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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 03-16-06, 11:23 AM   #1
8bitevolution
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Bought an old used bike, so now what?

I bought a '76 Schwinn Runabout to play around with and learn more about bikes. The front derailuer was shot and the back one was looking sad, too. I had been entertaining the idea of running it as a single speed until I could get the money to buy new components for it.

Last weekend, a friend and I finally put a chain on it so we could ride it (as a single speed). We also stripped everything off except for the front brake. The rear didn't work and would have been problematic with a singlespeed, anyways. After riding this, I'm pretty well set on this being a single speed. It's a hell of a lot cheaper and a lot more fun that I thought.

The rear tire pretty well died but I have a new one on the way. Everything seems to be mechanically sound but I'm pretty new to this. I plan to remove the single piece crank, clean and inspect the cups, and put in new bearings and grease. The handlebars turn smoothly but should I still take apart the headset to check it out anyways? This is an older Schwinn so I imagine it's unsealed bearings. I'm sure the hubs could roll smoother but they seem to be working pretty well. Servicing the hubs kind of scares me but is that something that would be a good idea, too?

What are some other things I should check out/clean/lube? What are some clues that should tip me off that I need to work on the headset or hubs?

If anyone's interested, I'll resize the pictures of my bike and post them. To some it's probably just an old Schwinn but I'm really falling in love with my Chicago steel.
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Old 03-16-06, 11:47 AM   #2
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Unless you run a fixed gear, you should have two brakes for redundancy. There should be no problem with having a rear brake on a singlespeed.
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Old 03-16-06, 11:54 AM   #3
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I agree with supcom, I have a SS with both brakes and use them both. Besides your handlebar with be symetrical with two brakes. I too enjoy the simplicity of SS and the fun riding it.
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Old 03-16-06, 12:42 PM   #4
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If you bought the bike to l,earn how to work on it, then by all means try to service the hubs. All you need are cone wrenches and a 17mm wrench. The headset should need more specialized tools, as will the bb.

www.parktool.com
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Old 03-16-06, 01:11 PM   #5
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According to Sheldon Brown's site, all I need to remove a single piece crank is an adjustable wrench and screwdriver. I don't plan on removing the cups unless they're worn or pitted.
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Old 03-16-06, 01:18 PM   #6
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^^True, but it is a lot easier to re-adjust it with a pin spanner. Any you'll need a really big wrench.
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Old 03-16-06, 01:27 PM   #7
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I have the wrench already. Haven't looked into a pin spanner yet.
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Old 03-16-06, 03:04 PM   #8
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Going single speed is alot simpler than multi gear. Less hassle, more time for riding I always say. And if the bike is a '76, better clean and grease the BB and headset - who knows how long its been since anyone's looked at those. If you're gonna keep it and ride it, the little time spent servicing the bearings will go a long way while you're riding.
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