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  1. #1
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    My free bike becomes a commuter

    I wish I had a before picture, but the bike was just so ugly (and I wasn't actually planning on doing anything to it besides wiping the dirt and spiderwebs off). So you'll have to settle for a picture from after I replaced the handlebars and seat. I have no idea how old this is, but it is a Murray "Sky Canyon", I'm going to guess early 90's because it looks like the bikes I had as a kid.

    IMG_20130831_135216.jpg

    I sanded off most of the rust, and painted it with glossy black rustoleum. Then I found these old baskets from a previous bike, and painted them too.

    If you don't look too close at the paint job (I brush painted it, too lazy to take it apart and spray paint), it looks pretty decent. Rides well too. And thanks to the baskets, I can ditch the backpack if I need to stop on the way home for groceries.

    IMG_20130901_173149.jpg

  2. #2
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    I doubt a free 90's Murray can ride well, which makes me suspect you don't know any better and haven't ride any quality bike. The best way to describe those department store bikes which I heard is "bike like vehicles." I had a crappy Murray mountain bike as a kid. Would I like to torture myself today by riding a Murray bike like vehicle for nostalgia or frugality? NO!

    If you have no money or other options, I can see why restoring or riding that is what you are doing. But if you have any spare funds do yourself a favor and avoid bike like vehicles.
    Last edited by Thrasymachus; 09-03-13 at 07:21 AM.

  3. #3
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    Um...thanks.

  4. #4
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    Well you may not the like way it is stated so bluntly, but it is the truth. I quickly scanned your post history and found that you mentioned in 2008 that you just learned that people spend more $200 for bikes. Well it is about five years later and you seem to know people spend more, but don't understand why. In my area the only demographic that actually uses bikes to get things done are Latino immigrants, and they use department store bikes and they actually walk them up the hills, well because quite frankly you cannot likely get up with the bikes they use, or if you could, it would likely expend way more energy than just walking them instead, so that is what they generally do. I remember my crappy Murray mountain bike from the early 90's had friction shifting that I never serviced or maintained, which even on a quality bike that is maintained involved a lot of skill and guesswork to shift. Department store bikes tend to have bargain basement components and were never put together right in the first place.

    Here is a good Sheldon Brown article:
    Upgrading Derailer Gearing
    That talks about the many disadvantages of older friction shifters like what that Murray has compared to modern indexed shifting that is much smoother, more reliable and involves alot less skill and luck to shift. I remember with my crappy Murray bike as a kid, I used to never try to shift up a hill, because likely I would get stuck or not shift and have to halt my movement. So I just rode up what I could and walked it up the rest...

    Even if you don't intend to or have the money to get one, you should go to a local bike store and try out a few entry level $300-$400 bikes and see what a difference indexed shifting or a quality ride makes. Because if you think an old Murray rides good, you don't know the difference. Then you can maybe scan craigslist for something better.
    Last edited by Thrasymachus; 09-01-13 at 11:45 PM.

  5. #5
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    Yip, the bike is serviceable; whether or not it rides well is subjective. No, it won't ride like a $1000 bike. Oh well. Not everybody can buy that, or would if they could. I still deal with people weekly who think anything more than $100 for a bike is obscene.

    I'd just tell you to pull that front wheel and flip it around, so the tire tread rolls properly. Otherwise, just ride it, keep it fairly clean and well lubed, until it dies. It IS pre-Y2K, and bikes back then in that price range were a magnitude better than now.

    Thrasymachus, you're being a troll. We've all pretty much been there/done that, let Yip have his time.

  6. #6
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    Had I asked "I want a super amazing bike, will this work", then your answer might have been warranted. I didn't ask that though. I spared everyone the back story on why I intentionally wanted an older, less than perfect, mountain bike, because, who cares, right?

    So here's a little of it. My commute takes me down an old bumpy road, over dirt roads and rocks, and through sage brush and goat heads and gravel and over a barbed wire fence or 2. And I can't store my bikes inside. They are outside in rain, snow, blistering heat. Would you do that to a nice bike?
    My town is small, and my commute is short.

    And the bike shifts flawlessly.

