Is it wrong to remove the outer and inner chainring and just run the middle one?
Are they riveted on?
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Old 04-11-21, 07:35 AM
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Kapusta
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Originally Posted by SkinGriz View Post
Why would converting to 1x be more expensive?
Is it wrong to remove the outer and inner chainring and just run the middle one?
Are they riveted on?
That is fine if you only want the range of the current cassette in the middle ring. He could spend more and replace the cassette with a wider range one, but it is unlikely that the current RD will handle a wide range cassette. Of course he could then spend more money and futz with a Goat Link....


Edit: Ok, i re-read his post, and if he is already considering an 11sp RD, he is already spending the biggest chunk of change to go 1x11.
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Old 04-19-21, 11:18 AM
  #8  
speedyspaghetti
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
A shorter stem is cheap to try.

How wide are the bars? This is relevant.

Get a ruler and actually measure the stem and bars, and report in mm.

I would second the suggestion to consider losing the big ring and running the bike 2x10. This will let you shorten the chain a bit which helps a lot with chain slap. In place of the big ring you can get a BBG Bash Guard for about $20 shipped (google BBG Bash Guard).

You just need to determine if you will miss the big ring. I have ditched it on every mtb Iíve owned for the last 20 years, and never really missed them.

And of course wrapping the chainstay with a tube is cheap and effective.
Will do - I'll measure everything when I get back home from work today.

Yeah I think I would be ok with 2x10, although this bike just might be better suited to true XC stuff - I took it on this ridiculously hilly 35 miler about a month ago and I had no complaints at all, it's not just very fun to ride on DH / techy stuff. Might have to just live with it.
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