Author Topic: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?  (Read 10680 times)

Guses

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Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« on: October 08, 2014, 08:22:35 AM »
Hello all,

I am presently commuting about 25 KM everyday by bike, 9 days out of 10 from April to December in Ottawa. I have been seriously commuting by bike for the last 2 years, going on 3.

My bike is a 1999 Trek 6000 mountain bike with 80 PSI slick tires (also have knobby for winter). With the amount of mileage I put on the bike, I have had to replace the chain twice and the cassette once. My commute is exclusively paved roads with 80% cycling path and 20% city. I ride pretty fast and often pass fancy speedo wearing suburb cyclists on their fancy road bikes.

I now believe that the crankset is on it's way out as I am experiencing slippage when applying load (especially from a stop) and I know that the chain is not the problem (it's new and properly sized). Because of an altercation with a car several years ago, my back wheel is also very out of true and my seat post is creaking like mad (probably an easy fix).

Now here is my dilemma: my crankset is the shimano acera-x with 42/x/y teeth (not sure what the the x and y is) and replacing the chain ring or crankset will cost at least 60$ plus pedals, plus tools to make the change. I will also need to replace my tires soon for about 15$ a pop and my brakes for around 5$ a hub. Meaning that I will have to invest at least 100$ and possibly 200$ if I also replace my back rim.

Does it make sense to invest that amount of money in a 16 year old bike with tens of thousands of miles on it? If it makes any difference, the rest of the bike is in good condition as I have cared for it well.

Here are options I am considering:

A) Invest the money in new parts, repair the Trek and keep on riding.

B) Sell the Trek and buy a used hybrid (with thinner higher PSI tires for faster commute) for 200$ - 300$. Need suggestions of good models to look for. 

C) Keep the Trek as-is for winter/rainy days riding and buy a used road bike for summer riding in the 200$-300$ range. Need suggestions of good models.

D) Other solution. Specify please.

Please help me think this through.


2ndTimer

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2014, 08:47:00 AM »
I can't see why you would want to change a good thing since it seems to be doing the job. 

frugaliknowit

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2014, 09:04:48 AM »
It sounds like you think you know what your bike needs, but are not sure.

Instead of educated guessing, take it to a reputable bike repair shop and get a detailed estimate.  $15 for tires sounds too low.  Over $100 for a rim, yep.

My gut says, you could go either way. 

If you want a lighter, faster bike, I recommend the Specialed Sirrus.

Guses

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2014, 09:06:09 AM »
There are 4 main drivers leading to me wanting to change bike:

1) It has shocks at the front meaning that I lose a significant portion of my pedalling force (I actually bounce up and down while I pedal). I no longer do mountain trails and my commute is straight pavement.

2) The braking performance is very poor in wet weather. Most newer bikes have discs at the front. While I could change my fork, it appears to be very costly to do so.

3) I only use the largest chain ring. I don't need the others.

4) I am driving on 26" diameter, 2.5" wide tires. Switching to an hybrid or road bike would allow me to have higher PSI and narrower tires for more speed.

So basically it is mainly about speed, gearing and braking. It takes me about 35 minutes to do 12.5 KM. I can probably squeeze that to 25 minutes with better gearing and less bouncing.

Guses

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2014, 09:10:20 AM »
It sounds like you think you know what your bike needs, but are not sure.

Instead of educated guessing, take it to a reputable bike repair shop and get a detailed estimate.  $15 for tires sounds too low.  Over $100 for a rim, yep.

My gut says, you could go either way. 

If you want a lighter, faster bike, I recommend the Specialed Sirrus.

Good call on getting an estimate, this would probably confirm or deny my suspicion.

Re: the tires I am rolling on are the Tyoga city slickers which are about 15$ each. They are OK for what I do with them but I could also go with a tire that is more puncture resistant (I get about 5-6 flats every year). 

adam_tx

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2014, 09:23:00 AM »
Some thoughts/suggestions on your current ride. If the bike is a good fit for you I'd encourage you to keep your current bike. A hybrid may offer some benefits if you need a change in bike geometry such as more comfortable sitting position. Sounds like you are a semi aggressive rider, so a hybrid may be more laid back than you like. You can always test ride a new one to get a feel for it and see if you like that setup and geometry style.

