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  1. #1
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    Help with his/her bike rebuilds

    First off hello to all, I just registered as a new member... I found this forum on google... I just acquired matching his/her John Deere bikes. They were apparently made in the mid-60's, possibly in Taiwan. They were originally 3 speed bikes and say so on the frames, and have a shifter on the right handlebar, but the derailer is removed and there is a single sprocket on the rear tire with no provision for shifting. Apparently these bikes are not worth very much and have a reputation for being unreliable, which explains the missing shifter mechanisms. I really like these frames (I am a John Deere collector) and what I would like to do is to strip them completely and have them polished and clearcoated to preserve the finish, then build them up with modern components. I want to use quality parts that will not rust (aluminum, stainless, titanium, whatever) but I do not need competition parts. I want these bikes to fun and easy to ride, but they will not be commuter bikes or racing bikes or anything like that. I will probably change out the old style handlebars, brakes, shifters, etc. and would like to go back to 3 or maybe even 5 speeds.

    What I need is opinions from experienced bike enthusiasts about the best parts, sources for parts, etc.

    I will post pics this evening.

    Thanks to all who help!!!

    Dave

  2. #2
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlejumper View Post
    First off hello to all, I just registered as a new member... I found this forum on google... I just acquired matching his/her John Deere bikes. They were apparently made in the mid-60's, possibly in Taiwan. They were originally 3 speed bikes and say so on the frames, and have a shifter on the right handlebar, but the derailer is removed and there is a single sprocket on the rear tire with no provision for shifting. Apparently these bikes are not worth very much and have a reputation for being unreliable, which explains the missing shifter mechanisms. I really like these frames (I am a John Deere collector) and what I would like to do is to strip them completely and have them polished and clearcoated to preserve the finish, then build them up with modern components. I want to use quality parts that will not rust (aluminum, stainless, titanium, whatever) but I do not need competition parts. I want these bikes to fun and easy to ride, but they will not be commuter bikes or racing bikes or anything like that. I will probably change out the old style handlebars, brakes, shifters, etc. and would like to go back to 3 or maybe even 5 speeds.

    What I need is opinions from experienced bike enthusiasts about the best parts, sources for parts, etc.

    I will post pics this evening.

    Thanks to all who help!!!

    Dave
    Well, if they were 3 speed, there is no derailleur. The gears are internal. If you can determine the make of the hubs, we can likely get you pointed in the right direction to get them either functioning again, or replaced.
    Get some good shots of the drive side of the hub, and also have a look to see if there is any branding , model and year stamped on the hub shell. You may have to reach in through the spokes and rub some dirt away to see anything.
    John Deere bikes are cool.
    Here's mine.
    http://cid-c5aa741102f41823.skydrive...uilt%20018.jpg

  3. #3
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    Some pics...
















  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
    Well, if they were 3 speed, there is no derailleur. The gears are internal. If you can determine the make of the hubs, we can likely get you pointed in the right direction to get them either functioning again, or replaced.
    Well I didn't know that! Glad I posted up here, I am already learning new stuff! I guess I will see if the tires hold air and go for a test drive then. I will also try to get some better pictures tomorrow, it is getting dark here now.

    Get some good shots of the drive side of the hub, and also have a look to see if there is any branding , model and year stamped on the hub shell. You may have to reach in through the spokes and rub some dirt away to see anything.
    I will do this in the morning and post back here.

    John Deere bikes are cool.
    Here's mine.
    http://cid-c5aa741102f41823.skydrive...uilt%20018.jpg
    That is a neat little critter! I see this is going to be a fun place to post. Thank you for your reply.

    Dave

  5. #5
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlejumper View Post
    Well I didn't know that! Glad I posted up here, I am already learning new stuff! I guess I will see if the tires hold air and go for a test drive then. I will also try to get some better pictures tomorrow, it is getting dark here now.


    I will do this in the morning and post back here.



    That is a neat little critter! I see this is going to be a fun place to post. Thank you for your reply.

    Dave
    That is an early Shimano 3 speed hub. Not the best news for you, better at that vintage if they were Sturmey Archer, but that doesn't mean it's hopeless. Lube the cable and shifter so they move freely, put a few drops of oil in the hub, I think there should be an oil cap in the hub shell, adjust the bell crank (that's that little 90 degree lever that the cable pull on at the hub, so that the alignment marks line up with the shifter in second.
    If I remember right, that model has a little hole in the bell crank that lines up with a scribed circle on the shifter body. Those are your alignment marks.
    If that doesn't work right away, give the lube a chance to work in. It might work just fine.
    That bike doesn't look like it's seen much abuse. Some cleaning and lubing, and some bearing overhauls, that thing looks perfectly rideable.
    If the hubs are shot, a modern Sturmey Archer 3 speed would be a nice upgrade.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the info, I will see what I can make of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
    If the hubs are shot, a modern Sturmey Archer 3 speed would be a nice upgrade.
    Again, thanks. Is this a very difficult conversion?

