1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Bike Upgrade Questions

    Hey everyone,

    First off, I'd like to say that I'm a complete beginner in terms of biking. I recently bought a Trek 3700 for light to medium trail work and also commuting to and from class at college. The bike itself is wonderful, but I'm a bit concerned about the brakes. Since I go to school in Rochester, NY, and since it is often wet there, I am concerned about the braking ability of my bike in those conditions, especially around defenseless pedestrians . The bike is completely stock right now, with linear pull brakes front and rear. My question is this: how difficult and expensive would it be to replace the front brake with a disc brake. I already read some of the posts in other forum topics and found out that I will need to invest in some new wheels. However, there were no price ranges or directions on how to replace anything.

    Oh, one last thing. I would like to keep this as cheap as possible cuz I'm a poor college student .

    Thanks in advance,
    Sig

  2. #2
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    If you just want to replace the front brake it will be half as much cost for a much greater improvement in braking. I just ordered Avid bb7 from blueskycycling.com Each brake was $50. All you will need is a new front wheel with a disc hub, a front brake, and you will probably have to replace the brake cable since it will be too short to reach.

    My guess is you can do this for around $100 or a little more if you get an entry level wheel.

  3. #3
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    Alright, just one quick question. Will my front fork be able to accept a wheel designed for a disc brake? If so, is the installation of all the parts easy enough for a beginner, or should I go through my local bike shop?

  4. #4
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    have you tried different pads? they do make different compound pads for wet weather, google Kool-Stop pads.

    here is what you would need to upgrade to disc brakes:
    - front wheel. you should be able to find something for around $50 that will work. you'll need a wheel that has 6-bolt disc hubs.

    - front brake, get an Avid BB-7 disc brake, they are some of the best brakes on the market and can be had for about $50. get the 160mm rotor version.

    - brake cable, you can use your current brake levers but you'll need new cables for the front brake.

    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/126...160mm-2007.htm
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...+26+Wheel.aspx

  5. #5
    local trails rider
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    If the surface for rotor mounting on the hub is straight, cutting the cable outer straight enough is probably the most difficult thing in the conversion.

    I think all forks nowadays have mounts for installing a disc brake caliper.

    edit:
    I've been very happy with Koolstop pads on my V brake bike: pretty OK even in the wet and don't wear down as quickly as many cheap pads.

  6. #6
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    http://www.trekbikes.com/int/en/bike...3_series/3700/

    Here's a like to a picture of my bike. Not sure if you can tell, but are there mounts on the fork for calipers? If there aren't, is there an adapter that I could buy? If so, any recommendations?

  7. #7
    local trails rider
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    I don't see any caliper mounts in the picture. It won't work. Take a look at any disc equipped bike and you'll see what is missing.

    Looks like good pads for your existing brakes is the only really low budget option.

  8. #8
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    I don't see post mounts or IS tabs on that fork. Interesting, I thought all forks had disc mounts anymore. Might want to try the koolstop pads and / or one of these: http://www.mtbr.com/cat/older-catego...LS_105crx.aspx

  9. #9
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    I see...

    I guess I'll have to look into those pads then. I guess I'll consider the new brakes once I save up enough money for a new fork, etc...

    Thanks for all your help though. I really appreciate it.

  10. #10
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    You don't need disks, linear brakes with decent pads work fine in the rain unless you're doing extreme downhill.

  11. #11
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    doesnt look like your fork has disc mounts. if you had disc mounts on your fork you would see two small mounting holes on the bottom of your left fork leg.

    try new pads. clean the braking surface of your rims with rubbing alcohol, you could also try a bit of sandpaper to rough up the rim braking surface.

  12. #12
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    I'm guessing you dont want to upgrade the fork for disc, and I don't blame you...

    I have one bike with tektro linears (aka vbrakes...looks like these are stock on the 3700), one with xtr linears and one with bb7s. The xtr's are as good as the bb7s imo, but the tektro's blow. I'd look around for some new/used xtr vbrakes on ebay. That might be the cheapest route.
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  13. #13
    local trails rider
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    XTR V-brakes are way too complex and expensive for what they do.

    When your rims get dirty you should clean them, for braking power and parts longevity. Water, dish washing liquid and a brush will do it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    XTR V-brakes are way too complex and expensive for what they do.
    you guys are talking about disc conversion (rotor, hub, rim, caliper, etc...besides the fact that he doesnt even have tabs) and you say xtr's are too complex

    tektro brakes swing the pad in at an angle (arc) whereas xtr's move the pads linear in and out and are no more difficult to setup than any other brake. in fact, lining up the pads are much easier on xtrs. I got a set of front/rear xtr vbrakes on ebay a while back for $50 for the set. I do agree though, I would at least get different pads.
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  15. #15
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrcxu
    xtr's move the pads linear in and out and are no more difficult to setup than any other brake.
    There's just ... too many moving parts to solve an issue that is not really an issue. That is my opinion, whatever Shimano say.

    My V brake bike has the humble Deore V brakes and the power and feel is just fine (especially in dry and clean conditions). The only thing is, they have developed some play after about 4 years without other maintenance than changing pads a few times.

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