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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got an old 2004 SC Heckler that I bought new back in the day and rode pretty hard for a few years. Then we had a kid and I basically gave up riding and the bike has sat in my garage for 10+ years now.

I want to get back into riding and am wondering what I should do or have done to the bike to make it last me until I can save up for a new bike. To be clear, the bike works fine just riding around the neighborhood, but I haven't taken it on any trails yet.

I'm basically wondering about the following:

  • Going tubeless - thorny weeds are the bane of my existence around here
  • Having a shock rebuild done - this is the main thing I'm wondering about
  • Converting to a 1x drivetrain - probably not worth it, just wishful thinking
  • Anything else I should do or have done
TIA
 

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Bikes in jeans
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New cables/housing and chain if they are in poor condition.

Then ride it and see if any other maintenance is warranted. It's not uncommon for shocks to be ok after extended periods, I still have a 98 SID that doesn't leak oil and it's never been serviced except adding air every few rides.

1x, just get a narrow wide ring for the center crankset ring and you have a usable 1x. Upgrade the cassette if you want more range, there's wide range 8sp even these days.

If your shock or fork is leaking oil, you may just need new seals and wipers. You still need to take them apart and will need new oil, but it's minimal compared to digging into the internals. If they won't hold air, you're definitely in territory that will require quite a bit more work.
 

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My 2012 Heckler is now my backup...loved that bike but have not ridden it since getting the Kona a year and a half ago.

•Going tubeless - thorny weeds are the bane of my existence around here
Depends on existing wheels...I had Azonic Outlaw wheel set which worked well with Stans tubeless conversion kit ($80). Worked well with Maxxis High Roller tires (26X2.5)

•Having a shock rebuild done - this is the main thing I'm wondering about
Depends on shock...some you can do yourself and some need to be sent out.

•Converting to a 1x drivetrain - probably not worth it, just wishful thinking
I modified my Heckler to 1X9...did it myself for about $250 (included cranks and BB)

•Anything else I should do or have done
How are brakes?
 

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well mannered lout
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Let me start at the thread title...are you making it ridable, or upgrading? Two completely different questions. I'll answer the first.

Tubeless...don't do it, but add Stans sealant in your tubes.

Rebuilding the shock ( and fork)...If you have an air shock/ fork, I very much like the idea of adding a little shock oil into the air spring chamber before riding it and cleaning the everything as neatly as you can on the outside. If the bike was stored hanging by one wheel, set it on both wheels level for a day. Before using the bike for a ride it's good to flip it for a few minutes for oil to run into the seals/ crush washer bits under the wipers. I'd add a little lube around the wipers and cycle it a couple of times. Then wipe them clean. It was said before, it might all be working, it might not.

Converting to 1x...if you've been off the bike for 10 years, just keep all your gears. Clean everything up nicely a lube it liberally, ride for a bit, wipe it, and repeat. I wouldn't even replace the chain. If the drive train is worn, a new chain won't work right with your cassette.

Anything else...the brakes are really the big thing. I expect it's disc equipped ( '04 is on the bubble there). With disc brakes, do all the cleaning and lubing first, then work on the brakes when the contaminants are all put away. I wouldn't put a ton of trust in hydro brakes right away even if they feel good at the start. I'd clean the rotors, and replace the rear pads and bed them in properly.

If the bike didn't run full cable housings, lube the shifter cables ( and brake cables if you have them. If the housings are broken you'll need to replace them.

A lot of this will depend on if the bike had been freshened up before you stopped riding, or if it was well worn. To do the things I described you're looking at $50 and a couple hours. If your helmet has been stored for 10+ years, go buy a new one.

If you ride a lot, then you need to ask if you want to overhaul the whole bike or buy a new(er) more modern bike. But for now, this is enough to go get dirty and have dome laughs.
 

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WillWorkForTrail
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The difference between good enough to ride around the neighborhood and good enough to take on the trails with a bike like that is a fine line. To me, it would be mostly to do with:

Brakes - do they need any service to be able to stop you going down a hill on the trails? Might check your pads, and flush/bleed the brakes. This is most important as a safety issue.

Drive train - Just riding around the neighborhood you may or may not be pedaling as hard as you would be on a climb on a trail. Is your chain or cassette or chain ring worn enough to cause the chain to skip or not shift properly? If so, replace what needs replacing.

Tires - Will they hold up? If they’re several years old, riding around the neighborhood probably isn’t loading them like trying to rail a turn might. If they’re getting some age on them, you could pretty easily rip half the knobs off them in one ride. Of just rip a sidewall open from loading in a turn. Do you need tubeless? Nah. If you don’t have tubeless ready wheels (which seems unlikely given the vintage of the bike) then you’re looking at a pretty good hit on money you could be saving for a new bike.

A new bike will blow you away. Make sure that bike is safe ....do you have a local shop you trust? - and ride it until you’re ready to buy a new one. When you settle on the new one, it will be a treat. Not that you have a crap bike. But suspension alone has come a long, long way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You guys rock, thanks for all the feedback.

Based on what you all have said, I'll probably just get some new tires and tubes and some sealant, and have my local shop check my shock/fork and my brakes (Avid Juicy 7's I think they are). I think that'll make my bike rideable until I can afford a new one.

[EDIT] Oh, and check my drivetrain and cables...
 

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I doubt that your old wheel set will accept tubeless. My 2010 FSR XC with Swiss DT rims won't. A substitute that works almost as well is to remove the valve core in the tubes and put the sealant directly into the tube. Not quite as good as tubeless, but better that lots of tube patching practice.
 

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Even with non-tubeless ready rims, you may still be able to go tubeless. Plenty of folks were doing “ghetto” tubeless setups before tubeless ready became ubiquitous. Worth looking into over on the Wheels and Tires board.

Regarding the shock and fork: what shock and fork do you have? That came stock with the Progressive 5th Element, right? You might have a hard time getting that serviced. I don’t know if Progressive is still around, but they have not been in the mtb shock business for a while as far as I know.

I had a 2003 Heckler (same as the 2004). Great bike. Arguably one of the key bikes that birthed the whole “All Mountain” thing.
 

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No known cure
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If your rims are Mavic, they've been doing UST since rim brakes. Have your shop do a tune. New grips are a cheap upgrade to make everything feel new.
 

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Newbie here...how does one check if shocks are leaking oil or in need of air? I also have some 10+ year old bikes I'm hoping to get trail worthy!
Clean the shocks, ride. If the shocks feel too soft, add air. If the shocks are oily after the ride they are leaking oil. If the next day the shocks feel softer than the first day they are leaking air.
 
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