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Old 02-11-12, 03:23 PM   #1
DGoeder
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Thinking about diving in.

I would like to learn some mechanical abilities that involve more than changing a tire. My plan is to strip an old mtn bike I've had sitting around and rebuild it. I'm thinking i would rather learn on that than screw someithing up on the only road bike i have
I'd like to try and salvage as many part as I can but most of them are in pretty rough shape.
At this point I'm not all that concerned with getting high end components. As long as everything comes together, I'll just be using it for casual riding and possibly commuting when the day comes that I dont live 50 miles from work.
Any suggestions on good place to find cheap parts while I learn? Or any other advice would be nice as well.
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Old 02-11-12, 03:34 PM   #2
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If you live in central Ohio, volunteer at one of the co-ops in Columbus. Thats how I l learned to work on bikes.
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Old 02-11-12, 03:53 PM   #3
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Any suggestions on good place to find cheap parts while I learn? Or any other advice would be nice as well.
Years ago you could hang around a bike shop, working for free snacks and the chance to learn. Those days are pretty much gone, and high minimum wage makes it hard for a shop to justify paying someone while they learned. Bike co-ops are a good way to learn, as are some of the low cost and free courses offered by shops and sometimes as adult ed programs in community colleges. One other option might be the nice guy in town (not Santa) who collects junk and builds bikes to give out free.

As for collecting practice raw material, yard sales, police auctions - let others buy the good stuff, you enter a lowball bid for the dogs, and in many cities the sanitation dept. BTW- if there's not a nice guy building bikes for the poor kids in town, an opportunity awaits.
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Old 02-11-12, 04:05 PM   #4
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If you live in central Ohio, volunteer at one of the co-ops in Columbus. Thats how I l learned to work on bikes.
I'm in NW Ohio, and relatively new to cycling in general so I'm not sure yet what resources are available. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of free time, so I'm assuming most of my tutorials will be thanks to Google.
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Old 02-11-12, 04:06 PM   #5
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One other option might be the nice guy in town (not Santa) who collects junk and builds bikes to give out free
I'll have to keep an eye out for this guy....
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Old 02-11-12, 05:42 PM   #6
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I am in a similar situation as you. I currently have a mtb that is old and needs work but is my only bike atm. I am buying a new one this year and figure to rebuild my old mtb. I found that youtube has some good tutorial videos but you have to sift through some crap to get there. A resource that I found to be very useful is http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help. This site gives a good explaination of the parts, tools, and procedures for fixing just about anything. As for bicycle parts I would look into buying either used parts from craigslist or new from nashbar or bikeisland's websites. Good Luck with your project and be sure to give updates on how things are going and what your doing with it.
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Old 02-11-12, 06:51 PM   #7
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IF you need to buy a lot of new parts, you'll end up with an overpriced old bike.

The idea is to use a minimal amount of new parts and try to reserve that to such things as bearings,cables and other "consumables".
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Old 02-11-12, 06:58 PM   #8
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The Park Tool site is a good one, as is this one, and of course the incomparable Sheldon Brown. Just be forewarned, there are quite a few "specialized" tools that you will most likely be investing in shortly.

If you find you need replacement parts, you really can't beat the combination of ebay and a good LBS. Just make sure that on your disassemble, you take lots of pictures of anything you aren't positive you'll remember on the reassemble. I'm sure you'll be fine though, these things aren't rocket science!
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Old 02-11-12, 07:12 PM   #9
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you might try looking for a donor bike that is similar in make, model, and year. there may still be one decent bike between the two of them.

sometimes it's possible to find one with only one or two damaged components that make it virtually useless. like a mangled frame or twisted rims. you never know.
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Old 02-17-12, 09:48 AM   #10
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Go to your local library and look for books on bicycle maintenance and repair.
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Old 02-17-12, 10:55 AM   #11
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If you are not near a Bike Co-op, the Park Tool website is a good start and also picking up the Park Tool Big Blue book of bicycle repair is a good idea also.
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Old 02-17-12, 12:14 PM   #12
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Go to your local library and look for books on bicycle maintenance and repair.
While I won't argue with the basis of this suggestion, but if you can't find the info you need online you should instead look for books on improving your internet searches.
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Old 02-17-12, 02:10 PM   #13
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If you want a free or nearly free educational experience, Park Tool website/book, and/or any other book out there. See if you can pick up a Sutherland's non-current ed. cheap somewhere. Buy parts online.

