Fitting a Front Shock on older Trek
I got my old bike out this weekend, because ive really been wanting to get into mountain biking lately.
The bike is a Trek 830 - Mountain Track 7gears on the back, w/ grip shift, rigid front and back. I think it may be a '95 because of the color scheme (purple), but I had a lot of trouble finding any reliable info about that.
---skip to last paragraph for shock question---
Anyways, after several hours fiddling with the derailers I decided that i needed a new chain. The old one had rusted solid, even though it was stored in a shed?, and some of the links weren't flexing easily no matter how much i messed with them. I got the bike shifting alright with the new chain - boy was that an ordeal getting the old one off and new one on - but sometimes it takes 5-10 seconds for the bike to decide what gear it wants to be in which is REALLY annoying. Any suggestions on how to fix this? I may just end up taking it to a bike shop, but id rather do it myself if possible. Just because id rather learn how to do it myself.
Now to the point. I don't know much about bikes so bear with me. Is it possible for me to get a decent aftermarket front shock to put on this bike for around $100? I think it would make a nice hardtail, because the bike is actually seems pretty light even though it was made in the 90's. Also, could you suggest which shocks would fit this bike. I can take some basic measurements if that is necessary. ...and if this is just a plain bad idea you can mention that
If the bike is as old as you say it is... it probably (actually almost certainly) isn't worth throwing money at a new fork. If it is a '95 it would probably have a threaded headset, and as far as I know there aren't many forks our there for threaded headsets... especially not 1" threaded headsets, which that bike might very well have.
I've seen nice used bikes on Craigslist going for little more than you would be willing to pay for a fork, and even though they are used they would likely be in far better shape than the trek that you describe.
As for the shifting problem, it should be easily fixed by adjusting the dérailleurs; here is a good resource if you want to learn how the things work. http://www.sheldonbrown.com/derailer-adjustment.html I'd strongly suggest learning how to do adjustments like that yourself; they are not that hard and don't take very long, you save money, and you get the satisfaction of knowing how to work on your bike yourself. Good luck!
first, check out park tool's repair section on how to work on the bike. Here's another site on replacing fork's & DIY wrenching. Don't forget to search the tooltime board for specifics too.
You need a new chain (any 6/7/8 spd will work, NOT a 9spd chain though). You need a chain tool to remove the chain, I'd install a new chain with a kmc, sram or wipperman which has a 'quick link', so you don't need a special tool to remove/install.
You should replace all the cables and housing (deraillers & brake) to get shifting & braking up to snuff (at least the shift cables/housing & brake pads). If you've got a dremel type of tool, that's all you need to cut housing, check the tooltime forum for ideas on that (eg Nate's threads)
To find the year, check out the vintage trek site. There you can find scans of old catalogs to figure out what year you've got.
by '95, you should have a 1 1/8" headset, which will simplify finding a fork to fit the bike, but it's probably not suspension correct geometry (unless it was an "SHX" model) so putting a suspension fork on will mess with the handling of the bike.
If it's not suspension corrected, I'd just put a fat front tire on (2.35 or bigger), which will provide pretty good passive suspension, and save pennies for a newer bicycle. If you insist on a suspension fork, find a fork with 50-80mm travel at max!
The 800 series were decent bicycles, not as nice as the 900 series, but respectable, it'll give you many more years of good service.
Your 95 most likely has a threaded headset/stem combo, but that doesn't mean you are stuck with a rigid bike. You can get a cheap headset for $25, a stem for another $15-25, and a cheap sus. fork for around $100. Is it worth it? I'm not sure. I did the same thing on my bike (Rock Shox Indy XC) back in 2000, and rode it that way for 5 years. I recently upgraded the fork to a Manitou Minute (coil) and like it even more. The biggest issue is the length of the fork (called axle to crown height on suspension forks, or A2C) and that most suspension forks are longer than the rigid fork. This in turn changes the head angle, making the bike steer slower.
If you want to experiment, and aren't afraid to potentially waste $200-300, go for it. If you're worried about that kind of $$, save it and buy a newer HT.
Oh, and I second the recommendation for Park Tool's maintenance information page, along with books like Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance
Well the good news is I figured out what a barrel adjuster is and I believe I got the bike shifting pretty good today by fine tuning with that. It started raining before I really got a chance to test it.
I was hoping to kind of turn this into my a modern type entry level MTB so I could upgrade to a nice bike earlier, but based on what you guys are saying I think ill just save for now. I should be able to get a pretty nice beginner HT by springtime, which is when id start any serious riding anyways. Right now im thinking about getting an Iron Horse Warrior or Specialized hardrock sport.
Thanks for all the info guys.
Don't get rid of the trek when you upgrade. Someday you'll want a single speed beater to commute on...
Originally Posted by dnlwthrn
Yeah. There is also something innately fun about old bikes. (at least for me) I don't know what it is, but I still find myself riding my brother's old and beat up Raleigh M-20 on occasion and having just as much fun as on my much newer (and pretty heavily upgraded) Trek 4500.