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Strategize maintenance of bike

Old 04-20-18, 08:50 AM
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Schreti
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Strategize maintenance of bike

Hello,

I am new to this forum (first post) but have been searching through on various topics. I was looking for some advice on what I can do to upkeep my approx. 5 y/o hybrid Schwinn. It was a big box store bought by my wife for father's day some years ago so it holds some sentimental value.

I am primarily starting to use it for bike commuting hopefully even in harsher weather/winter (Northeast Ohio). To this point I have done minimal maintenance on it but am looking to try and make it a solid commuting bike. There are a few issues:

1. Rusting of bolts, cassette and chain. Minor rusting of cassette and chain but it's more of a cosmetic thing. Also the front is a bit squeaky and I can see some parts are rusted there.

2. Probably most important. I think the brake cable and lever may need replaced. Noodles are slightly rusty but most importantly the connector to the rear brake lever appears to be broken. Already ordered new brake pads as well.

3. Issues with ghost shifting and front derailleur will not shift to big ring. Actually I got it to shift to big ring but now chain is grinding on front derailleur. I lost the H/L adjustment screws on front derailleur so I ordered a new one last night.

I have some ambitious plans for the bike longer term but am not sure if it would be a reasonable investment Vs. Buying a new bike. I got a quote from local bike shop for fixing minimum (they also recommended replacing bottom bracket) of $150. Since the bike was a gift and I know it isn't a terribly expensive bike (approx. $400) I want to try and make this a learner bike doing DIY work myself for most of it. But given my limited knowledge of this stuff I'm not sure if I should just fold and buy the bike I really want.

I'd like to install drop bar ends on the bike and add another braking system on the drops. Is that actually possible? On my hybrid do I need grips or can I just take those off and use tape for the bar?

Also was thinking of painting frame. Just some general thoughts looking for group recommendations. My first concern is making it safe and reliable then the fancy stuff will come over time. But I'd really like to get it running pretty quiet as well.

My commute is 6 or 12 miles each way depending on office I am working at. I can post specific pictures as requested just let me know.
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Old 04-20-18, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Schreti View Post
Hello,

I am new to this forum (first post) but have been searching through on various topics. I was looking for some advice on what I can do to upkeep my approx. 5 y/o hybrid Schwinn. It was a big box store bought by my wife for father's day some years ago so it holds some sentimental value.

I am primarily starting to use it for bike commuting hopefully even in harsher weather/winter (Northeast Ohio). To this point I have done minimal maintenance on it but am looking to try and make it a solid commuting bike. There are a few issues:

1. Rusting of bolts, cassette and chain. Minor rusting of cassette and chain but it's more of a cosmetic thing. Also the front is a bit squeaky and I can see some parts are rusted there.

2. Probably most important. I think the brake cable and lever may need replaced. Noodles are slightly rusty but most importantly the connector to the rear brake lever appears to be broken. Already ordered new brake pads as well.

3. Issues with ghost shifting and front derailleur will not shift to big ring. Actually I got it to shift to big ring but now chain is grinding on front derailleur. I lost the H/L adjustment screws on front derailleur so I ordered a new one last night.

I have some ambitious plans for the bike longer term but am not sure if it would be a reasonable investment Vs. Buying a new bike. I got a quote from local bike shop for fixing minimum (they also recommended replacing bottom bracket) of $150. Since the bike was a gift and I know it isn't a terribly expensive bike (approx. $400) I want to try and make this a learner bike doing DIY work myself for most of it. But given my limited knowledge of this stuff I'm not sure if I should just fold and buy the bike I really want.

I'd like to install drop bar ends on the bike and add another braking system on the drops. Is that actually possible? On my hybrid do I need grips or can I just take those off and use tape for the bar?

Also was thinking of painting frame. Just some general thoughts looking for group recommendations. My first concern is making it safe and reliable then the fancy stuff will come over time. But I'd really like to get it running pretty quiet as well.

My commute is 6 or 12 miles each way depending on office I am working at. I can post specific pictures as requested just let me know.

Rust is oxidizing of iron you like oxygen to breathe right?


paint over places where it rusts, keeping your chain oiled should reduce rust on the drive train

don't leave the bike outside all the time..

you are asking about a lot of topics already spoken of here before, repeatedly , the forum archive has all of that saved.




Read, buy a book on bike maintenance. or borrow some from the public library..

Bike CoOp any where around you? they have shared tools and teachers to help..


...

