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  1. #1
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    This thing worth a crap? (pictures)

    Long story short, my girlfriend and I want to start doing some light trail riding, as well as around the neighborhood. A neighbor of mine just gave me this Surly Instigator (pictures below) and told me that I could keep it if I wanted to put some money into it to make it ride-able again... I took it to a local bike shop and this is the list of stuff that it is going to need.

    Obviously a tune up
    Rear 9 speed cassette
    Chain
    Front shifter/ derailleur
    Grips
    Pedals
    Seat
    Front shock (this is where I am kind of stuck..)

    I want to see if this bike can be fixed for less that I can get a new one, or even a used one for... so I want to try and keep it at $300 max... if not I'll give it back to my neighbor and go buy a used one for $350 or $400, maybe even a new one for around $400.

    I am mechanically inclined, but I have not worked much on bikes... so if I can learn how to do stuff the right way, I may be able to do some of the work myself.

    Any input would be great, as well as maybe a few places I would be able to find gently used parts that will fit on this bike would be awesome. Please and thank you!

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    My Crappy cell phone pictures








  3. #3
    gran jefe
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    you should be able to do all but the fork for around $200, buying decent but not expensive stuff, and doing the work yourself. as for the fork, i'm stumped, too.

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    Thanks for the reply, that's what the bike shop told me it would end up being, around $200. They said for me to look around and find some cheaper parts and they could put them on and cut my price down.
    The think about the front shock is that it is over 10 years old so there are no parts to be found to be able to rebuild it. I found a few on craigslist but I have no idea if they are good or not.
    Or if they will even work.

  5. #5
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    Go single speed. It will save you a bunch on drive train. And grab a rigid instigator fork (Jenson has them for $100.. could get everything to fix it up there since you'll be > the $100).

    Surly Instigator Fork > Components > Forks > Rigid Forks | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Or could go 1x9 at least to save yourself on the fd and shifter.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubbreak View Post
    Go single speed. It will save you a bunch on drive train. And grab a rigid instigator fork (Jenson has them for $100.. could get everything to fix it up there since you'll be > the $100).

    Surly Instigator Fork > Components > Forks > Rigid Forks | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Or could go 1x9 at least to save yourself on the fd and shifter.
    I was really wanting a front shock bike, but I guess that fork would get me out on the trails for now? I have seen that fork all over while doing my researching lol, but I kept looking past it in hopes of finding a compatible front shock setup.
    As far as drive, I personally would like to have the ability to change gears. I did, however, consider doing a 1 by 9 setup but the bike shop told me that the front cog for that setup would cost me more than just keeping my 2 by 9 that it has now...
    Do you have any links for a front cog for a 1 by 9 setup?

  7. #7
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    Could always get a used fork. New I'd guess you're looking at least around $150 for a recon silver (not a bad fork). The rigid will last longer though and will be a lot more precise.

    $25 single speed specific chainring

    Of course people get away without using a single chainring with ramps and pins (i.e. non single specific front rings). A chain guide might help, or if the derailleur isn't completely ruined you could possibly set it as a ghetto guide.

    A FD is going to be at least $15 I think (acera is around that?) and the shifter more.. so the chainring looks cheaper to me.

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    So that's $175 for the tune up, fork, and front cog... How much is a decent chain guide? That leaves me with rear cassette, pedals, grips, and a chain. I have a seat that I can use for the moment.

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    So I've looked. I will try the front derailleur as a chain guide, I see that people have used them successfully. I guess with what is left over, I should have pretty much everything I need for around $300? If I spend that much, would it be worth it to look for a different, ready to ride bike?

  11. #11
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    In my experience bike shops always have lots of OEM seats kicking around you can talk them out of.

    Plastic bmx style flats can be had as cheap as $15. Something with sealed bearing will be around $50 (e.g. Sun/Ringle Zu-Zu).

    I have no clue on chain guides, maybe someone else will chime in on that.

    Should be able to get a cassette as cheap as $30.

  12. #12
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    Depends on what's available. I sold a really nice bike for $300 a few years back (kicking myself for selling it now), but looking at local ads where I live there is nothing worth buying for $300. Maybe your local classifieds will be better.. maybe worse. But chances are something in that price range will need stuff fixed too. At least you'll know what's good on the surly.

