Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here is my deal. I save my lawn mowing money and bought a mongoose hilltopper when I was 15. Rode it everywhere and on plenty of trails. Sold it in my early twenties.

Fast forward a bunch of years and I was yearning to get back into shape and mountain biking again. I searched for months for a good deal on a used bike, but most people seem to think their 10-15 year old bike is worth 2/3 of the cost of a new bike. seems like it's only when they hit 20 plus years old people will part with them for a reasonable sum....

So rather than waiting more months, wasting another summer looking for a great deal that wouldn't have modern geometry anyway, I just bought a new specialized pitch sport for $625. Would have been nice to be able to buy $1,000+ bike but just didn't have the funds.

So now a bit over a month later I know a lot of what I didn't know, and now know my bike isn't all that great. Ha.

I have added a dropper post to it but that's it so far. It's obvious my fork is not going to last a whole lot longer... That's not really surprise though, I had really planed on upgrading after a year or so, when I bought the bike... Haha, a year or so.....

So an air fork is in the plans in the next couple of months through suntour upgrade program, but after that I'm not sure.

Stripped down to its frame is something like the current specialized pitch really a "bad" bike? I definitely want to stick with 27.5 wheels, all of the bikes with 29ers I tried, the wheels just seem ridiculously comically huge. I'm not actually sure if my 2018 or 19 but they are both the same anyway as far as I can tell and components and geometry. Head tube angle is 68.5°, , seat tube is 73° so that's comparable to all of the nice cross-country hardtails I see, other bits of geometry are similarly in the middle of the "nice" bike range (comparing xl to xl and l, I am pretty sure I would be a large on some bikes XL on others... I have seen plenty of $1500-$2000 hardtails recommend here with all angles and lengths on both sides of what mine has.

So my real question, whould I be stupid to slowly upgrade this bike, $200 at a time? To the level of a $1500 hardtail? Not monetarily, but performance-wise. Obviously I know that a $1,500 hardtail is a better buy monetarily than buying a $500 bike and upgrading the components to the $1,500 level. But once there, is the $1,500 bike still better, performance-wise is my question? (I plan on getting a full suspension bike as well eventually but will be keeping this one as a backup)

Once I upgrade to a decent fork, 1x11 drivetrain, decent hydro brakes, maybe wheels? etc, am I still going to be wishing to sell it and buy a $1,500 hardtail?
If so, why?
If it matters, I'm 6'1" with a 32" inseam. I bought an XL pitch. Here are the geometry specs. When I upgrade the fork I plan to go with 120 mm, vs the 100 mm that's on it now.

CRANK LENGTH 175MM
STEM LENGTH 80mm
SEATPOST LENGTH 400mm
SADDLE WIDTH 143mm
HANDLEBAR WIDTH 740mm
REACH 460mm
TOP TUBE LENGTH, HORIZONTAL 649mm
STACK 618mm
WHEELBASE 1165mm
CHAINSTAY LENGTH 435mm
FRONT CENTER 733mm
BB DROP 43mm
BB HEIGHT 310mm
SEAT TUBE ANGLE 73°
HEAD TUBE ANGLE 68.5°
SEAT TUBE LENGTH 510mm
HEAD TUBE LENGTH 135mm
BIKE STANDOVER HEIGHT 808mm
FORK RAKE/OFFSET 42mm
FORK LENGTH, FULL 495mm
TRAIL 94mm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,002 Posts
I was in a similar situation and bought an entry level bike (giant fathom) just to ride and see if I would stick with it or just park the bike in the garage after a few months. Well after a few months passed I could not ride often enough and replaced the fork as the stock one was shot, then the drive train, brakes, wheels now the only original part is the frame. What started out as a $1300 bike now had over $3k into it and I still love it and ride it 2-3 times a week.

I probably have more fun on this bike than my fs which cost more than 3x than the giant and do not regret upgrading it over several months.

Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
I've been where you are. I feel I wasted money updating budget bikes. That said I really think this is a matter of what you can spend. Buy the best bike you can that does not cause you regret, as in I really hate that I can't afford rent/food or whatever. I've been riding for 6 years and I recently was able to spend an obscene amount of money on a new bike and I am really happy with it.
 

