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  1. #1
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    Looking at a bike today.

    I recently got the itch to go cycling this summer but I am pretty cheap. So I have been doing some craiglist scanning and I found one I am going to go look at later today.

    I know close to nothing about road bikes and bicycles in general so I was wondering if I could get some help with this one.

    His post describes the bike as:
    "FOR SALE IS A NICE 12 SPEED PARAGON ROAD BIKE.

    BIKE HAS 27" WHEELS AND IS 30" TALL AT THE TOP TUBE. IT MEASURES ABOUT 20" FROM THE CENTER OF THE CRANK TO THE SEAT POST OPENING."



    What size frame would this bike be?
    What should I be looking for when I get to meet this bike?
    How much do these types of road bikes go for?
    What kind of lingo should I practice to sound like a bike pro for bartering tools?

    Any help would be great.

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    That would be a smallish frame and top tube height of 30" should equate to an inseam for you of 31" + a bit.. Standover height is nothing really so how tall are you?--And inseam. As the other thing mentioned is that this is in the region of a 20" frame- there may be a problem. That is not small.

    This bike is not new. May be kept in good condition- but it is a bit old and even in its day it was basic. But if it fits and rides well and you can get it for less than $100 (A lot less if you haggle) then it would be worth getting. Then when you do get a better bike- you can re-sell it.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  3. #3
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlol View Post
    BIKE HAS 27" WHEELS AND IS 30" TALL AT THE TOP TUBE. IT MEASURES ABOUT 20" FROM THE CENTER OF THE CRANK TO THE SEAT POST OPENING."
    Something doesn't seem right. 20" center of crank to top of seat tube is about 50cm which is very small (for short people). 30" top tube (standover??) on a 51cm bike??

    Gotta agree with stapfam. The bike seems too small unless you are small/short.
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 (5) "Racing Edition"

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  4. #4
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    Update

    So I was able to get the bike for $40. Thank you for the help, I felt like I got a good deal but it could use some advice. The bike needs some help and I im kind of lost in this new world of cycling.

    Anyway, to correct any measurements conundrums I took this pic and added my tape.

    Mind the colours!

    I want to add a quick release to my front tire, would I have to buy a whole new rim or just the bolts?
    Here is a close up:


    Any recommended shifter upgrades?



    Here is just another angle of the bike:



    A full rotation of the crank does not seem to go smoothly. Would this be chain related? Gears? Oil?
    What kind of basic upgrades should I add?
    Again, any help would be great.

    Sorry for the size of the images but I guess it helps with close ups.

  5. #5
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    Probably will make a decent commuter. My guess from looking is that the owner probably didn't ride it much and it seems to have been stored well.

    Fix that housing on your left-hand brake! What is up with that? It looks like an easy fix, you just need a new cable and maybe housing so that the cable comes up out of the top of the brake lever and makes a sweeping-arc to the top tube guide.

    On the downside, cottered cranks are a real pain to mess with - I would check the nuts on the cotter pins to make sure they're snug (but don't over do it - the steel of the cotter pins is fairly soft and you can break the threaded section if you crank too hard).

    Stem shifters are fine IMO - if it shifts smoothly between all the gears, I wouldn't mess with it. If not, it is very easy to get new cables and housing if you need.

    The rotation of the crank making noise? If so, just tweak the right stem shifter there a bit -- it's probably between cogs on the back. If that doesn't stop the noise, try looking at the front derailleur and see if the chain is rubbing on it while you spin the cranks. If it is, you need to "trim" that sucker with the left-hand stem shifter so it moves out of the way of the chain (this is a common practice when using friction shifters.....just something you have to learn - I do it 2-3 times every time I ride to work). If moving the shifters a bit doesn't help the noise, it could be a dry chain, or a lot of other things.

    Have you ever used friction shifters before? Read here if not: http://www.rivbike.com/article/components/shifting


    Honestly - upgrade as little as possible and just ride the crap out of it. Upgrading from cottered cranks, steel wheels, etc. is really expensive and not worth your $ on that bike. If the tires are cracked or worn, maybe get some new ones. Go buy a front a rear blinking light - that's about all I would do.

    I started out with a bike similar to this one - A Raleigh 3-speed with cottered cranks, steel wheels, and brakes that were a pain to adjust. The plus side is that you can learn a LOT about how to work on bikes by having to mess with parts that are a pain in the ass.
    Last edited by TurbineBlade; 03-15-10 at 05:35 AM.

  6. #6
    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
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    ^I agree.
    All that bike wants is some oil on the chain and power applied to its pedals.
    I suspect that it has experienced neither in its long life. Good score for $40. Enjoy.

  7. #7
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    It's possible (I'm not saying likely - but it happened to me so it's foremost in my mind) that the "non-smooth" rotation of the crank could be due to the bottom bracket being shot. Hopefully not, since it would cost more to replace than I'd be willing to spend on that bike. In any case, ride the heck out of it and get a better idea of what you want for your next bike, and save up for said next bike.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurbineBlade View Post
    Have you ever used friction shifters before? Read here if not: http://www.rivbike.com/article/components/shifting

    Honestly - upgrade as little as possible and just ride the crap out of it. Upgrading from cottered cranks, steel wheels, etc. is really expensive and not worth your $ on that bike. If the tires are cracked or worn, maybe get some new ones. Go buy a front a rear blinking light - that's about all I would do.
    That article is great! Thank you. Yeah, friction shifters are new for me. So I think I understand how to trim but it never really stated why I should need to trim. Is it just to align my gears?

    The tires and breaks look like they have little miles on them. The tred and padding look almost new but the breaks do need to be aligned.

  9. #9
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    This is a bike to sort out get out and ride.-----And enjoy. Don't think it will be worth spending a great deal of money on except to get running- but it will make a good bike. The gear problem could possibly just be derailler adjustment- or worn chainring or cassette- or it could be Bottom Bracket--Just no idea!!!

    Upgrades? Not much but you might be wanting a different saddle- most of us would. Even changing the front Axle to a QR is not worth it- in my opinion- but you do currently have an Anti Theft device fitted there (Not many thieves carry spanners in their pockets)

    Be honest and the bike is worth more than you paid for it. Spend the savings on getting it checked over- if possible by an experienced cyclist or possible take it to a shop for a quote.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  10. #10
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    So I think I understand how to trim but it never really stated why I should need to trim. Is it just to align my gears?
    Yep. Modern systems allow the rider to just "click" a lever and the derailleur moves exactly onto each gear (index). Older systems the rider has to learn how far to move the levers to get to each gear. Trimming on the rear is done to get your derailleur/chain aligned on the cog perfectly (without excessive noise). Trimming the front derailleur is done when the chain has to run at a fairly decent angle (like using the smallest front chainring and some of the smallest cogs on the back) so that the front derailleur won't rub on the chain. You move the front derailleur a little, but not too much or you will actually shift it on accident. If you don't trim the front and just let the chain rub on it, it will tear up the derailleur eventually and will keep it from shifting well.

    Hopefully this makes sense.

    For chain oil, you can use just about any bike-specific stuff and be ok. I like TriFlow quite a bit myself, but lately I have been making my own chain lube from a 60/40 mix of mineral spirits (paint thinner) and chainsaw bar/chain oil. It works just the same.

    Oh, and after you oil you chain - let it dry for a while, then be sure to wipe it down with a rag before you go ride. If you leave it sloppy-wet you'll have tons of crap on your chain after a ride.

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