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back in the saddle again
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274 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tell this newbie the tales of your first mod or upgrade, please?
What did you do and why?

I'm already pondering what Pumpkin might get done to her first. I'm thinking about losing the fenders, kick stand, and possibly bottle cage as well. So nothing major, but I don't know jack about parts and what they do yet.

Someone else with a Trek mounted a speaker to their bike and I thought that was a pretty sweet idea. Might steal it :D
 

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Jason
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590 Posts
Fenders, I'd keep them. Kickstand would stay if it's used as a commuter or even a touring bike. If it's used for xc or other aggresive riding, I'd get rid of it. A bottle cage is something I keep on all (5 total) my bikes. I'd say a big HELL NO to the speaker personally. However, if your using it to just cruise around and aren't getting into anything too technical then I'd say go for it. My wife has a cup holder on her Felt Cafe 7 cruiser. She usually stops for coffee on our rides together and the holder works perfectly for that.

Just my opinions...
 

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Truly Doneski
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541 Posts
My only real upgrades have been: Grips, Pedals and tires. My bike came with weak pedals that I destroyed quickly and replaced with some wide platforms. After my grips wore out in about 8-10 months, I got Oury grips which are really great. I put on new tires after my tires wore out as well.

I'd say don't upgrade much until things break. I would take off the kickstand, even when you're commuting you're typically going to lock the bike up to something, and won't need a kickstand. My commuter doesn't have a kickstand, and I rarely feel the need for one.
 

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No talent hack
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1,118 Posts
AZ Mtns has it in my order... Seat then grips. I have big hands and the dinky grips on most bike suck for me. This is the order for pleasure of riding.... for me on my first bike I upgraded (a 1996 Klein), I replaced the brakes, levers and shifters before leaving the LBS. It was the first year V-brakes were out, so I had to have them... I still use that same set of XTRs on my current bike... :D pretty happy with that upgrade!
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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18,453 Posts
My very first was when I was a teenager, starting to ride to high school after not being on bikes for a few years. I got my Dad to swap out the drop bars on an old road bike for flat bars.

It was a stupid modification. It didn't do the bike any favors. Yet I see people do it all the time.

I think I rode my next bike stock for as long as I kept it. It's in my Mom's cabin in the mountains, and I think it still has the same parts it had when it rolled out of the showroom. That was a hybrid.

My first mountain bike was a Schwinn Mesa GSX. It was a '99 or 2000 model - one of the periods when Schwinn was trying to get their bikes in shops. I talked my parents into buying it for me from REI when I was a freshman in college. I'd just gotten interested in mountain biking, and also found that rolling stairsets on a hybrid doesn't work very well. So the frame was just another lightweight aluminum hardtail, not good, but not bad either. In relatively quick succession (can't remember the order) I swapped out the brake levers, for Avid Speed Dials, (this is pre-SRAM, and back when everyone but pro DHers had V-brakes) the pedals, for a set of Time ATACs I still have around, the saddle, for one I'm still riding, and the rear tire, for a Continental Cross-country - a skinny mud tire. In retrospect, the pedals and saddle were smart, or lucky choices, the brake levers probably didn't make much of a difference (and I don't know if I ever did the pads) and the Conti XC was a poorly informed choice, although it was a great tire for mud. Also, I got bar ends. It wasn't the 90s anymore, but not by much. :)

My current bike very rapidly got new handlebars and stem and a new-to-me fork. The old fork broke, and the stock, riser bars put the grips too high for me. So I'm happy with both of those choices. I think if I'd paid for a new suspension fork, though, I'd feel differently about it. My current bike also got my old Time ATACs and saddle, as soon as I could get them shipped out to me. I didn't get new tires as soon as I could have - I was sure it was me having trouble maintaining traction, not the tires; new ones were a bit of a vindication. I stuck a set of bar ends on too, and while it's not the 90s anymore by a long shot, it's nice to have them there for climbs.

Since that initial burst of upgrading, I managed to keep a lid on things for about a year and a half. Then I started racing, and started chipping away at the build as things broke or proved inadequately reliable for racing. I say all you really need to race is a bike that goes, stops and shifts and isn't a boat anchor, but that's a surprisingly high bar in race conditions. A suspension fork with a good damper is a huge plus.

What bike do you have now? Getting rid of the kickstand is good if you're riding off-road. MTB fenders, to me, are a keeper - I have a set myself that stay on from the Fall through the Spring - and water bottle cages weigh almost nothing and you can use them to hold a water bottle or tool kit.
 

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slow
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7,682 Posts
I purchase few whole bikes, but when I do, the seat is the first thing to change, to something that fits my rear-end.
Second, I change the tires to something that fits my riding style and terrain.
Thirdly, I change pedals to match the cleats on my shoes. (All my bikes use the same saddle and pedals.)

After that, I ride it until stuff breaks and replace as needed, except for chains which are replaced 3-4 times a year. I try not to ride more than 600-700 miles on a chain in order to keep from having to do costly drive train repairs.
 

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back in the saddle again
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274 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
AndrwSwitch said:
What bike do you have now? Getting rid of the kickstand is good if you're riding off-road. MTB fenders, to me, are a keeper - I have a set myself that stay on from the Fall through the Spring - and water bottle cages weigh almost nothing and you can use them to hold a water bottle or tool kit.
See below for my bike :) I believe it's a late 90's or early 2k model. No off-roading... yet! The fenders are there basically to keep us a little less muddy, right? True about the bottle cage weighing nearly nothing. Besides, where I'm at there's no such thing as having too much water on tap!

Thanks for the replies, it's fun to see what you all do to your rides.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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18,453 Posts
Fenders - yeah, mainly a comfort thing. But not having mud getting thrown all over my butt or in my face is a big plus for me. I live in the Pacific Northwest, so it's pretty wet here except during the summer.

I don't know the 820, and late 90s to early 2000s is a pretty broad range of years at a time when a lot was changing. Why don't you post a pic?

If it's comparable to the 2000 model on bikepedia.com, though, it's not worthwhile to bolt any money to it. Get the fattest knobby tires you can fit in the frame, ride the hell out of it, and if you find you're enjoying mountain biking as a sport, buy a new bike. Things have come a long way in the last ten years, and you're likely to run into issues with geometry and parts compatibility if you try to "upgrade" anything, as well as just the general inefficiency of upgrading a bike piecemeal.
 

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back in the saddle again
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274 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Here is a pic I posted a while ago with my Pumpkin and my daughter's Princess.


There are more close ups in my gallery, and I'm planning to take some more shots over this weekend and add them in.
 

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Registered
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147 Posts
Not even worth the pic really but I was happy with my new bright red pedals at the time. Next I will be upgrading to disc brakes and using red jagwire cables and will probably get some red grips.

 

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back in the saddle again
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274 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So for all of you who are taking off your reflectors- are lights alone sufficient for safety when riding at night or dim conditions?
 

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MTBkitty said:
So for all of you who are taking off your reflectors- are lights alone sufficient for safety when riding at night or dim conditions?
Lights work better than reflectors alone. If you are doing trails-take off the reflectors because otherwise they will likely get broken off and litter the trail. If you aren't then keep them on but I still strongly recommend getting a front and rear light if you are riding at night. You can get sufficient ones for cheap online like at rei or at walmart or your bike shop.
 
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