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Project Denali...aka pimp this turd

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Project Denali...aka pimp this turd

Old 07-04-21, 07:50 PM
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grizzly907la
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Project Denali...aka pimp this turd

I finally found a GMC Denali road bike that is my size. I got this yesterday for $80. I plan on turning it into a budget gravel grinder. I took off all of the low end components and have most of what I need in my parts bin. New BB and brakes have been ordered. Nothing expensive and quite frankly inexpensive components. I'm going to keep the fork and stock wheels for now and will upgrade them down the road. I know many people on this forum hate this bike, but I consider it a relatively good and upgradable platform.




A few things to consider if one should get this bike.
1. Replace the bottom bracket. The Denali uses an old school bottom bracket, and its pretty crappy. When removing the pedals I could feel it wobble.
2. The stock brakes are terrible. They have okay stopping power once you change the pads out, but they are not the best overall.
3. Yes the revo shifters, and handlebars (heavy af,) are a weird configuration. They work but you might want to consider upgrading, to STI or other standard road bike shifters.
4. The derailleurs are clunky and the rear one is heavy...usable, however you can upgrade them down the road.

Overall it's a decent price for what you get and you can swap out the low end components for better ones over time. The cost over time will not be so bad if you know how to do some basic wrenching, and have some basic tools.

I'm probably a fool, because I like taking bikes like this and making them better. I also like wrenching, though I doubt that I could land a job as a bike mechanic, with my current skillset.
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Old 07-04-21, 08:06 PM
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meh... a turd is still a turd, but, if you have the parts to do it, why not.
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Old 07-04-21, 08:49 PM
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Whatever you do to it you will still have a GMC Denali. Like pimping out a Pinto or a Yugo. Seems like a complete waste of money.
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Old 07-04-21, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
Whatever you do to it you will still have a GMC Denali. Like pimping out a Pinto or a Yugo. Seems like a complete waste of money.
Yes but you can always make them better, like a liner for the pinto's tank so its less explody or a better window heater so your hands stay warmer in the winter pushing the yugo up the local hills.

OP: can't for the life of me think of why you would want to do this but you should really start with the wheels. Anything will be lighter, better spinning and your selection should include a freehub body so you can go 8 or 9 speed. Have fun.
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Old 07-04-21, 09:31 PM
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Dura-Ace all around. See if you can get it under 20 lbs.
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Old 07-04-21, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by krakhaus View Post
Dura-Ace all around. See if you can get it under 20 lbs.
You would have to cut off about a 1/3rd of the frame to get it under 20
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Old 07-04-21, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
You would have to cut off about a 1/3rd of the frame to get it under 20
How heavy can a 6061 frame be? My steel Mondonico is 19lbs.
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Old 07-05-21, 05:27 AM
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Sounds like a fascinating project! If you are going to post regular updates, pics, etc maybe have this moved to the Blogger's section so we can find it easily. https://www.bikeforums.net/bloggers-forum-255/
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Old 07-05-21, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
Whatever you do to it you will still have a GMC Denali. Like pimping out a Pinto or a Yugo. Seems like a complete waste of money.
The frame is light, and very stout. It's the components that make so dang heavy.
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Old 07-05-21, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by krakhaus View Post
Dura-Ace all around. See if you can get it under 20 lbs.
I'm going a little more budget friendly, however I get the sentiment.
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Old 07-05-21, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Sounds like a fascinating project! If you are going to post regular updates, pics, etc maybe have this moved to the Blogger's section so we can find it easily. https://www.bikeforums.net/bloggers-forum-255/
I can do that.
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Old 07-05-21, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
Yes but you can always make them better, like a liner for the pinto's tank so its less explody or a better window heater so your hands stay warmer in the winter pushing the yugo up the local hills.

OP: can't for the life of me think of why you would want to do this but you should really start with the wheels. Anything will be lighter, better spinning and your selection should include a freehub body so you can go 8 or 9 speed. Have fun.
I'm, using the stock wheels for now due to budgetary constraints. I'll upgrade them down the road.
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Old 07-05-21, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by krakhaus View Post
How heavy can a 6061 frame be? My steel Mondonico is 19lbs.
It all depends on how much of it you use. Yeah, the components are cheap and heavy, but looking at those welds, we're not talking about KLEIN / Cannondale-style construction. Is there something special about the Denali frame that makes it a good candidate for upgrades?

I don't get the hangup some people have about these everything-but-the-paint job upgrades on these really, really cheap bikes. Unless you're starting with a whole pile of take-offs, by the time you get 'finished' you've spent the money you could have got a complete, late-model bike for, and you've still got a GMC Denali.
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Old 07-05-21, 10:02 AM
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I get it! Fun exercise and very inexpensive if you have the time and most of the parts available. Not too unlike my 1985 Mt Fuji, a decent bike which was ridden to death back then, but at eight pounds for the frame, fork and headset, porky. Still turned it into a 41 pound e-bike (seat bag with battery not shown).
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Old 07-05-21, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
It all depends on how much of it you use. Yeah, the components are cheap and heavy, but looking at those welds, we're not talking about KLEIN / Cannondale-style construction. Is there something special about the Denali frame that makes it a good candidate for upgrades?

