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"FREE" can get expensive.

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"FREE" can get expensive.

Old 11-26-22, 03:31 PM
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"FREE" can get expensive.

A week or so ago I posted this '78 Peugeot UO-9 parts bike I got for free in the "saved from the dump" thread. I started stripping it today and soon began to wonder if it was worth saving........

Under those nice red Sakae dust caps (which I need for another bike) the Nervar crank is held on with 16mm crank bolts, I've read about them on here but this has been my first hands on experience, until now I'd always been lucky and only had to deal with 14 and 15mm. I'm not grinding down one of my Snap On sockets so I ordered a "cheap" thin wall 16mm spark plug socket, hopefully I won't have to grind it but if I do no big deal. I could have gone to the local farm store or parts place and bought one but I have to wait for the Bicycle Research CT-3 freewheel tool from Greece anyway so no rush. The socket will get here first anyway. And why do I need a Bicycle research CT-3 freewheel tool you may ask?

Because just to keep things interesting it also has a 24 spline Maillard freewheel, one of the few I don't have a tool for. It feels pretty good and I'll use it on something else so I might as well have the tool. Plus I have 3 Gitanes I haven't torn into yet so I may need it again. On the upside it's screwed onto a nice Sunshine rear hub.

Last and actually "least", the head tube is so short my headset cup removal tool couldn't expand to catch the edges of the cups so I had to resort to using a screwdriver and mallet. The cups came out unscathed but the same can't be said for my now handleless screwdriver. At least it was a cheap one.

It's a real "pig" of a Pug but it does have some good pieces under the crust, I may even break even by the time I get it all stripped. Hopefully it's a French threaded BB, not Swiss. So, as you can see "free" isn't always free.
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Old 11-26-22, 11:01 PM
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Yes, I have taken dozens of "free" bikes I have picked up directly to the co-op for this exact reason. There the bike can get "free" donated consumables, and "free" (volunteer) mechanics time. Those donated bikes can end up helping someone without transportation become mobile, get to work, or whatever. I volunteer at those co-ops too.

But if I take on such a "free" project, I usually end up upside down. Free bikes tend to also be neglected bikes, and will need tires, saddle, pedals, fresh cables, housings, bar tape, chain, and more. And once finished in my market, the value will not cover the consumables expense.

Now sometimes those free bikes can yield a part of two that I can rehome. Then it can work out financially.

By the way on older French bikes, particularly the lower end ones, I hope to find Swiss bottom brackets. I've got three in the queue right now, two with Japanese Swiss BB, one with a Campy Swiss threaded BB.


I ground down a cheapie 16mm socket. But I have since misplaced it, so I will have to grind another. The worst recent example is someone replaced the non-drive side arm on a Stronglight with a Sugino arm, but kept the 16mm BB bolt. Not fun. Plenty of room for that 16mm bolt in a 23.35mm Stronglight arm. Not nearly enough room in a 22mm Sugino arm.

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Old 11-27-22, 06:32 AM
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John E
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I did grind down the walls of a 16mm socket for a TA Professional crankset I used to own, and I still have the socket in my toolbox for the next time I encounter a crankset with a 16mm bolt.

I do agree with the general theme of the thread, that some bikes are indeed "free and worth every penny," or free but of negative value.
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Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Carlton: 1962 Franco Suisse, S/N K7911
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
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Old 11-27-22, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Yes, I have taken dozens of "free" bikes I have picked up directly to the co-op for this exact reason. There the bike can get "free" donated consumables, and "free" (volunteer) mechanics time. Those donated bikes can end up helping someone without transportation become mobile, get to work, or whatever. I volunteer at those co-ops too.

But if I take on such a "free" project, I usually end up upside down. Free bikes tend to also be neglected bikes, and will need tires, saddle, pedals, fresh cables, housings, bar tape, chain, and more. And once finished in my market, the value will not cover the consumables expense.

Now sometimes those free bikes can yield a part of two that I can rehome. Then it can work out financially.
I have been trying to condition myself to just say no unless it's something pretty special and I've been doing very well but I have other French bikes in need of parts so this one grabbed my attention. Most people in this area think if it's French, Raleigh or Schwinn it's made of gold no matter how low end or rough it is so gettting good parts bikes is tough. I had watched this one thinking it was a good donor prospect but not at $40, then it droppped to FREE and I found out it was located literally in sight of the parking lot at work and only added about 5 minutes to my evening commute. Being free and so conveniently located should have been my first clue it was going to be trouble LOL.

