How To Fix Up An Old MTB | Mountain Bike Maintenance

How To Fix Up An Old MTB | Mountain Bike Maintenance

– You can buy old mountain bikes
for not a lot of money now. Like this old downhill
bike, you can get this for a couple hundred pounds, or dollars, off something like Ebay, or a friend. Maybe it’s been lying in
his shed for 15 years. This is how to check over an old bike, and then how to restore it to
get it back onto the trails. (throwing gravel) This is a GT Downhill
i-Drive from the year 2000. Yep, it’s a very old bike, but
this could be a really good bike for someone who
maybe only rides downhill a few times a year, just
to keep in the shed. You don’t want to lose any money on it. Here’s a list of a few things
that you need to check ideally before you buy the bike to make sure you’re not gonna have to
throw too much money at it. Let’s start with suspension. (hip-hop music) First thing to do is just
push on that suspension. Grab your front brake,
push that fork down. I’m really trying to
feel how smooth it is, if it’s making much noise, and actually, the fork does feel a little
bit notchy as I push it down, and I can hear a bit of
sucking going on, so I think the fork would probably
need a service ideally. Whereas the shock feels pretty good. It’s nice and smooth, feels
nice and plush actually, for seventeen year old shock, and I’d also check that there’s some rebound control on that, which there is. Same on the fore. If it’s actually poppin’
back and sort of toppin’ out, makin’ a noise, springing
back really quickly. First thing we do is wind
the rebound control in, see if that makes any
difference, and if it doesn’t, that means that shock is
blown, or the fork is blown. That definitely doesn’t
really tend to happen so much nowadays on modern suspension,
but in the olden days, all these shocks, they
would blow occasionally. Next, take an actual close
look at the suspension. The shock actually looks
fine, it feels fine. The fork, you can see there’s
some pretty big damage down here on the paint, but, actually, there’s no dents or anything. That’s just cosmetic really. However, up on the stanchion, you see they’re very scratched up here. It’s definitely something
you see lot in the U.K. on uplifts for Dinobikes
with scratches all over ’em. But also, you can see a
bit of oil is coming out and sitting on that
stanchion, and on the seal, you can see that oil stuck to dust. That right hand leg
doesn’t look very good. It’s not gonna be that
easy to buy a stanchion from a 2000 boxer, so, if
I was buying this bike, I’d definitely think about maybe tryin’ to knock that person down, because you might need to
buy a new fork for this bike. There’s a couple more checks
I can do to my suspension. I already know that that fork
leg is a little bit damaged, but I’m just gonna check the
bushes in the fork, as well. I’ll pump my front brake, and just rock the bike back and forth. Almost like checking your headset, but now you’re looking for any movement in this part of the fork. There’s bushes in there that can wear out, and that means this stanchion
can start wobbling around, and actually this feels pretty tight. I can’t feel any movement in the headset, or down in that fork, so that’s
probably alright for now. And on the rear end, I’m
gonna check the linkage by trying to wobble the bike. I’m holding the saddle in one
hand, rear wheel in the other, and really feeling for any movement if I flex it back and forth. You might feel some in the rear wheel, actually that feels really solid, so I would think these bearings are in pretty good condition, and also the rear wheel is nice and stiff. (hip-hop music) Now it’s time to get out
my bike cleaner and brush, give this bike a really good clean. Take off 17 years worth of dirt, and actually give the
frame a really good check. Right, so with the bike clean, it doesn’t look like I cleaned it first, covered in years worth of
stickers and scratches, but I’m really gonna do now is check out the sort of most important parts. This is an old aluminium frame, so go around, definite
head tube, the swing arm, just to take a really close look. Paint damage is alright, of course. Doesn’t look that great, but you really don’t want to see a crack on that weld. Also, actually, I can see there’s a FSA Pig headset on this bike. That was an old trick,
that really deep headset. Some bikes are this, the head
tubes are actually ovalized, your bottom headset cup
would roll around in there. These pegs were really far extended, so they kept it nice and tight, but obviously it does tell me that this head tube’s probably
a little bit ovalized. (hip-hop music) The final thing I check,
ideally, before buying a bike, is the wheel, so give them a spin and see how straight they are. Actually, a pretty good flat front one, I’ll do the same with the back. Another thing to consider
is if they’re old wheels with alloy nipples,
they can start breaking on you. If you do need to start tweaking wheels, changing spoke tensions,
they can start breaking, and that can be a nightmare. It would mean you’d have to replace the nipples for the whole wheel probably. These are all brass ones,
so they’re pretty much indestructible, so I’m fine there. Also check the rim for any sort of dings, or any cracks, and that looks pretty good. Obviously, I’ve got a disc brake, so it doesn’t have to
be perfectly straight. I’ve got some old wheels