The nice thing about bicycles is you can set up the same frame in many different ways by swapping out components and the tires.

1) Can you adjust the tension on the suspension to be stiffer? Some suspension forks have this option, or a lock out option.

2) New brake pads should clear that issue up.

3) Ditch your front derailleur and the other gears. Replace the largest chain-ring when it needs it, otherwise it may cause more issues with the chain and gear slippage.

4) Ask the bike shop tech what the slimmest tire you could run on your current rims. If the rear wheel is out of true, it is a 5 minute fix for an experienced tech.

There are 4 main drivers leading to me wanting to change bike:

1) It has shocks at the front meaning that I lose a significant portion of my pedalling force (I actually bounce up and down while I pedal). I no longer do mountain trails and my commute is straight pavement.

2) The braking performance is very poor in wet weather. Most newer bikes have discs at the front. While I could change my fork, it appears to be very costly to do so.

3) I only use the largest chain ring. I don't need the others.

4) I am driving on 26" diameter, 2.5" wide tires. Switching to an hybrid or road bike would allow me to have higher PSI and narrower tires for more speed.

So basically it is mainly about speed, gearing and braking. It takes me about 35 minutes to do 12.5 KM. I can probably squeeze that to 25 minutes with better gearing and less bouncing.

dios.del.sol

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2014, 09:47:41 AM »
Everything you mention is a legit maintenance item on a bike if you ride it a lot. A good frame is a lifetime item. My current commuter is a steel frame from 1992. By this point I have probably replaced every part on it except the frame and fork. Shop around for a good price as other suggest. One other option is to get into bike maintenance. It's one of the more accessible DIY tasks with minimal expense on tools at the entry level. Some cities also have bike coops that will guide you. Try Zinn's "Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance" (http://www.amazon.com/Zinn-Art-Mountain-Bike-Maintenance/dp/1934030597) if you want a good book.

Rosbif

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2014, 10:10:33 AM »
There are 4 main drivers leading to me wanting to change bike:

1) It has shocks at the front meaning that I lose a significant portion of my pedalling force (I actually bounce up and down while I pedal). I no longer do mountain trails and my commute is straight pavement.

2) The braking performance is very poor in wet weather. Most newer bikes have discs at the front. While I could change my fork, it appears to be very costly to do so.

3) I only use the largest chain ring. I don't need the others.

4) I am driving on 26" diameter, 2.5" wide tires. Switching to an hybrid or road bike would allow me to have higher PSI and narrower tires for more speed.

So basically it is mainly about speed, gearing and braking. It takes me about 35 minutes to do 12.5 KM. I can probably squeeze that to 25 minutes with better gearing and less bouncing.
Hey, I just signed up here, and was going to introduce myself and whatnot, but I saw this and I have to chip in!

1) A cheap fork can sap a bit of energy, but it's not actually that bad. The feel would definitely be different with a rigid fork. If you're super motivated you could probably replace the spring with a bit of steel rod?? Entirely new (i.e. second hand) forks probably aren't that much, and would be much lighter.

2) you can get new pads. disc brakes are great, but properly maintained brakes are just fine!

3) Just using the big ring is fine. That's actually what I do. I'd leave the derailleur there, it works as a chain guide even if you aren't shifting with it. If you end up hauling big loads / riding in snow, those other rings will help. What do you mean by slippage btw? Cranks moving on the axle? Bottom bracket usually kills the crank arms, but they're replaceable if it's really bad.

4) Big fat tyres are comfortable, I'd stick with them. If you can get some schwalbe big apples cheap enough, go for those. I use them, no punctures in 2 years. If you are desperate to gain speed, read this: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html and pick a good slick with a lower profile. Lower side walls and higher pressures = more speed, but more pinch punctures when you hit potholes etc.

Truing a wheel should take five minutes, you can do it with the wheel in the frame, all you need is a spoke key -- shouldn't cost more than 5 bucks to buy the key (even an adjustable spanner would do in an emergency, but would be super fiddly to use).


nacho

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2014, 10:20:23 AM »
I recommend option B, or option C if you have the money and space to keep two bikes. (Particularly if you use your current bike for actual trail/mountain biking).

