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help for a MTBer, please? (long)(7 posts)

help for a MTBer, please? (long)up_hiller
Jan 31, 2002 8:24 AM
hi. i am really more of a mountain biker, but i have been eyeing road bikes for about a year and decided i really want one, maybe to commute to work on. problem is, i cant justify buying another new bike, even a cheap one, esp. because i don't want to spend my money on something with crappy components that won't last through next week.

so now i have a line on a FREE old (at least 5 or 6 years) Trek roadie. i dont know exactly what model as i havent picked up the bike yet. for sure it's a steel frame, and most likely one of the lower end bikes.

so i have a few questions:
what are the major changes that have been made in road bike design during the last several years? not so much in frame materials/construction, but for example, in MTBs, the standard head tube diameter was changed from 1" to 1 1/8". anything similar in road bikes, maybe BB shell size, threaded/threadless attachments, stem type, major drivetrain stuff?
basically i want to know what will be necessary to get it into decent riding condition (and then i will start improving my own riding condition). :) i am sure quite a few of the parts on this bike will be in pretty bad shape, and i will need to do the best rebuild possible on a very low budget (read: used parts, esp. of the free variety).

not sure what size the bike is, and i know fit is a huge issue. i'm 5'11, medium build, medium leg length, etc. what range of frame sizes would most likely be appropriate? i checked out a makeshift fit test here yesterday, and i will give it a try. if the frame is a little too large or small, how much can it be adjusted by changing to a different stem, moving the seat. etc.?

and, for my own education purposes, can sombody verify/correct this for me?
shimano's drivetrain line for road bikes vs. line for mountain bikes
Sora is comparable to Alivio
105 = Deore Also, i have heard of 600. what the heck is that?
Ultegra = LX/XT
DuraAce = XTR

How does Campy compare to DA?

I know this a lot of stuff, but i really appreciate any help. thanks, and happy trails (pavement?). matt
Ride, don't spend.cory
Jan 31, 2002 8:58 AM
If you weren't getting the Trek free, I'd say just put road tires on your MB and ride that for awhile. Since you are, though, my advice would be NOT to spend a bunch of money on Day One. Five or six years isn't very old for a bike (one of mine is 22), and none of the technical advances in that period will make any difference in your conditioning or enjoyment of the bike (if you were blindfolded, you couldn't tell the difference between a 1-inch quill stem and a 1 1/8 threadless--because there isn't any).
Make the bike safe and rideable with new tires, a quick tune-up and a lube job. Change the brake pads if you need to (you may not).
It's always best to get a bike that fits, but if this one is close, you can do quite a bit with seatposts and stems. At your height it's more likely to be too small than too big. Quill stems (if that's what you need) are getting harder to find, but millions of bikes use them and they're still around. Otherwise, a mountain bike stem might fix you up. If your bike shop doesn't have what you need, check someplace like Bike Nashbar online.
Don't worry if it's "only" a seven- (or six- or five-) speed. Ride the damn bike. Five speeds were plenty for 50 years, and they're still plenty for commuting and screwing around. Don't worry if it's not indexed--friction shifting is a skill you can learn in 15 minutes. Don't worry if it has toe clips instead of clipless pedals--toe clips are better for commuting anyway. Just go RIDE THE BIKE, and as stuff breaks or you realize it's not what you need, replace it.
agree with everything you said...up_hiller
Jan 31, 2002 9:52 AM
and it is not my intent to spend a penny more on this thing than i have to in order to make it safe and enjoyable. but the problem is that it has been stored outdoors for quite a while, and i'm afraid some of the parts may be ruined. i'm just trying to get an idea of how hard it may be to find parts to replace those with. i am sure i will want to put on new cables, brake pads, etc., and i will tear it down to the bare frame and clean everything as much as possible. as for 7-speed and clipless, i don't care. i dont have enough time to seriously take up road riding without dropping the mountain biking (which i could never do), so having the latest is not a concern, and a pair of pedals would cost about as much as i hope to spend on this entire rig. main point of this whole thing is that i get a free roadie to play with.
Ahhh....Greg Taylor
Jan 31, 2002 10:31 AM
The mecca for relatively cheap obsolete parts is The Third Hand (

Apart from frame corrosion, there isn't too terribly much that sitting outside could hurt. Ok, maybe the seat could get F-ed up (and you may have a stuck seatpost) but you probably have a seat laying around that you could use. I'd clean and put new grease in the hubs, repack the bottom bracket (if it ain't a sealed cartidge), and new tires and cables. Fresh handlebar tape if you are feeling sassy.
re: help for a MTBer, please? (long)Lone Gunman
Jan 31, 2002 10:03 AM
I agree about the just ride it part, but you might be throwing good money after bad if the Trek is a wreck. You may run into problems getting the correct parts to make it work properly if they are in bad shape.

600 Shimano stuff is pre-Ultegra. The only major change that bikes have undergone in the past few years is, lighter weight(always changing), STI shifting, and increasing # of cogs in the rear. The spread of the chainstays for 7 to an 8 speed went from 126mm to 130mm? and this change makes finding hubs and wheels and cassettes difficult.

The Wreck, I mean Trek may only require a solid going over and some new tires. I saw a set of RSX STI shifters on the classified section the other day for $25, 7 speed stuff, I have a set on my old bike and they work fine.

Take the Trek if it is rideable and learn to work on it and expand your knowledge. At 5'11" as a ball park guess, 56cm/57cm frame will be a starting point and the seat and stem adjustment can make you more comfortable, not make a bad fitting frame fit.
Be careful...KEN2
Jan 31, 2002 12:54 PM
it's easy to get engrossed with "upgrading" and fixing stuff on an older bike--I know from experience. Before you know it you've invested a lot of time, trouble, and money in something that was never that great, and certainly will never be that good again.

I know you said you can't justify a new bike--but there are lots of decent used road bikes on ebay that you can get if you're a patient bidder and don't get "married" to any one of them.

Also for a comparison to what's available new and cheap, have a look at this Schwinn @ $399:
Find local Swap meetssalmonwheel
Feb 1, 2002 9:58 AM
Find out when local bike clubs in your area have their swap meets. A lot of people seem to try and clear out their garages and sell stuff off cheap. You can try and find older parts (I.e freewheel, older der. etc.), or maybe an older quality bike that is in decent shape and quite cheap. Prices for parts and used bikes on ebay tend to go much higher than what I see at swap meets. I've bought lots of smaller items, I found a road bike in my size for 125 bucks one year in rideable shape ready to go.

Sometimes it is not worth putting much effort or money into old bikes for parts because you can by decent old bikes for pretty cheap. Free is a good price though, if you can ride it you should, but don't spend andy $ until you've outlined everything you'll need to do, then look around a little.