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-20-18 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 04-20-18, 09:42 AM
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If you plan to ride the bike regularly, the first priority should be to get the brakes in perfect working order (because failure can get you injured or killed) and a close second is the shifting and drive chain. It would probably be easiest to replace brake and shifter cables all at once. Likely it is time for a new chain, but rust per se isn't as bad as it looks. Rather, it indicates you haven't been keeping the chain lubricated. Chains are cheap, so make a fresh start. The ghost shifting should disappear with new cables and adjustment (assuming it isn't complete junk). If the new chain skips, it means you need to replace the cassette. I wouldn't paint it.

Learn (and make mistakes) on this bike, and then when you reward yourself with a new one, you will be ahead of the curve on maintenance. Since it has sentimental value, you probably will at least want to keep it as a backup.
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Old 04-20-18, 10:30 AM
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steal this book:
https://www.parktool.com/product/big...-edition-bbb-3
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Old 04-20-18, 10:45 AM
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Thanks for positive feedback. The topics have been discussed, I agree, but every bike and situation is a bit unique (different purpose for cycling, geography, individual intention). So I wanted to ask more seasoned individuals about my unique circumstances. I first tried local bike shop which wasn't a terribly pleasant experience, unfortunately.

Anyways, thanks for tip on not painting. I just figured I'd do it for fun eventually. You are right on same page with my logic that it's a learner bike and once I show commitment longer term I can reward myself with a nicer bike. Plus, learning some neat stuff on the way.

Park tools YouTube channel has been pretty helpful as well. Again, was just looking for individual input.

The bike itself hasn't remained outside which is what surprises me about rusting. Maybe my garage is too humid? I've put lubricant on chain periodically but, after watching videos probably not properly. So I will order a new chain as well. So far I've ordered:

1. New front derailleur
2. Brake pads
3. Brake levers
4. (Ordering) chain

Any other specific tools or parts recommended? New brake cable Maybe?

Thanks again!
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Old 04-20-18, 10:46 AM
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Also, for the rusted screws, should I replace with titanium or is that a waste? Is there specific size for my bike I need or do most bikes have universal sizes?
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Old 04-20-18, 10:49 AM
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I mentioned park tools but didn't see this manual. I stuck to YouTube page. That'd be a cool read for sure. Thanks!
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Old 04-20-18, 10:52 AM
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Titanium would be a waste, unless you're a weight weenie looking to shave micrograms.
Bolts come in lots of sizes. Usually they're going to be m5x0.8 and m6x1.0 but the length will vary greatly.
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Old 04-20-18, 10:59 AM
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Good to know. Thanks. Just thinking of what material might not rust on me.

Any thoughts on the drop bars and taping instead of putting new grips on?
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Old 04-20-18, 11:05 AM
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I've used Origin8 drop bar ends; they're on the Specialized I'm rebuilding right now. But I hate messing with tape so I have foam grips on them - I'm the wrong person to ask about tape.
Big box bikes' bolts always seem to rust. I bought these - probably not the best quality out there but I haven't had any issues with them and they're affordable.
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Old 04-20-18, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Schreti View Post

I'd like to install drop bar ends on the bike and add another braking system on the drops. Is that actually possible? On my hybrid do I need grips or can I just take those off and use tape for the bar?
I think you're imagining some extra levers on the bar ends? Probably not impossible, but not a normal thing to do and not something I think you'll be happy with if you did figure it out.

You're really here because you want us to talk you into a new bike, right?
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Old 04-20-18, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmie65 View Post
Titanium would be a waste, unless you're a weight weenie looking to shave micrograms.
Bolts come in lots of sizes. Usually they're going to be m5x0.8 and m6x1.0 but the length will vary greatly.
So are ceramic bearings, in case those come to mind.
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Old 04-20-18, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
You're really here because you want us to talk you into a new bike, right?
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Old 04-20-18, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Schreti View Post
I am new to this forum (first post)...
Welcome!

Originally Posted by Schreti View Post
1. Rusting of bolts, cassette and chain. Minor rusting of cassette and chain but it's more of a cosmetic thing. Also the front is a bit squeaky and I can see some parts are rusted there.
It's gonna happen, particularly if you ride in the winter and/or leave the bike outside. Lower-end bikes may be more prone to it because they typically have more steel, less aluminum, and lower-quality finishes on components.

Keep the chain oiled. (There are lots of different chain lubes available.) Along with helping to prevent rust to an extent, it'll prevent dry metal-on-metal rubbing between the chain's plates and pins that'll wear it out faster.

Being a department store bike, there's a good chance you have a freewheel, not a cassette. Occasionally drop some oil into the freewheel mechanism's gap to prolong its life, but you'll likely end up replacing it eventually. They're built to be replaceable for a reason.

