Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Bike to Learn Mechanical Skills

Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Bike to Learn Mechanical Skills

Old 09-30-18, 08:23 AM
  #1  
Noonievut
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 453
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 60 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Bike to Learn Mechanical Skills

I have two bikes, a 10 year old road bike that is in mint condition and has a new drivetrain and a new gravel / bikepacking bike.

I'm thinking of buying a used bike that I can further learn mechanic skills. Something that needs work, but I donít want to spend lots of money replacing parts. I know there are always deals out there on parts...but Iím not going to replace for the sake of it. Obviously the drivetrain is an area to improve my skills (chain replacement and bottom brackets are things Iíve never tinkered with).

I was thinking of getting a commuter/touring bike (I donít commute for work, but could for errands) and using it with fenders on wet days, or with winter tires in the winter. That way I could ride it when Iím not riding the other bikes. Frame size that fits and tire clearance are the only must haves. Spec can be low end.

Any ideas other than Kijiji, Pinkbike (etc) for buying such a bike?
Noonievut is offline  
Old 09-30-18, 08:45 AM
  #2  
capnjonny 
Senior Member
 
capnjonny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Saratoga calif.
Posts: 489

Bikes: Miyata 610(66cm), GT Vantara Hybrid (64cm), Nishiki International (64cm), Peugeot rat rod (62 cm), Trek 800 Burning Man helicopter bike, Bob Jackson frame (to be restored?) plus a never ending stream of neglected waifs from the Bike exchange.

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 164 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 5 Posts
If you can you should volunteer at a bike co op or a non profit like the Bike Exchange. There you will see every kind and quality of bike. Our warehouse often has high end 10 -20 year old bikes waiting for someone to take home for a "homework project", which means you have to bring it back after you finish playing with it. Personally, I like playing with old "10 speeds" as the parts are mostly interchangeable with the exception of the French bikes, and English 3 speeds. not only will you get to educate yourself for free using someone else's materials but the result will be supporting a good cause.
capnjonny is offline  
Old 09-30-18, 08:48 AM
  #3  
Crankycrank
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,338
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 184 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 8 Posts
There are a few Apps for local sellers near you that are becoming more popular all the time and here's a link to some of them. https://wellkeptwallet.com/best-apps-to-sell-local/ I know 3 people who regularly use "OfferUp" and are very happy with it. Seems to always have some cheap bikes available where I live. I can't vouch for any of the other Apps listed but easy enough to research them for yourself.
Crankycrank is offline  
Old 09-30-18, 10:12 AM
  #4  
deacon mark
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,463

Bikes: Habanero Titanium Team Nuevo

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 185 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Learn it when you have to do the task really. It is not that difficult. Working on old bikes not really a great thing in that they sometimes uses different tools and specs. One thing you could try is to buy a new cheap wheel and simply rebuild it by loosening all the spokes and tensioning again. When you need to replace a chain get the chain tool and new chain read up and got at it not rocket science but makes sense to me.
deacon mark is offline  
Old 09-30-18, 10:15 AM
  #5  
Bill Kapaun
Senior Member
 
Bill Kapaun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Mid Willamette Valley, Orygun
Posts: 10,800

Bikes: 86 RockHopper,2008 Specialized Globe. Both upgraded to 9 speeds.

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 661 Post(s)
Liked 26 Times in 22 Posts
Stay away from the lowest tier bikes. You'll find them frustrating, especially if you are inexperienced.
Look for a frame decal that says CR-MO (chrome moly steel) and "butted". Double butted is a bit lighter than single butted. "Hi Ten" steel is just the cheapest grade and relatively heavy.
Bill Kapaun is offline  
Old 09-30-18, 10:46 AM
  #6  
branko_76
Senior Member
 
branko_76's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 210
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 74 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Any 10-speed from the 1960's or 1970's for under $100 would be perfect for learning how to overhaul and tune a bicycle. Try to find one that has all of the original parts and restore them. Don't fall into the "upgrade" trap. Re-use the cables, inner tubes, cable housing, etc. Spend your money on tools that will allow you to work on your keeper.
branko_76 is offline  
Old 09-30-18, 11:25 AM
  #7  
alcjphil
Senior Member
 
alcjphil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 2,977
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 563 Post(s)
Liked 23 Times in 22 Posts
Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
I have two bikes, a 10 year old road bike that is in mint condition and has a new drivetrain and a new gravel / bikepacking bike.