It sounds like you definitely need to replace *either* the 3 chain rings or invest in a new crank set. This can range in price from $60-100+ depending on the quality of the parts. As long as there are no issues with the current crankset, I recommend going with the cheapest option (usually chainrings - try Ebay). Keep in mind you do NOT need to replace the pedals, usually they are removable so you can install the same pedals on the new crank set.

Usually when replacing the chain rings you replace the whole drive train at the same time. In other words, replace the chain, cassette, and chain rings at the same time. This is to minimize wear. You might consider continuing to ride on your bike as is and replace the whole drive train next time your chain is worn out (chains last maximum 1,500 miles, but depends on the amount of chain stretch). If you replace the entire drive train simultaneously, as is recommended, your bike repairs just got even more expensive: now $2-300 for repairs.

That's why I recommend you sell the bike as is and use the money towards a new bike. If you have the cash, buy the new bike first so you can keep bike commuting and are not in a rush to sell your current bike for less than it's worth.

My favorite hybrid/commuter bikes are the Jamis Coda, Specialized Sirrus, Trek 7.2/7.3. Each of these bikes is ~$4-550 new depending on the quality of the components.

Since you bike so much and care for your steed, you could even consider going with something fancier :) If you track your bicycling "cost per km," especially with the money you save on commuting, it must be quite low!

Guses

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2014, 10:28:22 AM »
Thanks for all the replies so far. Keep em coming!

To address a few questions/comments:

I do my own bike maintenance but I am a youtube learned bike mechanic. I can change tubes(duh), chains, cassettes and probably crankset too. My technical knowledge is probably poor however.

I did try truing my wheel (3 of the spokes where actually broken) but was only able to right it slightly. To give you an idea of how much out of true it is, I need to space the brakes as much as possible and the wheel still rubs on one side of the pad and then on the other half a rotation later. It vibrates when I ride.

I had not thought of looking on ebay for parts, I mostly use MEC for all my needs.

I replaced the cassette and chain recently which is why I am thinking that a new chainring is needed now.

megaschnauzer

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2014, 10:28:47 AM »
yeah, all that stuff can be repaired. my commuter is a 1999 trek road bike with an old mtb drivetrain. if you have new bike fever then look at the surly long haul trucker. the bike does around the world tours so it's pretty indestructible right out of the box and reasonably priced.

skyrefuge

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2014, 05:22:01 PM »
Now here is my dilemma: my crankset is the shimano acera-x with 42/x/y teeth (not sure what the the x and y is) and replacing the chain ring or crankset will cost at least 60$ plus pedals, plus tools to make the change.

Specifically on the crank, I just replaced the crank on my girlfriend's bike (to get lower gearing, not due to wear). I got an Acera crank for $41 USD. You don't need new pedals, you can keep using your old ones. I must have loaned my crank-puller tool to my friend, so I just removed the crankarm bolts and rode it around in front of my house 'til the crankarms loosened and fell off. Perhaps not the safest method, but it worked. So you might be able to do the whole crank replacement for less than you think. Though you might need a pedal wrench if you don't have one, and your brake and tire estimates might be a bit low.

Glenstache

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2014, 06:29:09 PM »
You are riding a lot of miles and better components will last longer. If you get a replacement bike, you might consider upping your budget a bit to get a nicer bike plus getting disc brakes. Disc wheels will last longer too as they don't get the brake pad wear. I refuse to buy another bike without disc brakes. My bike habit is a bit facepunch-worthy but a nice bike really puts a smile on your face while you're riding it. YMMV. I'm currently riding a 2007 Lemond Poprad disc-brake cyclocross bike as a commuter that I found for relatively cheap on CL. 

From a strictly mustachian point of view, all of the issues with your current bike are fixable, but you should really do something about that rear wheel. Floppy wheels with broken spokes are a safety issue, especially as they can contribute to speed wobble at higher speeds. Spokes can be replaced, and wheels can usually be trued but if the wheel is too far gone.. . then maybe it is time to let it go. With your kind of mileage and presumably riding in nasty conditions spring/fall, you are a candidate for the rims wearing out as well. They will develop a telltale concave surface before they fail (usually by the metal cracking/disintegrating parallel to the braking surface leading to instant deflation of the tire). Make this a routine inspection item every few months. If there is a used bike shop in your town, you might be able to find some used chainrings that will fit your bike for cheap (take your current one with you and make sure the bolt holes line up).

