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Behold my stupid impulse decision at the local thrift shop!

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Behold my stupid impulse decision at the local thrift shop!

Old 12-08-21, 01:01 AM
  #1  
ReptilesBlade
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Behold my stupid impulse decision at the local thrift shop!

I'm a 39 year old disabled guy (heart and lung conditions) who always loved cycling but my health got worse and I had to give it up 6 years ago. That's when as a replacement I got the motorcycle I've wanted ever since I was a kid. But I still miss bicycling.

So one thing led to another and on a whim I visited a new thrift shop I have been meaning to check out for over a year now. That's when I saw the blue bike without a price. When I finally got a manager to tell me what the price was I snapped it up instantly for $40. Went back the next day with my girlfriends SUV to haul it back home more easily and another manager showed me the red one as well. She said that first thing tomorrow morning they were going to throw it in the compactor, destroy it, and throw it away. I could have it for just $1. I was floored and handed her a single dollar bill right there. The damned scrap value is more than a single dollar! But this one I didn't buy for myself, I bought it for my friend who has zero transportation and just narrowly missed being homeless and/or without power literally this past week. And has been homeless for extended periods of time several times in the past. Things are certainly going to be getting better for her but this month was way to close. So the blue AMF is for me and the red Open Road is for her as her primary transportation. Mine will never be taken more than a few miles from my home for pleasure or very minor errands.

There's a reason I grabbed up what I am already aware are low end bikes that were never more than mid range bikes in their heyday and are what many would consider junk now. I've been wanting a steel framed road bike of that era since before I had to give up cycling in the first place. I don't have much money, and because this is something I don't even know if I can physically do, I want to spend the bare minimum possible to get back into the sport. But if all I can do is put it up on the trainer I still have with my 2006 Trek 7500 and get any kind of indoor exercise during the winter then I'm calling this a win. Because the other option is pacing back and forth through the house alone mumbling to myself like a lunatic. I also want to try to regain the ability to work on bikes again as well so I will be doing a large part of the wrenching at my local bike co-op.

I grew up dirt poor in a backwoods trailer park and the 1985 blue Roadmaster Pro Tour is vastly superior to anything I even knew existed until my mid 20s. And frankly with the exception of my Trek 7500 is the nicest bike I've ever owned. Funnily enough I even had a red Open Road bike like that one for a couple of years before giving it to a friend as well, though it was in vastly better shape. And next year I hope to convert the AMF into an electric bike with a 1500 watt motor that will give me more power than I even know what to do with and let me get back into cycling fully. When I don't want to ride the motorcycle of course. I think the heavy ass steel frame will make it a more comfortable ride than trying to refurbish my old 7500 right now (which will be the next future project if this one proves viable). Plus I'm just insane enough to want to see if it is actually possible to get an electric bicycle up to 40 mph like advertised. Once. And then never again.

I actually called up my friend and ran the idea past her before I put anything into it because I didn't know if she was one of those that despised cycling or something (it had just never come up). If she hated it the plan was to have the co-op help me fix it up anyway and give it to someone in need in the first place. My friend was in heaven at the very thought of it and had never even considered how a bicycle would solve virtually all of her personal transportation issues overnight. When I showed her the picture of it she screamed "Oh my God it's so cute!" Apparently what I didn't know is that she actually learned to ride on a bicycle very similar to this one and that red is her favorite color. She's working 65-70 hours a week to try to dig herself out of the hole her last job and divorce from her abusive ex put her in and is living alone with really no support structure deeper in the city.

So I'm going to take my bike first as a test, then hers second, to the bike co-ops and have them help me get them all straightened out. Both of the two in my city have mandates that specifically have them focus on low income or homeless transportation needs. I don't qualify but she sure as **** does until next spring. If hers isn't salvageable it will be used for a trade in on something for her that is.

I let her know it will never be very pretty and it will never be fast but I will see to it that it's reliable. She doesn't care, she loves it already.








