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New to Bicycles With a Lot to Say and a Few Questions About an Old Puch 10 Speed.

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New to Bicycles With a Lot to Say and a Few Questions About an Old Puch 10 Speed.

Old 04-17-12, 11:54 AM
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tws2111
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New to Bicycles With a Lot to Say and a Few Questions About an Old Puch 10 Speed.

Hey guys,

Let me preface this post by saying that I am brand new to just about everything bicycles including this forum so I apologize if I am somehow lacking in formalities or just generally ignorant... I figured I have to start somewhere though, right?

I don't really know anyone that is knowledgable about bicycles so I turn to what seems to be your very respectable community with the following run down and possible venture.

(If you're not looking for a story and just want to tell me about that Puch, just skip to the bottom )

Of course, I owned a few bikes throughout my childhood (I'm currently a 19 year-old college student) but I have recently developed a pretty inexplicable fascination with them and I think its something I'd really love to get into. A good friend of mine (who also knows next to nothing about bicycles other than how to ride one... to be generous) recently picked up a '72 Scwhinn Le Tour and I think I've fallen in love.

Front what I could tell, the bike was in pretty good shape until about two weeks later he destroyed the back rim on a curb. I'm relatively handy/mechanically inclined so with some help from the internet and a probably a little too much faith in my own intuition, I managed to fix it up, replacing the rim and getting everything running smoothly again. As much as I could be comfortable doing, I tweaked a few other things including the shifters, chain drive, and the breaks into working a little more efficiently. Not to toot my own horn because for all I know, the damn thing could fall apart tomorrow and kill him but I'm pretty sure I did a damn good job for a first try.

Anyways, I found the whole experience incredibly rewarding and after borrowing the bike a few times, I've found that having one at your disposal in New York City (where I got to college) is just unbelievably practical, efficient, and fun!

---------------------------------------------
Puch 10 Speed

Which brings me to the real purpose of this post. I have the opportunity to buy an old Puch 10 speed bicycle for $50. After finding what I could online without really knowing what to look for, I believe the bike is a Brigadier? Later on today, perhaps I will stop by and take some photos if the owner will allow it.

My first instinct is that it's a steal but the bike IS NOT in great shape. The breaks are awful and would likely have to be replaced completely, the front two gears do not shift but the back five are functional. As far as the originality of the components, I couldn't tell you, but it doesn't look like much has been done to the bike for better or worse. Based on the fact that the bike has been in New York City, I'd venture to say there's a decent amount of wear and tear I just wouldn't even know to look for but the frame seems surprisingly solid based on the fact that the person I'd be buying it from allegedly purchased it from a homeless man for $100.

My question is, if I am VERY serious about learning bicycles and very much interested in building/restoring a bike this summer to have at school and probably for a long time, is this a good bike to start with? I realize it's going to be a huge project, possibly bigger than someone as unexperienced as myself could realize, but at any rate, it's something I feel pretty compelled to do. I wouldn't be set on restoring it to any orignal condition but if any thinks that could be a worthwhile venture, I'd be interested to hear why. At the same time, if that's a good price for just a pretty cool vintage frame and a few other salvageable parts, I'd also be interested in just slowly replacing parts with new ones as I have the time/money.

I am a college student so I'm definitely on a budget but I think I could be pretty content just to slowly pour my soul into a bicycle that was functional in the mean time. If I went the route of just fixing up a bike by whatever means and not worrying about originality, I'd just want to end up with something pretty reliable yet sleek and with some style. I'm not sure if this is hearsay but I've also considered going the fixed gear route for a first build just for simplicity sake as I learn the ropes... well and because they're just dope.

Thanks in advance and thanks everyone for having me here on the forum. In the future I will try to keep my posts shorter and more to the point but I'm pretty giddy about the thought of getting into bikes and I guess I just wanted to see what everyone thought!

Thomas
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Old 04-17-12, 12:02 PM
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Also, I had mentioned this when intended to post this under a different thread but I seem to have left it out here. The bike has badges for the 100th Anniversary and is stamped Made in Austria if that helps with the year at all. I realize I'm not giving you guys much but perhaps you could tell me what to look for?

Thanks again.

Thomas
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Old 04-17-12, 12:44 PM
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Lets see - the brakes are bad, the front shifter doesn't work and you really haven't checked out the rest of the bike.

For a first attempt I'd be more inclined to get a bike that is still rideable even though it lacks the panache of a 100th annaversary badge..
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Old 04-17-12, 01:20 PM
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That's seems like a pretty reasonable suggestion. In reality, I'm just excited to get my hands on something that I can start working with and I guess I was hoping that there might be some redeeming quality that could make it worthwhile.
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Old 04-17-12, 01:22 PM
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Moved from General Discussion to Classic & Vintage appraisals.
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Old 04-17-12, 05:09 PM
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Puch started building bikes in 1889 (via Wikipedia), so if I'm doing the math right, I'm going to guess it's a 1989 model. That's close to the last year the original Puch bike company made bikes. It's sounds like you want to wrench (work on bikes) more than ride? Does the bike have any kind of sticker on it (usually on the tube that the seat-and-post slide into) that tells anything about the type of steel used in the tube construction?
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Old 04-17-12, 06:31 PM
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Well... against my better judgement (and yours Retro Grouch, sorry) I bought the bicycle. With a little sweet talking the owner and a lot of down talking the bike, I managed to pick it up for $50. Honestly, at that price, I couldn't afford to not get my hands on it. If I ruin it, I'll be relatively upset but at least my bank account won't be. As I said, I live in NYC and I'm constantly on the subway. If I save myself 9 round trips, trash or not, it'll have paid for itself.