    Personally I like the looks of Surly bikes, and love steel frames, so I'd go for it.

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    I do really appreciate all of your input on this. After looking around I do really like this bike, if I were to get a new bike it would be a Specialized for sure. But I kinda of like being able to build the bike to make it my own. I did find a used front shock online for $25 that is local that will get me by for now, and I will still be able to keep a shock on the bike. It is off a Jamis Komodo, if that makes a difference.

    I keep checking classifieds around me but I honestly don't know whats good and bad without a little more knowledge.

  14. #14
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    Make sure the steerer tube is long enough (getting new one pressed in kinda negates the cost advantage of buying used) and verify it's 1 1/8" (looks like they Komodo uses 1 1/8 but can run 1.5 as well). Looks like the Jamis has a 130mm fork, so your head angle will be kinda slack (though ok I think.. depends on your use I think the surly was designed with 100-130mm in mind).

    BTW there's a reason they are getting rid of that fork that cheap. Check out the reviews.

    You can get a surly 1x1 rigid that's suspension corrected for 100mm for $65 if you wanted to save a few bucks. You would save yourself close to 4lbs going rigid instead of that shock (I'm assuming the rst is 5.5-6lbs, which is a safe guess.. could be even more).

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    What is wrong with that Marzocchi fork and what model is it?

    It looks like one of the 1999 Z1's which is generally easy to work on if you are familiar with them and usually only need new seals and oil. Rebuilt correctly, it could very well outlive the frame as long as there is no damage to the stanchions or any other mechanical breakdown. I'm still running a model year 2001 "X-Fly 100" that I've maintained since purchase in 2001 and it's still smooth as glass.

  16. #16
    gran jefe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Left-ear View Post
    I did find a used front shock online for $25 that is local that will get me by for now, and I will still be able to keep a shock on the bike.
    I plan on doing something similar on my bike. Maybe a little newer, but still, a take-off OEM shock.

    nice thread on pedals:
    Pedals

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    Quote Originally Posted by dubbreak View Post
    Make sure the steerer tube is long enough (getting new one pressed in kinda negates the cost advantage of buying used) and verify it's 1 1/8" (looks like they Komodo uses 1 1/8 but can run 1.5 as well). Looks like the Jamis has a 130mm fork, so your head angle will be kinda slack (though ok I think.. depends on your use I think the surly was designed with 100-130mm in mind).

    BTW there's a reason they are getting rid of that fork that cheap. Check out the reviews.

    You can get a surly 1x1 rigid that's suspension corrected for 100mm for $65 if you wanted to save a few bucks. You would save yourself close to 4lbs going rigid instead of that shock (I'm assuming the rst is 5.5-6lbs, which is a safe guess.. could be even more).
    See this is why I wanted to post here... I don't know how to look up things and dimensions like that, so big thanks. I guess I need to learn how to look stuff like that up to make sure it is compatible... I don't car too much about the wright as much as I do comfort.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spec7 View Post
    What is wrong with that Marzocchi fork and what model is it?

    It looks like one of the 1999 Z1's which is generally easy to work on if you are familiar with them and usually only need new seals and oil. Rebuilt correctly, it could very well outlive the frame as long as there is no damage to the stanchions or any other mechanical breakdown. I'm still running a model year 2001 "X-Fly 100" that I've maintained since purchase in 2001 and it's still smooth as glass.
    The marzocchi fork is what is on my bike? Just making sure... I just ran outside, it has "M" stickers on the front and it says "drop off" on either side. I have never taken a shock apart so I am not sure of the process or the names of parts inside. I just was told it is not rebuild-able so I just took their word. I was told it was a good fork back in the day... so do you think it is still rebuild-able if nothing inside is damaged? I want the most cost effective, so If it can be rebuilt for cheaper than a stock take off, I'm going to do that instead.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
    I plan on doing something similar on my bike. Maybe a little newer, but still, a take-off OEM shock.

    nice thread on pedals:
    Pedals
    Yeah if its worth it I will be doing the same. And thanks for the thread!