Guses

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2014, 07:42:19 PM »
Ok, I need a bit of help with parts. While I haven't decided that I will repair the bike yet, I want to see what would work and how much it would cost first.

I am contemplating purchasing the following crankset:

http://www.mec.ca/product/5035-881/shimano-acera-4-bolt-175mm-8-speed-crankset/

http://www.mec.ca/product/5039-050/continental-city-ride-ii-26-reflex-wire-tire/?h=10+50012&f=10+50182

Will this fit? Do I need to change the bottom bracket?

Also, looks like they no longer have the same brand of tire that I had, I am thinking of this instead:


Glenstache

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2014, 11:21:46 PM »
This will work as long as you have a square taper bottom bracket. This is pretty likely given the age of the bike you reference, but not guaranteed as "octalink" was starting to become a thing about then. Given the components you describe, I would be surprised if it isn't square taper.

Your tire link is not showing (at least on my computer).

Prior to my disc cross bike, I was using a mtn bike with slicks as my commuter. I had Michelin Country Rock tires on it. They were faster than knobbies, but slow compared to anything on a 700c wheel. No flats and handled well. And they are cheap at ~$19/tire. They only run at up to 70 psi, so something that can go higher would probably offer lower rolling resistance and a faster ride.

megaschnauzer

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2014, 07:15:34 AM »
you don't need to replace the whole crank set, just the chain ring(s). if you replace the chain frequently and keep your drive train clean, you can keep the cassette and chain rings through several chains, but usually when you replace the chain after long term use, you also replace the cassette and chain rings as all these pieces wear out together. just replacing the chain on a worn out drive train will cause the chain to slip under load.

Guses

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2014, 07:32:13 AM »
you don't need to replace the whole crank set, just the chain ring(s). if you replace the chain frequently and keep your drive train clean, you can keep the cassette and chain rings through several chains, but usually when you replace the chain after long term use, you also replace the cassette and chain rings as all these pieces wear out together. just replacing the chain on a worn out drive train will cause the chain to slip under load.

The reason that I am looking at a new crankset is that I could not find a place to purchase a single 44-42T ring that was cheaper than the Acera crankset I linked to.

Upon searching a bit more, I found the chainreactioncycle and they do sell chain rings starting around 13$. How do I know it will fit? I already know it is 4 bolt. Is 104mm OK?

Is that site legit?


megaschnauzer

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2014, 08:25:16 AM »
i think chainreactioncycle is reputable, not because i've used them but because they've been around a while. as far as the correct bolt spacing, i don't know without actually measuring it. you might want to swing by the local bike shop and have them tell you what to order or they may have what you want for a reasonable price. if they are a good shop and you bought your parts there, they may instruct you on how to replace the parts correctly instead of hacking away (which is how i usually do it). a nice 6 pack of beer goes a long way in a bike shop. the good thing is there are a lot of replacement parts for shimano drive trains, either from shimano or other suppliers.

Glenstache

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2014, 12:07:07 PM »
What you need to know is the bolt-circle diameter (BCD) and the number of bolts on the chainring. This link gives and example of how to measure it.
http://www.wolftoothcycling.com/pages/how-to-measure-bolt-circle-diameter-bcd

A google search will provide many other examples of the measurement if that one doesn't make sense to you.

But yes, if the cranks are not damaged, just replacing the rings is better. You may also end up with a better ring. If your main priority is long service life, then a steel ring is the best bet. Aluminum rings are lighter, but typically wear faster.

m8547

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2014, 06:39:48 PM »
I've never seen a chain slip on the chainring (unless it's slipping to another chainring, but you would probably notice that). I've never seen a chain technically slip on a cassette, either. I've never seen the ratchet in a freehub/freewheel slip either. This slipping is not impossible, but it requires parts to be extremely worn or broken. Look at the teeth on your chainring. They should look like little triangles that have the same shape on the front and back. If the front and back are significantly different, it may be worn out. I don't think thee chain can slip unless the angle of the teeth gets flatter than it normally is, because of the way the circular chainring pulls the chain down onto the top teeth.

