There are a couple of things you can do to maximize its function, though. New tires, especially if the current ones are old. Ask locals what they like, and make sure they fit. Tires now are much wider than most of the early-90s stuff.
New brake pads. I like Kool Stop salmon pads. There are a few different standards for cantilever brakes, so take the bike to the shop with you. You might also consider new brakes. V-brakes are a lot better. You'd need new levers, too.
It's worth having a saddle you like and pedals you like on any bike worth keeping. Normally I also believe in the right stem to put the bars in the right place, but it'll be a bit of a project on that bike, especially if you stick with the current brake setup.
I'd try to keep it at that, unless you want to get into more stuff for the sake of the project.
As long as it doesn't need too many major parts to make it run reliably, it will make a fine starter bike. Unless you have grown really attached to it already, I wouldn't do much more than tires, brake pads, cables(if necessary), and other minor bits. You might want to make sure that your stem is inserted past the minimum insertion line, unless there is some kind of extension on there or something, that looks awful high, might just be the angle of the picture too.
thanks for the responses,its not that im all that attached to the bike,but i do love projects and i feel that upgrading it will help me get a better understanding of everything about bikes.i just really need help with that aspect.ive been researching these forums and read your responses.i know im gona start with a new saddle,pedals,and tires.as for brakes would like to upgrade them to better system.i dont have any idea where to start with this,is there a resource on here that wil help me in doing this?
If you need help trying to figure out how to make repairs or upgrades, Park Tools has a nice "Repair Help" section on their website... REPAIR HELP.
If you want recommendations for a new brake system, probably the best bang for your buck would be the Avid Single Digit 7 brakes with Avid Speed Dial 7 levers, and get some fresh cables and housings while you are at it, you should be able to do the complete brake upgrade for about $70. If you are on a smaller budget you might try the Single Digit 5 brakes with FR5 levers. Either set-up will work just fine, but the SD7 levers have more adjust-ability and the SD7 brakes come with nicer cartridge brake pads.
You might also look into getting a repair manual or two, they are great to have on the workbench so that you can thumb through them while you are making repairs. I would recommend one or more of the these three; Zinn & The Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance, The Park Tool Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair(aka BBB-2), and Mountain Bike Maintenance by Mel Allwood.
I would like to see a close up shot of that whole stem/headset area of the bike. It looks like a quill stem either extended way too high or with some sort of extension on it.
Yeah, it would be OK for a starter and a good bike to learn some things from, but some of that stuff is something you won't see on any modern mountain bikes.
I would advise cleaning it up (and get everything adjusted properly) and then get out and ride the thing and I would avoid trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear as there just some things about that bike that will not compete with modern bikes. Just enjoy it for what it is, an entry level hardtail, albeit one that is kind of retro-cool IMHO.
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