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Thread: Fix old bike or buy new one?

  1. #1
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    Default Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Wife is new bike shopping. My son got her titanium touring bike stolen when he rode it to work and locked it up. That bike came came from a lightly used fleet of bikes from a very high end luxury bicycle touring company. The touring company heard her bad news and told her they would include her in the next fleet buy... costing 1/3 of store retail on a super nearly custom bike.

    This all leaves me out on whats new, hot , light and worry free.

    Now i got a few old bikes sitting around. They aren't going to be a shiny or cool as hers but good from the years associated with these bike touring companies. Anyway with all this fuss and shopping has made my feel like i need getting an upgrade or newish bike - I was adding up all the costs to repair my bike. It will run me about 375 for new cables, tires, derailers, brakes and other stuff. So the question is - how much would do you put in an old bike to keep it running in decent order? or would you just get a new bike?
    Be wary of your critics, at peace with your decisions, and work hard to be a better man.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Why do you need to replace the derailleurs and brakes? They don't often wear out. Pads and cables, sure.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Depends on the bike. Some new bikes are light years better, some are not.

    You do know I am an honest to goodness master bicycle mechanic, no? From steel and carbon frame repair, to frame prep, to suspension rebuilds, to wheel builds, to programming electronic shifter profiles and syncing Bluetooth connections...
    I started in the 80s, and worked there all through college and beyond.
    Until recently I regularly worked on bikes for money, still. Now it is only for Very Special People. Like any kid.

    Parts is the cheap part, by the by, it's the labor that gets you.

    Anyway, maybe keep the old one?

    Peace,
    Robert

    P.S. Pictures, descriptions, etc.?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Don't ask me. I happily ride a 30 year old bike. It's familiar and I don't have to worry about anyone stealing it.
    Elect a clown expect a circus

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    The bikes over the last 10 years have been tortured by a kid and teenagers who have jumped curbs, bent chains and crashed on the derailers. And before i got them generally they were 2 years in bike fleet service for Backroads.

    I can do most of the work myself. I just priced tires and to get similar ones run about 50 a piece. I suppose i can put this down as deferred maintance.
    Be wary of your critics, at peace with your decisions, and work hard to be a better man.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    I don't get the whole super light weight bicycle thing. Aren't people biking for exercise? Wouldn't they get more exercise pedaling an old hundred pound Schwinn around?

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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    I don't get the whole super light weight bicycle thing. Aren't people biking for exercise? Wouldn't they get more exercise pedaling an old hundred pound Schwinn around?

    ^^love this^^

    hahhahahaha.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    I don't get the whole super light weight bicycle thing. Aren't people biking for exercise? Wouldn't they get more exercise pedaling an old hundred pound Schwinn around?
    My brother almost got fired from a bike shop when he told a customer who was looking at expensive bikes that weighed a few pounds less than cheaper ones that he could save $500 by losing 5 pounds...
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    I don't get the whole super light weight bicycle thing. Aren't people biking for exercise? Wouldn't they get more exercise pedaling an old hundred pound Schwinn around?
    You know what's REALLY crazy? UCI has a LOWER weight limit for bicycles, which is fairly normal. But, almost every manufacturer makes bicycles that are illegal, because they weigh too little.

    Hehe.

    Peace,
    Robert

    P.S. I once watched a dude weigh an entire box of tubes (50), and take the lightest 4. Hehe.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Buy the heaviest tires you can find and thorn-resistant (extra thick, extra heavy) tubes; keeping all that weight spinning round for miles takes more energy than just moving an inert frame. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time...

    Ithaka, by Cavafy
    (Keeley - Sherrard translation)

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    We are talking flywheels now...

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Get belted tires. Really, everyone makes tires with Aramid/Kevlar/Amazium belts that resist flats very well. You've seen the goathead thorns? Glass, thorns, staples. I've hit all,of them with belted tires and not flatted.

    The names are funny, too. Armadillo, Hard Case, Gator Skin... Hehe.

    Peace,
    Robert

    P.S. Also, run regular tubes (thick tubes break stems) with the new latex type sealant in them. Yes, even presta tubes have removable valves in regular tubes, now. Oh, and always run presta tubes, so when your bike gets stolen, the thief will probably have to take it to a shop to get air. Unless they were pros.
    I have personally recovered 11 stolen bikes this way, one on the road. Not my bikes. Mine are usually too crummy and overlocked to steal.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    friggin Goathead thorns...
    They have caused me to walk many a mile.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Just run soft tires if you want to detune a bike; rolling resistance increases.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Just invested nearly $60 in shifter cables, new seat and replacing a cracked shifter for two bikes.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    The bikes over the last 10 years have been tortured by a kid and teenagers who have jumped curbs, bent chains and crashed on the derailers. And before i got them generally they were 2 years in bike fleet service for Backroads.