In every case I've seen, what feels like slipping is actually the chain not tracking on the correct gear on the cassette for some reason. It usually happens when the cassette wears, and the teeth and chain and shift ramps line up differently. The chain will partially shift into another gear, than slip back to the one it's supposed to be in. Sometimes it rides on the tips of the teeth of one of the gears, then hops down. But these things only happen when pedaling. True slipping would happen when the drivetrain is locked (by the brakes, for example), and there is a high static load on it (from the pedals). I haven't seen a drivetrain slip under that condition.

Since you have a new chain and cassette, what I think is wrong is the alignment of the derailleur. confirm by supporting the rear of the bike off the ground while turning the pedals in a way that causes it to slip. Easier said than done, but you should be able to get it to happen sometimes. You can adjust the position of the derailleur up and down with the barrel adjuster on the shifter if you have indexed shifting (a click for each gear. Most bikes have it). You should adjust it for the rear so it quickly shifts to higher gears, and shifts to lower gears by pushing the lever (or turning the grip) a bit past where it clicks. It's possible that you've already done this and can't get it dialed in, in which case there are a few other things to check.

It's common for the derailleur hanger to get bent. Sometimes it's an engineered weak point to save the frame, or with steel frames it's often a part of the frame itself. Bike shops have a tool to check the derailleur hanger and bend it back to straight. It should be in the same plane as an ideal, true wheel. The tool is kind of expensive for what it is, but it's really effective. Maybe someone can DIY one for less!

If the derailleur hanger is straight, the cables and housings could be dirty or corroded. That would cause the derailleur not to move to the correct location when you shift, and it can make it behave differently depending on if you are shifting up or down. A quick fix is to put some lube in the cables (Triflow oil is good, or chain lube. WD-40 is basically just a solvent with almost no lubricating properties, fyi), but in my experience lubing the cables won't last long because it will dry out, attract dirt, or not really fix the problem. Replacing the cables and housing can be inexpensive if you do it yourself, or hopefully you can find a shop that will do it for a reasonable price. Expect to pay $10-20 for parts, and it doesn't take too long for an experienced mechanic if you have a shop do it. If the bike sits out in the rain or snow it will need cables and housing more often than if it's kept dry.

Similar to dirty cable/housing, the shifter could be dirty or sticky. Usually when I've had this happen it feels like it won't catch when you try to shift, so it's not too likely that this is your problem. But if the bike sits out in the rain all the time it could corrode the shifters and make them not work right. You could add some light oil, but you risk washing away whatever lube is supposed to be there and shortening the life of the shifter, so I would do it as kind of a last resort. I haven't had any problems with my bike that's been outside in all weather for the majority of the last six years.

New brake pads might not help much with wet weather braking. I have some that I think are slightly better then regular, but they are terrible in dry conditions because they are noisy and they don't stop as well when it's dry. And when it's wet, it definitely takes more force on the brakes to stop. It's not a big deal as long as you can still stop as quickly as the conditions permit (If the brakes were as grabby as dry, you would be skidding the wheel all the time anyway).

For the shock, you could try unconventional modification to lock it out. You could fill it with water or cement or something like that. It will still be heavy, but it makes you a stronger rider! A rigid fork shouldn't be that expensive anyway, and then you could get disc brakes if you want them (they aren't worth the hassle unless you ride in bad conditions a lot, and cheap disc brakes can be worse than rim brakes).

Guses

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2014, 07:17:48 PM »


Thanks for the extensive recommendations/guide.

Maybe I should try to explain a bit more what I mean by "slipping". Also note that it happens only once in a while but it is generally in a precarious situation. What usually happens is this:

I come to a stop sign or a red light. Knowing that I have to stop, I drop my gears from 3-6 (largest chainring, sixth gear, my usual riding gear) to 3-3 one gear at a time while pedaling. When I am in 3-3, I pedal a bit to make sure the shift has been made and I coast to the stop. Once at the stop, I make a full stop and stand up on my pedals to give me leverage to take off.

The "slip" always happens when I take off from a full stop and it is as if my pedal suddenly jerks forward without anything else happening.

My bike shifts well so I don't think this is the problem.

Here is a picture of my largest chainring for assessment. I think it shows the wave pattern quite a bit:

Guses

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2014, 07:52:57 PM »
UPDATE

Upon further investigation, it looks like my crankset's chainrings are welded/riveted together, I don't believe that I will be able to replace only a single ring. Can anybody confirm from the picture?

