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Can I rebuild my Walmart Schwinn mountain bike?

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Can I rebuild my Walmart Schwinn mountain bike?

Old 10-03-13, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman
The highest gear (largest front, smallest rear) should be enough even on a mountain bike to go over 20mph without turning the pedals very fast (for example 42/12 at about 80 rpm is about 22 mph, close to 20 even at 70 rpm). 80 rpm is generally considered a pretty good beginning of the efficient range for pedaling for most people. Unless your legs are extremely muscular it's unlikely you will go faster or easier by using higher gears than what are on the bike. However, if you aren't riding off road a lot the overall range of your bike may be too low, so that many of the gears are not useful. In that case an overall higher range would be indicated, but it's still not a good idea to push hard on the pedals, but rather "spin."
So a good middle ground for the OP might be simply to just swap out what he's not happy with, one thing at a
time. In the case above it sounds like swapping out the crankset with one with larger rings would probably be the best first thing to do, unless the smallest sprocket (the rear gear) can be replaced with a significantly smaller one (I'd say one with at least 2 fewer teeth). I'm not sure if these extra-cheap bikes still use freewheels, but if they do the OP would just have to change the freewheel (and if the chain is worn, that as well). This route is much easier and cheaper than changing the crankset, but changing the crankset would probably give more dramatic results. It will also probably require a new (longer) chain.

I don't see a reason to change out all the components
on the bike. You'd be spending a lot on tools for that. Your
components are cheap, but why change something like the headset for example if it works just fine? Just start with the biggest problem first and tackle them one at a time. If the bike still sucks, you can sell it, and at least you'll have gained some mechanical experience and collected some tools to use on the next bike - which should be bought at a local bike shop. IMO, if I were the OP I would buy the following tools right away, and build from there: chain tool (the park CT-5 has worked well for me and is quite portable as a bonus), metric allen wrench set, chain wear indicator, tire levers, and a 4-sided spoke wrench to match your spoke nipples. Also get a tube (I like tubes because the grease stays clean) of waterproof (like marine grade) grease if you don't have some already - you can use it for much more than working on your bike. If you really want to get serious about working on your bike get a repair stand or use one of the other methods for suspending the bike to work on it.
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Old 10-03-13, 05:08 PM
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Note that if you do swap cranksets you may have to use a different bottom bracket, and you will need to raise and readjust the front derailleur, may also need a longer chain, and then a new cassette if the old chain was too worn - to give you some idea of what changing one thing can entail.

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 10-03-13 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 10-03-13, 05:15 PM
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The 'mistake' you made was buying a W-mart bike . . .
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Old 10-03-13, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bkaapcke
First, take a walk on the wild side and go down to the local bike shop. Test ride a few bikes and try to find one that fits you well. Then compare the price and convenience to the cost and effort to rehab the Schwinn. Then decide. bk
How do I know the quality of what I am buying? It has been many years since I bought my giant but I had to have several repairs and replace the crank after very little use. Things of that sort I only know from other people who have already tried them.
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Old 10-03-13, 07:05 PM
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Most bikes of a similar price range use similar parts, and decent quality bikes last a long time with proper initial setup and maintenance. The setup/assembly is important, as is taking it back during the adjustment period (30-60 days typically) and doing or having regular maintenance. Giant makes perfectly suitable bikes, as do Trek, etc. Once you get to bike shop quality at least 80% of how a bike lasts is rider habits and maintenance.
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Old 10-03-13, 07:11 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by M. Bryce G.
How do I know the quality of what I am buying? It has been many years since I bought my giant but I had to have several repairs and replace the crank after very little use. Things of that sort I only know from other people who have already tried them.
Hang out in these forums and you can pick up a few things. Here's an article you may find useful to learn what you are looking at: https://cycloculture.blogspot.com/200...gslistorg.html

Spend some quality time with the late Sheldon Brown This is the go-to site for technical information about bicycles.

If you see something you are not sure of ask on these forums or do a search for prior posts on the subject.
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Old 10-03-13, 07:23 PM
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You CAN redo the WM Schwinn (Sidewinder, or Alum. Comp?), but I can promise you an investment near $400-450, if you're replacing everything. (And, after 6 years, you really SHOULD)If you like the Schwinn that much, do it; if it's just another bike, buy something else. (That's what a lot of folks are saying here, any bike'll do at a price...I disagree, but that's me. I did the same thing some years back with a Pacific hardtail, and never regretted it)

You'd have to spend a good $600 (new) to get a step above what you'd build; the cost, overall, would about balance out --but the shop bike will be dialed in, whereas your work likely won't be.

If you want to do it as a winter project, it sounds like fun. The Park Tool website and YouTube are your friends.
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Old 10-03-13, 08:12 PM
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I look at it like this- You can polish a rough diamond or you can put lipstick on a pig. Its going to take the same effort and time either way.

