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Old 01-26-09, 04:36 PM   #1
JTred
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Rehabilitating an old bike

Having just got my first nice bike, I've decided to take my old garage sale special (that's a lie, I got it out of someone's garbage pile) Murray Mountain Shadow and turn it into more road/cruising style bike. I'm thinking I'll definitely need a new chain and cassette, and maybe at least one chainring (bent tooth). Also I'll be getting new skinny tires, and maybe new wheels (broken spoke in the front), however I may just opt for the Frankenstein method and steal some from other spare bikes I have. This bike is meant to be an ultra cheap, fun bike for cross training, road and rails-to-trails...trails. So, any suggestions for cheap parts and/or anything I may have forgotten to consider?
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Old 01-26-09, 04:50 PM   #2
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My first mtn bike was a yard sale Murray. Sounds like you're on the right track. Why not simplify it some by doing a ghetto SS conversion (PVC coupler spacers and one cog at perfect chainline)? Leave the derailleur for chain tension only - - tethered in position with a short length of brake cable end turned backwards. That way too, you can interchange your spare cogs occasionally if you want to gear it up or down. Another thought: instead of skinny tires, you could mount up some fatter-but rounder-profile lightly-treaded tires and just pump 'em up higher for less rolling resistance on the roads and rail trails.
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Old 01-26-09, 05:45 PM   #3
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That's a great idea for the tires, it should make it a bit easier to handle that way. The main reason for the cassette/chainring replacement is because the old cassette is completely rusted and I have no idea what kind of wear it has. I've been told that replacing a chain (which is also so rusted that it took 10 minutes wit a can of WD-40 and a pair of pliers to get it to unkink) is pointless if you have a worn set of gears because it will ruin the chain?
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Old 01-26-09, 06:25 PM   #4
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That's true. If you can pirate one from one of your 'donors' I'd go that route.
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Old 01-26-09, 06:42 PM   #5
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Did murray ever make a bike with a cassette?
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Old 01-26-09, 06:48 PM   #6
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Haha! That was my next question - - I'm pretty sure mine was old skool freewheel rather than freehub/cassette. But I wasn't going to make that assumption with his.
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Old 01-26-09, 08:00 PM   #7
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Ok, maybe I'm mistaken as to what exactly a cassette is. What I meant was new gears in the back. If my memory serves me, its a 21 speed, 3 up front, 7 in the back.
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Old 01-26-09, 10:29 PM   #8
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That Murray will have a freewheel, not a freehub and cassette. Have you thought about looking for a Trek 800, an old Fuji MTB or a Nishiki at a yard sale? The components, especially the brakes, will be much more worthy of your money and your talent for repair. Seriously, there's a huge difference in quality between a Murray and the lowest level Trek.
If you do keep the Murray, see if you can replace those stamped metal brakes.
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Old 01-26-09, 11:29 PM   #9
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Ok, maybe I'm mistaken as to what exactly a cassette is. What I meant was new gears in the back. If my memory serves me, its a 21 speed, 3 up front, 7 in the back.
Best, most concise explanation of the difference that I've found is here:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/freewheels.html
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Old 01-27-09, 09:11 AM   #10
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you can get an single speed fixed cog for the wheel or a single speed freewheel to replace it, i'm rocking the fixed cog on my winter bike
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Old 01-27-09, 11:55 AM   #11
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What is the advantage of fixed speed over a multi-speed setup?
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Old 01-27-09, 06:08 PM   #12
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fixed gear is a bit different from single speed. fixed gear is a direct drive so the pedals always turn. usually mountain bikers use a single speed over a fixed, but i've seen both. the advantages are that theyre cheap, simple, lower maintainance. disadvantages include knee problems if you push really big gear. I'd recommend either a single speed or fixed for your beater bike.
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Old 01-27-09, 06:40 PM   #13
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you're getting some good advice here. i'm usually alllll about rehabbing old bikes. probably too much so. but, the ol' murray may not be "worth" it. you can typically get decent old steel hardtails from more reputable marques for, like, $20 to $40. this'd be worthwhile, imho. rehabbing the ol' murray is likely not worthwhile.

