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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello - I'm a fairly new rider. I have a road and a mountain bike and I try to switch between the two when I get the chance. Anyhow, I got started with biking during the lockdown last summer. I bought a used 2018 Marlin 5 for $275. For the price and condition,, I thought this was a decent deal since I honestly don't have a budget to splurge. I've read a lot of info saying it's not worth upgrading entry level bikes and I understand where the logic is coming from. Anyhow, this question is not about what to upgrade, rather, I wanted to know how to differentiate better parts when it comes to replacing worn out items. For example, the rear tires on my Marlin 5 is due to be replaced very soon. Instead of just buying a replacment tire of the same size/brand, what other considerations do I need to think of? I read somewhere that going tubeless is an easy upgrade... and with the abundance of tire options, which is good brand to stick with? Are the tires sold at Amazon ok? I do like to tinker a lot myself and I do plan on doing maintenance work myself... my rear disc pads are also nearing its life, should I then go get a bigger brake kit, or just stick with the oem spec?
I guess I'm not really trying to upgrade, but if I'm already replacing worn out parts, might as well improve on it... I also don't mind putting on used parts for a more cost effective approach... thanks and sorry for this long newbie post
 

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Tires definitely. Ask around what people in the areas you ride use.
brake rotors, do you feel like your current ones arent strong enough? If not, then going bigger may not be much benefit.
Tubeless mostly benefit in less puncture and pinch flats. Weight and suppleness difference is subtle and u likely wont notice it.
More expensive generally gets you lighter parts that perform as good or better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply. TBH, the bike itself provides me the ride I need in the trail I go to in its stock form; no big jumps and no drops higher than 3 feet. There are inclines and ascending trails and I honestly feel that having a 3x7 is not an issue for me. The only nuisance for me is the chain slap and fear of the chain dropping due to the cheaper derailleur (tourney), which luckily, hasn't happened yet.
Unfortunately, I don't really have a group I ride with, and the people I know just brings their bikes to the LBS for parts and maintenance. I would probably do the same but with a growing family, it is just not feasible for me at the moment so I will end up buying parts on my own and doing much of the labor... not sure if going cheap on tires is a good idea but I've seen a lot of affordable 29er tires on Amazon with positive reviews...
 

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no amazon.

go to jensen usa or worldwidecyclery. look at what they sell. whats on sale. research a tire you like. or part

riding is fun.

better tires is less chance for a fall and an injury

improve on safety

you will have fun learning


good score on a used bike. it cost me that much every year just to rebuild my shock.
 

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No to Amazon on tires/components. Lotta replicas get past Amazon and legitimate ones, especially tires, seem to be overpriced.

Upgrading a used bike isn't a bad thing within reason. You wouldn't wanna put a $1200 fork i on a $500 bike obviously.

Tubeless is great so long as your rims are Tubeless Ready (TR). You can look it up on the brands website, but if they are it'll more than likely say TR on them.

I'd upgrade parts as needed. A simple "top 10 brakes 2021" will lead you down the right path. I prefer Maxxis tires, and another thing is upgrading to a 1x drivetrain (rear derailleur only).

Once you get past the basics, the natural progression of things will occur. You'll know what you like and what you don't like, and you'll know all the brands and what's what. For now though, I wouldn't spend much time thinking about it. Just ride and have fun, and if the rims are TR I'd do that and concert the drivetrain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The rims are not tubeless ready so I have to convert it if I wanted to. As for 1x, not sure if i am there yet as I am fine using a 3x7. What i do hope to happen is buy a decent used groupset that provides better shifting even if its in a 3x7 configuration.
btw, when changing tires, do you replace it as a set f/r, or just whichever is needed?
 

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If the wheels are not not tubeless ready then they may convert to tubeless easily and they may not. Id get a set of cheap tubeless rims or save that for the next bike. Brakes…replace with the same pads. Tires again if the old ones worked, why change. Sounds like you got a bike that works for you.
 

