Author Topic: Should I get a new bike?  (Read 4848 times)

NorCal Stubble

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Should I get a new bike?
« on: June 11, 2017, 11:31:15 PM »
Hey guys!

I currently have a Trek 3900 mountain bike that I bought back in '08 or so. I've been using it for 90% of my transportation recently, and between that and the trailer we're happily down to one car. I've never been mountain biking and, frankly, am not super inclined to try. It won't shift into the largest chainring, which I've thus far been unable to figure out. I've had an itch recently to replace it with a road bike but I'm unsure whether the investment is worth it. Most of my riding is in-town, short trips to the store, etc. Weekends I try to go on 5-ish mile jaunts that I want to increase, but my stamina isn't there yet.

Thoughts?

trashmanz

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2017, 11:41:48 PM »
My answer would depend on whether you are financially independent already, scraping to make ends meet and charging credit cards, or where in between.

accolay

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2017, 12:53:40 AM »
If it wont shift, it's probably just an adjustment issue. Not too hard to fix, but takes some finesse sometimes.

http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/front-derailleur-adjustment

I think I would continue to ride it if it wasn't excessively heavy and I got slick instead of off road tires.

undercover

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2017, 05:11:06 AM »
The gear issue is easily resolved. I also agree with getting narrower tires. It will make the biggest difference in feel. If you aren't frequently going over 5 miles, there's probably very little reason for you to upgrade/change.
Every solution has a problem

big_slacker

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2017, 07:57:46 AM »
Anything under 5 miles I ride a beach cruiser. :)

Which is to say, for your purposes literally any bike will be fine. A MTB might even be preferable if it's urban and you have to hop curbs.

Youtube mountain bike shifter tuning and fix you problem. Don't spend $$ on a new bike unless you're really finding the one you're on holding you back.

pennyhandlebar

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2017, 01:10:06 AM »
Consider high pressure slick tires for your MTB. Much cheaper than a new bike and will make pedaling dramatically more efficient.

Sydneystache

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2017, 01:51:03 AM »
Have you ever had the bike serviced? If it is a 2008 model, it is nearly 10 years old and if maintenance has not been done on it much, my suggestion is to take it to a good bike store, ask what the problem is with the shifters/sticky chainring and some advice for narrower tires.

Ask what you will use a road bike for (MAMIL? Tour de France wannabe?) but for your needs your MTB seems to be fine and Trek's a good brand so don't replace it yet. Or once you start doing 20 miles a day at >10 miles/hour and wanting speed then revisit getting a roadie.

FINate

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2017, 02:28:26 AM »
Road bikes are for 50 mile rides while wearing spandex and special shoes that clip in thereby making pedaling more efficient, but which are hopelessly impractical for actually walking around in. Road biking is great fun and an awesome workout, but a road bike does not make for a good around town bike.

Spend $100 at your local bike shop getting new tires (narrower, and slick without the big knobs for dirt) and a tune up and any other necessary maintenance (may include: replacing the chain, bottom bracket, headset, brake pads, generally cleaning/lubing stuff). It will ride like a new bike and will work great for what you need.


acanthurus

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2017, 04:04:40 AM »
GEAX street runner semi slick tires changed my MTB completely compared to the old knobbies. Plus they are super cheap. They come in two widths, I got the larger width so I could still hop curbs and such.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2017, 09:32:46 AM »
My year 2001 MTB's front derailleur wont shift onto the largest of 3 chainrings and no adjustment in the world is going to fix it. Years of bombing down steep singletrack has finally rendered, even a Shimano XTR, in need of replacement. Sometimes.....its just gotta go.

Rubic

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2017, 11:29:11 AM »
Consider high pressure slick tires for your MTB. Much cheaper than a new bike and will make pedaling dramatically more efficient.

+1

I've "upgraded" many commuter bicycles by replacing their knobby tires
with City Slicks:

http://www.nashbar.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10053_10052_175439_-1___

It's a cheap upgrade for $26.

big_slacker

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2017, 01:55:27 PM »
My year 2001 MTB's front derailleur wont shift onto the largest of 3 chainrings and no adjustment in the world is going to fix it. Years of bombing down steep singletrack has finally rendered, even a Shimano XTR, in need of replacement. Sometimes.....its just gotta go.

