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.
mtn. biking 101
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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    Upgrade vs Buy new bike

    Hey Guys and Gals,

    I was looking into upgrading my 2003 Giant Iguana, but have been told by some people it would be better to buy a new bike with the options I want on it instead. I agree with their reasoning in that it will likely be cheaper in the long run, yet it is easier to come up with money here and there than to fork over a grand. If I were to go the upgrade route, what is the first thing that makes the most difference to upgrade? I will be moving to the El Paso area soon and really like the idea of a mountain in the center of town.

    My riding preference is currently a street/trail mix. I often ride to the trail systems and then home again so I like the hardtail and light frame of my Giant. I am still new to the mtb world as having kids put the brakes on excessive free time a couple of years ago so please forgive me if I use the wrong terms. What options would I have in regards to new bikes? I would like to have a hardtail, front suspension, disc brakes, and 27 speeds. If I live close enough to Ft. Bliss I plan on using the bike for getting to and from base and for off road fun on the weekends. Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Ryan

  2. #2
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    Before you upgrade or buy new, think about what it is you need.
    Is the Iguana holding you back? Is it the fork? Is it the frame geometry? Is it too heavy?

    The Iguana -- while not the lightest, or most "pro" frame on the market -- is perfectly decent to upgrade. The general rule for upgrading (and i swear by this) is ride it until you break it, then replace it with a higher level component.

    I quickly found my beginner fork (a 99 RockShox Jett) to be completely worthless once I began riding seriously, so that was one of the first upgrades, in addition to clipless pedals that really improved control and pedaling efficiency. Other than that, aside from some busted derailleurs, or new parts I found cheap or free, I've left mine mostly stock over the years. Bought new wheels once mine got trashed, but thats it. Same frame. Same no-name V-brakes, and all is good.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the thoughts. I agree with you on the don't throw money at something that doesn't need it, problem is I am a gear guy, lol. The practical side of me says the bike is fine( except for a problem somewhere in the drive train that causes real hard, nasty sounding shifts and the chain falling off on real bumpy rides) and the other side wants to buy something new. By adding a piece here and there it keeps things fun I guess. I probably don't need anything to make the bike meet my skill level at this point, but still like the feeling a better performing part or rig. Oh well, such is life haha. Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Cheezy Rider
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    I agree with Mook, a fork is probably your best upgrade (I had a 2000 RS Jett--the horror!). Unless you're very heavy or doing extreme downhill I wouldn't bother with disks. If your V's aren't working well enough consider cleaning your rims with alcohol and upgrading your pads, I like KoolStops. If you just have to spend some money consider a lighter, more comfy seat.

    Then with all the money you saved from not upgrading you can buy a commuter so you don't have to worry about your Kona getting stolen while you're at work.

  5. #5
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    Will try new pads

    I'll take your advice on the new pads. I like to spend money in theory and less so in practice, lol. Keeps the wife happier. I found that I have managed to round some teeth off of my chain ring any advice on who go with on replacing this? I saw a blackspire for $80 or so dollars. Is ths a good piece of equipment for a good price? Thanks for the help.

  6. #6
    Bike to the Bone...
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    On the options of update or new bike, I guess it depends on a lot of factors.

    1. Do you really like your frame? If not, then it's useless to upgrade something that ain't broke.

    2. How much expensive would be the new bike? If you're looking at a 500 bucks hardtail, probably it's a lot better to buy a new bike. Or upgrade fit issues, like saddle, bars or stems which might not be too much.

    3. If the new bike that you would like is way too much expensive, then it's worth looking for upgrades. If not, then probably wait for the new bike. What makes the most notorious changes, in my opinion, are fork and wheels. But they're not that cheap. Probably buying one of this for your current bike would set you back 300 or 400 that you could spend later on a new bike. In the case of forks, probably you won't be able to move to the new bike. For example, maybe for the Iguana you would buy a fork around 80-100mm travel, but if you buy a new bike, it would take a 100-130mm travel fork.

  7. #7
    Cheezy Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan79
    I'll take your advice on the new pads. I like to spend money in theory and less so in practice, lol. Keeps the wife happier.
    I hear that! As far as the ring, is it just your big ring that has the bad teeth? If so, you should be able to get a replacement for much less than 80 bucks. Check ebay, or universal cycles has a good selection. If all your rings are worn, than your cassette and chain are probably shot too. That runs in to money, your wife won't be too happy.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the advice

    I would like to thank everyone for their input. I do like my frame a lot. Plus it looks like new, which says I haven't ridden it hard enough yet, lol. While I would like to buy a new bike partly due to wanting something and the other half believing it makes better financial sense than throwing money at my old one. The frame is something I really do like about the rig. It feels pretty light to me so that's a plus. I have heard that the Iguana is one Giants better frames, but lacks in the component department. Is this true? Again, thanks thanks for the input.

    -Ryan

  9. #9
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    I too have an '03 Iguana (Disc) and decided earlier in the year to upgrade it. So far I've got an '08 Marzocchi DJ2 fork, SRAM trigger shifters (Shimano compatible, 8-speed), Hayes Nine V8 hydraulic disc rotors and calipers (bought used, but in excellent condition), new pads, Crank Brothers 50/50XX pedals, 2.4 WTB Mutano Raptors up front and a 2.5 WTB Timberwolf on the rear. I could use a new rear wheel, but the Iguana has served me well and with the upgraded parts I love riding it even more.

  10. #10
    jalopy jockey
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    If you have a list of necessary upgrades just save up and get a new bike. If you like the frame the best upgrade approach is to upgrade when things break, why waste money on functiona components. Or would you benefit from having a spare bike, convert the giant into a commuter, or SS? good reason to buy a new one.

  11. #11
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    I spent a fairly sizable chuck upgrading a 2000 Hardrock Comp, I enjoyed rebuilding the bike and it runs very nicely (see my Frakenbike thread). Yes, for the amount of money I spent, I could have gotten a new bike. But I now own a Reba Race shock, a Chris King headset, and new set of Cross-Ride wheels. A shock of this caliber usually only comes on much more expensive bikes, and it is an excellent shock with very good adjustability. I would say follow your heart, if you want to upgrade your bike then go for it - just remember a good ride is not necessarily a sum of its parts, I am sure I could have gotten a similar improvement in riding experience by getting a lesser part built new bike that was designed from the bottom up. I am just kind of hung up on having a decent shock, that is more important to me than any other component of the bike (e.g. transmission, brakes, etc).

  12. #12
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    chunk

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