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Mountain bike needs upgrade! Help
May 18, 2012 9:16 AM   Subscribe

So I have a 5 year old mountain bike(IronHorse Team SE) that I have been riding beginner trails and mostly commuting. Condition is fairly good and have been keeping up with cleaning and lubing. I want to spend up to $200 to upgrade components to make it lighter and faster while maintaining the same trail-ability Components are Rock Shox J-1 fork Hayes IH-2 disc brakes AL-6061 Frame Shimano ST-EFX35 Shift Levers TruVativ X-Flow Crank Shimano CSHG30-8I Rear Cogs Acera Shimano Rear Der. Shimano C050 Fr. Der. MythosXC 2.10F Tires Weight 35 lbs Any suggestions please?
posted by radsqd to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total)
 
$200 isn't going to do much for you if weight is your concern.

If I were going to spend $200 only on a bike...I'd buy spares. Tubes, chain/chain links, maybe tires if yours are starting to wear.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 9:22 AM on May 18, 2012


Disc brakes look cool but will increase the weight of your bike.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:23 AM on May 18, 2012


If saving weight is a big concern, you might consider switching to a rigid fork and/or a singlespeed drivetrain.

(Either of these changes will, of course, change your riding experience significantly.)
posted by box at 9:27 AM on May 18, 2012


Wheels are going to be the first spot you get weight savings, but not for $200. Otherwise, yeah: rigid fork and single speed. Lots of people prefer them for trails,as long as it's not too rocky.
posted by supercres at 9:30 AM on May 18, 2012



$200 isn't going to do much for you if weight is your concern.

If I were going to spend $200 only on a bike...I'd buy spares. Tubes, chain/chain links, maybe tires if yours are starting to wear.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 9:22 AM on May 18 [+] [!]


I have it on good word that one of the best upgrades you can make is your tires.


Wheels are going to be the first spot you get weight savings, but not for $200. Otherwise, yeah: rigid fork and single speed. Lots of people prefer them for trails,as long as it's not too rocky.
posted by supercres at 9:30 AM on May 18 [+] [!]


Agreed there.

I wouldn't bother upgrading derailleurs, shifters, or anything else of that sort. As others have said, you won't go far on 200$. In that price range I'd be unconventional and look at the weight you bring with you -- clothing, waterbottles, backpack, tools, shoes, etc.

Agreed that 35lb is a bit on the heavy side. I ride a fairly beefy XC front suspension mountain bike, and it's still under 30lbs. My roadbike feels like it must be half that. But you're not going to make much headway in your current price range. Work on little things, and consider starting a savings jar for your dream bike.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:41 AM on May 18, 2012


The best way to spend $200 and make this bike lighter is to sell it, and put that money + $200 to a lightly used, lighter bike.
posted by craven_morhead at 10:19 AM on May 18, 2012


In terms of deraileurs, its a 5 year old Acera model. I dont need heavy gears but is moving to a 9 speed deore or even a 8 speed altus worth it?
posted by radsqd at 11:27 AM on May 18, 2012



In terms of deraileurs, its a 5 year old Acera model. I dont need heavy gears but is moving to a 9 speed deore or even a 8 speed altus worth it?
posted by radsqd at 11:27 AM on May 18 [+] [!]



Is there a problem that you're trying to fix? :) In all seriousness, a lot of riding comes down to comfort. If you're happy with the way the thing shifts and performs, than keep it. If you're having frustrations, maybe it's time for replacement, but even then you might want to have someone check and make sure it's not a matter of adjusting the existing one or changing your riding style a bit.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:52 AM on May 18, 2012


I want to spend up to $200 to upgrade components to make it lighter and faster while maintaining the same trail-ability

Making a bike substantially lighter takes more than $200. As noted above wheels are a big component in that, and you might be able to upgrade from what you have for that, with some very diligent internet searching. Next big thing is a better fork, but for a lighter one you're going to spend way more than $200.

The thing that sticks out to me is you said "faster." A rider can make a bike faster, but the inverse is not always true. 35 lbs (did you weigh it or are you guessing?) is heavy, but not absurdly so.

In my mind this is more about spending money to "refresh" what you have. Make it feel newer. Easiest and cheapest ways to do that are tires, grips, and possibly saddle. These are the things that really affect how the bike feels to you. Two of them (saddle/grips) literally. Tires can drastically change the characteristics of the bike.

Also I would completely disagree with the rigid fork and singlespeed suggestions:

Rigid: When you start changing forks around you can inadvertently change the handling of the bike in a very bad way. If you go this route make sure to pay attention to the existing travel and axle-to-crown length your bike was designed with and try to get something similar. Any differences in these two things will change the geometry of the bike and effect the steering. Also rigid is not going to be faster, and definitely less comfortable. (I have a rigid bike and a full suspension - I know how different they are.)

Singlespeed: Singlespeed has it's place and for good reason. Think a big bmx bike. Getting rid of deraillers and cogs/sprockets will definitely lighten the bike up. HOWEVER, those things developed over time for a reason: they make riding easier. If you are pretty fit and/or want a challenge by all means check it out. It rides awesome. But be prepared for a lot of out of the saddle time and more effort.

tldr: Spend the money on small changes that you will feel.
posted by Big_B at 12:56 PM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


MythosXC 2.10F Tires? Those are not for commuting. You're getting bogged down by rolling resistance. Get tires that have tread with a center ridge for easy rolling on pavement.
posted by at at 5:12 PM on May 18, 2012


Going 9-speed and making it feel like an improvement (ie, not making your shifting worse) means new cassette, shifter, chain, chainrings, and front derailleur. That's going to eat up $200 fast and not get you much. I don't think even moving to bottom-level Deore is going to get you much, unless you actually find that you dislike the Acera shifting.

For weight, on a 35lb bike that you commute on: you're way better off spending time making the engine lighter.

Is there anything you actually dislike about the bike? Bars, saddle? Are you riding clipless? If not, a pair of SPD pedals and shoes would be a great place to throw $200 or so.

Another thing you might consider is a repair stand for home and basic tools.

Oh hey, at has a good point: (maybe a bit over) $200 could get you a second wheelset (maybe have to go used), and you could then have your trail wheels and your road wheels, with appropriate tires and gearing.
posted by mendel at 6:58 PM on May 18, 2012


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