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Can I rebuild my Walmart Schwinn mountain bike?

Old 10-03-13, 10:19 AM
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Can I rebuild my Walmart Schwinn mountain bike?

I have 6 year old or so Walmart Schwinn mountain bike. I like the aluminum frame but the rest is not that good. I was thinking of rebuilding it if I could. Any suggestions on where to get parts and how I determine dimensions? Is it even worth rebuilding even if I do like the frame? What are so pros and cons? Anything else I am not considering? I don't want to go to the bike shop because I have been ripped off in the past and would rather do it myself.
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Old 10-03-13, 10:32 AM
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I have no knowledge of what your abilities are. or is this a permission to act question?
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Old 10-03-13, 10:35 AM
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From what i can tell , i had a Walmart hybrid bike for a bout 24 hours... (FLIP BIKE) and the frame was pretty decent, that is about the most i will say about it...I guess anything can be rebuilt but at this point, how much are you willing to spend on it...You know the old saying, You can't make chicken salad out of chicken $hit.
Just sayin.,
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Old 10-03-13, 10:38 AM
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Any bike is rebuildable if you want to spend the money. The amount is determined by you. You could easily spend more than the bike cost new. Roger
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Old 10-03-13, 10:38 AM
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No, you may not rebuild that bike.

For 1/2 the money you'd spend on parts you could get a great, serviceable ride.
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Old 10-03-13, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ArizonaAdam
No, you may not rebuild that bike.

For 1/2 the money you'd spend on parts you could get a great, serviceable ride.
Hence the chicken salad story...LOL
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Old 10-03-13, 10:47 AM
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Only if you can get the parts very cheap. Most of these Walmart Schwinns run about $150, maybe $200 for some of the higher end models.

Check Craigslist, Ebay, swap meets and if you have a bike co-op, look there as well. You may also be able to find a cheap donor bike at a pawn shop. There is also the "for trade" threads right here on BF. You want decent quality but not high end parts. The kind of thing that might be found on the lower end bike store bikes.
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Old 10-03-13, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Notgrownup
Hence the chicken salad story...LOL
But you could make chicken **** salad, if that's what you want.
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Old 10-03-13, 10:55 AM
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Not worth the time or the money - unless maybe you can get a set of good components for next to nothing.
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Old 10-03-13, 11:14 AM
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Most equipment upgrades don't make economic sense. Specialized and Trek can buy components much more cheaply than you can. I like to lace up my own wheels but, the reality is that even when I was able to buy hubs and rims at wholesale prices, I could still buy a built up wheel set for about the same money as I had to pay for just the component parts.

Everything, however, isn't just about money. Some of us like the sense of accomplishment and the learning experience that we get from upgrading a low end bike. If you think that's you, look for donor bikes to start building your component collection. Try some creative dumpster diving and maybe scoop up a basked case at a police auction. Good luck.
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Old 10-03-13, 11:22 AM
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The input from everyone is no surprise. As far as my skill goes if I want to do something I do it even if I have no prior knowledge. I am a person who likes to make mistakes. I will be a better person in the end at whatever it is I want to accomplish. It sounds to me from listening here that I should ride the bike in the ground then buy something better. Can anyone make some suggestions on a new bike. I get sorta confused on pricing and what I am getting. I was looking at Giant and Trek bikes but the price range is confusing as to what I would be getting. My first mountain bike was a Giant Iguana when I was a kid.
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Old 10-03-13, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by M. Bryce G.
I have 6 year old or so Walmart Schwinn mountain bike. I like the aluminum frame but the rest is not that good. I was thinking of rebuilding it if I could. Any suggestions on where to get parts and how I determine dimensions? Is it even worth rebuilding even if I do like the frame? What are so pros and cons? Anything else I am not considering? I don't want to go to the bike shop because I have been ripped off in the past and would rather do it myself.
Well, the Walmart bikes are not the best, but the Schwinns are better than some others. I would wager that most of the "not that good" is more a matter of adjustment and maintenance than parts quality, as many of the parts on your bike come on bike shop bikes. Also, you need to learn the basics before tackling replacement, as there are a LOT of things to consider and many specialized tools as well.

Start learning how to work on your bike by going to parktool.com/blog and clicking on the part you want to learn about. Also go to sheldonbrown.com and Google to learn more. The BEST way is generally with in-person help, but I see from another post you are in a remote area and small community (Crystal River, FL). See if any bike shops (beside the one where you had bad experiences) offer repair clinics, or if there is a knowledgable friend who can help.
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Old 10-03-13, 12:06 PM
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What is your definition of "rebuilding"?
What problems are you having with it.

Some things may be "fixable" with just some basic tune up/lubrication.
Others, maybe more extensive.

