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Tearing It Down - Wheels First

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Tearing It Down - Wheels First

Old 05-16-18, 05:48 PM
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Tearing It Down - Wheels First

So I have a circa 1986 Huffy 626 12 speed that hasn't been used in almost 30 years, and it's time to do something about it.

In general, it's in O.K. condition, scrapes and dings and some chipped paint, but no frame rust. After pulling the wheels and throwing away the original 27x1 1/4 dry rotted tires, I took a look at their condition. There is some surface rust on the inside of the rear wheel in a few places but the rim itself is a little out of round and just grimey. The Suntour 6 gear freewheel has some surface rust but no pitting or anything serious looking. After shooting some WD40, the bearings are noisy, but it spins freely and doesn't seem to rock or otherwise be sloppy. The front rim is quite a bit more rusted and kind of heavily in some places. The rear derailleur seems to move freely and has only a little surface rust on the gear. The chain is pretty sad.

I'll be working on the crank assembly next. A quick check seemed to show just stiffness and badly rusted pedals. Eventually cable replacement, a good cleaning on the frame, taping the handle bars, touching up some of the paint, and all the rest of it.

I think the front wheel is a replacement candidate along with the chain. Do you all think that tearing down the rear wheel farther, greasing the bearing and cleaning up the surface rust is worth the effort?

Also, while the tires are 27x 1 1/4, the rim is stamped 27x1 3/8 on the inside. Is that just a normal thing?
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Old 05-16-18, 08:38 PM
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Since I am the first to respond to your questions, It would be helpful if you could say a little about why you want to spend time and money on a bike with little or no value which is in poor condition.
If you are poor and need a bike for transportation You could probably get this bike in usable condition with some used tires and tubes and a fair amount of labor but there will be no payback for you other than riding it and any joy you may get from fixing it up. Steel rims , which you seem to have don't stop well in the rain and if they are very rusty you may not be able to tighten any loose spokes. You can clean the rust off the wheels by crumpling up some aluminum foil and scrubbing them. For tires try asking some local bike shops if they have any used tires they can give you.

If you do take the bike apart buy a gallon of white vinegar and pour it into a deep pot and take the rusted brakes, cranks, chain, and anything else that is rusted and soak them in the vinegar for a day or two then wash them in clean water and wipe off the rust with Brasso or the aluminum foil, and spray a little wd 40 on a rag and wipe them off.
If the cables and covers are in good condition you can re use them. If they are rusty soak the cables in vinegar then rub with alu foil. if they are frayed , by new ones.
If you haven't done it before you might not want to service the wheel, fork, and bottom bracket bearings. If you can watch youtube you can find How to videos for almost anything but you might not have the tools you need.

You should replace the brake pads. For steel wheels Kool Stop pads are best but will set you back $15.
Any way you cut it you are probably going to have to spend $50. to get this bike rideable plus 10 -20 hours of your time. If you are a good mechanic and have tools it is doable. Without specialized tools there are things you probably can't do yourself. Then you are looking at $50 -$70/ hr for a bike shop to do stuff.

One option I highly recommend is to locate a bike co op and ask for their help . If you volunteer some time you might find that they will give you great deals on used equipment and even help you with the repairs.

Another thing to consider, and this is what most will probably tell you, is to look on craigslist for a slightly better bike. An old schwinn , trek, or specialized rigid fork mountain bike in decent condition might only cost $50 and any of these would be a much better bike than the Huffy. There are also bikes at Goodwill , sometimes very good ones, for cheap money.

So if you are poor, homeless, and desperate do what you have to do to get the Huffy on the road without spending money. Otherwise, take my advice and hunt for a better bike and find a bike co op or a bike shop owner who has a soft spot for charity cases and offer to sweep the floors and take out the trash in exchange for some help.
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Old 05-16-18, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by capnjonny
One option I highly recommend is to locate a bike co op and ask for their help .
Or not. I volunteer as a mechanic at a Co-op. Hate to come off like an elitist, but trying to do anything with this bike is a major waste of your time, so please don't involve anyone else in this project. Cheap bikes are much harder to work on and make roadworthy than good bikes, because of the cheap parts.

