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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    What upgrade would impove the bike?

    Morning all, i've been riding a pretty cheap $500 Scott Reflex 40 for the past few years (Suntour XCR front, mix of alivio/acera drivetrain Deore LX rear, V-brakes, original wheels, Panaracer XCs, 30.2 lbs) and am thinking it may be time to upgrade something, to make it a little better and more nimble. I usually ride XC no major big drops, fast single track and some technical rocky bits. So, where would my money be best spent to improve my riding experience? I probably around $400 is all I have so a new bike is out of the question. drivetrain? shock? wheels? disc brakes? and any recommendations for parts etc?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    I would upgrade in this order:

    - Tires
    - Wheelset
    - Brakes (Disc, if you have tabs)
    - Fork
    - the rest is depending on what kinds of improvement you would like to do (do you want: smoother shifting? lighter components? smoother pedaling? etc.)

    I typically don't bother with brand new stuff unless they're on sale or closeout so if I had roughly $400 (give or take $50) to upgrade a stock bike I would buy slightly used parts (about 90% of intermediate to expert riders part out their bike not because they wore out or broken the parts, but because they upgrade...so finding good deals are easy):
    - $30-50 pair of tires (lightweight XC)
    - $80-120 better wheelset (disc compatible or disc only)
    - $50-100 disc brakeset
    - $80-150 mid-range fork (If you're sometimes lucky like me, you can find a relatively newer high-end fork for under $200)

  3. #3
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
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    In general, I agree with captainjoon. But replacing the RST thing on the front of my bike made a bigger difference than anything but tires, I think. Unless Suntours are better, you might start there.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    Kind of a tie for me between a new fork and disc wheelset and disc brakes. At $400, you should probably choose just one of those. If you spend well, you'll be able to take those parts with you and they'll be very good components for many years. You could always go for a <$200 fork, but that's not going to be a HUGE upgrade over what you have. Likewise for buying both a wheelset and disc brake set. If you're happy with the fork, I'd focus on a lighter wheelset and disc brakes.

    That being said, if you were to do both here's how I would go:
    Fork - Marzocchi 33 TST2 ($200) - http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.a...sion+Fork+2009

    Disc Compatible Wheelset: LX Hubs/WTB Rims ($129) - http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.a...+Disc+Wheelset

    Disc Brakes: Avid BB7 Mech (x2) ($90) - http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...+Brake+09.aspx
    Avid Levers ($19) - http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...Levers+08.aspx


    Wheelset and Discs Only:
    Disc Wheelset: WTB LaserDisc Lite ($299) - http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.a...+Sx24+Wheelset

    Disc Brakes: Avid BB7 Mech (x2) ($90) - http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...+Brake+09.aspx
    Avid Levers ($19) - http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...Levers+08.aspx


    It would be my preference to have lighter wheels over hydraulic brakes. The BB7's get the job done and don't require bleeding.

  5. #5
    W'bu V Peddler
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    My 0.02 on the matter...I think I would either do everything but a new fork at first or maybe buy just a fork...but really +1 on TwoHeadsBrewing on the advice as well as the suggestions that he provided. I just bought a new crankset and upgrading to clipless...my crank was getting worn. I am waiting for my fork to blow before upgrading, the Rock Shock Dart 3 is holding good for now. I changed tires out soon after I bought it though.
    09 Titus Motolite...
    Sram X-7 Group (for now)
    Clark Skeletal Brakes
    Truvativ Stylo Crank
    Crank Bros Pedals

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the advice, I was having a dig around this morning and was looking at wheels/brakes and kinda settled on the BB7s (under $100 for the set) and then wheels I was thinking about these for $130 http://bicyclewheelwarehouse.com/ind...d&productId=55 or +$20 to get the XT hub so that would bring me in at around $250 with some left over to a) keep the missus sweet b) to add to later for a better fork.

    I upgraded my road bike wheels a few years ago and that made a massive difference, I really dont know how much improvement or what Id get from a better fork - smoother action? stiffer? better tracking?

