Author Topic: Should I get a new bike?  (Read 14295 times)

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Offline dunedigger

Should I get a new bike?
« on: February 28, 2009, 07:10:05 pm »
I have had this really nice Raleigh MTB for about as long as I have been riding. Its the only one I've ever ridden, and I love the way it rides. I'm thinking about doing the TA and I was wondering if I should go buy a new bike. The one I currently have was recently taken to the mechanic, and the guy told me its in perfect condition aside from the rust on the frame. I've had it almost 10 years now, I love it.

I was wanting some opinions; should I buy a new bike? I'm afraid my baby will die out in the middle of nowhere and I'll have to get used to a new bike on the road. If you think I should buy a new one, should I go for a road bike, mountain, or a hybrid of the two? I'm really used to MTBs and I have trouble riding bikes with smaller tires . . . sooo, opinions?

PS, I'm trying to find the model info on my Raleigh MTB, its a late 90's model, I know that much.

Thanks a lot!

*edit*

This is posted later on in the thread by me but I wanted to put it up here as well because some people don't read all the postings;

My bike is pretty light, since its rusty its gotta be steel right? I can easily carry it on my shoulder, have been since I got it at age 9 xD But then again, I've always had good upper body strength. Is carbon fiber a good material for a frame? Does it rust? I'm pretty much mechanically challenged but I plan on stripping the bike this summer and giving it a new paint job with the help of my 16 year old brother, who loves taking things apart. Good or bad idea? I really need to do this, the rust isn't way bad, its just a pain to change the handlebar/seat positions so I wanna fix that. Any good website/book recommendations I could use to help with the 'putting it all back together' part?
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 03:12:00 pm by dunedigger »

Offline DaveB

Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2009, 10:47:28 pm »
If the rust isn't too widespread or deep, there is no reason you bike shouldn't last for decades more. 

That said, an MTB isn't the best choice for touring but, if you like it and realize its limitations, go for it.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2009, 11:59:20 pm »
If you enjoy it, keep riding it.  You can always buy new parts.  I assume the frame is steel due to the rust but that too will most likely last for another decade.  I personally would keep it.  As matter of fact, I recently built up a "frankenbike" for rail trail and more gravel/dirt road touring.  The frame is a steel Trek MB-1 which I think (but not sure) is a late 80s/early 90s bike.  A lot of the newer bikes (road & MTB) are not that good for touring unless specifically built for touring.  I have 3 bikes and 1 tandem and they are all older (mid 80s to late 90s), steel touring-oriented bikes.

If you do buy a new one, there are several touring specific bikes out there that use 26" MTB type wheel ranging in price from $1,000 to $7,000 depending on how custom you want to get.  I would definitely sell your old bike frame instead of trashing it as there are people who definitely want something like what you have.

Offline dunedigger

Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2009, 12:23:20 am »
Wow, $1-$7K?? Geez, bikes are expensive these days. Lol, no way would I trash this bike. If I did get a new one, my brother would get rusty as a hand-me-down. No need to trash a perfectly good bike right? Plus, this one has extreme sentimental value xD

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2009, 07:50:56 am »
If the mechanic said your bike was in good condition, it is most likely good for the trip. I think you should get a regular touring bike. There are reasons touring bikes are called touring bikes. My touring bike is not a great something to look at. It has quite a bit of wear and tear on it too. I also know it can take me from coast to coast with little if any trouble at all. It was made for efficiency on the road moreso than an MTB. I always say you can cycle cross country on a one-speed Huffy from your local thrift store if you are determined to do it, but that is not really the way to do it. Use the right kind of bike for the kind of cycling you are going to be doing. That is just my point of view.

Offline BikingViking

Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2009, 09:23:34 pm »
As a Warm Showers host and touring cyclist, I have seen a lot of MT bikes out there on the road working just fine. My only suggestion would be to go to a smooth road tire rather than the knobbys. 

Offline dunedigger

Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2009, 10:49:08 pm »
Thanks for the input everybody!

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2009, 12:24:50 pm »
There are some cultists out there that love to take steel, flat top tube mountain bikes of your bike's vintage and turn them into touring bikes. 

As long as your frame has only surface rust and you have a reliable drive train, the only upgrade you need to make are smooth tires (as was previously mentioned).  A rams horn handle bar will give you more hand positions, but that may also require upgrading the brake levers.  Its up to you what upgrades you make and there is no reason why that can be an ongoing process.
Danno

Offline DaveB

Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2009, 04:13:53 pm »
I recommend either using your MTB in it's current format but adding smooth or nonagressive-tread tires and calling it good or getting a real touring bike. 

