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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been doing some research online for entry level mountain bikes and I narrowed it down to a couple bikes from BikesDirect and a few used bikes that pop up on Craigslist (Specialized, Giant, Trek, ect...).
I finally settled for a 2009 Giant XtC 2. I did my research on this bike before I went to look at it, I found it on Craigslist. Well, when I looked at it it had different components than what was spec'd on various websites that I've seen. Specifically, the derailleurs have been switched out. The websites all have SRAM X.5 on it, but it had a $20 Shimano Altus actually on it. I couldn't find a name on the front derailleur. And the cassette is black, not silver like in the pics I've seen. I think there are 7 speeds x 3 = 21? Also the crank set doesn't have a name on it, that I've seen yet. The front shock (broken lockout) and disk brakes are the same as spec'd. Everything else looked fine, the frame is in excellent condition, brakes work good, and it shifts easy.
I rode it for a few miles last night (not on a trail) and it rode great, even going over curbs. I figured I could upgrade the derailleurs when needed.
I talked the guy down from $350 to $250 because of the switched out parts.

So my questions are....
1. In your opinion, is this a good price for a Giant with those components?
2. If I ever was to upgrade the derailleurs, is that even possible on this bike?
3. Do I have to upgrade both at once, or can I do each separately? Do I have to change out the whole system (derailleurs, cassette, and shifter)?
4. What is a good derailleur for an entry level person? Should I go back with a SRAM X5 or X7, or something different like a Shimano Deore XT or SLX?

Sorry for the noob questions!
 

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thats not a bad price. yes you can replace your DR's.

you dont have to change the front and rear DR at the same time.

you do have to change the crankset, chain, and cassette at the same time so you know how much milage they are all at. plus old parts dont mesh with new ones on the drivetrain side.

if you change to a 9 speed you will have to get new shifters and i would get SLX Rear DR and deore front DR and a SLX cassette.

have fun with your new ride!
 

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It sounds like the owner decided to keep the drivetrain that came on the bike and put on a different one. There's a few steps and I'll list them below. First of all that's a great price on the bike.

1. See how many speeds it has - you mentioned 7. Most bikes now have 9
2. It sounds like it has a shimano derailleur. That means they must be shimano shifters. SRAM and shimano rear derailleurs are not compatible.
3. What year is the bike? Is the wheelset compatible with 9 speed?
4. If it is 7 speed I recommend upgrading to 9 speed so you can find parts.
5. If you convert to 9 speed you will need to change everything at once, unless you want to do some research. Is your chain a 9 speed? Is it stretched? If it is stretched then the old chain will wear out the new components that you put on your bike. You can measure chain stretch with a ruler or a very cheap park tool chain checker. If you don't want to deal with that pick up a 20 dollar chain. I have this tool. It's simple and easy to use. Park Tools CC-3 Chain Wear Indicator - BikeRadar
6. You do not have to change out all the derailleurs at once, but I would. If it's not 9 speed, and you decide to convert, you will probably need 9 speed shifters and rear derailleur. Make sure they're the same brand. You can still use the front derailleur, but you can probably pick up a new one on ebay for 20 -30 bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just wondering... my fork's lockout is broken. It's a Rockshock Dart 3. Can that be easily fixed by myself? Or a bike shop?
 

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At that price, upgrading to a certain level usually comes out being more expensive than buying a bike that has all that stuff in the first place.

Now that you have it, though, pics. Pull the rear wheel off and take one of the cogs.

For the fork, it's probably fixable, I'd probably be just as inclined to stick a Surly 1x1 fork on the front instead. I don't know the Dart specifically, but if I can't have the fancy dampers to which I'm accustomed, I'd rather have a rigid fork.

EDIT: In answer to one of your questions, I think the Shimano Deore derailleur (not XT or SLX or anything - just plain Deore) is the best value going unless you tend to break them a lot. In which case an Acera or Alivio will still be a lot better than an Altus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the info. I've attached a few pics.
Now I've done some research as to what is on the bike and figured out that the whole drivetrain has been switched out to cheaper components. So I will most likely have to upgrade. But I can probably do it and still be under my original $450 budget. I hope.

What do you guys think of these parts as my first upgrade package to 9 speed ($140 total)...
Shimano Deore M592 Shadow RD
Shimano Deore M590 Shifters
Shimano SLX HG61 Cassette
Shimano XT HG93 Chain

Then later on I could upgrade the crankset and front DR.
Or do I need to upgrade the crankset now too? Shimano FC-M191 is on there now.
Any advice?