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Old 12-08-21, 05:45 AM
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I applaud your efforts. Bikes should make people happy and you seem to be wishing to experience and share happiness. While many of us often dream about finding a rare and collectable bike in pristine condition, it is still pretty neat to find something like that Roadmaster in the condition it is in. So many bikes like that were bought and beaten until they were left to rust behind a shed in the back yard. This seemed to be put away and forgotten. It is in excellent survivor condition. Enjoy.
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Old 12-08-21, 05:50 AM
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Nothing about any part of the decision was stupid. Bravo on rescuing two unwanted bikes and giving them a home and purpose!
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Old 12-08-21, 06:00 AM
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Very inspiring. I love gifting bikes!
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Old 12-08-21, 06:04 AM
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I did not read anything that was stupid in that post. Good luck with the two projects.
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Old 12-08-21, 06:15 AM
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Well done! Just one thing: the stem of the red bike is raised very high. Quoting Sheldon Brown: "Most stems have a 'minimum insertion' mark that shows how high they may safely be set. If you can see this mark, the stem is too high. If your stem doesn't have such a mark, a good rule of thumb is that there should be at least 2 inches/50 mm of stem inside the fork."
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Old 12-08-21, 10:13 AM
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I echo the sentiments expressed by others. Your kindness is exemplary. Bikes are still solving the transportation problems of people that are short on money.
Years ago when the clutch went out on my car and I just started a new job, I bought a used Schwinn Traveler and commuted 25 miles each way for 6 months. With the job and the lack of car expenses I upgraded to a Cannondale and never looked back. I got into racing and then cycling touring and am so grateful to what has got to be the most efficient design ever to have crossed the mind of man.
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Old 12-08-21, 11:51 AM
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Impulsive? Maybe.
Stupid? Nope.
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Old 12-08-21, 02:19 PM
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The blue one looks almost unused and was clearly stored properly when not in use, but the red one looks like you may need to spend a lot to bring it back.

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Old 12-08-21, 04:32 PM
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Could be prime material for a upright bar conversion to just cruise around on.
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Old 12-08-21, 04:44 PM
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For the both of them there needs to be a drop of oil on each thing that moves, that you can see from the outside. Most likely needs a bearing overhaul, but that could open rabbit holes, such as dealing with stuck cotter pins. Do the external servicing, then ride them a little while and assess.
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Old 12-08-21, 09:33 PM
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Well done! Your friend is lucky to have you. When out riding or walking, I tend to holler, "Nice bike!" to anyone rolling by, no matter if it's a trashed out piece of junk; it's serving its purpose; getting people to where they need to go. I hope you can convert her bike to a swept "north road style handlebar; they're great for city riding.
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Old 12-08-21, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Well done! Your friend is lucky to have you. When out riding or walking, I tend to holler, "Nice bike!" to anyone rolling by, no matter if it's a trashed out piece of junk; it's serving its purpose; getting people to where they need to go. I hope you can convert her bike to a swept "north road style handlebar; they're great for city riding.
lol...righto! i have an almost envy for people and their bikes like that. some of the coolest bikes i think are the ones that are "grungy".
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Old 12-09-21, 12:21 AM
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...And next year I hope to convert the AMF into an electric bike with a 1500 watt motor that will give me more power than I even know what to do with and let me get back into cycling fully. When I don't want to ride the motorcycle of course. I think the heavy ass steel frame will make it a more comfortable ride than trying to refurbish my old 7500 right now (which will be the next future project if this one proves viable). Plus I'm just insane enough to want to see if it is actually possible to get an electric bicycle up to 40 mph like advertised. Once.And then never again.
...seriously, I would not do this, and were I your friend, I would try to talk you out of this part. AMF did put out a heavy frame, but many of them are not ideal for conversion to e-power. The welds are sometimes a little iffy, and while the frame design is not fragile, per se, there are some weak spots in the overall design. They were made to be assembled rapidly and cheaply, by a less skilled, highly mechanized factory environment. The details on yours look better than the American made ones I've seen, and it is probably an Asian made frame.

I would still be reluctant to attempt what you propose myself. But I am old and fragile. And I have crashed at speed enough times to remember how much it hurts.

Some sort of old hard tail, non suspension mountain bike from the 80's would make a much better conversion candidate, if you pick one that was not low end when originally sold.
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Old 12-09-21, 12:07 PM
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Buying bikes could never be stupid, that's a contradiction in terms! Just ask my wife. Congrats, I'm digging the condition of the blue one.
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Old 12-09-21, 08:36 PM
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I dig the paint job on the blue one. Nice scores!
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Old 12-12-21, 01:23 AM
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Thank you all for responding thus far! I really appreciate it.

Time for an update!

I should have at least two of the three up and running by the end of Wednesday. I'm going to take them down to my girlfriends parents house and we are going to get them all sorted out then. That will give my friend a working form of transportation and one myself for fun/exercise as a precursor to returning to the sport of cycling in full early next year.

