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Free MTB's for conversion. Need advice today!

Old 03-15-08, 03:51 AM
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Free MTB's for conversion. Need advice today!

I received an email from a member of my RAGBRAI team letting me know that cities recently closed landfill has over 700 bikes and an entire building of parts that they want to recycle in to the community. I emailed the team mate asking if there are any old steel MTB's I could pick up. Apparently there are more than she can count. Today I will be having a friend with a truck take me down to go through the excess bikes and parts with hopes of getting as much as I can to build a touring rig. I'm hoping for some advice on what to get and what not to get that will help me out in the long run.

If you were in the same situation and had a free for all in a building full of used bike junk what would you get?
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Old 03-15-08, 04:44 AM
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Glance it over. If it is obvious that the majority of the junk is just that -- ie, "waterpipe" department store bikes, rusted steel componentry such as wheels, cranksets, and so on, give it a miss. I've come across the situation a couple of times, when I thought I had found a gold mine... a pile of about 150 bikes on the back of a truck ready for the recycling depot. Well, I soon found out the depot was the best destination for them.

I've found that to discover gems in dumps, you need to visit regularly and know what could be a good pick-up. My Shogun that is now my favourite ride was like that. Same with the alloy MTB frame I have. For your purposes, you really need to know brands, models and frame materials, and that isn't easy. Remember that even in the old days, a well known US brand would probably use Hi-Ten (high tensile) steel for its lower-end frames. Stickers with "double butted" and a steel alloy identification will be helpful. Keep and eye out for Tange stuff, too.

The other issue you will face is compatibiity of components for the frame that you might select.

One thing I do know is that if you use retro items such 5, 6, or 7sp freewheels, you can pick these up in hardly-used condition and store them for later use. If you are looking for wheels, alloy ones, obviously, preferably double-walled, and with 36H. You might find some alloy hubs, but make sure the holes match the number in the rims.

Good luck, though. Be prepared to spend a few hours sorting, take some tools with you, and be ruthless in your selection.
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Old 03-15-08, 06:36 AM
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Ha Ha Ha

I suggest you try bribeing the government lacky at the landfill with his favorite chocolate cake/The damm fool that bribed our's cuts up the aluminum frames here for scrap What a waist./Ken
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Old 03-15-08, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by kenebec
I suggest you try bribeing the government lacky at the landfill with his favorite chocolate cake/The damm fool that bribed our's cuts up the aluminum frames here for scrap What a waist./Ken
Luckily the person who is in charge of the entire outfit is a cyclist. She has made sure they save all the bikes in hopes of recycling them in to the community. I'm going to try to grab a few extra bikes so that I can get them in working order and then give them to a local homeless ministry that will give them to people who need them. I figure if I'm getting something for free I might as well take some of my time and help someone else out. If there is a lot of good stuff there then I will probably start trying to fix up a bike a month to give to charities/needy people. If everyone in my area who needed transportation was able to get a bike I would not only be helping the cycling community but the community at large.

I will be taking pictures of what I see today and posting it here ;-)
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Old 03-15-08, 09:40 AM
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If you are not familiar with older MTBs, then look for frames made from chromoly tubing throughout. Any stickers with Hi-Ten or Hi-Tensile or something like that is low level. Stickers about tubing can usually be found on the fork and main triangle. Tange made some of the best tubing years ago for MTB, others also available such as 4130, Columbus, etc.

Some examples of tubing stickers to seek:

https://www.firstflightbikes.com/_bor...imberdecal.JPG (4130)

https://img150.imageshack.us/img150/9...sticker2mv.jpg

https://derbyking.com/Chrome/Nail/94.jpg

https://www.yellowjersey.org/TANGEMAN.JPG (note hi-ten stickers to avoid)

https://equusbicycle.com/bike/tange/T...d-tubing-I.jpg (road bike stickers)

https://equusbicycle.com/bike/tange/tangeultimate1.jpg

For components, look for Shimano LX, DX, and XT. Normally if a bike has that level of componentry, it also has good tubing. Suntour XC components also good.
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Old 03-15-08, 11:02 AM
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rent the largest truck you can. take all of the bikes. make multiple trips if you have to,

keep the nice ones for yourself, fix the others up and give/sell for reasonable prices to people in need. donate the leftovers to some bike co-op/charity.

that's what i'd do.
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Old 03-16-08, 06:50 PM
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By the time I got there it was almost closing time so I had to just grab some stuff real quick and leave. I ended up with a steel Raleigh frame with some solid 700c wheels that I think I'll fix up and give to my dad in hopes that he might start riding a little bit. I also got a Schwinn Sidewinder that I believe to be from 1995 since there is a "100th Anniversary. 1895-1995" sticker on it. The frame is badged as CroMoly and seems very sturdy. The components are Shimano Altus and I know that's not too great but it shifts flawlessly and seems like it will be a great base to get started with. The wheels are 36 spoke and the hubs seem pretty solid.

I've added a rear rack, bar ends, and a frame bag (not sure the correct term) and took it for a few mile ride to test it out. Things work great!

I will put different shifters on there soon as I don't care for grip shift, along with a front rack, more bottle cages, tires, fenders, and treking bars.



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Old 03-17-08, 10:48 AM
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Hey, I see from the close-up image of the fork the sticker "Bomb Proof" - can't get better than that! Price was right too.
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Old 03-17-08, 10:58 AM
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It is amazing to me that bikes like that wind up there. Is there a bike co-op in your area that helps kids (and adults) build up a bike from used parts? If not maybe there should be. Something like this:
https://velocipedebikeproject.org/get_involved/
would be a great home for all that stuff.
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