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Worth refurbing an older 26" hardtail?

danlightbulbdanlightbulb Posts: 701
edited August 2018 in MTB buying advice

I have a 6 year old Decathlon Rockrider 8.1 hardtail that i rode for years until i recently got a new 27.5" full sus.

The bike all still works but the components have seen better days. Theres nowt wrong with the frame apart from a few scratches and cable rubs. The cassette and wheel hubs are worn, fork stiff. Other than that its perfectly usable.

Im just wondering if its worth 'doing up', and what Id do with it if I did? What do you all do with your old bikes?


  • cubextcubext Posts: 47
    I’ve just rebuilt a 26 for my wife, other way round... her frame is pretty knackered but I had XT groupset hydraulic brakes, mavic wheels etc all better than she had and puts good use to a load of kit I don’t want to throw away... I was going to rebuild it all for me but this way it keeps the family rolling...
    that’s what I did, hope it helps..
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I've kept a lot of old bikes going, but for various reasons. A retro build with classic parts; a light weight singlespeed, a commuting bike - it all depends on what your goals are. The problem is that replacing all the parts can cost more than a decent new bike. And finding good quality 26 inch parts is getting harder.

    The 8.1 was a good value, budget xc bike in its day, much better than other bikes at its price point. The frame wasn't particularly light, but if you really like it then have a good look around sale parts or good refurbished parts. But to be honest, I'd be thinking of a new machine.
  • Do something interesting with it, maybe a single speed or fixed gear. Really though it was a great bike in it's day and worth a bit of effort. I suppose need to sort out the forks and make sure you can get them working well first and then proceed with the rest of it. No need to spend much money to get it working well again hopefully. If nothing else can be your beater/backup bike. Looks a cool bike if its the same bike and year as below. ... -10-39599/
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    26er stuff is really cheap second hand. I'd find some decent bits and make it work. Always worthwhile having a back up bike.

    I use a couple of oldies for less gnarly rides, fire road rides with my partner, and sometimes it's just fun for normal rides.

    Sometimes it's just fun to bolt some old bits together and see what comes out.

    Some inspiration.

    One I love - gets used a lot, cosmetically a bit crappy, but mechanically good. Kona Explosif.


    My partners old Marin. Original except for grips, saddle and I've since changed the tyres.


    Crappy Kona Hahanna turned into a commuter.


    Just for fun, Azonic.


    Singlespeeded Kona with cool orange tyres.


    Stupid Diamondback drop bar singlespeed experiment.

    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

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  • slc123slc123 Posts: 407
    I agree that it depends what you want it for. To be a regular ridden bike on gnarly terrain... no. To be something else or just for kicks... yes. I personally find it a lot of fun, when I built the HT more for trail use I kept the cannnondale XC bike and turned it into something specifically for my winter riding.

    Some great bikes there cooldad and some good scenic shots! Big fan of the kona with orange tyres
    Cannondale Trail 27.5 | 2015
    Titus El Chulo 27.5 | 2017
    Trek Slash 9 27.5 | 2015 (building)
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,412
    I bought an old and very tired 26" bike in an XS size (Giant XTC2). When new it was the business! It had a carbon fibre rear triangle, all lightweight Shimano XT kit, a top end Fox fork and so forth. Over the years, as stuff wore out or broke, it had been replaced by budget stuff. The original pale brown/pale blue/dark blue paint finish was all faded. It was a sorry sight. But cheap! :)

    It is now Audi Laser red, with everything except the frame having been replaced. Oh the rear tyre is original having been moved from the front, but that's it! Everything else has been replaced with stuff that used to be on my previous bikes, or has been bought in the sales. Look carefully and 26" kit is everywhere and cheap! Everyone is trying to get rid of 26" stock. My grandson is now the over-the-moon owner of a lightweight bike that looks good and will keep him occupied for another couple of years yet.

    It didn't happen all at once. The main work was done for Xmas 2016. For his birthday last year, he got some new Mavic Crossride wheels and someone else bought him some DMR V12 pedals (in red). This year he got a new wider bar and a Mavic Quest 2.4" front tyre. He's a happy bunny (11yrs).
  • Thanks all.

    I dont really need it for anything tbh. I dont need an xc focussed bike, i dont need a commuter.

    I could clean it all up properly and it would be fine. it works now, gears work, brakes fine etc. wheels turn but drag a tad due to hubs but they do work ok.

    Sometimes i manage to persuede a friend to come mountain biking and he borrows it. For that reason, if i was to try and do something with it, Id want to find a way to make it a tad more trail than xc. Eg slightly longer fork, wider bars, fatter tyres etc.
  • JoebristolJoebristol Posts: 326
    Not sure what fork is on it, but my old 2004 Kona Caldera. Heap bits build really benefitted from going for lighter / stronger / tubeless wheels. Around the same time I stuck on a 130mm u turn revelation fork and it’s pretty fun now. Picked up cheap secondhand Sram Guides too and now it’s really fun on easynish trails or slow tech stuff. Still gets a bit lively on fast rocky stuff though - can’t build out that head angle / short reach.

