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Thiftstore Bike Find

Old 02-09-15, 12:54 AM
  #1  
xStaticS
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Thiftstore Bike Find

Yesterday I picked up a cool looking (I think at least) bike from Goodwill for $18. It's nothing fancy and from what I can tell it's not necessarily a very "nice" bike but I like it! Plus the frame fits me perfectly, which is something rare for me as I am very short at 5'2"

I thought the tires would be toast, but they hold air fine and held up during a 6 mile round trip ride to and from Walmart today. The rear brake doesn't work at all so that needs to be fixed, but the front brake works when it's pulled from the lower position on the handlebars. The mechanism to brake when your hands are in the upper position isn't working for either brake.

My plan is to ride it into my local community bike shop. It's called FreeCycles and they help people like me (who know nothing about bikes) fix up and build new bikes for free from their gigantic pile of bike scraps and parts, in exchange for a donation or some volunteer work.

The chain keeps jumping gears and obviously I need to pretty much replace the brakes 100% but after that I think the bike will be fun for riding around town.

Not totally sure what the point of this post was. My girlfriend thinks it was a stupid buy because the bike is in bad condition and it isn't worth much of anything but I really like it and I guess I'm just excited about it! It rides really well for a super heavy, old, and rusted bike, so that's good enough for me.





Also, can anyone tell me about the shifters on this bike? I haven't messed with them because I don't understand how they work and I don't want to eff anything up. I've never seen ones like this before? They are Shimano I guess, at least that's what they say on the little lever things.

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Old 02-09-15, 01:08 AM
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One thing to consider is moving the brake levers up a little - they're way down too low. Also new brake cables & housing along with brake pads will likely make a difference. The rear brake cable is way too long - it should rin smoothly along the top tube (use clamps) then gently curve to the rear brake calipers.

Heres an article on determining correct housing length:
Park Tool Co. » ParkTool Blog » Housing Length

Here's an article on side pull brake service:

Park Tool Co. » ParkTool Blog » Sidepull Brake Service

Parktool.com has tons of great articles with clear explanations & photos. Good luck & happy riding.
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Old 02-09-15, 01:20 AM
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The only stumbling block would be if those are 26x1 3/8 tires, which are a pretty oddball size. If they're 27", no worries.

That's a perfect candidate for the local co-op. They'll be able to walk you through tearing it down and re-building it. It's very good to know how the systems on your bike work and that you did the work on them. Good luck.
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Old 02-09-15, 01:23 AM
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Looks like an old American made (PA?) Ross. And not a bad old bike at that. It needs a little TLC (and likely not a lot else). It should provide you with a great entry into cycling... AND into bicycle repair (which is important).
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Old 02-09-15, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by gamby View Post
The only stumbling block would be if those are 26x1 3/8 tires, which are a pretty oddball size. If they're 27", no worries.

That's a perfect candidate for the local co-op. They'll be able to walk you through tearing it down and re-building it. It's very good to know how the systems on your bike work and that you did the work on them. Good luck.
I walked into my local bike shop (major Trek dealership) and bought Kenda K40 in 26 x 1 3/8" tires for $12 apiece. I about didn't ask if they had any because I assumed they'd only have modern stuff. They're not hard to find.
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Old 02-09-15, 01:47 AM
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Thanks everyone! I'm excited to start working on it, and I do really need to start learning how to repair my own bikes! I feel bad that I'm more excited about riding this new $18 bike than I am riding the $500 bike I commute on every day.
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Old 02-09-15, 01:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Looks like an old American made (PA?) Ross. And not a bad old bike at that. It needs a little TLC (and likely not a lot else). It should provide you with a great entry into cycling... AND into bicycle repair (which is important).
The frame says "Ross Europa x" the little plate that is usually screwed onto the front is missing for some reason so I don't know anything else about it. Most of the parts say Shimano, the brake levers say made in Taiwan. I tried searching Ross Europa on this site and found stuff for the women's model with a step through frame, and a few mentions of the Europa 3, but nothing for "Europa x" so I don't know anything else about it.
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Old 02-09-15, 02:01 AM
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Cool bike, I especially noticed those shifters and that particular handlebar bend, which looks comfortable.

Getting the cabling sorted out and tidy-looking will be a huge improvement.

