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Hi there,

I'm brand new to this amazing forum, and my head is already spinning there's so much info. here!

I'm totally new to mtb'ing. I've just picked up my first bike. It's a used 7-speed 2000 Kona Lana'i. It's well used, but also well taken care of and I got it for dirt cheap. Having read the reviews here people recommend this bike as a solid intro bike but also recommend making upgrades, as the frame is apparently worth it. The p.o. upgraded the pedals, handle bar, stem, tires, seat, fork and grips. The rest appears to be stock.

So I guess I want to know what kind of upgrades are recommended for this bike. I've read that converting a 7 speed to 8 or 9 speed isn't worth it. Is that still the case with this bike? I purposely bought a good but cheap bike so I could learn how to work on it myself. I have the money to get upgraded components (at least good quality used components from ebay/craigslist, etc.). Rather than just buy a better bike, I'd like to learn how things work/go together so I'll know how to maintain the bike over the long run.

That said, can you guys suggest some upgrades particular to this bike? Particularly to the drivetrain and brakes, which are not hot, but are to be expected for an entry level bike.

Thanks to all and awesome site!

J
 

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pronounced may-duh
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Your totally new to mtb'ing so just relax and enjoy the bike you have. No sense in upgrades just for upgrades sake. Go ride and have some fun. You may find that everything works just fine. Replace only what breaks or wears out or really bugs you casue it just doesn't perform well. If you get hooked on mtb'ing you will be lusting after a new "dream" bike in no time. Save you money for that dream bike. Don't forget to wear your helmet.
 

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Hi dude, first of all, Maida7 is damn right.

You won't notice any improvement or so by upgrading parts on your bike. Most upgrades became noticeables with experience, riding your bike, finding weak point or trying your friends ones. As for wear pieces, replace thems for sure but don't do it for parts that don't need to be replaced. Also, good upgrades will be more expensive your bike. Example, a good for is around 500-600 US and a top of the line is around 1400. Mountain biking is a lot of money!

Don't want the thread to became personal but few years ago I bought a 2003 All mountain full suspension bike, a mid-end one. The year after, finding that I was Freeriding, I decided to change parts that were not satisfing me. The rims were flexy and I was always at the shop to get the spokes tight + the fork was always bottoming. Because the bike was not suited for freeride. I did a lot of upgrades like I bought a massive freeride fork (not a double crown because thoses fork can break your headtube ...they are tall and put extra stress on the weldings). I bought new pedals because mine were worn, bought new bars because they were flexy and a new crankset because my bottombracket was creaking(Probably needed greese but I decided to convert my bike to a FR one). I switched my HFX-9 for the top of the line avid brakes to get more power and modulation. It ended that my frame broke twice because it was not make to do that kind of stuff! Specialized got a very nice frame warranty by the way so I get it replaced at no cost.

But bottom line : compagnies put stuff on their bike depending on how they are planning it to be used. Don't wastle money on upgrading...I did and because of that I'm in the racing circuit (DH) one year later because it took me more time to get the money to buy a true race rig. I'm sure your passion for mountain biking will involve with time like it did to me.
 

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Instead of upgrading stuff from the start, ride the bike for a while. As you learn what you like and don't like about it, you can start changing the parts you want. For example, when I first started with my new bike, it seemed fine. After a while, I started thinking I needed a longer stem. Now it's fine.. I just had to get used to it a bit more and learn how it felt on both the roads and the trails to see that it was in a good position to offer what I needed in both settings. So far the only things I have changed are the pedals (went clipless) and the seat (changed the stock seat out for a WTB Speed V Comp). I had to replace the rear tire because the Kenda Kwick that came standard wore out in no time since a lot of my riding is on roads. I'm still running the original on the front, but will probably swap it out soon. I also picked up some Moto Raptors when I'm on rides that are much more offroad.
 

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Great advice so far. No need in upgrading until you know what you like and don't like on the bike.

If you plan on doing all of the maintenance and future upgrading yourself (especially w/ the drivetrain), you may want to go ahead and start building up a tool base. There are many, many, specific tools required to do your own bike maintenance, and improvising usually leads to broken parts.

Tools alone can be expensive, but if you want to do it yourself, they are something that you know you will need as opposed to what you think you may need. Working on the bike is also the fastest way to learn the bike and its parts.
 

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rider
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The suggestion to just ride your bike for now is a good one. I am also in favor of new riders learning to ride up grades before spending $$$ upgrading.

Don't worry, if you ride enough you will break/wear out parts and then you can upgrade to something nicer. For example, I go thru about a dozen tires a year and 6-8 chains, and that is just for starters.
 

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Double-metric mtb man
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I'll third or forth the opinion to get out and ride first.

For me, I'm on my second bike since getting back into things. My first was a mid-line hardtail that I was able to pick up for a good price. Only thing that I upgraded were the tires because the stockers were definitely not made for my local conditions.

Last year, I got a bike that was a little more suited to the riding I do. I've ridden it for the last year and put on some decent miles and found a couple things lacking...that's when I've dropped a few bucks to upgrade things and to improve the performance...when I know there is a shortfall.

In my case, I've replaced the front derailleur and shifters plus added a bash ring because when I'm riding on the cross-country (XC) type stuff, I want faster, crisper shifting and I sometimes tend to go through things a little more than going over them (another good reason to upgrade to more robust parts).

For now, just ride...the more you do, the more you'll figure out what style of riding you'll do most and the type of gear that is most appropriate. You'll also develop a feel for what you like and don't like in terms of your kit. Who knows, maybe you'll sell the Kona for something that suits you better....or you may upgrade it a bit and ride it for years to come. Just give it a little time and enjoy riding for now.
 
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