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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a decision to make soon with regards to my beater bike. It’s a 2000 Specialized Allez Elite with an aluminum frame and a triple crank. It has 17,400 miles on it. That’s not that many miles but it’s lived up to its beater status the last few years having been used extensively in wet, salty and even snowy conditions.

The wheels on it are fairly new. I had the small and middle chain-rings and cassette/chain last replaced 5500 miles ago.

The problem I’m having with it is that it wants to jump gears. It’s not only annoying but it makes me hesitant to stand and put pressure on the pedals. I’ve also injured my right leg several times when it’s jumped and my leg has slammed into the bars. I’ve also had several instances where the chain has jumped and gotten stuck between the small and middle rings. I’ve brought this to the attention of my LBS but they say they’ve adjusted things as much as possible and that the rear derailleur is slightly bent which may be contributing to the problem. I don’t think it’s due to chain wear as it was happening shortly after both the chain and cassette were last replaced.

I have to decide whether it’s worth it at this point to invest in a new derailleur. The other function I’ve used this bike for is exceptionally mountainous routes where I’ve relied on its low gear of 30X27. My titanium bike has a low ratio of 39X28 so the beater’s gear is significantly lower. I could get everything replaced with a double compact crank and maybe a new derailleur that would accept a 32 tooth cog in back. This would give me a similar low gear. I just don’t know if this kind of upgrade is justified on a 16 year old aluminum bike. Does material fatigue come into play at this point? I’ve never crashed but doesn’t aluminum have a finite lifespan? I regularly do high speed descents so I do consider this as a factor.

An option I’ve considered is to get another bike rather than try to do this upgrading. I’ve long wanted to get a carbon bike to complement my steel, titanium and aluminum ones. It would become my beater bike, however, despite it being new. I was thinking a low to mid-range model pricewise.

An advantage of upgrading the aluminum one is that the cost of the repairs would pass under the radar with regards to my wife. A brand new bike could raise eyebrows. Our finances are split in many areas but I’d still have to do some justification given that I already have three bikes. I thought of taking the wheels from my aluminum one and transferring them to a new carbon bike. I know my LBS quite well and they might agree to sell me a bike without the wheels. But then I’m left with not much worth saving on the old bike. I would also have to make sure that I have a really low gear on the new carbon bike which may require some additional expense in having the shop switch some parts out.

So what do you guys think? Invest in a 16 year old aluminum bike or get a new low to mid range carbon one?
 

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it should be simple to figure out why the chain is jumping or trying to shift.

until you know what the cause is why guess and throw money at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
it should be simple to figure out why the chain is jumping or trying to shift.

until you know what the cause is why guess and throw money at it.
You’d think so but no solution has been offered by my LBS. I think they could be right that it’s just due to the wear on a derailleur that old.

They did have to replace the original Ultegra rear shifter with a Sora one to match the smaller cassette size that Ultegra connected with back in 2000. Only Sora would currently work. I guess that raises the question of whether a Sora shifter would work with a modern derailleur that could accommodate the gear range I want.
 

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It's a tough call, but you could probably piece together a pretty nice newer beater for pretty cheap via eBay and closeouts if you are certain about your size and fit. Something like a Caad10 or Allez can often be found at a pretty good price on eBay ($400-$700). You can also find components on their for pretty cheap as well.
 

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I have to decide whether it’s worth it at this point to invest in a new derailleur.
So what do you guys think? Invest in a 16 year old aluminum bike or get a new low to mid range carbon one?
A tiagra der. cost about $30. Not sure I'd be using the word "invest" here. Even if I were to get a new bike I'd never abandon one that was just $30 away from being fully functional.
 

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I had the small and middle chain-rings and cassette/chain last replaced 5500 miles ago.
That's a long way on a chain unless you're very attentive to maintenance, especially for a bike ridden in bad weather. Have you checked the chain for wear/elongation? From your symptoms, I'd suspect a worn chain, which has probably worn some cassette cogs. Replacing the chain and possibly the cassette would be the cheap fix to try first.

I’ve brought this to the attention of my LBS but they say they’ve adjusted things as much as possible and that the rear derailleur is slightly bent which may be contributing to the problem
Derailleur is bent, or hanger? Either way, that has to be fixed. A mis-aligned derailleur will cause shifting problems. If your shop just said it's bent, and didn't offer a way to fix it, I'd look for a different mechanic, frankly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's a long way on a chain unless you're very attentive to maintenance, especially for a bike ridden in bad weather. Have you checked the chain for wear/elongation? From your symptoms, I'd suspect a worn chain, which has probably worn some cassette cogs. Replacing the chain and possibly the cassette would be the cheap fix to try first.


