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  1. #1
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    What would you do?

    I got this bike for free. I don't know much about working on bikes but thought maybe I could do something with it. All of the cables are rusty and don't move. The chain is bad and the brakes kinda work. Is it worth fixing up to ride around town? Or should I trash it?





  2. #2
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    Definitely don't trash it. Do you have the tools, patience and skills to bring it back to life? If your answer is no, then either give it to someone who does or put it on craigslist.

  3. #3
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    Not a high end bike, but it's not trash at all! Decent tubing, cool lugs, and horizontal dropouts make that a good fixed gear/single speed conversion (This is a good way to market it on craigslist, it'll sell quick for $75 as is). Or use it as a good base to learn how to fix bikes, if it doesn't work out, go back to the craigslist idea. If it does work out and you make it nice again, it'll be a solid $150 bike. Or if you have room, keep it, it'll be nice to ride!

    Edit: What would I do? I'd make it a single speed townie bike with goodies from velo-orange. North Road style bars with cork grips, rack and fenders, and a big shiny bell. Perfect sunny day, no hurry, explore around town bike.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonedzx9
    I got this bike for free. ... Is it worth fixing up to ride around town?
    Does it fit you?

    It has kissing lugs on the head tube meaning this is likely the smallest version of this model they made. If it is a bit small, you can live with that in an occassional bike and change out seat post and stem for more height as you can afford it, and litterally feel the need for it, or sell it, to buy one that fits better.

    Is the frame solid?

    A rusted out frame on this bike would be a deal breaker IMHO. A little rust that you can stop is workable.

    So assuming it fits, or close enough, AND it is fairly solid, we can continue.

    I have a bike from the same era I got for free. Unfortunately I did not do a 'before' shot.
    It's paint was/is better and chrome bits showed no rust, but it had bent rims and hubs, fork, no saddle, post, stem or bars.

    Here is a shot from last week:



    It save commuting/bad weather/salty roads from the good bike and I can use it to fetch the groceries. It has had almost 600 miles since August of 2009. The front wheel bar tape, levers and saddle were just added c/o Santa.

    Things I learned 'recycling' a classic era 2 x 6 bike that you may wish to know:

    BTW: There is NO SUCH THING as a FREE bike. Like the Mouse with the cookie, they demand more stuff.

    1. An old free bike is a great place to learn how to fix bikes. Sure the newer ones do it differently, but if you can fix this one up you are set with skills. Why would you want to screw up on a $3000 bike, when you can make mistakes with much cheaper parts and just pick up another, if you REALLY mess it up (hard, but it can and has been done).

    2. I believe this is the model below the Super Course that year. It was known as a solid decent bike in its day, but it's no collectible. Some towns have bike recyling centers where you might trade this in for a refurbished one plus some cash. Unless you hate wrenches, and don't mind forking over lots of dough the rest of your life to maintain your bike, don't go that road. Though they can be a helpful resource if yoiu run into a problem like a frozen stem.

    3. The bottom bracket is the most prone as water gets in, sits and rusts the shell from inside. You can't tell until you open it up unless it has gone all the way through in which case you hsould not be reading this. (Remember that if you can't afford all the tools at once, you can ask the lbs if they'd pull the crank arms and loosen the locknut so you dcan dissasemble yourself.) A nice bike shop will do that service while you wait, since it won't take long and they can see you will be buying a few bits.

    4. Good bike grease and separate bearings are cheap. Sheldon Brown and others discuss the how to tell if a cone needs replacement. They are also cheap.

    5. Modern cables (stainless) and housings (teflon-lined) are WAY better than the originals. So the fact these are frozen is a favor.

    6. 27" tires are much easier to find recently than 2 years ago. If you have 700C tires, that would be wonderful as tire selection is much greater.

    7. All grease turns to a hard wax after this much time and no use. So you really need to diassemble and clean the headset, bottom bracket, pedals, and axles. The tools you buy for this will last you a lifetime.

    8. Cracks in the tire are not an issue unless the tube tries to com through them. Crumbly rubber especially at the bead means new tires. If removing tires, use new tubes, and replace the rim tape while you are there.

