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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    What to upgrade next?

    Ok im starting to get some bling for my newly aquired 2003 Jamis Dakar. I know it is more of a XC bike but I ride more AM trails with lots of climbing and decending, smallish drops (4 feet max), super rocky technical trails, lots of obstacles....ya know good fun.

    So far I have replaced:
    120mm stem and 640mm bars with 50mm stem and 760mm bars.
    Tektro V-Brakes for 180mm Avid BB7's

    What I plan to replace:
    Big chainring for bash guard.
    Better platform pedals, looking at this package deal
    BlueSkyCycling.com - Five Ten Spitfire Shoes w/ Wellgo B017 Platform Pedals
    90mm Fox Vannilla Coil Shock for ?
    100mm Manitou Splice comp fork for ? Is going to a 120mm fork too much to increase?
    AM wheelset is in the future as well.

    What seems like the most important component to replace???

  2. #2
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    I would only change the other contact points - grips, pedals, seat and tires. And only if really needed.

    For me theres not much point in upgrading an old bike.

  3. #3
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    I agree, If I had the $ I would def buy a newer AM bike, but im kind of broke and I just wanna do with what I have. Plus im really digging this bike.

    Plus too old to upgrade? Do we upgrade older cars? So why not upgrade a 2003 mountain bike?

  4. #4
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    Pedals sounds like a good one.

    Tires. After fit, this is the biggest difference you can make in how your bike rides. Don't do any of the other stuff until you do the tires. (Or, make sure to do the other stuff so that you don't know how poorly the other upgrades on your plan compare to tires until it's too late. )

    I wouldn't bother removing the big ring until there's something actually wrong with it, unless you find you cut up your leg or hang it up on log-overs a lot.

    Not sure I'd replace a Fox Vanilla on something that's supposed to have an AM attitude. Do you have the right spring for you? That'll make a big difference. Other than that, what else are you expecting a shock to do? There's a reason that coil shocks are still present on high-end bikes that people air off of things or point at the bottom of things a lot.

    For the fork - it's already an air fork with rebound damping. Where you may feel a difference for your application is in stiffness. See if you can demo some bikes that have some different forks. You'd feel the difference as a difference in how well the front end tracks laterally. It won't be as big as getting the right tire on there, though. If you do swap out the fork, make sure to demo some bikes with high end coil forks too before you make a choice. A lot of AM riders still like their coil forks, and there's a reason...

    Don't know if I'd bother with wheels unless there's something wrong with the ones you've got. While a less crappy upgrade than, say, a front derailleur, I haven't found changing wheels around to be comparable to changing tires, suspension or pedals, or nailing the fit. Or brakes, come to think of it.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Pedals sounds like a good one.

    Tires. After fit, this is the biggest difference you can make in how your bike rides. Don't do any of the other stuff until you do the tires. (Or, make sure to do the other stuff so that you don't know how poorly the other upgrades on your plan compare to tires until it's too late. )

    I wouldn't bother removing the big ring until there's something actually wrong with it, unless you find you cut up your leg or hang it up on log-overs a lot.

    Not sure I'd replace a Fox Vanilla on something that's supposed to have an AM attitude. Do you have the right spring for you? That'll make a big difference. Other than that, what else are you expecting a shock to do? There's a reason that coil shocks are still present on high-end bikes that people air off of things or point at the bottom of things a lot.

    For the fork - it's already an air fork with rebound damping. Where you may feel a difference for your application is in stiffness. See if you can demo some bikes that have some different forks. You'd feel the difference as a difference in how well the front end tracks laterally. It won't be as big as getting the right tire on there, though. If you do swap out the fork, make sure to demo some bikes with high end coil forks too before you make a choice. A lot of AM riders still like their coil forks, and there's a reason...

    Don't know if I'd bother with wheels unless there's something wrong with the ones you've got. While a less crappy upgrade than, say, a front derailleur, I haven't found changing wheels around to be comparable to changing tires, suspension or pedals, or nailing the fit. Or brakes, come to think of it.
    Wow thanks for all that. I failed to mention I run some CST Comp Carballos 2.25 , they suck at climbing loose over hardpack (which we have alot here in El Paso, but CRAWL over solid rock), which is the opposite of what all reviews say for them, wierd. I have read tons of good reviews on WTB Velociraptors for climbing both solid and loose rock, esp in desert conditions, I will try those once im finished with the Carballos.

