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Is it worth a rebuild?

Old 05-17-16, 04:09 PM
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theanswer42
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Is it worth a rebuild?

I have a fairly early (circa 2000) Raleigh Pioneer 18 speed hybrid.

It fits me beautifully and has done many miles through rain, snow and pulling a (frequently too heavy) trailer for many years. It's got through pedals, wheels, accidents, the lot.

It's now shot.

Every bearing squeaks, the handlebars have play, bottom bracket squeaks and the gearing has not been quite right since a crash a few years ago.

Obviously I need to replace a number of the bearings, I am mechanically inclined but have never really worked on bikes before.
I have tried to seek out a bearing kit but have failed miserably. Do I have to get the numbers from them and order them individually?

Although it is okay to ride, but nothing special is it worth putting the work in? I could change the gearing system completely, swap to fixed gear or coaster brake, change the gearing to a hub, whatever. This bike does not owe me anything, so basically is it worth it, or shall I keep it for a future project?

I realised quite how bad it was when I hired a connect bike (citybike, boris bike, whatever) and found it better to ride than mine, if a little heavy!

As an aside I have ridden my mums 1950's Elizabethan and that is amazingly smooth with a lovely gear range, despite only having 3 of them.

Last edited by theanswer42; 05-17-16 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 05-17-16, 05:10 PM
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I couldn't know without seeing the bike, but unless the bike holds some sentimental value (you say it doesn't) or you'd be interested in the educational experience of tearing a bike down to a bare frame, and assuming your time is worth a little bit of money, it would probably be cheaper to buy a similar old bike in not-destroyed condition than it would be to fix up yours.
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Old 05-17-16, 05:31 PM
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A question only you can answer. In pure, cold, economic terms you can almost surely buy a similar but brand new bike for less money. I kind of doubt, however, that you've kept the bike this long for purely cold, economic terms.


(If it was my bike, I'd rebuild it.)
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Old 05-17-16, 05:36 PM
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It hasn't shifted right after a crash? Have you checked the derailleur hanger alignment?
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Old 05-17-16, 05:57 PM
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You can probably find a nice hybrid on Craigslist for 1/2 the $ of repairing your bike. Might be worth a look before deciding.

Also, put your location in your profile, as it may prove useful-helpful down the road.
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Old 05-17-16, 06:21 PM
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Also, you say that you have tried to seek out a bearing kit. Do you know what you're looking for? The hubs are probably cup and cone, in which case you can get some standard size bearing balls, some grease, and rebuild them. The bottom bracket may also be cup and cone. If it's not, sealed bottom brackets are standardized and all you need to know is the shaft length and shell width to get a replacement. The handlebar play is just a loose headset. Everything you mention sounds fixable.
Is it a steel or aluminum frame?
It sounds like yours may need more than most, but any bike that age is going to need some maintenance.
Do you have any idea approximately how many miles are on it? You should measure your chain for stretched. If it's badly stretched there's a good chance you'll need a new cassette too.

Last edited by Seizedpost; 05-17-16 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 05-17-16, 09:31 PM
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Probably, especially if you do the work yourself.

You probably need to adjust the derailleur hanger alignment (or have a shop do it).

You need new grease in the hubs.

You need to adjust the headset.

You might need some new ball bearings.
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Old 05-17-16, 09:57 PM
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Old 05-17-16, 10:34 PM
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Good opportunity to acquire the tools, bike stand, truing fork and bring it back to spec. Then you'll know how to maintain the bike so it won't get in that condition again. You should have the bike tools anyway to maintain your bike. They usually need to be cleaned and adjusted monthly.
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Old 05-18-16, 10:50 AM
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I kept it that long because it was it was, at the time my only form of transport and it was nice to ride. I like the upright position of the hybrid (bad back).
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Old 05-18-16, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
A question only you can answer. In pure, cold, economic terms you can almost surely buy a similar but brand new bike for less money. I kind of doubt, however, that you've kept the bike this long for purely cold, economic terms.


(If it was my bike, I'd rebuild it.)
I kept it that long because it was at the time my only form of transport and it was nice to ride. I like the upright position of the hybrid (bad back), and it could haul well.

Last edited by theanswer42; 05-19-16 at 02:14 PM. Reason: fat fingers
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Old 05-18-16, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Seizedpost View Post
It hasn't shifted right after a crash? Have you checked the derailleur hanger alignment?
Good call, it's not too bad, it's just never felt quite right since.
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Old 05-18-16, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
You can probably find a nice hybrid on Craigslist for 1/2 the $ of repairing your bike. Might be worth a look before deciding.

