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  1. #1
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    2001 RM Soul - should I upgrade or buy new?

    This forum has been a great source of info for me over the years, so I thought I would finally speak up and ask a question!

    I am currently riding a 2001 Rocky Mountain Soul that I purchased new in early 2002. The suspension fork that came with the bike (Manitou Magnum) is almost toast, so I need to spend some money this season and would appreciate some advice on the best way to do that! I am looking for opinions on whether it is worth putting some money into upgrading some components of my current ride or whether I should be looking to purchase a new bike this season instead.

    When I first purchased the bike I road trails pretty frequently (but nothing overly technical or challenging). Over the past few years I have mainly been using the bike to commute to work during the warmer months (almost daily) with very occasional off-road trips. I would like to get back into some more trail riding this coming season but will continue to use the bike to commute as well.

    The bike has almost all stock components as when first purchase other than a new saddle, new grips and new tires. The bike has an aluminum frame with Alivio brakes, shifters and front derailleur and a Deore rear derailleur. Bike came with V-brakes but the frame is compatible with disc brakes (I am not sure about the hubs though). The bike is in good condition - I have stored it indoors as long as I have had it, done simple maintenance myself on a regular basis and taken it in for professional service 5 or 6 times. I had it looked over at my LBS last year and the only flaw they noted was the suspension fork.

    So is this bike worth putting some money into? I am sure there have been huge improvements in MTB tech over the last decade and that is why I am not sure if I would just be better off with a new bike.

    If I get some work done, what should I be looking to upgrade to get me back on the trails? Obviously a new fork, I have been looking at the entry-level Rock Shox mostly. I am considering disc brakes as I have had issues with stopping power in wet weather, but I have also read that discs are not great in muddy conditions. Would I notice much difference with new derailleurs? The only complaint I have really had with this bike is that the front derailleur never functioned as smoothly as I liked. Are there any components that I just have to upgrade based on the age of the bike?

    Appreciate any input!

  2. #2
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    No opinions? Fair enough, if anyone could recommend a good resource for reading up on the basics of modern suspension systems, brakes, derailleurs etc., I would appreciate. I haven't really kept up with components since I purchased my last bike so I am a little out of the loop.

    Cheers.

  3. #3
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    It may be better/cheaper if you bought a new bike. Upgrading can soon get expensive - but if you must...



    Disc brakes work great in muddy conditions. If you were to upgrade to disc brakes you will need to buy a disc compatible wheelset.


    Unless you're looking at the very cheap end of the scale most decent forks these days dont come with v-brake mounts.


    Your front derailleur may never have been adjusted correctly to begin with, Parktool will be able to help you Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog

  4. #4
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    Hey thanks!

    There is definitely no 'must' - I am trying to determine the best course of action. If buying new is both better AND cheaper than that sounds like the best option.

    If just buying a new fork, I would probably be looking at the low end of offerings. otherwise the fork alone would be worth about twice as much as the rest of the bike!

    Regarding disc breaks - are you saying that the stock wheelset that came with this bike is NOT compatible with disc brakes?

  5. #5
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    Typically bikes specced with rim brakes come specced with non-disc hubs, so that's a no. You can easily check by looking on the left hand side of the wheel hubs and if they're disc compatible there will be 6 holes for the mounting bolts. You would also need to look at rotor size and the matching brake adapter (6" rotor = 6" adapter, and there again the front and rear adapters are different).


    As for forks you could go with with something like a set of Rock Shox Dart 2's, they're nothing flash and wont stand up to abuse like more expensive forks though. RockShox Dart 2 2010 Forks Reviews


    Search around for all the bits you're looking at replacing, get an estimate of the total amount and see if its going to be worth the bother.

  6. #6
    B.Ike
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    What about getting a rigid fork, used front wheel and disk only up front. Maybe less than 200.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by elwoodturner View Post
    What about getting a rigid fork, used front wheel and disk only up front. Maybe less than 200.
    +1. rigid would be perfect for a commuter. However, I dont like the idea of two different brakes. Yes the front brake has all the power blah blah blah, but the levers will feel funky if you have 1 disc and 1 v-brake and you'd have to pull the levers at different rates. I think it would just end up feeling too weird.
    Something wrong with your bike? Blame it on super human strength and sleep well at night knowing you are more than a man.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by elwoodturner View Post
    What about getting a rigid fork, used front wheel and disk only up front. Maybe less than 200.
    That looks like the cheapest option, but I don't use this bike solely for commuting. I am not sure I want to commit to going back to a rigid fork.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. grieves View Post
    That looks like the cheapest option, but I don't use this bike solely for commuting. I am not sure I want to commit to going back to a rigid fork.
    come on.. rigid makes you a better rider
    Something wrong with your bike? Blame it on super human strength and sleep well at night knowing you are more than a man.

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZXFT View Post
    +1. rigid would be perfect for a commuter. However, I dont like the idea of two different brakes. Yes the front brake has all the power blah blah blah, but the levers will feel funky if you have 1 disc and 1 v-brake and you'd have to pull the levers at different rates. I think it would just end up feeling too weird.
    I had a disc front/sidepull rear setup for a while.

