$600.00 too much for upgrades on 20 year old bike?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    $600.00 too much for upgrades on 20 year old bike?

    Today I was doing the math and when I add up all that I've spend on my last project I was wondering if I was insane?

    I have an old ~1990 GT Karakoram that I converted to a single speed last year.

    So far this winter I've done the following:

    Bought several bike tools
    Stripped the bike down to the frame
    Had the frame powder coated
    installed new fork
    installed new headset
    installed new seat and QR seat clamp
    Small amount of labor from LBS

    On my list for early spring:
    New front wheel
    BB7 Brake on front.

    When all is said and done I will have put about $600.00 into my old bike making it new again.

    Am I crazy? I think not since I will probably ride the bike for another 20+ years, but wanted to know your thoughts.

    I'll post pictures of the before/after when I button up the last few details this weekend.

  2. #2
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    That is probably more than I would have put into that bike but if you are happy with the outcome...who cares! Those old GT frames are pretty bombproof.

  3. #3
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    for one, don't roll the cost of tools into your overall "upgrade" costs.

    I also wouldn't put powdercoating on that list, either. if you like the frame and want it to look nice, nothing wrong with powdercoating a frame.

    replacing a headset is, IMO, more of a maintenance thing. yeah, you can upgrade the headset to a better one, but generally, I wouldn't say that putting a better headset on makes the bike any better than it was, unless the old one was in need of replacing, anyway. I'd not include that.

    seat and seat clamp, also not really an "upgrade". seats wear out and need replacing. seat clamps are cheap...if you want to replace it, I don't think that needs justification.

    It looks to me like the fork and brake are really what precipitated the most of the swaps, am I right? The headset needed to be replaced because your old one was threaded and the new fork steerer is threadless, right? And the wheel is for the disc hub, right? sorta depends on what you're getting. I'm figuring that since your overall cost is $600, you're not spending a lot on the individual parts which is probably well within what the frame is built to handle.

    you're freshening up a classic frame with some new parts so you can extend your enjoyment of it. it doesn't sound like you're trying to turn the bike into something it's not (do more aggressive stuff on an xc frame, for example, by putting disc brakes and a longer travel fork on it, which happens a lot). sounds to me like you're just putting some new life into an old bike and there's nothing wrong with that.

  4. #4
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    Although most of my parts came from my parts bin and trades, I would calculate my upgrades would be about that much if I added the value all up. Who cares? I love this bike and ride it the most. You're not crazy if you love your bike and ride it.

    I think it's crazy to spend $6000 on some new carbon fiber deal and ride it a few times a month.

    I just upgraded my wheels on this bike.

    DionRidesBikes.com: Bringing 1986 into 2013 - REVIEW of My "Modernized" 1986 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 0.00 too much for upgrades on 20 year old bike?-img_3123.jpg  


  5. #5
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    Well let's look at it like this; what kind of HT can you get for $600? Used, maybe something good if you are sharp at that sort of thing. What you have is an experience that brought you deep into the bike which is now something you totally own, along with some nice tools.
    I don't rattle.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    for one, don't roll the cost of tools into your overall "upgrade" costs.

    I also wouldn't put powdercoating on that list, either. if you like the frame and want it to look nice, nothing wrong with powdercoating a frame.

    replacing a headset is, IMO, more of a maintenance thing. yeah, you can upgrade the headset to a better one, but generally, I wouldn't say that putting a better headset on makes the bike any better than it was, unless the old one was in need of replacing, anyway. I'd not include that.

    seat and seat clamp, also not really an "upgrade". seats wear out and need replacing. seat clamps are cheap...if you want to replace it, I don't think that needs justification.