  7. #7
    I don't get out enough polishmadman's Avatar
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    Wow! Can you beat her down any harder? I ride a department store bike and it does me fine. Does it ride as well as the $1000 bikes? Well, no. But I can maintain 17 mph on the flats, I cruise downhill at 20 and I do 13-15 mph up hill (depends on the hill). Don't bash her because of the bike she rides. All that matters is get out, ride and have fun.
    Last edited by polishmadman; 09-02-13 at 12:16 AM.
    12 Schwinn Tourist, 90 something Gary Fisher Marlin (Ss conversion), ?? Bike E RX

  8. #8
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    I'm a her, just for the record .

  9. #9
    I don't get out enough polishmadman's Avatar
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    Sorry
    12 Schwinn Tourist, 90 something Gary Fisher Marlin (Ss conversion), ?? Bike E RX

  10. #10
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    No worries, thanks for your reply.

  11. #11
    I don't get out enough polishmadman's Avatar
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    Joeybikes is funny. I like him. He does what he does. I don't think I've read anywhere were insults peoples choices of bike. He pokes fun at the guys who take things too seriously. He is showing everyone it's not the bike but the rider that makes a difference. But whatever, you think we need some great expensive bike to get us from point a to point b. Transportation is whatever gets you around. Some people can't or won't spend 300 or 400 dollars on a bike to be left out in the weather and rust or be stolen. Now be down with your bad self and enjoy the ride.
    12 Schwinn Tourist, 90 something Gary Fisher Marlin (Ss conversion), ?? Bike E RX

  12. #12
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    Those people who balk at spending money on bikes tend to not balk at spending money on many other items like huge flatscreen LED televisions, their car or expensive sofa sets to spend their lives watching through pixels or the car dashboard while real life processes pass them by. To wit, I am telling the original poster, Yip812 to try to demo a low-end, non-department store bike with modern indexed shifting and she will maybe shift her priorities.

    The Surly Long Trucker that joeybike makes most of his videos with is nothing like cheap department store toys built mostly for the market of kids and helicopter parents who will escort around their precious kids like they are babies, be rarely ridden and dry-rot in storage or outside. It is about a $1300 bike as built up by Surly, which is how much about seven families of Americans with several children would spend on department store fare that rides horribly for all their children.

  13. #13
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    But I have a bike that I'm happy with. That was the point of this thread. If you don't wanna ride a department store bike, your business.

    I wear $20 shoes, thrift store clothes, don't own a tv, shoot (freaking awesome!) photos with a kodak, and drive a 12 year old Kia Rio. And I'm not poor. And I'm happy. I think my priorities are just fine.

    Have a nice day!

  14. #14
    I don't get out enough polishmadman's Avatar
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    And he bets the pants off of 3 & 4k tri bikes. They're light, they're fast and he passes them on a 20-25lbs cross bike with 15-20lbs of gear. Again.....its not always the bike but the rider. And for the last time.....enjoy the ride.
    12 Schwinn Tourist, 90 something Gary Fisher Marlin (Ss conversion), ?? Bike E RX

  15. #15
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    Yip812,
    I'm with you, if you like this bike who cares what anybody thinks. You like it and it works for you, the more power to you. It looks not bad with your new paint job. Ride it and have fun.
    Life is good O^o

  16. #16
    Bike hoarder. Murray Missile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim24k View Post
    Yip812,
    I'm with you, if you like this bike who cares what anybody thinks. You like it and it works for you, the more power to you. It looks not bad with your new paint job. Ride it and have fun.
    +1 I don't disagree that when you get the chance you might try to score a nice used entry level LBS bike like a TREK, Giant, etc. with index shifting and better brakes, etc. If you're happy with your Huffy now you'll absolutely LOVE one of those but in the meantime I like what you've done. It looks so much better, you have the satisfaction of having made it uniquely YOURS and when it finally kacks it will owe you nothing. I say ride the wheels off it! After you flip the front tire around of course.

  17. #17
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    Thrasymachus,
    I have to respectfully disagree with you regarding friction shifting. I love friction shifting, or more correctly, I love my Shimano Fingertip friction shifters. But then again, I also prefer a standard transmission over an automatic. My bike came with indexed shifting. If memory serves, it was the second thing I changed on my bike, right after the knobby tires.

    I had a friend that rode a Murray in the late '70's until the right dropout decided to part company with the rest of the frame one day. Of course, it could have been a one in a million kind of thing, but since then I have considered bikes with similar construction rather warily.

    It doesn't really matter what you ride as long as you are happy.
    2008 Kona Fire Mountain/Xtracycle
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    Cycling well IS Cycling Advocacy
    Originally Posted by Steely Dan: if you're riding a bike and not having fun, then you're doing it wrong.