Originally Posted by Schreti View Post
2. Probably most important. I think the brake cable and lever may need replaced. Noodles are slightly rusty but most importantly the connector to the rear brake lever appears to be broken. Already ordered new brake pads as well.
Cables and housings need to be replaced periodically. The more you ride, and the harsher your riding conditions, the more frequently they need to be replaced. Lower-quality cables and unlined housings tend not to last too long in my experience. On the other hand, die-drawn stainless steel cables and lined housings can last for years in decent riding conditions.

Decent levers are likely to outlast you, but the levers on department store bikes ...not so much. You can pick up decent replacement levers at reasonable cost, though.

Originally Posted by Schreti View Post
3. Issues with ghost shifting and front derailleur will not shift to big ring. Actually I got it to shift to big ring but now chain is grinding on front derailleur. I lost the H/L adjustment screws on front derailleur so I ordered a new one last night.
The H & L screws are limit screws, not adjustment screws. The H (high limit) screw prevents the derailleur from shifting too far outboard and dumping the chain onto your crank arm. Likewise, the L (low limit) screw prevents you from dropping the chain past the small chainring inboard, where it can easily get jammed. If you can't shift up to the big ring without the limit screws installed, there's something wrong with the shifter, or more likely, the cable & housing. When you've got it taken apart to install your new derailleur, check to make sure the cable passes easily and smoothly through the housing. It should be almost effortless. If not, replace the shift cable & housing.

Grinding on the front derailleur cage is typically a matter of adjustment. Either an indexing adjustment or a manual 'trim' adjustment when riding. (Which type of adjustment depends in part on what kind of shifter you're using.)

Cross-chaining -- using an outboard chainring on your crank with one of the innermost cogs on the rear wheel or vice versa -- is more likely result in the chain rubbing the rear derailleur. When possible, avoid those gear combinations. (Cross-chaining, in addition to rubbing the front derailleur, may also increase chain wear since the chain is running at an angle between the chainring and cog, bending as it engages and disengages the gears.)

Originally Posted by Schreti View Post
I have some ambitious plans for the bike longer term but am not sure if it would be a reasonable investment Vs. Buying a new bike.
If it's a department store bike, you're almost certainly better off replacing the bike in the long run. Whether new or used, a better bike built with better components is going to require less maintenance and repair. And sometimes it's infuriating to work on a BSO ("bike shaped object") since cheap components are sometimes impossible to adjust and keep in tune. You can spend way too much time wrenching on the bike and never get it just right.

Originally Posted by Schreti View Post
I got a quote from local bike shop for fixing minimum (they also recommended replacing bottom bracket) of $150. I'd like to install drop bar ends on the bike and add another braking system on the drops. Is that actually possible?
[/quote]

Good bottom brackets for square taper cranksets, assuming that's what you have, can be found for $25-30. You'd need a few bike-specific tools to do the job yourself -- namely a crank arm puller and bottom bracket tool, each of which shouldn't cost you more than $15-20. So if you're handy enough to do the job yourself and you already have a wrench you can use to turn the bottom bracket tool, you can replace the bottom bracket yourself for no more than $70, including the price of tools.

...but whether we're talking about bottom brackets, drop bars, or other upgrades, don't spend too much money fixing up a department store bike. You can pour lots of time, money, and effort into it and it'll still be a department store bike, with all its warts, but with a few upgraded parts. For less money than you'd pour into the department store bike, you can pick up a better used bike that'll be better in every way that matters.

Originally Posted by Schreti View Post
Also was thinking of painting frame...
Unless the original paint is beat up, you're often better off not going there. You're looking at a lot of effort to do a complete teardown, cleaning, paint prep, primer, paint, build-up, and adjustment. And unless you've got access to the equipment to lay down two-part paint (e.g. automotive paint), the paint you put on the bike won't be as durable as the original.

Not to say that it can't be done. There are plenty of guys on these forums who've done some pretty nice-looking rattle-can paint jobs. But we're generally the types who don't have any reservations tearing down and rebuilding bikes.
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Old 04-20-18, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Schreti View Post
Also, for the rusted screws, should I replace with titanium or is that a waste? Is there specific size for my bike I need or do most bikes have universal sizes?
Some screws, bolts, and nuts on a bike are pretty standard (metric) sizes; some aren't.

