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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    Trying to replace parts on old Diamond Back Ascent EX, don't know where to start..

    Hi all, been reading for a while but first time posting (I think). I scooped up a Diamond Back EX 23" complete out in the desert in Reno a couple of months ago and have been meaning to rebuild it. I got screwed on the initial price of the bike ($70) but I chalk that up to young rider naivete.

    Anywho, the drivetrain (rear cassette, chain, and chainring) look worn to me. I want to convert this bike into a road/commuting bike and maybe put some v-brakes and flats on it down the road. My question is: where do I start, what do I replace and where can I find the replacement parts even?

    I threw up some pics of the bike (and the bike rack my dad and I made because the old man needs some credit on the interwebs). Any advice is much appreciated. Thanks!

    Trying to replace parts on old Diamond Back Ascent EX, don't know where to start..-2013-10-20-10.37.24.jpgTrying to replace parts on old Diamond Back Ascent EX, don't know where to start..-2013-10-20-10.37.11.jpgTrying to replace parts on old Diamond Back Ascent EX, don't know where to start..-2013-10-20-10.36.37.jpgTrying to replace parts on old Diamond Back Ascent EX, don't know where to start..-2013-10-20-10.36.13.jpgTrying to replace parts on old Diamond Back Ascent EX, don't know where to start..-2013-10-20-10.36.05.jpgTrying to replace parts on old Diamond Back Ascent EX, don't know where to start..-2013-10-20-10.35.45.jpg

  2. #2
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    New chainrings, chain and cassette would sort it all out. There's a few companies still do replacement rings (though not as easy to come by as 4 bolt). There's new stuff on eBay if the online shops don't have what you need. To be honest, it doesn't look that worn to me. Check the chain for stretch: Chain Stretch

    If the chain is worn it would indicate that the gears are likely to be worn as well. A new chain will skip on a worn drivetrain, depending on extent of wear.

    As for brakes, v-brakes is a good upgrade but you'd need new brake levers to suit because the cable pull is different between cantis and v-brakes. If your levers and shifters are integrated that means new shifters as well.

    I gave some thought to other ideas and options, all with their own pitfalls and benefits but I didn't want this to turn into an epic novel.

    If you want to commute on it, I'd throw on slicks and start using it, see how it goes.

    Grumps

  3. #3
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    I would start by replacing the cables, brake pads, and do a tune up. The bottom bracket, hubs, and headset probably have real ball bearing, so a overhaul would keep them happy and spinning. then put on the slicks and ride. We all rode plenty of trails with those brakes and I've had much more worn drivetrain parts work for years as a commuter.

    If it's a commuter, putting tons of money into it IMO would just be a waste of time, this steed should run fine for commuting with those parts. The only problem you may encounter is if the rear Deraileur is too worn to shift with precision. Fenders, and a nice seat, would finish this as a commuter for me.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Grumpy View Post
    New chainrings, chain and cassette would sort it all out. There's a few companies still do replacement rings (though not as easy to come by as 4 bolt). There's new stuff on eBay if the online shops don't have what you need. To be honest, it doesn't look that worn to me. Check the chain for stretch: Chain Stretch

    If the chain is worn it would indicate that the gears are likely to be worn as well. A new chain will skip on a worn drivetrain, depending on extent of wear.

    As for brakes, v-brakes is a good upgrade but you'd need new brake levers to suit because the cable pull is different between cantis and v-brakes. If your levers and shifters are integrated that means new shifters as well.

    I gave some thought to other ideas and options, all with their own pitfalls and benefits but I didn't want this to turn into an epic novel.

    If you want to commute on it, I'd throw on slicks and start using it, see how it goes.

    Grumps
    Thanks for the thoughtful reply Grumps, I appreciate it a lot. I want to make this into my primary commute cycle and keep my nice road bike and mountain bikes alone for what they're meant for. I like this bike because of the dimensions to it and the fact that it is really solid (and heavy!) steel so I'm not worried about getting hit by a car or denting anything (hopefully no car accidents...).

    For the new chainring, I found this link Bikeman Surly Stainless Steel Chainring 36 tooth x 94mm if I go that route, though I would tend to agree with you that it doesn't even really look that worn. If I were to not replace the chainring and just the cassette and chain, would that damage the chainring/drivetrain? I hear different things about that all the time, but I've replaced just chains and cassettes without touching chainrings before and they've been fine. I used my parktool to test out the chain stretch and this one is well past .75 so it's time to go.

    I realize that I'd have to do the v-brakes and cable assembly all over if I go that route, but I'm not too worried about that for the meantime as I won't be going downhill on this badboy any time soon.