I'm thinking of buying a used bike that I can further learn mechanic skills. Something that needs work, but I donít want to spend lots of money replacing parts. I know there are always deals out there on parts...but Iím not going to replace for the sake of it. Obviously the drivetrain is an area to improve my skills (chain replacement and bottom brackets are things Iíve never tinkered with).
If you own a 10 year old road bike that has been well maintained, How did you manage that? Maintaining your own bike yourself is the best way to learn how. Your 10 year old bike has a new drivetrain. Did you do the upgrade yourself? Even a new drivetrain will require regular care, replacing wear items like chains, cables, brake pads, tires, along with servicing bearings in hubs, bottom brackets, headsets and pedals. A gravel/bikepacking bike is going to need service even more often than a road bike. Learn how to maintain the bikes you already own, you don't need another one
alcjphil is offline  
Old 09-30-18, 12:22 PM
  #8  
Noonievut
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 453
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 60 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
Any 10-speed from the 1960's or 1970's for under $100 would be perfect for learning how to overhaul and tune a bicycle. Try to find one that has all of the original parts and restore them. Don't fall into the "upgrade" trap. Re-use the cables, inner tubes, cable housing, etc. Spend your money on tools that will allow you to work on your keeper.
i like that idea. Even if itís a bike from the 90ís I think I could pull it apart, clean and lube as needed and put it back together (then ride it). I would definitely use it around town and on foil weather days, so it should be ready for those conditions.
Noonievut is offline  
Old 09-30-18, 12:23 PM
  #9  
Noonievut
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 453
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 60 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
If you own a 10 year old road bike that has been well maintained, How did you manage that? Maintaining your own bike yourself is the best way to learn how. Your 10 year old bike has a new drivetrain. Did you do the upgrade yourself? Even a new drivetrain will require regular care, replacing wear items like chains, cables, brake pads, tires, along with servicing bearings in hubs, bottom brackets, headsets and pedals. A gravel/bikepacking bike is going to need service even more often than a road bike. Learn how to maintain the bikes you already own, you don't need another one
I had a shop do the drivetrain; I didnít have the confidence to do it myself. And I kept it in great shape with basic maintenance only (cables, chain and cassette).
Noonievut is offline  
Old 09-30-18, 12:43 PM
  #10  
HerrKaLeun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 1,377

Bikes: Giant Toughroad SLR1 and Motobecane Sturgis NX

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 667 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 25 Times in 21 Posts
Originally Posted by deacon mark View Post
Learn it when you have to do the task really. It is not that difficult. Working on old bikes not really a great thing in that they sometimes uses different tools and specs. One thing you could try is to buy a new cheap wheel and simply rebuild it by loosening all the spokes and tensioning again. When you need to replace a chain get the chain tool and new chain read up and got at it not rocket science but makes sense to me.
That way you learn one piece after another and what is applicable to your bike. Obviously if your goal is N+1, you can follow the plan to buy one.
i wouldn't buy a cheap wheel to dis-assemble. Build a new one with good material when you need one. A cheap wheel is not great and the outcome can be questionable. and what do you do with a cheap wheel that may be worse than the ones your bikes already have? throw away?

Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Stay away from the lowest tier bikes. You'll find them frustrating, especially if you are inexperienced.
Look for a frame decal that says CR-MO (chrome moly steel) and "butted". Double butted is a bit lighter than single butted. "Hi Ten" steel is just the cheapest grade and relatively heavy.
I once had the idea to restore bikes for fun (not much money in flipping, not if you want to get the bike to be actually good). but after doing a project bike at a coop, and restoring 2 Walmart bikes, I never really want to revive old bikes that should go into recycling. Newer and higher tier equipment is so much easier to work on and the outcome can be a really good bike. Now I really only want to work on my bikes and install good stuff. I rather ride more than to work on bikes. already spend way too much time wrenching (and researching upgrades) on my 2 bikes as it is.