  18. #18
    High Plains Luddite
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yip812 View Post
    ...Then I found these old baskets from a previous bike, and painted them too.

    IMG_20130901_173149.jpg
    Cool bike, Yip812! Seems to me that any bike is better than no bike, especially where commuting is concerned.

    I see that you found those baskets on another bike, but do you (or anyone else reading this) know where to buy some baskets like that? I've seen Wald sells folding baskets that clip on to a rack but your baskets look like a one-piece unit.

    Any ideas where to find baskets just like that?

    Thanks.

  19. #19
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    Yeah, actually, you can get them on Amazon. They're also made by Wald. Some reviews say you can't use them on mountain bikes, but mine came on a mountain bike, and they work fine on this one too.

    http://www.amazon.com/Wald-520-Bicycle-Carrier-Basket/dp/B001EL7P34


    They make a larger version as well for about $15 to $20 more.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
    I say ride the wheels off it! After you flip the front tire around of course.
    I've been riding road bikes, I had no idea the tread went a certain way, lol.

  21. #21
    Bike hoarder. Murray Missile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yip812 View Post
    I've been riding road bikes, I had no idea the tread went a certain way, lol.
    Yeah, most "tractor" tires have directional tread. Seriously though it could make a difference on steering traction on damp pavement or loose gravel or dirt, it's not just an aesthetics issue.

    The index shifters that came with your bike were most likely very low end. I live in a small town and people know I'm into bikes so occasionally they'll bring a bike to me that needs fixing. I've had people bring me similar bikes over the years that wouldn't shift correctly and the only fix that fit their budgets was to switch to friction shifters which I used to have a fair supply of. I have since used them all up but even the lowliest of LBS grade index shifters would be an upgrade and are dirt cheap on eBay. That said, if you are happy with the friction shifters that's all that matters.
    Last edited by Murray Missile; 09-02-13 at 09:27 AM.

  22. #22
    Big Boned Biker IAMAMRA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrasymachus View Post
    @DX2Man, whiner above me:
    Good, maybe you can put me on ignore like you have Joeybike, and who knows how many others that have tweaked your overly sensitive mind, before your next trip to the panty-hose store. Well from a previous thread I see that you work at Walmart, so you will only deal with people who don't understand that department stores only sell bike like vehicles, that look like bikes, but ride like some over-sized clown tricycle. So that demographic will never understand that bikes can be more than poorly performing and frustrating toys that you shouldn't spend much more than $100 on.

    @Yip812:
    Manufacturers make bicycles that can be stored outside like Dutch bikes. Or there is the Dahon Mariner 20" folder meant to be stored on boats with anti-rust coating(which still can rust and I am not sure if it can stand being outside 24/7). There are folding bikes, and other options. I don't know in-depth about them, because I don't need a bicycle that can be stored outside.

    Personally I would look at riding a department store bike on a regular basis as self-torture, and wouldn't do it. It is no accident that where I live all the immigrants who do use that type of bike everyday choose to walk uphill... They know what they are doing, avoiding pain and torture.
    Nothing wrong with a dept. store bike, and the people who say there is must be compensating for something in their own lives. Sure, as you are aware, there are nicer bikes but who gives a flying wingnut, as long as it gets you where your going.

    I like what you did to your bike, and let us know how it does for you!
    Last edited by IAMAMRA; 09-02-13 at 01:45 PM. Reason: to be more civil
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  23. #23
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Only things wrong with that bike are the knobby tires and lack of fenders and lights. Swap on some commuter tires,add lights and fenders,and ride the hell out of it.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes/Novato,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

  24. #24
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    I agree about the lights and fenders (though the fenders can wait, I live in a desert), but not the tires. 1/2 my commute (it's only 3 miles each way), is an old abandoned highway. I ride through some crazy stuff. Rocks, gravel, sagebrush, broken glass, rattlesnakes . Goat heads are the killer though. I've got thorn resistant tubes in this thing and on the first ride with it I pulled out 3 goat heads. I wouldn't trade the ride for anything though, it's a gradual downhill much of the way to work, always puts me in a good mood.

  25. #25
    Senior Member LexKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yip812 View Post
    ..... I wouldn't trade the ride for anything though, it's a gradual downhill much of the way to work, always puts me in a good mood.
    I suppose the return trip is a different story....

    I like what you have done with the bike. The rack is a big plus when commuting. Enjoy the ride!
    Regards,
    Lex

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