  7. #7
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    Others will probably recommend a mid to low range new fork for that amount you have left but I would recommend a slightly used Reba or a Float.

  8. #8
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    Ends in a few hours...but you'd need front discs...

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Rock-Shox-Reba-R...item2a05fc65f8

  9. #9
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    I have these on one of my bikes. I think they work great.

    Shimano LX dual control

    Bleeding on Shimano hydros are super easy compared to other brake systems.

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
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    If you do the wheels and disc brakes upgrade now, you won't be limited to forks with cantilever posts when you shop for a fork later. That deal on BWW looks pretty awesome.

    If you go mechanical discs, you don't need new levers. Although good levers do give better braking feel.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    I would do wheels, tires, tubes, or a really nice fork. Both will save you weight. Losing a pound off my bike today and I am spending about bucks if you count me switching out my Panaracers for my Girlfriends lighter IRC Mythos tires I put on her bike. Also Maxxis Ultra Light Tubes.

    Watch out if you upgrade to disc make sure your fork and frame are disc compatible.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  12. #12
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    a guy locally is selling this for $200 - sounds like a good deal?

    "Manitou Minute Super w/ 20mm thru-axle and 140mm (5.5) travel ($200)
    -Fresh rebuild, new seals etc. Works exceptionally and is reasonably light."

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob_nohope
    a guy locally is selling this for $200 - sounds like a good deal?

    "Manitou Minute Super w/ 20mm thru-axle and 140mm (5.5) travel ($200)
    -Fresh rebuild, new seals etc. Works exceptionally and is reasonably light."
    and about 40mm to 60mm too much travel for his bike
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    and about 40mm to 60mm too much travel for his bike
    his bike or my bike?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob_nohope
    his bike or my bike?
    Sorry, your bike. His = You
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    Sorry, your bike. His = You
    rats! thought I'd found a winner.........

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob_nohope
    rats! thought I'd found a winner.........
    Look for something that is 80mm or 100mm of travel. Could even be a Rock Shox U-Turn fork.

    This is a reasonably priced fork http://wheelworld.com/product/rocksh...l-air-6904.htm Just watch out for the steerer tube length. Measure your current one and compare to the one I linked.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  18. #18
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    hey thanks for the link and the advice - looks a decent price

  19. #19
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    The Recon I linked is only for disc brakes, so it kind of forces you to upgrade.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  20. #20
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    Have you thought about just selling the Scott and buying something that already has a better fork, discs and drivetrain?

    Maybe something like this.

  21. #21
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    I would think that a ligher set of wheel, tires, going tubless, and possibly brakes would make a huge difference. The rotating weight is where the performance difference is most noticeable. I don't know what type of cassette you have, but going from a PG-950 to anything better would net you around 100-150g drop in rotating weight as well.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirttrax
    I would think that a ligher set of wheel, tires, going tubless, and possibly brakes would make a huge difference. The rotating weight is where the performance difference is most noticeable. I don't know what type of cassette you have, but going from a PG-950 to anything better would net you around 100-150g drop in rotating weight as well.
    Tubes lost me 200 grams. Going from generic to Maxxis Ultra Light, Cost about 6 dollars a tube.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  23. #23
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    yeah, I'd thought about the new bike scenario and while I'd love to, I dont think I'd get much for the Scott and then its the extra for the new bike. If I upgrade, I know it'll cost more but I can do it over time and then hopefully have the parts to then upgrade the frame and be in really good shape.

  24. #24
    usually cranky
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    you have $400 now, could probably sell your scott for $200 (modest guess, maybe you could get more, idk). save up $200 more and you could get a pretty nice hardtail if you looked around.

  25. #25
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Upgrades like wheels and a good fork are a pretty good bet for transferring, but be careful about things like derailleurs, seat posts, collars... Anything that comes in multiple sizes, really.

    EDIT: don't cut your steer tube if you can get away without doing so.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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