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  1. #1
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    Hi folks! New to the forum

    Hi folks. Just joined the forum. I'm a 47 year old male who is using his bikes to help him get healthier and save a few bucks on gasoline, now that I have a job which is reasonably close to my home. Like most folks I have been riding bikes since I was probably 7 or 8. Like most folks, my bikes are just department store brands. I have one bike that I bought new from Target, probably six or seven years ago. I bought this one for comfort and ease of use: it had traditional handlebars and only six or seven gears. I didn't remember ever using more than a handful of gears as a teenager so didn't figure when I bought the bike that I'd need a lot of gears. Also, I suffer from period back problems so didn't want a bike with the "upside-down" handlebars. I DID want a really rugged tread b/c I thought a heavier tread would have few flats. I was mistaken on almost all counts by the way: I found when I did ride this bike that I missed not being able to adjust my arms and hands the way one can with road bike handlebars. Also, the limited number of gears meant that I struggle with some of the steeper hills in the area. And the rugged tread didn't help me to avoid flats: this bike regularly developed one or more flat tires, with the result that it sat idle lots more than it was ridden. When I knew I would be changing jobs, I took this bike into a small local shop where the mechanic tuned the bike up, replaced the tires, and adjusted the gears and brakes.

    Enter my K-Mart bike, roughly four months ago as I was changing jobs and wanted a back-up bike. Also I was wanting to get serious about getting healthier and working off some of my excess weight. I found this 1970's or 1980's vintage 10-speed road bike at a thrift shop, marked as $5.00. The shop was having a sale that day and knocked 35% off the tag, so that I got the bike for $3.50. I put air in the tires, put a nut on the front fork, and rode the bike for the next two months, either to work or on the various local bike trails. I've lost about 12 pounds so far, mostly riding this one bike. I did eventually get it tuned up, and the bike will eventually want new tires--the ones it came with are slightly dry-rotted and starting to split along the tread. My only complete was that the ten-speed really doesn't provide me enough gear flexibility: I'm old enough to begin to occasionally fell the encroachment of arthritis and the lack of suspension really rattles my bones. Also, it doesn't do well if I take it onto a gravel surface: it 'pulls' and 'drags' much worse than the mountain bike.

    A couple of weeks ago the guy who was dating my daughter was in a quandary: he had a NEXT-brand bike he'd found in the trash over a year ago, nearly-new but badly damaged by someone who'd apparently had a temper tantrum and kicked the daylights out of the derailleurs, crankshaft, and rear gears. The bike really wasn't worth fixing, and my daughter's b/f--who was leaving the area for the summer--didn't want to haul it to his Mom's place. (He owned two other working bikes: he'd rescued this one just as a basement diy project, but never finished the job). I paid him $20.00 for the bike and took it to a shop. I really could've bought the bike new for what I've spent to fix it, but it'll give me a 27-speed bike with suspension and tires which should grip soft road surfaces better than the ten-speed.

    Obviously I'm going to want to teach myself a bit about how to work on and maintain my three bikes--and the bikes my wife and daughter ride as well. I've probably spent about $500.00 on bike repairs in the past several months, at least 3/4ths of which would have been the bike mechanic's labor charges. Hence my decision to join this forum.

    Hope this is an adequate intro. Look forward to interacting with many of you on the forum!

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Welcome to Bike Forums!

    Check out our mechanics forum, as well as Recreational and Family! Hope we can help you with your goals!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  3. #3
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Hello flameburns623, not only an adequate intro, but a brilliant introduction .

    Learning to do one's own wrenching is a really good way to save money. Once you've got the basics down, most bikes are quite similar.

    Check out the regional forums, and post photos of your old road bike in the Classic & Vintage forum. We are always fond of looking at photos of vintage bikes.

    Welcome to BF!

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  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Hi!

    Dunno how 'vintage' my ten-speed is. It's a K-Mart brand All-Pro, probably with a steel frame. Tried to see if there was any info online about these bikes but "All Pro Bikes" turned up way too many hits to ever be able to weed through to find any info. Nothing on the bike to tell me how old it is, so am only guessing the bike is from the '70s or '80s. I think K-Mart stopped carrying this brand in the early 1990's but that's only a guess gleaned from what little I could find in a google search.

  5. #5
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flameburns623
    Hi!

    Dunno how 'vintage' my ten-speed is. It's a K-Mart brand All-Pro, probably with a steel frame. Tried to see if there was any info online about these bikes but "All Pro Bikes" turned up way too many hits to ever be able to weed through to find any info. Nothing on the bike to tell me how old it is, so am only guessing the bike is from the '70s or '80s. I think K-Mart stopped carrying this brand in the early 1990's but that's only a guess gleaned from what little I could find in a google search.
    Sounds pretty low end, but if the folks at C & V can't help you, no one can. What kind of components are on it? We can usually figure things out to within a year or two just by the components.

