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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an older Schwinn hardtail and I am looking to do some upgrades. The bike has low-end shimano gears, a rock shox indy fork, some kind of V-brake(I don't know offhand), and Araya rims. I have upgraded the seat and the pedals to clipless, but I am having trouble prioritizing what to do next. What do you think the is the component that makes the most difference? Also, I was thinking about getting a new wheelset, but I have a 7spd, so I would have to get a new cassette and shifters to go 8 or 9, unless I use my old hub.
 

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A couple of thoughs

Ask yourself these questions.

Which components are not performing well?

If it's the drivetrain components, then replace them. You can still get 7 speed components from ebay, specifically a seller jonesbikes. If they don't have what you need online, click the "about me" icon, which will give you info about their store in CA. Call them and tell them what you need. They probably have it, and if they don't, they're constantly getting stuff. If the fork isn't performing, then replace it with something of comperable travel. just make sure you know the diameter of the steerer tube and whether or not it's threaded.

How much do I want to spend?

This is the big one. The Mesa had decent reviews on this site, but according to those reviews it's a bike that retailed for about $500. Decide what you think you should invest in an older, inexpensive bike, and stick to that budget. Then save for a new bike.

Just my thoughts.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
my thought process

I only have riden with low-end components so I don't know how the higher-end components feel. I guess that is my main reason for this post. I was wondering if there is one or two components that really stood out when you upgraded. My bike is probably 8 years old, so I can only assume that some upgrades would make a difference, but I don't know.

If I were to upgrade my wheels, then I would like to go 8 or 9 spd, but that would get a little expensive to do all at once. I was thinking I could totally replace the front and then just replace the back rim and leave the old hub until I get some more money to replace the hub, cassette, etc.. I was looking to spend maybe $200 max, but if there is something worth saving for then let me know.
 

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Be careful...

If you're not careful, you can easily spend enough on upgrades to buy a complete new hardtail. I've been down this road before, when building my "beater" hardtail. After doing some math, I ended up picking up a good used hardtail (complete bike) off of e-bay. The only way I would consider upgrading something on older bike is via e-bay or the "marketplace", it just takes a while sometimes with the auctions.

Like I said, do the math. Add up the ammount of all of your proposed upgrades and I bet you can find a complete bike for a price in the same neighborhood.
 

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A change of focus

My call is that you will probably get more out of this bike if you refine the fit, find the right tires for the riding you do, and keep the bike nicely tuned, cleaned, and maintained. You can learn a lot from a bike like this and changing components won't get you there.
Your greatest gains will come from your increase in skill and stamina. Save your money for your next bike. The curious thing is that people who ask the question you are asking don't neccessarily want to hear this kind of answer because they already have the Upgrade Jones.
 

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One of the people I commonly ride with has an old small full rigid Schwinn that ways a few pounds more than my full suspension Heckler. If your Schwinn is that heavy, I'd put that upgrade money toward a new bike. You can get a lot of bike for the money with something like a Haro.

That being said, I say the best upgrades I've made (in terms of performance gain) was changing to tubeless tires, and SRAM X-9 shifter/derailleur swap from Shimano. For arguments sake, other upgrades that I've made that were good for me but less performance improvement were Thomson seatpost and stem, Shimano LX crank with integrated bottom bracket, and Avid BB7 disc brakes (upgraded from Avid Single Digit 7 Vs).
 

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For what you will spend to upgrade to 8 or 9 speed, you can come close to buying an entry level bike that already has 8 or 9 speed. Your talking crank, F. der, R. der, hub, cassette, shifters and chain. If you do all of this you've still got an old fork that you will want to replace. Like others have posted, ride what you have and save for a new or newer used ride. Then you can convert your old bike into a SS.

If your determined to upgrade this bike, look for a good set of used 8/9 speed wheels, and you might find all of the components (used) to do the entire switch if you look hard enough. You might find people on this board with all the parts you need to do the upgrade. I would suggest using a new cassette and chain, shifters and derailleurs can be found that are in good shape since a lot of people upgrade before wearing out components. So, post what your looking for, and maybe you'll get lucky. I think I have a set of little used wheels off of a Schwinn Moab that is 8/9 speed.
 

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I agree. My first MTB bike was a Schwinn Mesa GS, and it's definitely a great entry level bike. However, in my opinion, the money you'd need to spend to make any "noticeable" difference in the quality of ANY parts, would be almost enough to get you a brand new bike with those parts already installed. If you really enjoy riding, then I would higly suggest just takig that money, maybe waiting a couple more months to save a tad bit more, and then upgrading to a new bike. I loved my Schwinn, but my riding improved ten fold when I took that next step.

If you must keep the schwinn (hey, times are tough for all of us), then I would say upgrade the front fork.
 

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kruegs35 said:
What do you think the is the component that makes the most difference? Also, I was thinking about getting a new wheelset, but I have a 7spd, so I would have to get a new cassette and shifters to go 8 or 9, unless I use my old hub.
IMO, easily a new fork. Marzocchi MX can be found for about $200 now on the net. Many other quality forks are now on sale. Spending 2 or 3 hundred dollars on a fork for this bike may not be a good investment however, but, whatever works for you. I wouldn't do it but if thats your ride for the next year or two then.......a good fork will be a huge improvement. Assuming you actually ride on trails and not just commute on pavement.
 

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get a quality fork or a new bike

kruegs35 said:
I have an older Schwinn hardtail and rock shox indy fork I am looking to do some upgrades. The bike has low-end shimano gears, a , some kind of V-brake(I don't know offhand), and Araya rims. I have upgraded the seat and the pedals to clipless, but I am having trouble prioritizing what to do next. What do you think the is the component that makes the most difference? Also, I was thinking about getting a new wheelset, but I have a 7spd, so I would have to get a new cassette and shifters to go 8 or 9, unless I use my old hub.
i used to have 7 spd, first LX then XT. i've upgraded to 9 spd (22/32/42x11~34) for a while now: i like the smaller increments of shifting, but shifting reliability as degraded a bit...and have gotten more chain suck. i miss my old 7 spd gearing, 13~34.

rock shox indy fork - i had that . good riddance to that popo stick. it's fine for easy trail riders, but not for fast & bumpy descends: got with a fork with good damping (oil bath, for example), preferbly coil, but air shocks are real popular.

if you upgrade you entire drive train or both brakes to disks, maybe beeter to sell the bike and buy a new one already. a good fork can be sold on its own or moved onto your next bike

while climbing is fun and rewarding, descending is where the fun is at on MTBs, get a really good fork, one example is a 2004 Marathon "S" if you can find it, but that a good example, 4" of coil and oil sweetness.

good forks are necessary to ride down fast. good disk brakes are a real nice luxury, that's not really necessary: V-brakes still do a fine job.
 
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