·
jcd's best friend
Joined
·
3,036 Posts
NigelMTB is in the exact same boat. We've had long phone/texting conversations about this exact scenario for many months.

There are some people who have dumped a ton of money into their starter bike when they could have picked up something else. Personally, I would ride the bike as is and upgrade the whole thing later on. For instance, you can buy a Diamondback Sync'r for less than the cost to upgrade that Pitch and you will have a much better bike for progression.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Right, I understand it's not economical. Like, at all.
I get I would spend a whole lot more upgrading my pitch to the level of a sync'r.
But let's say you took a sync'r, and a pitch frame, and put all of the sync'r components on the pitch frame, (pretending they fit,and limiting fork travel to 120mm) would the sync'r still be a significantly better bike? Like, the sync'r has a 66° head tube angle, vs 68.5 on the pitch, but going to 120mm fork on the pitch puts it closer to 67°....
The axles, would be the one thing I couldn't really change, mine are 9mm QR vs the sync'r's through axles. I don't know how much of a difference that makes in the end...

It's just a lot easier for me to spend $200 at a time upgrading a bike than it is to save up $1200+ for a new bike (or $8-900 + whatever I could get selling my pitch, I would guess $400 if I'm lucky).
I know me, and I know I would get to around the 5-600 mark and find something I really really needed (hence, my pitch).

I know for sure I'm going to be upgrading my fork, and that doing so won't increase the bikes resale value.

Like, let's say I get all the parts for free, if I put everything that's on a sync'r (or equivalent that fits) on my pitch, with a stock sync'r being 100 on a scale of 100, what would that upgraded pitch be? 95? 75? 55?
 

·
jcd's best friend
Joined
·
3,036 Posts
Right, I understand it's not economical. Like, at all.
I get I would spend a whole lot more upgrading my pitch to the level of a sync'r.
But let's say you took a sync'r, and a pitch frame, and put all of the sync'r components on the pitch frame, (pretending they fit,and limiting fork travel to 120mm) would the sync'r still be a significantly better bike? Like, the sync'r has a 66° head tube angle, vs 68.5 on the pitch, but going to 120mm fork on the pitch puts it closer to 67°....
The axles, would be the one thing I couldn't really change, mine are 9mm QR vs the sync'r's through axles. I don't know how much of a difference that makes in the end...

It's just a lot easier for me to spend $200 at a time upgrading a bike than it is to save up $1200+ for a new bike (or $8-900 + whatever I could get selling my pitch, I would guess $400 if I'm lucky).
I know me, and I know I would get to around the 5-600 mark and find something I really really needed (hence, my pitch).

I know for sure I'm going to be upgrading my fork, and that doing so won't increase the bikes resale value.

Like, let's say I get all the parts for free, if I put everything that's on a sync'r (or equivalent that fits) on my pitch, with a stock sync'r being 100 on a scale of 100, what would that upgraded pitch be? 95? 75? 55?
Frame material is another thing that tends to separate the Pitch from a Sync'r. Different grades of aluminum are used (or carbon) which can stiffen the frame more so the bike rides like it's on rails. The aluminum Sync'r uses 6061 T-6 butted aluminum while Specialized uses their version of aluminum called A1 Premium. I honestly don't know much about A1 Premium aluminum but there may be a difference between the two.

The Sync'r uses an external bottom bracket and I believe the Pitch is a press fit design. Over the years, I've decided that external bottom brackets are my favorite because they don't squeak and don't require a press to install.

Also, the rear dropout is another difference. The Sync'r uses a 12mm boost rear axle while the Pitch uses a 9mm skewer (if that's what it's called) with an open dropout. If and when you want to upgrade your wheels, you will find that boost wheels are more common and easily found than old 9x135mm wheels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,725 Posts
Some random thoughts:

"first" bikes are a great way to find out what words for you and what doesn't. Sounds like you've learn't a lot already e.g. wheel size preference, size, geometry, suitability of bike to terrain.