At any rate, after meeting up with the previous owner today, I took a closer look at the bike and found out that it is in fact a Cavette, lowlier than the Brigadier I suspected. Decals on the bike include the "100 Year Anniversary" badge on the downtube as mentioned as well as a "Special Puch 482 Tubing Made in Austria" on the seat tube if those help with the year. I'll post some pictures later.

Definitely some small rust spots where the paint had been scratched, probably years ago, but I briefly sanded down the worst looking spots before taking the $50 dollar plunge. With the lightest sanding, the steel looks pretty great to me. Unfortunately I didn't have any means of taking off the bottom bracket to check inside but I'm relatively confident it's in pretty good shape.

i intend to strip the whole bike down, remove the rust, and repaint completely within the next few weeks or once finals are over. Does anyone have any tips as far as this goes? Or at least somewhere to direct me so I can teach myself? I've seen oxalic acid pop up a lot but I was wondering if this is the most cost effective and overall efficient way to go about it. Not sure I have access to any large pools of acid here in the city. If I can confirm it's just surface rust, will a thorough sanding due?

Anyways, thanks as always!

Thomas
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Old 04-17-12, 06:32 PM
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*picked it up for $40.
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Old 04-17-12, 06:48 PM
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Google is your friend, oxalic acid, how to paint, how to date a bike, etc., has been covered in infinite detail many times. You'll get lots of ideas and information to choose from. As far as painting yourself, be prepared for about a 3 month cure cycle for the paint before building it up. Takes a lot of patience (which I do not have).

In the google search box type: oxalic acid site:www.bikeforums.net

You should get 400 to 500 threads on this topic to choose from. You will probably get even more on painting.

Put up pics of the extent of the rust. The pool concept, which I use a lot, really depends on the extent of the rust. Last frameset I did was an all chrome bike, covered all over with minor surface rust. Saving that chrome was well worth it. I am saving up frames for an upcoming campaign in May (I tend to do five or six, saves on materials, is more efficient, etc.) If you were near the mtns of NC, you would be welcome to share it.

I have rehabbed many bikes. Fixing up an old bike is best suited to someone with the time/aptitude/tools/space/access to parts, otherwise, even a FREE bike can be a bad deal. Fortunately, in large cities, there are usually several bike co-ops, which will share tools and expertise for minimal expense. Buying tools yourself rarely pays off until the fourth or fifth bike. Finding a co-op you like is JOB #1.

Confident the inside is in good shape? That confidence is misplaced. Some of the worst internal rust frames I have had, looked great on the outside, and the worst (by far) frame as far as external rust I have ever had? No rust internal whatsoever. It was spotless. Internal rust is a different issue, and caused by different factors, than external rust. My experience is based on rehabbing over 300 vintage bikes.

As someone who types long posts myself, your long post is fine with me. A couple of tips if you have specific questions: #1 Search first. #2 if you can't find it through search, then post a short question. Posts with 487 different questions will get few answers. Not searching first is kind of bad manners.

Last edited by wrk101; 04-17-12 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 04-17-12, 09:06 PM
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As said, find a good bike co-op that has boxes of used parts, loans tools, rents work stand time. Take their bike maintenance class. Rummage through the bins until you find the necessary parts. Odds are the bike just needs adjustment, pads, new cables, lubing, tubes and tires - and lots of cleaning - to be a functional bike. After you get it functional, then figure out if you want to sink the time into restoring it, or if it should stay an around-town beater while you work on a nicer, better bike that will be worth more than $100 after you sink dozens of hours into it . . . In NYC, I think I'd want a lowly beater to ride around. I gather there is a little bit of bike theft problem there.
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Old 04-17-12, 09:39 PM
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Nobody cares.

See you and your nine million word posts later.


Tom
Apparently you care, since you posted. Are you in charge of server space here?

As to the OP, I lack a lot of specific knowledge, but would suggest starting with something in slightly better shape. Is it at least compete and rideable? I went for a rusty fixer upper in the beginning of my bike hobby and pretty much got frustrated and ran out of steam. It's still in my basement disassembled.

Pretty much any CL bike will need tubes, tires, cables, brakes, grease--more than enough to feel like you're doing something.
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Old 04-18-12, 04:53 AM
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Nobody cares.

See you and your nine million word posts later.


Tom
Does that mean that you're leaving?-)
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Old 04-19-12, 01:33 PM
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This is just my view, but it sounds like the best thing to do is just get it running and back on the street. The shifter and brake problems are likely rusted cables, easy to fix, you might want new pads too. Don't bother with paint, except to touch up after cleaning the rust. Make sure that the wheels are true, the tires are new and that all the controls function. Don't try to restore it, it's a lower end bike and what you need is a good solid beater. Fix it up with fenders, lights and a rack. If you want to keep your bike for a long time, making it look good is the last thing you want to do.

And spend your money on the best lock you can. NYC is the bike theft capital of the country.
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Old 04-19-12, 01:46 PM
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Any way to ban ARSes? Who needs the rudeness and negativity? Senior member status dosen't qualify this sort of response.
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Old 04-21-12, 03:20 PM
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So I've been pretty busy with school lately and haven't had much time for an update but I got the bike pretty functional. I adjusted all the cables and replaced the break pads so I have working breaks at least. I did my best to look down the seat tube which seems pretty rust-free which is good news I guess? I was thinking, and you guys seem to agree, that my best bet is just to get the bike ridable for now. I'll get around to fixing the gears soon and see if I have the time/money for any real restoration this summer.

Thanks for all the help everyone, I'll be better with conducting a little research and keeping posts shorter in the future.
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