in here, of course. I’ve got Hope bearings on the front, so just bear in mind that
sometimes all wheels, you might struggle to
get new bearings for. Having said that, Hope are
really good with their old stuff. They’ve actually hooked me
up already with a new old stock brake for this
bike, so that’s a Mono M4. Hope are one of those
people who actually keep spares for their really old stuff, but not everyone does that. Actually, quite surprisingly
for an old downhill bike like this, the wheels seem
in really good condition. Yes, it’s a little bit
scratched, but almost straight, and the spoke tension seems really good. I don’t need to do too much of that. I have already put some new tyres on this. I say new, they are some
old ones from my garage, but they’re in decent condition. Bear in mind that an older bike like this is 26-inch wheels, so you
might find that the tyres are getting harder and harder to come by. The bearings also spin
pretty well on that rear hub, as well, so I’mma leave that for now. It might be a job I need to do in the future, but, for now, it’s fine. Now, moving on to other checks. Going to the bottom bracket,
I can feel if I rock, you can probably see that, is
the bottom bracket’s moving, so both cranks are
moving at the same time, so I know nothing’s loose in there. It’s the bottom bracket that’s worn. It’s spinning okay, but it’s
worth bearing in mind that, you know, I don’t know how
far you wanna get into this. If you want your bike to feel like new, you’re definitely gonna have
to replace that bottom bracket. For me, it’s a bit of a hacker bike. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I can live with that for the time being. I’ll think about replacing
that bottom bracket some time not too far
in the distant future. Of course, double check that
your cranks are nice and tight. These are ones you had
in an eight ml Allen key on both sides, and I’mma
do a full bolt check on the bike at the end, but
definitely lost on here. I’ll check that crank’s nice and tight. (hip-hop music) Coming in forward on
the bike to the headset, just rotate your bars around
and feel on that head tube for any sort of grinding in there. Feels surprisingly smooth,
so this part’s obviously been pretty well looked after. Again, I could get into this and take everything off and lube that up, but for now, actually,
that feels pretty good. I’m not gonna worry too much about that. Moving on to things on the brakes, we’ve already talked about
them a little bit already. I’ve got a brand new old stock rear brake. The thing is with brakes,
again, like the hubs, it can be quite hard to find
the spares if they’re very old, and if you’re pulling on the lever and it feels like there’s a
lot of friction there, or it’s not rebounding very quickly, that could mean there’s a
problem down in the callipers. The pistons can seize. And that’s definitely
now worth thinking about, weighing up the cost of that. It actually can be quite a lot of work to pop out those pistons,
find the replacement, find a service kit for replacing
the seals in the calliper, when actually you can get a fairly new set of hydraulic brakes for
not a lot of money now. That’s up to you. Think about are you gonna
try and fix that old brake, or maybe just buy a new cheap one. I would always expect to replace the gear cables on an old bike. It’s just one of those things
that always needs doing. Now, check the drive
train, and you can use a specialist chain checker like this, but this really depends
on how old the bike is, and how well it’s been looked after. I use this chain checker anyway, and this is tellin’ me that at .75, it says replace, and I’m well over that, so I’m 1.0 so they definitely need a new chain and probably a new
drivetrain on this bike. You don’t want it slippin’ around, so I’m gonna price that up. One of the final things I’m gonna do, and it will seem quite tedious, is actually remove the bolts of this bike one by one, and just check. That’s actually really dry,
so I’m gonna regrease that, and put it in back in, because, I know it sounds like a
very tedious thing to do but if you find any of these old
bolts get stripped, or they get stuck in there and snap, it
can be an absolute nightmare, especially on this fork and these notoriously bad, the old boxes. I’ve had these old axles seize in there, so obviously again, it
depends on the previous owner. How well they looked after the bike, but try and get some grease into these bolts as much as we can, and then I’mma do a full bolt check,
front to back on the bike. Make sure everything’s nice and tight, and then the bike is ready to ride. What I didn’t tell you,
at the start of the video, is actually this is my old bike that I raced in the year
2000 World Cup downhill. I sold it to friends
and I just got it back, and coming up soon on the
channel, I will be riding this bike so keep your
eyes peeled for that one. If you wanna see some more videos, click up there for a video with Doddy, How To Check Out A Secondhand
Bike And Fix It Up. Click down there for How
To Replace Your Drivetrain. Click on the logo to subscribe,
if you haven’t done already, and give us a thumbs up
if you like retro bikes.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. I've a bike that a few years old now. Should I update/upgrade it or save money and buy a new bike? Cheers from across the pond!