-or-

Buy your parts at your local bike shop. Explain what you are trying to accomplish and listen to their feedback. You'll pay more for parts, but you have less a chance of getting the wrong parts and mechanics there might be a lot more inclined to fill you in on tips and tricks you won't pick up in books, help you out with advice and answer questions. Kinda like trying to speak a foreign language when traveling, they are more likely to help you out if you put in some kind of decent effort. Which in this case, is buying parts locally.
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Old 02-17-12, 10:08 PM   #14
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Yep. Park tool website is a great resource and their tools are mighty find too. Get some tools and some books and dig in. Post questions as they come up. And be careful not to overtighten bolts, easy to do on a bicycle.

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Old 02-25-12, 10:37 AM   #15
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Okay, here's where I'm at so far.
I did get a book and borrowed a set of tools from a friend.
I took everything off that I felt I would be able to get back on and started with giving them a good cleaning. I'm thinking that anything I can't get relatively clean will get replaced. At this point that looks like shifters and all cables for sure. Possibly the cassette once I get the right tool to get it off and clean it really good, maybe the chain and I'm questioning the hubs and deraileurs.

Thanks for the advice so far.
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Old 02-25-12, 08:57 PM   #16
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Only thing I can add, and something I see my students do all the time, is to be careful about totally disassembling things. Most bolts on a bike do not need to be emancipated from their component, just loosened. You'll save yourself a LOT of headache if you re-marry up parts and hardware as you go.

Past that, as long as you don't use a hacksaw or a hammer, there really isn't anything you can permanently break.

Forna little backstory, I'm a paid mechanic/instructor at a coop and I'd gladly type my personal toolkit out when I get to a real computer if you're interested.
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Old 02-26-12, 05:21 AM   #17
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Used parts off Ebay
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Old 02-26-12, 06:22 AM   #18
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I'm one of those guys who enjoys the wrench almost as much as the ride. I've had the debate about if it's worth putting money into an old bike a number of times and my take is that if you are concerned with resale value the answer is "no", but if you are more interested in the education, fun and satisfaction of building a bike for yourself "no problem". When I was looking to build my light touring bike, one option was to buy a new Surly Cross Check or LHT frame and fork for around $400 and build from there. I opted instead to buy a well used 1990s vintage Trek 700 with a frame and fork that were in great shape and fit me very well. The 700 cost me $35. Everything except the headset came off the Trek and anything still in functional shape went onto flip bikes. I had a blast hunting down good condition used or discount new parts and building it into a very respectable light touring style with an Alivio Crankset and otherwise all Deore or Deore LX components. The bike looks good, performs as well as any new mid-level, chrome-moly touring or hybrid on the market and cost me well under 1/2 of what a new bike of similar quality would have.

I got a good education and had a lot of fun on stormy days sitting in my garage building this bike and the two flip bikes to which it donated parts. I came out pretty decent on the flip bikes which further cut into the overall cost of the project. I've got another Trek 700 frame and fork sitting in the garage right now that is just an inch smaller that will become my trail and winter bike while giving me something to wrench on when I can't ride.

So for the OP, as long as you start with a good quality frame and fork, straight and in good condition, and that fits you well, go ahead and have a blast putting together a bike exactly the way you want it. As mentioned, bike co-ops are an excellent source of parts, but also keep an eye out for discounts and sales. I've also had some luck by getting to know the mechanics at the LBSs and the members of local cycling clubs. Networking can be your friend.

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Old 02-26-12, 06:29 AM   #19
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you might try looking for a donor bike that is similar in make, model, and year. there may still be one decent bike between the two of them.

sometimes it's possible to find one with only one or two damaged components that make it virtually useless. like a mangled frame or twisted rims. you never know.
My vote for the cheapest source of bike parts.
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Old 02-26-12, 06:43 AM   #20
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+100 The only way I will fix up a MTB is I find a donor bike. It is not unusual to find LBS branded MTBs at garage sales or whatever, in neglected shape (rusty chain, flat tires, torn seat) for $10 to $20. Bought one this week. Combine a couple of them, and you can have one good bike. You usually will need a new chain, cables, cassette or freewheel, and tires. Google shopping will guide you there. Sometimes I will get good tires from a donor.

If you need new shifters, my recommendation are the Tourney trigger shifters. I can get a 7 speed set new, with all cables and housings, for $13. The 6 speed version is a little cheaper. Niagara Cycle is the source. When I have to replace MTB shifters, that's all I use, cheap and effective.

I fixed up my wife's Trek 950 with the parts off a Kona Cinder Cone (originally $900 MTB, but frame had a 2 inch long split, rusty chain, etc.) Cost? $5. From that $5 I got front and rear derailleur (Deore LX as I recall), wheelset, and crankset. And I added the seat post, stem, handlebars, and brakes to my parts bin. The fork went to the co-op, the rest of the frame into the recycle bin.

