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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my wife has a 1997 Privateer that she bought new. I am just about finished with my new 29er build and want to get her bike refreshed so we can ride together. She won a race on it back in the day so it is sentimental, and fits her well. It will be used pretty much exclusively as an XC so will need new front shocks.

It is entirely STX components with a Rockshox Indy XC front.

So I need some front shock suggestions. I've scoured the forums and everyone really just stops short of suggesting a specific shock to locate. I've seen new ones from RST (on Amazon $140) and White Brothers for $750 (too much). But I'm not sure how those fit with the bike geometry. I'd also be willing to rebuild the Indy if that is a better idea.

Front and rear cassettes need replaced. Any issue converting this to a 3x9 setup? I was thinking maybe SLX or SRAM X7 (the x7 build kit on pricepoint is only $230). I would love to just buy that X7 kit if it works.

Other than that new v-brake pads and cables would be it for now. Maybe new handlebar and stem.

So, thoughts? Suggestions?
 

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3 x 9: I was running XT 9/V-brakes on my 96 Race for quite a while, then switched to Suntour XC-pro thumbies (which could handle the 9 in friction mode). The one issue I had was the "b" tension bolt. I had to swap it out with a longer one, in order to get the proper clearance with the big gear. I can't confirm, but guess your dropout/hanger would be similar to mine.Other than that, no problems with 9 speed.

My winter project has been to go back to older parts: 8 speed, canti's rather than v's, xc-pro thumbies, etc. 8-speed on this bike just "feels" better to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
KDXdog said:
3 x 9: I was running XT 9/V-brakes on my 96 Race for quite a while, then switched to Suntour XC-pro thumbies (which could handle the 9 in friction mode). The one issue I had was the "b" tension bolt. I had to swap it out with a longer one, in order to get the proper clearance with the big gear. I can't confirm, but guess your dropout/hanger would be similar to mine.Other than that, no problems with 9 speed.

My winter project has been to go back to older parts: 8 speed, canti's rather than v's, xc-pro thumbies, etc. 8-speed on this bike just "feels" better to me.
If its just a different b-screw then I'm OK with that. But what type of 8-speed components were you able to round up? How would they compare to newer SRAM X7/X9?
 

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XTR deraillers, XTR 12-32 cassette, Sachs chain, XC-pro thunb shifters, XC-pro levers, XT hubs with Mavic X222 rims. Gravity Research pipe dream rear and Avid tri front brakes, Pauls moon unit carriers. All older used items I already had.

No clue on the Sram stuff. Last Sram I bought were 8-speed X-ray shifters! And I liked 'em.
 

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One factor that you will need to consider in sourcing a new fork is that forks are no longer built for 1" head tubes. Even in 1997, Bontrager was one of the last in holding out with a 1" system, so you won't find it all that easy even looking for a period fork of a higher quality than the Indy XC.

One option might be a Marzocchi Bomber Z2 from 1997 to 99. You would be lucky to find one with a 1" steerer, although it was an option, but the 98 Z2 had a bolt-in 1 1/8 steerer which you could replace with a 1" steerer plus shim. The 99 model had a press-in steerer, which any shop with a hydraulic press could press out for you and again replace with a 1" steerer plus shim. The other advantage of a Z2 over an Indy is that it's about ten times better.

Just as a personal thing (although I would guess that most on here might agree with me), but if you fit a modern drivetrain it will look pretty awful. With a little searching, you should be able to find plenty of period XT in decent condition on eBay. That would look so much better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
anthonyinhove said:
Just as a personal thing (although I would guess that most on here might agree with me), but if you fit a modern drivetrain it will look pretty awful. With a little searching, you should be able to find plenty of period XT in decent condition on eBay. That would look so much better.
Define "look pretty awful" for me. Like any shmoe riding on the trail will think it looks weird, or those who know their history will think it looks weird?

