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Newbie strip down dreams

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Newbie strip down dreams

Old 02-22-15, 06:28 AM
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Newbie strip down dreams

I was given an old 1980's racing bike that was probably bought on a budget when it was new.
It's an Emmelle Ranger GT2 (see photo)

I've ridden it about 70 miles thus far and it seems pretty solid and reliable. However, I am keen to get my fitness on the agenda this year and I want to make sure the bike is up to the task.

It was suggested that I put the bike in for a full service at my local bike store, but to be honest I really don't want to pay those prices and I'm thinking that maybe I can do it all myself.

On top of that, I quite like the idea of sprucing up the frame with a modern-ish / custom paint job.

Has anyone had any experience as a newbie with doing a complete strip down, refurbish and rebuild?

This is the dream:
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Old 02-22-15, 07:09 AM
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First, let me encourage you to take on a project. If you are mechanically inclined, there is really nothing on a bike you can't do. And for the few odd jobs where special tools are needed, your local bike shop can pitch in and help, usually at a nominal/low charge.


You need to start with better "bones". It all starts with the frame, and this one is very basic. Your bike is borderline a department store bike: claw rear derailleur, steel seat post, steel crank, mis-matched wheels, stamped drop outs, etc.

Learn what makes a bike and frame nice BEFORE you start your project.

I was guilty of the same mistake early on. I totally restored my old college bike. It had been ignored for over 30 years, stored outside, under a deck, in a basement, moved coast to coast several times, etc. I finished it, and I was PROUD! It turned out NICE! But then I realized, the bike was crappy when I bought it way back when, so I now had a pristine, restored, piece of crap. Worse yet, it really didn't fit me either. And despite doing the work myself, I did not enjoy a hefty bin of vintage parts like I do now, so I put WAY too mush $$ into it. I ended up selling it at a loss, and moved on.

I then did some research into the differences between basic vintage bikes and good ones. With the internet, such research can be done in a night or two. I found a NICE vintage bike for my next project, and off it went. Since that time, I have done over 500 projects, and have a two year backlog of projects right now.

Get a better frame as a starting point, and go for it.

Look at the lug work and drop outs of your "target". Your bike has zero in common with it.

In my market, if you want to go single speed, and you are committed to doing a ground up project (expensive route), then head to a local co-op and pick up a quality frame with paint issues. I have found frames like that at my co-op from $10 to $50. Make sure the frame is straight. Or post a wanted to buy " frame and fork" in your local C/L, or figure out the size you need, and do the same here.

Many people on this forum have a stack of bikes and frames, and since you want to repaint, paint condition is not important, opening up a lot of choices.

When you go to the amount of work you are talking about, paying a little more upfront to get something decent is money well spent. The difference may be $100, and the end result will be night and day better.

Last $10 co-op frameset, obviously takes a lot of imagination, but underneath the crap is a nice black chrome frame and fork:

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Old 02-22-15, 08:03 AM
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I will echo what @wrk101 had to say...go for it! There is nothing better than doing the work yourself and riding that bike right out of your garage. But...I also agree with Bill on the bike itself...start with some better "bones"...and...be sure it is a good size for you!
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Old 02-22-15, 08:16 AM
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A lot of newbies think repainting their bike is on the top of the list of must dos. The fact of the matter is that bikes on here rarely get re painted. It is expensive and usually lowers the value of the bike. I've had about 50 old bikes and I've repainted zero of them. Maybe 1 or 2 I considered but still didn't.

Buy a whole bike with a nice frame that fits and paint you like and sell off the pieces you don't want (eBay). This will pay for the things you do want to do (looks like you want a single speed/fixed gear). I know a lot of people come in wanting a single speed but see if you can't sort out the bike with gears first and see how it rides that way.

You'll like your bike for both riding and working on it a whole lot more if it is a bmw or Mercedes equivalent rather than a lada or trabant.
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Old 02-22-15, 08:18 AM
John E
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You have a road bike with gears, but the bike in your target is a fixed gear track bike. Which type of riding experience do you want? A bike with gears is far more versatile and generally useful, whereas a fixed gear is generally for more specific uses, although some folks push this envelope pretty widely. I do agree that the frame is the heart and soul of the bike, and you will be better off with a better frame.
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Old 02-22-15, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Quronos View Post
......Has anyone had any experience as a newbie with doing a complete strip down, refurbish and rebuild?....
We've all been there.

As others have suggested - spend some effort (very little money, just time) getting your bike working as smoothly as it possibly can. Take the wheel bearings apart, clean and regrease (I use boat trailer wheel bearing grease because it is inexpensive and effective), ditto the headset and BB. Check how true the wheels are. Brakes should be strong. All cables should feel like a hot poker through melted butter smooth.

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After you have your bike working as well as it can, try riding around in only one gear. Do you really want a single speed? If you can ride around in just one gear for a 100 miles or so; and REALLY like it; then plan out a single speed conversion - costs more than you think it would.

Painting: a professional multi color paint job is hundreds of dollars. A typical amatuer paint job looks like crap, and tends to have durability issues. I would suggest that you thoroughly clean the bike frame, then try painting a lug or lining a lug - just one. Painting takes a great deal of patience, for most people there are many many failures along the way before they get a good one, even with formal training. If you are good at it, you can make a some money painting.
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