  20. #20
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    I did find this... but it doesn't look like my fork.

    Mountain Bike Rides - Marzocchi Z150 / Z1 Freeride Fork Service

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    Here's a link to the manual for your fork: Marzocchi Z1 BAM

    Notice on page three that it shows two specific tools to use in the process. If you find a shop that sold and serviced Marzocchi forks 10 to 15 years ago they will likely still have those tools or at least the press since it's the only absolutely necessary tool to do the job.

    The fork uses 30mm seals and I always used 7.5wt PJ1 oil when servicing. The seals should cost between $25 and $30 for the set. The oil cost is variable however it should not exceed $10 (since you can get a liter bottle for less than $15). Total rebuild time with the right tools and an experienced mechanic should not take over an hour.

    Assuming that's all that the fork needs, I would expect rebuild costs to be less than $100. It's an easy job to do if you know your Marzocchi forks.

    If it needs any other parts such as damper rods, replacement stanchions, lowers, etc; stop and find yourself a new fork.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spec7 View Post
    Here's a link to the manual for your fork: Marzocchi Z1 BAM

    Notice on page three that it shows two specific tools to use in the process. If you find a shop that sold and serviced Marzocchi forks 10 to 15 years ago they will likely still have those tools or at least the press since it's the only absolutely necessary tool to do the job.

    The fork uses 30mm seals and I always used 7.5wt PJ1 oil when servicing. The seals should cost between $25 and $30 for the set. The oil cost is variable however it should not exceed $10 (since you can get a liter bottle for less than $15). Total rebuild time with the right tools and an experienced mechanic should not take over an hour.

    Assuming that's all that the fork needs, I would expect rebuild costs to be less than $100. It's an easy job to do if you know your Marzocchi forks.

    If it needs any other parts such as damper rods, replacement stanchions, lowers, etc; stop and find yourself a new fork.
    Thanks for that link. Just the problem I run into is the fact that most of the bike shops around me are newer, unless one of them has moved and maybe the tech has those tools? If I could get them I wouldn't be afraid to tare it apart myself but I wouldn't know much about what parts are bad or not. I figured rebuilding them wasn't going to be too bad cost wise. If I could find a decent stock take off I would just pop that on there... but at this point it looks like the ridged is going to be the easiest/ fastest route.

  23. #23
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    And my neighbor told me it was leaking fluid and it doesn't have good rebound, or return. However it is said.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Some other poster on mtbr

    Use Code: July30off250

    Excludes complete bikes.
    Now you can buy more parts while staying in budget.

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    Now I've got to find parts that will equal $250 lol thanks a ton

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    if you haven't done a lot of wrenching on bikes, it's also worth mentioning that you will need to get the steerer tube on your new fork cut to the appropriate length and have a star nut set into it. i've never had it done at a bike shop but i wouldn't imagine it being expensive.

  28. #28
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    I like this Cassette better:

    Sram PG 970 9 Speed MTB Cassette 2011 > Components > Drivetrain > Cassettes | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Or this one if you can swing it, would be the best.

    Sram PG 990 9 Speed Cassette 2011 > Components > Drivetrain > Cassettes | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Don't forget the star nut

    Star Nut > Components > Headsets and Spacers > Star Nuts and Compression Plugs | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    You will also need to move the headset fork race from the old fork to the new. I like to use the specialty tool for that as I broken several trying to pry them off with a screwdriver. You'r LBS should have the tool. While you're there have them install the star nut. You might even have them cut the steerer tube down for you.

    Edit: Add some color with a cool chainring: Salsa 104mm 4-Bolt Single Speed Chainring > Components > Drivetrain > Chainrings | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

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    Ehh, go for an HG61/SLX cassette over the HG-50. SRAM stuff is nice but the teeth are soft, wear down/bend easily.

    Grab a good KMC chain too, they're normally cheaper than a comparable Shimano or SRAM chain. If Jenson has them, look up Wippermann connex links, they make chain removal so much easier for cleaning, toss the KMC master link in your camelbak for a trailside fix.

