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  1. #1
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    I need some advice.

    2 months ago I bought my first bike to commuting to college. I bought a Trek 3900 I started doing some small dirt trails and I'm slowly falling in love with it! I don't have money to purchase a new bike and I know this bike isn't the state of the art. What are some items I can invest in to make this bike a better one? Please, I need help give me as much feedback as you can!

  2. #2
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    Upgrades are much more expensive than buying a new bike which is usually more expensive than buying something on Craigslist.

    Save your money for the purchase of a new or used bike and in the meantime, "run with what you brung"

  3. #3
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    I would wait until u have problems before upgrading be thing. When things break, grab better replacements if u wish.



    sent from one of my 4 gold leafed iphone4s's

  4. #4
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    Gradual modernization is a good option if you have no money. You can slowly replace all the items, and then buy a new frame and fork and make a brand new bike.You can buy new derailleurs at first: front and rear. I advise to buy Shimano Deore or Sram X-5. when it comes to choosing the front der. it doesn't matter which you choose, but the rear der. you have to buy the same producer as a shifters.

  5. #5
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    yeah what everyone said... what do you want to change about it? best place to start is probably the fork, because that's what sucks the most. but to get a real upgrade you're looking at at least 350-500 dollars. less pricier upgrades will probably not affect your riding as much. and don't use the word invest, because trust me, nothing you add to the bike is an investment.

  6. #6
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    How much money do you want to spend?

  7. #7
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    Here's a decent fork upgrade, it has adjustable rebound damping. Without it you get pogoing over multiple bumps.
    BlueSkyCycling.com - Rock Shox XC 32 TK Coil Fork
    That's 130. The 28TK is 80 but a little flexy if you weigh more than 170.
    This fork for 350 is about the best.
    BlueSkyCycling.com - 2011 Rock Shox Reba RL Dual Air Fork OE
    This Suntour Epicon is new and should be between th 32TK and the Reba.
    New 2012 SR Suntour Epicon X2 LO-R lite MTB Bike Air Suspension Fork Black 26er | eBay

    I'd also upgrade to a lighter grippier faster rolling tire.
    Schwalbe Racing Ralph HS 425 Performance ORC Tire 26x2.25 - AAWYEAH Bikes and Bicycle Parts

  8. #8
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    I'd probably focus on fit-related items like handlebar and stem, and seat. Consider a wider handlebar, and maybe a shorter stem to go along with it.

  9. #9
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    Good pedals, good tires. I would avoid replacing anything else unless it breaks.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  10. #10
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    Do you currently own a helmet, gloves, padded shorts, proper shoes, Cyclocomputer, Finish line bike wash, Finishline brush kit, shop rags, chain lube, chain stay protector (I like Shelter), Gloves, good socks, solid tire pressure gauge, floor tire pump, on trail tire pump or cartridges, shock pump, good three way hex, mufti tool, spare bottles, cages, backpack to put all your gear in?
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  11. #11
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    Wmac list some very important, non expensive things, ever avid .mtber should own.

    Save $250+ for a used recon/reba fork

    Or wheels

    Wheels and fork should be your first major upgrades. Those affect the bike handling/feel the most. Drive train components don't matter as long as they are dialed properly. If you do change drive stuff, shifters go first and get higher quality shifters since they control the cable pull. Derailleur can be middle of the road. Once you get to mid level the only benefit of spending more is shedding grams of weight. Since you're a beginner, that doesn't matter at all. First and foremost, Learn to ride and have fun.

  12. #12
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    Oh, and pick a bike shop in your town with people you like and bring them beer on occasion. Make sure the shops pretty empty for proffessionalism reasons. Get small parts here and there and ask questions. They're there to help you. Most bike shop guys are chill. You can pick out and avoid the pretentious d bags that will look down on your make and let you know. I hate those asshats

  13. #13
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    I agree with what everyone has said pretty much. I guess my question is what don't you like about it? If you like it then leave it alone. I agree with WMAC that maintenance stuff and PPE is probably more important that small upgrades to your bike. If something is giving you fits or is broken then upgrade that. I agree with kikoraa also we have two bike shops one is a bunch of pretentious DB's and the other is a bunch of super cool people that help everyone out all the time. If you like your bike there is no reason to feel inadequate that it isn't the most expensive thing in the world. It is cooler to outride people on super expensive bikes with a cheaper bike anyway. I hope this helps.

  14. #14
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    Ride your bike. You have a bike, be grateful. You have trails. Ride your bike.

    Contrary to what anyone may say, one only needs the desire to ride, a bike, any bike, and a helmet to enjoy riding trails. As you invest more time into riding, you will most likely come to the conclusion that gloves and a pair or three riding shorts will make your rides more comfortable.

    If your tires wear out, buy new tires. If your grips are too skinny/fat/hard/soft, buy new grips. If your seat doesn't fit your "sit bones" properly, buy a new seat.