    I really just like the paintjob :P Thanks again for your help Grumps, looking forward to hearing back from you on your thoughts.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbsbiker View Post
    I would start by replacing the cables, brake pads, and do a tune up. The bottom bracket, hubs, and headset probably have real ball bearing, so a overhaul would keep them happy and spinning. then put on the slicks and ride. We all rode plenty of trails with those brakes and I've had much more worn drivetrain parts work for years as a commuter.

    If it's a commuter, putting tons of money into it IMO would just be a waste of time, this steed should run fine for commuting with those parts. The only problem you may encounter is if the rear Deraileur is too worn to shift with precision. Fenders, and a nice seat, would finish this as a commuter for me.
    Agreed, I won't be dumping my life savings into this "steed" haha. I want to just get this bike up and running and have it be fast enough to get me from point A to point B with a rack on the back and maybe some panniers for hauling stuff. Now that you mention it, my biggest concern is the derailleur anyways along with the chain because it's well-worn past its prime. I have some cheap Forte clipless pedals from performance that are the cheap-man's solution to extra torque.

  6. #6
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    I disagree that the drivetrain is too worn to use, just because the chain has stretched. it's only a problem if you remove the old one to replace it with a new one. That old chain is plenty strong to commute, and I've run drive trains on my race bikes long after the chain has over stretched, you just need to keep the chain, rings and cogs together. My DBR commuter has had the same drivetrain for 10+ years! If you were racing or going deep into the backcountry, I would suggest some new parts, but, how extreme is your commute?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbsbiker View Post
    I disagree that the drivetrain is too worn to use, just because the chain has stretched. it's only a problem if you remove the old one to replace it with a new one. That old chain is plenty strong to commute, and I've run drive trains on my race bikes long after the chain has over stretched, you just need to keep the chain, rings and cogs together. My DBR commuter has had the same drivetrain for 10+ years! If you were racing or going deep into the backcountry, I would suggest some new parts, but, how extreme is your commute?
    That's a relief - I figured that I could be just too overeager to purchase all new parts on my bike anyways. I ride 16 miles a day average roundtrip to work and back, so not too far, not too close, just right

    About your comment about replacing everything at once, why do you say that? I hear differing opinions on that topic all the time. For example, on my old mountainbike, I replaced the chain and cassette because they had rusted past the point of safety/durability while the chainring, for some reason, had remained basically new after 7 years. Is it not recommended to just replace the chain? From what I've experienced and heard (and you can tell I'm a noob so far I reckon) is that the chain, not the cassette or the chainring can damage the drivetrain more than anything.

  8. #8
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    The drive components wear "together" is the basic answer. The chain will wear out quicker, which is why it's better to replace a chain once it stretches. As you say, there's varying schools of thought of when to change the chain and the interwebs is full of info and opinion on that. Once a chain wears, it loads the teeth on the gears more and that wears the teeth.

    So, you have a worn drivetrain and you replace the chain and the new chain skips, indicating that the gears are worn too (either the front - normally the middle ring, or a few of the cogs at the rear). Sometimes you can replace the chain and it will make a little noise until it beds in and all's good. That depends how many miles were done on the worn chain.

    I agree with what sbsbiker has said. Brake pads and cables would be a good start, and normally fresh cables (and maybe outers as well while you're at it) solves a lot of derailleur issues provided the pivots and springs aren't slopped out. You might get away with just a new chain, or you might not depending on how far the rest of the stuff is worn.

    Grumps

  9. #9
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    The chain stretches, and the rollers in the links wear, causing the chainrings and cogs to wear down. If they wear at the same rate, they will continue to work together. If the chain has worn out the rings/cogs, and you try to replace the chain with a new one, the chain links do not seat with the worn rings/cogs and the drivetrain skips as the cogs can't hold the new smaller links. If your drivetrain was rusted, but not stretched out and worn, replacing parts could be ok. This is why on my race bike I will replace the chain before it stretches out enought to ruin the rings/cogs. Chains are $50, a new set of xtr rings and cogs are $600. If you replace your new chain often enough, the expensive drivetrain parts can last 3x longer than if you just run the same chain till it kills the drivetrain or breaks.

  10. #10
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    grumps, wouldn't you replace the shift cables and housing first to test the shifting system before attempting a new chain? I've found that often on older bikes the shifting can be compromised by poor cable friction and may seem that the chain/rings/cogs are bad. Cables and housing is an easy swap and is a much cheaper fix than attempting to replace parts of a drivetrain for which parts may not be available.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Grumpy View Post
    The drive components wear "together" is the basic answer. The chain will wear out quicker, which is why it's better to replace a chain once it stretches. As you say, there's varying schools of thought of when to change the chain and the interwebs is full of info and opinion on that. Once a chain wears, it loads the teeth on the gears more and that wears the teeth.

    So, you have a worn drivetrain and you replace the chain and the new chain skips, indicating that the gears are worn too (either the front - normally the middle ring, or a few of the cogs at the rear). Sometimes you can replace the chain and it will make a little noise until it beds in and all's good. That depends how many miles were done on the worn chain.