Those shifters have a ratcheted action, though I think possibly in both directions, unlike a real ratcheting shift lever that serves up no "friction" resistance to movement when the lever is moving to pull on the cable. The long handle length, together with smooth-moving cables, should make for easy shifting.

I wish I could tell you why the gears slip, but without seeing it I can't. A modern KMC chain ($10-15) would no doubt make it easier to keep the chain smoothly centered on the driven sprockets in back.

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Old 02-09-15, 02:10 AM
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Walmart sells the Bell cable set, 2 brake, 2 gear, for $7.00. Likely your wheel hubs will need an overhaul too, fresh bearings and grease. Buy a used saddle at the coop.

The coop can help you and teach you. Also in addition to the recommendation about Park Tool, try sheldonbrown.com and mytenspeeds.com.
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Old 02-09-15, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
Walmart sells the Bell cable set, 2 brake, 2 gear, for $7.00. Likely your wheel hubs will need an overhaul too, fresh bearings and grease. Buy a used saddle at the coop.

The coop can help you and teach you. Also in addition to the recommendation about Park Tool, try sheldonbrown.com and mytenspeeds.com.

Is it weird if I say I actually like the saddle quite a bit? It's kind of weird looking, but I like that, and it seems comfortable although I will have to ride it more before I can know for sure.
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Old 02-09-15, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Cool bike, I especially noticed those shifters and that particular handlebar bend, which looks comfortable.

Getting the cabling sorted out and tidy-looking will be a huge improvement.

Those shifters have a ratcheted action, though I think possibly in both directions, unlike a real ratcheting shift lever that serves up no "friction" resistance to movement when the lever is moving to pull on the cable. The long handle length, together with smooth-moving cables, should make for easy shifting.

I wish I could tell you why the gears slip, but without seeing it I can't. A modern KMC chain ($10-15) would no doubt make it easier to keep the chain smoothly centered on the driven sprockets in back.
Thank you! The shifters can move in both directions for sure, I just haven't tested them out because I'm afraid of messing something up.

I think I will go pickup that cable set that oddjob2 mentioned and bring it with me to freecycles on Tuesday. Are there going to be any compatibility issues because of the weird shifters that are on this bike?
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Old 02-09-15, 03:55 AM
  #12  
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Nice find for 18 bucks!
Been a long time since I seen any decent bikes at goodwill.
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Old 02-09-15, 05:11 AM
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Used to have one of these in red when I was a teenager, in addition to the piece of excrement Huffy Sundance. Build quality was slightly better than the Huffy, but the weight was still pretty high. The bike was toast after some idiot ran me off the road into a ditch and I went over the bars - fork was bent, as was the frame and the front wheel. So Ross built them pretty well.

Did Shimano make the shifters, by any chance? If so, are they plastic, or all-metal types?
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Old 02-09-15, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by xStaticS View Post
Thank you! The shifters can move in both directions for sure, I just haven't tested them out because I'm afraid of messing something up.

I think I will go pickup that cable set that oddjob2 mentioned and bring it with me to freecycles on Tuesday. Are there going to be any compatibility issues because of the weird shifters that are on this bike?
Not likely, the cables are double ended. One end is disc and one end is barrel shaped. Clip off the fitting that doesn't match the existing cable, assuming of course, these long cables have the right fittings. While you are Walmart, get some automotive grease, non lithium, usually red or blue. Used to grease the cable and for the bearings.

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Old 02-09-15, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
..., get some automotive grease, non lithium, usually red or blue. Used to grease the cable and for the bearings.
Why not lithium?
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Old 02-09-15, 08:01 AM
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It's gold, the best color for a bike. You did well.
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Old 02-09-15, 08:03 AM
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Looks like there is cable housing on the shifter cables all the way from the levers to the derailleurs. That's a lot of housing. Don't know if the Bell sets will have enough housing for both brakes and shifters for the entire runs.

But, yeah, $18 for a complete working bike. Good deal.

And an Ashtabula crank. Rebuilt one on a 72 Scwhinn Breeze yesterday for my next door neighbor. Just remember the left hand nut is left handed as it screws on the one piece crank rather than into the frame.

