When is enough, enough?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    When is enough, enough?

    When I went to college (5 years ago), I got a cheap bike because I knew it would be outside in the elements most of the time, and because I didn't want to worry too much about it getting stolen. I had regular maintenance done and kept it in pretty ride-able shape. I have ridden it just about every day for the last 5 years, and continue to use it to commute--it's the only bike I have, after all.

    Now, I've found out that I need a whole new drive chain. It turns out that the bike shop I had been taking it to apparently didn't look at any of of that? Regardless, my chain is very stretched and all of my gears/chainwheels are pretty worn. There is also some amount of rust on the frame from living outside for so long.

    So the question is, do I put more money into it, or get a new (used, but new to me) bike? I know, the answer ultimately comes down to me, but what have you folks done in similar situations?
    "In nuclear war, all men are cremated equal" - Dexter Gordon

  2. #2
    I like bacon... (clyde)
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    What is your current bike, what kind of trails will you be riding, and what kind of budget do you have?

    You are probably looking at $60-100 in parts and tools to install a new drivetrain, its easy but you need to do some reading first. This also doesn't address any other issues an older bike is likely to have without a history of diligent maintenance, and it usually becomes a money pit equalling or exceeding a used entry level bike in good shape all around.

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  3. #3
    Cow Clicker
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    Depends on how bad the rust is and where it is. A new decent drivetrain will be $200-$1000 in parts depending on wheteher you want comparable or upgrade. If you want the shop to install, you're looking at more money for labor.

    If you're looking for a new bike, answer these questions and I may be able to help steer you in the right direction: http://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-cor...de-811009.html

  4. #4
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    What are you planning to do with it?

    I've kept some pretty old and chewed up bikes rolling as my commuters at different times. Even if the cost to maintain is creeping up, when the purchase price is a sunk cost, the COO often stays a lot lower to just hang onto an old bike and keep it going. If I were to replace with something else that's cheap to buy, I'd be rolling the dice on a whole new set of issues.

    If it were my bike, I'd clean it up and replace the chain. I wouldn't do chainrings or the cassette until swapping the chain - yeah, you've probably destroyed the cassette, but you might be okay. And often, only one chainring really needs to be replaced.

    Chains cost about $15 if you do something like the PC-830. (Would be my pick on an 8-speed or fewer drivetrain.)
    Cassettes cost $20-$60 depending on number of speeds, if you don't feel like spending a whole lot.
    Chainrings come in around $30 a pop if you're looking for inexpensive but non-garbage ones. Entire cranksets can come in under $100.
    This sort of neglect is unlikely to have done anything to the derailleurs. They can wear out eventually, but it takes a pretty long time. Otherwise, it's usually a matter of whether or not you fell and banged one into something.
    EDIT: Also, probably you could stand to recable just on general principles. Parts should come in under $20 to do both the brakes and the derailleurs.

    I highly recommend having a chain tool and a cassette lockring tool. If you don't have general-purpose stuff, like a crescent wrench, I highly recommend having that too.

    While I wouldn't want to go out and buy an older bike with a chewed up drivetrain, it's really not such a difficult thing to fix economically if it's supposed to be a "save-you-money" bike.

    If you're riding it as a sport, give some thought to what you can spend and what you want in a bike. It's usually not very economical to upgrade a cheap older bike, especially since you've already been backed into a corner on the first few things you need to address.

    And, tell us what you've actually got. Be specific.
    Last edited by AndrwSwitch; 09-03-2012 at 07:31 PM.
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  5. #5
    Gumnut Peddler
    Reputation: Grinderz's Avatar
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    I would look around for a newer second hand bike and see what you can find around the same price as what you have to spend to fix your current one.
    This will be your best indication as to keeping your existing bike vs an 'upgrade'

  6. #6
    Just Ride
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    Why wouldn't an LBS look at the drive train? That's the most important part! Might want to find a new LBS regardless of what you decide to do!
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  7. #7
    Picture Unrelated
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    You failed to mention the maintenance interval you were bringing your bike to the shop before you threw them under the bus for ruining your bike. Either way, a chain checker is a cheap way to prevent this for the future.

    Anyway, if you are talking just a bit of surface rust on the frame then clean it up, give it a little touch-up paint and keep riding it. You could spray the frame [internally] with Frame Saver as a preventative measure once you get it cleaned up.

    Or you could upgrade the bike to something that might be more closely aligned with what you are using it for these days. Most bikes have aluminium frames right now which should prevent the surface rust issue and you would get a wholly refreshed ride.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  8. #8
    Flying in High in the Sky
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    I think you have a lot of research to do. If parts are available and easy/ or cheap enough to replace, go for it. But if the new parts cost more than the bike, i'll say go get something new.