    Grips- get lockons. ODI Rogues are great, so are Oury's and ESI Chunkys if you're wanting a more traditional grip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianick View Post
    I like this Cassette better:

    Sram PG 970 9 Speed MTB Cassette 2011 > Components > Drivetrain > Cassettes | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Or this one if you can swing it, would be the best.

    Sram PG 990 9 Speed Cassette 2011 > Components > Drivetrain > Cassettes | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Don't forget the star nut

    Star Nut > Components > Headsets and Spacers > Star Nuts and Compression Plugs | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    You will also need to move the headset fork race from the old fork to the new. I like to use the specialty tool for that as I broken several trying to pry them off with a screwdriver. You'r LBS should have the tool. While you're there have them install the star nut. You might even have them cut the steerer tube down for you.

    Edit: Add some color with a cool chainring: Salsa 104mm 4-Bolt Single Speed Chainring > Components > Drivetrain > Chainrings | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop
    Thanks for all of the links, you guys area really helping with this process. I'm in the middle of restoring a car every bit of you guys is awesome.
    The noob is going to show... please explain what the headset fork race is? I assume its a race for a bearing, like on a car? And as far as cutting the steerer tube, this is the very top piece of the fork that goes through the neck of the bike?
    And sweet! I have always liked black and green!

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTscoob View Post
    Ehh, go for an HG61/SLX cassette over the HG-50. SRAM stuff is nice but the teeth are soft, wear down/bend easily.

    Grab a good KMC chain too, they're normally cheaper than a comparable Shimano or SRAM chain. If Jenson has them, look up Wippermann connex links, they make chain removal so much easier for cleaning, toss the KMC master link in your camelbak for a trailside fix.

    Grips- get lockons. ODI Rogues are great, so are Oury's and ESI Chunkys if you're wanting a more traditional grip.
    Thanks for your input, I will have to look into that everything said here!
    And I personally like really soft grips... any suggestions?

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    Oury. They are nice grips and soft. Had some non-lockon ones on my last bike and loved them. If I got them again I'd go lockon (so much easier to deal with getting on and off). Note that I think you have to buy grip and lockon separately at Jenson for oury (didn't notice any kits.. there may be though which would save a few bucks). The bike I'm building up cheap is getting ODI intense since that's what I have kicking around the house.

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    Was the headset in good enough shape to keep? I'm betting it's cheaper to order one from jenson than pick one up locally. If you need one I'd definitely get the store to remove the old one and press the new one in (those are special tools you won't have).

    Do you have any kind of bike collective locally? We have something like that locally where you can drop in to use tools at $9/hr. For $15/hr they'll help with maintenance. It's a good way to get access to expensive less frequently used tools like a headset press. I have stuff like a crank arm remover, but a press costs more than all my bike tools combined.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dubbreak View Post
    Was the headset in good enough shape to keep? I'm betting it's cheaper to order one from jenson than pick one up locally.
    Unless the photo's are really deceiving, that looks like a Chris King headset on the bike. If it is, I'd second guess the notion of replacing it with a cheap one because you already have one of the best headsets that you can buy.

  35. #35
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    I would ask a different shop about possibly sending the fork out for a rebuild. QBP has a shock service center that works on Marzocchi stuff, and it is possible that they may be able to rebuild it for you. You can also try giving QBP a call yourself to find out if they are capable.

    Marzocchi also may be able to help you, give them a call. If they can't, they may be able to offer you [X] off a new fork. Marathons are very cost effective options.

  36. #36
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    At worst you get a free Surly frame! Hell yes you should take it and build it up because it's a cool ass Surly frame painted a very cool looking black. I had an orange one for years and loved it and that Marzochi Z1 is a great fork for it. I had a similar one on mine with 130 mm travel. I doubt you need to do all that repair stuff at one time. Might be rideable with new cables, a new chain and a cassette (to me the cassette just looks a bit rusty) and odds are the fork can be made very well with a cleaning, new bushings, oil and seals (preferably Enduro brand seals). If not you can buy a used fork or an Instigator rigid fork for around $100 new, other rigid forks less. If you are mechanically inclined the cables and tune up will be a piece of cake for you to learn.

