Advice: resurrect the GT-LTS 3 or buy a new bike

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Advice: resurrect the GT-LTS 3 or buy a new bike

Postby JD79 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:30 am

Hi all,

I'm in a bit of a quandary.

I have a venerable GT LTS-3 full suspension frame ($2400 back in the day), with a RockShox deluxe rear shock. Drivetrain is shot, and the forks are (cringe) Rockshox Indy XCs from back in 1997. Despite this, I am very fond of the bike. I'm not the lightest rider, over 100kg, and 2m tall, and the dimensions have suited me perfectly for over a decade. Ultralight bikes do not interest me. I like em solid and faithful. The rear linkages on the LTS seem to be damn near bulletproof, and the rear shock still has plenty of damping and enough travel for my type of firetrail XC riding.

At this point, my options are:
1) Buy a mid-price groupset (thinking an '11 Alivio or SLX set) and a $200 Rockshox Tora or similar, and get the bike back in action for under $500 (I can do the changeovers myself - not bad with a spanner or allen key)


2) Spring for a bottom of the range modern dual suspension (price range $1700-2300) which will, in all likelyhood, have the same level of groupset and forks.

My main questions are: how would a modern Tora or Dart fork stack up against the old Indy XC, and how much of an improvement is the 2011 alivio groupset over the 1997 LX set the bike currently has?

I could afford a new bike in the pricerange mentioned, but unless the difference in frame performance is marked, I'm finding it difficult to choose the extra $1000+ over re-vamping the old LTS and getting the dinosaur back on the trails. Does anyone out there still have one of these old GT's up and running?

Any advice, and any good natured flaming is greatly appreciated.


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Re: Advice: resurrect the GT-LTS 3 or buy a new bike

Postby hitchhiker » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:33 pm

I'm hoping someone can give you some useful feedback on your upgrade questions as I am in a similar situation.

I have a Merida Dura Carbon 980 with Rockshox Indy SL forks. It has served well as a commuter but I'm moving close to some fire trails and are thinking of my options. I'm not much of a mountain biker but enjoy it when I get the chance.

I do have another reasonable quality hardtail so going for a rigid fork is another option I've been considering.

I'll keep an eye on this thread

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Re: Advice: resurrect the GT-LTS 3 or buy a new bike

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:40 pm

As always it depends...I remember looking at the GT - LTS models with lust MANY years ago.
Do it up and it will do the job ... but never as well as a modern set-up no matter how much you spend.
Same goes for the Merida ... forks and brakes have come along way in the last 10 years.

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Re: Advice: resurrect the GT-LTS 3 or buy a new bike

Postby silentbutdeadly » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:53 am

I'd have a shot at rebuilding the dinosaur. However, doing it well for your $500 budget could be a struggle. I'd go with a 9 speed Shimano Deore M590 based drivetrain - cranks, derailleurs, shifters & chain. That'll suck up about $250 - $300. Then I gun for a RS Recon or an X-Fusion Velour fork or similar rather than a Tora - all depends what can be found. At least your frame has a 1 1/8 head...
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Re: Advice: resurrect the GT-LTS 3 or buy a new bike

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:23 pm

Before laying out a cent, I'd be checking the condition of all pivots in the rear end, be a bugger if they're borked and replacement bearings can't be found.

Agree with Toolong about the lustful glances :D

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Re: Advice: resurrect the GT-LTS 3 or buy a new bike

Postby Fred Nurk » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:08 pm

Indeed, some gear has come such a long way in the last 10 years or so that there isn't much comparison. Disc brakes are probably the single biggest improvement I can think of, air sprung suspension is probably next after that.

In terms of economics of upgrades, one of the things I'd be looking at (and Iadmit I don't know) is compatibility. Obviously they're not going to have disc mounts, but thats not necessarily such a problem. If you have to replace the forks (and they've all got a limited lifespan, eventually) and you can't get forks with a 1" steerer for example, that would sway the balance towards a whole scale replacement rather than upgrade.

If all the gear is still of a standard that is currently replaceable, then its a different story. Old school bikes are still cool, though theres every chance that things have changed a bit.

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