Also I measured the BCD and from what I get it looks like it's a 88mm or a bit smaller. It comes out to 84mm BCD if this is possible.

« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 08:07:54 PM by Guses »

Rage

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2014, 09:33:22 PM »
I've gotten to the point of the wave shaped cogs too, once you get there it's time for a whole new drive train. 

From my experience, a typical new bike is cheaper than the sum of its components.  If you try to buy all the components to a bike piece-by-piece - wheels, frame, seat, pedals, brakes, tires, etc - it will cost 2 to 3 times what that equivalent bike would cost new.  So, depending on how much of your bike needs replaced - in your case, most of it - you're better off buying a new one.  It's kind of wasteful, but it sounds like you don't necessarily enjoy fixing up an ancient bike, and don't have all the tools either.

You can also buy a new-ish bike on craiglist (or canadian equivalent).  There are always these people who are like "i bought this bike because I thought I was going to get in shape, rode it 3 times LOL".  That is the route I would go if I were in your shoes.


PindyStache

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2014, 10:50:11 PM »
UPDATE

Upon further investigation, it looks like my crankset's chainrings are welded/riveted together, I don't believe that I will be able to replace only a single ring. Can anybody confirm from the picture?

Also I measured the BCD and from what I get it looks like it's a 88mm or a bit smaller. It comes out to 84mm BCD if this is possible.

I can't tell from the picture, but I also had this issue on my Trek. I asked my same question as your OP and ended up keeping the bike & doing additional maintenance (swapping the 3 chainrings for one, easily replaceable one, replacing drive train, rear wheel needed replacing, and now front wheel needs it too). Mine is a more recent model FX though (2008 or something?) with no suspension.

I thing Rage has the right idea. I am fairly passively browsing Craigslist for a good deal on a clean FX or something similar.

knutsoza

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2014, 01:11:47 AM »
With the kind of distance you put on your bike is it not a tool you trust your livelihood to? IMO with a tool one depends on that seriously and uses that often spending good money on quality is more than well worth it. Why not get something that specifically hits your needs and will last?

Guses

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2014, 07:29:32 AM »

In every case I've seen, what feels like slipping is actually the chain not tracking on the correct gear on the cassette for some reason. It usually happens when the cassette wears, and the teeth and chain and shift ramps line up differently. The chain will partially shift into another gear, than slip back to the one it's supposed to be in. Sometimes it rides on the tips of the teeth of one of the gears, then hops down. But these things only happen when pedaling. True slipping would happen when the drivetrain is locked (by the brakes, for example), and there is a high static load on it (from the pedals). I haven't seen a drivetrain slip under that condition.

Since you have a new chain and cassette, what I think is wrong is the alignment of the derailleur. confirm by supporting the rear of the bike off the ground while turning the pedals in a way that causes it to slip. Easier said than done, but you should be able to get it to happen sometimes. You can adjust the position of the derailleur up and down with the barrel adjuster on the shifter if you have indexed shifting (a click for each gear. Most bikes have it). You should adjust it for the rear so it quickly shifts to higher gears, and shifts to lower gears by pushing the lever (or turning the grip) a bit past where it clicks. It's possible that you've already done this and can't get it dialed in, in which case there are a few other things to check.


Another Update

I paid very close attention this morning during my commute and I got the chain to "slip" 3 times. I believe that M8547 is correct that indexing was the problem. I think that the 3-3 gear is particularly finicky in that it sometimes rides on top of 3-4 and then fully engages under load making the pedals jerk.

I had tweaked the shifting and thought I had it dialed in, I guess it needs a bit more tweaking. If I understand how this works, I should be turning the barrel dial counterclockwise a bit so that downshifting is easier. is that correct? I usually go by 1/4 turn increments.


Unresolved question

It appears to me that my chainring needs replacement, can anybody confirm based on the picture? Should I just run it until it croaks and then just replace the entire drivetrain or should I replace the crankset and chain now to save the cassette that I put in recently?

I would rather not replace my cassette if I don't have to. For reference, I replaced it last year so it has about 3-4000 KMs with a new chain.

Glenstache

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2014, 11:54:22 AM »
Chainring teeth have the classic Sharkfin shape. Not the worst I've seen, but I would replace it in the near future.