If you replace the originals, which generally isn't necessary if you start with decent components, you can opt for stainless steel. Not as light as titanium, but they're cheaper and you're not going to be concerned with fractions of a gram on a department store bike.
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Old 04-20-18, 02:34 PM
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I ride a Wally Mart Schwinn on the beach. It gets hosed off & stored inside a dry garage. After 8 years, no rust problems yet. One of my things with this bike is is the pizza box treatment. Get a large cardboard pizza box & unfold it. Cut a slot 1/2 way up the box big enough to fit around the rear freewheel. Put the box behind the freewheel & chain to protect the wheel rim & brakes. Then get your can of WD-40 & a toothbrush and just blast away. Clean all the gunk off chain & freewheel. Leave a nice oily residue. Prevent further oxidation. Throw box away. No mess.
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Old 04-20-18, 02:37 PM
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Fix 1 thing on every saturday?
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Old 04-20-18, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
Or just visit their website. Pretty much everything in their book. Just don't get the keyboard greasy
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Old 04-20-18, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Schreti View Post
Also, for the rusted screws, should I replace with titanium or is that a waste? Is there specific size for my bike I need or do most bikes have universal sizes?
Originally Posted by jimmie65 View Post
Titanium would be a waste, unless you're a weight weenie looking to shave micrograms.
Bolts come in lots of sizes. Usually they're going to be m5x0.8 and m6x1.0 but the length will vary greatly.
I agree for a slightly different reason. Yes, titanium weighs less but it's expensive and very soft. It's easy to damage the bolt head while using enough torque to tighten the bolt. Be delicate if you feel the need to use them but, generally, titanium bolts aren't worth the cost.
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Old 04-22-18, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmie65 View Post
Titanium would be a waste, unless you're a weight weenie looking to shave micrograms.
Oh, I don't know... I've selectively replaced rust-prone parts on my "winter" commuter and a couple other bikes with titanium bits from Toronto Cycles. Probably the most effective replacement was the hardware holding on the brake pads (nuts and spherical washers), which would almost always rust badly. The Ti parts have lasted years. I'm not at all concerned about weight, but I must say the Ti is pretty!
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(Chainring hardware, SS on the left; Ti on the right)
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Old 04-22-18, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
...titanium weighs less but it's expensive and very soft. It's easy to damage the bolt head while using enough torque to tighten the bolt.
Titanium is recognized for its high strength-to-weight ratio (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanium). Wikipedia gives its Mohs hardness as 6.0, while "steel" (type not specified) is 4-4.5 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohs_s...neral_hardness).
I don't think you have to worry about stripping a titanium bolt head. In my experience, I have not seen any distortion of hex heads torqued to 300-400 lb-in (bottom bracket bolts).
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Old 04-22-18, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
Titanium is recognized for its high strength-to-weight ratio (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanium). Wikipedia gives its Mohs hardness as 6.0, while "steel" (type not specified) is 4-4.5 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohs_s...neral_hardness).
I don't think you have to worry about stripping a titanium bolt head. In my experience, I have not seen any distortion of hex heads torqued to 300-400 lb-in (bottom bracket bolts).
Steve
I don't know what grade bolts you are using but from my experience, titanium bolts used for bicycle parts are extremely easy to round out. I've had a number of bolts on seatpost clamps and stems from reputable manufacturers rounded out very easily...much more easily than equivalent steel and stainless fasteners. I've also been told by a machinist friend that titanium is soft but work hardens easily.

As to hardness, the Mohs scale is probably not the best scale to use. Bondhus allen wrenches have a Rockwell C hardness of about 80. Grade 5 (6AL-4V) titanium has a Rockwell C hardness of 36. The other grades range from Rockwell C 98 (Grade 2) to 23 (Grade 4). Most of the grades are softer than the Bondhus tool. Stainless steel bolts, which are what I typically use, have a Rockwell hardness of about 70. They are tougher in my experience.

Perhaps the manufacturers should be using a higher grade titanium fastener but my experience tells me to go easy on titanium bolts as they are easy to ruin.
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Old 04-22-18, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I don't know what grade bolts you are using...
All my experience is with nuts and bolts I've ordered from Toronto Cycles (Titanium Bolts, Titanium Bolt, Titanium Fasteners, Ti Bolts). They don't say what grade of titanium they use, but there is no suggestion that it's especially high grade. I've got a seatpost binder bolt and nut, brake shoe hardware, chainring bolts and crank-fixing bolts. These have been tightened as tight as their steel predecessors and not a one has deformed or stripped.

I cited Mohs hardness values because that was the only one I could find comparative values for. But it's pretty clear that titanium is by no means a "soft" metal.
Steve

Last edited by sweeks; 04-22-18 at 07:08 PM.
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