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Coming back to biking, need advice.

jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
edited September 2012 in MTB beginners
Hi all,

first off, congrats on a great site and forum, have already read through a few of the articles, guides and reviews, and all been v. helpful so far, but now I'm looking for a bit of tailor made advice if that's ok?

Anyway, I'm 32 and haven't ridden a bike in anger since my late teens, but want to get back into it. We've just moved house to a location that virtually demands biking, and I've just restored my wife's old bike to it's former glory, but as yet I don't have one at all. Now, mostly my riding will be fairly sedate path- and trails-based stuff with the family, but I might occasionally head out on a more adventurous ride, and have a childish streak, so and will be tempted by the odd bumpy bit for a bit of fun. :wink:

Problem 1 is, the house move means money's tight, and I really can't justify spending much more than £150 (don't laugh, please). Now I know you don't get anything decent for that sort of money new, so am wondering about trying to get something half-decent secondhand. Problem 2 is that bike technology (and terminology) has moved on a fair bit since my last bike (suspension was more-or-less unheard of, brakes were almost universally centre-pull cantis, etc etc and I feel quite out of touch.

So to cut a long story short (or not) what I'm basically looking for from you fine people is a few ideas on what I should be looking for and what I might reasonably find within my budget.

So far have seen secondhand Kona Hahanna and Carrera Vulcan for £150 each - is either of these worth a crack?

Thanks in advance,
Jim
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Posts

  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    If the bike is in good condition (check it carefully!), and it fits, then they are good starting points.

    If you can however stretch to this:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEW-Python-Ul ... 27c26c1b45

    You won't be able to try for size, and the fork isn't the greatest, but the rest of the spec is truly amazing!
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    As you sound able to DIY I reckon you could get something fairly decent for that sort of price.
    Biggest cost if something goes wrong is the forks, so check them carefully or even look at a rigid to start.
    Will be fine on most trails - although you are a youngster, for some of us there was no suspension BITD and we managed fine, although I do love my bouncy bike now.
    As for your specifics, both would do what you want, but difficult to comment without seeing the actual bikes or links - the Kona was made for well over 10 years and specs changed. Also unlikely to be stock.
    Ebay is a good start - I've got a couple of bikes for well under £50, and both are still going and needed nothing except some fettling.
    If you really get into it you can always sell a kidney and buy a fancier one (or a kid if you really feel the need for state of the art)
    And welcome.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    @ Supersonic:

    Thanks for the quick response. I could always try lying to the wife, I suppose :twisted: I must admit I'm a little nervous about buying secondhand, but on the other hand I really don't want to buy a naff bike cos it's all i can afford new. If the one you link to is fairly good, then it certainly gives me hope.

    @ Cooldad - i don't consider myself a youngster, and I too come from a time before suspension (my old bike was a Rayliegh Marauder - everyone seemed to have these when I was a kid). Yes, I consider myself fairly happy DIYing on most elements, so modifying and upgrading later are an option, to be sure.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Everyone seems like a youngster to me these days. It's quite scary.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    Have had a response from the guy with the Kona, and it's still available.

    Here's what I know so far:
    Kona Hahanna mountain bike
    A great hard tail mountain bike with a lightweight aluminium frame
    SR Suntour front suspension
    Shimano Acera chainset
    19 inch frame
    Very good condition, runs smoothly, some small scratches in the paint but well looked after
    £150 ono
    link to image: http://is00.thegumtree.com/image/big/147050660.jpg

    don't know what year it is yet (awaiting response to that one)

    EDIT / UPDATE:

    Seller reports that AFAHK, it's a 2002 model, therefore this should apply:

    http://www.bikepedia.com/quickbike/BikeSpecs.aspx?Year=2002&Brand=Kona&Model=Hahanna&Type=bike#.UDtVaqOXjV9

    Any thoughts? Maybe 10 years is a bit too old to be worth bothering with?
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,001
    £150 sounds a bit steep to me for a 10 year old bike. It would need to be completely rideable for that if anything is badly worn you could end up spending a lot on chains and gears for example. If you can have a ride and go up and down the gears making sure everything works, if there are any noises or gears wont shift properly then thats a good basis for price negotiation.