    Is there a good source for replacement wheels and handlebars that will not rust?

    I will post more pics and updates as I make progress.

    Dave

  7. #7
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    The sidewalls of the tires should list the size of the tires. Tell us what it is. Chances are that you won't have much trouble finding replacement rims, tires, or handlebars.

    I recommend using aluminum rims rather than steel. They're lighter, stronger (usually), and provide a much better braking surface than steel rims.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Employer: Larry's Freewheeling, 301 W 110 St, New York, NY 10026
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlejumper View Post
    Thanks for the info, I will see what I can make of them.


    Again, thanks. Is this a very difficult conversion?

    Is there a good source for replacement wheels and handlebars that will not rust?

    I will post more pics and updates as I make progress.

    Dave
    It isn't necessarily an easy conversion...replacing a hub means putting in a new wheel with the desired hub in place. You can't swap a hub out of an existing wheel. If the wheel sizes are at least very close, you might have a chance scavenging a Sturmey-Archer-equipped wheelset from an old Raleigh or Schwinn and transplanting it onto the Deere. But if the Raleigh or Schwinn were in good enough shape, that's honestly the bike I'd want to be riding.

    Trying to get the old hub working nicely if possible is your best bet. Your chances are good...3-speed gearhubs are rugged little pieces of machinery. Even a full hub rebuild doesn't require a lot of specialized tools, and you'll learn a lot of mechanics in the process. If any critical parts are really broken in the Shimano, you might be hard pressed to find replacements without an identical hub to cannibalize. Most likely, though, the hub will come right back to life with a bit of oil and a cable adjustment - you probably won't need to disassemble it.

    Alternatively, you could build a new wheelset around whatever parts, if any, you hope to keep. This would solve the wheel rusting problem, as modern rims are typically aluminum and stainless spokes are readily available. This route involves large investments of time and money and requires learning to build wheels. It's not out of the question, it's something I've done myself before, but only you can decide if the Deere is worth it to you.

    Not sure about the handlebars.

    Best of luck.
    Last edited by FLYcrash; 05-18-09 at 07:23 PM.

  9. #9
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    Sorry, Dave...just realized you are looking to restore/update the Deeres and aren't just looking for a budget ride.

    In that case, might you consider having some of the parts (handlebars, that cool chainguard) cleaned up and rechromed? That'd be costly but would preserve more of the bike's aesthetic integrity.

    A new wheelset with modern parts (perhaps a Sturmey-Archer rear hub matched up with something like a Surly New up front, Sun CR-18 rims if the come in the right size, DT spokes, decent tires) along with an overhaul of everything else that can be salvaged and replacement of the rest - you could get those bikes running very well and looking really beautiful! Won't be cheap, though...I'd budget around $400 per bike in parts plus tools including wheelbuilding tools. Plus, the cottered crank might cause headaches.

  10. #10
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Cottered cranks are annoying, but given enough patience and brute force, you'll manage that part. I recently had a stubborn cotter pin, and it was brutal, but there's no rocket science to them.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Employer: Larry's Freewheeling, 301 W 110 St, New York, NY 10026
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  11. #11
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlejumper View Post
    Thanks for the info, I will see what I can make of them.


    Again, thanks. Is this a very difficult conversion?

    Is there a good source for replacement wheels and handlebars that will not rust?

    I will post more pics and updates as I make progress.

    Dave
    Where are you located. I couldn't quite make out if that was an Ontario license plate on the pickup in the photo, but if you are anywhere within hollering distance of Oakville Ontario, send me a private message. I may be able to help you out with anything you need, up to and including new hubs and wheel builds.
    Dan

  12. #12
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    Examine the rear hub for a date.

    Before you ride it you need to decide if you will keep the wheels, probably not. If the hub on the front wheel has an oil port it might be worth preserving. The rear 3 speed might also be worth keeping, although if you plan to ride it you can replace the hub with a much improved modern version(see postings for internally geared IG hub).

    Otherwise it looks like the frame is solid, and desirable. I would keep the old style handlebars, but that is very dependent on what you plan for the bike. I would also use a saddle with springs if you keep the old handle bars, as you will have an upright ridding position.

    I also like the bash guard with the circle cut outs, It would be nice if that could be preserved somehow.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
    2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
    1996 Birdy, Recommend.
    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

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