XTRs have traditionally been more fragile than XT, weight reduction and possibly tighter tolerances comes at a price.

Still, you're talking about a 16 year old moving part finally needing replacement, kinda hard to complain about that. And for the OP it's easy enough to source a cheapy front D.

Slicks/city tires yes if you're not really mountain biking.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2017, 03:13:28 PM »
My year 2001 MTB's front derailleur wont shift onto the largest of 3 chainrings and no adjustment in the world is going to fix it. Years of bombing down steep singletrack has finally rendered, even a Shimano XTR, in need of replacement. Sometimes.....its just gotta go.

XTRs have traditionally been more fragile than XT, weight reduction and possibly tighter tolerances comes at a price.

Still, you're talking about a 16 year old moving part finally needing replacement, kinda hard to complain about that. And for the OP it's easy enough to source a cheapy front D.

Slicks/city tires yes if you're not really mountain biking.



No complaints on getting 16 years use of that XTR. Actually quite proud of how long it's lasted.

sol

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2017, 03:19:29 PM »
The problem with taking it for a professional tune up and tire swap is that the $250 bill you're going to get will you get a really nice used bike on Craigslist.  And you can probably sell your current ride to recoup some of that cost.

Be wary, this way lies madness.  At one point in my life I had seven bicycles.

Rubic

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2017, 03:28:32 PM »
Be wary, this way lies madness.  At one point in my life I had seven bicycles.

Ha!  Same here.  Seven bicycles, including two fixed-gears and a tandem, not
to mention a couple of unicycles.  All while living in a single bedroom apartment.

As I mentioned in another thread a couple days ago:

Quote from: Rubic
Of course I have cycling friends who maintain the proper number of bikes is
N + 1, where N is the number of current bicycles they currently own.

I'm now downsized to a single road bike.

FINate

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2017, 04:10:14 PM »
Sure you can buy a nice bike on craigslist for $250 but it will likely have some deferred maintenance that also needs to be taken care of.

Of course learning to do your own maintenance is always the cheapest route, and not too difficult, though requires a few specialized tools. But many LBS do good work and don't charge much for labor (most of the cost is parts - stuff that has to be replaced anyway).

Sydneystache

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2017, 07:46:59 PM »
For $250 I'd expect a full strip down and rebuild including regreasing (using marine grease) the ball bearings. Don't think used bike sellers would do that much to offload their wheels.

scottnews

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2017, 08:15:48 PM »
Consider high pressure slick tires for your MTB. Much cheaper than a new bike and will make pedaling dramatically more efficient.

+1

I've "upgraded" many commuter bicycles by replacing their knobby tires
with City Slicks:

http://www.nashbar.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10053_10052_175439_-1___

It's a cheap upgrade for $26.

Do this.  Get some slicks.  Getting rid of the rolling resistance will make a big difference.

If your fork can be locked, try locking it to. 

NorCal Stubble

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2017, 10:50:43 PM »
Whoa! Talk about a full load of replies.

So, I've considered taking it to my LBS, I even walked in to speak with them. They will never ever get a dollar of my business. The most rude interaction I've ever had at a business in my life, which is unfortunate because it's the only bike shop within a reasonable distance.

I've looked into repairing the problem with the shifter, and I think it's the hand shifter itself that's bad. It acts as if it's done shifting once it hits "2". The shifter will move, but doesn't engage the cable. I've tried making adjustments following a guide several months ago to no avail. There's a local bike workshop once a month that I keep meaning to go to, but it always falls on days that turn to hell at work.

Honestly, the $250 price tag for tires/swap/tuneup was the reason I've been considering buying a new bike. Especially since it would also require me to transport the bike out of town to get the work done that way.

I've locked the forks - they still have about a half inch or so of give but that's as good as it gets.

I am by all accounts a novice when it comes to my bike. To replace the current 2 inch tires, I need new wheels right? And a serious recalibration of the brakes?

Sydneystache

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2017, 12:20:37 AM »
Sorry to hear your local LBS are dicks. As a woman, I got the whole sexist shit until I found other LBS, they are a fair distance from me but it is a good ride. Better load up on watching YouTube vids then! Or find local bike groups/enthusiasts in your area? We have them here called BUGs - bike user groups.

accolay

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2017, 03:32:34 AM »
Be wary, this way lies madness.  At one point in my life I had seven bicycles.