There is a wide range of skill levels at Co-ops. The (advanced) level mechanics, who could actually complete upgrades and repairs on this bike, will tell you that this endeavor is a waste of time and resources. The less experienced, not knowing better, will try to help you out, leading to potentially days of dead-ends and futile frustration.

This bike is worth less than nothing, as it will always be a safety liability (steel wheels), and because it is heavy and features poor brakes, shifters, wheels, etc., will probably cause its riders to give up cycling.
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Old 05-17-18, 01:11 AM
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I'm not sure I'd be so pessimistic. I suppose I don't deal with Huffy bikes enough.

The bike will never be an expensive racing bike. On the other hand, there is nothing that you can do to it that will decrease its value. So, it may be a perfect bike to practice greasing bearings, truing wheels, and etc.

There are quite a few of the old bikes on the road, and they serve people well as commuter bikes and beater bikes.

Not everyone has to, or even wants to ride a vintage Italian racing bike.

That said, be careful of what you spend on the bike. A good set of tires could set you back as much as the bike is worth. Don't hire a shop to do a few hundred bucks worth of work on it.

Your local bike co-op may have used 27" tires in good shape. Just check them out well. At least our local co-op gets quite a few badly damaged tires in and tries to resell them.
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Old 05-17-18, 09:36 AM
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Thank you very much for your input, concerns, and opinions.

The truth is I could very easily afford to buy "something better" (within limits!!), and I clearly understand the general disdain that there is for the Huffy brand. While it's not my intent to waste anyone else's time and fully intend to use whatever skills I have with mechanical objects, it will be my time, my effort, and my dollars towards my goal of trying to bring some utility back to this bike. I've been on car forums where there are Ford lovers and Chevy haters, and the opinions run strong with everyone - and sometimes the vitriol, I'm just looking for information.

I have no problem with asking questions on this forum, and I hope that there will be enough good will from you all to respond with good input. So for instance, the best solution for a dinged rim problem may be a complete new wheel assembly, but it may be possible to source just a used rim and re-weave the spokes, and that may be the best advice - just as an example.

Surface rust is fixable with a variety of methods, and I'm a big fan of Evaporust. I understand also that there are equally big fans of vinegar or citric acid mixes. They're all good, so I thank everyone for exposing their own favorite methods of doing work effectively, and I always try to learn. So I'll be back.
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Old 05-17-18, 10:56 AM
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Thank you for your input. It's been a while since I've ridden, but what is your safety concern with steel wheels? What would be an acceptable replacement in the 27" size?
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Old 05-17-18, 12:34 PM
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Chromed steel rims do not stop well with with rim brakes, especially when wet.
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Old 05-17-18, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jglen490
Thank you very much for your input, concerns, and opinions.They're all good, so I thank everyone for exposing their own favorite methods of doing work effectively, and I always try to learn. So I'll be back.
We need photos. If you have a photo account at FLICKR or something we can post them here for you; you need to be an established member here before you can post your own.

And as long as you understand you'll be working on a 30-year old department store bike with no value, and it'll probably still have no value when you're done donating your time and money to it and it'll never be fun to ride and maybe not even safe - nobody should be giving you grief. You're probably looking at a couple hundred dollars to make it usable, and you can probably get a much nicer used bike for the same price. But we get a lot of new guys in here who don't understand that and they get eager beyond reason, and we're mostly doing them a favor by advising against it.
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Old 05-17-18, 06:30 PM
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Again, I most definitely appreciate your inputs and information. And that's why I'm here - it's all about the TTP (Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures) that are true regardless of the platform and parts. Since I now understand why chrome plated steel wheels can present a safety issue, I'll be looking at other solutions.

I'll have pictures, since they will help you understand what my other questions will be.

