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  1. #1
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    New Bike or Upgrade Current?

    Hello mtbr community! I am new to this site, and new to the world of mountain biking. I recently bought a 2004 GT Avalanche 3.0 off mutual friend back in June, and I have enjoyed riding it ever since. Got a good deal on it, and I wanted something to cheap to ride as a beginner. Nothing done to it other than clipless pedals.

    Now I feel like my skill level is expanding, and I'm beginning to get more into technical trails, jumps, drops, etc. The bike has been somewhat reliable. I stripped off the left side crank arm riding one day, and had to replace it. Now I have to keep re-tightening it every so often, and I have a weird clunking sound that sounds like it's coming from the cassette. [ I have included a video of the noise]. I don't like the SR Suntour forks that came on it, I don't like the V-pull brakes, and I have trouble with the chain skipping around and popping off the cassette.

    I'm at a crossroads, and that's where I'm hoping you guys can help me out. Is it worth trying to upgrade my bike? At this point I don't feel comfortable dropping any money into it. Should I try to upgrade to something better and newer?

    Here's a picture of the bike.


    Here's a video of the noise coming from the rear. [the noise you're listening for is the clunking and/or rubbing noise]
    GT Avalanche Cassette Noise - YouTube

    Also, here's the spec sheet of the Avalanche:

    Manufacturer: GT
    Model Name: Avalanche 3.0
    Model Year: 2004
    Speeds: 24
    Frame Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
    Colours: Silver/Black/Gray/Blue
    Frame: GT Triple Triangle design 6061 butted aluminum with pressure formed downtube, zero stack headtube. Disc compatible with removeable der. hanger
    Fork: SR Suntour XC-60, 75mm
    Front Derailleur: Shimano TY-32
    Rear Derailleur: Shimano Acera
    Shifters: Shimano Acera (ST-EF29-8)
    Brake Levers: Shimano ST-EF29
    Brakes: Tektro, Linear Pull 110 mm arms, 70 mm DIN pads
    Bbset: Cartridge
    Crankset: Suntour XCC-100, 48/38/28T
    Chain: Shimano UG-50
    Front Hub: Alloy QR
    Rear Hub: Alloy 8 sp Cassette QR
    Spokes: Stainless steel 14 gauge
    Front Tire: Tioga Factory Extreme XC, 26 x 1.95
    Rear Tire: Tioga Factory XC (Rear), 26 x 1.95
    Rims: Alloy ATB
    Cassete: SRAM 8 sp, 12-30T
    Headset: Aheadset Threadless
    Handlebar: Alloy, 20 mm Rise, 6 degree bend
    Stem: GT ATB, threadless 25 degree rise with two bolt alum face
    Saddle: GT MTN
    Seatpost: Alloy Micro adjust
    Pedals: ATB, high Impact nylon

  2. #2
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    What's your budget for either upgrading or buying a new bike?
    05 specialized hardrock SS.

  3. #3
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    Sorry, my budget for a new bike would be around $1,000. My budget for upgrading would maybe be half that. At the most $800.

  4. #4
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    just my opinion, but maybe get those litle nuisance things corrected and then do some riding before making the decision. loctite( blue ) the crank fastener should keep it from backing out again. chain skipping around and popping off casette will probably remedy with adjusting the cable tensions and deraileurs. rear casette can be replaced easily and inexpensively. etc. etc.... I am kinda in the same boat as you...and probably lots of others on this particular forum. my thnking is that my skills are definitely not yet pushing the limts of the bike i am riding( a 14 year old GF Joshua ), but i am getting a lot of kicks from riding it and seeing my skills improve. but yea.....eventually, i'll want, and be ready, for somethng else also. god luck.

  5. #5
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    I am in the exact place you guys are... I ride a 2001 GF mamba I love it but I want more out of it and I'm not sure what I would want for a new one so is it worth it?

  6. #6
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    IMO if you have a budget of $1000 for a new bike, you should definitely buy a new one instead of upgrading. If you want a hardtail, $800-1000 will get you a very decent bike.