As far as just practice, just start.

Well I see Niagara bumped the price up to $15.60.

http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=15889

Better deal here (free shipping if you order over $19): $11: I've never bought from these guys, but I probably will give them a try.

http://www.mybiketinley.com/Shimano-...r_p_47371.html

Last edited by wrk101; 02-26-12 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 02-27-12, 11:31 PM   #21
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I'm in NW Ohio, and relatively new to cycling in general so I'm not sure yet what resources are available. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of free time, so I'm assuming most of my tutorials will be thanks to Google.
there are a lot of demonstrations on You tube about bike building and repairing. I took a 6 week bicycle maintenance repair course at a local bike shop. It was one night a week. Best $100 I ever spent. I have rebuilt and or repaired over 200 bikes in the last four years as a hobby and now planning on retiring and going to keep going as long as I can turn a wrench.
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Old 02-28-12, 03:48 PM   #22
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Only thing I can add, and something I see my students do all the time, is to be careful about totally disassembling things. Most bolts on a bike do not need to be emancipated from their component, just loosened. You'll save yourself a LOT of headache if you re-marry up parts and hardware as you go.
That's been my plan of attack so far. If it doesn't look like something I can get back together, I'm leaving it on. So far that's only been the case for the deraileurs. everything else I've been comfortable with.
One thing I'm not sure of at the moment though. I took the skewers out of the wheels to clear them and some of the ball bearings fell out of the hub. I assumed I would need to re-grease them, but I wasn't sure if this was a sign that they were too worn out and need to be replaced, or should I just clean them, put them back in, and continue with the greasing?
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Old 03-03-12, 10:01 AM   #23
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coops are the best place to learn

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If you live in central Ohio, volunteer at one of the co-ops in Columbus. Thats how I l learned to work on bikes.
I did something very similar I rebuilt a trek 930, had a blast doing it, I would recommend buying park tool big blue book of bike repair, has a lot of good stuff for a novice also there are tons of YouTube videos for pretty much anything you want to do on a bike in terms of repair and maintenance
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Old 03-03-12, 01:58 PM   #24
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That's been my plan of attack so far. If it doesn't look like something I can get back together, I'm leaving it on. So far that's only been the case for the deraileurs. everything else I've been comfortable with.
One thing I'm not sure of at the moment though. I took the skewers out of the wheels to clear them and some of the ball bearings fell out of the hub. I assumed I would need to re-grease them, but I wasn't sure if this was a sign that they were too worn out and need to be replaced, or should I just clean them, put them back in, and continue with the greasing?
I have a feeling you're pretty far down the rabbit hole already, but if not, really make an effort to only unthread the cone/spacer/locknut on one side of the axle. It can be a pain to get an axle centered, and you only really need to remove one side to service a hub.

Not sure how I missed this, but I think you're talking about the axles. The skewer is the thing with the lever for the quick release, that passes through a hollow axle.

If the bearings really just fell out, I'd say you needed to regrease them anyway- a "healthy" bearing assembly will have enough gooey grease that the bearings will pretty much just stay put. If you can, try to replace the bearings themselves- most LBS' will have them packaged for retail, if not, they'll certainly have them in the back. Count how many there were (will be an even number, equal amounts on both sides of the hub).

While you have the guts of the hub apart, clean everything up and look at the cup of the hub- the part that the balls interface with, and check for any divots. Do the same thing with the cone (the part that threads on the axle and interfaces with the balls). A small divot isn't a huge deal (you may notice a little "grit" in your hub as you spin the axle), but a larger one will prevent you from properly adjusting the bearings. As with anything like this, the line between "small" and "large" is totally subjective so YMMV, as always, if you have any questions, run it past your LBS. Or take pics and post them here.

Search for "repack hubs" on youtube and I'd bet you'll find a great video showing you what to do.
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Old 03-03-12, 06:11 PM   #25
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I have a feeling you're pretty far down the rabbit hole
That's why I started this journey with an old bike I don't have strong feelings about.

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really make an effort to only unthread the cone/spacer/locknut on one side of the axle.
Too late...

Quote:
Search for "repack hubs" on youtube and I'd bet you'll find a great video showing you what to do.
That's the term I was blanking on. Thanks for the advice.
I wanted to get some "before, during, & after" pictures, but I didn't take the time to figure out how to get them posted from an iPhone before I started. I'll try and get some taken at least before I go much further.
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