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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everybody,

After a near seven year break from riding, I dusted off the bike the other day, pumped up the tires, and took her for a ride on some local fireroads. Needless to say, I'm itching to hit some singletrack after I get some conditioning in. My gear has seen better days however, and I now face the dilemma of rebuilding my trusty ride or going shopping. This one has been with me since the beginning and was slowly upgraded while I was still riding:

96 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo
Marzocchi Bomber Z2 fork
Shimano XT Rapidfire shifters
Mavic Wheels w/ 8-speed cassette and XT hubs
IRC Mythos XC tires
Avid Single Digit 3.0 brake levers
Avid 2.0 V-brakes (I think)
Avid derailleur pulley thingie
Titec Bezerker DH seat
Shimano 535 pedals
[everything else stock]

It still rides surprising well despite its age, but I would definitely want to get it tuned-up and dialed in by a good shop (I never could get the rear brakes to stop worth a darn).

I also test rode a couple of new bikes in the $1000 hardtail category:

10 Cannondale F4
10 Specialized Rockhopper SL

Beyond the shiny new bike feeling, I didn't find a huge difference in enjoyment or handling riding down the street and through some shubbery versus HooKooEKoo. Then again, this was really tame riding and it might be a whole different story out on the trails. They did seem really light in hindsight though, and I must say that the upper body comfort on the Rockhopper was a lot better than what I am used to, so I will likely play with stems and handlebars to get a better fit with whatever direction I go.

So, does it make sense to dump $200-300 into my 13 year old bike to make it trail worthy or am I just wasting money that could be better spent on a new bike that the shop will dial in for me? I must admit that the hydraulic discs and air forks on the new bikes are mighty tempting, I just don't know how much better they ride on the trails or much about improvements on the drivetrain/shifting side of things.

How say you?

Cheers.
 

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In Transit
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Discussion Starter #4
Haha, why do I feel like the alcoholic who just walked into the bar and asked everyone if he should start drinking again?
 

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bi-winning
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Although it seems like you have a pretty good bike there, it is hard to suggest to stick with it if it involves spending money. How much life does it really have left? It's hard to say.
 

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too cold to ride
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GiddyHitch said:
Haha, why do I feel like the alcoholic who just walked into the bar and asked everyone if he should start drinking again?
Exactly. Take the GF in for a tuneup, see what the mechanic says.
 

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Its worth the price of a new one to get disc brakes and new technology fork .
 

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Tool
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There is much better technology out there, if that's what you want. There's also the question of what you get for your investment: If you spend the money to get the GF tuned up and then spend a lot of time on it, my guess is that you'll end up with a much better idea of what you want to spend your money on in a new bike. Once you've made those decisions, swap the tires out for some street tires and you've got a really nice commuter/city bike/beer getter. In short: it's hard to go wrong spending money on the GF (within your budget, of course).
 

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StageHand said:
There is much better technology out there, if that's what you want. There's also the question of what you get for your investment: If you spend the money to get the GF tuned up and then spend a lot of time on it, my guess is that you'll end up with a much better idea of what you want to spend your money on in a new bike. Once you've made those decisions, swap the tires out for some street tires and you've got a really nice commuter/city bike/beer getter. In short: it's hard to go wrong spending money on the GF (within your budget, of course).
:yesnod: :yesnod: :yesnod:

I went through a similar process this past summer with my '94 Trek 850: It had hung in the garage for a few years, tuned it up a little myself, really thought about a new hardtail, perhaps even a 29er, rode the Trek a few hundred miles, then decided a 26" FS was more to my liking with the trails I had been riding on the hardtail. Had I not spent that time on the Trek and went with the new bike decision early on, I wouldn't have had as much info and experience for my decision. Perhaps after some conditioning and new riding experiences, you may be able to make a more complete assessment.

Now the Trek is more a commuter/backup/loaner. Love the new FS! :thumbsup:
 

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Can post a photo of your bike? Don't mind upgrade if it look nice :)
 

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bi-winning
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Everything I see in the pictures seems to indicate the bike is in pretty good shape.
 

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Like it alot ! Still think you would be better off with a new ride .
 

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Ride the hell out of the Fisher, build your engine and spend some time riding other bikes you might want to buy. Putting the time in getting in shape and trying different bikes before you buy is the smart way IMO. Plus, the Fisher will be a good back up bike/bad weather bike/beater bike since it is worth very little if you were to sell or trade it, might as well get it in good tune now.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the input, guys.

Cooler heads (wallets?) prevailed and I took the Fisher into the LBS for a full tune-up ($75). If everything checks out, I'm probably going to have a pro fitting done ($45) and get a new stem and/or handlebars. This way, I can ride the Fisher for the next 3-6 months for my ~$200 investement, while I build my engine (nice phrase, HSMITH) and cross-shop more bikes. Plus, the fit data should transfer over to whatever new bike I end up purchasing and the old one should serve as a nice beater.

I love it when a plan comes together.
 

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You did what i would recommend. Ride the piss out of that bike and just avoid replacing anything expensive. Eventually when you buy a new bike, you may consider making this one into a single speed. I personally have a single speed built from a similar age bike and my commuter built from a bike older than that.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So I just got the call from the bike shop:

"Bike is tuned up, but you have to realize that it's really old ... the drivetrain is basically shot ... lots of play in both derailleurs, so they're hard to adjust ... i'm not going to lie to you, the shifting is crap ... this is the last tune-up for this bike."

It should work fine for my plans, however, and now I feel justified buying a new bike in the future. Going to pick her up tomorrow and start demo'ing new saddles and stems so that I feel more comfortable and not so stretched out in the cockpit.
 

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I Have Cookies
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just use her up, get a new fs trail bike and set the GF up SS and it will be an excellent back up!!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Quick update: the rains let up enough today for me to take HKEK out for 45 min today on the fireroads near my house. Wow, my drivetrain really is shot. Shifts worse than before the tune-up. I guess all of the old dirt and accumulated gunk was really holding everything together. I guess it's like changing the transmission oil on an old car - sometimes you're just better off leaving it be until something blows up. Ha. Brakes work a hell of a lot better now though.

On the bright side, switching to a 90mm stem (from 120mm stock) and putting a WTB Speed V saddle ($14 @ Performance!) on (from a bent Titec Bezerkr DH) has made made the cockpit a lot more comfortable, but I would like to bias my weight more towards the saddle even a little more. Maybe a 60-70mm stem and a setback seatpost would be the ticket.

Finally, I am seriously considering one of these guys now:



Should be about the same weight as my current bike, and a lot more versatile. Should be a good choice for Norcal hardpack singletrack, no?
 

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You can pick up derailleurs this time of year really cheaply, Pricepoint and places like that are having great sales on them. If all it needs are derailleurs, chain and cassette that shouldn't be a big expense. I'd replace them and have a solid reliable bike for now and a solid reliable back up bike later.
 
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