    9. You might get away with chain lube to lube the derailleurs and the brake pivots. I prefer a careful cleaning, and oiling of these parts.

    10. It is very important to make sure the rear deraileur can't get into the spokes, yours has a metal spoke guard, so that should be impossible, unless you remove it.

    11. Buy a new chain. They are cheap, and it is way easier than messing with frozen links. Chain lube may be enough to resurrect hte chain pawl action in the freewheel, if not, you may need to replace it.

    12. REPLACE the brake pads, Though expensive, I recommend Cool Stops. They are worth EVERY CENT! They are WAY better thatn anything available when that bike was made. Brake pads go hard over time, even those stored in original packaging. They may feel okay in the dry but they don't like wet at all. Brake pads can save your life. Don't be cheap here.

    13. Watch when you go around town and figure out how vivible you need to make yourself. The Another Commuter Thread about lights, shows long lived not too paranoid cyclists solutions for their necks of the woods.

    Read Sheldon Brown on any issue you have and serch for other sources.

    Good luck hope this helps. A not-so-free bike's owner, and loving it!

  5. #5
    weirdo
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    Great rundown from BrianMc. Kissing lugs? Brian, are yours angry at each other?

    Nearly plagarized from what`s already been said, if it fits, you have a use for it, and have a litle cash hanging around, have at it and have fun! I did the same thing with a pair of Western Auto 5 speeds, then with a freebie Bianchi that was very similar to your Raleigh- shelled out a little cash, had fun, learned a lot. I`ve since given away all those bikes, but I still consider the jobs worth while because of the learning experience and the entertainment value. And if you want to do it a LITTLE bit cheaper, Jag is right about it being a good SS candidate.

    Even a budget refurb will cost you, though- tubes, tires, good cables/housing (quality cables and housing make such a difference that it isn`t worth scrimping there), brake pads, and bar tape add up and could easilly run $50 to $75. Grease and adjust all the bearings (wheels, BB, headset), disassemble and scrub the boogers out of the deraillers and calipers, true and tension the wheels, adjust shifters and brakes, take a Scotch Brite pad to all the aluminum... it`s a blast! Unfortunately, a lot of that work calls for specialty tools. Like the wear parts, they aren`t expensive, but they do add up if you have to buy them. Bike coops might have them to let you use for free, or you could consider just buying them to keep in your own box. Your call, but I don`t regret having refurbed a few freebies.

    EDIT: I made or bought all the special tools (various cone and headset wrenches, freewheel wrenches for different brands of freewheel I encountered, adjustable spaner wrench for BB shells)- you can probably figure roughly $10 each to buy, or thin cone and headset wrenches can be cut and filed fron 1/8 ot 3/16 steel. With old stuff that you don`t mind dinging up a little bit, a pair of 12 inch or so Channel Locks will do the trick for many headsets and BB locknuts. Since I have some fairly old school bikes, a lot of that stuff has come in handy with my own bikes and I found that Wallyworld bikes that friends and neighbors occasionally bring me to fix for them still use a lot of the same stuff, so those headset wrenches aren`t gathering any dust.
    Last edited by rodar y rodar; 01-19-2011 at 09:29 PM.
    Recalculating....

  6. #6
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    Actually, the lugs are not contacting each other, or 'kissing' so the frame is about 1 cm bigger than the smallest. Kathryn's Nishiki of the same era has the front lugs in full lip lock.

    To add to rodar y rodar's comments about fun and skill building, the skills and confidence flow into other parts of your life.

    Also, once the tarnish/old grease is removed from the headset cups, a little auto wax will slow the return.

    Other cyclists, especially ones with older bikes can be very helpful, too.

  7. #7
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    I'm not normally a "singlespeed everything" guy, but that bike is a great candidate for it.

    It has horizontal dropouts, so all you need is a BMX freewheel and new chain, and then you can get rid of a lot of the extraneous bits and pieces of crank, the derailleurs, and those awful stem-mounted shifters - I hate those things! Finding the right fittings to move stem-mounted shifters onto the downtube where, IMO, they belong is pretty hard.

