View Full Version : Renovating older hybrid, worth it?

05-09-2006, 11:30 PM
I've been eyeing my old hybrid junk bike (Raleigh mtn bike, circa 1990, steel) and contemplating converting it into more of a touring type of setup that I could use as a winter beater/commuter. Right now I pretty much hate the components that are on it. But, it's got a steel frame and all the necessary braze-ons for mounting racks to it.

Basically, for it to do what I want, I'd have to replace basically everything but the frame. I'm starting to think it might not be worth the cost and effort, perhaps I should look for a better starting bike that is already closer to being what I want it to be? The frame size is not quite right for me, either, never has been.

The other thought that I have is to just clean/fix it up a little bit (it hasn't been properly serviced in a loooooong time) and keep it around as a guest/loaner bike.


05-10-2006, 12:14 AM
Hmmm...tough question. If the frame "isn't quite right for you"..have you had it fitted to you? Maybe it's just a matter of having your LBS fit the bike to you?
You will likely be able to buy another bike for less than the cost of upgrading all the components, but:
- if the bike can be fit to you, and you like the bike, and the steel frame is good quality and decent condition, upgrading with Deore-level components is easy and relatively cheap to do. I recently rebuilt/restored a steel '84 Kuwahara MTB; the bike shop guys gave me a "you must be nuts" look, yet it turned out to be a great bike. All the new Deore components bolted right on the old frame with no problems: derailleurs, brakes, cranks, BB..the works. It might be worthwhile going that route especially if you can do the work yourself or get a friend to do it free.
( I spent ~$250 or so for components + $50 for tires)
-If the above doesn't work for you, or the bike just can't be it fit to you properly, give her a good tuneup and keep her as a guest/loaner bike. You can probably do that for $50 or so.
Almost anything is possible; I guess you must decide what route is best for your situation. Good luck :)

05-10-2006, 12:02 PM
If the only part that is keepable isn't quite right... it doesn't sound like it's a keeper. Have you ridden newer bikes? There's a lot of good, new technology. You could even get a newer used one.
There's something to be said for building the bike you want... I'd be talking to that LBS about doing just that with something new.

I've graduated from the idea that the commuter bike should be a beater... my dream bike one of these...

05-10-2006, 01:39 PM
Popoki, I've never had the bike fitted professionally, but comparing the frame dimensions to my new road bike (that fits perfectly) I can see that the frame is too tall, and the top tube too long. I could work around some of that with stem sizes, but not much.

If the only part that is keepable isn't quite right... it doesn't sound like it's a keeper.
You've just hit the nail on the head. I guess I just needed to hear someone else say it? Thanks!

Have you ridden newer bikes? There's a lot of good, new technology. You could even get a newer used one.
My main motivation with this is that my new racy bike cannot mount any racks or panniers - when I commute I have to carry everything on my back. And while right now I'm enjoying the lovely spring/summer weather, I'd like to start commuting year round and I'm not sure I want to put the precciousssss through daily winter riding. I think I'll just start trolling craigslist or ebay for newer used touring style bikes.

Thanks guys! :)

05-31-2006, 01:36 PM
I recently tried to get a used hybrid for a commuter, and found that going used wasn't worth the time and effort involved. Seemingly, no one can ever tell you the frame size in advance, and you end up trying out bikes that aren't going to fit, and are going to need substantial investments in terms of new parts, etc. Basically the same story as your old bike, but without the sentimental attachment and knowledge of where it's been!

(Of course, you've got until winter if you don't mind commuting on the road bike for now, so you might have better luck than I did - I got tired of the hunt quickly...)

I guess it depends what your needs and desires are, but if you've already got the fancy road bike, consider just getting an inexpensive new bike...

Good luck!