Ha!  Same here.  Seven bicycles, including two fixed-gears and a tandem, not
to mention a couple of unicycles.  All while living in a single bedroom apartment.

As I mentioned in another thread a couple days ago:

Quote from: Rubic

Of course I have cycling friends who maintain the proper number of bikes is
N + 1, where N is the number of current bicycles they currently own.

I'm now downsized to a single road bike.


Oh yeah...on The List is to try to to figure out the best way to get rid of about 10 bikes...

skeeder

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2017, 06:23:18 AM »
I've worked in a bike shop and do most of my own work to this day. 

There are a few points I wish to make. 

1) The issues you've described can be solved by replacing some basic parts.  Cables wear over time, and I recommend replacing all of them there is a simple kit on amazon that will do the trick if your DIY inclined.
Cable Replacements $9.99

If that doesn't work, I'd recommend replacing your front derailer since they are low grade SRAM stuff, they can be easily replaced.  I can't give you a part since I'm not sure on its compatibility but prices online indicate the part would be less than $30.

Invest in slick tires will help a ton, you can also find some smaller tires.  MTB tires were 1.95" to 2.2" on a standard bike, you can fit 1.5" Slicks to the wheel.  There is a little bit of work regarding ISO numbers(ISO is international sizing based on mm not inches), but these are the ones I found for my ride. ($24ish each)

2) This is something that will not be changed regardless of your components--Geometry.


Mountain bikes geometry is designed to be half sitting and half standing.  MTB's have shorter tube length between the seat and the fork, this allows for greater handling, but limits comfort.  The shorter this length, the greater the handling.  This is why trail bikes have a much shorter geometry (E on diagram). Basically, if you were to switch to a hybrid, you'd see that you could sit upright, the ride would be more comfortable, but it may not be as responsive as a mountain bike.  Road bikes are the opposite side of the spectrum.  If you were to do anything--I'd recommend a hybrid bike with 700c tires, disc brakes, and some nice shocks to smooth out your ride.  It'd be faster than a mountain bike on paved surfaces and much more comfortable for long hauls.  I'm not sure where you are located, but I grabbed a Trek 7100 for my wife for $75 *Disclaimer: about $150 after I replaced everything it needed to run again*

Sorry to hear about the LBS, if you were in the mitten I would have a good recommendation.

Good luck!
Never cry for money because it never cries for you. -Mr. Wonderful

mikedom

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2017, 07:11:47 AM »
What's your recommendation for those living in the mitten?

lamil

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2017, 07:18:36 AM »
+1 to new tires on a MTB.

Put these on my hardrock to use for commuting.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005UGC7SM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Huge difference.

big_slacker

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2017, 08:18:06 AM »
I am by all accounts a novice when it comes to my bike. To replace the current 2 inch tires, I need new wheels right? And a serious recalibration of the brakes?

You do not need new wheels, only new tires and possibly tubes.

Uturn

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2017, 08:39:13 AM »
I used to have a mountain bike, and was forcing myself to ride it.  I don't remember the brand, but it wasn't purchased at a big box store.  Anyhow, I finally went to a bike shop and asked them why I hated that thing.  He had me sit on it, and immediately said it was the wrong size.  He fit me to a Trek 7100.  I was still skeptical, so he suggested that I ride it around the parking lot.  Holy crap that thing was comfy!  I put some more aggressive tires on it because it does occasionally see a non-paved trail.  The rolling resistance was quite noticeable. 

Now, 7 years later, it's starting to show its age.  I looked at new bikes, but disc brakes are really the only upgrade, and I don't think $600 is worth it for discs.  I asked the shop about a tune up last weekend, and was quoted $250.  I decided to do the work myself.  I put on a new set of touring tires.  Less aggressive tread and less rolling resistance, but I think they will handle the small amount of off pavement riding that I do.  I don't think the cables are worn out, I will lube them.  New brake pads are coming.