    Definitely replace the brake cable runs. As rusty as they are, the housings are probably full of gunk too. And repack the bearings. Consider throwing out the bottom bracket and replacing it with a cartridge bb - IMO, well-sealed bottom brackets are one of the biggest advances in cycling since the safety bicycle or the derailleur.

    If the seatpost gives you trouble, don't sweat it. A $15 post from your LBS will be better - those stupid clamps are another thing that's been improved.

    Working on old bikes can be a really fun project if you like to do that kind of thing. And it's nice for those of us who can get a little compulsive because it means that bikes that are not yet part of our fleets are the ones that keeps getting work done.

    EDIT: I had a commuter that started life about like your new acquisition. It took me a while to decide to singlespeed it, but once I shucked off all the old, beat up and rusted out stuff, it turned out to be a lightweight, fun ride.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    It has horizontal dropouts, so all you need is a BMX freewheel and new chain, and then you can get rid of a lot of the extraneous bits and pieces of crank, the derailleurs, and those awful stem-mounted shifters - I hate those things! Finding the right fittings to move stem-mounted shifters onto the downtube where, IMO, they belong is pretty hard.
    I don`t think downtube shifters for that bike would be a problem if there`s a bike junkyard around. Our little co-op has a lot of clamp ons for old skinny tubes- they just don`t come big enough for mountainbikes or aluminum frames.

    BMX freewheel? Do they thread directly onto a hub like a 5 - 7 freewheel? That would sure be nice! Uh, um- I mean... "that might be a nice bonus for you SS guys."
    Recalculating....

  9. #9
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    We have a local organization that repairs unwanted bicycles and donates them to needy people. I am sure they have been mentioned in many forums (http://bikesiliconvalley.org/bikeex).

    You could try to find a similar organization in your area. I think that bicycles are one of the greatest inventions on our planet and that any bicycle not being used is a waste.

    I am not going to get into a big rant here, but working on bikes is fun. The old and rusty sort are the most challenging to repair. You can learn a lot.

    I have given my old bikes to relatives or friends. If I find out they aren't using them I take them back and give them to someone else.

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    I don`t think downtube shifters for that bike would be a problem if there`s a bike junkyard around. Our little co-op has a lot of clamp ons for old skinny tubes- they just don`t come big enough for mountainbikes or aluminum frames.

    BMX freewheel? Do they thread directly onto a hub like a 5 - 7 freewheel? That would sure be nice! Uh, um- I mean... "that might be a nice bonus for you SS guys."
    Sounds like you've got a better coop than me - I looked for a clamp like that for a previous project, and got no love. Couldn't find it in QBP either.

    BMX freewheels come in two sizes, IIRC. There's a "metric" and a "Euro" size. The Euro-sized ones are for a 1.37" x 24 tpi thread. The most common size for a multispeed freewheel is 1.375" x 24 tpi. However, I had no problem threading a BMX freewheel onto a road bike I converted - the diameter difference is 1/200 of an inch.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    I think the single speed route is the way I need to go. I figure I can use it to tool around with the wife and kids on the weekends. We don't have any coops around and our LBS is struggling to stay in business. I might just have to bring it in and tear it apart and start on it. I guess I don't have anything to lose.

  12. #12
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    I wish someone would give me a bike like that. I found one once, but it was way too big for me. I would be singing soprano every time I put a foot down.

    I would start by putting as little money in as possible. As the others said, it's great candidate for an SS conversion, but I think stuff like that is more fun when you try to do it on a tight budget. Maybe I'm just cheap...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonedzx9
    I might just have to bring it in and tear it apart and start on it. I guess I don't have anything to lose.
    Exactly! Tear it down, clean it up, and take an inventory of what you'll need for the rebuild. At a minimum you'll need:

    -Chain (bmx or 5/6/7 speed) $5
    -Grease for hubs/bb/headset $5
    -Brake Pads $10
    -2 Brake Cables/Housing $5
    -Bar Tape $5
    -Tires $20
    -Tubes $5

    You can find some deals to reduce those prices a little. However, before you get started, throw a leg over it and make sure it's a decent size for you.

