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  1. #1
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    Am I being foolish upgrading a 15 year old bike? 2003 Trek Fuel 98

    I bought this Bike 15 years ago rode it for a couple of seasons then it went into storage. I took it out of storage last week and looked it over and thought if I were to upgrade it to disc brakes it might be a decent bike to ride again. Anyway I put a new set of tires on it yesterday and one thing led to another and now I have on order a new disc compatible wheelset, Avid BB7 brake kit, new cables. Grand total so far about $250, am I throwing money away or is this a worthy project? Is this bike going to be worth much if I do this?

    Bike is an 03 Trek Fuel 98 carbon frame, triangle and shock pivot. It still has all the original drive train components, shock, fork, seat, handlebars, shifters etc.. The bike weighs 24 lbs and is a blast to ride.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Am I being foolish upgrading a 15 year old bike? 2003 Trek Fuel 98-img_1247.jpg  


  2. #2
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    I don't see disc brake caliper mounts on the rear triangle. Are you planning to use one of those eBay disc adapters to convert the rear?

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  3. #3
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    It looks like it was a great bike when it was new, but it likely will not be worth more than $500 by the time you are all done given how bikes have evolved over the last 15 years (different geometry, wheel sizes, etc. have significantly reduced demand for older bikes). I would spend just enough to get it riding again and use the rest of your money for a new(er) bike.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cfanto View Post
    I don't see disc brake caliper mounts on the rear triangle. Are you planning to use one of those eBay disc adapters to convert the rear?
    Yes I ordered an adapter for $30

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMtnBkr View Post
    Yes I ordered an adapter for $30
    Just be mindful of the stresses the adapters put on the frame. I remember adding one to an old hardtail years ago and it eventually caused the brake boss on the seatstay to break off.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMtnBkr View Post
    Yes I ordered an adapter for $30
    I would strongly recommend NOT using those adapters. Frames have to be designed with disc brakes in mind - the adapters will not hold up, put your frame at risk, can never be truly aligned, and all told, a total safety risk.

    If you want to upgrade that bike, I'd put some tires and new brake pads on it, clean it up, and ride it around town, then save your money for a new bike. The bike is still a fine bike, but it will never compare technology wise to a newer bike, and hacks and adapters will just put you at real risk.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by phidauex View Post
    I would strongly recommend NOT using those adapters. Frames have to be designed with disc brakes in mind - the adapters will not hold up, put your frame at risk, can never be truly aligned, and all told, a total safety risk.

    If you want to upgrade that bike, I'd put some tires and new brake pads on it, clean it up, and ride it around town, then save your money for a new bike. The bike is still a fine bike, but it will never compare technology wise to a newer bike, and hacks and adapters will just put you at real risk.
    I'm with this.

    Linear pull brakes really aren't that bad. They aren't disc brakes but they do the job just fine. Where as you'll have a scrap pile when the adapter snaps the brake boss off or breaks the suspension arm.

    I would only upgrade what must be done, repair/rebuild what can be and enjoy the bike while saving up for something a little more modern (has disc brakes already).

    I'm 270lbs and wouldn't be afraid to ride that bike on our green and blue XC trails at all.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by phidauex View Post
    I would strongly recommend NOT using those adapters. Frames have to be designed with disc brakes in mind - the adapters will not hold up, put your frame at risk, can never be truly aligned, and all told, a total safety risk.

    If you want to upgrade that bike, I'd put some tires and new brake pads on it, clean it up, and ride it around town, then save your money for a new bike. The bike is still a fine bike, but it will never compare technology wise to a newer bike, and hacks and adapters will just put you at real risk.
    I appreciate what your saying but I didn't just decide to order the adapter on a whim. I did lots of research 1st for example in this THREAD they are discussing the fact that Trek offered a Trek adapter specific for adding aftermarket disc brakes for the Fuel bike. It was a very common upgrade and the part was available thru Trek.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMtnBkr View Post
    I appreciate what your saying but I didn't just decide to order the adapter on a whim. I did lots of research 1st for example in this THREAD they are discussing the fact that Trek offered a Trek adapter specific for adding aftermarket disc brakes for the Fuel bike. It was a very common upgrade and the part was available thru Trek.
    Snapped stays were also a very common thing on bikes where disc braking forces weren't a consideration during the design process. Just something to keep in mind...
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkman999 View Post
    It looks like it was a great bike when it was new, but it likely will not be worth more than $500 by the time you are all done given how bikes have evolved over the last 15 years (different geometry, wheel sizes, etc. have significantly reduced demand for older bikes). I would spend just enough to get it riding again and use the rest of your money for a new(er) bike.
    Solid advice right here. $500 is probably generous. OP you ask if you are foolish to upgrade a 15 year old bike which can be a dangerous question to pose because it'll bring out potentially brutally honest responses. But you did ask. Here is my answer; I hope it doesn't come across brutal.

    While it's tempting to engage in sentimentally over an old bike, IMO you'd be better off to spend your upgrade money on demoing new bikes to discover how much more fun, capable and confidence inspiring modern equipment is. Once that's done you'll be in a better position to decide if you want to invest money in a nostalgic relic or put it toward a more capable whip. That today's machines are more capable and confidence inspiring is absolutely unquestionable. Disc brakes are but one of many improvements since the day your old Trek was considered state of the art.
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  11. #11
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    Well I listed the bike on craigslist and sold it in less than an hour for $750 as-is, I will return the parts I ordered on Amazon and move on.

