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Can this bike be salvaged?

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Can this bike be salvaged?

Old 09-07-09, 01:47 PM
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Can this bike be salvaged?

Today a friend gave me a Trek 515 that he bought in 1984. It is remarkably light given the fact that it is a steel frame. I actually rode it during Ride the Rockies in 1991 and liked the way it fit me. A lot of work will likely be necessary to make it road-worthy again. Assuming it needs new cables, brakes, gears, cassette, crank, bottom bracket, shifters, wheels, and saddle - basically everything but the frame, fork, and handlebars - is it even worth bothering, or should I just buy a brand new bike? I figure a new bike would cost me around $1400 based on my needs, so you can use that figure for comparison purposes. And when it comes to shifters, can this bike even be fitted with the new style of shifters that are built into the brakes?

This is my first road bike in about 20 years. I'm not looking to get into competitive racing, but I would like good components (Shimano 105 or Ultegra) so I get good performance. I figured it would be a good idea to get some opinions here before hauling it down to my LBS to have them give me an estimate. Thanks for your help. Here's the bike:












Last edited by AcornMan; 09-07-09 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 09-07-09, 01:58 PM
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how tall are you? that frame is enormous.
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Old 09-07-09, 02:02 PM
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salvaged? umm whats wrong with it that it needs salvage? re-cable and ride... or find an old 105 7-speed group or something and throw it on... either way, keep it downtube shifted please.
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Old 09-07-09, 02:03 PM
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It doesn't actually need all that new stuff unless you want to get it. Replacing the cables, housings, brake shoes (not the whole mechanism) and just getting it lubed up should make it plenty road worthy.
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Old 09-07-09, 02:08 PM
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It appears to be in fairly good condition from the pictures. It's fine the way it is except possibly new cables or other small things.
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Old 09-07-09, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by botto
how tall are you? that frame is enormous.
Ha, ha. That's a normal looking frame to me! I'm 6' 4".
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Old 09-07-09, 02:40 PM
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Thats a cool bike
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Old 09-07-09, 02:41 PM
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Lol the cranks are custom
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Old 09-07-09, 02:43 PM
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Nice trek. I don't see anything that needs to be salvaged although i would upgrade the whole group to something more modern age. And also get a new wheelset. But thats just me.
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Old 09-07-09, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by genius1265
Lol the cranks are custom
OK, stupid follow-up question here: Are the Custom cranks junk?
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Old 09-07-09, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by AcornMan
Assuming it needs new cables, brakes, gears, cassette, crank, bottom bracket, shifters, wheels, and saddle - basically everything but the frame, fork, and handlebars
Why assume any of that? Cables and a chain and you should be ready to go. Having the shop (or you) repack the BB, headset and hubs wouldn't be a bad idea either. Otherwise, I'd only replace what breaks or wears out (and try to find some new brake hoods).

Also, my sources (https://www.vintage-trek.com) tell me that's an 81 or 82 model.

Man I wish I had my '84 Trek back....bike thieves suck.
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Old 09-07-09, 03:16 PM
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I'd replace the saddle, the pedals, the cables and the brake levers. That's about it.

After that its just like any bike - put some miles on it and replace things as they wear out. It looks like a good bike, but if you'd rather have a new bike just buy one and let someone else have the Trek.
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Old 09-07-09, 03:17 PM
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Before you do anything check the frame carefully for rust / corrosion. Take the seat post out and look for rust in the seat tube with a flashlight ...especially where it joins the bottom bracket. Thoroughly clean the frame and inspect with a bright light. Don't want to spend any money / effort on a 25 year old steel frame that may have corroded.
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Old 09-07-09, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by AcornMan
OK, stupid follow-up question here: Are the Custom cranks junk?
They are SR Sakae, I think it even says so on the bolt cover in the center of the crank. SR later bought/merged with Suntour. Not junk and totally appropriate to the bike.
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Old 09-07-09, 05:06 PM
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that is a large bike to alot of us. and I have to agree with a few of the posters. most of the things on that bike are good stuff. clean it up and ride it. keep you eye open for something on ebay or cl that you can get the 7 spd downtube index from. but IMHO if your willing to spend 1400 on upgrading that frame you might be better off putting that into a whole new bike
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Old 09-07-09, 05:46 PM
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Given your height and the fact that you feel it fits you so well, just do the maintenance items. Tires, tubes, cables, housings, brake pads. Completely degrease and relube everything. Give 'er a real nice bath. Be a nice bike...you put $100-$150 into that it'd be a fine, fine ride. Enjoy.
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Old 09-07-09, 09:09 PM
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I bought my wife a 89 Raleigh Technium a few years back for $15 and then spent another $50 on bar tape and a saddle, she rides probably 40 miles a week on it happily and never has a problem. Their was new cables on it when purchased, otherwise those would have been replaced as well. Ohh and this year we put new tires and tubes on.

That bike looks like it's in damn fine condition.
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Old 09-07-09, 09:22 PM
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If it's from the 80's it probably has an old school freewheel, any drivetrain upgrade is going to start with a new hub at the very least. Also the rear frame spacing has changed over the years (the distance between the dropouts), so getting a modern drivetrain in there will be problematic as the frame will have to be spread to accomodate it, possibly leading to issues with the chainstays/cranks. I am with the majority here, put new cables, tires, and seat on it and enjoy it. If you must have all the modern hoopla, buy a new bike, you will end up money ahead.
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Old 09-07-09, 11:01 PM
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I'd fix it up (new chain, tubes, probably tires, cables, and a good cleaning/waxing) and ride it until you feel the need to buy a new bike. It can be re-sold on Craigslist for at least what you put into it
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Old 09-07-09, 11:54 PM
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I'd just fix it up and ride as is.

Buy a different race bike.

Make sure to take the frame apart and spray it with frame saver to save it from rust.
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Old 09-08-09, 01:55 AM
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I'd do a little more than everyone is suggesting without going all out. Start with the brake cables and pads. That's pretty inexpensive. If they work well after that, stay with them. If not, try putting Tektro calipers and levers on. They'll cost all of $50 if you look online for low prices. Modern brakes work much better than the old ones. Not only do they stop better, they are easier to modulate. I also see that one lever is missing the hood. Good luck finding a replacement hood that costs less than the R200a Tektro levers. (maybe these are easier to find than the Modolo hoods on my bike were.)

I would also look at modern 130 spaced wheels. Put a 10 speed cassette and chain on and use it with the friction shifters. It will work much better than you'd think. The only problem is the largest cog may leave the derailleur too close to the spokes no matter how much you adjust. In that case you have a 9 speed. Don't sweat the extra cog, it doesn't matter much. Wheels can be expensive, look for something solid without spending too much. Wheels will make a big difference in the feel of the ride. If you go with wheels, make sure they are Shimano compatible. There's nothing wrong with Campy except that the prices on cassettes and chains is almost double.

Try repacking the bottom bracket, that'll make it run much smoother if it isn't already pitted.
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Old 09-08-09, 02:20 AM
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Definatly salvagable, needs a bit of tlc but apart from that should be fine.
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