Am I polishing a turd?
So this summer I bought a bike. I didn't want a wal-mart bike but only I had < 200 to spend, so I went to the "trips for kids recyclery." They teach under privileged kids how to fix bikes and teach them to ride and then take them for biking trips. So I figured I could get a nicer used bike for fairly cheap and help out a good cause. I didn't know anything about MTBs at the time but I walked out with a 1995 GT tempest for $180.
Problem was, the fork was permanently compressed but fortunately I found a kit on line to fix it and it worked alright until the front wheel snapped off the fork entirely taking parts of the fork with it. The fork had some stress fractures I guess. The bike tumbled (along with me) and broke the handlebar. So I now I needed a new fork and handlebar.
So I take it in to the LBS and they replace the fork with a used manitou black for $100 and replace the cantilever brakes with the newer V style. They gave me a used handlebar for $10. I also had them replace the front dérailleur because it never shifted right.
So there went another $210.
I take it from the LBS and go for a ride on some moderate rooty stuff and my shifters aren't downshifting. I keep having to stop on the uphills because I can't get into my lower gears. excessively frustrating. They are shimano STX-RC shifters which were on the bike when I got it.
I just want a bike that works dammit! This is what I get for trying to help inner city kids.
So tell me, am I trying to polish a turd? Could I have gotten a better low end new bike?
Or, would this make a nice bike if I put nice components on it?
Prone To Internet Drama
I used to sell GT's back in 95 but I dont really remember the Tempest. Is it a steel/ chro. moly frame or aluminum? What type of components does it have? Personally Id rather have a used bike shop bike than a new discount store special any day.
Originally Posted by yeahyeahyeah
Really to be fair in judging the bike you need to give more specifics. It sounds as if you may have overpaid for the bike in addition to gotten something that was tuned up and re-sold by those with little bike experience. However, your into it now so you might as well make the best of it. If I remember correctly STX stuff was lower middle pack compenentry.
Do your best to learn to fix it yourself, that will save you a ton of money. Im sure there is lots of info. online. Try googling "deraileur adjustment" and see what you get. I would suggest first thoroughly cleaning it off with some degreaser and then re-lubing all the pivot points and cables with Tri-Flow. Dont get degreaser near the bearing areas, just the brakes, deraileurs, chain, etc. Next, assess what needs attention and do your best to fix it. If the inner wire cables are rusted and sticking I would start with replacing those entirely.
The not downshifting thing could be caused by several things, but most likely it is either things are all gummed up, or the cable tension is too tight. If the cleaning and lubing does not solve the problem try turning the cable adjusting barrel clockwise about a half turn and see if that helps. If you learn to fix things yourself you should be able to buy alot of your stuff online and save money there in addition to bike store labor costs.
Maybe post some pics of the bike if possible?
That has all the bike specs. It was a $400 bike new.
Stuff that has been changed:
2003 Manitou black super 80/100 fork
V brakes up front
New handlebar and stem
shimano Altus front derailleur
Shimano STX-RC shifters
quick release levers on both wheels and seat post
I had both derailleurs adjusted at the bike shop so I knew it was a mechanical problem within the shifters. I would press the lever all the way and the gears inside the shifter wouldn't catch. I took apart both shifters today and found the problem, a small but critical spring was gummed up inside. Tri-flowed the heck out of it and they work fine now. But I'm sure those little springs are too weak for the job and will only get weaker with age.
I'm good with my hands and can fix just about anything but a lot of bike stuff is very counter-intuitive to me (ie. plastic parts WTF?). The other thing that keeps me from ordering parts in the first place is that some parts aren't compatable with others. I think the majority of problems are caused by sub par design and cheap materials of the parts themselves. Why doesn't anyone make durable products that work right these days?
Prone To Internet Drama
Well, youve got over $400. already in it... so your committed to it now.
The mid price "rapid fire" shifters were prone to getting gummed up. Like you said, a little spray lube usually fixes them. And yes, there are a ton of little parts in those to fail. You might try to find some grip-shift shifters in 7speed and retro-fit them in place of the rapid fire style Shimano ones. They should be alot more durable, reliable, and cheaper than what you have.
As for the rest, the aluminum frame GT's ride great when they are tuned right. I would say dont spend a ton of money on 'bling' parts that you dont need. Your right, alot of older stuff will have compatiblilty issues with modern parts. Just replace the essentials, make sure your ordering the right parts, and ride it. It should be a decent bike if it all works, fits you well, and has been tuned properly.
I'm not a big fan of grip shifters. I like the way the ones I have work but the combination brake lever/shifter stuff looks better. I'm on a budget though so if those are too expensive I may just get a nice set of "normal" shifters.