Once you've learn't what you like, then spend more to get what you think you really want...but this might be a learning experience too....so a 3rd bike might be in order...e.g. I'd be surprised if you don't end up on 29" wheels given your height

When your bike fits you and suits your riding style & your local terrain, you'll ride it a lot more, even if in theory it's an inferior/old/outdated bike....for many of my local trails that aren't extreme I prefer my 10 year old 4" old FS bike over my much newer 6" AM bike....

IFF you do the wrenching yourself, upgrading is a great way to learn about how your bike works and how to keep it singing

Overall, I'd say keep riding and reading and learning. Upgrade the fork if you have to. Otherwise, save your money and see what eventuates over time. Also, test ride as many bikes as you can and then dig into why you do or don't like them...THAT will give you a great foundation for deciding what characteristics and geometry you want.
 

·
since 4/10/2009
Joined
·
31,969 Posts
There are so many little things that go into it that make a difference and really limit your ability to upgrade the components on a budget bike to improve the bike in an overall sense. The whole bike really is greater than the sum of its parts, but only IF all of those parts are carefully chosen to work together optimally. If the parts are poorly chosen for the bike, the rider, each other, and the big picture, then the bike can absolutely become less than the sum of its parts.

If you take a Pitch and upgrade all the parts on it slowly over time, you still have a Pitch, but with better parts. If you absolutely LOVE the bike and just want little differences here or there, then that might be worthwhile to keep it running. I wouldn't go and put a $1,000 fork on that bike, but a slight fork upgrade by spending a couple hundy to give you improved serviceability and improved setup wouldn't be a bad choice so long as you're keeping with the big picture of what the bike is and how it's intended to be ridden.

Some upgrades, IMO, aren't oftentimes worth just dropping money on right away. Like a whole new drivetrain when you've got a perfectly serviceable one already. Ride the drivetrain into the ground and THEN upgrade it when you need to replace parts, anyway. Those kinds of upgrades won't change much of anything about the bike in a big picture sense, anyway. Honestly, on an entry level bike, simply maintaining it, taking care of it, and servicing it when it needs it will serve you better. Yes, that might mean replacing parts sometimes if they break or wear out. And when you need to do that, put on something better/more durable. But I don't really consider that sort of thing "upgrading" a bike over time.

A modest suspension upgrade will probably make the biggest difference in ride quality for that bike. Good quality tires, chosen specifically for your riding and terrain are probably second. Everything else is a good bit lower on the list and will mostly take experience for you to distinguish.

If all you've got is $600 and you're not going to be able to increase your budget to $1500 anytime soon, buy the $600 bike and ride it and have fun with it. But realize that no amount of upgrading parts will make it the same as a better quality bike that costs more to start with.

That said, if you're already planning out your "next bike" purchases and long term upgrade considerations before you've even purchased your first bike, you probably ought to try to save up and increase your budget as much as you can because it'll be better off for you in the long run.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,171 Posts
I would look for a bike that can at least use a 12x148 boost hub in the rear and a thru axle fork. that way, if you want/ need to replace the wheels, you can do so with modern wheels. an oversize head tube on the frame is a must as well, so you can use a modern tapered fork. the rest is pretty standard sizing, for now. If you get a bike that has "old standards" for the axles and headset, it will be hard to really upgrade it. that's the kind of bike you buy and leave the OEM parts on it and only replace them when absolutely necessary, then graduate to a new bike and sell it or keep it around as a secondary bike option.

upgrading a bike is fun if the bike design doesn't fight your efforts, and you have those future purchases mentally in your budget when you buy the bike. as a perfectionist and a perpetual bike tinkerer, I do that. my first and last new bike was a 2010 Redline Monocog 26". I worked at a bike shop and it cost me $300 as a bike shop employee. within a year, i replaced everything but the frame, cranks, stem, handlebar, and hubs. within the next year, I had a whole new bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
If you're really into the sport, and you think you're going to stick with it for a while, then simply drop some money on a bike that is better out-of-the-box. Playing the upgrade game is fun in the short term, but in the long term, it's a waste of time and money.