Derailleur is bent, or hanger? Either way, that has to be fixed. A mis-aligned derailleur will cause shifting problems. If your shop just said it's bent, and didn't offer a way to fix it, I'd look for a different mechanic, frankly.
I did address the first part in my original post. This was happening shortly after the chain was replaced.

I think the mechanic was implying that I need to get a new derailleur given its age. He did not offer any solution to the problem.
 

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A tiagra der. cost about $30. Not sure I'd be using the word "invest" here. Even if I were to get a new bike I'd never abandon one that was just $30 away from being fully functional.
Agreed, this sounds like a cheap fix. Make sure the derailleur hanger is aligned.

You might want to find a different bike shop.
 

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I did address the first part in my original post. This was happening shortly after the chain was replaced.
You did say that, and I noticed it. Makes me suspect the shop messed something up. You still haven't said whether you checked the chain for wear. 5000 miles on a bike ridden frequently in the rain is a long way.

I'd suggest, 1) check the chain, and probably replace it; 2) find a shop that can suggest something to do about your derailleur hanger other than try to sell you a new part; 3) if the new chain skips on the old cassette (after the der gets straightened out), replace the cassette; 4) as a last resort, replace the derailleur.
 

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I don't understand the part about getting a cf frame bike and it being the beater? It's lighter and stronger than the other materials you are riding? Maybe a mob of posters are going to blow a gasket about that, but, to a significant degree, and perhaps not in every direct comparison, but overall, why is the best frame material designated a beater? Boom.
 

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Third that.

8 and 9 speed are not that hard to work on. Spend some time on the internet (Park, Sheldon...) and learn the basics, and you shouldn't have a problem. It really isn't rocket science.

Time to lean to do it for yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You did say that, and I noticed it. Makes me suspect the shop messed something up. You still haven't said whether you checked the chain for wear. 5000 miles on a bike ridden frequently in the rain is a long way.

I'd suggest, 1) check the chain, and probably replace it; 2) find a shop that can suggest something to do about your derailleur hanger other than try to sell you a new part; 3) if the new chain skips on the old cassette (after the der gets straightened out), replace the cassette; 4) as a last resort, replace the derailleur.
I just didn't see how even if the chain is worn at this point, how that could be *the* problem with the skipping of gears given that it was happening when the chain/cassette/chain-rings were new. This is the second time this shop has replaced the chain and cassette on this bike and I didn't have issues the first time. I replace the cassette and chain together and I know it will have to be done pretty soon on the beater regardless of the derailleur issue but I really doubt that would fix the problem. I would hope the shop would have offered to straighten the derailleur if that was a possible fix but the indication I got was that it needed replacement.

My Jamis has over 13,000 miles on still the original chain, cassette and chain-rings and never skips. Granted, it very rarely has seen wet conditions. My titanium bike has over 8500 miles with the same scenario.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I don't understand the part about getting a cf frame bike and it being the beater? It's lighter and stronger than the other materials you are riding? Maybe a mob of posters are going to blow a gasket about that, but, to a significant degree, and perhaps not in every direct comparison, but overall, why is the best frame material designated a beater? Boom.
My other two bikes were the top of their line and I would not be getting that in a carbon fiber model. I have thought of making my old Jamis my beater but it's steel which makes it less desirable for wet conditions. It also has a weird issue in which the rear shifter doesn't work properly when the temperature gets below 40. I know - I'm sure the cable needs replacement - but in its current state, it's not a feasible option for a beater bike.

I don't share your view that carbon fiber is the best frame material.
 

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My other two bikes were the top of their line and I would not be getting that in a carbon fiber model. I have thought of making my old Jamis my beater but it's steel which makes it less desirable for wet conditions. It also has a weird issue in which the rear shifter doesn't work properly when the temperature gets below 40. I know - I'm sure the cable needs replacement - but in its current state, it's not a feasible option for a beater bike.

I don't share your view that carbon fiber is the best frame material.
You make a good point. I should have stuck with lighter and stronger and left off best, which is too subjective. But I'd add, it won't rust. And, because you paid top dollar for your Ti and steel bike frames doesn't make them perform better than cf it just makes them more expensive. Perform being subjective enough, but it is very possible for a rider to favor the performance of a more affordable cf frame that is lighter, stronger and designed in a way that someone prefers in terms of geo.
 

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Go on eBay, find a NOS or otherwise new-esque 9-speed rear derailleur in the 105 or Ultegra range (long cage if you're running a triple). Replace the chain. Ride.

Again, this is very basic maintenance that anyone who rides frequently should know how to do (especially those that ride in the rain). Even if you choose to have a shop do the maintenance for you (not everyone has the time/resources/space/aptitude), knowing how to work on a bike can save a lot of time, money, and heartache over the long run.

Knowing how to determine if a chain is excessively worn before it starts to skip might be a good start.
 
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