Don't bother, find something worth your time for the same money it'd take to get this rolling.
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Old 10-04-13, 01:00 AM
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I am curious as to why the cranks had to be replaced after just a little use.
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Old 10-04-13, 09:39 AM
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Unless you already have the parts, or you can buy them wholesale, it would be a lot cheaper to buy a new bike.
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Old 10-04-13, 10:14 AM
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I skimmed through this thread, and the first thing I noticed is that other than WalMart and Schwinn, there appears to be no mention of what model the bike is. That might help a great deal. At least then you could look up components and get a better idea than just with "Shimano." Shimano makes some great components, and they make some near garbage too. Depending on where the bike sits on the food chain it could be all bottom end, or it could be a mix.

The Schwinn name gets put on two categories of bikes, those sold in the big box stores, and those sold through your LBS. And yes, there are differences. A friend who happens to be the third generation running a Schwinn store since back in the day, explained some of those differences. First, the frame. The big box store bike is more likely to have a single walled tubing frame, made from high tensile steel tubing, as opposed to an LBS model, likely made from CroMo tubing that's either double or triple butted. If you've got an aluminum frame, there are similar differences. The penalties? Strength and weight. Now that doesn't mean that the frame is going to break on you (it could), but it does mean that you are likely riding a heftier bike than need be.

Shimano or SRAM components are what they are, irregardless of what make and model a bike is, or where that bike is sourced, LBS or BB store. The same goes for all the other components found on your bicycle. This stated, the bikes sold by Big Box retailers generally tend to have lower end component groups. These lower end parts many times do not function with the precision of their higher end counterparts. You may encounter shifting that is not as precise, bearings that do not move with the same smoothness, and of course, a difference in weight. The lower end components also don't tend to have the durability.

So, what does this mean for your six year old Big Box Schwinn? It could mean pitching everything but the frame, keeping in mind that this could still result in a heavier, less durable frame. Replacing all the components, shifters, derailleurs, wheels, bottom bracket, headset, etc, could cost more than you would spend on a higher end complete replacement bike, especially if purchased used. The upside to all this is the learning experience that completely rebuilding your existing bike would give. It is hard to put a price tag on that, or the satisfaction of riding a bicycle which you have an intimate involvement with.

My advice? Start checking prices on the parts you would want. Don't go to your LBS for this, as they will be the MOST expensive. This is one instance to stay away from your local shop. Rather, look to online sellers, chains like Performance and R.E.I. and don't forget Amazon. You could also comb your local Craigslist and eBay. Now, figure out, on paper, what this will cost you. Once you have that info in hand, go back to Craigslist and start looking at bikes. You will find the gamut from incomplete fixer-uppers to nice higher end bikes, many at quite reasonable prices. Go look at a few. Do they fit? Are they advantageous compared to a rebuild of what you have. Do they have that elusive "Q" factor?

Now, make your choice and enjoy the ride. Oh, and if you decide on replacing the bicycle, your research should give you a good idea on what you should expect to get for your old bike were you to now sell it on Craigslist or eBay. Good luck!
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Old 10-04-13, 10:25 AM
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The value that a complete rebuild gives the average person is overrated as much as cost in time is underrated. Generally people understand it costs more in money to get the same result, so hopefully one goes in open-eyed in that regard.

However, when one starts from scratch learning all the complexities of parts compatibility, quality, installation and adjustment, plus the time to source and order the parts, the time spent is enormous.

Many of the tools used in a scratch build might be used but once or twice again, ditto with much of the "learning" that accompanied it. The OP does not have enough experience to even judge what he needs or what components meet those needs.

If knowing that the OP wants to forge ahead at least it's with full information.

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Old 10-04-13, 11:58 AM
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I have some homework to do for sure.
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Old 10-04-13, 12:51 PM
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You'd be better off finding a Trek, Miyata, Specialized, or if you're lucky a Schwinn Paramount PDG rigid frame chromoly framed bike for $50-$100 to restore. I purchased Specialized Rockhopper and Hardrocks for $50, and Trek 930, 950, 990's for $50-$75.

Putting on narrow road slicks will transform the bike into a smooth hard pavement rider, much like a hybrid. New cables, housing, grips, saddle, bearings, and elbow grease make it look and ride like new. Every phase of making a tired bike look and ride new is covered in bikeforums.

https://ocala.craigslist.org/bik/4039965181.html

https://ocala.craigslist.org/bik/4088365636.html

Doing this is fun too, but a bit more $$ to be invested. But as I found, you can end up with a bike as functional as and better looking than a Surly LHT for about 15% of the $1200 cost.

https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ar-Conversions

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Old 10-04-13, 03:25 PM
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step 1, place bike in row boat. step 2, row to middle of lake. step 3, drop bike in lake, let sink to bottom. step 4, return to shore and purchase new bike with proper dimensions and functional rear brake.
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