  2. Im basicly riding the same bike. riding a gt ruckus flowta I drive 2005. Beast as hell. But idk if anyone noticed that gnarly crack in the swing arm at 3:33 in the video.

  3. see, i knew if i rode my yr2k rock lobster long enough it'd be retro and cool!! box fresh only 17 yrs ago, still running sweet…

  4. Actually found a picture of you with this bike at hopton pearce winter round the other week, must of been when they first came out as remember fully drooling over this bike when I was younger.

  5. I like that you omitted the cleaning part as you had obviously already cleaned it before hehe. Also that's not an old banger, that's still a great bike.

  6. I’ve been riding a 2010 Jamis Sixfifty lately to mess around learning trials ticks. It creaks bad and the shocks aren’t plush but it’s still a nice beater bike.

  7. Wow what timing… I have my old GT iDrive 4.0 from 2001 that is getting an update. I'm in the process of upgrading most of the components on my newer trail bike and all the old but usable components are going onto my old GT. v-brakes -> hydraulic, 3×7 -> 2×10, 760mm bars. So far the only new parts are a new fork and shock. The old RS-Judy was DOA, new headset, new BB. Nice to see someone else that feels the old GT's are worth keeping alive.

  8. I just got the new 2018 Trek Roscoe 8, okay. I went on my first ride, and it was a winter ride, okay. Some of the oil from the fork came out. Is that normal for a new bike?

  9. Would be a great series if you guys restored "old" mountain bikes. Either restore them with time specific parts or trick them out with modern parts. take them out for a spin and see how it stacks up!

  10. #askgmbn. Does brake oil ( mineral oil in my case ) contract during cold winter days? . It feels super spongy in the morning.. but as I keep riding it gets back to normal again..

  11. Hey Neil, checking rear of the bike holding the seat could reveal clicking or wobbling in seat itself and mislead us. It's better to hold the seat tube and the wheel. Right or wrong?

  12. I picked up a 756 proflex beast.
    Replaced the polyurethane bushings 100$ locally bought
    Stem and bars – just bc I could
    Paid 50$ for the bike
    Great bike

  13. 1996 Rockhopper here. I like 26", it's time for a 3rd group set. Navigating the different years of Xt, SRAM, forks is … daunting, but I'm afraid I won't be able to get parts soon? Looking like that XTR equipped bike is never going to happen… <g>

  14. This isn’t about how to fix up an old bike, but why they can be so expensive to repair. If they are even repairable. And here’s a pro tip, don’t buy a bike from a pro!

  15. I have a question for you, I am wanting a new bike and there is a 2007 santa cruz nomad for sale should I get that or a new 2018 bike any one who can advise me would be great

  16. Useful video Neil, will you wear retro attire for the trail test of your old steed?

    I am right in the middle of resurrecting my 2006 IronHorse 7 point 3. New spokes, chain, Zee brakes all round, splash of grease and oil here and there and the old 'Horse should be rearing up and ready to go. This channel really has inspired me to get my feet dirty again out on the trails, with my overkill bike. Suits me and my 110kg lard ass.

  17. Since aluminium bikes have a 5-10 year lifespan, is it really a good idea to be resurrecting a 17 year old DH bike, particularly one that been raced? Probably best to hang it on a wall as a memento rather than ride it in anger!

  18. Slicks and banana seat, make it into a cruiser. I wouldn't have faith in a nearly 20 year old bike that has clearly been ridden hard even if it's been maintained well.