    I agree with what sbsbiker has said. Brake pads and cables would be a good start, and normally fresh cables (and maybe outers as well while you're at it) solves a lot of derailleur issues provided the pivots and springs aren't slopped out. You might get away with just a new chain, or you might not depending on how far the rest of the stuff is worn.

    Grumps
    For what the bike is - and believe me, I know this is a subjective question - is the bike worth fixing up to get it running again? To me, the bike has a great paint job, the derailleur seems fine and the chainring seems solid still. How much does it cost to replace caliper brakes with v-brakes? Sounds like cabling and getting slicks is the biggest deal.

  12. #12
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    Also, from what the bike looks like, do you think it could take a rear rack? I need to put one on but am confused to whether or not it would take a clamp adapter or if there is a rear rack out there that is compatible with the seeming threads in the back (it's in one of those pictures if you want to see it). Thanks for answering all of my stupid questions.

  13. #13
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    At a shop new cables will run $25-30, replacing the brakes $100+ depending in the quality of you parts. If you like the ride, and it will work for you fix it enough to commute, and see how long it will go. Those older parts may surprise you with their ability to keep going long after newer stuff would have died.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbsbiker View Post
    At a shop new cables will run $25-30, replacing the brakes $100+ depending in the quality of you parts. If you like the ride, and it will work for you fix it enough to commute, and see how long it will go. Those older parts may surprise you with their ability to keep going long after newer stuff would have died.
    Since I'm running cantilever brakes, I know that the mechanical advantage is a center pull, high tension thing and has less direct braking power in most situations than a more modern v-brake setup. I found these v-brakes on Jenson that should work fine with my current brake levers. Replacing the cabling and adding in these v-brakes I think shouldn't cost that much, but any thoughts on that? Tektro 926A Mini L-Pull Brake > Components > Brakes > V-Brakes | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

  15. #15
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    Those are for cyclocross bikes and won't fit what you have.

    The bike looks fine to me. Thorough clean and degrease, maybe some new brake pads and odds are you are good to go with what's on there.

    You are already in $70. New brake pads and a cable or two might up you to $100 investment (if you need 'em). I wouldn't throw too much more $$ in for a commuter. And it looks like the holes above your drop outs in back are threaded. If so, a rack will be easy.
    Somec is like the digital Zunow
    And this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD5h3y0a9AU

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by yo-Nate-y View Post
    Those are for cyclocross bikes and won't fit what you have.

    The bike looks fine to me. Thorough clean and degrease, maybe some new brake pads and odds are you are good to go with what's on there.

    You are already in $70. New brake pads and a cable or two might up you to $100 investment (if you need 'em). I wouldn't throw too much more $$ in for a commuter. And it looks like the holes above your drop outs in back are threaded. If so, a rack will be easy.
    Sweet - that's just what I wanted to hear. Just need a rack now and some slicks. Last stupid question, promise, what kind of slicks can I slap onto the cheap Alex XRims 2000 this bike has? It's a 26"

  17. #17
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    As long as they are 26" tires you should be fine. Paselas aren't bad and you can get skinwalls with them, but there are plenty of options.

    Panaracer Tourguard Pasela Slick Tire - 26 x 1.5 at REI.com
    Somec is like the digital Zunow
    And this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD5h3y0a9AU

  18. #18
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    Hey all, I'm back.

    First off, I want to thank everyone for the time and advice you've given this thread and me, that's awesome.

    I'm going forward with rebuilding this bike but now have a new idea in my head after researching past threads about this particular bike all day today.

    I want to convert the drivetrain to a 1x7 as I will be using it primarily as a commuter bike anyways and don't want to muck around. I want to paint the bike as well but am having a hard time figuring out how to paint this bike the way I want it. The bike looked like this in the original brochures from the 90's and I want to get it back that way if I can (http://www.mtb-kataloge.de/Bikekatal...ond_Back91.pdf). Any thoughts on either of those two subjects; the drivetrain mod and the paint job?

    Thanks again all - you've been an enormous help so far.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbsbiker View Post
    grumps, wouldn't you replace the shift cables and housing first to test the shifting system before attempting a new chain? I've found that often on older bikes the shifting can be compromised by poor cable friction and may seem that the chain/rings/cogs are bad. Cables and housing is an easy swap and is a much cheaper fix than attempting to replace parts of a drivetrain for which parts may not be available.
    Sure, if the drivetrain isn't flogged out. From the photos, it looks okay to me. I've never done online dating, but I know that reality and photos don't always match. I don't recall emphatically saying the chain should be swapped first. We're talking about a basic overhaul of worn parts and consumables. If the bike was in my garage I'd be a bit more certain about what it needs so Mratomix wasn't throwing away money unnecessarily.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mratomix View Post
    To me, the bike has a great paint job...
    Quote Originally Posted by Mratomix View Post
    I really just like the paintjob...
    Quote Originally Posted by Mratomix View Post
    I want to paint the bike as well but am having a hard time figuring out how to paint this bike the way I want it. The bike looked like this in the original brochures from the 90's and I want to get it back that way if I can (http://www.mtb-kataloge.de/Bikekatal...ond_Back91.pdf). Any thoughts on either of those two subjects; the drivetrain mod and the paint job?
    Sigh. Why paint it? You've told us in 2 posts you really like the paintjob, so why paint it?