Also, don't get too wrapped up in the equipment - focus on the experience. The quality of the terrain and the folks with whom you're riding have much more influence than the weight, stiffness, or damping of your components. That being said, don't tolerate an unreliable bike for any longer than you must; stuff that doesn't work will ruin a good ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,893 Posts
If you're really into the sport, and you think you're going to stick with it for a while, then simply drop some money on a bike that is better out-of-the-box. Playing the upgrade game is fun in the short term, but in the long term, it's a waste of time and money.

Also, don't get too wrapped up in the equipment - focus on the experience. The quality of the terrain and the folks with whom you're riding have much more influence than the weight, stiffness, or damping of your components. That being said, don't tolerate an unreliable bike for any longer than you must; stuff that doesn't work will ruin a good ride.
I completely agree with this post. I helped a friend who's trying to upgrade his Fuji and it's a complete nightmare. Focus on the experience, upgrade parts as they break or don't function properly, and save for a new bike, which you could pick up as a fraction of the price in the off season.

600 dollar bikes don't have the new standards so if you pick up a very nice fork you can't move it to the new frame. 148 or super boost? nope, 135. I'm not sure about your exact bike, but none of his parts could move to a new frame with new standards and he even needed a new rear hub to use a cassette. Ride the bike, work on your skills, figure out exactly what you want in the future, and make it happen.
 

·
Single(Pivot)and Happy
Joined
·
1,778 Posts
"So now a bit over a month later I know a lot of what I didn't know, and now know my bike isn't all that great. Ha."

I have not bothered to read the responses, I'm pretty sure the majority of responses either state that your bike is not worth upgrading or that you should just get a new bike.

You bought a bike to get back into mountain biking. Go mountain biking.

I know your bike didn't tell you it was "not great." I know the trails never told you your "bike is not great." You are fortunate that you have the means to purchase a bike that will allow you to experience nature, to help you get into and maintain better health. Ride your bike. Ride more, internet less.

Years ago I encountered a young rider at a trailhead, bike laid out in front of him, head bowed into his hands. I asked if he was ok, he said he was fine, I said wtf up, he said he just bought his bike, asked some riders if they would mine if he tagged along, and they laughed at him, told him his bike was a POS.

I told him to get his a55 up, I handed him my bike, I took his, and told him let's go ride. There was a couple lessons taught that day to some people that had parents that failed to teach their kids how to be respectful human beings, but this is not the point of my rambling today. Back at the trail head, I returned the guys bike and said, "there's nothing wrong with your bike, just take care of it and it will take you on journey's that no amount of money can buy."

I work with underprivileged kids that do not have the means to buy a bike, not a new bike, a used bike or even what many may define as a POS bike. When we set up our mobile bike skills park, fit these kids with helmets and bikes and let them ride, the look on their faces is priceless. It is pure, unadulterated joy. Joy to be riding a bike. These kids don't know what model frame they are riding, WTF the inner width of the rims are, how many gears there are. If beginners were allowed the opportunity to be infected with this joy of riding a bike in nature, there would be a better chance that advocacy to secure bike access would be as strong as the consumerism this hobby has nurtured.

I already acknowledged that I believe the previous responses contain good info, so there is no need to argue your point because I'm not arguing against anyone's point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, I was hoping for a bunch of "yeah, once you upgrade this this and this it's just as good as XXX"....

Ah well. Thanks for all the advice everyone. Looks like I will just ride it as is and do mid level upgrades when things break or wear out. Other than the fork that is. Everything I read, especially from those that have used the suntour upgrade thing tells me the difference will be huge with a decent fork... Now I just need to decide on the raidon or save an extra $80 for the epixon.....

Some good perspective in the last post by Boulder pilot. I don't really find anything in particular is really holding me back at this point or screaming "I suck!" I know the forks days are numbered, but other than that, I will just see how things go as I progress and get back into shape.

I was hoping to just keep this one as a backup once I get my next bike a couple years down the road, and have it be good enough that I wouldn't have the urge to sell it and get something "better" as a backup. I'm still going to attempt that, but I guess I shouldn't try to upgrade the crap out if it...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Yo, I was in a similar situation debating on what bike to buy. I already had a bottom of the barrel bike that needed serious upgrades to make it trailworthy. I mocked up a parts list of what all I would have to spend to get it to where I wanted it and to perfect it. Not considering the cost of the bike the amount of money I would have spent would have covered an entry level bike, didn't make sense to go that route and additionally the bike was still lacking in many categories that couldn't be upgraded.