    You do not NEED a new fork, new wheelset, new drivetrain, etc. to enjoy trail riding. You only need the desire to ride, any bike in sound mechanical condition, and a helmet.

    Go ride your damn bike and have fun.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  15. #15
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    I'd say just ride the one you have until you can answer this question yourself. I don't mean that as smartazz. If you have a bike that works then ride the crap out of it - ride it hard until it breaks, then decide what about it you'd like to improve and get a bike off of craigslist that gives you everything you'll then know you want.

  16. #16
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    Thanks a bunch guys you don't know how much this is helping me. At the moment I have around $250 to spend on upgrades no more. I do have helmet, gloves,pads, and I just bought a Camelbak for my long rides. Yeah I think I might be looking into a new fork and maybe some aluminum pedals since I really dislike my plastic.. Thanks for all the help guys it really means a lot to not know any of you and you all put so much work into your answer! Great Community here!

  17. #17
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    To go along with the "not-so-expensive" stuff...

    Do you have at least a small first-aid kit? It sounds like you're riding solo a lot.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Do you currently own a helmet, gloves, padded shorts, proper shoes, Cyclocomputer, Finish line bike wash, Finishline brush kit, shop rags, chain lube, chain stay protector (I like Shelter), Gloves, good socks, solid tire pressure gauge, floor tire pump, on trail tire pump or cartridges, shock pump, good three way hex, mufti tool, spare bottles, cages, backpack to put all your gear in?
    good info, thanks!

  19. #19
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    bike envy sucks.

    i had the same set of questions when i was shopping and realized i couldn't afford the toy so i bought the tool instead. Tools get the job done. Toys are for bragging rights. Sure there might be real differences between a $500 bike and a $5000 bike but they arent likely going to benefit me and my current fitness/experience/interests.

    I'm stoked with the craigslist special i bought. Tuned the shifting, changed the tires, called her good.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by axisofoil View Post
    To go along with the "not-so-expensive" stuff...

    Do you have at least a small first-aid kit? It sounds like you're riding solo a lot.
    I do ride solo haha! Yeah I do have one, what are some essentials I will be needing? I'm very new to all of this sorry

  21. #21
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    Best thing you can do is ride your bike to gain more experience. As you become a better rider, you'll start to know what you want/don't want in a bike.

    Tools are an important investment as well as knowing how to fix stuff. If something breaks while out on the trail and you don't know how to fix it or have the right tools, you'll do a lot of walking.

    What you put in your pack is varied from person to person, how remotely you ride and the area where you live. Basics are a patch kit, spare tube, hand pump, tire levers, food, water, and a first aid kit.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stinky Ninja View Post
    I do ride solo haha! Yeah I do have one, what are some essentials I will be needing? I'm very new to all of this sorry
    Bandaids for the little boo-boos. Maybe some alcohol pads or triple antibiotic cream.
    For bigger scrapes, its nice to have a bit of gauze/pads and med tape.
    Aspirin.
    Electrolyte tabs or Gu or similar.
    Nitrile Gloves (its not always your fluids)
    Bright, small flashlight
    Bandana (use for sling, tie splints, tourniquet, etc)
    Sharp blade of some sort (I keep razor blades in my med kit... or at least a clean, sharpened knife)

    If Cacti attacks are common in your area:
    Tweezers
    Duct Tape

    If Teddy Bear (Jumping Cholla) Cacti attacks are common in your area:
    Stiff comb


    Adventure medical kits are a great starter kit... include pretty much everything you might need (at least that you would know how to use if you're asking for what to include in a med kit). I started with an ultralight and watertight 7 and grew from there. The 5 is probably good enough for most people. I'm a tad on the paranoid side and have added quite a bit to mine.

  23. #23
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    Thanks Axis, this information will be very useful! :]

  24. #24
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    I'm going to agree with the others.

    Grips, seat, pedals. Those you touch.

    Tires, handlebars, stem. Those change performance.

    Tire tools, patch kit, multi-tool, pump. Bandages, super glue, alcohol wipes, whistle. Just in case.

    The main thing is learn to ride. The video links in the stickies are worth viewing and practicing.