    Konas are good frames and usually tougher than most so shouldnt be any problems there, the Acera chainset is tough and long lasting but the fork will be a bit censored but good enough for starting with.

    Oh and welcome to the best fun you can have in the world outside the bedroom.
    Fig rolls: proof that god loves cyclists and that she wants us to do another lap
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Yep, too much. Are nice bikes, I picked one up for my brother a few months ago for £70.
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    thanks both for the info - he seems like an easy-going kind of chap, so should be ok for a good test ride. Will go and see it and play it by ear.

    In the meantime, will keep my eyes open for anything else likely.

    Thank you all for your help so far - very much appreciated.

    Jim
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    We picked up the lads 2008 Spesh P1 off ebay for just over £100, needed £20 to sort out a couple of niggles, £150 for the Kona is havin' a giraffe.
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    edited March 2013
    We picked up the lads 2008 Spesh P1 off ebay for just over £100, needed £20 to sort out a couple of niggles, £150 for the Kona is havin' a giraffe.

    How about a Scott YZ3, then? Sounds like the frame's pretty good, and I could upgrade other bits and pieces as and when money allows...
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Could be a good buy depending what parts are on it, what forks, and what brakes, ideally go for a bike with either disc brakes or full disc brake compatability (frame, fork and wheels) so you can put good disc brakes on cheaply, if it has no disc brake compatability that is an average price really.
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    ... Or a Giant Boulder, seems to be in very good nick, £120.....
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    Could be a good buy depending what parts are on it, what forks, and what brakes, ideally go for a bike with either disc brakes or full disc brake compatability (frame, fork and wheels) so you can put good disc brakes on cheaply, if it has no disc brake compatability that is an average price really.

    So you consider disc brakes a must? Whats your thinking? (sorry, did warn you I was out of touch with bike tech ;)) Also, not sure what I'd be looking for in terms of assessing compatibility - am I way out of my depth here?
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Disc brakes aren't a must, but for £150 you should be able to get something with discs (which work much butter in the British 'summer' mud) enabling you to upgrade the bike much more easily should you 'get into' it, if you're happy with V's then you should be able to get something much cheaper that will be otherwise a similar bike, discs add a lot to the 'selling price' of a bike on ebay etc, probably circa 50-75% extra.

    This is local to me on V-s, so about £90 once it has wheels/tyres on it.
    http://www.gumtree.com/p/for-sale/speci ... /109721589
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    edited March 2013
    Right folks, consider the bullet well-and-truly bitten - I have just bought a bike!

    In the end I plumped for the Scott bike, working on the principle that more money saved now is more going into the repair/upgrade pot.

    The bike needs a lot doing to it (albeit mostly fairly straightforward (new cables all-round, pads and front wheel for starters) but the shifters and derailleurs work fine for now and the frame itself is in good nick). Oh, and yes, it has tabs for discs should I decide to go that way later.

    Will post some photos etc later - in fact, I suppose I should probably start a new thread for advice on repairs and upgrades, shouldn't I?

    Thanks to everyone who's given me input so far, it's been a very helpful experience.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Photo's or link would be nice......

    Cheap but reasonable quality cables can be had from Wilkinsons supermarkets, the only bit they don't do is gear outers if yours are shot (my LBS charge but £1.99/meter for cheap stuff)

    For other bits on an older bike I'd go to ebay or classifieds (on here or STW) first.

    If your getting a front wheel, why not go disc? I have all the bits you'd need for a cable disc conversion (as others would have) for probably about £25 delivered.
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    Here's some pics of the bike - feel free to play "spot what needs doing". Will add more when I have more time.

    IMG_2539.jpg
    more here: http://www.photobucket.com/JimsYZ3bike

    Have already got the new cables (set of 4), chain, brake pads and grips. Some water came out of the fork when inverted, so guess the seal's gone in there, but haven't investigated yet.

    @TheBeginner - thanks for the offer - I may well take you up on that at a later date. My intention was to get a disc-ready wheel as you'd suggested earlier, but to just refresh the v-brakes for now and see how i get on with them.

    BTW any good tips on places to actually get a wheel from - there seems to be a HUGE range out there and I'm not really sure what's best to go with. My research tells me that the original rims were "Araya VP-20" but this means nothing to me.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Strip the forks, empty the gunge, dry out, lube and rebuild, they won't be great but will at least be OK.

