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Is it worth it?

Old 06-08-22, 10:43 AM
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rebrod59
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Is it worth it?

I have a 15 year-old Surly Long Haul Trucker. It's never been wrecked, always stored inside and I live in a dry climate (Colorado) where rust isn't a huge issue. I've ridden it a lot, probably 50,000 miles. I'm considering tearing it down, having the frame and fork powder coated and installing all new components (nearly everything on the bike is original) with some upgrades like V-brakes. What do you all think, would it be worth it or should I just be looking for a new bike?
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Old 06-08-22, 11:12 AM
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what components are on it now?
what type of group are you looking for
what is your goal/desire with the new components?
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Old 06-08-22, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
what components are on it now?
what type of group are you looking for
what is your goal/desire with the new components?
Shimano, a mix of road and mt bike stuff like Surly does. I'd stick with Shimano, one of their lower end groups with a triple and 10 speeds. It has bar end shifters and I'd probably stay with those. This is my go-to bike for roads and primarily paved trails though I do ride some gravel and forest service roads. I do some touring but not a lot. I need the low gears for climbing around here and the fact that I'm 63 and not as powerful as I once was. My goals with the new components are to upgrade the brakes and otherwise just replace things that have to be getting old and hence more likely to fail. My real question is whether it makes sense to invest in a frame that has been around a while and seen a lot of miles.
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Old 06-08-22, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rebrod59 View Post
My goals with the new components are to upgrade the brakes and otherwise just replace things that have to be getting old and hence more likely to fail. My real question is whether it makes sense to invest in a frame that has been around a while and seen a lot of miles.
Frames don't wear out. If this frame suits your needs, there's no compelling reason to replace it.
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Old 06-08-22, 12:26 PM
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I'd slap two sets of Kool-Stop salmon pads on there, wash the bike, lube pivots, and call it good. If that's not enough, change the chain and cassette, replace the cables and housing, and repack the bearings. Ride off into the sunset in less time than it would take the powder coater to finish sanding the frame.
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Old 06-08-22, 12:27 PM
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Assuming good care, I’ve seen very few worn out frames, brake levers (hoods are another story), front derailers, and really rear derailers other than the wheels and occasionally a return spring.

If you like the frame and it fits, I’d keep it.
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Old 06-08-22, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rebrod59 View Post
Shimano, a mix of road and mt bike stuff like Surly does. I'd stick with Shimano, one of their lower end groups with a triple and 10 speeds. It has bar end shifters and I'd probably stay with those. This is my go-to bike for roads and primarily paved trails though I do ride some gravel and forest service roads. I do some touring but not a lot. I need the low gears for climbing around here and the fact that I'm 63 and not as powerful as I once was. My goals with the new components are to upgrade the brakes and otherwise just replace things that have to be getting old and hence more likely to fail. My real question is whether it makes sense to invest in a frame that has been around a while and seen a lot of miles.
as a guy who has put new gear on mulitple old bikes, it is worth it. cheaper if you can find a group of components

9 speed triple means sora https://bike.shimano.com/en-US/produ...ora-r3000.html

you might try the integrated shifters..... I love them, but I also kept hitting bar ends with my knee so am not a bar ends kinda guy

also don't dismiss 11 speed with a 50/34 compact crank and 11-34 cassette https://bike.shimano.com/en-US/produ...105-r7000.html

or as other have said, just to all new cables, clean and lube everything. Also get good tires, I am of the opinion that highend tires are the biggest bang for buck for improvement
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Old 06-08-22, 01:38 PM
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It comes down to if you think it is worth it. Other than the powder coating, are you going to be doing the work, or paying someone? You mentioned 10 speed shimano, other than the 4700 groupset, the older 10 speed components can be difficult to find in really good shape, and if they are, they are not cheap. You would likely need new wheels also. To do a proper job with good stuff, and the powder coating, you are looking at $800 at least, and that is a conservative estimate without including contact points, tires, cables, etc. If you can do it for that, and you wind up with a practically new bike, not a bad deal.