Guses

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #27 on: October 10, 2014, 12:30:42 PM »
Chainring teeth have the classic Sharkfin shape. Not the worst I've seen, but I would replace it in the near future.

Does that mean that I need to replace the cassette given that i have replaced it recently?

Rage

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #28 on: October 10, 2014, 12:39:11 PM »
My take: cassette is probably fine.  Basically here's what happens - over time your chain "stretches"  The stretched chain starts to mess up both your cassette and your crank rings.  If you replace just the chain, your messed up cassette and crank rings will then mess up the chain much more quickly than normal.  But I think you're *probably* fine.  That said you should measure the chain for stretch - you can google these measurements.  It's happened to me enough times that I have an actual chain-stretch measurement tool...

dios.del.sol

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2014, 02:46:19 PM »
My take: cassette is probably fine.  Basically here's what happens - over time your chain "stretches"  The stretched chain starts to mess up both your cassette and your crank rings.  If you replace just the chain, your messed up cassette and crank rings will then mess up the chain much more quickly than normal.  But I think you're *probably* fine.  That said you should measure the chain for stretch - you can google these measurements.  It's happened to me enough times that I have an actual chain-stretch measurement tool...
+1. The chainring may cause quicker chain damage, but if you keep an eye on the chain, you won't ruin your cassette.

m8547

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #30 on: October 10, 2014, 04:19:00 PM »


Another Update

I paid very close attention this morning during my commute and I got the chain to "slip" 3 times. I believe that M8547 is correct that indexing was the problem. I think that the 3-3 gear is particularly finicky in that it sometimes rides on top of 3-4 and then fully engages under load making the pedals jerk.

I had tweaked the shifting and thought I had it dialed in, I guess it needs a bit more tweaking. If I understand how this works, I should be turning the barrel dial counterclockwise a bit so that downshifting is easier. is that correct? I usually go by 1/4 turn increments.


Unresolved question

It appears to me that my chainring needs replacement, can anybody confirm based on the picture? Should I just run it until it croaks and then just replace the entire drivetrain or should I replace the crankset and chain now to save the cassette that I put in recently?

I would rather not replace my cassette if I don't have to. For reference, I replaced it last year so it has about 3-4000 KMs with a new chain.

Yep, it's good to look at it closely to see what it's actually doing.

It might not be as simple as adjusting the barrel adjuster. This kind of problem could be caused by:
Worn chain or cassette
Barrel adjuster needs fine tuning
Derailleur hanger is bent
Cables or housing are sticky/dirty/worn
Derailleur does not move/pivot freely

When I originally read about your issue, I thought you had a new chain and cassette, so I had ruled those out. If you put a new chain on with an old cassette, it will very often cause the problem you seem to be having. Unfortunately not all chains and cassettes last a long time. My commuter bike has a 7 speed drivetrain, and I've found those parts don't seem to last as long as they should because no one is making good quality 7 speed parts any more. On my mountain bikes the Shimano XT or similar level cassettes seem to have lasted the life of the bike so far. But on my commuter it seems to need a new cassette with every chain, maybe once or twice a year.

I don't think it's unreasonable to have to replace a cassette after 3-4 thousand kilometers. (3-4 megameters?) It would be nice if it lasted longer of course. It looks like a cassette should cost $20-50. To change it yourself you need a cassette remover tool (90% chance it takes a Park FR-5G. The FR-5G is better than the FR-5, IMO.), a wrench that fits the cassette remover tool (I think it's 1", or most adjustable wrenches will fit), and a chain whip which holds the cassette as you loosen the lockring. I have three bikes so it makes sense for me to own these tools, but if you have a bike shop do it, it should be cheap. It's literally a 1-minute job to simply change the cassette.

That chainring doesn't look too bad. There is some wear, but I wouldn't replace it unless it's causing a problem. I don't think there's much downside to running a chainring that's a bit worn, except that it might not shift as well between chainrings. I don't think a worn chainring will damage a new chain (unless it's really bad, in which case it probably just won't work right). The chainring, especially the large 44T (or 42T or whatever), spreads the force out over a lot of links on the chain, much more than the 11T gear on the cassette, which only has 5-6 teeth taking the same force. Plus, I don't think that the tooth-tooth spacing on the chainring changes much even if the chain stretches. It's a function of radius and number of teeth, so a worn chain might ride slightly higher on the teeth, but I think a new chain will still find the correct spot. And finally, I don't think chains really stretch that much any more. Most chain stretch tools measure roller wear as much as stretch, and while chains do wear out, generally they stop shifting well long before they stretch.

