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Complete newbie looking for some advice

Old 08-23-16, 03:45 PM
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EccoWing
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Complete newbie looking for some advice

Hi there!

Im brand new to the forum and was really hoping to get some advice.

My wife and i went out and got a couple cheap used bikes to start getting her used to riding. I myself used to ride quite a bit but never invested in any kind of a nice bike. These dasy, being older, i value quality and really do want to broaden my understanding of whats out there and of cycling in general.

Now i know most users have a bike they are very proud of, and one day i hope to have a gem of my own. Currently, however, (and please be easy on us, these are just starter bikes to freshen up) we have two Schwinn Sierra Bikes, I believe its a 19" frame with 26" wheels. They are in decent shape, but i know they are in need heavily of a tune up. I dont mind spending a little to get them in good shape, it will take some time to save up for a couple nice higher end bikes. Can you guys suggest the top things that i should be inspecting/fixing/cleaning etc? The tread on the tires is good and the brakes work well, aside form squealing a bit when breaking hard. The chains look good and not rusted, though quite dirty.

These bikes were sitting in a sealed storage area for quite some time, so although they are in good shape, sitting has most likely caused some issues i would imagine. Anything you guys can suggest to me would be greatly appreciated. Im so new to this i didnt know where to stat. I figured the community was the best plave to find friendly info.

I will be frequenting this forum, so if anyone would like to toss out a friend request that would be cool too. Im sure ill have a lot more questions as i move through the preliminaries and toward getting a nice bike, and it would be nice to have a place to come and share knowledge. I dont mind sending pics of equipment or answering any questions to help clarify, so please dont hesitate to ask.

Thanks in advance!

Wing
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Old 08-23-16, 04:31 PM
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RonH
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The first thing you should do is take the bikes to a bike shop you're familiar with and get the bikes serviced. Sounds like they are both in desperate need of some serious service, repairs and adjustments. While you're there ask the shop owner/manager to check for correct bike fit for both of you.
After you get tired of them or wear them out, head back to the same bike shop (or maybe a few bike shops) and do some serious bike shopping.
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Old 08-23-16, 06:46 PM
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If they've been in storage for a long time, the tires could be dry-rotted and the brake pads could be hardened. That might be what's causing the squealing. I agree with RonH that taking them to a good bike shop and getting their opinion.
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Old 08-23-16, 08:42 PM
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Right on. Thank you guys for a quick response. One of the bikes brakes are just fine. The other squeals very loudly as you come to a stop. I felt it's brake pads and they seem like they have a lot of life to them. They are a hard rubber pad, so I'm assuming them getting stuff and brittle isn't the cause.

Also, do you all know about what it costs to get a mountain bike tuned up? I know an exact number is impossible without a tech seeing it, but a round about idea?

Lastly, I took my bike out for a spin earlier and as I went over a bump, the back tire went completely flat. I had to walk it all the at home. Upon inspection I can't see why it popped. I have yet to take the tire off, but the whole outside and tread looks intact. Maybe a popped tube from it sitting for a long while?

Thanks again guys.
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Old 08-23-16, 08:55 PM
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Pictures are worth a thousand words

Brake pads are consumables. Even if they look good, they may well be hardened beyond use. It is hard to describe, but if they look dried or brittle, toss em. If you can't nick them with a thumbnail, toss them.
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Old 08-23-16, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by EccoWing View Post
Lastly, I took my bike out for a spin earlier and as I went over a bump, the back tire went completely flat. I had to walk it all the at home. Upon inspection I can't see why it popped. I have yet to take the tire off, but the whole outside and tread looks intact. Maybe a popped tube from it sitting for a long while?

Thanks again guys.


Snake bite most likely. (The rim pinched your inner tube)
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Old 08-23-16, 10:36 PM
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You can probably service the bikes yourself with a small amount of mechanical aptitude and a few hand tools. Install fresh brake pads and new tubes on both bikes. Clean and lube the chains too.

Shiny new helmets for you and your bride and off you ride!


-Kedosto
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Old 08-24-16, 12:06 AM
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Expect to pay $50-$100 depending on the shop and how much work the bikes need.

I don't know the shop ... some folks will see you as an open wallet ("No, you really needed every bearing repacked and every spoke polished") while some will see you as an interesting project ('I went through the whole bike and most of it was alright but i found a and fixed a few things") and most will probably just go through the motions and not even check much beyond adjusting the cables and lubing the chain.

If you are going to own bikes you need to buy a bike pump, preferably one with a built-in gauge. Maybe $20 online. You will need some spare tubes and a patch kit and tire levers possibly. You can use You-Tube to learn every aspect of bike maintenance from building a frame to touching up paint and everything else in any way bike-related---or just make sure your shop treats you right and let them handle stuff. Keep track of things until you are sure they do good work for a fair price.

Something like this: https://www.about-bicycles.com/Bike-R...l#.V704aJgrI-U ? Looks like a great starter bike---niothing you don't need, nothing to break, just a get-on-and-ride-anywhere bike.

Or this: Sierra 1 | Schwinn Bicycles which is also a good bike but has that useless suspension fork?

Either way, for the type of riding you seem to like, these should be fine bikes. They will last forever ... you will want better bikes long before you need to get rid of these. Your grandchildren could be passing these on the their kids with a little basic maintenance and care.
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Old 08-24-16, 04:53 PM
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Well with all of that advice I think what I'm going to do is head to the shop today, pick up new tubes and new brake pads. Get those put on, clean the chains and re grease them. I'm going to take some 0000 steel wool and try to get some of the rust off some of the bolt heads. After that I'll be saving a bit of money to bring them for an inspection and see what else needs to be done. Main goal is to get them in riding condition so we can get some use form them. Meanwhile my wife already asked what kind of sub 1000 bike I want for a Christmas present so I suppose that hunt is on as well.

Pics coming soon. The forum isn't letting me upload pics for some reason.
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Old 08-24-16, 06:57 PM
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You're doing it the right way, EccoWing. Going with some decent used bikes until you see how much you and your wife really like it is the way to go. Years ago I bought brand new bikes for me and my wife hoping to ride together. Well we never did and they sat for years, rarely getting used. So, Yeah, ride the Schwinns, see if you get hooked by the cycling "bug" and then later invest in upgraded rides.
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