  25. #25
    local bike dr.
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    for $250 i'd get accessories and tools:
    1) Seat Bag ($10 for a small, $25 for larger / or small waterproof)
    Stuff the following in the seat bag, so you'll always have these items while riding:
    2) Multi-Tool ($25 for CrankBrothers Mulit-17, has all you'd need to do trailside adjustments)
    3) Spare Tube ($10 or so)
    4) Tire Patch Kit + tire levers (approx.$10)
    5) Small "Emergency" flashlight ($10-$25)
    6) Would also purchase a hand pump and attach to your frame (mine is mounted to watter bottle holder) $10 for a basic pump, $30 should get you an effecient pump (pumps while pushing and pulling)
    So, approx. $75 to $125 on always-with-you accessories.... Next, perhaps a first aid kit to place in your camelback, or in the seat bag if you've enough room in it..
    I'd finish off the remaining budget by purchasing general maintainance items,
    *Sram Powerlink or KMC Missing Link (easier chain cleaning) maybe even an extra one for your seat bag in case you have a break out on the trail... $4 each
    *Bottle of dry lube, non-sticky variety to keep chain from attracting dirt ($10)
    *Quart of mineral spirits, a.k.a. paint thinner, ($5) pour into empty coffee can and soak chain overnight for cleaning. clean chain after muddy rides or once a month.
    *Chain gage, pass/fail variety, Park Tools CC-3.2 Chain Checker ($10, or use a tape measure once a month and replace before chain stretches 1/8" per 12")
    *Bottom bracket tool ($18, Park Tool BBT-22) use to tighten bearings if/when you get play in crankset
    *Crank Arm removal tool ($15, Park Tool CWP-7C) can't get to bearings with the crank arms in the way
    *Cassette Lockring removal tool ($8, Park Tool FR-5G)
    *Chain whip ($24, Park Tool SR-1 ...or SR-2.2 for $40)
    *Decent metric wrench set if you don't have one yet, need 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 15mm at a minimum (approx. $30)
    *Decent metric Allen wrench (hex key) set if you don't have one yet, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm at a minimum.. I like the cushioned T-handle set for most of my work... ($25)
    End up spending about $100-$165 on tools, and you'll be able to do your own work.. That is how I'd spend the extra $250: no upgrades, just the essentials to keep your bike reliable and working properly. Worry about tires and whatever else next year....

  26. #26
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    G0at I'm amazed and thankful on how much effort you put into this. I'm going to take your advice! Thanks so much!

  27. #27
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    Btw, I'm getting my ass beat on my $1600 full xtr, sid, carbon cranks + handlebar 22lb hardtail by a riding buddy's entry level 30lb+. Rider matters more.

  28. #28
    local bike dr.
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    The Basic Cleaning and Maint. Guide written by SteveUK is a great read. Will help alot detailing how to go about cleaning, lubricating, and adjusting various components of your bike.

    Also, I forgot to add "Isopropyl Alcohol" to the list, important to bathe your chain in that stuff to remove the mineral spirits. You could use hot water and dish soap instead, but I'm not a fan of soaking my chain in water, it's an invitation for rust in an inner recess of your chain you may not be able to dry completely... Without that step, the mineral spirits still in between the links and rollers will thin out and/or negate any lube you add to the chain. Dry off the chain afterwards and let it air out a few minutes before installing it back on the bike. The few trace amounts of Isopropyl Alcohol will evaporate quickly leaving your chain clean and dry. Easiest to lubricate the chain after you've reinstalled it on the bike. I start at the powerlink and add a drop of lube at each roller as I slowly rotate the chain backwards with the cranks.

    There are also several formulas for wet chain lube, which can perform better than dry lube during winter months or exceptionally wet conditions. One of my favorites is cutting synthetic 5w30 in half with mineral spirits to thin it out enough to get in the tight spaces between link plates, rollers, and pins. Downside to wet lubes is they will pickup dirt, dust, and sand; therefore, they require more frequent cleaning in those conditions.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob13bob View Post
    Btw, I'm getting my ass beat on my $1600 full xtr, sid, carbon cranks + handlebar 22lb hardtail by a riding buddy's entry level 30lb+. Rider matters more.
    Could you translate that to noob terms?

  30. #30
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    G0at your my hero !!!!!!!

  31. #31
    local bike dr.
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    what bob13bob was saying-
    full xtr: top shelf component group of shifters ($230), derailleurs ($120 front/ $200 rear), crankset ($400-$650), brakes($400+). (NOT cheap)
    sid: $775 Rockshox suspension fork, lightweight, dual air, very sweet performance
    carbon cranks + handlebar: lightweight & stiff components (pricey)

    summary: Does not matter how much you spend, regardless of your component level, the rider makes the bike faster. Fitness level, skill, and experience are more important factors than any amount of bling or gadgetry. All of that requires time and hard work. Challenge yourself - take on those long climbs, ride an extra loop, and get in a ride every day. Even if you can't make it to the trails, squeeze in a few miles in town, about 30 minutes riding. At least go on three rides each week, it'll help alot.

  32. #32
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    As a new rider Im dealing with this as well only things I have upgraded on my bike is pedals, stem, seat post, and seat. That was because it didn't fit me right. Now its a lot more comfortable. Next maybe a shock upgrade but I'm goin to service mine and set it up for me before hand.



    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

  33. #33
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    It's not the bike that makes the difference - it's the rider. All I have to do is go ride with the rigid single speeders (most have the build of a heroin addict) and this point gets driven home... If the bike is in decent shape, run it as is.

    That said - decent riding shoes and pedals make a huge difference (flats or clipless) - If you're riding in sneakers or hiking shoes a lot of your pedal energy gets absorbed in the flex of the shoe. A lot of the grip is lost by the interface of the sole to the pedal... After that - get a decent saddle. All of these items get to be transferred from bike to bike...

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