I've only recently been into bikes, but I'm at the point of obsession now . So far I've "flipped" a few bikes, but they weren't in real bad shape and only needed light cleaning and tuning to ride nicely. I put flipped in quotes because I barely made any money and money wasn't my motivator. I've just been looking for cool old bikes that are cheap so I can see how they work and how they ride so I can figure out what kinds I like.
This weekend I got my first bike that I believe will need some actual dirty work. A Gitane Grand Sport De Luxe, thread here.
What I need help with is a number of things.
1. Where do I start? How do I tell what bearings need attention? How do I tell if the bottom bracket needs attention? How do I tell if hubs/wheels need attention?
2. Tools. I don't have the money to buy $50 worth of special bike tools. I have a decent regular tool collection, but are there any specialized tools that I just can't do the job without? If I need special tools, what are the cheapest versions of said tools?
3. From reading, I've noticed that there seems to be some differences between french bikes and others. What exactly will I have to watch out for?
4. Bottom brackets/cranks. On SheldonBrown.com it shows there are 3 different types of bottom brackets. I'm pretty sure the Gitane has "cup and cone". Correct? Are cranks pretty much universal besides Ashtabulas?
I've been reading various websites and the bike mechanics forum etc... and I think I'm starting to grasp the main concepts, but not having done any of this before, I guess my biggest concern is #1. I don't know where to start and how to know how much work is necessary. I don't want to be taking apart bottom brackets if they are still in good shape.
PS. I know I've been posting a lot and asking a lot of questions lately, and I want to thank everyone who takes the time to reply and offer their wisdom. This noob really appreciates everyones kindness and patience.