  7. #7
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    "Now I feel like my skill level is expanding, and I'm beginning to get more into technical trails, jumps, drops, etc. The bike has been somewhat reliable. I stripped off the left side crank arm riding one day, and had to replace it. Now I have to keep re-tightening it every so often, and I have a weird clunking sound that sounds like it's coming from the cassette. [ I have included a video of the noise]. I don't like the SR Suntour forks that came on it, I don't like the V-pull brakes, and I have trouble with the chain skipping around and popping off the cassette."

    I believe you could repair/replace the crankset, bb, and cassette for @ $150-200 with as good or better components than you currently have. As far as the brakes and fork go, you said you're still growing your skills (which is ALWAYS a good thing) so if it were me, I'd put up with them a little longer while honing my skills to the maximum that the equipment would allow, while saving cash with buying a new bike in mind. I figure that saving $200 to replace those parts shouldn't take long, and you can still ride while keeping an eye on the 'net for good deals from Craigslist, Ebay or whoever. Then when the time to pull the trigger comes pull that new crank off the Trek for a spare or upgrade on the new bike.

  8. #8
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    Tough decision. What are you going to do with that bike once you get a new one? If you plan to sell it, you'll either have to sell it for basically nothing, be a dirty POS lier to the potential buyer to get them to pay more, or spend some money fixing it anyway so that it will actually be worth selling. If you're gonna fix it and sell it anyway, I say fix it now and ride it a bit longer and see how you feel then. with a 75mm fork stock, you can easily upgrade to 100mm if you decide you want to ride that bike and grow more before dropping a lot of $$$ on a nice new bike. If you don't plan to sell that one then I say just buy a new bike, as long as you feel that you've done enough riding to know what you want in a bike. If you aren't sure exactly what you want yet then I say still fix that one first.

  9. #9
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    the bike you have now is about the level of what you could get for $400-500 new at a bike shop today, but yours is slightly out-dated compared to, say, a Trek 3500. you can get a LOT more bike for $1000 and not waste money on a bike that resists any meaningful upgrades. look into the 2012 Gary Fisher Mamba. for just under $1K, you get a 29er with a decent Rock Shox fork, Shimano hydro brakes and, 3x9 gears. the 2011 Mamba had BB5 brakes on it and the new Shimano hydros are a big improvement.

  10. #10
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    For $1k I would buy a previous year's marked down model. Hang on to the old one as a loaner if a friend wants to ride with you.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by raleigh5 View Post
    just my opinion, but maybe get those litle nuisance things corrected and then do some riding before making the decision. loctite( blue ) the crank fastener should keep it from backing out again. chain skipping around and popping off casette will probably remedy with adjusting the cable tensions and deraileurs. rear casette can be replaced easily and inexpensively. etc. etc.... I am kinda in the same boat as you...and probably lots of others on this particular forum. my thnking is that my skills are definitely not yet pushing the limts of the bike i am riding( a 14 year old GF Joshua ), but i am getting a lot of kicks from riding it and seeing my skills improve. but yea.....eventually, i'll want, and be ready, for somethng else also. god luck.
    Yeah, It still needs a little TLC, and I'm learning how to adjust everything properly by myself. I did try blue loctite on the crank arm, and it still kept loosening up. I thought about putting red loctite on there, but I need to possibly get that arm off one day. lol

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Goes Boing View Post
    IMO if you have a budget of $1000 for a new bike, you should definitely buy a new one instead of upgrading. If you want a hardtail, $800-1000 will get you a very decent bike.
    That's what I've noticed through my research, and with talking to some close friends and some of the LBS guys. I figured why spend the money upgrading this bike when I could possibly buy a better one for the same money. A friend of mine has a Gary Fisher that he bought, and upgraded and spent probably around $700.