-rob
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Old 01-27-09, 07:44 PM   #14
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you're getting some good advice here. i'm usually alllll about rehabbing old bikes. probably too much so. but, the ol' murray may not be "worth" it. you can typically get decent old steel hardtails from more reputable marques for, like, $20 to $40. this'd be worthwhile, imho. rehabbing the ol' murray is likely not worthwhile.

-rob
I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm just curious as to what kinds of advantages I would get by buying a more professional brand, albeit garage sale priced? The main point of this plan was to spend as little money as possible to make a bike that is fun and easy to pedal and ride on pavement and cinder trails, but if I can get a considerable advantage by scouring the flea markets I'd take a weekend or two off of work to do so.

Edit: I also have a few forgotten old bikes that are already cruiser style bikes which I may end up doing this same project to, I just haven't really gotten a chance to look at them. For right now I know the Murray is a comfortable bike for me, that, in its current condition, is actually worthy of mild trail riding.

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Old 01-27-09, 08:45 PM   #15
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You didn't post pics of your Murray so it's hard to know the weak points of that particular bike. Instead I'll post pics that I had of a Murray, Night Shadow mountain bike, then I'll answer your question.


First, the frame. Your Murray has a low end steel frame, not chromoly. The steel is low grade. To hide the flaws, the steel wall is thick which leads to a heavy, unresponsive frame. Without pics of your bike, I don't know how much it has in common with the Night Shadow in these pics, so I'll discuss the bike that is shown. The brakes, as seen in the second pic are thin, stamped sheet metal, side pull, low end road bike brakes. Typically these were found on department store bikes although I have seen them on a low end Raleigh hybrid. They are no match for alloy cantilever brakes that you'll find on a LBS mountain bike from the 80s or early 90s.
The Ashtabula single piece crank and bottom bracket is only found on the lowest end bikes. Heavy, flexy it's not as efficient as a three piece/ alloy crank with square taper BB. I just don't trust an Ashtabula crank on a trail ride. The rims are painted a cool brown color, but are still made of steel not alloy. That places unwanted weight on rotating mass. The derailers are low end, probably Falcon or some other low end brand. If you're lucky enough to have Shimano or Suntour, it will be their lowest model, much lower than Acera. Holding a tune-up could be interesting and shifting will not be smooth.
If you are attached to your Murray and have your heart set on building it up, then go for it. But if you're looking to work on a bike and gain maximum performance from that bike, you should start with a better frame. It's your call and I can identify with investing in a bike out of passion as I did on my Nishiki Ariel. Like you, I turned it into a MUP rider. However the double butted chromoly frame provides a beautifil ride. Without the front suspension and with old tires and a crappy saddle, I paid $25 at a yard sale for this bike.

Sorry for the long post.
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Old 01-27-09, 09:03 PM   #16
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Sorry for the long post.
No need to apologize, that's exactly what I needed to know. For now, I can wait, and I will try to get to the fleas during my spring break and see what I can find. Also, I'll take a look at what's buried in my shed, you never know I may find a gem. If all else fails, I believe that to someone who has never ridden a bike without knobbies (i.e. me), the small upgrades/replacements I'm planning will feel great, and if not, maybe I can eventually find a better bike and transfer a few of the new parts.
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Old 01-27-09, 11:13 PM   #17
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Look on craigslist in your area. In the past year alone, I have purchased three older bikes for real good prices. I found a near mint 97 Trek 800 for my wife, got it for $100 bucks, she uses that as a light trail and path bike. Found a sweet 98 Gary Fisher Aquila, paid $150 for that one, also the wifes for trail use, she is not a die hard, so it works great for her. And just before Christmas, I found a 96 Gary Fisher HKEK, got the whole bike for $60. Other than the paint being job being cloudy looking,it is in great shape. But I have dumped some money into it rebuilding it for a cro mol steel frame trail runner.

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