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Project for Mom... 1990ish GT Arette

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Project for Mom... 1990ish GT Arette

Old 12-03-20, 11:03 AM
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oldtimeyirv
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1991 GT Arette... Project for Mom

Hello! Just wanted to sharee this project, my wife is tired of hearing about it!

My mom is 60ish and wanted something more comfortable than her 1998 Diamondback Apex, it is pretty aggressive for a Florida path-cruiser. So, I spent far too much money on a "garage kept" GT Arette with the purple/pink splatter paint. I picked it up in 30 degree sleet and rain, so did not look at it carefully enough... lessons learned!

Upon closer inspection, whatever "garage" it had been kept in evidently had serious structural/weatherproof issues, as the non-drive side paint is faded to the point of pink being grayish and the drive side components are less than "pristine". The frame is in really good condition though, and I like the funky 90s vibes it has. Pretty much everything but the stem and wheelset looks like it will need replaced, which is ok... it will be a good learning experience and I know she will love it regardless. My end goal is something close to the 700c Hybrid GT intended in the early 90s, but with some updated/affordable components.

I have all the parts off the frame, the fork and stem out, ready to start degreasing (getting all of the WD-40 out of every crevasse) and polishing. Hopefully I can bring some of the luster back and buff out some of the paint oxidation. Pictures and updates to come! I plan on sharing the project/experience and soaking up some of the knowledge available.

I created an album for this project in my profile that will stay updated (91 GT Arette). Does anyone have experience with a project like this? Tips? Suggestions? General interest in wacky 90s bike design? Thanks!

Last edited by oldtimeyirv; 12-09-20 at 08:37 PM. Reason: added album
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Old 12-03-20, 11:24 AM
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Upload them to your gallery and I can post for you:

https://www.bikeforums.net/g/user/528742
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Old 12-03-20, 11:48 AM
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That appears to be a SunTour XCT rear derailleur, so it should be the 1991 model.
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Old 12-03-20, 12:05 PM
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Old 12-03-20, 03:19 PM
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@oldtimeyirv



Plenty of "camouflage" here to hide most of the modern patina, looks ok from here.

Dish soap can work wonders on grime/WD40 residue before polish, I use meguiars fine cut cleaner polish no. 2, it scrubs off a lot of crap, scuffs, paint transfer, reanimates clear and plenty of paint blemishes as well.

Seems like the Nishiki would be a better candidate if not too big which I suspect it is looking at the GT.
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Old 12-04-20, 10:42 AM
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merziac Thanks for the tips! I hit the frame with the classic elbow grease/Dawn combo and it worked wonders. I was able to take tons of the oxidation off with some meguiars polish I had in the garage, and it really started to shine after a coat of wax. I was pretty surprised at how much it improved the overall look. Evidently sitting in a "garage" for years can really make a bike pretty filthy.

I will be tackling the wheelset this weekend, they need a serious cleaning and new grease. Looking at a fresh set of rubber as well... any suggestions? I like the idea of 700x38ish for some reason. Opinions welcome.

Bottom bracket question: The bike did not have a cartridge bb in it, it is the older type with caged bearings and spindle; the non-drive side is pretty rusted/worn. What are general rules when replacing with a cartridge type bb? Do I just get one that matches the recommended spindle length of the new crankset I buy? It is new territory for me, but I think it will be a major upgrade for the bike.

I am also curious about the pros and cons (opinions) of keeping the cantilever brakes on the front vs changing to a v-brake. I need to buy a new setup either way, the original calipers are broken. Will most likely be using integrated, lower-end shimano shifters.

I put some new photos up in an album on my profile. Thanks natterberry for sharing the first photos!
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Old 12-04-20, 11:53 AM
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This looks like a nice little project. I like the step thru frame, kind of important as a person gets a little older, I think. Inexpensive v-brakes wouldn't be too bad. If I remember correctly, your spindle should be marked and if not then measure it. The size should be in millimeters. You should be able to replace with a sealed cartridge unit. I always take apart, clean then reassemble as well. I use a slightly dampened rag using mineral spirits. Rubs off grease and old unwanted paint from leaning up against fences, posts or other bikes. Won't help the paint chips. A similar color of fingernail polish can help. Once I'm done cleaning the frame I use cheap Pledge knock off furniture polish to polish the frame and fork. 3 times usually gets it looking oh so shiny. There are plenty of inexpensive Shimano parts available on line if you choose to replace components. Look for a smooth treaded tire for comfy cruising. If you go for the silver parts, good luck due to almost every component being black now. Best of luck. I think your mom will have a nice little cruiser/grocery getter when you are finished.
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Old 12-04-20, 12:22 PM
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Thanks Thommy ! I will probably stick to all black parts, as that is what came on the bike. Might try to reuse the previous RD as it isn't in as bad of shape as I thought. The wheels have nice black hubs also, so the shiny S/S spokes should look pretty nice! I agree that it should fit right in on the Florida bike paths, especially with the funky paint job.
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Old 12-04-20, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by oldtimeyirv View Post
I put some new photos up in an album on my profile. Thanks natterberry for sharing the first photos!
You bet!

Cool project.
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Old 12-04-20, 03:15 PM
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BB Question: I will be upgrading to a new cartridge bb and not reusing the original crank. The Shimano Tourney crank I am looking at recommends a 68x122.5mm BB. Do I use the length of the original spindle or the recommended length when choosing my new BB? I am also open to better options for cranksets if this one is "no good", I realize it is cheap.