I've had the same experience fixing up free and seemingly "cheap" bikes and being upside down in them at the end but then that's my general modus operandi anyway, buy high, sell low. I just chalked them up to "stress relief", much cheaper and healthier than alcohol and cigarettes. Even when they fight me like this one.

Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
By the way on older French bikes, particularly the lower end ones, I hope to find Swiss bottom brackets. I've got three in the queue right now, two with Japanese Swiss BB, one with a Campy Swiss threaded BB.
I wouldn't care about what BB it had but I'm in need of a French threaded BB for cotterless cranks for another frame I acquired, the BB and Simplex RD are the main reasons I grabbed this one.

Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
I ground down a cheapie 16mm socket. But I have since misplaced it, so I will have to grind another. The worst recent example is someone replaced the non-drive side arm on a Stronglight with a Sugino arm, but kept the 16mm BB bolt. Not fun. Plenty of room for that 16mm bolt in a 23.35mm Stronglight arm. Not nearly enough room in a 22mm Sugino arm.

I had an old partial set of Craftsman metric sockets with worn out 13 and 15mm sockets and peeled chrome on the others so I bought a new Snap On set and gave the old ones away a few months ago........ C'est la vie.

It's my understanding this Nervar crank is 22mm, I have a couple Stronglights and TA Specialties cranks so I'll save the 16mm bolts for one of those. They're really nice chrome bolts, might as well use them.
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Old 11-27-22, 09:54 AM
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There are worse things to spend money on than a "free" project bike.
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Old 11-27-22, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuck M View Post
There are worse things to spend money on than a "free" project bike.
That's what I keep telling my wife!
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Old 11-28-22, 06:11 AM
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Yep, free is never free. I'm currently working on a "free" 1960s Capo (alone building new wheels will be expensive!) and a "free" Dusika 26" conversion, now trying to find italian size cotter pins for not-crazy money.
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Old 11-28-22, 07:55 AM
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Yes it can, got a free crashed Bianchi from a mech at one of my LBSs, he said it was my size, it was, or close enough, largest one they made, 1700 dollars later I had a bike.
Tim


Unfortunately the original fork did not survive

1982 Champione del Mondo

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Old 11-28-22, 08:07 AM
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yep, the frame whether free or very inexpensive is just a money pit. It's fun though.
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Old 11-28-22, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by RB1-luvr View Post
yep, the frame whether free or very inexpensive is just a money pit. It's fun though.
Agreed, it is fun, and the frames I had to pay something for, still fun.
Tim
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Old 11-28-22, 10:40 AM
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For YEARS I have tossed around the thought of building up something off of an old Schwinn Typhoon frame, but I'd add up the cost and go on to something else.

Then it finally happened, I stumbled onto an old Typhoon frame. Free. I passed it up at first because I knew what it'd end up costing me. But the draw could not be ignored. I was telling a friend abotu it that evening and as soon as I finished the story I went and got it.

Just the frame. I was leaving town the next day for a trip. But before I left, I found a chain guard and fork for it on ebay. Right color, right amount of wear. Overpriced... but when are you going to find this stuff in the right color? I bought it so it wouldn't be gone when I got back.

I decided I needed a two speed hub. They seemed to cost $100-$200, but then I found an old Schwinn Breeze for sale. It was overpriced, but it had a two speed hub. I paid $75 for the entire bike, thinking I had paid too much, even while I was rebuilding the two speed hub I was planning on spending $100 on. Funny how that works. All the hub needed was TLC by the way.

Buying this donor bike really got things rolling. Long story short, in the past few months I've bought 4 old bicycles and spent literally hundreds on new parts.

And the Typhoon that started all this nonsense?

I didn't use the fork and chainguard I over spent on. I've ridden it once. And I'm pretty sure the two speed hub is going to get pulled from that to put into a '62 Schwinn Racer frame I got (with fenders and a chainguard), for $15. Which means I'll need to find another donor bike/hub for the Typhoon. Maybe a 3 speed coaster this time? And I still want to find a 3 speed '62 Racer. To go with the two other Racers I already have I suppose. It would appear I am developing a "thing" for old Schwinn 3 speeds.

I also started volunteering at the local bike co-op when searcing for parts/bikes led me to ther site again. Yesterday I rebuilt an old Schwinn Hollywood someone had donated, everyone else was gravitating towards the modern stuff...

I'm positive none of this would be happening if I hadn't found that "FREE" Typhoon frame!
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Old 11-28-22, 02:26 PM
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Cool Pug, @Murray Missile Is the plan to build it back up or are you stripping it for parts and moving along the frame?