I have done this with a few bikes, they all spent more of my dollars than I anticipated. But, they were all worth it to me, even though, on the market, they are not worth what I put into them. I did not do the work on them to sell. I did get a lot of self satisfaction from knowing I put the effort into it, learned a whole lot, and they came out very well. I have a Lemond Tourmalet that was a mess when I acquired it, but it is now my favorite bike that I have built, and just might be my favorite to ride.
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Old 06-08-22, 05:55 PM
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Another vote here for worth it. Keep in mind that if you’re switching from cantilever to V brakes and have drop bar levers, you’ll need to switch to long pull levers or use travel agents.
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Old 06-08-22, 06:02 PM
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If it is worth it to you, it is worth it. I have an old bike boom Takara, and while I don't have a fortune in it, I probably have more than I could sell it for invested in it. But I'm not selling it. I'm riding it and the bike makes me happy for reasons many wouldn't understand. If you dig this bike and you want to do what you want with it, that is your business not any internet stranger's.
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Old 06-08-22, 06:14 PM
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Definitely worth it just going by how attached you are to it. I might even spring for a re-paint.
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Old 06-09-22, 07:31 PM
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For resale value, it's a big money loser. Suppose you could sell a bike now for $900. After you spend $1000 refinishing and upgrading it, it won't sell for anywhere near $1900. You would lose nearly everything you spent to upgrade it. Therefore, the advisability of upgrading would depend on you keeping and using the bike for perhaps another 50,000 miles. Do the upgrade if you're sure you will be happier doing that than buying a new bike and selling or storing the upgraded Trucker at a big loss.

If you refinish, reconsider powder-coating. Powder-coating sometimes works well as a production process where results can be adjusted over a long production run, but for one-off jobs, it has a high failure rate. See if you can find a shop that specializes in refinishing bicycle frames. I've seen good work done by Calfee design for example. Once you find a shop that stands behind their work on bicycles in particular, ask about powder-coating and see what they say. Whether they agree with my caution or not, take their advice because they're the ones that will answer to the results.

As for upgrading components, I advise against doing it without a specific goal. Putting more expensive parts on the bike will empty your wallet and possibly accomplish nothing else. The only specific upgrade purpose you mentioned was better brakes. Discs will outperform v-brakes, and you could acquire a previously-owned Disc Trucker for less than what your proposed project will cost.

Upgrading your current bike also forgoes the opportunity to try something different. You don't know what you don't know. You might be convinced the Surly is the right bike, but what else have you actually tried? Understandably, it's not easy to find a lot of touring bikes to test-ride and I have some doubt about how much a short test ride is worth. On the other hand, I saw a 2018 Surly Midnight Special for sale, asking $1200. Suppose you get it for $1100. You could ride it for the rest of the summer and if you like your Trucker better, sell it come next spring for $1000. For the cost of a new saddle, you could enjoy the bike for months and get an education at the same time. If you've got the money, buy 3 and just keep what you like best.
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Old 06-10-22, 07:25 AM
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That frame, considering no rust, will probably outlive you and everyone you know so having it powder coated is not essential but you may want to if the current paint is badly chipped or scratched. Old Surly frames weren't famous for their paint durability but newer ones are factory powder coated and a lot better.

That said, a major upgrade is going to cost a large fraction of the cost of a new bike and a new Disc Trucker will have, current components, disc brakes, thru axles, clearance for larger tires, and be tubeless ready, all of which your present bike won't have.
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Old 06-10-22, 09:24 AM
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It is nearly always worth it if you are not overly cost conscious and build something you can’t buy.

For me the key is a successfully mix-n-match to end up with a product that specifically suits your needs. But you need to do your research first.

My brother ran an XT crank on his touring bike with 22-34-44 and an 11-32. His 44-11 gives him enough top end and 22-32 is almost one ratio above walking. It is perfect for him.

None of the bikes I have built have “groups”. Each component is more purposefully thought out.

John
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Old 06-10-22, 09:51 AM
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I like my old bikes so another vote for keeping it.
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Old 06-10-22, 11:13 AM
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Ten years ago I left on a 4500 mile tour with a 15-year old steel REI bike with low-end Shimano components, canti brakes, and about 50K miles on it. (I hated those brakes but toughed them out for another few years.) I serviced all the bearings I could and replaced those I couldn't--cartridge bottom bracket and free hub. New chain and cassette and brake shoes. Having a scratched up old steel bike (also in Colorado) was a plus to me. It was less of a theft magnet, and I didn't worry about that first scratch again.