    I can do most of the work myself. I just priced tires and to get similar ones run about 50 a piece. I suppose i can put this down as deferred maintance.
    if you like the bike it's worth it but comparing dollar amounts of newer used bike vs old abused bikes can't be done without a thorough assesment of the bikes in question. On the old bike I would be concerned whether the gear hanger is knocked out of alignment, if it's an old style headset whether the races are brinnelled, the condition of the wheels and bearings, bottom bracket.

    I've seen teenage boys do damage in a few months that far exceeded what would happen in a decade of riding by someone who maintains their bike.
    Last edited by LeeG; 09-06-2017 at 12:57 PM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    It's not just an economic question, it's also a question of ergonomics and use profile. A high quality old bike, if it fits your ergonomics well and is a good ride for you may be difficult to replace with something that fits you as well and rides you as well. On use profile - it's horses for courses - if you are mainly riding on tarmac or concrete, you do not need any fancy "fully", because the dampers just suck energy etc etc. Even with regards to weight - you could get well built light bikes in the 80's (not cheap then ...). So, the question whether it is worth it, is a pretty complex one. You may just as well decide by feeling than try to rationalize.

    Last decade, when I was shopping for my new bike, one (very good ) dealer explained to me, that with my weight, regarding front suspension, it had to be either a top notch mointain bike fork or an unsprung fork. Apparently, the "standard" telescopic front forks used on many many bikes will last well up to something like 75 kgs of riders weight and have a short life above. New is not always good or even better than old.
    Last edited by Henning 4148; 09-06-2017 at 03:44 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    "Is the thing all right?" he asked.

    "The tandem," I replied, "is well."

    He said: "Have you overhauled it?"

    I said: "I have not, nor is anyone else going to overhaul it. The thing is now in working order, and it is going to remain in working order till we start."

    I have had experience of this "overhauling". There was a man at Folkestone; I used to meet him on the Lees. He proposed one evening we should go for a long bicycle ride together on the following day, and I agreed. I got up early, for me; I made an effort, and was pleased with myself. He came half an hour late: I was waiting for him in the garden. It was a lovely day. He said: --

    "That's a good-looking machine of yours. How does
    it run?"

    "Oh, like most of them!" I answered; "easily enough
    in the morning; goes a little stiffly after lunch."

    He caught hold of it by the front wheel and the fork and shook it violently.

    I said: "Don't do that; you'll hurt it."

    I did not see why he should shake it; it had not done anything to him. Besides, if it wanted shaking, I was the proper person to shake it. I felt much as I should had he started whacking my dog.

    He said: "This front wheel wobbles."

    I said: "It doesn't if you don't wobble it."
    It didn't wobble, as a matter of fact -- nothing worth calling a wobble.

    He said: "This is dangerous; have you got a screw-hammer?"

    I ought to have been firm, but I thought that perhaps he really did know something about the business. I went to the tool shed to see what I could find. When I came back he was sitting on the ground with the front wheel between his legs. He was playing with
    it, twiddling it round between his fingers; the remnant of the machine was lying on the gravel path beside him.

    He said: "Something has happened to this front wheel of yours."

    "It looks like it, doesn't it?" I answered.
    But he was the sort of man that never understands satire.

    He said: "It looks to me as if the bearings were all wrong."

    I said: "Don't you trouble about it any more; you will
    make yourself tired. Let us put it back and get off."

    He said: "We may as well see what is the matter with it, now it is out." He talked as though it had dropped out by accident.

    Before I could stop him he had unscrewed something somewhere, and out rolled all over the path some dozen or so little balls.

    "Catch 'em!" he shouted; "catch 'em!
    We mustn't lose any of them." He was quite excited
    about them.

    We grovelled round for half an hour, and found sixteen. He said he hoped we had got them all, because, if not, it would make a serious difference to the machine. He said there was nothing you
    should be more careful about in taking a bicycle to pieces than seeing you did not lose any of the balls. He explained that you ought to count them as you took them out, and see that exactly the same number
    went back in each place. I promised, if ever I took a bicycle to pieces I would remember his advice.

    I put the balls for safety in my hat, and I put my hat upon the doorstep. It was not a sensible thing to do, I admit. As a matter of fact, it was a silly thing to do. I am not as a rule addle-headed; his
    influence must have affected me.

