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RV Adventure: Replace a Mountain Bike
Part 1

The new Trek Fuel 7, BikeKraft owner Richard, left and New Trek owner, Dale
Click to see What's New at RVeCafe I've been talking about the mountain biking that Morgan and I do in the mountains around our RV camp. You've probably read the story that Morgan wrote describing our first trip to Buck Prairie Meadow. You learned that I had a very nice mountain bike which was built in 1987 but the bike had no suspension so any bumps or rocks, my old body had to absorb. Well, I talked myself into replacing "Old Blue" with a full suspension mountain bike. I went back to my good friend Richard at BikeKraft in Grants Pass, Oregon to buy a Trek Fuel 7. It wasn't the best or most expensive bike but what I could afford and I knew I could get all the performance I needed. So in the

photo above you are looking at the proud new bike owner and Richard on the left.

What Morgan did not tell you in her story was that I owned a bike shop in Tahoe City, California from 1987 to 1990 so I know more than the average person about mountain bikes. In this three part story, I'm going to share the differences and similarities I see between these two bikes that are 18 years apart. I hope this will help you to understand a bit more about bike anatomy.

First, these two bike are virtually identical in price. So we are comparing apples with apples. They both sold new for well over $1000. People used to ask me how a bike

Richard is a competitive mountain bike rider (but can he write a Web page?)
The new bike fit into the trunk of my Toyata Camry with the rear seat down. could be so expensive. The answer is always the quality of the components. The front shock-fork purchased alone, for example, is over $500. The components on these
120x600 Brand 

high end bikes are matched to give the best performance and durability.

You can see that I was able to fit the new Trek into the trunk of the Toyota Camry by lowering the rear seat. It's a good thing Morgan was not along because that is her seat.

In part 1, I'll discuss the suspension because without up-

Motion Control rear shock allows the frame to flex.
No rear shock grading to a suspension frame I would not have replaced "Old Blue", there simply is not enough performance difference. Now if you are not going to ride off-road, you don't need suspension so don't spend the extra money for it. I'll also say right-off that if you ride a bike once per month, you don't need a high end bike. I ride my bikes thousands of miles

so I want quality and durability. If you divide the price of the bike by the number of miles I've ridden them, it works out to pennies per mile.

The rear "motion control damping" shock above allows the frame to flex which helps control the effects of rough off-road riding. There are times that you do NOT want the frame to flex however. Note the blue lever on the top of the piston. That lever will

Looks pretty good through the rear window of the Dodge CTD
  Still a great bike. lock the piston not allowing flex. If you are climbing, the last thing you want is for some of your climbing effort causing the frame to flex, you want ALL your effort going into forward motion. Likewise, if you are on a paved road, you don't want the frame to flex. You DO want the frame to flex while you are flying downhill hitting ruts, rocks and bumps all the way down. I'm still learning how to use the flexibility since it is all

new to me. I'm use to bending my elbows and using them as "shock absorbers".

This is a wonderful Rock Shox air suspension fork on the right. It has 4" of travel. The amount of travel will vary from fork to fork and the more expensive forks have more travel and are made especially for cyclists who like to fly down rough hills. I'm not that kind of rider yet, it takes me too long to heal and remember, I'm still learning. Both the fork and rear shocks are air shocks. You bring them to a pressure to match the riders body weight.

Even though the Trek is 18

Rock Shox forks
  No shock asorption here.

years newer than "Old Blue" I would not have purchased a new bike except that I wanted a suspension frame. There are many other improvements in the Trek, as you will see in parts 2 and 3, but none increase the performance enough to justify the expense of the new bike. When you buy a high end bike and take care of it, you can expect it to still be working fine 18 years later.

Note the lever on the top right of the Rock Shox fork.

  This lever is to control the action of the fork in the same way the lever on the rear shock locked out the action of the shock. There are times as I mentioned above that you would NOT want the action of the front shock, instead you would want your fork to be rigid as Old Blue's fork is above. I repeat, if you aren't Front shock control lever.
  going to ride off-road then you don't want a suspension bicycle. In fact, a suspension bike is heavier than a non-suspension bike so why have it if you don't need it?
Continue to Part 2
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