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Beginner question - where to start with a bike restoration?

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Beginner question - where to start with a bike restoration?

Old 05-11-23, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by chain_whipped
In no particular order of components but each one should be separated in a baggy or box. Taking your time, say perhaps to tackle a brake caliper. Completely dismantle, clean, lube and reassemble. When done, back to the baggy it goes.

Again, no need to toss all in a basket case. But if the components are kept separated, its much easier to focus on them individually. No particular order to which component is to be done. Spend an hour here, and another later etc..

As you continue the progress, eventually all components will be clean, serviced and ready for the main assemby.

Even with current inflation, one can easily acquire bike tools w/ workstand (or still go without) for $100. Aldi grocery site occasionally offer a workstand for $30 and I've seen old stock further duscounted. Brand new multi pack bottom bracket tools, thin wrench sets. Basic consumables are plenty and cost even less than 10 years ago. Don't be trigger quick, rather take the extra time shopping vendors Amazon and ebay. Its all coming out of Asian sources, even the name brand stuff.

Ps. I know a seller whom buys at retail bulk, say 5 pair of brake pads for $11. He then repackages and sells a pair for $10. Lol
I like this bag and repair method. I will keep you focused on one component at a time.
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Old 05-11-23, 01:36 PM
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50 posts, many recommendations.

All without a picture of the bike!

My only "add" will be that if it has cottered cranks, and if the OP wishes to improve the operation/longevity of the entire bb/chainset, there should be no work done other than external lubing/adjustment of the bearings using an oil can or perhaps some aerosol lithium grease (injected with a stretched-thin aerosol applicator tube).

Risking damaging (bending) the presumably-original cotters when only cheap/non-hardened replacement cotters are available is the problem here, as the completed job might be quite inferior to leaving it alone for now, until perhaps real French (vs. Tai/Chi) cotters have been sourced, or until the OP has dived into the details of removing stuck cotters without damaging them (often meaning special uncommon tools and use of torch heating BEFORE a cotter gets damaged.

All this just based on my gut feeling that a full restore should net the owner a better bike, not just a prettier wall-hanger or an "occasional ride to the cafe" type of novelty.

Another thing is that I always start by getting the bike up and running safely, for considerable testing, so that all of it's dimensions and many components/features can be tested by the actual rider. Evaluating the wheelset carefully is one of the first things I do after inspecting for a bent or cracked frame.
This way, undesirable traits or damage can be discovered before committing to lengthy work on components or on the complete bike which might turn out to be unwanted, and this helps chart the course of action going forward.
So you can service the cables and oil-can all of the bearings and pivots just as much as is actually needed to ride safely without damaging the bearings, and any new cables/housings can be retained when you perhaps later decide to commit to rebuild and clean/polish calipers, headset, stem, etc.
The original brake pads might be fine for now, and the bar width, lever height and stem length can perhaps be changed before any fine job of wrapping the bars has been completed.

Lastly, beware of doing any hard pedaling if the chain looks like it has rusted. Rusty chains tend to have far less than half of the strength of a new chain.

Last edited by dddd; 05-11-23 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 05-11-23, 07:13 PM
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I always start with disassembly. Then I inspect everything. I then do any rust treatment and then start the assembly process.
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Old 05-11-23, 07:34 PM
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Inspect - Clean - Fix what ya found - Lube - Ride...


Inspect - Clean - Fix what ya found - Lube - Ride...

And then... Inspect - Clean - Fix what ya found - Lube - Ride...

Oddly Restoration may not have much to do with Ride. So before you start restoration... Inspect - Clean - Fix what ya found - Lube - Ride...

My favorite two rides were purchased with the intent of restoration. It never happened. I have been having too much fun ridding them...
No matter where you're at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)

Last edited by zandoval; 05-11-23 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 05-12-23, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by dddd
50 posts, many recommendations.

All without a picture of the bike!
I'm delighted to be able to use my 11th post on this forum to remedy that!

I am very grateful that so many people have taken the time to point me in the various possible directions.

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Old 05-12-23, 07:21 PM
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I so feel for that poor chain.
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Old 05-13-23, 01:17 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4
I so feel for that poor chain.
These were taken before it had its bath last week. Unless there's something else besides the gunk I'm not seeing?
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