    You just need any 26" wheel for the front, for the rear you need to see if you have a freewheel or cassette. (the gears bit).

    I wouldn't buy anything new right now (other than sundries), keep an eye on ebay (within collection distance) and the classifieds.

    Looks the same Frame as my daughters, I need to photo it once I've finished building it.
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    Strip the forks, empty the gunge, dry out, lube and rebuild, they won't be great but will at least be OK.
    Ok, cheers.
    You just need any 26" wheel for the front,
    but with room on the hub for a disc brake, right? Or have I misunderstood something?
    for the rear you need to see if you have a freewheel or cassette. (the gears bit).
    Rear wheel just needs a bit of truing (i hope), not replacing.
    I wouldn't buy anything new right now (other than sundries), keep an eye on ebay (within collection distance) and the classifieds.
    Looks the same Frame as my daughters, I need to photo it once I've finished building it.
    2005 model (http://www.bikepedia.com/Quickbike/BikeSpecs.aspx?Year=2005&Brand=Scott&Model=Voltage+YZ+3&Type=bike#.UD5ITqOXjV8), I think.

    Thanks for all your help so far.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    If you're staying V-brake on the front you need a rim braked wheel, if you intend to upgrade then by shopping around you'll find one that will support discs as well saving you getting a new wheel later, like this one...
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/271044611480? ... 1555.l2649

    Not all disc wheels will allow the use of rim brakes in the meantime (in fact most won't).

    Not sure of the age of the daughters, it was originally Orange and green, my elder daughter had it, we reframed hers (Dirty Jo Semi Creme) and then I stripped and painted the Scott frame (baby pink - not my choice!) and am just finishing rebuilding it for the younger daughter.
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    Not all disc wheels will allow the use of rim brakes in the meantime (in fact most won't).

    Oh, great - they don't believe in making things easy do they? :roll:

    How do I tell if it doesn't say in the description?
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    It will normally say. If not ask them.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • If you're anywhere near Surrey and want a free disc-only front wheel (including 160mm disc) then drop me a PM :)
    ::'11 Pitch Pro::
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    Thanks a lot, idiotdb, but am cardiff based, so will have to decline the offer. Am thinking that as I can pick up a rim-braked wheel much easier and cheaper than a disc-braked one I'll carry on with that for now, and just upgrade wheels and brakes at the same time if and when I decide to go down that route.

    Am also thinking that after the necessary repairs and replacements, the first upgrade I'd do would probably be the fork. There's a Rock-shox Dart 1 (100mm travel) around on gumtree for £30 - would that be a good buy, anyone?
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    No, lousy fork, heavy and undamped. They were around that price new.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    OK - will disregard that one, then, thanks. Will just keep my eyes open and see what comes along - obviously there's no rush for it yet.
  • How much would you be willing to spend on a upgrade on your fork? Chain reaction cycles are having a pretty good sale on parts at the moment just FYI....
    2013 Cube Analog
    2011 GT aggressor - For sale
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    I can only afford about £50 right now, so I think new forks are off the menu - gonnna have to be second hand. Will try the classified section.
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    Right folks, a couple of weeks on and this is the progress so far...

    first of all, a few pics more to show the condition of the bike when I got it:
    th_SML_0003-1.jpg th_SML_0005.jpg th_SML_0012.jpg

    So I decide the best bet was to strip the whole bike down to the individual components, then work on cleaning up and/or replacing them as necessary:
    th_SML_0013.jpg th_SML_0014.jpg

    Which left me in this position:
    SML_0015.jpg

    Then put it back together:
    SML_0016.jpg

    On the first test ride the other night I discovered the following things:

    1. I will be requiring a new saddle :shock:
    2. I will need a new crankset (partly because the chainrings were badly worn, but also because I managed to rip the pedal right out of the crankarm, taking the thread with it). :oops:
    3. I might also need a new cassette as the chain was skipping under tension, and it looked to me like the point of "give" was at the hub.
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,001
    It will be nice when you throw them wheel reflectors in the bin ;-)
    Fig rolls: proof that god loves cyclists and that she wants us to do another lap
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