Open Road: Oh boy! This ones been fun dealing with and the focus of my efforts thus far because I want to get it to her as fast as possible. I now either have or will have all the parts it will need. In the process of investigating it with my girlfriends Dad tonight in preparation to work on it we discovered that the front derailleur was broken. However it's a cheap as chips Shimano FD-AX50 that can be replaced for like $10-15 on ebay. However we may just give it to my friend in a 5-speed configuration until I can get the part super cheap then put it on for her in a month or two and make it a full 10 speed again. This will give her some kind of transportation option at least within the week which is far better than she has now. As of now we have found an issue with the rear brake cable as well and have a replacement already. Everything else is just basic tune up kind of stuff after we spend some time removing the surface rust on the parts. Still, this is going to be the one that really takes a lot of elbow grease. So far I'm about $76 in deep on this one and still need to grab a final tire for it.

AMF Roadmaster Pro Tour: Oh man I can't wait to get this thing on the road. I managed to lower the seat to it lowest setting and tested the fit. I can flat foot it and it's very comfortable. I think I'm going to have to raise the handlebars and inch or so because it hurts the arthritis in my back to bend over that far to use the drops. The top part of the bars is fine though as far as I can tell. It still needs a shift lever and the rear brake isn't working for some reason. It's also developed a new issue, the crank will turn in reverse but the mechanism sounds rough and if you try to move it forward the whole drivetrain freezes. The rear wheel is also completely immobile. What could be the cause of this and how might it be fixed?

Tuesday when their open it's going to the non-profit bike shop to have it looked over professionally and see what all it will need to get back on the road. If it will take a lot of money then I will shelve this one for the winter while I accumulate the most inexpensive possible parts to be repaired and ridden starting sometime in March. I will then switch my focus to getting my 7500 out of storage and in suitable shape to press into winter service mostly on the trainer.

Trek 7500 Multitrack: This bike is like an extension of myself I'm so used to it. Bought it new in Sept 2005 and kitted it out for commuting and touring. Once it's on the road it will take me minutes to get reacclimated to it and enjoying myself. It needs no major repairs I'm aware of. However it's been in storage for roughly 7 years and the tires/tubes and chain are OEM from 16 years ago. Still, I bet it won't take much to get it sorted out if I don't have to eat the expense of new tires/tubes until next year. Probably just a chain and an adjustment to the brake/shifting cables while putting air in the tires for a few months is all I expect.

Major questions:

I need to know what kind of lubricants I'm going to need. What kind of oil and grease do you recommend I can grab off of a shelf or on Amazon for cheap to have by Wednesday when I will need it?

And can anyone tell me anything about these bikes? In particular the AFM, there's like no info on it. The Pro Tour model appears to have been basically one step down from the Schwinn Voyageur but incredibly rare. They made a lot of Roadmaster 10 speeds but they seem to be mostly other variants. Could there be any parts that could be used interchangeably for repairs with this Pro Tour and anything else in the model line? Even better is there anything I can upgrade it with? Would Shimano 105 stuff work or something else Shimano? I don't want to spend much money but I would like to know what options I might have. All I know is it currently has Falcon drivetrain components and was made on Dec 2 1985. There are absolutely no part or model numbers I can find on any of the equipment on this machine.

Last edited by ReptilesBlade; 12-12-21 at 01:27 AM. Reason: Forgot a detail.
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Old 12-12-21, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...seriously, I would not do this, and were I your friend, I would try to talk you out of this part. AMF did put out a heavy frame, but many of them are not ideal for conversion to e-power. The welds are sometimes a little iffy, and while the frame design is not fragile, per se, there are some weak spots in the overall design. They were made to be assembled rapidly and cheaply, by a less skilled, highly mechanized factory environment. The details on yours look better than the American made ones I've seen, and it is probably an Asian made frame.

I would still be reluctant to attempt what you propose myself. But I am old and fragile. And I have crashed at speed enough times to remember how much it hurts.

Some sort of old hard tail, non suspension mountain bike from the 80's would make a much better conversion candidate, if you pick one that was not low end when originally sold.

I just want to see if I can do it. The test would be made over a good half mile or more of open flat road. And I'll probably be riding my motorcycle gear when I do it. 90+% of the time I'll never be taking it above 20 mph, I will mostly be cruising on it between 12-16 mph.

Even so I appreciate the response and will keep it in mind. If I think it's an idea that will be to dangerous I won't do it.

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Old 12-16-21, 11:00 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by ReptilesBlade View Post
Thank you all for responding thus far! I really appreciate it.

Time for an update!

I should have at least two of the three up and running by the end of Wednesday. I'm going to take them down to my girlfriends parents house and we are going to get them all sorted out then. That will give my friend a working form of transportation and one myself for fun/exercise as a precursor to returning to the sport of cycling in full early next year.