I don't get the hangup some people have about these everything-but-the-paint job upgrades on these really, really cheap bikes. Unless you're starting with a whole pile of take-offs, by the time you get 'finished' you've spent the money you could have got a complete, late-model bike for, and you've still got a GMC Denali.
I like the Denali frame because it's stout. I'm a Clyde. I needed to put 45c's on my insight, because the 32c's were sagging almost to the rim of the wheels. I didn't have that problem with the original Denali I had and that was also running 32c's. Don't get me wrong the Insight is a great bike, however I had to go with bigger tires to compensate. I spent $80 for it and I have most of the parts I need. I doubt that I could've gotten a late model road bike, with working components for that price.
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Old 07-05-21, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
I get it! Fun exercise and very inexpensive if you have the time and most of the parts available. Not too unlike my 1985 Mt Fuji, a decent bike which was ridden to death back then, but at eight pounds for the frame, fork and headset, porky. Still turned it into a 41 pound e-bike (seat bag with battery not shown).
Nice ride!!! I want to convert my MTB to an electric bike down the road...I need to save some cash, because those kits are expensive for me. Hopefully the prices will come down in a couple of years, and or they make a pinion gear upgrade kit, that I can afford.
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Old 07-05-21, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
You would have to cut off about a 1/3rd of the frame to get it under 20
wrong... the frame alone is like 8lbs.
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Old 07-05-21, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
It all depends on how much of it you use. Yeah, the components are cheap and heavy, but looking at those welds, we're not talking about KLEIN / Cannondale-style construction. Is there something special about the Denali frame that makes it a good candidate for upgrades?

I don't get the hangup some people have about these everything-but-the-paint job upgrades on these really, really cheap bikes. Unless you're starting with a whole pile of take-offs, by the time you get 'finished' you've spent the money you could have got a complete, late-model bike for, and you've still got a GMC Denali.
The frames are sturdy and modernish, aero-ish(ish because the Huffy Aerowind did it first), and honestly; I love the way they look. Say what you want, but my Roadtech was awesome.
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Old 07-05-21, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by grizzly907la View Post
I like the Denali frame because it's stout. I'm a Clyde. I needed to put 45c's on my insight, because the 32c's were sagging almost to the rim of the wheels. I didn't have that problem with the original Denali I had and that was also running 32c's. Don't get me wrong the Insight is a great bike, however I had to go with bigger tires to compensate. I spent $80 for it and I have most of the parts I need. I doubt that I could've gotten a late model road bike, with working components for that price.
Bruh, I weigh over 200lbs and had 23s on my Roadtech. Eff them, I'll be a Kent Paria with you. I traded my friend a trek hybrid for his Denali, to reclaim the greatness of my Roadtech. I need to finish stripping the paint off of it. Probably take a pound or two off, I think it's enamel, aircraft stripper barelly touched it. My Roadtech was as light as a 90 World Tourist, with my mods. Got pics on IG.
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Old 07-05-21, 03:55 PM
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You should remove all the GMC Denali decals and stickers before upgrading.
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Old 07-05-21, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Jax Rhapsody View Post
Bruh, I weigh over 200lbs and had 23s on my Roadtech. Eff them, I'll be a Kent Paria with you. I traded my friend a trek hybrid for his Denali, to reclaim the greatness of my Roadtech. I need to finish stripping the paint off of it. Probably take a pound or two off, I think it's enamel, aircraft stripper barelly touched it. My Roadtech was as light as a 90 World Tourist, with my mods. Got pics on IG.
I happily be a Kent Pariah with you. The Roadtech is the Denali's little bother in a fashion. I can take a Denali frame and turn it into an awesome entry level road bike for $300...easy. The Roadtech is essentially the same frame but with a different paint and slightly better components. I contemplated taking off the stickers, but I am going to keep them because I know it triggers the hardcore bike snobs (no I am not saying that everyone who hates on the Denali is a bike snob.)

I had a similar problem with a frame I've stripped down. I had to leave the stripper on for a couple of hours, took a metal brush to it, reapplied it to the spots that didn't come off. I am going to feather down the rest of the spots that didn't come off. You could feather the old finish down, and prime over it.
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Old 07-05-21, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Jax Rhapsody View Post
wrong... the frame alone is like 8lbs.
sigh....,

we all know that, this is BF, exaggeration is expected, but not always recognized.
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Old 07-05-21, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by grizzly907la View Post
I finally found a GMC Denali road bike that is my size.
You were actually looking for one?

I thought that most Denali riders simply found them parked next to dumpsters.
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Old 07-05-21, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
You were actually looking for one?

I thought that most Denali riders simply found them parked next to dumpsters.
One mans trash is another mans gold, and I wished I found one my size next to a dumpster, because I would've gotten it for free. The bike even in stock condition is usable. I got one in 2012, and road it for 4 years. The only things that were swapped were the brake pads, handlebars, for flat bars, shifters, and the bottom bracket. Oh and inner tubes because DTLA is strewn with debris. Heck I might even cannibalize my Insight II and use the derailleurs for the Denali.
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Old 07-05-21, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
sigh....,

we all know that, this is BF, exaggeration is expected, but not always recognized.
I don't know if the frame is 8 pounds or not, but the frame is light.
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