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#1
Who doesn't ride a bike when they are a kid? I sure did and loved it.
Until my bicycle fell into disrepair and my parents attitude was "you broke it".

When in fact it need tubes and tires. Likely $10 would have got me riding again but back then $10 was a lot of money especially to a poor kid.

Now I'm in my mid 40s and the ideal of bicycling with my family seems like fun. I can use the exercise because my butt stays parked at a desk all day.

A friend gave me a brand new "RoadMaster" 26" mountain bike that he accidently ran over backing the car out of the garage. We were talking and the conversation turned to getting some exercise and that my wife and I discussed taking up bicycling. He offered the bike to me free and added "it needs wheels, but they are cheap".

GREAT! I though. I like saving money. But I didn't realize this was a bit more complicated than I though. I realized that even though I'm a great mechanic when it comes to automotive issues; I know NOTHING about bicycles. I know this is a WalMart special and can be purchased for less than $100; but the frame seems the be very sturdy and heavy duty; the wheels are very cheap and light in my opinion. The inner tubes are paper thin, I already ordered heavy duty replacements tubes.

The question is HOW and Where do I get correct replacement (better quality than OEM) wheels for this? I don't want to spend a whole lot since I certainly not an avid biker at this point.

When I browse wheels on line there are several specs I'm not familiar with. And I realize now there are several different types depending on the type of bike.

Need a little help here pointing me in the right direction. Thanks.
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#2
Here's the options I would go with:

a. find a cheap bike at yard sale and use the wheels from that.
b. go to a real bike shop and ask for used wheels.
c. disassemble your wheel, get replacement rim & spokes needed and learn to build and true it yourself, there's many places on the web with instructions.

don't spend any more than $30

I get bikes like this, overhaul them & donate them to my wife's church.
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#3
(03-20-2012, 09:27 PM)roydrink Wrote:  Here's the options I would go with:

a. find a cheap bike at yard sale and use the wheels from that.
b. go to a real bike shop and ask for used wheels.
c. disassemble your wheel, get replacement rim & spokes needed and learn to build and true it yourself, there's many places on the web with instructions.

don't spend any more than $30

I get bikes like this, overhaul them & donate them to my wife's church.

Thanks for the reply.
I'm really not interested in yard sales and combing through junk for parts.
I would like to purchase new wheels; but need to make sure I'm looking at the correct wheels. Just browsing the web i see they range from $15 to $400+ each. I would like to stay under $100 for a front and rear set.
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#4
Besides the size (26") the other main thing you need to know is how many gears the rear wheel has on it and whether it is "freewheel" or "cassette". http://sheldonbrown.com/free-k7.html
A bike like this is probably a 6 speed freewheel in the back, but check before you buy anything. Assuming I'm correct, something like this would work: http://www.amazon.com/Dimension-Formula-Freewheel-135mm-Silver/dp/B001F31DR0
you should be able to find a matching front wheel pretty easily. There should be a lot of choices out there and there's nothing particularly special about this one.

Make sure you get aluminum rims, don't get a "cruiser" wheel. Stainless steel spokes are preferable, but not critical. Quick release wheel can be taken on and off the bike without tools which makes putting it in your car much easier, but also easier for someone to steal if you lock it up. The other option is "bolt-on" which just has standard nuts.

You will need to take the gear cluster off the old wheel to use on the new one. This requires a special tool and it's probably easiest to just go into a bike shop and have them knock it off for you.

Buying new wheels means you'll almost definitely end up with better quality than what came on the bike originally. But, be warned, there may be other parts that got damaged that you haven't spotted yet. The rear derailleur is notoriously easy to bend even without a car backing over a bike. And likely it will need some brake, gear, etc. adjustments that you'll either need to figure out or pay someone to do.

In short, no reason not to buy parts. But you're probably going to end up spending as much or more than if you just bought a brand new bike of equal quality. These things are just so cheap that they're pretty much disposable.

If you really don't want to risk investing money in something that you may not use, I'd say buy the parts or just go buy a new bike like this one. If you think you might actually bike for a while, you really will be much happier with a bike that cost $250 or up from a bike shop instead of Walmart. There's a reason these things only cost $88. But whatever works, go for it. It's the riding that's fun and healthy. What kind of bike doesn't matter that much.
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#5
Yep, "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts" You will spend more money than you can buy that bike for and still have a cheap heavy frame and equipment. The frame is the heart.

Its amazing that those bikes can be build and shipped and still make a profit at less than $90.

If you want to play by all means go for it. You will get an education in bike repair.
Never Give Up!!!
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#6
Thanks for the replies guys. And this is the 'schooling' I need.
Agreed this bike will probably need a few bugs worked out. I looked closely at everything on this bike and all looks to be in good order. I have read on a few other cycling forums that the overall quality of these RoadMaster bikes is Ok, but in general the wheels,tires, and tubes are poor quality and upgrading these parts yields a pretty descent bike.

Here is a laugh for you. It never crossed my mind to drop by a cyclists shop and talk to some professionals. Just the internet-centric way of thinking I guess. I like educate myself on things and rarely seek out other people. I have to admit part of this is because there are a lot of people claiming to be knowledgeable professionals that actually don't have a clue or will tell you anything to sell you something rather than assist you by answering questions. You find this a lot dealing with automobiles and auto parts.
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#7
Quote:there are a lot of people claiming to be knowledgeable professionals that actually don't have a clue
So very different to the interwebs... Wink this forum however is really a great source of knowledge, and there's also no real elitist cyclists around (at least they don't post) and the normal bike forum flame wars don't happen (Shimano vs. SRAM vs. Campagnolo, chain lubing, road vs. mountain bikes)... so: you came to the correct place.
On the wheels: Entry level wheelsets can be had for a reasonable price. There is however the compatibility issue: if you really have only a 6 speed freewheel you cannot get new parts. Those have been out of production for ... dunno, a decade at least? The best way to source something halfway decent is dropping by at the LBS (local bike shop) and asking for used parts. You will have to overhaul the hubs (see vids on this site, everything you need to know) and maybe have them trued, as Roy said.
There is one big caveat: Do not invest too much into components for a BSO (bike shaped object). I don't want to sound like an elitist, but there is a reason that those are so cheap: they are cheap (as opposed to inexpensive). Fix it to a rideable state and then after a while get something more decent. Some bike shops do offer refurbished bikes, or get something new. Sinking a load of money into a cheap bike makes no sense, it is better to invest in something decent. Yes, I know this from my own experience in upgrading older bikes: however, I do like riding both of them, so it made sense to me (and at that time (grad student) it was much easier for me to spend only small amounts).
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#8
(03-22-2012, 01:11 PM)Joe_W Wrote:  if you really have only a 6 speed freewheel you cannot get new parts. Those have been out of production for ... dunno, a decade at least?

FYI, 6 speed freewheels are still spec'd on a lot of new bikes and replacements are readily available. Even Walmart stocks them! http://www.walmart.com/ip/Shimano-Freewheel-6-Speed/13012506?sourceid=1500000000000003260420&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=13012506
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