Here's what a brand new chainring might look like:
http://brimages.bikeboardmedia.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/shimano-105-component-group-crankset-chainwheel05.jpg
The smaller ring has symmetric teeth because there's nothing smaller for the chain to shift to. The larger one has asymmetric teeth, some that are different, and some special shapes below the teeth to facilitate shifting. If your chainring bolts look like the one in the picture, they are not riveted, but you need a chainring bolt tool on the inside and usually a hex key (a few are torx star) on the outside. The chainring tool is cheap, like $5. http://www.rei.com/product/750478/park-tool-chainring-nut-wrench


To address some of your other issues...
The seatpost creak could literally be anything, even if it sounds like it's coming from the seatpost. It can be really frustrating to track down this kind of issue. What you need to do is try to isolate where it's coming from. For example, if it ever does it if you are pedaling while standing up, it's not the seatpost.
  • Check that all the bolts are snug. How tight generally depends on the size of the bolt, so if it takes a big hex key like 6mm it needs to be a lot tighter than something that takes a 4mm hex key.
  • Clean and/or grease areas where there might be metal on metal, like the seat rails, the seatpost itself where it goes in the frame.
  • Don't rule out other parts of the bike unless you are sure you can eliminate them. Creaking can be caused by the seat, handlebars, pedals, chainrings, crankset, hubs/wheels, or even a cracked frame. One time a loose quick release on one of my wheels cased a creaking that took me a few weeks to track down.

If the wheel is out of true as a result of a crash, there's a good chance it might not be able to be trued. For small bumps it can usually be adjusted, but often a major crash will bend the wheel to the point where the spokes can no longer hold it straight while still having a reasonable amount of tension. Wheel truing is a bit tricky until you get the hang of it, so it may be best to take it to a shop and have them true it, or find a community bike organization where someone will teach you and work with you.

In general I would lean towards keeping the bike, but in the end it's up to you. A new bike is cheaper than all the parts purchased individually, but if just a few parts need replacing it's usually better to just replace them. I would consider a new bike if the wheels (both), frame, or entire drivetrain need to be replaced. For example, if you can't fit sufficiently skinny tires on your wheels, or if you wanted to upgrade to a drivetrain with more speeds, which means all new parts including shifters. Or if the frame was broken or the wrong size or style. Just be careful that you don't get a new bike that's too cheap. A lot of low-end bikes have parts that are inferior or difficult to maintain. I've seen riveted chainrings, weak and poorly engineered metal and overuse of plastic, outdated parts like square taper bottom brackets to limit compatibility, etc. I don't know if you can get a good bike for $2-300, but I haven't looked at hybrid bikes. That's a good bit less than I, personally, would spend on a new road or mountain bike, but I like nice bikes!

I have a 1999 Trek 720 that's been my daily commuter for the past six years. What you have could make a great commuter bike if you can find good tires, or an even better winter commuter bike with mountain bike tires, or you could sell it and get something that suits your needs better if you don't like it.

I hope this helps! If you want to learn more about bike maintenance on your own, I recommend a book like one of Lennard Zinn's, or the Park Tool website.

Guses

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Re: Is it worth it to invest more $ in my aging bike?
« Reply #31 on: October 13, 2014, 11:01:48 AM »
Another Update

I ended up purchasing a replacement crankset for my trek. I figure I'll tough it until I can get a good deal on one of the commuter models suggested in this thread. Worst case, I keep it as a winter bike when I get a new one.

However, the replacement was less straightforward then I hoped. First of all, the crank was very hard to remove (I did not purchase the tool) and I ended up bending the two smaller rings from the old crank.

"No problem, I won't need the old crank once the new one is in". WRONG!

My new crank does not fit on the bottom bracket. I now need to purchase a bottom bracket with the correct spindle length. I ended putting back the old crank until I get the new BB in a few days. At the same time as the BB I also ordered the tools for the chain, crank puller and BB remover.

All in, about 90$ in parts and 60$ in tools. At least now I am equipped for future maintenance issues. 

I will keep my tires for now and get new ones next season if I do not replace this bike.