It is not a trail carving bike, I've done a few 50 mile days, but it's not really a road bike either.  It is a great all around bike.  It's not so flashy that I am afraid to leave it locked to a pole downtown, it's light enough to be easily tossed onto a car rack, clip the panniers on it and it is wonderful for running errands. 
It's not about money, it's about mindset

skeeder

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2017, 10:23:41 AM »
What's your recommendation for those living in the mitten?
  If you're near the capital, I've had good experience with Buddies Bike Shop in Holt, MI.
Never cry for money because it never cries for you. -Mr. Wonderful

rothwem

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2017, 10:59:59 AM »
Whoa! Talk about a full load of replies.

So, I've considered taking it to my LBS, I even walked in to speak with them. They will never ever get a dollar of my business. The most rude interaction I've ever had at a business in my life, which is unfortunate because it's the only bike shop within a reasonable distance.

I've looked into repairing the problem with the shifter, and I think it's the hand shifter itself that's bad. It acts as if it's done shifting once it hits "2". The shifter will move, but doesn't engage the cable. I've tried making adjustments following a guide several months ago to no avail. There's a local bike workshop once a month that I keep meaning to go to, but it always falls on days that turn to hell at work.

Honestly, the $250 price tag for tires/swap/tuneup was the reason I've been considering buying a new bike. Especially since it would also require me to transport the bike out of town to get the work done that way.

I've locked the forks - they still have about a half inch or so of give but that's as good as it gets.

I am by all accounts a novice when it comes to my bike. To replace the current 2 inch tires, I need new wheels right? And a serious recalibration of the brakes?

Gah, shitty bike shops are the worst.  I used to work at a shop where there were two owners, one was a great guy, the other was a total creep.  The creep would "give lessons" on how to sell a bike, and he'd go into this lame used car salesman routine when a customer was looking for a bike. Its funny, I never saw him actually sell a bike.  We had four locations, and I was always glad when he wasn't at ours. 

Also, if you're a woman, you might be subject to the "awkward bike nerd syndrome" where awkward bike nerds trip over themselves trying help out a cute female customer.  I've also seen where awkward guys try to pretend like they're not awkward and end up coming off as huge assholes.  Most shops try to avoid this by hiring a few female salespeople. 

For the shifter, try snuggling up the cable.  Put the shifter in "1", and see if there's slack in the cable.  If there is, loosen the pinch bolt on the front derailleur and pull out the slack.  Use one hand to hold the cable taut, and the other to tighten the pinch bolt, then try giving shifting a try. 

When going to narrower tires, you shouldn't need new wheels, just as long as the width of the tires isn't skinnier than the rim itself.  For example, mountain bike rims are usually ~1" wide, so don't go below a 1" tire.  I think you'll find it tough to buy anything in a 26" size that WON'T fit. 


mikedom

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2017, 11:22:32 AM »
What's your recommendation for those living in the mitten?
  If you're near the capital, I've had good experience with Buddies Bike Shop in Holt, MI.

I'm in Lansing, and usually go to Spin Cycles in Old Town. I will have to swing by Buddies at some point. Thanks for the info.

Hotstreak

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2017, 03:31:09 PM »
Hey guys!

I currently have a Trek 3900 mountain bike that I bought back in '08 or so. I've been using it for 90% of my transportation recently, and between that and the trailer we're happily down to one car. I've never been mountain biking and, frankly, am not super inclined to try. It won't shift into the largest chainring, which I've thus far been unable to figure out. I've had an itch recently to replace it with a road bike but I'm unsure whether the investment is worth it. Most of my riding is in-town, short trips to the store, etc. Weekends I try to go on 5-ish mile jaunts that I want to increase, but my stamina isn't there yet.

Thoughts?

If you get your bike in full working order & get some new slick tires, you will find it's much easier to do those 5-mile or longer rides.  Having the right equipment makes a huge difference (or, at least, not having the *wrong* equipment).
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 03:34:07 PM by Hotstreak »

big_slacker

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2017, 05:34:45 PM »
I used to have a mountain bike, and was forcing myself to ride it.  I don't remember the brand, but it wasn't purchased at a big box store.  Anyhow, I finally went to a bike shop and asked them why I hated that thing.  He had me sit on it, and immediately said it was the wrong size.  He fit me to a Trek 7100.  I was still skeptical, so he suggested that I ride it around the parking lot.  Holy crap that thing was comfy!  I put some more aggressive tires on it because it does occasionally see a non-paved trail.  The rolling resistance was quite noticeable. 