    East Hill
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    It is powder blue, has the ten-speed controls under the steering wheel. Matching blue tape on the steering; the handlebars are of course the inverted road-bike type. Hard metal seat with vinyl "padding". As you say, a very basic bike, and doesn't look as if it were ever modified very much. Oh--the tires have tan sidewalls. Serial number stamped on the frame, next to the rear axle, if that helps. Those MIGHT have been replaced at some point, but this bike actually looks as if it didn't get a lot of hard use--mebbe was a b'day gift for a fairly sedentary 15 y/o who gave up bikes once s/he got a driver's license.

  7. #7
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    You might also want to introduce yourself over here. You might find someone in your area that can help you out.

    Jeff

  8. #8
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    Thanks. I bought the bike for $3.50. It was only intended as a backup to the mountain bike I had bought several years ago from Target, as I mentioned in my initial post. I think I described it as a 'vintage' bicycle in my initial post, leading someone to suggest I post a picture of it in the 'Vintage Bikes' section. I was using the term 'vintage' in a very loose sense, however, and don't want to pretend that I am somehow bragging about this bike as if it were some sort of collector's item. It's just a workaday bike, it may be ten years old, it may be thirty. The important thing to me is that it runs, it actually is a better bike for just working out than the mountain bike, and it hasn't even had a flat tire yet. (My first flat on the mountain bike happened within a couple of weeks of bringing it home). As I said earlier, the ten-speed has it's own downsides, since it doesn't handle soft riding surfaces very well and it gives a very rough ride due to the lack of any suspension. But for roads and paved bike trails it does fine.

    It'd be interesting to find out this is a 1975 ten-speed, but it really has not bearing out what I bought it for or how I use it.

  9. #9
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flameburns623

    It'd be interesting to find out this is a 1975 ten-speed, but it really has not bearing out what I bought it for or how I use it.
    True, but it may help fill in a gap in knowledge for someone else. And we always like to see photos of older bikes at C & V .

    East Hill
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  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Is the year of manufacture somehow wrapped into the serial number? That's the only distinctive feature of this bike. Aside from that, the only markings on it are the 'all pro' brand logo, and the 'K-Mart' logo.

    I suspect that if I can ever get the NEXT brand bike to stop throwing chains, I will actually ride that one more than the 'all pro' or the other mountain bike. So far I've had to have it reassembled, replaced the chain, put three tubes into the front tire (the first shop I took it to apparently installed the tubes with tire tools and ended up pinching two new tubes), replaced the rear gear set, the front derailleur, and now we're replacing the front crank assembly. As I say, this is a very pretty bike, but whoever originally bought it really took a hammer to the drive train, bending all of the sprockets and actually breaking the freewheel in the back. I could have bought this bike new for the cost of everything I've replaced already.
    Last edited by flameburns623; 06-26-07 at 03:16 AM.

  11. #11
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Sometimes. The bike was undoubtedly produced by someone else for K-Mart, probably a Japanese maker. So, your bike could be very low end, or something reasonably respectable.

    There's a gentleman, T-Mar, over in C & V who is very knowledgeable about serial numbers/whatnot on bikes. He'd be the man to ask. But we will all gang up on you and ask for photos !

    East Hill
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  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    Just got my Next bike back from the shop. This is the one someone had trashed after bashing the front and rear gears to heck, the bike that my daughters b/f had rescued from the trash a year ago as a basement repair project. As I noted in my initial post, the first bike shop I took this to works very fast but they did not take the time to make certain the bike was rideable as I directed them; the bike continued to throw chains even after three trips. The guy at the other bike shop, an older fellow who does bikes as a sideline but has been in business for decades, was able to get the bike to stop throwing chains. Ultimately, between the two shops, this bike now has new rear gears, a new front derailleur, a new front set of chainrings, and a few other minor tweaks. All told, I spent $20.00 for the bike itself, about $85.00 in parts and labor at the first bike shop, and about $45.00 at the second. I could have bought this bike brand new for that, but so long as this bike runs well, I'm not overly concerned for the moment. I've ridden it about 5 miles or so already--took it to a dollar store to run an errand and was deliberately a little hard on it to see how well it will handle and what problems still exist. No problems manifested on the errand. However, the bike is still missing the chainguard (the original would likely have been made of plastic and probably was bashed to pieces); this evening, in shifting the front derailleur back-and-forth, the chain came off again. I'm going to guess the chainguard is not 'optional equipment' so will see if I can find a replacement for it. Only thing which complicates this is that the front chainrings are not identical with the originals: the guy at the second shop didn't have exact replacements and put a slightly-smaller but higher-quality set of chainrings.

  13. #13
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Yes, I think the slightly smaller chainrings could be a factor, if they didn't get the chain replaced as well. What you are looking for is not a chainguard, though, it's the 'dork disk' or 'pieplate'.

    If you ask in the C & V forum, someone can probably get you what you are looking for, and be happy to send it your way for the price of postage .

    East Hill
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