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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Lesser of two evils - updated

Let me give some back story first: I am a college student on a tight budget. I have an old Trek mtn bike that I use as a sort of commuter/ hybrid. Its getting old, and the frame is small too.

I want to either:
Restore my old Trek, get new tires/ tubes, handlebars, shifters, and brakes. Drivetrain is fine for now. It does need a tune up though.

Or I could go up to Walmart and get a cheap GMC Denali bike.

All I want to do is ride, I don't want to race. What should I do?
 

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Depends if you do the work yourself or have a bike shop do it.

If you plan on having a bike shop do the restoration you might be better off hitting up craigslist or the campus bulletin board. (obviously for something not in need of restoration itself)

"new tires/ tubes, handlebars, shifters, and brakes. Drivetrain is fine for now. It does need a tune up though." At many bike shops will cost about the same as a decent functioning used bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would be able to do everything myself, I have been looking on Craigslist for a while now, but haven't found anything.

I know the GMC is a Walmart bike and isn't good, but would it not be fine for biking around town? Maybe change shifters and handlebars later on when they start to fail?

I almost want to get that just to work on it because I love to work on stuff. And I haven't found a bike on Craigslist yet that is a decent price and condition to restore.
 

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If you can do everything yourself then get the parts as cheap as possible and do it. If you need assistance with some adjustments, the basic tune up service may run you another $70 at most shops. I notice little difference in a brand new bike and an older bike that is tuned up and in good condition.
 

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That's the elephant in the room. Nobody's addressed that yet. Why mess around at all with a bike that is ultimately not the right size? I'd keep riding it until I found an affordable used bike locally.
I missed that, if the frame is small don't bother, Camilo is right. Keep looking for a used bike that is in reasonable condition and fits right. Then upgrade it as you wish.
 

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I would be able to do everything myself, I have been looking on Craigslist for a while now, but haven't found anything.
ive had good sucess with ebay for used bike parts. I would slowly rebuild your trek, its a much better bike

a fairly popular thing to do here for 2nd/3rd bikes is to pick up older steel frame mtn bikes and turn them into fixies
 

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Can you explain? Is it the components, or because its nearly 30lbs, wheels...?
Brakes often are impossible to adjust properly, low grade materials rust/bend easily, shifting is difficult to adjust, more like 35 lbs., weak wheels, unbelievably uncomfortable saddle, really the list never ends. We do a recycle-a-bicycle program twice a year and I spend the day working on these kinds of junkers. It makes me want to go home and kiss my bike.
 

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How tall are you or what size road bike are you looking for? I have a couple that I might be putting on ebay in a couple months. One is a Fuji Dynamic 10 from the 70s that is gold with a leather saddle and the other is a hot pink specialized allez with all shimano 105 from the early 90s. They're both about a 56cm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update!

I went to my lbs last week and got a bunch of stuff!

Installed everything and I think it looks great! It rides really smooth, and I enjoy the heck out of it!

Not included in parts picture: new stem and shifters.
 

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I went to my lbs last week and got a bunch of stuff!

Installed everything and I think it looks great! It rides really smooth, and I enjoy the heck out of it!

Not included in parts picture: new stem and shifters.
Looks nice and more important you like it. At some point you may decide you want one that fits your size better, and will appreciate the stiffer fork and lightr weight as well.

One thing to be careful is the brake levers with you v-brakes. Road levers have less mechanical advantage than MTB brake levers. V-brakes have strong stopping power but need a high mechanical advantage. Typically you need an adapter to make a road brake lever work with a MTB v-brake. You may have one, but if not you are riding with potentially limited braking power. Thought I should share in case you didn't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the advice! I do not have one of those adapters, and I have noticed the have less mechanical advantage now. I got them adjusted decently though, enough to where I trust them to stop.
 
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