    He then said that while he was about it he would see to the chain for me, and at once began taking off the gear-case. I did try to persuade him from that. I told him what an experienced friend of mine once said to me solemnly: --
    "If anything goes wrong with your gear-case, sell the machine and buy a new one; it comes cheaper."

    He said: "People talk like that who understand nothing about machines. Nothing is easier than taking off a gear-case."

    I had to confess he was right. In less than five minutes he had the gear-case in two pieces, lying on the path, and was grovelling for screws. He said it was always a mystery to him the way screws disappeared.

    We were still looking for the screws when Ethelbertha came out. She seemed surprised to find us there; she said she thought we had started hours ago.

    He said: "We shan't be long now. I'm just helping your husband to overhaul this machine of his. It's
    a good machine; but they all want going over occasionally."

    Ethelbertha said: "If you want to wash yourselves when you have done you might go into the back kitchen, if you don't mind; the girls have just finished the bedrooms."

    She told me that if she met Kate they would probably go for a sail; but that in any case she would be back to lunch. I would have given a sovereign to be going with her. I was getting heartily sick of standing about watching this fool breaking up my bicycle.

    Common sense continued to whisper to me: "Stop him, before he does any more mischief. You have a right to protect your own property from the ravages of a lunatic. Take him by the scruff of the neck, and kick him out of the gate!"

    But I am weak when it comes to hurting other people's feelings, and I let him muddle on.

    He gave up looking for the rest of the screws. He said screws had a knack of turning up when you least expected them; and that now he would see to the chain. He tightened it till it would not move; next he loosened it until it was twice as loose as it was before. Then he said we had better think about getting the front wheel back into its place again.

    I held the fork open, and he worried with the wheel. At the end of ten minutes I suggested he should hold the forks, and that I should handle the wheel; and we changed places. At the end of his first minute he dropped the machine, and took a short walk round the croquet lawn, with his hands pressed together between his thighs. He explained as he walked that the thing to be careful about was to avoid getting your fingers pinched between the forks and the spokes of the wheel. I replied I was convinced, from my own experience,
    that there was much truth in what he said. He wrapped himself up in a couple of dusters, and we commenced again. At length we did get the thing into position; and the moment it was in position he
    burst out laughing.

    I said: "What's the joke?"

    He said: "Well, I am an ass!"

    It was the first thing he had said that made me respect him. I asked him what had led him to the discovery.

    He said: "We've forgotten the balls!"

    I looked for my hat; it was lying topsy-turvy in the middle of the path, and Ethelbertha's favourite hound was swallowing the balls as fast as he could pick them up.

    "He will kill himself," said Ebbson -- I have never
    met him since that day, thank the Lord; but I think his name was Ebbson -- "they are solid steel."

    I said: "I am not troubling about the dog. He has had
    a bootlace and a packet of needles already this week. Nature's the best guide; puppies seem to require this kind of stimulant. What I am thinking about is my bicycle."

    He was of a cheerful disposition. He said: "Well, we
    must put back all we can find, and trust to Providence."

    We found eleven. We fixed six on one side and five on the other, and half an hour later the wheel was in its place again. It need hardly be added that it really did wobble now; a child might have noticed
    it. Ebbson said it would do for the present. He appeared to be getting a bit tired himself. If I had let him, he would, I believe, at this point have gone home. I was determined now, however, that he should stop and finish; I had abandoned all thoughts of a ride. My pride in the machine he had killed. My only
    interest lay now in seeing him scratch and bump and pinch himself. I revived his drooping spirits with a glass of beer and some judicious praise. I said:

    "Watching you do this is of real use to me. It is not
    only your skill and dexterity that fascinates me, it is your cheery confidence in yourself, your inexplicable hopefulness, that does me good."

    Thus encouraged, he set to work to refix the gear-case. He stood the bicycle against the house, and worked from the off side. Then he stood it against a tree, and worked from the near side. Then I held it for him, while he lay on the ground with his head between the wheels, and worked at it from below, and dropped oil upon himself. Then he took it away from me, and doubled himself across it like a pack-saddle,
    till he lost his balance and slid over on to his head. Three times he said:

    "Thank Heaven, that's right at last!"

    And twice he said:

    "No, I'm damned if it is after all!"

    What he said the third time I try to forget.