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The rims are not tubeless ready so I have to convert it if I wanted to. As for 1x, not sure if i am there yet as I am fine using a 3x7. What i do hope to happen is buy a decent used groupset that provides better shifting even if its in a 3x7 configuration.
btw, when changing tires, do you replace it as a set f/r, or just whichever is needed?
You can run different tires. Most people do, as you'll want something with more grip up front, and rolling resistance in the rear. Tires are purchased individually, not in pairs.
 

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Do you have a local bike shop?

It might be worth making social networks with the bike shop workers and visitors to find the best deals and what works in your area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes we do. However, the area i live in, unfortunately caters mostly to those who can afford to pay…. Not saying they are unapproachable but it is just more challenging to find the right connections… our LBS do provide a basic rider maintenance workshop for free but really upsell their products. Of the few people ive ran into who rides bike (both road and MTB), im appalled that they dont know anything about their bikes because they only rely on the LBS…
The stock tire served its purpose but since i need to change anyway, might as well be well informed of the other options available. Im the type of person who doesn’t necessarily go with a brand perse, but more of a bang for the buck type… if i could get something better or of equal quality for lesser price, id go with that… im no brand conscious in short. It actually got me excited to learn that a simple duct tape can be used to convert my current wheel to tubeless… great to know if in case i decide to go that route…

btw, will changing to a higher grade derailleur help eliminate some of the chain play/slap? Ive tried to look for a step up 3x7 from the tourney line last night but it seems that going to a higher group means going to either an 3x8/9 (alivio or deore) and im not sure if my rear wheel will accept anything higher than a 7speed cog. I think i have a freehub but theres not enough space to accept more than the current 7speed cog as what ive seen on a youtube video…
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You can run different tires. Most people do, as you'll want something with more grip up front, and rolling resistance in the rear. Tires are purchased individually, not in pairs.
So it basically wont matter if the front is of a different brand or not new? Notb like in cars that they recommend to buy in pairs for even wearing…
 

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If you're not crashing, getting flat tires, dropping your chain or trying to keep up with someone on a faster bike (with a faster engine), I'd also recommend only upgrading when something wears out or breaks.

If you give a hint on where you are, and the kind of soil you ride on, I'm sure you'll get some good hints on tires.
 

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Pedals! If you haven't already upgraded those from the slick stock throw-away plastic pedals it's worth doing immediately. Even just a $25 Amazon knockoff pair of pinned flats will feel amazingly more secure.

As for chainslap, when you replace your old tire, save it, cut a chunk off, and ziptie it around your chainstay. Free, and does an incredible job deadening the noise.

Finally, to defer some tire cost, you can put the least worn tire on the rear and just buy a new one for the front (you want more grip on your steering tire). And no, mismatched brand/model/wear is not an issue on bikes. Many people intentionally run mismatched front/rear tires to take advantage of different attributes, such as grip and rolling resistance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you're not crashing, getting flat tires, dropping your chain or trying to keep up with someone on a faster bike (with a faster engine), I'd also recommend only upgrading when something wears out or breaks.

If you give a hint on where you are, and the kind of soil you ride on, I'm sure you'll get some good hints on tires.
So I mainly ride on Lake Fairfax here in Northern VA. The trail is mostly compact soil, with a lot of roots and some loose rocks on the more technical sections. There's not really a big jump or drop but there a free flwoing section that offers some good speed and tricky spots that can lift you up in the air... Fortunately, the time i've spent on my road bike enables me to keep up with the guys i've biked that rides "faster, and very expensive bikes"... i do understand that my bike has limitations compared to theirs and I have to take a different path/line as they do because their bikes are well equipped and can take on all the bumps unlike mine... so far no chain drop but I can envision my rear derailleur swinging back and forth each time i hit a big bump...

Pedals! If you haven't already upgraded those from the slick stock throw-away plastic pedals it's worth doing immediately. Even just a $25 Amazon knockoff pair of pinned flats will feel amazingly more secure.

As for chainslap, when you replace your old tire, save it, cut a chunk off, and ziptie it around your chainstay. Free, and does an incredible job deadening the noise.