I've found that real mountain bikes begin somewhere around the $700 give or take $100 depending on manufacture, sales etc.

With that being said, I would recommend you do not upgrade this bike, sell it and put the funds towards something that is ready to go, cut your losses, considering how much your seeing used bikes go for, you may be able to recoup a fair amount back.

If you decide to upgrade the bike, keep the upgrades minimal so its not as much of a loss when you go on to a better bike, maybe just replace the fork and call it there.

Of course it all comes down to you, maybe you really like the bike and are willing to put any amount of money towards it, but if you are trying to get bang for buck I'd say upgrade to a new bike.

I had originally intended to spend 500, ended up learning a few things and decided to go with a Trek Marlin 7 for 780, and through the help of this forum I found an even better bike, Marin Nail Trail 6, on major discount for the same price as the Trek but with all better components. Hope this was helpful
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,725 Posts
Well, I was hoping for a bunch of "yeah, once you upgrade this this and this it's just as good as XXX"....

Ah well. Thanks for all the advice everyone. Looks like I will just ride it as is and do mid level upgrades when things break or wear out. Other than the fork that is. Everything I read, especially from those that have used the suntour upgrade thing tells me the difference will be huge with a decent fork... Now I just need to decide on the raidon or save an extra $80 for the epixon.....

Some good perspective in the last post by Boulder pilot. I don't really find anything in particular is really holding me back at this point or screaming "I suck!" I know the forks days are numbered, but other than that, I will just see how things go as I progress and get back into shape.

I was hoping to just keep this one as a backup once I get my next bike a couple years down the road, and have it be good enough that I wouldn't have the urge to sell it and get something "better" as a backup. I'm still going to attempt that, but I guess I shouldn't try to upgrade the crap out if it...
There's some wonderful advice on this thread. This might be one of the best threads I've read recently...there tends to be a lot of "I'm right" "no I'm right" "no I'm right" back and forth and judgement and hate. For your post, you've had great advice about being grateful for what you have, enjoying the experience of being out in nature, connecting with the planet, your buddies and your community.

If you want to spend money on something other than your fork, then invest in yourself via working on your skills. Once you've maxed out what you can learn from online articles and YouTube videos, you could do a skills course - that will improve your riding way way more than most "upgrades"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,194 Posts
Check with the shops around your area about demo days. Get on their email lists for updates. These events let you ride different bikes with different components. You can learn what different level forks and brakes, tires and wheels are like for free. That can help you with future choices. Ride 29s, especially hardtails and short travel full suspension models. Then decide what works for you on your trails. How it looks to you doesn't match to performance. Look at the World Cup XCO racing for a reality check.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
I will go against the grain a little bit. If you bought a decent frame that will hold up then I would ride it as is. If you like it then replace things as you see a need or as they break. Many people buy an expensive bike and still upgrade the crap out of it so I don't know that buying a super expensive bike would have been the answer for you either. Our hobby is not a cheap one. We pay motorcycle prices for bicycles. I wouldn't replace anything until you put some miles on it and know what you need. You may be surprised and find out that most of the things on your list are more wants than needs and that your bike suits you fine depending on the riding you do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,033 Posts
I like really nice wheels, and really nice suspension. Ill take a mid level basic crank, and im totally fine with a SLX drivetrain. This is basically impossible to get off the shelf.

High end suspension almost always comes on bikes with top of the line drivetrains, and wheels are a total crapshoot. Most bikes come with junky wheels well into the thousands of dollars. The $4000 carbon santa cruz 5010 comes with wheels that are worth maybe 100 bucks. They're not completely junk, but I wouldnt ride them.

Just make sure your current frame is reasonably up to date. If it has 27.5 wheels and takes a tapered fork, awesome! Toss a nice fork on there. If you change bikes later, take that fork with you because the new bike probably wont have a nice fork either.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top