 

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better than I deserve
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If you feel you have to go 9 speed I`d just replace the cassette,shifters and chain.Those derailleurs may work fine.For a bike in that price just ride the heck out of it.It has susp. forks and disc already.I wouldn`t dump too much money into it.It`s a nice looking bike!
 

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Id be willing to bet the wheelset was changed out when the drivetrain was changed as well. And ive only seen really low end bikes with the "megarange" type granny gears. Also im not positive, but that stem looks really long for that bike. Id consider upgrading the fork as well if its in your budget. I think with all the parts that need to be swapped out id consider a build kit or something of the like. I still think you got a deal on the bike and its a good platform to start from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Just an update to my bike...
Decided to keep the bike and do the upgrades... I purchased pretty much everything from blueskycycling, cheap prices although not in box stuff.

I know a lot more about bikes now since I first posted this, back then I knew it was a frame with two wheels.

I've put 100+ road miles on it, as I used it pretty much every other day riding to go eat somewhere or just to ride around. I've also taken it off trail multiple times and am very pleased by the bike. I've went through deep mud puddles, launched from 3' drop offs, to jumping plenty of roots, and winding through many trails.

My girlfriend has a Trek 3500 and that thing is a tank. She crashes all the time, but that thing takes a licking and keeps on ticking (I'm talking about the bike). Comparing the weight of her bike to mine, her's feels 10lbs heavier. Not really 10, but it is much heavier, I can tell just by lifting the back seat.

The frame is pretty much original on the bike. I like it, no complaints.
I've left the seatpost, seat, stem, bars, tires, and front wheel as is... As in whatever has been switched (or not switched out) by the previous owner has been fine with me.
I've upgraded:
Shimano SLX HG61 Cassette 9-Speed
Shimano Deore M592 Shadow Rear Derailleur
Shimano Deore M590 Shifter Pods
Shimano Deore LX M571 Brake Levers
Race Face Ride XC X Type Crankset
Shimano Deore Disc Rear Wheel W/Sun Rhyno Lite Rim
I tried to install all of these myself, but had to take it to my LBS to finish up the job. They added a SRAM chain after I messed up the new Shimano one I bought.
Parts and install cost me... $350

Total - $250 for the bike +$350 in parts = $600.

I need to put on still:
Shimano Deore XT M772 Front Derailleur for another $40 installed.

At $650 with these components, I feel like I have a pretty strong bike. Especially when I compare everything to another bike at this price range at a LBS.

Any opinions? Either on the upgrades or anything else?

What should I do next? Besides replace the front fork... Guess that's a good chunk of change in itself. (the lockout in my fork is busted, but I hardly ever bottom out)

I'll try to get some pics posted soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for your reply in the other thread.
I know I have two threads, but they are in different sections (a Giant section and a Newbie section). They also have different replies from different people.

Just trying to suck in as much info from all angles!
 

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just for reference a non functioning lockout on a 2009 dart 3 is the standard symptom of a leaky damper that leaked all the oil out. The 08 and 09 darts had a known seal problem with a lot of warranty issues.

If you have one of the leaky forks you might get a lot out of a fork upgrade (way out of warranty) to something with some damping.
 

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I have same bike only 08'. The 09' sold for $900 and mine was $750 being the 08' price.
It came with:
Sram X5 DR and shifters.
Shimano HG-50 9 spd cassette
Truvativ iso-flo cranks...:skep:
Hayes mx4 mech disc front/rear
Wtb duel duty rims w/formula hubs
I upgraded everything but the seatpost clamp and it's a totally awsome mach now compared to the stock componants. I got it stock and rode till the drive train wore out
and it road good. It's a ton better now with a GXP crankset, Reba RL dual air forks
ect...You'll like that bike even at a stock lvl...and you got a good price on it too :thumbsup:
 

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Oh yea, my 08' Dart 3 leaked oil bad out the bottom and after 2 times to the shop (under warranty),
they ended up giving me a new 09' set with the remote lock-out on it and I never had a prob with the new one's. I beat the crap out of them for 3 years and there's still nothing wrong with them. The bad thing is that they're heavy with the steel steerer and coil.
All your upgrades are good. Next look to get rid of the bars and stem since they are
cheap as hell on sale to upgrade them (If you want that is).
 
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