    In my opinion this bike when running will be significantly cooler than any new or used $400 bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by Left-ear View Post
    Long story short, my girlfriend and I want to start doing some light trail riding, as well as around the neighborhood. A neighbor of mine just gave me this Surly Instigator (pictures below) and told me that I could keep it if I wanted to put some money into it to make it ride-able again... I took it to a local bike shop and this is the list of stuff that it is going to need.

    Obviously a tune up
    Rear 9 speed cassette
    Chain
    Front shifter/ derailleur
    Grips
    Pedals
    Seat
    Front shock (this is where I am kind of stuck..)

    I want to see if this bike can be fixed for less that I can get a new one, or even a used one for... so I want to try and keep it at $300 max... if not I'll give it back to my neighbor and go buy a used one for $350 or $400, maybe even a new one for around $400.

    I am mechanically inclined, but I have not worked much on bikes... so if I can learn how to do stuff the right way, I may be able to do some of the work myself.

    Any input would be great, as well as maybe a few places I would be able to find gently used parts that will fit on this bike would be awesome. Please and thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tl1 View Post
    In my opinion this bike when running will be significantly cooler than any new or used $400 bike.
    And 10 times better then any entry level bike for $400.

    Im going to see if my neighbor has any free surlys....
    "Never mistake motion for action."

    "If I can bicycle, I bicycle."

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by L4NE4 View Post
    And 10 times better then any entry level bike for $400.