    IMHO, It's probably more cost effective to buy and ride a wally world bike to the ground and replace it for a new one, then it does to service a old bike.

  9. #9
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    Don't buy a walmart bike !

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all your replies. I've given some thought to it, and considered what you have said, and have decided to have my LBS replace the chain, chainrings and freewheel. I realized that if I would get a new bike, I would want to upgrade (rather than go sideways), and the rust on my bike looks to be pretty superficial.

    Sorry about the lack of specifics: It's a Diamondback Parkway. So, a hybrid commuter bike, not a mountain bike. I had been taking into the shop every six months, until this last year when money got really tight. I'm in a better position now though--should I be taking it in for a tune-up more regularly? I ride roughly 8 miles, five days a week, on paved roads. I've started checking it over weekly, too (cleaning the rims, wiping crud off the chain, etc).

    Cormac - I just moved to Oregon from Ohio. So regardless, I have a new LBS!

    AndrwSwitch - I hadn't thought about cables, but you're probably right. Sounds like something to investigate anyways.
    Last edited by danrothmusic; 09-07-2012 at 09:37 PM.
    "In nuclear war, all men are cremated equal" - Dexter Gordon

  11. #11
    Afric Pepperbird
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    Quote Originally Posted by danrothmusic View Post
    Thanks for all your replies. I've given some thought to it, and considered what y'all have said, and have decided to have my LBS replace the drive train. I realized that if I would get a new bike, I would want to upgrade (rather than go sideways), and the rust on my bike looks to be pretty superficial.

    Sorry about the lack of specifics: It's a Diamondback Parkway. So, a hybrid commuter bike, not a mountain bike. I had been taking into the shop every six months, until this last year when money got really tight. I'm in a better position now though--should I be taking it in for a tune-up more regularly? I ride roughly 8 miles, five days a week, on paved roads. I've started checking it over weekly, too (cleaning the rims, wiping crud off the chain, etc).

    Cormac - I just moved to Oregon from Ohio. So regardless, I have a new LBS!
    Just a heads up, here is our road bike sister site forum, roadbikereview. Not disrespecting you in any way, but it appears you do virtually all of your riding on the road.

    You may find good answers to your future questions there.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt farmer View Post
    Just a heads up, here is our road bike sister site forum, roadbikereview. Not disrespecting you in any way, but it appears you do virtually all of your riding on the road.

    You may find good answers to your future questions there.
    Thanks for the info
    "In nuclear war, all men are cremated equal" - Dexter Gordon

  13. #13
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    For 300-500$ you can buy a bike that's probably miles ahead of the current one you own with free lifetime adjustments if you buy it from certain shops. New bikes are the best!

  14. #14
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    the money you're spending on paying them to tune it, you could do it yourself, and afford a new bike with the money saved. all they're doing is adjusting the gears and oiling the chain... maybe adjust the brakes? its really not hard, and its something you may want to know eventually.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ou2mame View Post
    the money you're spending on paying them to tune it, you could do it yourself, and afford a new bike with the money saved. all they're doing is adjusting the gears and oiling the chain... maybe adjust the brakes? its really not hard, and its something you may want to know eventually.
    Yeah, I can adjust brakes and oil the chain, but I'm always worried to mess with my derailleur. I guess I should just go for it and if I mess it up too badly have the LBS clean up my mistakes?

    I also don't want to mess with truing wheels. Back in high school, I tried building a wheel--I think the experience may have scarred me!
    "In nuclear war, all men are cremated equal" - Dexter Gordon

  16. #16
    On wuss patrol
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    Hmmm. What am I missing? You bought a less expensive bike, you've ridden it roughly everyday for 5 years on the original drivetrain, you've left it mostly out in the elements and are just now at the point where the drivetrain is worn and needs to replaced. Is that right so far? It seems to me that you have got your money's worth from that bike, the drivetrain in particular. The shop you were taking it to could have measured chain stretch and checked for gear wear and told you it needed to be replaced once a year. They did you a favor and saved you all that money you would have paid over the 5 years.

    BTW, I go through 2-3 chains a year on each of my bikes and I don't ride every day. Consider yourself fortunate.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  17. #17
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    if you are looking at absolute minimum cost of biking, might be cheaper to get a used bike. there are many that haven't been used much on Craiglist where i live.

  18. #18
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    If you are going to riding any sort of trail more difficult than packed dirt, buy yourself a "new" bike instead of what I view as wasting money on something that someday will completely fail on you.
    Will someday be living in Alaska with 2 pooches

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