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Is this fixer-upper worth it?
#1
OK, so I just bought a rusted up bike from Goodwill for 8 bucks. While a lot of the gear on it is rusted, the frame itself looks to be in pretty darn good condition. Actually, when I got it home I noticed the wheels still have the little rubber hairs on it. I don't know if anyone ever even road this thing!

So I've put up some pictures here: http://picasaweb.google.com/tonybullard/BikeFixerUpper

This bike would be for my wife, not to be resold. Could I get this thing running again for under 75 bucks? I'm wondering if it's more getting rust off, or replacing parts. The chain was unusable, so I couldn't check the derailleur and such, but they seem to move back and forth fairly well.

So what do you guys think? Do I have a chance with this thing? I'm fairly new to serious cycling (4 months commuting to work now) and while I've learned a lot from the site, I'm no pro. But I look forward to this fix up as a way to learn without destroying my own bike.
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#2
It certainly looks like a good project where you could learn a lot. You could probably pull it off for $75 if you can find some of the replacement parts used. It'll cost you more if you don't have the tools.

I'm guessing the chain is missing because it's probably too rusty to recover and you'll need a new one. A replacement is about $10 and you'll need a chain tool. Here's how to use one. Chains and freewheels wear together, so sometimes you'll have to replace the freewheel. Try the new chain first and test it to see if it skips. Do this by carefully pedaling down hard while in the smallest rear sprocket.

The rim on the rear wheel looks in rough shape. If you can't get the rust off it will affect your brakes and you should find a replacement wheel (about $20 used and $40 new). I'd also overhaul your wheel bearings as they are likely quite dry. If the wheels wobble you'll have to true the wheels.
How to overhaul your bottom bracket
Adjust and lubricate your brakes and all cables (you may have to replace some of these as well).

How to overhaul your headset
Once those issues are addressed, give it a tune-up. Make sure all of the derailleur and braking pivot points are lubricated. Here's some more info about the lubricants and basic tools you'll need.
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#3
Wow Alex! Thanks! I knew I'd be able to find all the info I'll need on the site, but I never expected you to find them all for me!

Yeah, as I look at the bike more, some of the rust is pretty deep. Probably going to have to buy new wheels and a new cassette. If I can't find a 5 speed cassette (the little bit of looking I've done hasn't turned anything up), will I have to buy a new rear derailleur?
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#4
You can usually find 5-speed freewheels at a good bike shop, or you can order this one.

You shouldn't have to replace the rear derailleur, but you'll find out when you adjust it as it may be a little bent. That type of derailleur can be straightened with a large adjustable wrench and a careful eye. In the future I'll have a tutorial that shows how to do this.
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#5
(probably more bloggy than anything related to the topic, but thought it might offer you another perspective on the topic)

I'd say a lot of it depends on what you are willing to put into it. Is it worth the time to you to try and fix it? Time is always a factor. Personally, if the bike is going to present a new opportunity to learn repairs, it might be worthwhile, but if it's the fifth bike you've picked up that way, it might be a little different.

Is it worth the money that you might have to put into it? This is starting to become my personal thing, since I'm on project bike #3 (I got #1 into great condition and ride it, #2 has brake line problems right now, I almost finished out #3 this weekend, save the gripshift problem I posted about), and thinking about selling/giving away #2 and #3. If the bike was originally worth some money, it might be worth replacing higher dollar parts. But to use the example of PB #2, I found out that it originally sold for $65, so it makes it hard for me to want to throw a lot of money into it. Basically because I would have to ask the question of whether I would want to put the same amount of money into a bike that I might pay to buy a brand new one of comparable value.

Of course, the first factor of time and interest is going to play into the second of money. If I was going to go wholesale into all bike repairs and get all the specialized tools that are mentioned throughout the videos on this site, I'd be half-tempted to gut PB #2 or #3 simply to run through all the tasks that could be done. But these project bikes are getting me plenty of what I do want from them out of time: A bike to ride and plenty of practice on doing minor repair tasks (even two or three small metalworking jobs on bent bike parts).

Could I get this thing running again for under 75 bucks? I'm wondering if it's more getting rust off, or replacing parts.

But I look forward to this fix up as a way to learn without destroying my own bike.

As for your direct questions, I see a lot of rust. In most cases that's not a problem, but for your moving parts, it would be. My guess is that you'll be in for those wheels, at least a cable or two (along with housings), some new brake pads, some cleaning solvent, chain oil, and light oil and probably other things as well as you get the chance to discover what else is going on in the bike.

But yes, this is a great thing. I got less worried about messing up when I got PB #2 to work on, simply because I knew I wouldn't be out anything to ride.

Good luck on what you do, and hopefully we can see some pictures of the finished product when done!
Why is it that they make adult bikes that'll generally work for 5'9" or above, yet when you pedal these same bikes they only work for someone who is 5'4" or so?
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#6
So I spent all night last night looking at it, and it's in pretty poor condition. It's probably cause it's my first project bike, but I feel for this poor thing. It was probably never ridden more then 5 miles, and then it was put out to rust...sigh.

I opened up the bottom bracket this morning and it's rusted all through. The bearing cage and race have some pitting, so that would need to be replaced. The more I look at it, the only decent parts are the frame and the reflectors. I will say that just the taking things apart and learning has been worth the 8 bucks. Not to say I've given up already. Buying new parts online, even cheap ones, is pretty much out of the question, so we'll have to see what my local shops have to offer.
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#7
You might be suprised at how easy it is to get this bike running. The first thing you need to do is go over it with a steel brush and steel wool with paint thinner and rust remover or something similar. If you take a fiber flap wheel on a grinder or drill you may be able to save the wheels. The good thing about old bikes is that they were all heavy and overbuilt so you should be able to remove a fair bit of material off the wheels and still have a decent braking surface. That said, you need to make sure they're even so you don't trash all your brake pads.

If you want a good project for the chain just for a 'good college try', break that chain off the drivetrain and let it sit for several days in paint thinner or diesel fuel. Pull it out and go over it several times with a brass brush while bending each link. You might be suprised how clean you can ge that chain. Surface rust sometimes looks far more scary than it actually is. Ask your local bike shop if they can donate any parts and explain to them that you're trying to learn more about your bike but that you will continue to shop with them and support them when possible. I have had great success with this in the past. Bring some coffee and doughnuts over as this never hurts. most shops have piles of this old stuff hanging around and chuck half of it in the garbage anyway. Any shop that won't help you out a little on this isn't a shop you should stick with.

The other option is to be very specific about what you need and perhaps some forum members can help? If you don't mind paying postage, I may be able to pick through some parts boxes to help.
Good luck.

Is it worth fixing? Always. You can always donate the bike to someone who could never afford a bike at any price. The knowledge that you get from tearing it down and fixing it is priceless even if you pay to give it away.
Andrew.
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#8
Sorry to burst your bubble but it looks like the front fork is bent back pretty badly. It must have been in a bad front crash. Something with that amount of impact may have affected the headtube also. The front tire seems to be touching the downtube. Might want to take it to your local bike shop and have them look at it. If it is, you can get a new fork for fairly cheap. $35 to 45ish for a new one.

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