Do all Ashtabula cranks use 1/2" pedal threading or is that a Schwinn thing?
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Old 02-09-15, 08:12 AM
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Keep in mind, that's a low end bike, with the one piece (Ashtabula) crank, so don't go crazy putting money into it.
A lot of basic maintenance should be able to get it working decently though.

Before worrying about cables & other bits, I'd service the crank and wheel bearings to make sure those parts will be OK.
No sense buying cables etc., if the hubs/Bottom Bracket are shot.

Whatever grease is remaining may be hardened etc. and not doing what it should.
I'd service those rotating parts before riding. It may make the difference of saving/destroying those parts.
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Old 02-09-15, 08:22 AM
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Good find! Ditto for what everyone else said. Interesting place to put front reflectors!
@Bill Kapaun has a really good point. No sense wasting time and money on cabling even if it will make a world of difference if the BB and hubs are not in acceptable state. Take advantage of the coop. While your at those two bearing oriented parts, check the head set too while at the coop.

After ever thing checks out, clean up the freewheel too. Lots of references already provided. My ten speeds is a great site for you. You might get lost in the subjects!
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Old 02-09-15, 08:47 AM
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So...much..housing...
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Old 02-09-15, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
[...]
Before worrying about cables & other bits, I'd service the crank and wheel bearings to make sure those parts will be OK.
No sense buying cables etc., if the hubs/Bottom Bracket are shot.

Whatever grease is remaining may be hardened etc. and not doing what it should.
I'd service those rotating parts before riding. It may make the difference of saving/destroying those parts.
And, servicing the bearings, if they are in decent shape, is something that will make an immediate and noticeable improvement. Hubs and BBs with nasty dried grease just don't roll like they will when refurbed.

I hadn't been inside an Ashtabula crank's bottom bracket for a long, long, time. Actually, pretty sturdy stuff in there. Easy to take apart, easy to service, easy to assemble. Still, would rather not see another for a long while.
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Old 02-09-15, 09:11 AM
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The "gears jumping"? That could be because the chain is thoroughly stretched or the freewheel (FW) cogs are thoroughly worn. Or it could simply be that one of the shift levers is in an intermediate position. Derailleur gears are not complicated. You have to be pedaling for the chain to move from cog to cog or chainring to chainring, and for the front it helps if you aren't pedaling really hard because a front shift has to move a section of chain that is under pedaling tension. Other than that, shifting is simple - you move the lever and it pulls the derailleur to derail the chain from one gear so that it flops over to another - end of story! As long as you don't pull back on one of the levers so hard you bend it or snap a cable or do similar damage it is pretty hard to mess up.

There is one real danger. Derailleurs have stop screws to limit how far they can move in each direction. Checking them and adjusting if necessary is a good thing to know how to do. The low gear (big cog) stop screw on the rear is especially important because it prevents the pulley cage from hitting the spokes. If it is set poorly and the cage catches the spokes, it will destroy both the wheel and the derailleur.

A stretched chain isn't really so common. Measure a foot or so. It should be exactly 1" per link. If it is more than 10% longer then consider a new chain. But a new chain with worn cogs can be problematic. Worn cogs or chainrings can be recognized because the teeth develop a distinct asymmetric "shark's fin" shape. Most likely you don't have either problem.

If you had paid a "high-end" road bike price for this your GF would have a point. But at $18 you did just dandy!
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Old 02-09-15, 09:34 AM
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Chain jumping may be as simple as a stiff link (or more)

Rotate the crank backwards and observe the RDER. Stiff links will make it "jump" as they pass through.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed. View Post
Why not lithium?

No need to reinvent the wheel, pun intended.

http://www.bikeforums.net/general-cy...um-grease.html
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Old 02-09-15, 11:58 AM
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Interesting. I don't see any real objections, but to spray grease.

This is 35ish year-old, undisturbed for 30ish years, Campagnolo grease, which I believe is lithium grease. I had no way to verify its lubricity, but it certainly was gooey, and in all easily observed characteristics appeared to still have lubricating properties.



I did not look at the grease in the bb of my Team Bike, which hasn't rested, undisturbed, but as I've not cleaned it, yet, I'll take a gander. Certainly there are other greases, but a blanket condemnation of white lithium grease seems a bit extreme.
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