    If it's because you want to get it back to original as per the 1991 catalog then let me make 3 points:

    1. The paint is original.
    2. You're looking at the wrong catalog.
    3. The bike is an '89.

    There, that solves the paint dilemna.

    Grumps

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Grumpy View Post
    Sure, if the drivetrain isn't flogged out. From the photos, it looks okay to me. I've never done online dating, but I know that reality and photos don't always match. I don't recall emphatically saying the chain should be swapped first. We're talking about a basic overhaul of worn parts and consumables. If the bike was in my garage I'd be a bit more certain about what it needs so Mratomix wasn't throwing away money unnecessarily.







    Sigh. Why paint it? You've told us in 2 posts you really like the paintjob, so why paint it?

    If it's because you want to get it back to original as per the 1991 catalog then let me make 3 points:

    1. The paint is original.
    2. You're looking at the wrong catalog.
    3. The bike is an '89.

    There, that solves the paint dilemna.

    Grumps
    Sage advice, grumps. Keep it simple stupid No, but really, I get what you mean. I think it's because I'm a 25 year old kid who wants to look cool on the streets, to be perfectly honest. Also, I know squat about bike mechanics and am starting to learn this all anyways. I don't mind converting it to a 1x7 just to learn how to do something like that anyways. But I get your point - if ain't broke, why dump more money into it? Makes sense, and thanks.

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    Doesn't have to cost you anything to run 1 by 9 either ,put it in the middle or big ring and don't shift. Or screw in the limit screws so the deraileur doesn't move.If you wanted to ,you could take off the chain rings you don't use and use shorter bolts for one you do use.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rangeriderdave View Post
    Doesn't have to cost you anything to run 1 by 9 either ,put it in the middle or big ring and don't shift. Or screw in the limit screws so the deraileur doesn't move.If you wanted to ,you could take off the chain rings you don't use and use shorter bolts for one you do use.
    I don't think this is going to take anything about a 7/8 anyways on the rear. I was thinking about just replacing the largest chain ring and taking off the smaller chain rings and making it 1x7. I have a 7-speed cassette lying around somewhere I think and the chain is only like 15-20 bucks. If i replace the chain, largest chain ring, rear cassette I'm looking at maybe 50 bucks or 60 bucks. But I get what Grumps is saying and what others have reiterated: Why spend money when it seems to be working fine as is?

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    If I were to convert to a 1x7..it seems the best thing to do would be to do take off the chainrings I don't use, as per rangeriderda's advice, and just punch in the limit screw on the deraileur so it won't move. So if I do that with smaller bolts, won't I still need at least a bash guard or something prevent the chain from slipping off? Is there any point to the conversion at all if the drive-train seems fine, as is, right now?

  24. #24
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    I would leave it as it.
    If you are just using it for commuting 1x7 with the 36T middle ring is going to leave you wanting more. A 36x12 gear combo spins out way too easily on the road or even dirt/gravel roads.

    A couple other points. Your crank uses 110/74mm chainrings. The bikeman link you had further up wouldn't work. 110mm 'rings are and always have been plentiful and are easy to find.
    Also the rear hub on that bike can only take 7 speed cassettes. To run 8/9/10 speeds you'd either need to replace the freehub body or get a different wheel.
    3rd, $70 was a good price for that bike. It looks hardly used. Those LX parts are well made and will last forever.
    *** --- *** --- ***

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shayne View Post
    I would leave it as it.
    If you are just using it for commuting 1x7 with the 36T middle ring is going to leave you wanting more. A 36x12 gear combo spins out way too easily on the road or even dirt/gravel roads.

    A couple other points. Your crank uses 110/74mm chainrings. The bikeman link you had further up wouldn't work. 110mm 'rings are and always have been plentiful and are easy to find.
    Also the rear hub on that bike can only take 7 speed cassettes. To run 8/9/10 speeds you'd either need to replace the freehub body or get a different wheel.

    Cool, okay - now we're getting somewhere. I got all excited thinking about rebuilding this bike, but now I see there is no real reason to. I have slicks now, am re--cabling and will degrease. I think that's all this hog needs anyways to be a decent commuting bike. Oh, got a new saddle too - don't like granny saddles...

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