A few pics of the components may be helpful to see what you have.
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Old 10-03-13, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman
Well, the Walmart bikes are not the best, but the Schwinns are better than some others. I would wager that most of the "not that good" is more a matter of adjustment and maintenance than parts quality, as many of the parts on your bike come on bike shop bikes. Also, you need to learn the basics before tackling replacement, as there are a LOT of things to consider and many specialized tools as well.

Start learning how to work on your bike by going to parktool.com/blog and clicking on the part you want to learn about. Also go to sheldonbrown.com and Google to learn more. The BEST way is generally with in-person help, but I see from another post you are in a remote area and small community (Crystal River, FL). See if any bike shops (beside the one where you had bad experiences) offer repair clinics, or if there is a knowledgable friend who can help.
Thanks, that is a big help. I may have to see if Ocala, Brooksville, or Tampa have any clinics. I will check those sites right now. I would like to them. I don't have any friends around now because they have moved away from a bad economy and my other friend died recently. I like to have friends with me when I go out because we have lots of wild pigs around and I am prone to get into things that get me hurt.
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Old 10-03-13, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
What is your definition of "rebuilding"?
What problems are you having with it.

Some things may be "fixable" with just some basic tune up/lubrication.
Others, maybe more extensive.

A few pics of the components may be helpful to see what you have.
I will try to get some pictures up later. I think the parts are mostly Shimano probably some cheap mass produced stuff. The shifters even when I first bought it just did not seem to move the chain well. You can click it 3 times and the chain stays put so you have to over shift then shift back. The breaks don't seem to grab well and the back wheel is bent. I would also like to go a little faster. Reason I like the frame is because I have a long torso and very short legs. It can be hard for me to fit bikes and this one seems to fit me.
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Old 10-03-13, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by M. Bryce G.
I will try to get some pictures up later. I think the parts are mostly Shimano probably some cheap mass produced stuff. The shifters even when I first bought it just did not seem to move the chain well. You can click it 3 times and the chain stays put so you have to over shift then shift back. The breaks don't seem to grab well and the back wheel is bent. I would also like to go a little faster. Reason I like the frame is because I have a long torso and very short legs. It can be hard for me to fit bikes and this one seems to fit me.
We have the same geometry. Specialized has models that fit me well.
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Old 10-03-13, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by M. Bryce G.
You can click it 3 times and the chain stays put so you have to over shift then shift back.
This could be simply a cable problem. Either normal cable stretch requiring adjustments, or some bad cables that are damaged in some way causing them to not move as they should. Some shifters can behave similarly. I've run across quite a few trigger shifters that were gummed up inside from age and non-use.

How much usage does the bike have on it? Has it been stored outside?

Originally Posted by M. Bryce G.
The breaks don't seem to grab well and the back wheel is bent.
That bent wheel is impacting the performance of the rear brake. Aside from that, they may need some adjustments and perhaps a new set of brake pads. As with shifting, bad cables are a likely problem, especially if the bike has been stored outside in the weather.
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Old 10-03-13, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by M. Bryce G.
... I would also like to go a little faster....
Unless the bike is plain broken, that's usually more down to the engine than the bike.
Slick tires (on a MTB) won't do much for your top speed, ( it might actually drop it some)but may help you maintain a higher cruise average. A big culprit around and above 20 MPH is air drag, which is where drop bar bikes begins to pay off. But some riders are outright bothered by the hunched over position, and the added gear ratio won't do you any good below 25 MPH.
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Old 10-03-13, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by M. Bryce G.
The input from everyone is no surprise. As far as my skill goes if I want to do something I do it even if I have no prior knowledge.
1. I am a person who likes to make mistakes. 1I will be a better person in the end at whatever it is I want to accomplish.
2. It sounds to me from listening here that I should ride the bike in the ground then buy something better. Can anyone make some suggestions on a new bike.
3. I get sorta confused on pricing and what I am getting. I was looking at Giant and Trek bikes but the price range is confusing as to what I would be getting. My first mountain bike was a Giant Iguana when I was a kid.
Originally Posted by M. Bryce G.
4.I will try to get some pictures up later. I think the parts are mostly Shimano probably some cheap mass produced stuff. The shifters even when I first bought it just did not seem to move the chain well. You can click it 3 times and the chain stays put so you have to over shift then shift back. The BRAKES don't seem to grab well and the back wheel is bent.
5. I would also like to go a little faster.
6.Reason I like the frame is because I have a long torso and very short legs. It can be hard for me to fit bikes and this one seems to fit me.
  1. Making mistakes is fine, and part of the territory, but don't count on "mistakes are learning" - you can waste a lot of time "learning" multiple ways to do something the wrong way. Avail yourself of the resources I pointed out before you start working on the bike, and remember that it's much more important to understand why you are doing something than to just follow rote instructions. Parts on a bicycle are interconnected and therefore affect each other, and the same principles apply to different parts. So once you learn how to adjust a rear derailleur the front will be easier, same with adjusting bearings. Start with the drive train, as all it typically takes is a metric allen or combo wrench and some lubricant (don't ask which here - Google for thousands of reviews/opinions).
  2. Not sure what you mean by that - it's more like get the maximum you can out of the bike - miles and learning maintenance - until you can afford a new bike. If you "ride it into the ground" you won't be able to sell it to help defray the cost of a new bike.
  3. You will understand much better what to look for as you educate yourself about various parts and work on the bike you have. The knowledge will come.
  4. Pics are not all that important, as most everything component is adjusted the same for a given style and we can't judge much about adjustment from a pic. Again, the parts will function if properly maintained and adusted, and they are all mass produced. It's mainly off-brands that function more poorly.
  5. Speed comes with miles and technique more than with the bike. Read about cadence and gear selection.
  6. That's much less a challenge than the reverse - a longer stem can fairly easily take care of a long torso.