Finally, to defer some tire cost, you can put the least worn tire on the rear and just buy a new one for the front (you want more grip on your steering tire). And no, mismatched brand/model/wear is not an issue on bikes. Many people intentionally run mismatched front/rear tires to take advantage of different attributes, such as grip and rolling resistance.
my fronts and rears are different width... my rear tire's center tread is almost slick since I used to ride it on the road before I got my road bike... So would it be better to switch my current front tire to the rear and the new tire I'm buying to the front? as for pedals, I currently have a clipless shimano pedal; a flat side and a clipless side... I might switch the pedal to my road bike, buy a new flat pedal for my MTB and buy a clipless mountain bike shoes so I can also use it when I ride my road bike... I think being "clipped" in a clipless pedal for a roadbike brings a signifcant gain IMO, but not as necessary for a weekend trail ride...
 

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If economy is a concern, then you could easily switch the somewhat worn front to the rear and buy a new front. Getting the best (and most appropriate) front tire you can afford is a good use of money in my book because front tire grip is very important for safety and performance. Plus a new front tire can last a while.

If you value performance on roots and rocks and safety on those areas more than speed on the flowy and smooth sections, you can go for a front tire with lots of traction. I am mostly acquainted with Maxxis, so for them that would be a DHR or DHF in a 3C compound. Other tire manufacturers of course have equivalent tires with chunky and sticky tread. They'd likely be marketed as downhill, enduro, or trail tires as opposed to cross country.

If you value speed over maximum grip, you'd be looking for a trail or cross country tire that has lower rolling resistance.

For either type of tire, you can also get a slightly wider tire than you have currently which can benefit you as well in rougher trail.

The internal width of your rims and the clearance of your fork will play a roll in how wide a front tire you can use though. If your tire is too wide for the fork it will rub. If your tire is too wide for the rim it may feel "squirmy" or unstable unless you inflate it lots. Be warned: tires can be pretty spendy.
 

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btw, will changing to a higher grade derailleur help eliminate some of the chain play/slap? Ive tried to look for a step up 3x7 from the tourney line last night but it seems that going to a higher group means going to either an 3x8/9 (alivio or deore) and im not sure if my rear wheel will accept anything higher than a 7speed cog. I think i have a freehub but theres not enough space to accept more than the current 7speed cog as what ive seen on a youtube video…
You can go to a 8/9 speed derailleur no problems with your current 7 speed setup without having to change everything. If you actually do have a freehub and cassette instead of a freewheel, you can install an 8,9,10 or 11 speed setup on it. Just have to match the shifter/derailleur to the number of gears you're going with if going 10 or 11 speed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You can go to a 8/9 speed derailleur no problems with your current 7 speed setup without having to change everything. If you actually do have a freehub and cassette instead of a freewheel, you can install an 8,9,10 or 11 speed setup on it. Just have to match the shifter/derailleur to the number of gears you're going with if going 10 or 11 speed.
based on my initial research, the 2018 Marlin 5 uses a freehub but a 30mm one. I don't think there will be enough space for an 8/9/10 speed cassette so I will have to change the wheel; something that I do not want to do at this point... Unfortunately, most (if not all) higher level derailluers above the Tourney start with 8 speed configuration. I don' think it would be a good choice to use an 8/9 speed derailluer matched with a 7speed cassette as it can mess with the index shifting and meshing...
 

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based on my initial research, the 2018 Marlin 5 uses a freehub but a 30mm one. I don't think there will be enough space for an 8/9/10 speed cassette so I will have to change the wheel; something that I do not want to do at this point... Unfortunately, most (if not all) higher level derailluers above the Tourney start with 8 speed configuration. I don' think it would be a good choice to use an 8/9 speed derailluer matched with a 7speed cassette as it can mess with the index shifting and meshing...
The derailleur is not the brain of the bike. The shifter is. Going to an 8 or 9 speed derailleur will not mess up the indexing or shifting. That is all controlled by the shifter.

As for the freehub, I can't help you there. If it's as narrow as you think it is, then a new wheel is needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
How come most of the posts ive read said changing wheels are the way to go? isn't it posisble to change just the free hub itself? costs less...
 
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