There's a saying in the motorcycle world that the most expensive motorcycle is a free one. Free bicycles are similar in that they always need something but they are at least a lot cheaper to fix than motorcycles.
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Old 12-03-22, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by tricky View Post
Cool Pug, @Murray Missile Is the plan to build it back up or are you stripping it for parts and moving along the frame?
For some reason this thread kept coming up with an error message the past few days or I would have replied sooner. To answer your question, it is strictly a parts bike, I had toyed with the idea of putting it back together with a set of SS/FG parts I have and trying to find it a new home but it's even rougher than I first thought.

I finally got the crankset off and just pullled the BB, it's a Nervar BB, can't tell the overall condition until I get the petrified tar out of the cups but the axle looks good. Too damn cold out there to mess with any more today. It is, however, BSA threaded not French so it goes in the BB collection. Since I last posted though I came across a brand new set of French threaded cups in a box of parts. I have no recollection of buying them but I surely have the right axle in my stash to use them in the bike I was wanting the BB for. I'll pull the freewheel tomorrow and pull the hub out of the wheel.
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Old 12-04-22, 10:32 AM
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"Free can get expensive" and it does so almost every time. Absolutely!
Free...

...$550.00 later...
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Old 12-05-22, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
For some reason this thread kept coming up with an error message the past few days or I would have replied sooner. To answer your question, it is strictly a parts bike, I had toyed with the idea of putting it back together with a set of SS/FG parts I have and trying to find it a new home but it's even rougher than I first thought.

I finally got the crankset off and just pullled the BB, it's a Nervar BB, can't tell the overall condition until I get the petrified tar out of the cups but the axle looks good. Too damn cold out there to mess with any more today. It is, however, BSA threaded not French so it goes in the BB collection. Since I last posted though I came across a brand new set of French threaded cups in a box of parts. I have no recollection of buying them but I surely have the right axle in my stash to use them in the bike I was wanting the BB for. I'll pull the freewheel tomorrow and pull the hub out of the wheel.
Yeah, there was an issue with the @ tagging functionality that was breaking threads. The admins resolved it.

I am sure you could find someone that would want that frame for a SS/Fixie. I have been able to offload complete single speeded Schwinns for ~$200 that were previously derailleur clawed bikes. I am sure you could get $50 for the frame. The hipsters (speaking as an old hipster myself) seem to love Pugs.
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Old 12-05-22, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by tricky View Post
I am sure you could find someone that would want that frame for a SS/Fixie. I have been able to offload complete single speeded Schwinns for ~$200 that were previously derailleur clawed bikes. I am sure you could get $50 for the frame. The hipsters (speaking as an old hipster myself) seem to love Pugs.
It's pretty much a rust ball and they'd need a headset, BB.... the whole ball o' wax, I stripped EVERYTHING. Plus it wouldn't even sell when it was a complete bike, that's how I got it for free. If somebody wanted it they'd be welcome to it but it really has no redeeming qualities. On the other hand I have a couple very early 70's Gitane Grand Sport Deluxe mixtes and I'm thinking one of those would make a pretty cool SS/FG. This one in particular................. paint is fair, it's a dark Metallic Plum. Rear Simplex Prestige derailleur cracked, cables are rusted to the housings, etc. but it's a lot purtier than old "Pugsley". Pugs are relatively common around here. Gitanes, not so much.
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Old 12-05-22, 09:55 PM
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I never hunt for free bikes that are advertised.

They are always utter crap and never worth my gas.

A lot of folks also just leave their free items outside and won't hold anything for you. They don't care who grabs it first. It is sure fun wasting gas and time and adding mileage to your vehicle.

The only way I end up with free bikes is when I see them tossed out while I am already driving around on another errand. Here I am not wasting gas, only about 30 seconds of time stopping to load it. Almost all of these go straight into the donor pile section of my property. Having loads of land makes this possible.

Paying $20 or $40 for an indoor stored bike that the seller will hold for you gets a bike that is ten fold better across the board.
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Old 12-07-22, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tricky View Post
There's a saying in the motorcycle world that the most expensive motorcycle is a free one. Free bicycles are similar in that they always need something but they are at least a lot cheaper to fix than motorcycles.
I frequent the Grassroots Motorsports forums and a thread there had something to say about a project that's always stuck with me - "It's complete and intact, but it needs everything".

The majority of bikes I've dragged home over the years meet that description. The ones that didn't? They weren't complete or intact.

Enjoy your therapy-by-disassembly!
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