I have a Trek 4300 that's 3.5 years old. I ride it quite a lot on the local trails (all dirt/sand/mud/rocks) about 6 months/year.
My problem is 'chain suck'. I can't climb hills in the lowest gear without the chain getting stuck between the smallest front cog and the frame. The pedals jam and I have to walk up hills.
Last year I bought a Connex link so I could easily remove the chain and clean it - this helps, but only as long as I can avoid the water or mud. So I guess the cogs and the chain are pretty worn out. Questions:
* What parts do I need to get replaced? Would it have to be the entire drivetrain? Bear in mind it's 3+ years old and I didn't start maintaining it properly until last year.
* How much is it likely to cost? I don't need anything too high-end and I don't want to sink too much money into a low-end bike.
* How difficult is it to replace the parts myself? I can replace brake pads, adjust the shifter, replace cables, and take the chain off to clean it. That's all I've done so far. I've got a few Allen keys but no other tools.
* Considering the age of the bike, and the fact that's it's pretty beat up, does it make more sense to buy a whole new bike? I don't know what state the front forks are in (do they wear out?), my handle bar grips are worn out, etc. etc.
I'm new to bike maintenance but I want to learn, rather than rely on the local bike shop for everything.
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Thread: chain suck & upgrade advice