    It looks to me like the fork and brake are really what precipitated the most of the swaps, am I right? The headset needed to be replaced because your old one was threaded and the new fork steerer is threadless, right? And the wheel is for the disc hub, right? sorta depends on what you're getting. I'm figuring that since your overall cost is $600, you're not spending a lot on the individual parts which is probably well within what the frame is built to handle.

    you're freshening up a classic frame with some new parts so you can extend your enjoyment of it. it doesn't sound like you're trying to turn the bike into something it's not (do more aggressive stuff on an xc frame, for example, by putting disc brakes and a longer travel fork on it, which happens a lot). sounds to me like you're just putting some new life into an old bike and there's nothing wrong with that.
    You got most of it right

    Everything that I replaced replaced, needed to be replaced.

    Fork was a 20+ year old RockShock Judy that had seen better days. Went with a Surly 1x1

    Seat was an old junk seat with holes in it. Went with a Brooks B-17

    QR Seat Post Clamp was so I could easily take my seat with me when I cummute to work.

    No name headset was shot. Replaced it with a Cane Creek 10

    The front brakes are as old as the bike is. When I find a good deal on a front wheel with hub that will accomodate a rotor I will pull the trigger on that with a new BB7.

    This is why I powder-coated the frame:



    I basically "restored" the bike to an almost "like new" condition. I figured I couldn't get a new bike at that quality for that price.

  7. #7
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    can't go wrong with a rigid fork for an old bike.

    it looks to me like most of your changes are pretty good. I'm kinda so-so on the disc brake one, though, for your particular bike. I love disc brakes and probably won't buy a new bike without them, but for an older bike you'd probably do just as well to find a new(er) set of cantis or v's for it.

    If your wheels are in need of replacement, anyway, I'd make that change first and just get a set with disc hubs and machined sidewalls for rim brakes on the chance that you find a smoking deal on brakes later. if the wheels work well as they are, I'd grease up the bearings in the hubs and use them as they are and see about finding a good set of rim brakes.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Although most of my parts came from my parts bin and trades, I would calculate my upgrades would be about that much if I added the value all up. Who cares? I love this bike and ride it the most. You're not crazy if you love your bike and ride it.

    I think it's crazy to spend $6000 on some new carbon fiber deal and ride it a few times a month.

    I just upgraded my wheels on this bike.

    DionRidesBikes.com: Bringing 1986 into 2013 - REVIEW of My "Modernized" 1986 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    Nice read and nice project. I've been toying with the idea of finding an old bike or 2 at the Good-Will store or a garage sale this spring and build up a track-bike kind of thing.

    I've definitely gotten the bug for working on bikes now, and I'm itching for a new project. I hope I stumble into a good project bike soon....and my wife doesn't yell at me for getting another bike.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by p08757 View Post
    Nice read and nice project. I've been toying with the idea of finding an old bike or 2 at the Good-Will store or a garage sale this spring and build up a track-bike kind of thing.

    I've definitely gotten the bug for working on bikes now, and I'm itching for a new project. I hope I stumble into a good project bike soon....and my wife doesn't yell at me for getting another bike.
    my sister's got a 90's-era mtb with tons of blue ano parts (blue ano nipples, blue ano peace sign canti yokes, blue ano kooka cranks) that'll be my next project. I plan on buying it from her and giving it a lot of TLC to make it shiny again and using it for family rides, parades, and other low key stuff.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    can't go wrong with a rigid fork for an old bike. it looks to me like most of your changes are pretty good. I'm kinda so-so on the disc brake one, though, for your particular bike. I love disc brakes and probably won't buy a new bike without them, but for an older bike you'd probably do just as well to find a new(er) set of cantis or v's for it.

    If your wheels are in need of replacement, anyway, I'd make that change first and just get a set with disc hubs and machined sidewalls for rim brakes on the chance that you find a smoking deal on brakes later. if the wheels work well as they are, I'd grease up the bearings in the hubs and use them as they are and see about finding a good set of rim brakes.

    Already took care of the front bearings when I had the bike tore apart. The rims are in good enough shape for being 20 years old.

    I have really old Onza brakes on the front, and they work well for being 20 years old. The problem is there is a nut with a hole in it to hold tension on the spring that is showing ware. This part failed on one side of my rear brake and I could not find a replacement part, so I just replaced the entire rear brake. My front brakes are showing similar ware, and its only a mater of time before they fail.