  12. #12
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    You got $750? You are salesperson of the month!
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  13. #13
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    Wow. Nice start on a new one.

    That said, I just upgraded my 13 year old bike to a 1 x 11 setup, and threw all the old xt parts that I had put on it about 7 years ago on my 15 year old Haro. Just threw new pads on the rim brakes and it was amazing the difference. My son was doing stoppies on it like nobody's business. that 15 year old bike really rides like it was new now. properly set up rim brakes aren't that bad....

    Glad you got it sold so quickly.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    You got $750? You are salesperson of the month!
    Not really, go into the LBS with $750 and you'll leave with chinese crap. I would take a handmade in the USA Carbon FS bike over ANY bike store bike for $750 -wouldn't you??

  15. #15
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    Did not notice the carbon.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    Did not notice the carbon.
    Am I being foolish upgrading a 15 year old bike? 2003 Trek Fuel 98-img_1262.jpg

    It had carbon everything, bike weighed 24 lbs

  17. #17
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    750+ 250= 1k
    Round up: Best value mountain bikes under $1000 - Mtbr.com

    You will be way better off.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMtnBkr View Post
    I appreciate what your saying but I didn't just decide to order the adapter on a whim. I did lots of research 1st for example in this THREAD they are discussing the fact that Trek offered a Trek adapter specific for adding aftermarket disc brakes for the Fuel bike. It was a very common upgrade and the part was available thru Trek.
    EDIT: Just saw you decided to sell - probably a good decision. A nice bike is always a nice bike, but when it comes to "updating" you hit diminishing returns very quickly - best to just keep a bike maintained, and ride it like it was designed.

  19. #19
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    Years ago I picked up a used Trek Fuel 98 with Alu Frame (XL) and carbon swingarm. Once I got it put together it was an awesome XC bike but it was not 'clyde worthy'. First year swingarm cracked and I had to replace it. The 'rocker' bushings and hardware constantly needed attention and 'kits' started to get hard to find. After another year or so the frame broke and I moved on.

    You did damn good to get $750...nice!
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  20. #20
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    I upgraded two classics- a 1998 Haro MX3 and a 2004 Stumpy Pro FSR.
    Both bikes were happier with new running gear, but those costs, rather than invested, become "sunk" costs. I built wheels for disc, upgraded the cranks and shifters, installed droppers and wider handlebars.
    I sold the SJ to a kid for less then I initially paid 5 years ago, but I love the Haro and it's sick dual crown 28mm Judy XL fork. A new Fox shock led to 9-speed Saint "Brifters" and 31mm Sun rims. It's fun to ride again, and old-school sick.
    Oh- I've got 9 bikes anyway.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMtnBkr View Post
    Well I listed the bike on craigslist and sold it in less than an hour for $750 as-is, I will return the parts I ordered on Amazon and move on.
    More power to you. You're going to love larger wheels, modern geo, frame features like tapered steerer, thru-axles, etc. plus 1x drivetrain and the latest components. I predict you'll be blown away at the margins by which your new bike eclipses your previous one in every way.
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  22. #22
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    selling that bike and putting the money into something more modern was the right way to go. $750 for that is amazing! that puts you at least half-way to a really nice new bike. something like that would sell for about $300 around here.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMtnBkr View Post
    Not really, go into the LBS with $750 and you'll leave with chinese crap. I would take a handmade in the USA Carbon FS bike over ANY bike store bike for $750 -wouldn't you??

    No, I would never take any 15 year old bike for $750. But you found someone that would, and it's a huge win for you. The part-out value of your bike would barely be $500, and that's assuming someone would pay $300 for the frame.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    More power to you. You're going to love larger wheels, modern geo, frame features like tapered steerer, thru-axles, etc. plus 1x drivetrain and the latest components. I predict you'll be blown away at the margins by which your new bike eclipses your previous one in every way.
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  25. #25
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    Those were actually VERY nice bikes. Had one into our service department recently and I was impressed. The 26" wheels are what they are, but as 26" XC bikes go, they are better than you would expect, and very lightweight too.

    The downside is that 26" bikes just don't have any value on the used market. If you liked it, it would be a good bike to keep around. If you have no particular attachment, then you did good to move on and let someone else get some enjoyment from riding it.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj View Post
    Those were actually VERY nice bikes. Had one into our service department recently and I was impressed. The 26" wheels are what they are, but as 26" XC bikes go, they are better than you would expect, and very lightweight too.

    The downside is that 26" bikes just don't have any value on the used market. If you liked it, it would be a good bike to keep around. If you have no particular attachment, then you did good to move on and let someone else get some enjoyment from riding it.
    YEAH, I gotta say it, was impressive to see that 24# and change on a f/s bike from 15 years ago.

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  27. #27
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    Fuel 98

    I have mine for sale now on Craig's, I'm asking 750 for mine too.

  28. #28
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    If anyone gets more than $500 for a bike like that, I need to commission you to sell a bike for me because that's a hustle!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wak385 View Post
    I have mine for sale now on Craig's, I'm asking 750 for mine too.
    You're gonna get it, and that person is ripping themself off. It's a decent goofy commuter-thing at 400$, and a hilarious waste at 600$. Good luck finding the right sucker.
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