  14. #14
    weirdo
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    A.S, maybe your co-op is more modern than ours

    We get clamp on DT shifters up the wazoo. Also, threaded hub wheels in various sizes, those nonaero brake levers with "cheater" thingies, flexie V calipers, canti calipers (often nice ones), and 7 speed mtb stuff to last a lifetime. Indexed road shifters of any kind, nice thumbies or more than 7 mtb shifters, freehub wheels- if they ever come in, they leave before I see them. No, I can`t imagine QBP having clamp on DT shifters. I don`t think anybody has made them for ages, but used ones abound in this neck of the woods and I`m surprised yours co-op doesn`t have piles and piles of them.

    Thanks for the freewheel tip. It might come in handy someday.
    Recalculating....

  15. #15
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    This site came to my attention. Looks like some decent basics here. Did not delve deeeper. Weird bikes, too!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc
    This site came to my attention. Looks like some decent basics here. Did not delve deeeper. Weird bikes, too!
    Thanks this site is perfect!!!

  17. #17
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    Well the project is underway. The head tube cleaned up real nice with some steel wool. I just need to take it to the LBS and get the crank pulled. The bearings in the headtube were just ball bearing can I replace them with ones that are contained in a race? I'm having fun already!! Here are a few pics.






  18. #18
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    Cell phone or cheap digital cameras are a great asset in recording how things need to go back together! Almost a bare frame... I also use the ghetto bike stand method. Though a true stand is on my wish list.

  19. #19
    weirdo
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    Yeah! Looks like you`re in it now, M! Three options for your headset: just clean all the waxy goop from the old ones and reassemble with new grease (not recomended by real mechs, but it`s what I do), keep the races and put in new balls (bring the old ones to the shop to measure), or replace it all with a cartridge headset (PROBABLY available for about $20- take the fork and frame to the shop for measurement). Oh, if you want to start collecting tools, a crankpuller would be a good buy. You can get one puller that will work for the square taper BB you have there, and if you shop right, will also pull ISIS and Shimano Octolink. Very usefull.

    Hehe- you guys have one up on me with your ghetto maintenance stand. Mine only works until I get the saddle off because I hang the whole bike off the shelf on my barbecue grill by the nose of the saddle.
    Recalculating....

  20. #20
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    That site on brakes is not a bad introduction, but he's not really being fair to caliper brakes. The ones on your bike, OP, look like centerpulls - actually a pretty good design, if they're in good shape. Dual pivot sidepulls also perform a lot better than the single-pivot ones he pictures in the article. Sidepulls, centerpulls, and cantilever brakes will all be compatible with your levers.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  21. #21
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    Ok so I've got another question. The large chainring is a 52 and it srews onto the inside of the crank arm. The next chainring is bolted to the larger one and it's a 42. I don't have the option of taking off the 52. Should I buy a new crank or just run the chain on the 42 and not worry about the 52. I'm sure buying a crank can get expensive! I think it would look cleaner with only one chainring though.

  22. #22
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    Are you saying that the large ring is integrated into the spider, or that it attaches directly to the crank arm right next to the spindle?

    I had a similar problem with a bike I commuted on a couple of years ago - actually the one I made into a singlespeed. I got rid of the 42t ring and rode the 52t ring, with a really big freewheel. 20t. 52/20 is a pretty reasonable ratio, at least for me, if it's on a bike I ride on pavement and climbing's not an issue.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
    weirdo
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    Lots of brakes will do the job. But Centerpulls LOOK the coolest

    Can you post a closeup of your cranks? Yeah, unless you can dig up a used set, that would be relatively expensive to replace.
    Recalculating....

  24. #24
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    Nothing at all wrong with these center pulls. What they give up in lightness to the best sidepulls, they more than make up for in ease of adjustment and centering. They were the preferable brake on mid to mid to med-high priced bikes in th 70's and 80's. I have had them on a bike now gone, and they are on Kathryn's bike. They come apart so you can clean them up and even polish the aluminum oxide off so they look new. Just take pics to show how the springs go for reassembly.

    Sheldon on the topic:

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rim-brakes.html

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/calipers.html

  25. #25
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    The chainring attaches directly to the crank arm. Here are some pics of the crank. If I take the center pulls apart how hard are the springs to get back in? Also some pics of the progress.





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