Now, 7 years later, it's starting to show its age.  I looked at new bikes, but disc brakes are really the only upgrade, and I don't think $600 is worth it for discs.  I asked the shop about a tune up last weekend, and was quoted $250.  I decided to do the work myself.  I put on a new set of touring tires.  Less aggressive tread and less rolling resistance, but I think they will handle the small amount of off pavement riding that I do.  I don't think the cables are worn out, I will lube them.  New brake pads are coming.

It is not a trail carving bike, I've done a few 50 mile days, but it's not really a road bike either.  It is a great all around bike.  It's not so flashy that I am afraid to leave it locked to a pole downtown, it's light enough to be easily tossed onto a car rack, clip the panniers on it and it is wonderful for running errands.

FWIW there have been some pretty significant tech leaps in MTBs in the last 7 years. Discs are certainly one, but forks and rear shocks are immensely better and more tunable. Geometry has come a long way allowing for bikes that climb well but are WAY more stable at speed and through chop. Tire tech has gotten much better as well, with almost all being tubeless some with triple compound for long life *AND* better cornering. Rims are going wider as well for a bigger contact patch that makes for better cornering. 1x10 1x11 and 1x12 drivetrains have made bikes lighter, easier to maintain and easier to operate especially at speed. Dropper posts are a GODSEND for people that love to go uphill and down.

With all of that said, if you're running touring tires and riding around town the above probably doesn't mean a whole lot. But for real MTB riding, wow are bikes better than they used to be.

Uturn

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2017, 07:50:40 PM »
I had to look up what a dropper post is.  I can see where that would be handy for someone who hits technical trails.  I would rather hike a trail than ride it.  For me, a bicycle is more transportation than hobby.  Potholes are about as technical as I get. 
It's not about money, it's about mindset

NorCal Stubble

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2017, 11:13:18 PM »
I spent some time today messing with the slack in the cable to no avail. I think the problem is the shifter and I told my wife so. The genius that she is sometimes, she tells me to put her shifter on my bike. Gah! Of course! They're the same friggin' bike. I can do that tomorrow, however I did play with her shifters and they feel way better. Mine has loads of deadspace, where it'll turn but won't actually move the cable. Between 1 > 2 there's about 1/8 of a turn of deadspace and between 2 > 3 there's about 7/8 deadspace.

I think it's the shifter and yeah, they only run $30 on ebay so that's a cheap fix.

sol

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2017, 11:03:46 AM »
Sounds like you need a local bike bud.  Many of these problems that seem unsolvable are only a few minutes of work for a more experienced rider.

rothwem

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2017, 11:14:33 AM »
Sounds like you need a local bike bud.  Many of these problems that seem unsolvable are only a few minutes of work for a more experienced rider.

Agreed.  In the absence of a local bike bud, I know that the REI stores around here have free bike maintenance classes for members.  It might be worth checking out. 

NorCal Stubble

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #35 on: June 15, 2017, 12:28:41 PM »
I wish I had either! There's a distinct lack of chain stores in my area. I'd have to load it in the car over an hour to get anywhere minorly useful.

Sydneystache

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #36 on: June 15, 2017, 05:01:41 PM »
Sheldon Brown is your friend

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cables.html

big_slacker

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #37 on: June 15, 2017, 05:52:16 PM »
I had to look up what a dropper post is.  I can see where that would be handy for someone who hits technical trails.  I would rather hike a trail than ride it.  For me, a bicycle is more transportation than hobby.  Potholes are about as technical as I get.

For me, both. I grew up riding BMX bikes so always liked urban and dirt. These days it's road bike for commute, beach cruiser for short store and gym trips and riding what the kids call 'all mountain' on the weekends.

Definitely get it though, horses for courses. For commuting it's hard to justify a really expensive bike, although here in the PacNW discs are a really nice luxury in the rain.

Second the idea of a bike buddy. I've helped my friends out numerous times with tools and just showing them how to do things. All you need is to bring a beer or two over for said bike buddy and all is well.

NorCal Stubble

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Re: Should I get a new bike?
« Reply #38 on: June 15, 2017, 06:25:30 PM »
<---- Brewer, so beer is easy to come by. Unfortunately I don't know anyone that bikes around here.