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  1. #1
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    Intro and upgrading an older POS bike.

    Hey all! I live up here in the NorthEast and have been out of work for a couple months so with the coming of spring I decided to do something besides losing what little physical fitness I have left to the couch potato lifestyle . I'm only 200 lbs so not hopeless yet ! Anyways I had a $100 department store 21-speed mountain bicycle I bought 15 years ago and rode once so I dragged it out of storage and checked out if it was worth working on. It had spent half it's life outdoors unprotected so had a bit of rust on some hardware but less than I expected. The seat and post had been stored seperately out of the weather so is fine. Half a can of WD40 later it was mostly working. The tires were badly cracked but held air long enough to ride it. Them knobby tires sure didn't roll so well, I had to sit on the ground to recover from almost passing out after that first hill! The rear tire still had about half its air the next day but the front was totally flat. After one more ride I got on the internet to look for new tires and other info. This bike actually had Shimano GS100 components with an elliptical "BioPace" chainwheel set, cassette rear hub and alloy rims so wasn't as hopeless as I feared . I went with Forte City ST tires (1.5x26 road tires) for $7 each with new tubes and I have to say it immediately pedaled twice as easily! I had to nip on down to the local shop for rim straps as they had mostly disintegrated. I originally had a seven speed 13-28 cassette but I found a new SRAM 12-32 on eBay for $5 so put that on. Now I can stay on the 38t front ring for anything around here. I have new brake and shift cables as they are rusted with some strands broken but have only put on the rear shift cable so far as it was sticky and not shifting right. The cable sheaths seem fine and I flushed the rear shift ones out with WD40 and cleaned out the thumb shifter when I replaced the cable and it shifts great now. I took the chain off and soaked it in kerosene as it had gotten caked with mud and a bit rusty being outside all those years. I'm just using WD40 as lube for now.

    I added SKS Commuter fenders to it and a Kool Stop Chain Disk to keep my pant cuff out of the chain. I stuck on a $5 computer from eBay for laffs. I'm gonna stick on a $3 seatpost mounted rear rack for now and a mirror I think. I'd like to be able to carry a couple bags of groceries and am thinking about those folding rear side baskets that Wald makes?

    Main problem I have is the handlebars are below the seat - I have plenty of seatpost left but ran out of handlebar stem . I don't yet know what to do about that - any (cheap) ideas out there?

    Oh, and to complete my intro I stopped riding bicycles when I got my motorcycle license - which I got before my car license (mumble-mumble) years ago. I had a cheap Columbia "English Racer' back then with its 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub. Even with just using one front ring I now have a lower low than that bike did - spent many an hour pushing that POS up hills ! I have a 50cc gas scooter that can do 25 mph up most hills (after mods) for local errands and my 1200cc Harley for burnin' up the asphalt but really need to get in better shape. My car is a Geo Metro, the somewhat rare XFI model that was rated 68 MPG highway - we don't need no stinkin' hybrids ! Speaking of hybrids, I saw on the Tele today that Vespa is coming out with a scooter one in 2009 ...

    Oh, and I'm a displaced high tech worker who most recently drove truck for a couple years - guess I shoulda moved to whatever country they shipped my job off to as trucking is hurting now too. You haven't lived until you've changed a 100+ lb tire off and on a 60 lb rim with hand tools - WhooWho!

  2. #2
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    "Main problem I have is the handlebars are below the seat - I have plenty of seatpost left but ran out of handlebar stem. I don't yet know what to do about that - any (cheap) ideas out there?".

    A cheap comfort stem and riser handlebars.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, that got me thinking about riser handlebars - I think I'll give this one a shot:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000AO9P52
    Right now I'm about an inch shy of the seattop but I only have an inch of stem inserted . So, I need a couple inches to "get level" and the 3.5 inch rise handlebars will give me an adjustment range plus and minus from there. What seat level do you all have on your errand running bikes?

  4. #4
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    Welcome to the group. Sounds like you have what it takes to do your own wrenching, that's a big plus.
    Keep on riding, little by little it'll get easier.

    I had a '93 Geo Metro, loved it. Last summer the A-frame broke where it finally rusted through and I was forced to junk it. That was the only trouble it ever gave me. Best car I ever had.

  5. #5
    Streetfire HopedaleHills's Avatar
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    Welcome, it's nice to see another Nor'easter around. There are a few of us here, I'm from the Boston burbs, MadMaxx is from CT, and Geofitz is from the Berkshire area. I'm also a high tech person. I was displaced for about 3 years (and built houses), but have been back in for the past three years.

    Happy Riding
    Tim
    Singing Do Wah Ditty, Ditty Dum Ditty Do

  6. #6
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadRanger View Post
    Thanks, that got me thinking about riser handlebars - I think I'll give this one a shot:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000AO9P52
    Right now I'm about an inch shy of the seattop but I only have an inch of stem inserted . So, I need a couple inches to "get level" and the 3.5 inch rise handlebars will give me an adjustment range plus and minus from there. What seat level do you all have on your errand running bikes?
    Yeah, cheaper is better. Especially when dealing with a cheap bike.

    My bopping around town bikes are usually set up with the bars somewhere between seat level and an inch or so above.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Yeah, cheaper is better. Especially when dealing with a cheap bike.
    True . I'm actually getting pretty happy with this bike so far. I did spend $40 for tools to put on that $5 cassette but they won't go with the bike if/when I ever "upgrade".

    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    My bopping around town bikes are usually set up with the bars somewhere between seat level and an inch or so above.
    Thanks! I'm pretty sure that is where I'll end up also from the "feel" of the changes I've made so far. My top bar may be an inch or two short also - I might go with a stem with a longer extension to stretch it out a bit if the higher handlebars don't do it...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    Welcome to the group. Sounds like you have what it takes to do your own wrenching, that's a big plus.
    Thanks! There really isn't that much to these little machines - anybody can learn the basics.
    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    Keep on riding, little by little it'll get easier.
    Just what I've changed has made a big difference.
    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    I had a '93 Geo Metro, loved it. Last summer the A-frame broke where it finally rusted through and I was forced to junk it. That was the only trouble it ever gave me. Best car I ever had.
    I bet if it had broken today instead of last year you'd try to save it! I paid $1000 three years ago and have just done front brake pads, distributor cap and rotor, and plugs and wires - plus a big $$ complete exhaust when the catalytic converter fell apart . Wonder how long before they require catalytic converters on bicycles ? Best car I ever had was a 1985 Ford Escort diesel station wagon I paid $1000 for also - rusted out and blew a timing belt finally after I got 100,000 more miles at 50MPG out of it! Metro averages 45MPG, almost as good - plus diesel is much more expensive than gas now. With the price of food going up I wonder how much longer pedal power will be cheaper than gas ?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HopedaleHills View Post
    Welcome, it's nice to see another Nor'easter around. There are a few of us here, I'm from the Boston burbs, MadMaxx is from CT, and Geofitz is from the Berkshire area. I'm also a high tech person. I was displaced for about 3 years (and built houses), but have been back in for the past three years.
    Thanks! I once did 100 miles in the berkshires on my old "english racer" - what a boat anchor that was - I spent half the trip pushing it up hills! Yesterday I found out what their low gear was - my present low on the middle front ring is almost twice as low (31 inches versus 50 inches) .

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadRanger View Post
    My top bar may be an inch or two short also - I might go with a stem with a longer extension to stretch it out a bit if the higher handlebars don't do it...
    Well, guess I'm still learning - I just figured out that the seat was pushed all the way forward so I pushed it back and dropped it a bit and the reach feels pretty good. I still need the higher bars as I only have an inch of stem stuck in and am gonna die if I leave it that way!

    Unexpected issue with the new tires - I filled them both at 70 psi. They felt a bit hard but I wanted them to "seat in" before I did a final adjustment. Today they felt a bit soft on the bumps so I checked them - both were at 50 psi! I know it takes some time for all the entrapped air between the tube and rim to leak out the spokes but I'm kinda suprised at the amount of drop and that they were exactly the same! Anyways I put them at 60 psi which should be about where they should be with my weight and they felt nice on a short ride. I really like these 26x1.5 Forte City ST's so far!

    With the 12-32 cassette I put on I've been able to leave the front on the middle ring and really concentrate on cadence and mastering the rear derailer. Before, messing with both derailers all the time was getting in the way of my progress and just wasn't any fun. Have to say I'd seriously consider a single chainwheel nine or ten speed as my next bike with an 11-34 cassette. Guess what I'm trying to say is anyone just coming back to bicycles with no derailer experience should think about a single chainwheeler (7 speeds are common) as a first bike (or do what I did).

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