    The situation with the big ring it, I already hit it on rocks and crap so its slightly bent in a couple spots, thats where I got the bash guard idea from. I have already the the limit on my front dr to keep the chain from going past the middle ring.

    Ok, for the wheels, the only case where I replace my wheels is if I destroy the set I have now(duh what other choice would there be).

    Soooo looks like the pedals are next, and a saddle I jacked up my saddle on a wierd crash last Saturday.

  6. #6
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    If you're looking at pedals some good flat affordable suggestions are below:

    Kona Wah Wah
    Deity Decoy
    Crank Brothers 5050
    OldGloryMTB.com | American Made Mountain Biking

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBerNick View Post
    Ok im starting to get some bling for my newly aquired 2003 Jamis Dakar. I know it is more of a XC bike but I ride more AM trails with lots of climbing and decending, smallish drops (4 feet max), super rocky technical trails, lots of obstacles....ya know good fun.

    So far I have replaced:
    120mm stem and 640mm bars with 50mm stem and 760mm bars.
    Tektro V-Brakes for 180mm Avid BB7's

    What I plan to replace:
    Big chainring for bash guard.
    Better platform pedals, looking at this package deal
    BlueSkyCycling.com - Five Ten Spitfire Shoes w/ Wellgo B017 Platform Pedals
    90mm Fox Vannilla Coil Shock for ?
    100mm Manitou Splice comp fork for ? Is going to a 120mm fork too much to increase?
    AM wheelset is in the future as well.

    What seems like the most important component to replace???
    Hmm

    Bash guard, pedals/shoes

    Don't change wheels unless you bust one.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  8. #8
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    Careful with turning the bike into something it wasn't designed to be. I have a similar era bike (with a similar original purpose) and the frame is really only so capable. No matter what you do, the rear end is going to have the same travel. Some people squeeze different length shocks back there, but doing so is sketchy because it changes the physics of the suspension. That's the same reason I didn't buy the aftermarket linkage available for my bike that would have added a little bit of travel back there. Doing so would have changed the compression ratio and I would have had to ramp up the air pressure a LOT to compensate, which would mess up the characteristics of the suspension. Not worth it. Not to mention, the frame is built to handle only so much abuse. I have beat on mine some, too, but I draw the line on drops. I did a 3 footer to flat once and I just didn't like how hard it was on the bike. I will do a drop if it has a nice landing that's not so harsh on the bike, but I won't do harsher stuff because I want the bike to last. It will break eventually and I'd prefer it to be later than sooner.

    There's a little leeway on the front, but you'll change the geometry of the bike in doing so and there's no way to predict whether you'll like how that bike handles that way or not.

    I pretty much agree with everyone else. With your situation and the big ring, it's probably worthwhile at this point to install the bash guard since you've bent it already and no longer use it. It'll give you more clearance at the bb so you'll be less likely to hit things in the future. And if you do, less likelihood of damaging something.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBerNick View Post

    What I plan to replace:
    Big chainring for bash guard.
    Better platform pedals, looking at this package deal
    BlueSkyCycling.com - Five Ten Spitfire Shoes w/ Wellgo B017 Platform Pedals
    90mm Fox Vannilla Coil Shock for ?
    100mm Manitou Splice comp fork for ? Is going to a 120mm fork too much to increase?
    AM wheelset is in the future as well.

    What seems like the most important component to replace???
    Bash guard is an easy upgrade, no harm there.
    The pedals included with the package deal you listed are junk. Look for something with replaceable traction pins, lots of threads about flat pedals around. Deity Decoys are nice, so are a lot of pedals out there.
    Don't replace your shock, you could look into aftermarket valving for it, but I'm not sure if that shock is too old to be worked on or not. Check out Push or other companies for that work.
    20mm increase in travel can be a huge difference in the way a bike handles. I'm not sure I would recommend it because I don't know what the design limits of that frame are.
    Wheels are expensive, I'd sort out your tire issues before moving on to wheels.

    Remember that every dollar you spend on your bike now is another dollar you won't have when you realize that a 2003 Dakar might not be meeting your future goals of aggressive trail riding. I've never been a fan of that bike and I wouldn't call it ideal for trails with drops and aggressive trail features. Like any bike, the time will come when it breaks. I wouldn't spend more than a bit of money getting your contact points dialed for your fit and preferences. Then you'll have a bike that you enjoy riding until the time comes that you decide that a full on AM bike is better suited to your preferences or you decide some other bike might treat you right.

