Upgrading my MTB part 1

Unlike the update to my road bike, my MTB update will have to happen in stages.

Upgrade 1 complete including new white grips

I’ve slowly been installing the new components and accessories I bought for my MTB. Normally I’d be keen as mustard to get them all installed to try them out. But I’ve not been able to ride and won’t be able to until the weekend at least so I’ve been taking it slowly.

New vs old

I started by replacing the tyres. The old set had a lot of miles on them and were better suited the road. My new sets are an off-road set that promise to give me better performance now that I’m using the MTB as an MTB instead of as a road commuter (which is how I was using it when I bought the old tyres in 2009).

The old cassette

New 7-sp HG-50 cassette

I replaced the old 7sp Shimano HG40 cassette and chain with a 7sp Shimano HG50 combination. The old cassette was totally worn out and filthy. And the chain was destroyed. At one point I had let it rust after riding in mud and not cleaning the bike while it sat in the garage for about 12 months before the Adventure Race Australia event earlier this year. Since then I’ve just been dropping heaps of lube onto it and ignoring it creaking. I can’t wait to feel how good the bike moves now that it has a new chain and cassette.

Partially stripping the bike back to clean the frame

The filthy crankset

The cleanest the crankset’s been since I bought the bike

Disgusting rear derailleur

The derailleur wheels can spin again

To say the bike was filthy is an insult to filthy. My old MTB had not been properly washed since I bought it. Sure, I’d hosed it down after Adventure Race Australia in May and the Tre-X Off-Road Duathlon in July. But that was all I did: hose it. I didn’t get in an wash it properly or remove more than the outermost layer of mud.

The crankset and rear derailleur were a seemingly permanent shade of brown, rather than the black and silver they should have been. The jockey wheels on the rear derailleur didn’t even move anymore because the mud and grass were blocking them. I’m sure I’ll notice the difference in my first ride.

New tyres, pedals, chain and cassette

I can’t wait to ride the beast now that it feels like a real bike. I have new grips to replace the sticky mess that I used to have to hold (great thing I learned about the hairspray trick because otherwise they would never have got on). I also have finally got clipless pedals on my MTB rather than the flats I used to use.

My next upgrade will be my brakes and brake levers. I was thinking about getting a set of Deore levers and brakes but might just start by replacing the cables and seeing whether that fixes the stickiness that I’ve currently go (I have to push the levers back out to release the brakes). Though I still might just replace the whole lot if I find a spare $100. I used to run Deore on my old MTB and loved the groupset. Eventually I want to upgrade my whole groupset to Deore but it’s easier to do it bit-by-bit on my MTB because the brake and gear levers are separate.

Anyway, I can’t wait until I can hit the trails on the MTB. If my back keeps responding to treatment it should be find by Saturday, which would mean I could get back on the bike next weekend (I want to leave a week between the pain subsiding and getting back into training because the SIJ takes 2-3 weeks to heal after the pain ends).

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