What I want is to get my wife's bike up and running for under $500. If period XT/XTR components are good performing compared with an SRAM X9 '10 set for $350, or an X7 '10 set for $230 (pricepoint drive chain kits) then I could do that. I probably don't have a lot of time to be scouring ebay looking for stuff, and it isn't something I want to take 2 months to do as she doesn't have another bike to ride.

Regarding the fork, seems there is a guy on ebay selling the Marzocchi Atom Bomb rebuilt with your choice of steerer.
 

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Easy Tom, just trying to help! One practical thing about parts is that the Bontrager designers created the paint scheme with simple polished alloy parts in mind, and they don't make too many simple polished alloy parts any more. In your case though, if the Privateer is jet black, it may not be such a visual problem that modern parts are generally black too. With some colour schemes, it looks very wrong indeed.

Whether the flashy design of modern parts clashes with the beautiful simplicity of the Bontrager is just a matter of taste. It looks like a clash to me, but whether 'any shmoe riding on the trail' would feel the same way I really couldn't say. But then I feel sure that your wife has more taste than any shmoe riding on the trail, hasn't she? ;)

Modern stuff does work fine though, and just in case she might find the hills are a bit steeper than they were 14 years ago, I guess a 10-speed 11-36 cassette might make life a little easier!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry, I think my reply reads harsher than I intended. Although my wife is an Oregon girl, Texas has rubbed off on her a little so looking good on the trail will matter a little more to her now then back then :) It is the jet black Privateer, so it has that going for it.

Thanks for unpacking that a little, especially regarding the polish. I guess the question is how much better are the parts now then a 1998 XT or XTR component? Seems like the NOS XTR stuff from back then is pricey.
 

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Yes, see http://www.mombat.org/Shimano.htm#1997 and the LX for around 1997 was M567/9

My advice might differ from others, but I personally don't think XTR is worth it. If you've got plenty of money and the last few grammes matter to you, then fine, but XT and LX work perfectly well. LX is cheap on eBay only because it has no bling factor, not because it doesn't work. The only XTR part that really is worth having IMPE is a 12-32 8sp cassette with titanium sprockets.

If you insist on NOS, then the prices will be quite high, but 'good but not NOS' still works fine and is good value. Obviously if you haven't got the time to look on eBay, then that is important to you, but if you could free up some time, you can quite often find LX and STX-RC parts on eBay that are old but hardly used. Zero bling factor, so low price and work fine. Used XT and particularly XTR parts are a little more likely to have led a long and tiring life before finding their way onto the second hand market.
 

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Hey Tom, any reason why you want to upgrade the bike to 9 speed? If all you need is to replace the worn drivetrain components, I'd get the SRAM PG-850 11-32 cassette on Price Point which will have a lower gear than her current cassette (assuming it's the 11-30 stock one.) You can also get a cheap 8 speed chain like the the PC-830 or PC-850. Chainrings can also be found online pretty easily, and replacing these three things would only cost you around $100.

On the other hand, if you're convinced you want to totally upgrade the drivetrain to modern tech, I recommend going the X-9 kit route from Price Point. I've had X-7 components and they felt flimsy and cheap. If you're patient, you can get great deals on lightly used Shimano XTR M-95x stuff which, in my opinion, was the best component group made until M-970 or SRAM XX.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thanks for the responses. I have a source for a fork so that is taken care of.

So there is a local powder-coating place here in Austin that I'm going to look into to getting it repainted at. I'll try to post a picture of the bike in current condition this weekend. But the decals are all shot and there is a little surface rust at a couple points on the tube where the paint was chipped. The wife got excited when I mentioned getting it repainted.

So, any suggestions on colors? The redone yellow one is pretty smooth. Looks like options for a '97 Privateer vintage color is Silver, Dark Red, Black.

Actually I just looked at the '98 catalog and the 2-tone Privateer S is Sky Blue on the back end. Any thoughts on doing whole frame that color?
 

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Let her pick the color and seeing that it's an update and not a resto I wouldn't worry about staying original.
 
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