    Quote Originally Posted by junior1210 View Post
    "Now I feel like my skill level is expanding, and I'm beginning to get more into technical trails, jumps, drops, etc. The bike has been somewhat reliable. I stripped off the left side crank arm riding one day, and had to replace it. Now I have to keep re-tightening it every so often, and I have a weird clunking sound that sounds like it's coming from the cassette. [ I have included a video of the noise]. I don't like the SR Suntour forks that came on it, I don't like the V-pull brakes, and I have trouble with the chain skipping around and popping off the cassette."

    I believe you could repair/replace the crankset, bb, and cassette for @ $150-200 with as good or better components than you currently have. As far as the brakes and fork go, you said you're still growing your skills (which is ALWAYS a good thing) so if it were me, I'd put up with them a little longer while honing my skills to the maximum that the equipment would allow, while saving cash with buying a new bike in mind. I figure that saving $200 to replace those parts shouldn't take long, and you can still ride while keeping an eye on the 'net for good deals from Craigslist, Ebay or whoever. Then when the time to pull the trigger comes pull that new crank off the Trek for a spare or upgrade on the new bike.
    Very good advice. I'm new to this so when it comes to upgrading cassettes,BB,and cranksets I'm really unsure of what exactly fits my bike. The brakes just make me really nervous, because I feel like they won't stop me quick enough. Maybe they need to be adjusted?

    Quote Originally Posted by firstRWD View Post
    Tough decision. What are you going to do with that bike once you get a new one? If you plan to sell it, you'll either have to sell it for basically nothing, be a dirty POS lier to the potential buyer to get them to pay more, or spend some money fixing it anyway so that it will actually be worth selling. If you're gonna fix it and sell it anyway, I say fix it now and ride it a bit longer and see how you feel then. with a 75mm fork stock, you can easily upgrade to 100mm if you decide you want to ride that bike and grow more before dropping a lot of $$$ on a nice new bike. If you don't plan to sell that one then I say just buy a new bike, as long as you feel that you've done enough riding to know what you want in a bike. If you aren't sure exactly what you want yet then I say still fix that one first.
    I planned on either selling it or trading it in at the LBS as a deposit for something else. I've looked at some 100mm forks that around the $200-$300 range and the reviews are all over the place. I don't want to drop $600 and up on a nice one, because I'd rather just buy a newer/better bike. If I didn't end up selling it or trading it in then I would just keep it as a commuter bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    the bike you have now is about the level of what you could get for $400-500 new at a bike shop today, but yours is slightly out-dated compared to, say, a Trek 3500. you can get a LOT more bike for $1000 and not waste money on a bike that resists any meaningful upgrades. look into the 2012 Gary Fisher Mamba. for just under $1K, you get a 29er with a decent Rock Shox fork, Shimano hydro brakes and, 3x9 gears. the 2011 Mamba had BB5 brakes on it and the new Shimano hydros are a big improvement.
    Thanks for the advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by CarolinaLL6 View Post
    For $1k I would buy a previous year's marked down model. Hang on to the old one as a loaner if a friend wants to ride with you.
    Also good advice.

    Ahhh... I'm still torn on what to do. Is it all just personal preference? Am I being unreasonable? I'm thinking I may just end up keeping it, and riding it a bit longer. This bike was really neglected by the previous owner though.

  12. #12
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    New bike.

    Along with the maintenance problems, your bike is hampered by having a crappy fork, wheels and drivetrain that have some cross-compatibility problems with most modern stuff, and you're already complaining about the brakes (which, FWIW, should be tunable to a very high level of performance. But whatever - you want new ones.)

    Especially at this time of year, $1000 is enough to get a pretty creditable new bike. None of the parts will be terminal upgrades, but most should be quite adequate for riding until they wear out. Which takes multiple seasons. Don't get a bike with another off-brand fork - it won't make you happy. There's some argument about whether the RockShox Dart constitutes a "real" fork. My instinct is that you want at least a Tora. And you may still have to change some internals down the road. But for $1000, you can get a starter bike that retailed for a bit more and start over with everything working, and with a suspension fork that can be tuned to actually work with you, not against you.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    Not Sure Either

    I have a Haro VGF V-3 I bought about 5 years ago before leaving over seas for 5 years. My suggestion is upgrade unless you think the bike will fall apart on the trail, then a new bike is in order.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    New bike.