Lastly, I also - once again - understand that some people are concerned about the Huffy brand and your desire to"help" me not make bad decisions. Even if I take the cash that might fix some of the Huffy's issues and instead buy a better used bike, it will still be a used bike and will still have issues of it's own. I may see that there will be a point where the Huffy is just not worth it - or not. I have to say that I did enjoy riding it when I first used it 30+ years ago; it's already been bought and paid for back then. Anything that happens from here on out should be considered delayed routine maintenance. Yep, you're right that I'll still have a low end machine, but it will always have some value, maybe even to someone else. The lessons to be learned and the joy of the work, to me, will be well worth the cost and the effort. And that's, of course, from the viewpoint of here and now.

I will ask questions, here and elsewhere, that I hope will be answered in the spirit of providing useful information. Quite frankly, if you can't resist making judgments for me and about me, then you probably should avoid my questions. Nonetheless, I am still thankful for your useful suggestions, information, and replies.
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Old 05-17-18, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jglen490
Again, I most definitely appreciate your inputs and information. And that's why I'm here - it's all about the TTP (Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures) that are true regardless of the platform and parts. Since I now understand why chrome plated steel wheels can present a safety issue, I'll be looking at other solutions.
OK! Let's talk wheel options - in order of probable cost:

1. Live with the ones you got; try to fix the rust and wobble.
2. Buy used complete wheels from e-Bay or a Craig's List.
3. Relace existing hubs on to new rims. You'll almost certainly need new spokes also, of the right length. And some special tools like a spoke wrench and something to use for a truing stand.
4. Buy new wheels from some on-line seller.

Which option do you want advice on?

And you'll need new tires - 27"x1-1/4 or so. See what you can find, post your results here for approval.
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Old 05-17-18, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott
OK! Let's talk wheel options - in order of probable cost:

1. Live with the ones you got; try to fix the rust and wobble.
2. Buy used complete wheels from e-Bay or a Craig's List.
3. Relace existing hubs on to new rims. You'll almost certainly need new spokes also, of the right length. And some special tools like a spoke wrench and something to use for a truing stand.
4. Buy new wheels from some on-line seller.

Which option do you want advice on?

And you'll need new tires - 27"x1-1/4 or so. See what you can find, post your results here for approval.
Good! I've been looking at some wheels on Ebay as well as some new wheels linked from Sheldon Brown's site.
The wheels on Ebay that I was looking at first are now gone, but another similar set are at Ebay Vintage-Road-Bike-27-Wheel-Set-6-Speed-Freewheel Item# 183212583359

The wheels at Harris Cyclery are on this page at the Sheldon Brown site .../harris/wheels/630.html

I can't post actual links ....

Of course, I'm open to looking elsewhere and am trying to do that. If getting a set with a new freewheel is necessary, then I can head towards that. I also realize that there is a specialty tool required to remove the Suntour gear set from my current wheel. That would be O.K. too - I do have some mechanical skills. I'd just rather avoid having to do building a set of wheels from bare parts - rims, spokes, axles, bearings. That's a leap too far for now.

I will put together some pictures of my current wheels this weekend.
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Old 05-18-18, 12:46 AM
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First step is to remove the freewheel. Take the rear wheel apart and see if the bearings are on one piece or have dissolved away over the years. If the races can be cleaned up, you can use the old bearings if good or just replace them; they're cheap.

If the races and bearings are thrashed, find another set on eBay. You need to measure how wide the dropouts are, probably 126mm, and get one that will fit. If you can find cheap new 27" wheels you may be better off than cheap vintage 27" wheels that will be as bad as what you have.

You can remove the cogs off the freewheel, clean everything up and then re-oil the freehub bearing by letting oil (Phil's or similar) soak into the freewheel body.

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Old 05-18-18, 07:59 AM
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'86' Huffy.

How much money do you have invested in this bike now? Until you fix it, that's the most you can lose on this deal.