    My total cost for the replacement was ~$50.00 for a decent brake with replaceable pads.

    I figure I could get a used front rim with disk brake hub and new BB-7 for ~$100.00 give or take $20.

    Is my logic good or do you think I should go with a new front cantilever brake for ~ $50.00when my old ones fails?
    Last edited by p08757; 01-10-2013 at 12:53 PM. Reason: oops

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by p08757 View Post
    Already took care of the front bearings when I had the bike tore apart. The rims are in good enough shape for being 20 years old.

    I have really old Onza brakes on the front, and they work well for being 20 years old. The problem is there is a nut with a hole in it to hold tension on the spring that is showing ware. This part failed on one side of my rear brake and I could not find a replacement part, so I just replaced the entire rear brake. My front brakes are showing similar ware, and its only a mater of time before they fail.

    My total cost for the replacement was ~$50.00 for a decent brake with replaceable pads.

    I figure I could get a used front rim with disk brake hub and new BB-7 for ~$100.00 give or take $20.

    Is my logic good or do you think I should go with a new front cantilever brake for ~ $50.00when my old ones fails?
    hmm, not sure how easy it would be for you to keep the cost of the wheel + BB7 in that range. one thing to think about is that lever pull for your canti levers will be different than that required by the BB7 caliper, so you're going to have to have two different levers that will feel quite a bit different from each other. you could do it, but I like both of my brakes to feel about the same at the lever.

    since the wheels are fine, I'd just get a new front canti brake to match the rear one you installed already. it should feel the same, or at least close enough.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    hmm, not sure how easy it would be for you to keep the cost of the wheel + BB7 in that range. one thing to think about is that lever pull for your canti levers will be different than that required by the BB7 caliper, so you're going to have to have two different levers that will feel quite a bit different from each other. you could do it, but I like both of my brakes to feel about the same at the lever.

    since the wheels are fine, I'd just get a new front canti brake to match the rear one you installed already. it should feel the same, or at least close enough.
    I didn't think of my brake levers.... Thanks for pointing that out to me, I thought my current ones would work.

    What's different? My levers do have 2 settings that pull the cable further or shorter depending on which slot I put the cable on.

    Edit: Found my receipt for the levers. I have a Tektro RT354AG Lever Set. (Linear Pull and Cantilever Compatible)

    More things to research.....

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by p08757 View Post
    I didn't think of my brake levers.... Thanks for pointing that out to me, I thought my current ones would work.

    What's different? My levers do have 2 settings that pull the cable further or shorter depending on which slot I put the cable on.

    Edit: Found my receipt for the levers. I have a Tektro RT354AG Lever Set. (Linear Pull and Cantilever Compatible)

    More things to research.....
    Ah well if your levers have a changeable setting then that won't be a problem. Linear pull uses the same pull as most mech discs though you can get short pull road BB7's.

  14. #14
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    Here is the finished product:

    Before:



    After:


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by p08757 View Post


    $600 for that? yeah i would say that is too much

  16. #16
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    I'm going to agree with Nate on everything. Skip the disc brakes and just get cantis or vees. Both are cheap and readily available. Shimanos are nice and will give you another 30 years with the only thing needing attention due to wear being your pads.

    With cantis in the back and a disc brake in the front is going to be a little nutty until you get used to it, I suppose. Prepare for endos!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan GSR View Post
    $600 for that? yeah i would say that is too much
    Thanks!

    I haven't pulled the trigger on the front wheel and BB7 so including tools, powder coating, parts and a little labor I'm at just over $460.00

    Hey to each their own.

  18. #18
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    Wow I have the same colored Karakoram converted to SS as well, always thought it was newer but I guess it's a 1990 as well.

  19. #19
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    I think you did a nice job of cleaning up your ride, and the biggest ticket item you added was probably that saddle - which you could transfer to another bike in the future if you needed to.