    I've seen a lot of broken Dakars over the years, planning for a possible future bike might not be the worst plan you could implement.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBerNick View Post
    I agree, If I had the $ I would def buy a newer AM bike, but im kind of broke and I just wanna do with what I have. Plus im really digging this bike.

    Plus too old to upgrade? Do we upgrade older cars? So why not upgrade a 2003 mountain bike?
    A 2003 Jamis isn't the same as a vintage car. You wouldn't upgrade a Pinto just because it's old would?

    The bike isn't designed for what you want and you know it. Spend as little as you can to make it more comfortable and just start saving a little here and there because eventually, you'll realized you need and want a different bike.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  11. #11
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    You all have me convinced. Only things im going to change:

    Pedals, going to get these, buddy has them for his DH bike and says they are bombproof, not too heavy. I rode his bike around and my shoes stuck like glue with those pins, god forbid I slipped off, poor shins. Plus they are pretty big, the match my size 12 feet.

    Black Label Alloy Gas Pedals - Seats & Pedals - Black Label BMX - Components -Trek Store

    Bashguard, any suggestions?

    Tires, going with the WTB Velociraptors.

    Shock. I talked to my LBS and ordered a spring for my weight, they said I was too heavy for the stocker. They said ride the Dakar until it breaks, lol, then visit them for a new bike, lol. Witch I plan on doing, looking at a Giant Reign.

    Oh and my 2008 YZ450f is for sale, all funds going to a Giant Reign

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBerNick View Post
    You all have me convinced. Only things im going to change:

    Pedals, going to get these, buddy has them for his DH bike and says they are bombproof, not too heavy. I rode his bike around and my shoes stuck like glue with those pins, god forbid I slipped off, poor shins.

    Black Label Alloy Gas Pedals - Seats & Pedals - Black Label BMX - Components -Trek Store

    Bashguard, any suggestions?

    Tires, going with the WTB Velociraptors.

    Shock. I talked to my LBS and ordered a spring for my weight, they said I was too heavy for the stocker.

    Oh and my 2008 YZ450f is for sale, all funds going toward a real AM bike
    Those pedals look decent, they should be fine.

    I've always liked E13 for products like bashguards and chainguides. But it would be hard to go wrong, they're all pretty good.

    I'd run your idea of the WTB tires past your LBS, what do other people run in your area? Also make sure that you're running proper pressure in the tires you have.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  13. #13
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    Velociraptors are good tires but you might want something with more volume like these; WTB Products – Tires – All Mountain – WeirWolf

  14. #14
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    Those are a similar tread pattern in the center like the ones I have now, which suck here on climbing the loose stuff. Is there a AM tire with the paddle like tread in the center of the rear tire?

  15. #15
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    Do you have a floor pump? What kind of pressure are you using in your tires? What do you weigh?

    BBG bash guards get talked up a fair amount on these boards. They're very cheap, but people haven't reported breaking them. I saw one in the wild a while ago. Looks good, the rider is happy with it. But, I haven't tried one myself. I've knocked the tips off a lot of the teeth on my big ring, but it still works.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Yes I have a floor pump. I like to run 30 PSI in the front and 28 in the rear, quite a few times where I have tried to go lower I have gotten pinch flats. I weigh 200lbs geared up, give or take a couple pounds.

    And BBG bashguards, $12!!!!!!! I just ordered one.

  17. #17
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Bigger tires. If they fit, anyway.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  18. #18
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    The ones im running now are 2.25 and I have plenty of room to go bigger. Why go bigger?

  19. #19
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    Mostly so you can go lower pressure without pinch flatting.

    Bigger, lower pressure tires are good for a smoother ride and more consistent traction. Sooner or later, there's got to be some kind of limiting factor in terms of too much rotating weight, too much weight, period, or funky handling in turns. But you're still trying to get better traction and you said "all mountain." To my mind, no tire that's feasible in a mountain bike with "normal" proportions is too big for that. Anyway, if you find "too big," you'll have a much better idea of where optimal is, so even if you overdo it, you at least learn something.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  20. #20
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    Waiting

    I got my 50mm stem and new grips yesterday, still waiting on brakes and handlebar. I hate waiting.

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