Obviously, if you use your current bike, be sure the bearings are lubed and adjusted properly, the cables are good, the chain and cassette are in good condition and the brake pads are sound, which is what you would have to do with any bike. 

It is possible to convert an MTB into a road/touring bike but, unless you can do all the work your self (or have a friend who will do it at no charge), and have access to a large stock of parts, the cost will be more than the cost of buying a good used touring bike.

I've done this conversion but I had all of the needed change parts already on hand from upgrades of other bikes and I did all of the work myself.  It would have been prohibitively expensive any other way.   

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2009, 12:51:38 pm »
Part of the reason why converting 90's vintage flat top tube steel mountain bikes into touring bikes is so appealing, is that the frames were solidly built, and they usually came with mount points for a front and rear rack.  Sure the frames are heavy, but it is rotating weight that really hurts you, not static weight.  These bikes predates today's obsession with making bikes light for the sake of lightness. 

I am not arguing going back to 40 lb Schwinn Varsity bicycles, but the sad fact is that a sub 20 lb road bike is not much good for touring on.

So if your frame has the mount points, and you are handy, and have a small budget for tools, then doing one of these conversions is worth while.   You can do a lot with a set of metric hex keys and a crescent wrench.  You might even like doing bike upgrades.

If your not mechanically inclined, then you need to look into buying another bike.  Bike mechanic rates are approaching car dealership rates, so I would rather spend my money on bike parts (and that is how you get an inventory of parts on hand).

Danno

Offline dunedigger

Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2009, 03:11:14 pm »
My bike is pretty light, since its rusty its gotta be steel right? I can easily carry it on my shoulder, have been since I got it at age 9 xD But then again, I've always had good upper body strength. Is carbon fiber a good material for a frame? Does it rust? I'm pretty much mechanically challenged but I plan on stripping the bike this summer and giving it a new paint job with the help of my 16 year old brother, who loves taking things apart. Good or bad idea? I really need to do this, the rust isn't way bad, its just a pain to change the handlebar/seat positions so I wanna fix that. Any good website/book recommendations I could use to help with the 'putting it all back together' part?

Offline Tourista829

Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2009, 04:16:32 pm »
I would try the Raleigh MTB. Go to MEC website www.mec.ca. Go to cycling, learn, bike touring tips. Janick Lemieux and Pierre Bouchard, two very worldly hard core bike tourists, swear by MTB touring. They may take the road few take but for durability they are hard to beat. MEC also has good panniers/racks and Loonie/Dollar exchange rate.
If you want to keep it on the cheap, check the following:
Heel Clearance-with loaded bags, if not, borrow a B.O.B trailer and try it.
Racks-if can't attach opt for a trailer, get a used one on ebay.
Fit-reach change stem length
Riding Position-Bar Ends for more positions and higher stem for more comfortable upright touring
Saddle-for long distance riding
Weight-pack lighter or if needed shed a few pounds to make up difference
Gearing-18"-24" low gear, 90"-104' top gear. (one can never get too low, on a mtb loaded, climbing) Change Granny Gear 22 to 24 tooth gear on Crank, and/or change to Mega Gear 34 tooth on the rear.
Shake Down-Load em up and ride 60-80 miles for three days, see how it works.
Tires-change to road ones, as previously stated
I'll bet, other than a few mph slower, you will enjoy it and the money you save, use it on your TA Tour. Good Luck.



Offline dunedigger

Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2009, 09:23:34 pm »
Thanks for all the great info!

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2009, 12:09:54 pm »
Building a wheel is rocket science.  Truing a wheel approaches rocket science.  Setting the tightness on cones is like doing drywall (one day it will magically make sense).  Everything else is pretty easy.

Many bike stores offer repair classes, that is how I got started.  My first purchase was a bike stand and a set of cone wrenches.  If you wheels have sleeve bearings, you don't even need cone wrenches.

I think Sheldon Brown has some good info on his web site.

Good luck, and have lots of fun.
Danno

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2009, 12:54:24 pm »
Building a wheel is rocket science.  Truing a wheel approaches rocket science.  Setting the tightness on cones is like doing drywall (one day it will magically make sense).  Everything else is pretty easy.

You overstate the complexity by a considerable amount.  Drywalling is much much more difficult.  And permanent if its not perfect the first time.  There are various books or online resources for building wheels.  Just takes some time and patience.  Hub adjustments is a feel thing.  You can feel if its right or not.  Although lots of new hubs have no adjustment to them.  Bicycle mechanics is pretty simple with a few special required tools.  I know there are many incompetent bicycle maechanics who ride across the country, but thats not what I would do.  I think everyone should know how to work on their bike before riding it.