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 10-03-13 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 10-03-13, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Yo Spiff
This could be simply a cable problem. Either normal cable stretch requiring adjustments, or some bad cables that are damaged in some way causing them to not move as they should. Some shifters can behave similarly. I've run across quite a few trigger shifters that were gummed up inside from age and non-use.

How much usage does the bike have on it? Has it been stored outside?


That bent wheel is impacting the performance of the rear brake. Aside from that, they may need some adjustments and perhaps a new set of brake pads. As with shifting, bad cables are a likely problem, especially if the bike has been stored outside in the weather.
I am not using the back brake at all. I took it loose. As far as the braking issues and shifting system those problems were like that when I got it. I have put lots of miles on the bike but not hard miles like on my older bikes. There is some weathering on the parts.
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Old 10-03-13, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman
  1. Making mistakes is fine, and part of the territory, but don't count on "mistakes are learning" - you can waste a lot of time "learning" multiple ways to do something the wrong way. Avail yourself of the resources I pointed out before you start working on the bike, and remember that it's much more important to understand why you are doing something than to just follow rote instructions. Parts on a bicycle are interconnected and therefore affect each other, and the same principles apply to different parts. So once you learn how to adjust a rear derailleur the front will be easier, same with adjusting bearings. Start with the drive train, as all it typically takes is a metric allen or combo wrench and some lubricant (don't ask which here - Google for thousands of reviews/opinions).
  2. Not sure what you mean by that - it's more like get the maximum you can out of the bike - miles and learning maintenance - until you can afford a new bike. If you "ride it into the ground" you won't be able to sell it to help defray the cost of a new bike.
  3. You will understand much better what to look for as you educate yourself about various parts and work on the bike you have. The knowledge will come.
  4. Pics are not all that important, as most everything component is adjusted the same for a given style and we can't judge much about adjustment from a pic. Again, the parts will function if properly maintained and adusted, and they are all mass produced. It's mainly off-brands that function more poorly.
  5. Speed comes with miles and technique more than with the bike. Read about cadence and gear selection.
  6. That's much less a challenge than the reverse - a longer stem can fairly easily take care of a long torso.
You have some good points and I will go to those resources. As far as speed goes when I have the bike at the fastest speed it is just too easy too ride and gives little resistance. My old Mountain Bike had a bigger front sprocket and gave more resistance and I could go 80 miles a day no problem. On this bike it feels like it takes forever and I am peddling so fast.
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Old 10-03-13, 02:21 PM
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What kind of budget do you have or would like to attain or to wish to spend on an upgraded bike.
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Old 10-03-13, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by M. Bryce G.
I am not using the back brake at all. I took it loose. As far as the braking issues and shifting system those problems were like that when I got it. I have put lots of miles on the bike but not hard miles like on my older bikes. There is some weathering on the parts.
If the rear wheel is too badly out of true, you may have to replace it. You may be able to get it back within a reasonable spec, however. The shifting issues when new are normal for a mart bike. They just slap the handelbars and seat on the bike and call it done.

I think a lot of the problems you are having are not as much a case of cheap components as they are proper adjustment. This is something you can learn to do yourself and the initial expense will be some bicycle specific tools that you will use again many times in the future.
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Old 10-03-13, 03:11 PM
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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
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Old 10-03-13, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by M. Bryce G.
You have some good points and I will go to those resources. As far as speed goes when I have the bike at the fastest speed it is just too easy too ride and gives little resistance. My old Mountain Bike had a bigger front sprocket and gave more resistance and I could go 80 miles a day no problem. On this bike it feels like it takes forever and I am (pedaling) so fast.
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."

P.S. If your bike has not had at least a couple tune-ups at a shop in 6 years I can tell you for sure that most of your problems are due to lack of maintenance. It's important before you put a lot of effort into the bike to check for chain wear. When you are at the shop you might also ask for an evaluation of your current bike to see what they say it needs and the cost for them to do it. I would say that for every $10 of labor you can count on spending up to an hour to do the same work - and perhaps get it right. Any replacement of chain or cassette (rear cluster) will require specialized tools.

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