    Then he lost his temper and tried bullying the thing. The bicycle, I was glad to see, showed spirit; and the subsequent proceedings degenerated into little else than a rough-and-tumble fight between him and the machine. One moment the bicycle would be on the gravel path, and he on top of it; the next, the position would be reversed -- he on the gravel
    path, the bicycle on him. Now he would be standing flushed with victory, the bicycle firmly fixed between his legs. But his triumph
    would be short-lived. By a sudden, quick movement it would free itself, and, turning upon him, hit him sharply over the head with one of its handles.

    At a quarter to one, dirty and dishevelled, cut and breeding, he said: "I think that will do;" and rose and wiped his brow.

    The bicycle looked as if it also had had enough of it. Which had received most punishment it would have been difficult to say. I took him into the back kitchen, where, so far as was possible without soda and proper tools, he cleaned himself, and sent him home.

    (cont'd)

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time...

    Ithaka, by Cavafy
    (Keeley - Sherrard translation)

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    (cont'd)


    The bicycle I put into a cab and took round to the nearest repairing shop. The foreman of the works came up and looked at it.

    "What do you want me to do with that?" said he.

    "I want you," I said, "so far as is possible, to
    restore it."

    "It's a bit far gone," said he; "but I'll
    do my best."

    He did his best, which came to two pounds ten. But it was never the same machine again; and at the end of the season I left it in an agent's hands to sell. I wished to deceive nobody; I instructed the man to advertise it as a last year's machine. The agent
    advised me not to mention any date. He said:

    "In this business it isn't a question of what is true
    and what isn't; it's a question of what you can get people to believe. Now, between you and me, it don't look like a last year's machine; so far as looks are concerned, it might be a ten-year old. We'll say nothing about date; we'll just get what we can."

    I left the matter to him, and he got me five pounds, which he said was more than he had expected.

    There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can "overhaul" it, or you can ride it. On the whole, I am not sure that a man who takes his pleasure overhauling does not have the best of the bargain. He is independent of the weather and
    the wind; the state of the roads troubles him not. Give him a screw-hammer, a bundle of rags, an oil-can, and something to sit down upon, and he is happy for the day. He has to put up with certain disadvantages, of course; there is no joy without alloy. He himself
    always looks like a tinker, and his machine always suggests the idea that, having stolen it, he has tried to disguise it; but as he rarely gets beyond the first milestone with it, this, perhaps, does not much matter. The mistake some people make is in thinking they can get both forms of sport out of the same machine. This is impossible; no machine will stand the double strain. You must make up your
    mind whether you are going to be an "overhauler" or a rider. Personally, I prefer to ride, therefore I take care to have near me nothing that can tempt me to overhaul. When anything happens to my machine I wheel it to the nearest repairing shop. If I am too
    far from the town or village to walk, I sit by the roadside and wait till a cart comes along. My chief danger, I always find, is from the wandering overhauler. The sight of a broken-down machine is
    to the overhauler as a wayside corpse to a crow; he swoops down upon it with a friendly yell of triumph. At first I used to try politeness.
    I would say:

    "It is nothing; don't you trouble. You ride on,
    and enjoy yourself, I beg it of you as a favour; please go away."

    Experience has taught me, however, that courtesy is of no use in such an extremity. Now I say:

    "You go away and leave the thing alone, or I will knock your silly head off."

    And if you look determined, and have a good stout cudgel in your hand, you can generally drive him off.

    Three Men on the Bummel, Jerome K. Jerome (free download link)

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time...

    Ithaka, by Cavafy
    (Keeley - Sherrard translation)

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Thank you, Mr. Sharpiefan!

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    I 'restored' my old mountain bike last spring. I spent (on components) about $800 NZ (about $575 US). I spent a bit of time and more money on paint, which didn't go well and needs doing again, but the components have all turned a good old bike into one I enjoy even more and ride almost daily.

    The reason I tried to bring it back from the dead was because I had always enjoyed riding it, the frame has a pleasant quality to it, the position is good. I kept the frame, forks, seat and post, bars and stem and initially the pedals, but have since swapped these out for some SPDs I had lying around. So the bike feels the same, apart from the fact that the gears have all their teeth, the brakes actually work and the wheel bearings aren't flogged. It was a lot to spend on an old bike, but I've ended up with a far better bike than I could have bought for the money.
    'When I leave I don't know what I'm hoping to find. When I leave I don't know what I'm leaving behind...'

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Quote Originally Posted by oznabrag View Post
    Thank you, Mr. Sharpiefan!
    You're welcome.
    Jerome also wrote Three Men In A Boat, about a boat camping trip the friends make upriver. Gutenberg has it, too (LINK). Don't read it in public -- you'll be laughing so hard, they'll call the men with butterfly nets to come and take you away.