For now since everything works well enough, I'll ride it untill something breaks. Hopefuly something on the bike and not something connected to me.
You can use 8 speed shifters on your 7 speed drivetrain. Just adjust them so they work on gears 1-7 and if you happen to shift to the 8th spot, it will just stay in 7th if you set the rear derailleur to stop there.
There are shifter brake lever sets available for 7-8 speed set ups with v-brakes (or you can still find some cantilever brake models).
I wouldn't bother to replace the STX-RC shifters though unless they just can't be made to work and that should be your mantra for all the parts on the bike if you want to keep it on the cheap. Those old GT hardtails are excellent frames if it hasn't been thrashed.
If it hasn't been done already, I would look into a brace to put on the rear barke studs since you are now using a v-brakes on a frame made for cantilever brakes. If you can see the rear studs spreading the seat stays of the frame when you apply a good amount of pressure to the rear brake, it would be a good idea to add the brace. It will noticeably improve rear braking action. They look kind of like an aluminum horseshoe and you can probably find one for around $10 or maybe less if your local bike shop has some old stuff around. I know one of my local shops has one still hanging on the rack.
smell my finger
I had an old set of LX shifters on an bike a little while ago and was having the a similar shifting problem. The cause was old sticky grease inside of the shifter pod, gumming up the pawls that catch the shifitng mechanism. The shifter just would not "catch". Cleaned it up and relubed and the shifters have been working great ever since. Just don't use carberator cleaner or other solvents because they will dissolve the plastic housing. Older bikes that sit unused stiffen-up over time.
I just spent 170 bucks custom powder coating a GT Karakoram that I picked up for 5 bucks. I haven't even gotten the parts for it yet. My point is, you have yet to enter the world of big spending on polished turds. I'm sure you'll like the ride once you get it to your preference. Mine's gonna be my SS. I even paid 20 bucks for a weld on disc brake adapter. Yep, I'm really gonna have to like it once I'm done with it. LOL. It's an affair of the heart for me though. I LOVE GT bikes.
i dont mean to be negative but as a mechanic i see this all the time, you spent $180 on the bike, then a further $210 on repairs and still have problems right?
ok so if im right youve spent $390 on the bike, which could have bought you a NEW 2009 trek 3700 or a GT aggressor/ outpost
Its just something i can never get my head around...... Warranty, servicing, sustaining a relationship with your LBS, cheaper upgrades..... but anyway i wasnt *****ing just stating facts
I totally agree with Liam on this one. If you don't have any personal attachment like I do, then getting a newer bike is the best way to go if all you are looking for is a bike to ride. In my case, I already have a GT Force 2.0 that is my main bike right now. I fell in love with the 2001 GT I-drive Team blue and yellow frame and I paid over 250 for a frame and some more on parts to put my race bike together. Now, I want a unique singlespeed frame so I bought the 5 dollar Karakoram frame and I'm going to spend a pretty penny getting it put together. If all you want is a ride then buy a new one. You will not go wrong. If there is sentimental value then be ready to spend some money, but hey it's a different kinda love for sentimental bikes. I can tell you this much. The Force I got is an awesome all mountain bike. It was deffinitely worth the money and the pearl white color is sweet!
here is a pic of a well polished turd
are you polishing a turd? well yes and no. I got into mounting biking with little money riding hand-down stuff and shopping at the re-cyclery if you are going to do that you will get what you pay for. I would suggest that you spend some time looking at park tools website for reference on how to tune and repair stuff as well as investing in some basic bike tools (the cheap ones from performance bike are fine).
Spend some time on Shimano's website learning about their parts... if you are going to get old stuff shop for the "good" old stuff you should be able to find old DeoreXT for cheap and as long as it is XT chances are it is good. Learn about how your drive train works play with it when it is in the garage, hang 2 cables from the ceiling with hooks to support the bike while you shift it. Old stuck shifters sometimes come free with a good spraying of triflow.
Bottom line if you are going the used thrift way you may save money but you will not save time, the plus to doing things this way is you will learn more about how bikes work and believe me knowing how to repair your bike will save you money in the long run.
Secondhand is alright by me
Doesn't look poopy to me! That green looks factory.
Originally Posted by peitro
I totally understand getting an older bike. I just built a singlespeed out of a '96 Karakoram. The hardest thing was finding a suitable fork. Older bikes can't deal with the longer travel forks. I finally got to ride it yesterday thanks to our blasted wet trails. It was great fun.
If money is an issue, buy something newer (2003-2007) that has newer geometry. The parts won't be an issue and as they break upgrade to better stuff. The cool thing about older bikes is they can be had for a song. If you have a decent LBS, you can get them to do the tricky stuff like new headsets, etc.
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving"