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  1. #1
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    Hello all. I *think* I might have a decent fixer-upper

    Hi everyone. I'm new around here as a poster, but have been enjoying the forums as a lurker for a few days. Great site....

    I joined because I want to get back into cycling. I learned as a child in Scotland, and used my bike more or less constantly. This was in the early eighties, in rural Scotland. There are lots of hills there and I had strong legs. Now, twenty years later, I have strongish legs, as well as more built-in ballast than I'd like. I have a two mile commute - nothing too taxing by y'all's standards, but it's what I have...

    I have owned two bikes in my life: a Dawes Kingpin from about 1982, which was a big, heavy, small-wheeled whale of a bike. It wasn't ideal; all my friends had drop-handle racing bikes or Raleigh Grifters or Choppers. Of course, I wanted one too but my father wasn't having any of it - it was a practical bike or nothing. I have to say that it might have been a good choice since it was ideal for delivering papers as well as being basically indestructable.

    As a later teen and student, I had a cheap (Halfords) "racing" bike, with bar-mounted shifters for a ten-speed gear system. I spent many hours trying to calibrate and mark the shift positions, which was pointless since they changed more or less at will. when I moved to the US about a decade ago, that one was left behind. I heard from my family that it turned into a pile of rust. I feel bad about that....

    Anyway, the house I and my wife now own has a bike in the garage. I've known it was there for some time but haven't - till now - gotten round to pulling it out. I want something for the above commute, and perhaps for some road biking and easy trail biking. I'm prepared to spend for a decent beginner's option, but would like to reclaim the garage bike if I can. I would really appreciate any help and advice, since I know nothing about the sort of high-end stuff that people here use. Also, I'll post pics tomorrow, when my wife brings the camera back. The point of all this is to try to be healthier, but my general unfit condition means that a fairly gentle introduction will be necessary.

    So, with all that in mind, is this a good choice? Or would a commuter bike or a road bike or a hybrid be better? Or something completely different? There are two bike stores (independent, not chain) in my hometown and both seem to have excellent reputations.

    The bike is a Specialized Hard Rock Sport. It seems to be in good shape overall. There is a little rust on the lower tube (the one that runs from the pedals to the forks). On the tubing, there is a sticker that says "cro-mo tubing" and a large number 19. There appears to be a 24 speed gear system controlled by a "Gripshift" on each end of the handle bars. The right hand controls a 1 - 8 shifter; the left a 1 - 3. I guess the latter is for the front changer and the former the rear. There is a front suspension fork, with "SR Suntour" written on it, and a serial number: 99C090622. The rear gear shifter (derailleur?) has "SRAM 30" written on it and is made, at least the outer layer is, of plastic. The insides of the wheels have "Y-2000" stickers, and the tires have stickers saying "Nimbus EX 26x1.50". The brakes themselves, the saddle and the pedals don't seem to have any marks so I guess they are generic. Both tires are, unsurprisingly, completely flat.

    Upending the bike and spinning the wheels seems to suggest that the back wheel is relatively true, whereas the front seems to move laterally a little. The brakes stop them easily, and the brakepads(?) are close to the rims, but look parallel and have a smooth action. Of course, they'll have to work harder to stop the bike once I'm on it.

    Overall, it seems to be in decent shape. I cleaned it and oiled the parts I thought should be oiled. I called the bike stores, and both will service it for a reasonable amount. But is it a good option for me? I'm some time away from any hard cycling, but would hope to log a decent distance each week, once I get a little fitter. I'm six feet exactly and a bit north of 200lbs - not that much, though :-)

    Any thoughts? If you use technical terms, could you explain them as you go along?

    Many thanks for any help anyone can give. I'm looking forward to getting back into the saddle, and appreciate all the help I can get!

    edit: typo

  2. #2
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    I'm guessing that you probably need to replace the tires and tubes, since dry rot may have set in. You may also need to replace the chain if it's turned to rust. Other than that and the lube you've already done, give 'er a whirl. My guess is she'll go pretty good for you. I've got a 1987 Giant Boulder that has withstood criminal neglect (during the two years I lent it to a "friend") and it still runs like a champ. All I've ever replaced were the tires.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  3. #3
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    jouster, I enjoyed reading your description of the bike - very thorough.

    Anyway, Specialized is a respectable company and if that Hard Rock Sport is indeed in reasonable mechanical condition and fits you well - you're just about all set! For a two-mile commute you really don't need anything fancier. In fact it'll even allow for the more "decent" distances you're planning to do later on (what's the ballpark on that anyway, per week? ).

    It seems that the bike is in an ok condition, and whatever bike shop you take it to will tune it up so it's ready to go, so we only need to consider whether this is a good bike for you, i.e., if it fits you. To check whether the bike fits you, straddle the upright bike and see how much space there is between you and the top tube. There should be a few inches. I suspect it's a 19" frame, which should probably be all right for someone 6 feet tall. I am pretty sure you'll have enough clearance so make sure the bike is not too small for you, that you do not feel cramped on it. If you're taking it to a bike shop anyway, you can ask the people there about the fit, if you're not sure.

    Your weight shouldn't be a big problem, bikes are pretty tough machines. The weakest point is the wheels, so it would help if you would get off your saddle when going over potholes (let your knees act as springs and cusion the jarring) and similar irregularities in the road.

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chephy
    jouster, I enjoyed reading your description of the bike - very thorough.

    Anyway, Specialized is a respectable company and if that Hard Rock Sport is indeed in reasonable mechanical condition and fits you well - you're just about all set! For a two-mile commute you really don't need anything fancier. In fact it'll even allow for the more "decent" distances you're planning to do later on (what's the ballpark on that anyway, per week? ).

    It seems that the bike is in an ok condition, and whatever bike shop you take it to will tune it up so it's ready to go, so we only need to consider whether this is a good bike for you, i.e., if it fits you. To check whether the bike fits you, straddle the upright bike and see how much space there is between you and the top tube. There should be a few inches. I suspect it's a 19" frame, which should probably be all right for someone 6 feet tall. I am pretty sure you'll have enough clearance so make sure the bike is not too small for you, that you do not feel cramped on it. If you're taking it to a bike shop anyway, you can ask the people there about the fit, if you're not sure.

    Your weight shouldn't be a big problem, bikes are pretty tough machines. The weakest point is the wheels, so it would help if you would get off your saddle when going over potholes (let your knees act as springs and cusion the jarring) and similar irregularities in the road.
    Hard Rocks have been around for years but if it is 24 speed it is probably mid 90's So its a 10 year old bike. Everything above is spot on and blackberry has highlighted the main problem you may find- Don't trust 10 year old tyres but just to see if everything is working- they should be OK for a trip round the block. Look for any splits or canvas showing and they could be OK but I would not trust them. In any case- If commuting on the road- then a slick tyre would be better. On the wheels- I would not trust them untill they have been looked at and retrued and tensioned by an LBS. Spokes lose tension and rims go out of true in time so that is your priority. Rest of the bike should be fine- adjustment on the gears and brakes but not much should need replacing.

    Edit--- Nimbus is a slick tyre so this bike has probably not been thrashed offroad too much with all the damage that can be caused by rough trails.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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