Craigslist find- 2005 Trek 820
Got it for $50!
Now the question is, what should I strip?
I have posted this info before, but will quickly recap; I am looking for a bike for commuting and getting me in shape that can eventually be built up into a decent mountain biking bike. I want a project bike that I can add to as I get better, but would like it to be decent enough now, for a beginner, to give me confidence and encourage me to get on the trails! Eventually, once I am tearing **** up, I will get a dedicated commuter, but for right now, I need it for everything. The commute is short, 2 miles, fairly easy ride. The trails around here are sand, not hard packed at all. Very little rain. It is the desert, so cactus is my biggest concern. Not sure if any of this makes a difference. I also am large and short (5'3ish, 27" inseam, and 270lbs) so some parts will take a beating. My current bike is a 16" '96 Diamondback Outlook. It is a horrible accident waiting to happen, I want to get off it, but it is the closet fitting bike I have. I don't know anyone who rides beyond casually with the family. I have the basics; helmet, padded shorts, breathable tops, some tube bags (YAY EBAY), repair kit with CO2, pump, spare tubes, shitty lights (need to get some better ones), cycle computer with cadence, reflective tape, good locks. Need to look into shoes that are more comfortable, but that is down the road and very low on my list. I plan to stick with flats for a good long time, and may never go to clipless. They scare me, and I am so rough I probably will find them getting in my way and not helping anyways.
Anywho, the Trek is in great condition, well taken care of. I rode it a couple times now, fit is definitely all wrong, but I wanted to test out the components. I think it needs a tuneup, lots of problems with shifting. I dropped my first chain today! ...yay? Top derailleur is what has been giving me the most problems, it is completely fubar. But, then again, maybe it is a worn crankset? No clue. The rear derailleur is *ok*, a bit better than the Shimano tourney on my main bike, and very slightly more reliable than the Shimano Altus on another bike. Smooth shifters, but I really prefer grip shifters. Brakes are brakes, one of them needs new pads or a bit of adjusting. Not sure how to tell anything about the wheelset.
The Trek feels smooth, straight, and true, despite being too big. My current bike, an old '96 Diamondback Outlook, is wobbly and gets a bit rattly on the downhills. The balance on it seems to be further forward than a mountain bike should be, and I have come close to doing unintentional wheelies. It scares me, and I feather the brakes all the way downhill. Didn't feel the need to feather the Trek, though oddly, it also didn't feel like it gained as much speed? I need to stick my computer on it to be sure!
I loved the fork... at first. After riding it more than a swing around the block I can definitely go without it. The weight it added was noticeable, and it bottomed out so easily what little suspension it *did* provide wasn't worth the weight added. Also felt weird with the recoil on braking! It kinda kicks me back, and took some getting used to so I didn't get bucked! It might need some tuning as well, because it would throw my balance off to my right, even though I would lean slightly to the left when stopping to get off. This was a new thing for sure, never had a problem getting a bike to tilt where I wanted it to!
So what should I do with these parts? A guy at the LBS has a 14" Haro V2 frame he said he could build something on. I offered to try to find him some parts as well, and he said to just give him a call in a week and see where he is at. It has been a week, gonna call him today or tomorrow. I am on a tight budget, so I have a feeling he will be throwing on whatever budget stuff he has lying around, which is why I thought I might bring him some better stuff. Do you think the Trek would be a fair straight trade for a 14" Haro V2 frame built with extra parts that were lying around? (we are shooting for a $200 build here). If not, should I even bother, or just have him strip it for decent stuff and take the rest for like $50 credit towards the bike?
Oh, I also ordered some decent canti brakes at a screaming deal. I will have him pop those on once they arrive. If he does a straight trade, I will still have ~$150 to spend on parts to upgrade it. Either way, I will also have a few hundred to spend on this closer to the new year, so I do still need some advice on parts! Definitely want a solid crankset. I am a fat pony build (big and short) and am very afraid of mutilating a cheap crankset. I am not sure if my front derailluer problems are due to lots of shitty front derailleurs out there or shitty cranksets. I hesitate to blame my size simply because I have the same problems with them on downhills under no load. I avoid shifting that gear on uphills as much as I can, but if I can't use it on flat areas or downhills, what the hell is going on?? This issue is one where I would say I also would like to put a decent front derailleur on too... because, really, why even have three cogs if I can only ever use one?!
How important are wheelsets? What do they do for the ride? I won't be doing anything technical for a while still, so can this wait until that point? I also will wait and see what kind of stem the LBS guy puts on the build, hope he found a shorty. If not, I will order one for him, found some sweet shorties for good prices.
Still very lost on what the hell to do about forks, since this seems to be the big money sink. He either will set me up with a shitty suspension or a standard rigid, since that is all that is in my price range. Not sure what to ask regarding that, beyond where *practical* entry level suspension forks begin, as in a solid one for beginner mountain bikers who will use the bike almost daily and are large size.
Recommendations on what to avoid regarding grip shifters and brake levers? I mean, is there such a thing as crappy versions of these? When I look at reviews for them, I don't ever find anything negative. They brake or they shift, it seems. Simple.
I have a moderately comfortable seat on my current bike I don't mind pulling, and I suppose he will have a seatpost as well.
Any input on any of this info is appreciated
Your budget is really tight. The fork that came on the Trek only has 63mm of travel and is very low end. It's really just meant for smooth trails and shouldnt be used for bombing down hills or anything. You can try getting everything tuned up. The front der problems are probably just from being a low end der. It should work OK when properly setup but dont expect perfect fast shifting. Your frame is designed for the 63mm fork but I would recommend a frame designed for 100-120mm of travel. The Haro is designed for a 75mm fork but should be able to handle an 80mm. If the Haro will fit you better then the Trek I would be tempted to trade. The guy at the bike shop might hook you up with better components than what you currently have. Unfortunately, MTB parts are expensive as hell and at 200+ you need stronger stuff. At this point I would recommend a new fork and stronger wheelset. I believe a wheelset with Sun Rhino Lite XL rims would best suit you. If you look around you should be able to find a new set for $100-150. Check the clydesdale section for fork recommends. I think a proper fork will run around $200-250 and they will most likely be 80mm and up... you need a frame that can handle a longer fork. I would highly recommend both of those items if you plan on anything other than riding the canals.
Killing it with close inspection.
Abby Design & Constructio
Save your money for a bike worth something. This thing is a piece and you just screwed up by buying it.
Well, considering I only paid $50 for it, and my LBS took it for trade value double that, I think I made a fine deal!
Yea I wouldn't worry too much. Sounds like you were able to turn it around just fine.
Originally Posted by Bikemaya
I would follow you into the mists of Avalon if that's what you mean.