    As advised above, dont include the cost of stripping/powdercoating - that is not an upgrade, that is purely for vanity and wanting something to look good (which it does). And the tools can be used again in the future as well.

    Nicely done - a good looking project you had there.

    Quote Originally Posted by p08757 View Post
    Here is the finished product:

    Before:



    After:


  20. #20
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    if i included the cost of tools, my bike would be in the thousands before even buying 1 tire

  21. #21
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    definitely looks good the way it is.

  22. #22
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    Look at what you can get out of the $600. Things like the satisfaction of restoring a good ole bike, riding it knowing it's your own restoration, having your own selection of components, or just plain knowledge of the bike's entire history can be worth a lot more than the money that went in.

    Where did the bike come from? Can't wait to see some photos.

  23. #23
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    Agreed. If it makes you happy and you're having fun, who cares. Spend away!

    Dave (happy owner of a 12-year-old bike)

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    I still have my old GT even though I recently got a new GT Sensor! Crazy how those things last! Ive had mine for a while and upgraded the same parts, headset, front fork. Sounds like a good choice as an alternative to buying a new bike!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn-Rider View Post
    Look at what you can get out of the $600. Things like the satisfaction of restoring a good ole bike, riding it knowing it's your own restoration, having your own selection of components, or just plain knowledge of the bike's entire history can be worth a lot more than the money that went in.

    Where did the bike come from? Can't wait to see some photos.
    I got the bike from a pawn shop back in 1993 at the advice of my old boss. I was going to buy a department store bike but he wouldn't let me. He said for about $100.00 more I could get good used bike.

    That week at lunch we went bike shopping, and in the corner of the bike section at one pawn shop he spotted this thing. It wasn't cleaned and the paint job was a wreck. Upon his inspection he told me to buy this one. As I recall the tag on the bike had like a $400.00 price tag on it, and I haggled them down to about $260.00 because of the shape it was in.

    After a cleaning and a tuneup I had a really nice for the time bike. I've probably put close to 10 to 15K worth of miles on it thus far. Hoping to put at least that much in the next 20 years.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn-Rider View Post
    Look at what you can get out of the $600. Things like the satisfaction of restoring a good ole bike, riding it knowing it's your own restoration, having your own selection of components, or just plain knowledge of the bike's entire history can be worth a lot more than the money that went in.

    Where did the bike come from? Can't wait to see some photos.
    This is exactly how I feel. I'm upgrading a 2008 rockhopper. Most have told me to just buy a new bike but its my baby. I love the bike and when I'm done it'll be unique and all mine

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by bryan.gurc View Post
    This is exactly how I feel. I'm upgrading a 2008 rockhopper. Most have told me to just buy a new bike but its my baby. I love the bike and when I'm done it'll be unique and all mine
    I too have an 08 Rockhopper and plan to add a Fox fork and Sram X9 2x10 at some point. The cost of the fork and drive-train exceeds the bike's cost when new.

  28. #28
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    Good for you OP. I bastardised my 91 Stumpy comp. V-brakes, Ti bar-stem combo quill from a pro-flex. 1x7 with a Pauls keeper. Downhill tires and old old Brooks from E-bay, and found a sus-seatpost from rokshox. Fun bike.

    It would be suicide to post it on VRC.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Ice807 View Post
    I too have an 08 Rockhopper and plan to add a Fox fork and Sram X9 2x10 at some point. The cost of the fork and drive-train exceeds the bike's cost when new.
    I'm putting a reba up front, added an xt RD and converting a 1x9

  30. #30
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    It is cool to keep these bikes rolling and useful.

    The upgrade cost issue really applies to beginners who are not sure about value. The advice they get to not buy a cheap bike and immediately plan to spend lots on new parts is good advice.

    You experienced guys who know what you are going to end up with, and how much it will cost are doing just fine. Keep posting pretty pictures of your modified and refurbished rides.
    "Head injuries are pretty high-consequence" - AndrwSwitch

  31. #31
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    If you're happy don't worry about it.

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