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jordan21210
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Member since Apr 2009
11243 posts

Just got a bike and have some general questions
Feel like I’m the last person in the world to get a bike during quarantine, but I finally snagged one. I managed to get a 1997/1998 Trek Mountain Track 850 hard tail for free. Looks to be a really solid bike and has a Tru-Temper cro-moly frame. When I got it, it probably hadn’t been ridden for the better part of 10 years. Brought it to my local bike shop for a tune up and rode it this weekend around 20 miles. Performed well, though it had the occasional slip/skip when pedalling.

My plan is to upgrade some parts here and there, learn how to wrench on it myself. Wondering what my options are for upgrades that won’t break the bank. So far I have a new saddle, seat post, and pedals on order. Down the road I’d like to put some black rims and more road friendly tires on.

One of my issues now is what to do with the shifter and crankset. It currently has the OEM SRAM 400FFS grip shift with Shimano Alivio derailleurs, and Shimano Alivio 3x7 crankset/cassette. I don’t think it’d be worth it to change to an 8+ speed, but I just inspected the chainring and I’ve got some worn teeth likely causing the slip/skip. So I guess my question is how hard of an install are we talking to change to trigger shift, or should I just grab a SRAM MRX setup for $25 and swap that? How hard of an install for the crankset? Also, what’s a good reliable Shimano shifter and crankset for a 21 speed that won’t break the bank? I’m thinking the bike will be mostly road/commuter use.


Cdawg
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re: Just got a bike and have some general questions
I'm not really one to say because if you start upgrading, you might be better off buying new unless you really like the "steel is real" feel.(which I personally do) and old school street cred. If it's just a chainring, I would just replace that and not the entire crankset and not worry about any new component group with triggers.

You're getting a new saddle, post, and pedals. If it's road and commuter maybe put some semi-slick tires on it and be good. Then this will buy time and also allow you to really think if you want to cycle more and then either upgrade everything or get a new bike.

Just sounds like to me you need new chainring, chain, tires. Oh and did they service the bottom bracket with your tune up?

JMO.
This post was edited on 10/19 at 11:04 am


jordan21210
USA Fan
Member since Apr 2009
11243 posts

re: Just got a bike and have some general questions
quote:

I'm not really one to say because if you start upgrading, you might be better off buying new unless you really like the "steel is real" feel.(which I personally do) and old school street cred. If it's just a chainring, I would just replace that and not the entire crankset and not worry about any new component group with triggers.

No preference on steel vs aluminum etc., so that’s not swaying me. I kind of dig the old school though. The cassette looks okay, the shop told me they did not replace the chain, but the main chainring has a few teeth that are half the size they should be.

quote:

Just sounds like to me you need new chainring, chain, tires

Definitely chainring, tires aren’t ideal but are newer so will swap those later. Was thinking shifters bc the current sram ones are beat. They work well enough, but they’re in rough shape. I can get newer gripshift for like $20/$25 and swap myself...but also had the thought of swapping to a V brake in which case I could get a vbrake/trigger combo. In the end, think you’re right, probably best to see how much I actually ride to ascertain if v brakes and new shifters are worth it. Can do the chainring now bc that should be simple. Current grip shift and cantilever brakes should suit me fine in the meantime.

No clue on the bottom bracket. I’d like to think he did more than just clean the chain and derailleurs for $60, but I didn’t know what question to ask or what was wrong with the bike when I brought it to him. Just told him to look it over and get it rideable.


Cdawg
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re: Just got a bike and have some general questions
quote:

tires aren’t ideal but are newer so will swap those later.

If you're riding a knobby tire and you're riding mainly streets, some semi slicks like Schwalbe Big Apple will give it a nice/smoother ride.


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ELLSSUU
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2005
5091 posts

re: Just got a bike and have some general questions
Chains stretch and are general wear items. They are also cheap unless you jump into a Dura-ace or KMC. Crankset isn’t bad but takes some unique tools (at least on a road bike).

Note I don’t do MTN Bikes but on Road Bikes chains are differentiated by how many sprockets/speeds your bike has. If you are getting a new chain get the right one for your bike.

N/M I see you addressed by saying some of the teeth are half sized. Is it a replaceable chain ring?
This post was edited on 10/19 at 4:00 pm


jordan21210
USA Fan
Member since Apr 2009
11243 posts

re: Just got a bike and have some general questions
It may be. I checked for slack in the chain by pulling the chain out from the main chainring and there is some play.

I’ll plan to keep riding as is until I can grenade the current crankset lol. Been researching all day and it just doesn’t seem worth upgrading these 20+ year old components until I have a real reason to do so. As cdawg mentioned, tires would probably suit me the best right now.

Edit: saw your edit. Yeah, some of the teeth on the main chainring don’t look right, but lots of googling suggests that could be by design for shifting. Overall the teeth do have wear, but I wouldn’t say they’re trashed. Should have some life left. I’m seeing it’s a Shimano Alivio FC-MC14 crankset, assuming replaceable chainring but not 100%.
This post was edited on 10/19 at 4:05 pm


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lazy
Member since Jun 2020
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re: Just got a bike and have some general questions
Chain skip could also be a derailuer issue. It could be crapping out or a bent derailuer hanger. I assume since you had it tuned by a shop they have the cable tension correct.


jordan21210
USA Fan
Member since Apr 2009
11243 posts

re: Just got a bike and have some general questions
It looks aligned, but guess that’s hard to eyeball. I just need to ride it more to see how bad it’s skipping.

Getting a bike is terrible for my tinkering nature. I’ve spent so much time reading and watching videos. If I had disposable income right now, I’d probably start sourcing parts to convert it to a 1x9, upgrade the cantilevers, ditch the knobbies, and maybe look into a dirt drop conversion. Have to remind myself to leave well enough alone.


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Alabama Slim
Alabama Fan
2009,2011 BCS National Champions
Member since Jul 2007
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re: Just got a bike and have some general questions
I wouldn't drop the money on a new set of wheels. That's a decent amount of money you could put towards a new bike if you find you really enjoy riding.

I would start with a new chain and front chain ring and try your best to live with the shifters. A new chain alone will make you feel like your riding a new bike.


Alabama Slim
Alabama Fan
2009,2011 BCS National Champions
Member since Jul 2007
9741 posts

re: Just got a bike and have some general questions
quote:


Getting a bike is terrible for my tinkering nature.


No it's not, nothing more satisfying than riding a bike you bought for super cheap and turned it into something that is a blast to ride.


Check out RJ the bike guy on youtube if you haven't seen him before. He fixes a lot of bikes similar to what you have.
This post was edited on 10/23 at 8:47 pm


jordan21210
USA Fan
Member since Apr 2009
11243 posts

re: Just got a bike and have some general questions
Yeah already found his channel

Some will say I’m dumb, but my bike and money so whatever. I currently have all parts on order to convert to drop bars. Going to make a nice “do it all” bike. Going to keep the 3x7 setup and shift with bar end shifters on friction setting. Once I blow up the current crankset, I’ll convert it to a 1x7/8/9 and can use the index setting on the shifters. Pretty pumped. Really going to use this as a way to learn bikes and create something unique.


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