Here's how to determine what's worth the effort:
1. If your objective is to flip it, start with a realistic selling price. Don't put one cent more than that into it. Otherwise you're losing money.
2. If your objective is to fix it up to ride yourself and to learn from the process, you can do anything you want. The catch is that you have to consider every dime that you spend as either "entertainment" or "education". I've done a fair amount of that myself.
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Old 05-18-18, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by jglen490
Good! I've been looking at some wheels on Ebay
The wheels at Harris Cyclery are on this page at the Sheldon Brown site .../harris/wheels/630.html

Of course, I'm open to looking elsewhere and am trying to do that. If getting a set with a new freewheel is necessary, then I can head towards that. I also realize that there is a specialty tool required to remove the Suntour gear set from my current wheel. That would be O.K. too - I do have some mechanical skills. I'd just rather avoid having to do building a set of wheels from bare parts - rims, spokes, axles, bearings. That's a leap too far for now.
Those eBay wheels have an axle nut instead of a quick release on the back - what do you have now?
If your existing freewheel is OK and you can get it off, there's no need for a new one.
When looking at used wheels, get the actual brand and model of the rims so you can look them up for width and materials - a lot of people selling them won't know what they have.
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Old 05-18-18, 10:38 AM
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Even with new wheels that bike will still not work well -- it was never made to go fast or last long. Considering the other components in the brake system, the brakes will never perform well. At best, with additional work the brakes will function about the same as they did thirty years ago.

Ask yourself what you will have after you invest time/effort/money.
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Old 05-18-18, 10:40 AM
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I wish I had taken the advice of all the people that told me not to spend money on my old rusty 77 Scwhinn Varsity. Though it was in general riding condition, the steel wheels were getting pretty rusty and the chrome coming off. This happened at the same time life was slowing down for me in my early 50's and I had time to consider ways to get and stay healthy. Cycling was the thing.

So back to the Varsity... here I was with something that looked very pretty in shape an form and very excellent ride handling. Just some rusty parts. Rims especially. The bike shop and others told me don't waste my money. Did I listen, no. I got them to put some new wheels on it for a whopping 80 bucks. 125 with new tires and tubes plus a tuneup thrown it. I'm good to go!

So now I'm riding 5 miles a day, then 10 miles a day, then 20 miles a day.... I'm addicted and pushing for more. I actually road several 100 milers on that Varsity. But damn, not quite a year later I realized that the 46 pound bike was not appropriate for the 165 pound rider that started at about 200 pounds. It kept me from climbing hills like the young studs mashing their way along, or accelerating rapidly when needed to respond to passing cyclist in those informal unannounced races we all get in.

So when I realized that, I wished I'd listened to all the nay-sayers and saved my 125 bucks... piddling amount that is. That would have paid for 70% of my next bike, a 1978 Raleigh Competition G.S., that weighed only 23 pounds and was better suited for what I was doing.

Just my 2 and ramblings. Take what you will from it. If you are like me you feel compelled to do what others tell you not to do.
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Old 05-18-18, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by jglen490
...I clearly understand the general disdain that there is for the Huffy brand. While it's not my intent to waste anyone else's time and fully intend to use whatever skills I have with mechanical objects, it will be my time, my effort, and my dollars towards my goal of trying to bring some utility back to this bike. I've been on car forums where there are Ford lovers and Chevy haters, and the opinions run strong with everyone - and sometimes the vitriol, I'm just looking for information.
The opinion that you're wasting your time and money doesn't stem from a disdain for the Huffy brand per se. Folks would offer the same advice on any 30 year old, cheap, heavy, junky, rusted bike.

It's not like a Ford vs. Chevy discussion; more like you asked about fixing up a 1986 Yugo. The best-case result, if you put lots of time and money into this bike, will still be a disappointment. The only exception would be, as others suggested, if you're someone who truly needs a bike--any bike--for basic transportation, and who cannot afford anything better.

I can appreciate the effort to restore and continue using a derelict machine, breathe new life into it rather than throw it away. But you're putting lipstick on a pig, polishing a turd, throwing good money after bad.
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Old 05-18-18, 02:40 PM
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O.K., you win. The incessant beat down and repetitively redundant expressions of y'all's negativity is not worth trying to get to your ideas about how to fix things and what to look for.

I won't bother you any more.
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Old 05-18-18, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by jglen490
O.K., you win. The incessant beat down and repetitively redundant expressions of y'all's negativity is not worth trying to get to your ideas about how to fix things and what to look for.

