Hey BF, long time no talk. I need some advice - I have an Schwinn mountain bike that probably has less than 500 miles riding on it. It is maybe five years old, but one of those years was spent on a covered porch with the rain and humidity. I am trying to fix this bike up to give it to a broke friend in need (I also am kinda broke) so money is a real issue here.
What do I need to do to fix it up? He only needs it for about 5 miles of riding a day, just to get to work, so it doesn't have to be pristine. The road is well-paved and flat and there are no turns.
The chain is completely rusted. I was planning on having to repair this, any cheap advice? I've never replaced one myself. Is there a chemical I could use to clean it up and would this be advisable? Other than that and tubes (assuming the shifters and cables still function) what else do I need to check to make sure this thing is marginally rideable?
'08 Fuji Roubaix RC; '07 Schwinn Le Tour GS; '92 Diamond Back Ascent EX
Buy a new chain (assuming this is a 21 speed MTB you'll need a chain that is 7 speed compatible), check brake pads (replace if dried out or hard), replace cables if they are rusty or frayed (full set at Wally World for about $5), air up the tires and lube it all up.
I did the same thing on a Gary Fisher for a local down & outer. replaced chain, cleaned up the cassette on a wire wheel, pulled the inner cables and emery clothed any rust off them, sprayed a bunch of PB blaster down the housings and blew them out, greased them real good, sanded the brake pads and adjusted everything. Threw some used tires on. It's now ridden about 10 - 15 miles a day plus his daily run to the beer store.
If the cables are in bad shape (rust too much or frayed) you could pick up a cable set at Walmart (when you stop for the chain) for $5-6. My hunch is you will be able to just clean and lube the existing ones and they will be fine.
PB Blaster on the chain will bring it back to life. I'd put replacing the cables higher on the list, esp. he brake cables. Inspect them, look at the part that is in the housings for rust. Water can get in the housing and eat up a cable. It's woth the money to get the set at wally-world.