    It's fine. Brakes already have different feels front and back. As long as they're both mechanical systems and the levers are the same, it's really no big deal. You'd probably get used to different levers too, but I haven't done that myself.

    OP, the way I read your post, you currently have a perfectly good frame, cockpit and drivetrain. That's a good start. Replacing the suspension fork, wheels and brakes all at once is going to be pretty expensive, and yeah, it could be expensive enough that you could also buy a new bike. So definitely look at some options.

    The thing is that you have to spend a lot on a new bike to get a fork and wheels that are worth having. And disc brakes are actually not so bad in terms of price, if you don't need hydraulics. Your V-brake levers will drive a mechanical disc just fine. So consider the Avid BB7 - you only need the caliper and rotor, and of course new cable runs.

    You get hosed on suspension forks until you're willing to spend about $1500 on a bike...

    I have some wheels I'm very happy with that I bought new, as an aftermarket upgrade, for $200. A little less than a year of use, but that included training for a 50 mile race and a stick-spokes incident on the day of, so they've seen some miles.

    So here's my proposed upgrade package, and you can decide if you'd rather have your bike, with this, or a new bike that you can get for the same money.

    Two of these,
    Avid BB7 Mech Disc Brake Grey Fnt/Rer 2011 at Price Point
    $100 for the pair.

    This
    RockShox Recon Gold RL Fork 2011 at Price Point
    or this
    RockShox Recon Silver R Fork 2011 at Price Point
    for $320 or $160. I'd rather have the more expensive one, if I was comfortable with the price. The less expensive one should give you decent service life and is cross-compatible with the internals that help make the more expensive one cost more. (The more expensive one will always be lighter, though.)

    Finally, this
    Mountain - Clearance - Sun DS1-XC XT Disc - Bicycle Wheel Warehouse
    or something similar. This one's on closeout for $140. I have the same rim, built on a fancier hub and spokes. There's nicer wheels on the site but they cost more. Read some reviews of the hub.

    So you're looking at a major revision for $400-$560 to get you to contemporary suspension and braking. And labor, depending on if you do it yourself, and new cables and housings, probably for about $20. Also shipping, of course.

    Keep in mind that everything about your old bike will have sustained some wear. But at the same time, good luck finding a new bike that specs this way for this price. (At the other same time, someone's lightly used high-spec bike might go for this price.)

    You can also save some money doing the mullet setup someone else described. And doing a rigid fork will save you some money. You could stick with V-brakes and replace nothing else if you did that.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
    B.Ike
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    I run mullets on two bikes and like it just fine. bb7's up front/old school lx v-brakes out back. Slightly more apt to lock the rear than with disk but that's not catastrophic. Just a suggestion you could put a 29er up front on a rigid 26er fork (if its the right fork). To me a 29er with low psi (around 25)=80mm of suspension on a 26er.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    OP, the way I read your post, you currently have a perfectly good frame, cockpit and drivetrain. That's a good start. Replacing the suspension fork, wheels and brakes all at once is going to be pretty expensive, and yeah, it could be expensive enough that you could also buy a new bike. So definitely look at some options.



    So you're looking at a major revision for $400-$560 to get you to contemporary suspension and braking. And labor, depending on if you do it yourself, and new cables and housings, probably for about $20. Also shipping, of course.

    .
    Wow, thanks for pricing that out for me. That looks like a good option except - I live in Canada. Shipping will kill those deals and component prices are substantially higher here. I have also not been able to find any dealers selling components from last season (or earlier), which seems like a good way to save some money based on the links you provided.

    I found a 2011 RM Trailhead selling for $800 that I am going to look at tomorrow. This bike comes with a Tora TK fork, which is an improvement over mine but not as good as the options you suggested. However, like I said, I am not sure how to acquire a higher end fork like that up here for a decent price. I would also be upgrading several other components and moving to disc brakes. If I could get a bit of money back from selling my current bike I think this will end up costing close to the total cost for the upgrades you suggested above.

    The overall impression I am getting is that the fork is key, so I will have to look around a bit more.

  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Sorry about the Canada thing. There are some UK and European discounters that have better deals. I don't usually bother to look, but if shipping hurts your US-based deals, it may be a wash.

    Uhm...
    Bicycles | Bikes | Mountain Bikes | Road Bikes | MTB Bikes | Bike Parts | Bike Frames | Road Frames | MTB Frames
    Bikes | Mountain Bikes | Road Bikes & Cycling Apparel | Wiggle

    I'm sure there's some more, but I don't really bother to look - I'm in the US.

    And yeah - the fork is huge. I've changed almost everything on my bike. I'd say that the fork, pedals and tires have had the biggest effect on how it rides. Of course, everything contributes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    I'm kind of in the same boat right now. My 2001 is having issues and I'm tempted to just buy a new bike!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzoso View Post
    I'm kind of in the same boat right now. My 2001 is having issues and I'm tempted to just buy a new bike!
    I ended up getting the Trailhead. I priced out some upgrade options and just could not make the numbers work for my situation. Now I just have to clean up my Soul and try to move it.

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