I won't bother you any more.
I think that you took this the wrong way. I think that this bike is a good project to teach yourself how to repair a bike as long as you don't replace parts that cost more than a tire or brake cables. Learning how to true a wheel, how to overhaul hub and bottom bracket bearings and other maintenance tasks are invaluable lessons that can carry over to a better bike in the future. However, buying new wheels that you would not be able to use on your next bike would not be money well spent. If I had the bike and the inclination to work on it, I would take it as a challenge to see if I could get it into riding condition without spending more than about $30, taking care to account for every penny I spent along the way. This bike can teach you a lot that you can apply later on
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Old 05-18-18, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jglen490
O.K., you win. The incessant beat down and repetitively redundant expressions of y'all's negativity is not worth trying to get to your ideas about how to fix things and what to look for.

I won't bother you any more.

You asked if it was worth the effort. The consensus answer is "No because it's not cost effective."
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Old 05-19-18, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by jglen490
O.K., you win. The incessant beat down and repetitively redundant expressions of y'all's negativity is not worth trying to get to your ideas about how to fix things and what to look for.
I won't bother you any more.
OK, you lose. Your insistence on characterizing honest feedback as personal attacks is not worth offering further help.
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Old 05-19-18, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by jglen490
O.K., you win. The incessant beat down and repetitively redundant expressions of y'all's negativity is not worth trying to get to your ideas about how to fix things and what to look for.

I won't bother you any more.
Gosh, you give up easily. You got some suggestions for various ways to handle fixing it up that might be valid. However you didn't get too specific where you really wanted more detailed help on. All you've done is admonish those that didn't praise you.

If you read my previous post and only get one message from it, then you missed some other things you should have gleaned from it between the lines.

Go to a nearby LBS and ask them to see what they can get you some new wheels for. I could have gotten mine off ebay or elswhere. But they had a price that included installation and adjustment so I wouldn't have to do anything but ride. I normally do all my own bike maintenance, but seldom rebuild a wheel myself. True it-- sometimes. I don't care to mess with the tedium nor the cost that usually is more than what I can buy already built at a bike shop or online.

I also said I went against the views of others and did pretty much the same thing you want to do. So do it if that is what you want. Don't get upset for not getting answers to questions you have not ask or any advice that might not be what you want to hear. Advice is opinion, we all know that. Don't worry about the advice that does not suit you. Ignore it and use the advice that does suit you. If you didn't get an answer that suited you, then figure out what else may need to be explained or ask.
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Old 05-19-18, 08:42 PM
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Thank you for your comments, Iride01. yes, I didn't ask detailed questions, so your criticism is warranted. but, you missed my point also. What I did ask about, repairing or at least inspecting the freewheel didn't get much response or even some leading questions. I did get a lot from the answer about the safety risk of the chrome plated steelies. What I'll never understand is the constant referral back to the poor quality of the Huffy which seemed to interfere with anyone's ability to engage in conversation.

I understand that a Huffy is not the grandest of bicycles. I'll take it on as a failure on my part to not ensure that you knew for a fact that this was not something that I recently picked up, but rather a thing that has been mine all its life. I wanted to find out how to inspect, repair, or replace various components - out of my ignorance and within your knowledge base. You asked why, I replied with my desire to learn.

So here we are, everyone is frustrated. When I decide to do something about this bike, it will be to replace the safety deficient wheels with some sort of alloys - probably not too expensive. I will also replace the 30+ year old cables, and the rusted old chain. I will also check the crank and its bearings, cleaning and greasing as needed. If, at that point, it seems to be ride-able, I will give it a test run. I'll not be racing, I'll not be going on long treks. If it works, great, if not gone. And I will have learned something. That's all I've been after, and that's all I've consistently said.

Enjoy your ride, and I'll get in touch with my own again. Have a great day ....
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Old 05-20-18, 05:43 AM
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It probably won't be too much trouble to get some aluminum rimmed wheels. Hell, when I upgraded one of my bikes to 700c wheels, I gave away a really nice set of 27" wheels before I moved to Europe. I think that buying locally is an advantage with low-cost wheels, since it might cost you $20 to ship a $5 wheel. Perhaps an e-bay search within some reasonable radius of your home could get you a cheap wheel or wheelset without shipping costs. Front wheels tend to turn up orphaned especially easy, I think because people remove them to put the bike in their car and because when a bike has only one quick release, it's usually on the front. Since braking is strongest on the front wheel, you'd see a strong improvement by replacing only the front.

