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I've joined the dark side...kind of

johngtijohngti Posts: 2,481
edited April 2019 in MTB beginners
So, the 11yo decided that he'd rather be out doing bikeability training with his buddies in school than sitting in the classroom and asked if he could learn to ride a bike - finally! Turns out that it's not so easy to find a decent lightweight bike for not too much money for a tall 11yo so we ended up at Decathlon. He's now the proud-ish owner of an ST100 with 26" wheels. Of course, my road bikes won't go off road (mad to even suggest it!) so I bought myself a Rockrider 520.

Initial thoughts - the ST100 seems pretty solidly built but I've immediately fitted some microshift trigger shifters to replace the twist grips that it came with. Much better and easier to use. I'm less impressed with the v-brakes though as they're still rubbing and it annoys me. Biggest gripe is the weight at ~15kg. I'm guessing most of that comes from the wheels as they're bog standard fitment and I could probably knock a decent chunk off with something relatively inexpensive. I also guess that a decent chunk of weight is in the fork too. Tempted to do an instant upgrade to a disc brake fork and give him better braking at the front at least. Otherwise it seems like a decent first proper bike. If he gets into it I can see about getting him something much better as his next one (not sure I'll convince him to return to the light side and take up road riding though...)

The RR520 also seems pretty decent. Tektro cable operated discs plus a decent smattering of SRAM 8-speed running gear and seems comfortable enough. Again though it's heavy. Again, I'm guessing a lot of the weight is in the forks and wheels and I could probably knock a kilo or so off relatively easily. I could also upgrade the groupset and get some hydraulic brakes for it - seems like there's some decent deals out there on 10 speed groups at least.

Am I way off the mark? Worth looking for cheap upgrades to these bikes?


  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    Unless you can find some cheap secondhand bits for it I'd just ride it into the ground.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • billycoolbillycool Posts: 833
    If you buy cheap bikes you do tend to get the lower spec stuff and associated weight penalites! The forks do tend to be basic, coil spring affairs and weigh a lot. As you say, the wheels might be a bit heavy as well.

    15kg is a lot, so any savings would be good. I wouldn't go overboard on it though - you can get a decent spec HT for £550 nowadays.

    I don't know the full specs for the forks ao not sure on the compatability. Getting 26" forks is quite hard now, but deals can be had on ebay. Assume your 520 is 27.5"?

    Upgrading the 520 is doable, but it will always be a 520 :D
    "Ride, crash, replace"
  • larkimlarkim Posts: 2,454
    "Cheap" upgrades for bikes at £300 to save weight will often be disproportionately expensive compared to the bike. Unless you get a good second hand pair, a noticeably lighter, better fork will be £120+, lighter better wheels £70+ etc. By which time you might as well have bought a £650 Voodoo Bizango (or £520 for it with the current deal) and saved 2.5kg that way with a better fork and better overall components.

    Rockrider stuff is good - and whilst it is "heavy", it's not ridiculously so at the price point.

    Tyres, tubeless conversions will save some weight and be cheaper options. And stripping off reflectors etc etc.

    TBH I'd just ride it - look after it, get your VFM out of it for a couple of years and then replace bits when they are worn out with nicer kit at that point. I had a Rockrider 29er, after 2 years I replaced the fork with a RS Recon, and whilst it was nicer and a bit lighter, it didn't transform the bike or me as a rider. Tubeless was excellent - if mainly for the complete absence of puncturing since!!
    2015 Canyon Nerve AL 6.0 (son #1's)
    2011 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc (son #4s)
    2013 Decathlon Triban 3 (red) (mine)
    2019 Hoy Bonaly 26" Disc (son #2s)
    2018 Voodoo Bizango (mine)
    2018 Voodoo Maji (wife's)
  • johngtijohngti Posts: 2,481
    Good tips. Any replacement parts would definitely be second hand I think. I’m not suddenly going to be a MTBer by any means so no mad panic! I’d probably be more interested in helping the lad out if I’m honest
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,809
    The fork is the best component to light weight first, it will not only save weight but improve how the bike rides over the lumps and bumps as well.
    Current steed - Whyte T129, 2013 frame, mongrel Revelations, Giant dropper, Stans S1 wheelset. 12, Magura Trail Sport brakes, 1x11. 12.8Kg
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