Get Your Ride On!
My top three upgrades would be:
1. Wheelset (Zipp, Fulcrum or Mavic)
2. Drivetrain (Campy 4 sure)
3. Handlebars (full carbon)
My top three: (of course new tire/tubes if they are 20 y/o!)
1. STI shifters
2. Clipless pedals (I use SPD both road and trail)
3. 9 or 10 speed cassette.
1 and 3 would require other upgrades as well – but you asked!
Please note that to upgrade from a 7 speed freewheel or cassette you need a new rear 9/10 speed compatible wheel. These have wider hub spacing then the 7 speed. I easily used a new, wider wheel on my old 7 speed. The difference is so small 3mm, that it worked just fine.
I don’t think anything made more of an impact on road bikes than STI and clipless pedals in the last 20 years.
all the above are good suggestions, but you will spend almost as much as what you could spend on a Trek 1000. I too, am debating on what to do with my 1990’s road bike. I decided that if I am going to put more than $ 150 into it, I would save the money, and buy a new bike. Go to the local bike shop and see if they still have some 06’s or 07’s still in stock. My local Trek dealer has an 06′ Trek 1000 on sale right now for $ 500.
I’m not sure of the frame size, but I’d guess it is around 52 – 54 cm. If your interested, feel free to contact me for their information.
I have a 1994 Trek mountain bike that I paid $ 350 for brand new. The same model bike today costs $ 250 brand new, and comes with better components. Unless your 90’s bike was a high-end machine to begin with or you are looking for a project, it really may not be worth the hassle. Some upgrades might not even be possible, just because frame designs have changed so much. But, the drivetrain, brakes, and wheels (to include hubs and tires) are a good start, but that’s almost the whole bike…..
Keep the old bike as-is, it’s going to be a classic before long.
Shell out under $ 2k and you can choose from hundreds of excellent bikes with fast wheels and clipless pedals and brifters and carbon this and vibration damping that. Bling o rama.
If you live in an urban area puncture resistant tires are a godsend. I used to flat every hundred miles or so and now have had only two flats in three years. I ride a lot and in a heavy urbanized area. Lots of glass, steel belt threads from tires, krappy roads, stray bullets. You know the deal.
Depends a good deal upon the vintage of your 90s bike. Early 90s just treat it well, put a good seat on it, maybe a new set of wheels with sealed bearings but not too expensive, and carbon bars for comfort/weight and looks.
If a newer model with a 9-speed gruppo then you have more options. Assuming its a decent framset worth upgrading spoil your bike and yourself with –
1. Carbon Fork – Reynolds Ouzo Pro and carbon bars – Easton C 90s
2. Good wheels – Rolf Prima or Kryseriums, or other light weight high-end wheels
3. Lightweght seat post – carbon or aluminum and new body-specific light weight seat
I’d forget about upgrading from 9-speed to 10. The xtra gear is not worth the cost as it tends to come in the middle of te cogset.
I have an early to mid 90’s bike that I bought for $ 85 on eBay. I have made the following upgrades.
1. I took it apart and repainted myself. with car grade paint ~ $ 30
2. replaced all the cables and housings ~$ 20
3. replaced the freewheel with one that has a “bail out” gear. You don’t need more gears, you just need the right gears. $ 20
4. Long cage derailleur so I can use new lower gear. $ 30
5. New bar tape and saddle. I got a Brooks saddle, you don’t have to do the same. ~$ 200
6. Speed play pedals. $ 115
Were they worth it? Yes. I know I cannot sell this bike and get that money back, but that is the thing. The bike rides so well. It fits me well, the geometry is just right for me and it feels so comfortable that I know I will keep it for years to come. I do have other bikes. I have a Merlin titanium bike, several aluminum bikes and this bike a Univega with cromoly fork and rear triangle and aluminum front triangle. Does not matter what other bikes I have. This bike was worth keeping and upgrading. It is a joy every time I ride it.
You have to ask yourself. Is this a bike I enjoy riding? If it is, upgrade it. If it is just another bike where it’s ride quality is not above the others, then keep it for a beater/commuter bike and just put good tires on it. or sell it and get another good bike.
have fun. ride your bike