    Along with the maintenance problems, your bike is hampered by having a crappy fork, wheels and drivetrain that have some cross-compatibility problems with most modern stuff, and you're already complaining about the brakes (which, FWIW, should be tunable to a very high level of performance. But whatever - you want new ones.)

    Especially at this time of year, $1000 is enough to get a pretty creditable new bike. None of the parts will be terminal upgrades, but most should be quite adequate for riding until they wear out. Which takes multiple seasons. Don't get a bike with another off-brand fork - it won't make you happy. There's some argument about whether the RockShox Dart constitutes a "real" fork. My instinct is that you want at least a Tora. And you may still have to change some internals down the road. But for $1000, you can get a starter bike that retailed for a bit more and start over with everything working, and with a suspension fork that can be tuned to actually work with you, not against you.
    Agree with everything said here... to put $500+ into that old Avalanche would be insane, no offense.

    As Andrew said, you can get a pretty good bit of bike right now for a grand. A brand new Avalanche 1.0 is only $700 at Performance Bike right now. It has good components including hydraulic disc brakes and a Tora fork. Probably a lot lighter than your 3.0 too.

  15. #15
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    Upgrade bro. Happy riding.
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  16. #16
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    +1 on the new bike route- no question about it since you have a $1k budget for it.
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  17. #17
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    IMHO fix the little problems using minimal cash and save up for a good FS which sounds like what you are aiming for...technical trails, jumps and drops.

  18. #18
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    MO, I would not put any more money into your current bike, especially if you enjoy mountain biking.

    $1K is a good budget for a hardtail. If you are doing more technical trails and jumps, I would strongly consider a FS.

    Here's an interesting option but stretches the budget a bit --> Trance X4 (2012) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | United States

  19. #19
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    What type of new bike?

    Are you looking at a full suspension or a hard tail for your new bike? If you're looking for a FS, I'd upgrade your GT and save your money for a better FS bike. If you're looking for a HT, I'd buy a new bike and upgrade your GT.

    As others have pointed out, you can upgrade the nuisance problems fairly economically. Your GT is a fine bike. I know several people who've ridden than same frame for years. I wouldn't feel too bad about upgrading it.

    I would also keep it as your spare/loaner/pay it forward bike. Having your old bike around as a spare is great riding insurance for when something on your new bike would keep you off the saddle for a while. If you get the new bike, you can upgrade it with chi-chi components and use the OEM parts to upgrade your GT. You'll get to customize your new bike and use the other parts to significantly upgrade a bike that has a great frame.
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  20. #20
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    Thanks everyone for all the great information and advice. I've decided to buy a newer HT and keep the GT to ride around town and as a back up. Thank you all again!

  21. #21
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    I bought a 2010 GT Avalanche 3.0 this year (replaced the NEXT Target bike I rode for two years). I love this bike. So much lighter than the previous bike and components are decent. I paid less than $300 for the bike and it's gotten me addicted to the sport. I'll probably upgrade the shocks on it before too much longer but the rest I'm very pleased with. The only hurdle I'm going to come to is when I decide I need disc brakes but for now the brakes stop on a dime. I don't think you could have made a wrong decision either way. I see merit in both arguments to repair vs. replace.

  22. #22
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    You should convert that GT to a single speed for bombing around town.
    Get rid of the quick releases and put some nice urban tires on it, perhaps switch to a rigid fork.

    I'm planning on doing something like that to my old 99' Schwinn once I get my new bike this winter/spring.

  23. #23
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    I would sell it for anything and look at the Fisher or the Giant XTC.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuiltforSin View Post
    Thanks everyone for all the great information and advice. I've decided to buy a newer HT and keep the GT to ride around town and as a back up. Thank you all again!
    Don't forget to post pics of your new ride!

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