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Advice and questions.
Hello all,

I am new to this site and the bicycling world. Also as a fore note, I did see a topic here about the same bike in question, but I have different questions.

I recently started commuting to work (about 15 miles each way) with a Trek Antelope 800 that I got used for about 50 bucks. Until I did a little research after the fact, I did not realize that the bike was around 20 years old. It seems to me to be in excellent shape for its age. Any how, I've been riding it everyday for the last 2 weeks, and everything is fine, I am just looking to get a little more speed out of it.

I changed the tires to a much thinner road like tire and that helped greatly.

The drive train which comes with the Shimano 100GS, seems to be in decent shape. I was looking to possibly change out the cassette and front cranks. They seem a little worn. Its also a 21 speed. Now my question about this is can I buy any matching cassettes? What id like to do is get a 9 cog set. Could I do this without buying a new derailleur and such and just make some adjustments?

Also, the brake system I do not like. They do not seem to work well and I get annoying squeaks, maybe due to the pads being worn? But I was wondering if I could change the brake system Completely? If so, can I keep the same handle bar levers?

I would like to make the bike as best as possible for the minimal amount of money. After all I only spent 50 on it.
In the future I do plan to upgrade to a newer road bike, but for now, I am stuck with this.

Also, back in its day, was this a decent MTB? Or was it a department store brand?

Any suggestion welcome!

Thank you!
Trek are top quality production bikes.

Pictures needed.

What kind of brake do you have now? Cantis or V-brakes. It is highly unlikely that you can get better brakes than you already have. Kool Stop Salmon brake pads will make them better. Make sure that you set the pads correctly - or squeaking happens.

7speed - do you have a cassette or a freewheel? Big difference. Changing to 8/9/10 speed is big dollars: you will need new shifter, new freehub (and re-dish your rear wheel) or new rear hub (how are your wheel building skills?) or a new rear wheel. It is highly likely that you will need a new RD. What do you expect to gain from more gears? The only thing more gears give you is smaller jumps between gears. I changed our Trek T50 from 7 speed rear to 9 speed - new cassette ($40-), new rear hub ($40-), new spokes ($25-), new rim ($50-), new cable ($10-), new shifter ($40-), new RD ($60-) - you might be able to get somethings for lower cost, I went with a SRAM X.9 RD, X.0 shifter.

Crankset - will need a matching BB. The BB axle length has to match the crankset.
Also note that more speeds do not make you go faster... upgrading is usually not really worth it, however I like justifying it by telling myself that chain, cassette, chain rings (yeah... pointy as sharks' teeth) need to be replaced anyway. Then, I try to find new old stock (basically last year's or earlier) parts for that. The biggest cost will be the rear wheel, the rest can be scraped together from bargain bins (some shops have cheap parts that had been installed on bikes that were upgraded directly, so basically new stuff) and some online shops that dump their outdated parts for small change.
It's still not economical to do so, but I like cheating myself. Also, if you have the tools you do not need to pay anybody for the work. I also like working on my bikes.

I just went to 9 speed on my old Giant trekking bike. I relaced a rear wheel from one of my broken bikes with a wider rim, could salvage the cassette and rear dérailleur from that one, too. Then, I bought a nice Hollotech II crank set (40€ including bearings) plus a new front dérailleur (10€?). I also replaced the straight handle bar with drop bars... but I need to go back to a flat bar and buy new shifters (20€ a pair, I guess), the geometry sucks at the moment.
Trek's are very good quality bikes, but the 800 is a very basic model for them. So solid, well built, but with pretty low end components.

Changing the tires was the #1 thing you can do to improve speed.

Unless you are routinely in the highest gear and cannot turn the pedals any faster because you feel like you're feet are going to fly off, changing the gears won't make you any "faster". Getting more speeds than 7 in the rear requires buying LOTS of parts and really isn't worth it unless you're changing some of them for other reasons as well.

That said, on an older bike like this, it is somewhat likely that the chain and rear cogs are pretty worn and could be changed out (plan to change both at the same time). If you buy new rear cogs, you might be able to adjust the gear range a little bit up or down if you wanted. But I would ride for a while to get a better feel for what you need before making any big changes.

The next thing to do to improve your speed is to rebuild the bearings in the wheels and bottom bracket (crank bearings). Most likely, this has never been done. Fresh, clean grease and bearings will make the bike faster and avoid damaging the bearings. Also, give your pedals a spin, if they don't spin freely, or sound crunchy when they turn, get a new set. Bad pedal bearings can slow you down a lot and people tend to ignore them. But you can't normally rebuild them. Toss and get new pedals.

If your brake levers are built together with the shifters, you probably don't want to change them out. The 200GS brakes were not great. Getting a new set of better quality "cantilevers" will probably help your braking somewhat, especially on the front. If you have separate levers and shifters, you could switch to "linear" or "v-brakes" which will be a little better still, but you have to get new levers and brakes. But as said above, the #1 thing is new pads (Kool Stop Salmons are what everyone likes). These alone will make a big difference.

The 800 probably has fairly wide handlebars. Cutting an inch or two off the ends of the bars and moving the controls in a little will make you more aerodynamic and better positioned for faster road riding. You do give up some slow speed control and maybe some comfort depending on your position on the bike.

Finally, it sounds like you've only been riding regularly for two weeks. You're going to get a lot faster in the near future if you just keep riding regularly. You're working on the "engine" right now. I wouldn't worry to much about the hubcaps so to speak. Wink

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