    I think the bike in total owes me around £500 complete with all parts bought seperately.
  • 100mm Recon coil on it at the moment from OE. Could probably get away with 120mm, not sure about more.
  • billycoolbillycool Posts: 833
    My 26" HT (Spesh Stumpjumper) was bought new in 2006. It was my only bike until last year when I got a FS as well. Except for the frame and forks, just about everything else has been replaced over time. As it was originally my only bike, it had to cope with BPW, Cwmcarn and Afan. That's when I realised I needed a FS in my life. That is also 26".

    I'm happy to run 26" on both bikes as I've got some crossover with wheels and tyres and obviously the 26" stuff is getting cheaper. I'm also sort of committed financially on the HT. I could swap out most parts if I wanted to change to a slacker frame but other than that it's my perfect winter bike.

    It really depends if you can justify any expenditure v's whether you'll actually use it that much. I think that everyone needs a HT in their life as they are really fun to ride and offer a different experience to FS.
    "Ride, crash, replace"
  • I reckon wheels are the main thing that need replacing, everything else is serviceable. Any idea where i can get some reasonable quality cheap old stock 26" wheels from in 9mm qr?
  • billycoolbillycool Posts: 833
    I reckon wheels are the main thing that need replacing, everything else is serviceable. Any idea where i can get some reasonable quality cheap old stock 26" wheels from in 9mm qr?

    I've got my original Mavic 317's you could have for a very small fee. 9mm QR. They are both rim and disc compatable. I've only ever used them for disc, so the rims are 100%.

    Front hub is a Spesh Stout (own brand) and rear is Shimano M525 (I think). It could do with a new rear axle but it still works.

    Not tubeless but have been ghetto'd by others apparently (I know 717's that have been done).

    Those wheels have been down BPW and Cwncarn, so pretty solid. Also not too heavy as the bike was desinged as an XC racer.

    PS eBay is also full of fairly cheap 26" wheels
    "Ride, crash, replace"
  • Thats very kind thankyou. When you say new axle do you mean skewer? All thats wrong with my current wheels is worn hubs. Are these serviceable is which case maybe i dont need new wheels at all?
  • billycoolbillycool Posts: 833
    Thats very kind thankyou. When you say new axle do you mean skewer? All thats wrong with my current wheels is worn hubs. Are these serviceable is which case maybe i dont need new wheels at all?

    Yeah - just the skewer - it's a bit worn. The hubs are fine and had bearings replaced in the past.

    If your hubs are knackered then you might need news ones = wheel build. If it's just the internals, buy a new hub and strip out the bits you need.
    "Ride, crash, replace"
  • JoebristolJoebristol Posts: 326
    It depends what hubs you have. If cup and cone bearings and the bearing surfaces have gone then I’d probably just build new wheels.

    The freewheel went on the old Mavic d521 wheels I had on my ht (Sachs quartz hubs and I couldn’t get a replacement freewheel) so I decided to have a go at building some wheels myself. Got a Superstar Electro front hub hub and Shimano XT rear hub and some wtb st-i25 rims. Think all in they cost £120 ish - but there’s no labour in that and I used black double butted spokes which are a bit fancy.

    For a giggle I’m building up another set of wheels with some bargain parts I found online - I’m either going to sell them on eBay or to a mate. Planet X el guapo front hub / Shimano XT rear hub / wtb st-i23 tubeless ready rims and halo straight gauge spokes. I got a bargain on the rims and front hub and the spokes were cheaper somlooking to sell the pair for around £110 to break roughly even.

    You should have a go at building some wheels yourself - with a bit of patience it wasn’t too bad and now I have the bug for building wheels! I have now got an truing stand and spoke tension meter which seems to be speeding up the current build. I have an even tension and truer wheel much quicker hen the first set I built.
  • jamskijamski Posts: 737
    Definitely worth having a backup bike. Having lost my main ride for 7 1/2 months, I’d never be without a backup again.
    Daddy, Husband, Designer, Biker, Gamer, Geek
    Bird Aeris 120 | Boardman Team 650b | Boardman Pro FS | Calibre Two.two
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 6,817
    Joebristol wrote:
    You should have a go at building some wheels yourself - with a bit of patience it wasn’t too bad and now I have the bug for building wheels!
    I swapped a rim on an otherwise decent 26" wheel - £25 for the rim and immense satisfaction from doing it myself. Couldn't face £100+ for a nice complete wheel for something that just gets used for going to the shops or the train station.

    I found that I wasn't able to get any replacement forks for my 26" bike at a reasonable cost - partly due to the long, non tapered headtube and 9mm QR which ruled out a lot of new and second hand stuff. If you can get rid of the stiffness in the fork by servicing them (i.e. there's no stanchion damage) then it's worth keeping for a while.

    And in a few years time 26" will be retro and cool again 8)
  • I have no idea if they are cone or cartridge bearings. I dont have the tools i need to disassemble a hub, what would i need? The cassette is a sram 9 speed.
  • billycoolbillycool Posts: 833
    A Google search suggests you have Joytech hubs? ... -10-39599/

    This You Tube video shows how to dismantle it:

    If that is the hub you have, then you are cup and cone.
    "Ride, crash, replace"
  • I have the newer model of bike to that one. ... -2013.html

    Here is the spec of the wheels on it i can find:

    Rockrider Comp 32 hole rims by Rigida JT D041/D142 hubs, 2mm stainless steel spokes Watertight bearings.​

    There isnt any play in the hubs, maybe they just need a clean up and fresh grease?
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