Walmart has a full set of 'Bell' branded brake and shifter cables and housing for $9 that is actually an excellent value. It seemed like the cables were stainless, and the shifter housings are SIS compatible. I bought a set last summer when I changed the derailleurs on a bike I keep at my family's home and it worked great. An 8-speed chain from KMC should work for you, perhaps at a cost of $20. Some cheap 27" tires, and you'll be on the road.

It may be more cost effective to borrow the bike specific tools, especially the freewheel tool. Bike shops probably have the right 2- or 4- prong Suntour tool (I still have both...) I highly recommend that you buy a set of cone wrenches, though. I actually bought a couple weeks ago a set of Hozan Japanese cone wrenches in 13-14/15-16 mm sizes, 2 on each end, and a duplicate for less than $10, which are quite nice for the home-mechanic. Cable cutters can be nice to have, too, and a chain breaker is necessary to replace the chain. I don't remember if this bike used a 'European' bottom bracket or an American 'Ashtabula', but if it's the latter, they can be serviced using only an adjustable wrench.

My roommate back in 2003-2004 actually bought one of these used at the time for less than the cost of a six pack, and someone actually broke his lock and stole it! He was out more for the lock than he was for the bike!

I suspect you could be out less than $50 or so on consumables, and the only tools I've ever regretted buying were the absolute cheapest tools.
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Old 05-20-18, 10:47 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by jglen490
What I did ask about, repairing or at least inspecting the freewheel didn't get much response or even some leading questions.
Then direct the conversation back to the freewheel by restating what you want to know. Don't even respond to those of us that offer advice you don't want. That way your conversation stays on track better and doesn't instead encourage us to defend our advisories. Unsolicited advice is the nature of public conversations. I don't think any of us are going to hate you if you do as you please with you bike. I do as I please with mine, despite many thinking me foolish for it. But that doesn't make them my enemies. I'd be pleased to drink a beer, coffee, tea or otherwise just sit around and bull **** with any of them....... or ride.

Back to the freewheel...... if it is a freewheel. But similar thinking applies. I've had some old rusty looking freewheels on my kids bikes and even some of my own through the years that didn't want to turn from disuse. The rust was really more cosmetic as the bearings were really just stuck in long hardened lube. You can always go the more correct but hard way and remove it and disassemble it. Or you can simply pump lots of light lubricant or solvents into every gap you see and get it freed up and working. I've done the easy way at least five times in the last 18 years on three different bikes. WD40 works well for me. Unless coasting is 90 percent of your riding, I question those that say it's not good enough for a freewheel when it's mechanism does no work when pedaling and if not for the rust would work just as well with no lube. You will have to repack the axle bearings though. WD40 or other light lubes and solvents are not good for long term use of them. For certain some will get in them.

I'll also add that I don't think freewheels were intended to be a user serviceable part. They really were designed to replace. Though a DIYer and tinkerer can open them with correct tools and knowledge. If tinkering is your meditation of choice, then go for it.

Different freewheels and freehubs require different tools. Many cheap, but many you might only use once because none of the models you might replace it with use the same. I replaced an old Suntour 5 speed freewheel with a Shimano 7 speed on my '78 Raleigh Competition. The downtube friction shifters allowed that. Are the Huffy's friction? Thankfully the Suntour freewheel only required a very easy to improvise removal tool.

Browse this old and haphazardly organized site........ Articles by Sheldon Brown and Others It was created by a bike mechanic, writer and contributer to cycling magazine articles. He was also a member of this forum who sadly died early. There is some good stuff in here. There are new contributions and lot of stuff has been updated by those that keep the site going. It's not the bible, I'll argue with some of it, but it's got all the stuff to get you thinking in the right directions.

There is also a sticky at the top of this sub-forum with additional links into his various internet postings.

Last edited by Iride01; 05-20-18 at 11:02 AM.
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