Your bikes are in good condition, so start with just normal maintenance (hub bearings etc.) and go from there in case you want to upgrade or something brakes. You'll buy the necessary tools over time as needed. As you work on the bike you will know better what to buy.
Don't be afraid to take the bikes in the rain, they are bikes and not made of paper.

Obviously go N+1 if you want to.
HerrKaLeun is offline  
Old 09-30-18, 07:19 PM
  #11  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO
Posts: 1,514

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 219 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 15 Posts
Ditto volunteering at a co-op or non-profit.
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 09-30-18, 11:50 PM
  #12  
branko_76
Senior Member
 
branko_76's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 210
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 74 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
I have two bikes, a 10 year old road bike that is in mint condition and has a new drivetrain and a new gravel / bikepacking bike.

I'm thinking of buying a used bike that I can further learn mechanic skills. Something that needs work, but I donít want to spend lots of money replacing parts. I know there are always deals out there on parts...but Iím not going to replace for the sake of it. Obviously the drivetrain is an area to improve my skills (chain replacement and bottom brackets are things Iíve never tinkered with).

I was thinking of getting a commuter/touring bike (I donít commute for work, but could for errands) and using it with fenders on wet days, or with winter tires in the winter. That way I could ride it when Iím not riding the other bikes. Frame size that fits and tire clearance are the only must haves. Spec can be low end.
You've got the right idea. The best to learn bike repair and maintenance is not only to do the work, but also to ride the bike for an extended period to find out where you need to improve your skills. Repairing bikes for others as a volunteer will not give you the first-hand feedback that a bike you've ridden hundreds of miles will.

There are hundreds of thousands of bikes from the bike boom era that are still in peoples basements and garages waiting for someone like you to bring one of them back to life.

Don't be afraid of plain gauge, low carbon steel frames. They may be a pound or two heavier but most were built to last. My main commuter is a 1977 Raleigh Grand Prix that I bought from a thrift store for $25.00. It was in sad shape but that made it all the more challenging. I save my 1980's Holdsworth and 1970's Falcon for fair weather rides.

Here's the finished product

branko_76 is offline  
Old 10-01-18, 01:03 PM
  #13  
ironwood
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Boston area
Posts: 1,689

Bikes: 1984 Bridgestone 400 1985Univega nouevo sport 650b conversion 1993b'stone RBT 1985 Schwinn Tempo

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 394 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
People throw away good old bikes. I've picked a bunch from the local dump metal pile. Most of them went to a local charity, Bikes not Bombs, but I've kept some that fit me. These bikes are perfect to practice on. Even if a bike is damaged you can learn how to remove and repair various components .
ironwood is offline  
Old 10-01-18, 02:27 PM
  #14  
squirtdad
Senior Member
 
squirtdad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: San Jose (Willow Glen) Ca
Posts: 6,127

Bikes: 90/91 De Rosa, '84 Team Miyata, '82 nishiski,

Mentioned: 55 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 807 Post(s)
Liked 38 Times in 30 Posts
Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
If you own a 10 year old road bike that has been well maintained, How did you manage that? Maintaining your own bike yourself is the best way to learn how. Your 10 year old bike has a new drivetrain. Did you do the upgrade yourself? Even a new drivetrain will require regular care, replacing wear items like chains, cables, brake pads, tires, along with servicing bearings in hubs, bottom brackets, headsets and pedals. A gravel/bikepacking bike is going to need service even more often than a road bike. Learn how to maintain the bikes you already own, you don't need another one
+1 start with what you have....
__________________
Looking for Team Miyata F&F 58cm
squirtdad is offline  
Old 10-02-18, 09:20 PM
  #15  
AtNjineer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
What city and state do you live in?
AtNjineer is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 03:04 AM
  #16  
Noonievut
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 453
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 60 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by AtNjineer View Post
What city and state do you live in?
An hour outside Toronto, Ontario (Canada).
Noonievut is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 04:32 AM
  #17  
JoeTBM 
Droid on a mission
 