Also, put your location in your profile, as it may prove useful-helpful down the road.
Have done now, thanks for the advice (Northants, UK by the way).
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Old 05-18-16, 11:00 AM
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In answer to your first question, I haven't a scooby do, I'm used to cars.
The frame is a ridiculously heavy Chromoly. Thanks very much indeed for your info, Iv'e only ever done very basic maintenance on bikes, never anything this advanced.

Miles are almost certainly measured in the tune of a couple of thousand, quite a few in really harsh conditions. I'll look into measuring the chain for stretch, it may well be what is affecting the shifting.

Originally Posted by Seizedpost View Post
Also, you say that you have tried to seek out a bearing kit. Do you know what you're looking for? The hubs are probably cup and cone, in which case you can get some standard size bearing balls, some grease, and rebuild them. The bottom bracket may also be cup and cone. If it's not, sealed bottom brackets are standardized and all you need to know is the shaft length and shell width to get a replacement. The handlebar play is just a loose headset. Everything you mention sounds fixable.
Is it a steel or aluminum frame?
It sounds like yours may need more than most, but any bike that age is going to need some maintenance.
Do you have any idea approximately how many miles are on it? You should measure your chain for stretched. If it's badly stretched there's a good chance you'll need a new cassette too.

Last edited by theanswer42; 05-18-16 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 05-18-16, 11:53 AM
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Bikes are easy to work on assuming you have the time and are willing to invest in some tools.

As someone else said, odds are good you have non-sealed bearings; if so a re-pack might be all you need.

I'd much rather stick with the bike I know (and like!) than take a chance on someone else's problems...
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Old 05-18-16, 12:02 PM
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For bearing, have you tried a LBS, or hardware store, or even eBay? There not exactly hard to find in the UK,

For being worth it, it's an old bike, if you can do the work yourself, then yes, as from your description the parts needed will fairly very cheap, if you need to pay someone i.e. a LBS, then would be getting a few quotes to compare vs replacing with a new bike
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Old 05-19-16, 12:09 PM
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Most of your problems sound like typical wear issues. Check local bike shops for prices for one of the more comprehensive tuneups, that would include replacing cables and housing, adjusting shifting and braking, replacing or at least cleaning and regreasing all bearings (this bike almost certainly only has simple, cheap ball bearings everywhere). If that price is acceptable to you, do it, I think you'll find you have like a brand new bike in the end. I would ballpark this as like a US$150 service, plus or minus.

If you do have more extensive problems though, then replacing parts can add up quickly, unless you have access to a co-op with cheap used parts and tools/help to do it yourself.

You may well need a new chain. Play in the handlebars, hopefully that just means headset service (part of the tuneup package described above), but maybe need a new headset or stem? Bad shifting, hopefully derailleur hanger alignment could be part of the tuneup package, but maybe extra? Or maybe need to replace derailleur?

Before you act on any service quotes from bike shops, search for available used bike options near you, and that will help you decide whether to buy or fix.
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Old 05-19-16, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by theanswer42 View Post
I have a fairly early (circa 2000) Raleigh Pioneer 18 speed hybrid.
Not specifically on topic, but I owned a 18 speed Raleigh Pioneer and I bought it new from Butlers Cycles in Portsmouth (which is now better known as Wiggle) around 1990. I think you might be underestimating the age of your bike!
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Old 05-19-16, 02:13 PM
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By god, your right I remember riding it before I learned to drive, must be about 20 years old then! I tried to get hold of a new chain guard for it, no wonder I had no luck.


Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post
Not specifically on topic, but I owned a 18 speed Raleigh Pioneer and I bought it new from Butlers Cycles in Portsmouth (which is now better known as Wiggle) around 1990. I think you might be underestimating the age of your bike!
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Old 05-19-16, 07:36 PM
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My opinon! Everyone needs a second bicycle. So get a new bicycle. Keep this one to work on and learn how to. And you'll have a beater bike for bad weather etc.
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Old 05-19-16, 07:50 PM
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If you can't fix it... You don't own it. You're just renting it from the repairman.

Acquire the tools and knowledge needed to make the repairs yourself. Rebuild the bike then sell it, or keep it as a back-up, and buy yourself a brand new bike (you deserve it).
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