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New guy from Chicago

Old 04-20-13, 08:30 PM
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New guy from Chicago

Hi, I'm 18 years old 5' 6" and very athletic (165lbs, 7-12%bf year round, 300lbs squat). I'd like to say I'm on the brighter side, and I've always liked DIY projects, like building computers and installing my own car receiver, just to name a few I've been commuting on bicycle for years (I didn't even have a car until three months ago), between 10 and 20 miles a day. I played hockey for years, so I never cycled as a sport, but due to injuries I've had to leave hockey for the past year, and I may (or may not) take up cycling as a form of cardio (I'm not big on cardio thou). For the time being, I'd like to have a bike I can use for local stuff during the nicer months of the year. It's going to be used to commute to my current school (1 mile distance) every day, plus maybe local errands and some pleasure-riding on nice days. I do ride very aggressively (hills, curbs, fast riding in general, hard braking, etc.); I like the rush. So I don't want something that cricks and cracks and has the chain come off all the time. I want something solid and reliable. My only other concern is theft: having lived in a third world country for most of my life, I've learned that a low profile is the best way to keep thieves away. Because of this, I'm not interested in aluminum frames, shocks, fancy colors or logos unless they're free. I'm thinking a solid steel 20" frame 26" wheel mountain bike, with the thinnest low-tread tires that would fit.

I currently have a bike that I inherited from my grandfather in pretty bad condition. It's a green steel Giant frame, with a Shimano STX drivetrain. The only "new" part was the seat (which is a nice modern seat).

I cut of a lot of the accessories he had on it (rack, bottle holder, etc; I'm a minimalist), and changed the tires and inner-tubes for 26" x 1.5" (IIRC) and put on new brake pads. I also got (most) of the blocks of grease that were all over the place. The only thing I wasn't able to figure out, after fighting with it for an hour or two, was the shifting. I just couldn't get the front derailleur to work right at all. I ended up taking it into a shop because I wanted it done soon, and I didn't feel like putting any more time into it, and I got the cables changed since I was at it. A couple dozen bucks and hours of all of the guys in the shop fighting with it, I find out that:
1. I need a new front shifter (as the one I have isn't fixable; it doesn't shift right).
2. I need a new chain
3. I may or may not need new chainrings as the ones I have are slightly bent (I had noticed this myself).

So, because of all these problems, they weren't able to get it to work on all three front plates, so I got them to try to lock it to the two largest ones. It seemed to be working ok, and I really needed to leave (they'd been adjusting and me testing for a couple hours already). On my way back the chain came off twice and finally the rear-shifter cable snapped and it got locked into the smallest plate. I can't really blame them since my bike is in such a bad condition, but hopefully they'll give me my next tune up for free or something.

I immediately decided I'd just get a new bike, but after browsing for a while, I haven't found one I really like: most of them have wide treaded tires, are aluminum, have shocks, lower end drivetrains and are $300+.

So now I'm reconsidering getting a whole new drivetrain on my current bike, considering I've got new wheels, brakepads and seat. From what I could find, the Shimano Deore seems like a good fit. I'm thinking I can do a basic install myself, and if I fail to tune it in correctly, I'll try to get the shop to do it for free. All the parts (front & rear derailleur, front & rear shifters, chain, chainrings, rear cassette) add up to about $175 shipped NEW. Now, looking on ebay, there are sold listings for much cheaper, adding up to about $125. Then, even if the shop charges me $50 for whatever it is I can't do by myself, for lack of tools or whatever, I'd still be under $200 for what ends up being a bike tiers above a new $300 bike (for my purposes).

What do you guys think of my plan? Is it even possible (would the parts work, etc.)?

Long intro huh Thanks for selecting the right forum 10 wheels

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Old 04-20-13, 09:04 PM
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Old 04-20-13, 11:48 PM
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Eladro, welcome! I like your energy and spirit.

I'm probably not qualified to fully answer your technical questions. However, I will say that it sounds like you could take a different bike - a good value used bike - and make it shine. That might be a good option to consider.

Whatever you do, keep on riding, and welcome!
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Old 04-21-13, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Bluish Green View Post
Eladro, welcome! I like your energy and spirit.

I'm probably not qualified to fully answer your technical questions. However, I will say that it sounds like you could take a different bike - a good value used bike - and make it shine. That might be a good option to consider.