  19. Nice bike Neil, guess you have great memories linked to it. Give me shout if you wanna get rid off of that cranks.;-)

  20. Someone please advice me, I am trying to get my first full suspension mountain bike specifically Trail. I currently own a hardtail cross bike with SR Suntour XCM forks. Pretty shitty, freezes as soon as it's 5 degree centigrade. Can't even handle street bumps and curbs to save it's life. My road bike damps way better than this crap Just a pile of shit.
    I want to try a used full suspension MTB only so, please don't try to talk me into trying hardtail first because, I'm simply not interested.
    Plus, I am not ready to buy a new one since I can't tell if I would like the entire thing.
    I am eyeing this one for around 400-500 USD.. I think it's about 10 or more years old.
    What do yall think about this decision?

    The ones I have been eyeing (Bulls Copperhead), have pretty goodlooking forks from Suntour Raidon and the old XT. The other one had Rockshox Tora 302.
    Please help, I don't want to regret buying the wrong components. I know how to check for cracks and worm parts but, I don't have experience in selecting the right components because of the vast option to choose from.

  21. Neil, treating a 17 year shock and fork in that manner would get you thrown in jail in America for sexual assault!  Oh..wait, no.  America is great again and adult men can apparently do whatever they want to minors.

  22. Dry vs greased torque specs are different (lower greased).  When component makers list torque specs are they referring to dry or lubed torque? #askgmbn

  23. Dang 2000 that’s insane it just shows you how far we have come since those days but I’m only 12 I️ was never alive during those days and I️ still think retro is the way to go 😁

  24. Old full suspension bikes are going cheap and sometimes with no miles on them nobody wants them some are good the components are great on the expensive ones but the bikes are not all designed well and the retro suspension can be a nightmare still fun to ride some of them

  25. I've had many expensive retro full suspension bikes and the problem with most of them is the rear suspension makes noise straight from the factory getting them to quite down is a delicate job most you can never cure incredible considering what these bikes cost

  26. Watching this particular video (Gt I-drive) along with many other videos of GMBN…I have to ask this regradless of the other videos I've seen stating replace the bike…. (pretty sure you are going to tell me what I don't wanna hear but here goes). I have what I thought was a very good mtg back when I bought it new. GT I-drive 3.0… I love the bike but suspension is horrible. (Derailers are trashy but I'm adaptable and know where to hold that place in gear levers for consistent changes). Suspension is trash!!! 26 inch wheels isn't really an issue for me due to my legs don't care what it's pushing at and my feet and hands never feel weary as I've noticed others complain. Anything downhill is scary though…i feel way to high up and forward, like I could flip at any moment…dropper post of the shortest of length with under saddle adjustment would be appropriate but is there one that would be short enough for this style bike?. I would like to imagine this bike upgraded would be a hell of a bike for me…and have to say even with the draw backs…Its fast and easy to manipulate. So I've thoughts of new air forks and rear air shock (coil shock on this is way too aggressive witb no rebound that I can tell and wants to throw me forward and seems to pop off the ground more than stick. So if I replaced both front and rear susp. slightly longer travel, brakes, switch to 2x, pretty much revamp this bike…would it it be a wasted effort? I like the I-Drive design, not really finding many that are able to help me with ideals on what would be proper fits and best choices of parts. Like I said I have a lot of love for this bike but not a lot of love for the thought of $3000 starting over for something I might not like or find is just as bad.

  27. I have a very similar style dual suspension frame and the hinge where the main part of the frame and the rear dropout is getting quite Shakey.

    I've tightened the bolt there as much as I can but I still get some side to side play.

    After watching this video, it's clear that I might need to service and possibly change the bearings. How do I that and what tools would I need?

    Also what do you call that part of the bike? I'm having a hard time trying to Google this issue.

  28. I'd love to have a bike like that, there's something about having an old bike that's scratched up. You don't worry about braking it, you just ride it until it dies.
    Obviously you should have a good safe MTB as well but for a second bike that would be fun.

  29. Sir neil, can I have that bike after you ride it??? please send it to me as a gift, i like bownhills and trails but i don't have bike for it, i only had a cheapbike that i use in going to school and in going to church

  30. I got a 2002 Giant SE 2 for free today..its shifters are shot, brakes are shot and rear wheel is warped as hell..everything else seems okay..I'm gonna convert it to disk brakes, and change the drive train cause its badly rusted…any other tips?

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