What kind of handlebars and shifters would you guys recommend on this style of bike? It had flat-ish bars on it originally, but I am wondering if something swept back a bit would be cool/comfortable?
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Old 12-04-20, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by oldtimeyirv View Post
BB Question: I will be upgrading to a new cartridge bb and not reusing the original crank. The Shimano Tourney crank I am looking at recommends a 68x122.5mm BB. Do I use the length of the original spindle or the recommended length when choosing my new BB? I am also open to better options for cranksets if this one is "no good", I realize it is cheap.

What kind of handlebars and shifters would you guys recommend on this style of bike? It had flat-ish bars on it originally, but I am wondering if something swept back a bit would be cool/comfortable?
I never advocate for the cartridge, that's just me, old school, etc.

That being said, this question is one of the main reasons why, with a small or large stash of BB parts that can be solved by a good trial and error session, mix and match that is a valuable learning experience well worth the time IMO.

The new crank is unlikely to have the actual info you need as it will fit many applications so it will be up to you.

I would stick with the crank that is on there unless your Mom logs 100's of miles all the time. Most of these cheap cranks work just fine for normal use.

Don't forget about the co-op if you have one, they can usually save the day for this.

I don't think there is anything wrong with that crank aside from the BB issue you have.
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Old 12-04-20, 04:44 PM
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@oldtimeyirv

Forgot about the bars, if it is big enough, the swept back bars will be fine, a good move.

If the frame is smallish then they can make it harder to get on the bike if they are in the way.
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Old 12-04-20, 04:45 PM
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merziac you make a good point, I was just assuming the best thing to do was replace the old school bb. In my thinking, the old style would require more regular maintenance... Something she will not do. Thoughts? Is this true given she probably won't put that many miles on it.

Theoretically, couldn't I just get a cartridge with the same spindle length and slap the original crank back on? Or are there magic tricks to remove rust from cups and bb parts? New cartridge is ~$15.

Thanks for participating. It makes it more enjoyable!
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Old 12-04-20, 04:47 PM
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Also, how does one go about getting into a co-op? Is it literally as easy as finding one and contacting them? Or do I need to know some secret co-op guild password? 🤣
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Old 12-04-20, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by oldtimeyirv View Post
merziac you make a good point, I was just assuming the best thing to do was replace the old school bb. In my thinking, the old style would require more regular maintenance... Something she will not do. Thoughts? Is this true given she probably won't put that many miles on it.

Theoretically, couldn't I just get a cartridge with the same spindle length and slap the original crank back on? Or are there magic tricks to remove rust from cups and bb parts? New cartridge is ~$15.

Thanks for participating. It makes it more enjoyable!
You can but many of the tapers are a bit different and may change the chainline, hence the likely hunt and peck. The cartridge needs to match the offset or not to work.

A good overhaul will last a long time, probably the rest of the time your Mom will have it, especially if it isn't ridden in the rain.

You can clean the rust and parts with WD40, brake clean, elbow grease and scotch brite or steel wool, it won't be perfect and final adjustment is critical so you have to be able to get it right.

The cartridge is certainly cheaper and easier IF you get the right one.
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Old 12-04-20, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by oldtimeyirv View Post
Also, how does one go about getting into a co-op? Is it literally as easy as finding one and contacting them? Or do I need to know some secret co-op guild password? 🤣
Nope just search for one, they are also called bike kitchens sometimes, not all ares have them.

You can also search CL for flippers or home based seller/shop, maybe ask your regular shop if they have or know where used parts are sold.

You get my PM?
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Old 12-08-20, 10:24 AM
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PROJECT UPDATE: Was able to make major progress over the weekend. I took merziac advice and did my best to salvage the original BB and crankset. I think it turned out really well and it was a good lesson... Elbow grease was probably more effective than throwing money at the problem. My mother had donated her old bike to the project, as it was loaded with decent parts that still worked perfectly. I was able to set up the cockpit with grip shifters and brake levers from the old bike. Managed to salvage the old U-brake with some cleaning, hopefully the V-brake levers will work with it. I will be taking the front v-brake off a donor bike to finish the set up.

After a short trip to my new LBS, I had new tires and tubes along with a quick release set. I told the service guy I was looking for 700x38 tires and he made me a deal on some brand new 700x40 tires he took off a custom build, included the tubes also! Really happy with how everything is turning out. At this point, I just need a seat post and new saddle, as well as a chain and new cables. Here is a photo since I am able to post them now I am keeping the photo album in my profile updated with more photos, take a look! 1991 GT Arette



U-BRAKE QUESTION: What type of brake pads do these calipers use? I searched online and it showed me BMX style pads. Will it use standard road type pads? V-brake pads? Also, will any standard straddle cable work?

GRIP SHIFT QUESTION: Is it possible/necessary to replace the cables in this type of shifter? I am not at all familiar with how they work and did not see an obvious way of changing them. The current cables are not in poor condition, they are just old.

Hoping to finish the bike up for the Holidays.
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Old 12-08-20, 10:34 AM
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Just for comparison, this is the new bike next to her old rig... Pretty noticeable size difference. She is 5'3" ish, the diamondback is an 18" frame. 😳

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Old 12-29-20, 11:02 AM
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Finished project. Turned out very nicely and will be a perfect path cruiser in the Florida Sunshine. Definitely learned alot and combining old drivetrain parts can definitely test your patience. Biggest lesson learned: elbow grease, vinegar and polish are the best weapons against a neglected bicycle.
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