    Im going to see if my neighbor has any free surlys....
    That would be nice, I should be so lucky. On this Instigator I'd lube the existing chain up first with a rust buster penetrating lube and solvent by soaking in a milk jug, shaking occasionally and see if it's saveable. Then I'd clean it and re-lube with chain lube and that whole bike may be rideable as is pretty much. I've done this with a bunch of other people's bikes that were left outside for varying periods. If rideable for easy trails as mentioned then just buy parts on an as needed basis when able to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tl1 View Post
    That would be nice, I should be so lucky. On this Instigator I'd lube the existing chain up first with a rust buster penetrating lube and solvent by soaking in a milk jug, shaking occasionally and see if it's saveable. Then I'd clean it and re-lube with chain lube and that whole bike may be rideable as is pretty much. I've done this with a bunch of other people's bikes that were left outside for varying periods. If rideable for easy trails as mentioned then just buy parts on an as needed basis when able to.
    Yup be stoked for the deal you got and just get it rideable and ride it until you have to replace parts. I got my instigator frame for and built it up single speed with a rigid fork and love it other than really rocky trails, tough on the hands. Congrats on the good deal!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dubbreak View Post
    Oury. They are nice grips and soft. Had some non-lockon ones on my last bike and loved them. If I got them again I'd go lockon (so much easier to deal with getting on and off). Note that I think you have to buy grip and lockon separately at Jenson for oury (didn't notice any kits.. there may be though which would save a few bucks). The bike I'm building up cheap is getting ODI intense since that's what I have kicking around the house.
    Quote Originally Posted by dubbreak View Post
    Was the headset in good enough shape to keep? I'm betting it's cheaper to order one from jenson than pick one up locally. If you need one I'd definitely get the store to remove the old one and press the new one in (those are special tools you won't have).
    Do you have any kind of bike collective locally? We have something like that locally where you can drop in to use tools at $9/hr. For $15/hr they'll help with maintenance. It's a good way to get access to expensive less frequently used tools like a headset press. I have stuff like a crank arm remover, but a press costs more than all my bike tools combined.
    Quote Originally Posted by Spec7 View Post
    Unless the photo's are really deceiving, that looks like a Chris King headset on the bike. If it is, I'd second guess the notion of replacing it with a cheap one because you already have one of the best headsets that you can buy.
    Yeah I will want the lock on grips, thatís what I have on my trick bike. The guy at the bike shop told me that the headset (which is what I will assume is the top part of the fork that holds both shocks?) is in good shape, that I should hold onto it, and that it will outlast the bike. And thatís a really good idea dubbreak, but I will have to take a look to see if there is anything in this area like thatÖ. I doubt it.
    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    I would ask a different shop about possibly sending the fork out for a rebuild. QBP has a shock service center that works on Marzocchi stuff, and it is possible that they may be able to rebuild it for you. You can also try giving QBP a call yourself to find out if they are capable.
    Marzocchi also may be able to help you, give them a call. If they can't, they may be able to offer you [X] off a new fork. Marathons are very cost effective options.
    Yeah I am really leaning towards this instigator ridged for unless I can find someone to rebuild this Marzocchi. I will definitely try and give them a call tomorrow.
    Quote Originally Posted by tl1 View Post
    At worst you get a free Surly frame! Hell yes you should take it and build it up because it's a cool ass Surly frame painted a very cool looking black. I had an orange one for years and loved it and that Marzochi Z1 is a great fork for it. I had a similar one on mine with 130 mm travel. I doubt you need to do all that repair stuff at one time. Might be rideable with new cables, a new chain and a cassette (to me the cassette just looks a bit rusty) and odds are the fork can be made very well with a cleaning, new bushings, oil and seals (preferably Enduro brand seals). If not you can buy a used fork or an Instigator rigid fork for around $100 new, other rigid forks less. If you are mechanically inclined the cables and tune up will be a piece of cake for you to learn.
    In my opinion this bike when running will be significantly cooler than any new or used $400 bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by L4NE4 View Post
    And 10 times better then any entry level bike for $400.
    Im going to see if my neighbor has any free surlys....
    In all honesty, the more I look at this bike, and all the pictures I have found (not many) of these, I really am falling in love with it. Yeah the cassette is rusty crustyÖ I found one a guy had locally, still in the box but I never got an email back so looks like online is going to be my best bet. I havenít had time to look yet but is there anything in that link about changing the rear cassette? I donít imagine it being too hard. Haha I wonít consider it free. I told him I would do the brakes on his car and some other stuff for him so itíll even out in the end.
    Quote Originally Posted by tl1 View Post
    That would be nice, I should be so lucky. On this Instigator I'd lube the existing chain up first with a rust buster penetrating lube and solvent by soaking in a milk jug, shaking occasionally and see if it's saveable. Then I'd clean it and re-lube with chain lube and that whole bike may be rideable as is pretty much. I've done this with a bunch of other people's bikes that were left outside for varying periods. If rideable for easy trails as mentioned then just buy parts on an as needed basis when able to.
    Yeah I was thinking about doing something with the front fork first because thatís the most pricey thing on the list as of right now. I mean I can ride it on the paved trail here in the neighborhood with the shock the way it isÖ I guess I canít say much about the shock until I actually get out and ride it.
    With me trying to finish a project car of mine, an as is needed basis for the bike sounds smart fun on a low budget lol.
    Quote Originally Posted by scottg07 View Post
    Yup be stoked for the deal you got and just get it rideable and ride it until you have to replace parts. I got my instigator frame for and built it up single speed with a rigid fork and love it other than really rocky trails, tough on the hands. Congrats on the good deal!
    Trust me I am very happy about the deal. A brake job and a few other things on his car and itíll be all good. Heís a cool guy (obviously) and when we have the time we always help each other out when possible.

    By the way, does anyone know where I can get some new stickers for this bike? I want to take them all off and see if I can buff this paint and clean it up a little bit before I get out on the trails. Make it a little easier to get the dirt off is the paint is smooth
    Thank you guys so much for your input!

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    Im sure you can order new stickers from surly, not sure if they have "instigator" stickers though. Oh yeah and ODI Yeti grips are great, nice and soft, have had them on my transition for the last 4 years

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    now go pull the trigger and post photos when done. The instigator is bad-ass.

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    Haha yeah, I'm going to do the best that I can. I have a project car that needs to get done first, so the bike is going to get done, just a slow process.

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    How hard will it be to make this bike a 1x1? I've been looking around at some set ups, but I wasn't sure what all it consisted of.

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    So I pumped up the tires, bought some chain lube at work, and rode it up and down the street. This is is run to ride... The front shock is completely gone for sure. I called Marzocchi and sent the some pictures. I know the updates are kind of pointless right now, but I'm excited.

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