I understand the wish to upgrade brakes. If you keep the bar end shifters, it's possible to buy the appropriate brake levers. And if you decide to repaint, you can grind off the extra rear cable stop.

If you change the crankset, you may also need to change the spindle to keep the chainline correct. That could be one of those minor hidden costs or problems others are mentioning.

I've rebuilt a couple of old steel frames with modern components, but both times I've been an active volunteer at a non-profit bike shop, so I've had access to an excellent selection selection of good salvaged parts and good tools and expertise. It's been worth it for me, but it may be more difficult and costly without those resources.
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Old 06-10-22, 11:19 AM
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50k miles? That is like a family member. Good frame=well worth the attention. Keep us updated.
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Old 06-10-22, 11:47 AM
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If the frame fits you well and there's no indication of fatigue anywhere, I'd have a hard time seeing that changeover to a different frame would be necessary.

Yes, it'll require a tear-down (but then, it's probably time for that anyway). Yes, you're considering a full strip and repaint. I suppose for all of that work it'll likely be roughly the cost of a new frame. But this one's a known quantity. I'd be very tempted to keep it, prep it, then build it up with new components. Viewed from one perspective, it'd be a new custom bike built "on the cheap" but with one fewer question marks for you.
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Old 06-10-22, 11:55 AM
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If I was in your position I would keep the frame and put a new SRAM NX Eagle groupset on it. Microshift makes a bar end shifter for this groupset to use on your drop bars.
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Old 06-10-22, 12:26 PM
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Don't be so sure that V-brakes would be an "upgrade". There's a reason that bike came with cantilever brakes, and it's not because V-brakes hadn't been invented yet. Start with installing Kool-stops pads and making sure they're set up correctly.
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Old 06-10-22, 12:59 PM
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Make a list of the parts you want to swap, then find out if you can source anything. Parts are not available yet, pandemic supply issues still affecting the industry. Maybe leave it alone for a few months.
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Old 06-10-22, 02:23 PM
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Almost no one recoups the cost of upgrades so either sell it as is or keep and upgrade. I assume its got the old shift levers on the down tube and a old 3 x 9 groupset. If you plan to use flatbars the newer mountain bike type shifters are a great upgrade and you could keep the 3 x 9 If you want drop bars and modern road type shifter a new group set would be my choice, specifically a sub compact chain ring with a 11 speed cassette ( 48/32 and 11 x 32 cassette Have fun..
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Old 06-10-22, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by greatbasin View Post
For resale value, it's a big money loser. Suppose you could sell a bike now for $900. After you spend $1000 refinishing and upgrading it, it won't sell for anywhere near $1900. You would lose nearly everything you spent to upgrade it. Therefore, the advisability of upgrading would depend on you keeping and using the bike for perhaps another 50,000 miles. Do the upgrade if you're sure you will be happier doing that than buying a new bike and selling or storing the upgraded Trucker at a big loss.
A couple more parts of the equation.

BRAKES!!!
They've evolved over the years.
Cantis?
Disc Brakes?
Direct mount Discs?

Make sure the rebuild has the configuration you want.

Also consider the replacement cost. Invest the cash in the old bike vs replacement cost which could be in the thousands.

Keep the old one as a beater/workhorse. Perhaps buy something new and different.
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Old 06-10-22, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by N2deep View Post
I assume its got the old shift levers on the down tube and a old 3 x 9 groupset...
OP said he has bar end shifters and wants to stick with them.
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Old 06-10-22, 06:26 PM
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It always depends. If you want something new and shiny and the lastest stuff go for a new bike. You should be able to get good money for a Long Haul Trucker if you sell it. If you love the bike, and just need a few upgrades and refinish to make you satisfied go for that. It may be a couple of hundred dollars for powder coating. And a couple of hundred for upgraded parts.

My former co-worker would often sell his older bikes to fund newer bikes. Not brand new, but a level up. That worked for him and allowed him to try out a variety of bike brands, frame materials, disk brakes/rim brakes, carbon rims and different drivetrains.

If it me, I'd probably just touch up the paint, change the brakes and the bits that are worn. We all have different budgets and views on our hobby that are different than anyone else.

So, I think it is a good idea since you are on the fence to ask here. You should get some good input. What do you dream about when you dream about a bike? Whatever that is, is the direction to go.
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