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time...

    Ithaka, by Cavafy
    (Keeley - Sherrard translation)

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    That was a fun read sharpie. Thanks.

    Ted in a throw away world I think there is a lot to be said for fixing the old, if that is not a totally unreasonable proposition. Of course some bikes are probably too far gone, but if what you have is half reasonable that's the path I'd take.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    That was a fun read sharpie. Thanks.

    Ted in a throw away world I think there is a lot to be said for fixing the old, if that is not a totally unreasonable proposition. Of course some bikes are probably too far gone, but if what you have is half reasonable that's the path I'd take.
    You won't get to know how good the old bike with new parts will be until you do it, but here's another way of helping to make up your mind...

    Don't just think of the old bike lying at the back of the pile in the shed/basement/garage, imagine having to cut it up and take it to the top if you don't repair it. If it's too nice to cut up, then buy some bits, fix it and use it.
    'When I leave I don't know what I'm hoping to find. When I leave I don't know what I'm leaving behind...'

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Btw if anyone is looking for a nice riding fat 700c road tire, 32mm, 35mm, the Panaracer T-serv are a great deal. Quiet, roll well, decent puncture protection, light, not expensive.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    If you like the position and the frame, fix the old one. My mountain bike now includes only the rims, spokes and hub shells from the original purchase... But it's still essentially the same bike, and I still like it.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    I grew up having to make my own bikes from parts people threw out. Got good at it, restored like new. My last year of college I spent money and bought a brand new road race bike, the technology trickle-down had gotten amazing and what 5 years previous would have cost $5000 now cost $725. Light and fast, I put so many miles on it I would need new wheels every couple of years until I got some touring wheels with double socketed rims. I still have both bike and those wheels, deep in storage. These days I ride a townie, I need big racks and panniers for shopping. I don't go the latest technology because the parts that need periodic replacement are expensive, and often less durable. I like 7/8/9 speed chains and freewheels, all are cheap and durable. Like $10 for an excellent quality chain at Nashbar, versus $30 or more. I like wheels with lots of spokes, and not radial lacing, I prefer 3X on 36 hole, 4X if the hub flanges will accommodate without overlapping the spoke heads (very hard to find these days, and it's way more expensive to build from parts, so I usually have to settle for 3X on 32 hole). Disc brakes are nice but the pads are expensive. My bike still has rim brakes and I found a place with cartridge pads for only $4 per pair, so easy to slide the pads out for cleaning without having to undo the whole pad and then realign. Stainless steel shift and brake cables are a great idea. I like cheap bottom bracket cartridges, which means usually square taper. I buy tires in the winter sales at Nashbar at 23-33% of list price. I keep the chain clean and lubed to prolong chain and sprocket life. I keep the brake pads clean (they get build-up of grit and aluminum particles) to prolong rim life and brake performance. I true the wheels myself, first step with a new bike is total overhaul of all bearings and perfect adjustment, and complete retrue, meaning untension all spokes and start at zero. First true it radially, then laterally, back and forth, constantly seeking to have even tension in the spokes, in addition to rims running true. My truing job is vastly superior to that from a shop, I take more time and care, and enjoy the Zen peacefulness of it. I also deburr/chamfer the valve stem hole to prevent tube flats there. For chain and brake-pivot lube, I use synthetic Dexron ATF, it's very high quality lube, perfect viscosity, and a fraction of the price of "bike lubes". But since motor oil is so thin these days, a zero-weight would probably work well too. A needle oiler is great for applying this. I clean the chain in a plastic bottle with a short spray of lye-based oven clean and a little water. Sodium hydroxide seems like a more environmentally friendly cleaner than petroleum-based solvents. Though a citrus-based cleaner would probably be best.

    First, start with a frame that fits you perfect, rides the way you want (with your intended size tires), and will fit the size tires you want. Everything else can be adjusted.
    Last edited by Bob (oh, THAT Bob); 09-07-2017 at 02:00 AM.
    When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    northern Georgia, or sometimes Mississippi Delta USA
    Posts
    13,039

    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    My bike that I ride the most is a 1966 Carlton Catalina built with plain guage Reynolds 531 that I bought as a bare frame and built up.


  29. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Do you have a warrant?
    Posts
    3,693

    Default Re: Fix old bike or buy new one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy W View Post
    My bike that I ride the most is a 1966 Carlton Catalina built with plain guage Reynolds 531 that I bought as a bare frame and built up.

    Looks like an Ideale type 80 leather saddle?
    When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

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