Whatever you do, keep on riding, and welcome!
But what is to guarantee that a used bike I buy off craigslist will be in better condition than my current one? In fact, I checked my local craigslist and (unfortunately) ATM there's nothing good on there
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Old 04-21-13, 05:19 AM
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Are you sure you are checking the Chicago CL?
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Old 04-21-13, 08:12 AM
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You're in mostly flat Chicago. You could either convert your current bike into a single speed and be done with it, or you could simply buy a new single speed bike online from Nashbar, Performance, or Bikesdirect within your budget.

Single Speed Conversion
www.youtube.com/watch?v=66osGJOdk9c
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Old 04-21-13, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
Are you sure you are checking the Chicago CL?
Yes, there are things out there, but nothing of great interest...
BTW I'm west chicagoland
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Old 04-21-13, 12:10 PM
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Oh no, where I live, there are plenty hills. In fact, my daily commute includes going up a hill... Granted it's not long, but I would like to be able to shift. What's wrong with my plan to buy a new drivetrain? The rest of the bike (frame, wheels, brakes, seat) is fine...
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Old 04-21-13, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by eladro View Post
Oh no, where I live, there are plenty hills. In fact, my daily commute includes going up a hill... Granted it's not long, but I would like to be able to shift. What's wrong with my plan to buy a new drivetrain? The rest of the bike (frame, wheels, brakes, seat) is fine...
It's a great idea! Just make sure that all of your drivetrain components match up.
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Old 04-21-13, 01:37 PM
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Awesome! So, would a Shimano Deore be compatible (Shimano STX is on there ATM, I really don't know what all the spacing and such is, or how I know/mesure it)? Also, just to double check, I need: the front and rear shifters, the chainrings (is there a name for all three of them?), the new chain, the front and rear derailleur, correct? Will I be able to install it myself? With what tools? Thank you

Edit: I took another look at my bike. The hub is a Shimano STX FH-MC32. And here are some pics:



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Old 04-21-13, 06:33 PM
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It's a great idea! Just make sure that all of your drivetrain components match up.
Hi Eladro, just remember, Google is your friend. You'll find many bicycle mechanic videos on youtube. As far as your drivetrain is concerned, just check out this website ---> https://bicycletutor.com/part/drivetrain/

Also, there's a bicycle mechanics forum as well as this commuter forum. I'd bet they'd love to see your photos.

You might check these links too:
https://westtownbikes.org/about
www.workingbikes.org/
www.therecyclery.org/
If you volunteer, you just might be able to squeeze your bike into the assembly line, where there are plenty of mechanics.

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Old 04-22-13, 07:17 AM
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Are you near the city, or what burb? There are tons of bikes on CL, if you are patient. Almost everything shows up if you are patient.

And, there are lots of hills in the Fox river valley.
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Old 04-22-13, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
Are you near the city, or what burb? There are tons of bikes on CL, if you are patient. Almost everything shows up if you are patient.

And, there are lots of hills in the Fox river valley.
I'm in Westmont. While something may show up on CL, I think I'd rather go with fixing up this one, it's a long story but it does also have some sentimental value. From what I've been able to find, newer parts are going to be 135mm, and my bike may have a 130mm or 135mm frame & hub, so how can I check? Does it really matter (or can I take spacers off and what not)?
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Old 04-22-13, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by eladro View Post
I'm in Westmont. While something may show up on CL, I think I'd rather go with fixing up this one, it's a long story but it does also have some sentimental value. From what I've been able to find, newer parts are going to be 135mm, and my bike may have a 130mm or 135mm frame & hub, so how can I check? Does it really matter (or can I take spacers off and what not)?
Eladro,

Please go to the "Bicycle Mechanics" sub-forum in order to get all of your questions answered. Most commuters are not bicycle mechanics. Those of us who usually fix our own bikes are not as savy as genuine bicycle mechanics. Therefore, get over there ASAP.

btw- I love your idea. It will work, but the mechanics over there can better serve you.
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Old 04-22-13, 09:20 AM
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Will do, thank you!
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Old 04-22-13, 09:21 AM
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This bike is a great base for cummuting. However if you want to do this for fitness, I recommend a road bike or possibly a cross bike. Most of us have different bikes for different purposes, and havig a single bike for all things forces a lot of compromises and keeps you from really fullfilling you wants.

Concerning your Green Giant. a chain costs $20, chain tool cost $20, Youtube and ParkTools videos are resources common bike repairs. If needed replacing a shifter cable is not really that difficult either.

Cycling can be a very expensive sport but being minimalist you can fun and creative ways to make the parts work.

Also, find local bike co-op. Co-ops are non-profit centers run by people that know how to fix stuff that you are having. They generally have spare parts lying around. In return they ask you donate a few bucks etc.
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