Author Topic: Making a Hand Me Down Bike Road-Ready  (Read 3553 times)

Winter's Tale

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 84
Making a Hand Me Down Bike Road-Ready
« on: June 27, 2013, 10:40:48 AM »
I was lucky to receive a hand me down bike free of charge.  It used to belong to a relative and seems to be about 20 years old or so.  It is a 21 speed bike, I believe.  I have a few questions that I'm sure someone can answer.

1. The bike seems to be in ok condition, but the back brake is not really working.  Can this type of thing be fixed easily at a bike shop?

2. Do bike shops often offer "bike tune ups" that would serve as a general checkup/repair for the entire bike?

3. I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I don't really know how to change gears/speeds well even though I learned how as a child.  Can anyone recommend a video or other resource for me to brush up on this skill?

Thanks!

Hamster

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 623
Re: Making a Hand Me Down Bike Road-Ready
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2013, 11:00:20 AM »
I was lucky to receive a hand me down bike free of charge.  It used to belong to a relative and seems to be about 20 years old or so.  It is a 21 speed bike, I believe.  I have a few questions that I'm sure someone can answer.

1. The bike seems to be in ok condition, but the back brake is not really working.  Can this type of thing be fixed easily at a bike shop?

2. Do bike shops often offer "bike tune ups" that would serve as a general checkup/repair for the entire bike?

3. I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I don't really know how to change gears/speeds well even though I learned how as a child.  Can anyone recommend a video or other resource for me to brush up on this skill?

Thanks!
1) Yes. May require some cleaning, and adjusting the cable, or even replacing the brake, but you can get brakes for fairly cheap.
2) Yes. Call your local shop to ask about prices which may vary quite a bit. They will charge for any parts that need to be replaced. Minor installation may be included in the tune up, but is often an additional charge. A very thorough cleaning and removal of things gumming up the works might fix your problems, though.
3) I don't have a specific video in mind, but once you get it tuned up, just shift the front derailleur (shifter) into the middle chainring (gear), and get on and pedal.

When it feels too hard to pedal, shift the rear (right hand shifter) to an easier/lower gear; when it feels you are spinning your legs too fast, shift to a harder/higher gear. to start with, I'd focus on just shifting the back gears (right handed shifter) to begin with until you are used to it. That will cover all but the highest/lowest gears. Once you are used to that, add in shifting in front, too.
 
For reference: To change gears, the pedals have to be moving forward, and pulling the chain through the derailleurs in the correct direction. The front gears (chainrings) are harder/higher when they are bigger. The rear gears (sprockets) are harder/higher when they are smaller. To get a feel for what is going on, have someone hold the bike, or put it on a stand at the bike shop, and just watch what happens as you are turning the crank/pedals and shift through the various gears.

Also, if you do take it for the tune up, just ask the folks at the bike shop to demo how the shifting works and get their advice on learning. Most people are pretty friendly and happy to help out new cyclists. Advice is free.

Have fun!

George_PA

  • Guest
Re: Making a Hand Me Down Bike Road-Ready
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2013, 08:01:39 PM »
Winter congratulations on acquiring a bike!! You found a wonderful piece of gold that brings you freedom and health in one package. It is a great way to get around your local area or town without using gasoline.

Bike brakes are very simple devices; there is V brakes, U brakes, disc brakes (i think these are the main types going off memory alone); just watch some videos on youtube to figure out which type you have and how to fix them.

The gears are a bit trickier I believe to adjust, but you can also do those yourself if you put the time in;  Or course, you could take it to a bike shop, they could probably get it fixed up much quicker than you can, but they may charge you $30-50 to do the adjustments; if there are parts that need replaced it could cost more depending on the condition of the bike

Changing gears is very simple; there is ussually a control near the handle bars; when you are going slow or up a steep hill you want to be a lower gear; when you are going really fast or down a hill, you want to be a higher gear; higher gears give you more speed, lower gears give you more power

Lastly, make sure that the tires hold air and are inflated; usually this is the first thing that breaks on a bike
« Last Edit: June 27, 2013, 08:04:56 PM by George_PA »

Mr. Minsc

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 162
  • Location: PEI, Canada
    • ThriftyHamster
Re: Making a Hand Me Down Bike Road-Ready
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2013, 07:09:33 AM »
I may as well share your thread instead of making a new one Winter. :)

Just picked up a hand me down bike from my uncle the other day.  It'll need some sprucing up so taking it to a bike shop seems to be my best bet.  Hopefully they'll be willing to teach me what needs to be done.  In my mind it's well worth spending a little extra money to have knowledgeable people teach you the way rather than dealing with the headaches of learning completely from scratch alone.

Anyways, the bike is at least 35+ years old.  The bike is certainly my senior in life. ;)

Edit:  Of course this all depends if the bike is even work fixing up.  I'm in no way knowledgeable on what makes a good bike.  For all I know this is a big clunker.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 07:19:05 AM by Mr. Minsc »

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14155
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Making a Hand Me Down Bike Road-Ready
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2013, 07:19:46 AM »
Brake adjustment can be a little tricky depending on the type of brakes (cantilevers are a bit harder than v-brakes, direct pull are super easy) but it's worth learning how to do so you can fix squealing problems, replace brake shoes (they get worn), and generally be more useful.

Park Tool and Sheldon Brown both have really good websites to explain how to DIY.  If you need a demo, it's probably not a bad idea to get the bike shop to show you how stuff works.

drg

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 42
Re: Making a Hand Me Down Bike Road-Ready
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2013, 07:41:59 AM »
For you all who are getting fixer-uppers, check out Sheldon Brown's website on bicycle repair tips, and a bunch of other bicycling information: http://sheldonbrown.com/repair/index.html (Sheldon Brown passed away in early 2008, but the site is still being updated).

cbr shadow

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 471
Re: Making a Hand Me Down Bike Road-Ready
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2013, 09:40:20 AM »
One way I saved a lot of money (and time) on a tune-up is to look on craigslist.  My local shop charges $110 for a bike tune-up, but the main guy who does the tune-ups also does them on the side (found him on craigslist, coincidentally) for $50, plus he comes to your house to do it.  He came to my house and I watched him go through everything.  He brought a collapsable workstand and a toolbox, etc.  I actually had him tune-up my wife's bike and 2 friend's bikes while he was at my house as well, which saved me an additional 10% per bike.  This made a noticable difference on all of the bikes.

jnik

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 149
Re: Making a Hand Me Down Bike Road-Ready
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2013, 08:02:40 AM »
(Sheldon Brown passed away in early 2008, but the site is still being updated).
Wow. I first thought "it can't have been THAT long?" but then I remembered which apartment I rode to the funeral from and...yeah, I guess it was.

John Allen, who's now maintaining the site, is really fantastic; very much the right choice. Look at the page on his twenty for an idea. On several occasions I'd be following John home from a meeting on that bike and despite being half his age I'd have to work to keep up.