Open Road: Oh boy! This ones been fun dealing with and the focus of my efforts thus far because I want to get it to her as fast as possible. I now either have or will have all the parts it will need. In the process of investigating it with my girlfriends Dad tonight in preparation to work on it we discovered that the front derailleur was broken. However it's a cheap as chips Shimano FD-AX50 that can be replaced for like $10-15 on ebay. However we may just give it to my friend in a 5-speed configuration until I can get the part super cheap then put it on for her in a month or two and make it a full 10 speed again. This will give her some kind of transportation option at least within the week which is far better than she has now. As of now we have found an issue with the rear brake cable as well and have a replacement already. Everything else is just basic tune up kind of stuff after we spend some time removing the surface rust on the parts. Still, this is going to be the one that really takes a lot of elbow grease. So far I'm about $76 in deep on this one and still need to grab a final tire for it.

AMF Roadmaster Pro Tour: Oh man I can't wait to get this thing on the road. I managed to lower the seat to it lowest setting and tested the fit. I can flat foot it and it's very comfortable. I think I'm going to have to raise the handlebars and inch or so because it hurts the arthritis in my back to bend over that far to use the drops. The top part of the bars is fine though as far as I can tell. It still needs a shift lever and the rear brake isn't working for some reason. It's also developed a new issue, the crank will turn in reverse but the mechanism sounds rough and if you try to move it forward the whole drivetrain freezes. The rear wheel is also completely immobile. What could be the cause of this and how might it be fixed?

Tuesday when their open it's going to the non-profit bike shop to have it looked over professionally and see what all it will need to get back on the road. If it will take a lot of money then I will shelve this one for the winter while I accumulate the most inexpensive possible parts to be repaired and ridden starting sometime in March. I will then switch my focus to getting my 7500 out of storage and in suitable shape to press into winter service mostly on the trainer.

Trek 7500 Multitrack: This bike is like an extension of myself I'm so used to it. Bought it new in Sept 2005 and kitted it out for commuting and touring. Once it's on the road it will take me minutes to get reacclimated to it and enjoying myself. It needs no major repairs I'm aware of. However it's been in storage for roughly 7 years and the tires/tubes and chain are OEM from 16 years ago. Still, I bet it won't take much to get it sorted out if I don't have to eat the expense of new tires/tubes until next year. Probably just a chain and an adjustment to the brake/shifting cables while putting air in the tires for a few months is all I expect.

Major questions:

I need to know what kind of lubricants I'm going to need. What kind of oil and grease do you recommend I can grab off of a shelf or on Amazon for cheap to have by Wednesday when I will need it?

And can anyone tell me anything about these bikes? In particular the AFM, there's like no info on it. The Pro Tour model appears to have been basically one step down from the Schwinn Voyageur but incredibly rare. They made a lot of Roadmaster 10 speeds but they seem to be mostly other variants. Could there be any parts that could be used interchangeably for repairs with this Pro Tour and anything else in the model line? Even better is there anything I can upgrade it with? Would Shimano 105 stuff work or something else Shimano? I don't want to spend much money but I would like to know what options I might have. All I know is it currently has Falcon drivetrain components and was made on Dec 2 1985. There are absolutely no part or model numbers I can find on any of the equipment on this machine.
I suspect your drivetrain freeze is based on lack of careful alignment of the derailleur with the rear sprocket you're on, and the lack of lubrication. You should be able to find all the lubes and even some basic service parts in the Bikes section of the Toys section of a Target, Meijers. Lowes, Walmart, or Menard's big box store. They'll have the same stuff Amazon has and it's cash and carry, you can see exactly what you're gonna get and read the labels.

The chain should run itself through the derailleur and over the gearwheels just as smoothly pedaling forward (appyling power) or back ward (just noodling). Some oil on the chain (get some liquid chain lube from Walmart, the cheep stuff is good enough at this point) will help loosen stiff or stuck links, and to see if any links are actually damaged. If you take off the chain, count the rivets and write down the number. If you do have a mechanical chain problem it will be nice to have that number when you or the shop installs a new one. But, Walmart has chains, usually.

Also put a drop of oil on every part of the rear derailleur that springs, turns, spins, pivots, or moves. It may ultimately need more care, but this will get it working to where you can take a ride, and see if any deeper attention is needed. If you can, dribble some oil into the rear derailleur cable to give it the chance to move freely. If you can make just a few drops flow down between the outer sleeve and the inner wire, that can make a big difference. Don't oil the shifter itself, unless you have good instructions on how to give it an overhaul. It depends on having internal friction.
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