JoeTBM's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Palm Coast, FL
Posts: 235

Bikes: Diamondback Wildwood Classic

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 55 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
People throw away good old bikes. I've picked a bunch from the local dump metal pile. Most of them went to a local charity, Bikes not Bombs, but I've kept some that fit me. These bikes are perfect to practice on. Even if a bike is damaged you can learn how to remove and repair various components .
__________________
JoeTBM (The Bike Man)
I'm a black & white type of guy, the only gray in my life is the hair on my head.
JoeTBM is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 07:18 AM
  #18  
tkamd73
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Menomonee Falls, WI
Posts: 439

Bikes: 1984 Schwinn Supersport, 1988 Trek 400t, 1977 Trek TX900, 1982 Bianchi Champione del Mondo, 1988 Trek 400 Elance, 1978 Raleigh Supercourse, 1991 PDG Paramount OS

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 146 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 11 Posts
Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
+1 start with what you have....
I second that. Why not take the bikes you have, take them all apart, then but them back together. Except for paint and decals, that will give you all the mechanical skills.
Tim
tkamd73 is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 08:34 AM
  #19  
NoWhammies
Senior Member
 
NoWhammies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 825

Bikes: Argon 18 Gallium, BH G7

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 341 Post(s)
Liked 31 Times in 25 Posts
That's my plan @tkamd73. I have a second bike that is in good condition but likely needs some new cables, new lube of the hubs, etc. I plan on going through Zinn's book over the winter and overhauling my bike. If I get really stuck I can head in to the LBS and hopefully get some hints/tips on what I'm doing wrong.
NoWhammies is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 12:39 PM
  #20  
AtNjineer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post


An hour outside Toronto, Ontario (Canada).
what city
AtNjineer is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 12:42 PM
  #21  
AtNjineer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
That's my plan @tkamd73. I have a second bike that is in good condition but likely needs some new cables, new lube of the hubs, etc. I plan on going through Zinn's book over the winter and overhauling my bike. If I get really stuck I can head in to the LBS and hopefully get some hints/tips on what I'm doing wrong.
whatís zinns book
AtNjineer is offline  
Old 10-08-18, 06:30 PM
  #22  
Noonievut
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 453
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 60 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by AtNjineer View Post


what city
Georgetown
Noonievut is offline  
Old 10-09-18, 06:03 PM
  #23  
AtNjineer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
So you want to do it yourself and learn. I looked up George Town on google maps and you donít have any bicycle shops from what I saw. Only a dealer and maybe they have a service shop. Far from the mom and pop shop that would be more willing to help you understand the workings of your bike. Even if they didnít sell it to you. In the next cities over Brampton and Milton even on the outskirts of Mississauga nearest you. There are bicycle shops. If I were you. I would buy the cheapest beach cruiser you can find with a coaster brake. If it has flat tires. Thatís good you should learn how to patch an inner tube and or replace one. offer up or letgo apps will help you find some close to you. Make sure the wheels are straight at least. Take it home and take a part the rear hub. Clean and grease it again. Put it back together and ride it. That would to me a big accomplishment. Good luck
AtNjineer is offline  
Old 10-09-18, 07:24 PM
  #24  
ddeand 
Senior Member
 
ddeand's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 687
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 115 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
An alternative might be to buy an olf Raleigh 3-speed. They can be had for a song, and when you finish your restoration, you have a pretty cool old bike for doing some alternative-style rides. Granted, you won’t get the experience of working with derailleurs, but you will get to do the bearings (including the oedals), cleaninf (which is almost an art itself), and working on internal hubs. There are lots of videos for proceeding with any bike, but I’d start with an inexpensive one and donate it when finished. Whatever you choose, you’ll learn a lot and have a lot of fun. And a tip: keep a bottle of Dawn dish detergent and a 3M scrubbing pad next to your work sink - you’ll get dirty.
__________________
Some days, it's not even worth gnawing through the restraints.
ddeand is offline  
Old 10-09-18, 10:19 PM
  #25  
AtNjineer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Iíve built more than pictured below

AtNjineer is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.