I need some advice: For 12+ years I've been riding an aluminum GT i-drive 3.0 frame with upgraded parts and she's amazing (new shock and fork, Mavic rims, etc...). If you love your bike too you know how I feel.
As I said, I'm really happy; I've had to weld two 1" spots on the aluminum frame (and they're holding up well after 2,000 miles) but other than that no issues.
What's not holding up well is the i-drive on this GT and she needs to go in to the shop every 2-4 weeks for tightning or whatever (I do about 50-120 miles a week mountain biking). This work requires disassembly of the i-drive, reassembly, etc... it's more than an hour of effort and every bike shop around me needs 5-15 days because they're busy with other customers. My favorite mechanic doesn't even want to charge me and he's a great guy. And before you ask, no, I'm not going to learn how to repair bikes myself, I work too many hours to add "mechanic" to my resume. And I also have a backup GT 3.0 frame (same exact model) but she needs new parts. Here's a shot of the i-drive from a few years ago:
The bike shops have been PUSHING me to buy a new bike (ad nauseam) and a bunch of people on some forums have called me an idiot for upgrading parts on a 12 year old frame that I'm happy with -- so I recently started looking at new bikes.
I looked at Cannondale, Specialized, Santa Cruz, Giant, Trek and a few others. I'm looking at bikes that are in the the same class as my GT 3.0 and above (but 29) and the prices start at $3,000 for aluminum and go to $5-7K for carbon. I don't need carbon, aluminum is fine. But my biggest issue is that I don't "love" these other bikes -- they don't appeal to me or impress me -- and they are all mass produced in China (no offense to China) even though some of them look nice. But looking nice is a big jump to spend that much cash! I've test driven a few, yesterday I rode the Specialized Epic 29er and she was "nice" but certainly not my GT. To be honest, for $3,000 I felt it is a rip off price!
So my bike shops are giving me flack and want me to purchase a new bike because that's where they make their most profit and at this point, I'm constantly being bombarded with statements like, "The GT frame is too old to fix," or "You can't get the GT parts any more," or "Why don't you just get a new bike." After a while it's really annoying to listen to, I guess in this economy they need to pay the rent. Whatever.
I just came back from the original bike shop where I got the GT 12 years ago and I was reminded why I stopped going to him -- because he's an arse-hole who doesn't know what customer service is. I don't trust him.
Sorry for writing so much, so what's my question? If I don't like any of these mass produced bikes, should I: 1) upgrade the backup GT frame I have with newer parts so when one GT is in the shop for 10 days I can keep riding (it'll cost me about $1,000 to $2,000 for new parts); or 2) look for a custom frame manufacturer to build me a new bike that I'll really love (which I don't know where to find let alone test ride) which will run me well over $5,000.
I guess if it weren't for the i-drive on the GT I would not be posting this, but it's a part that needs servicing either due to age or design and it's a real issue.
Let me know your thoughts and thanks in advance!
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Thread: What to do?