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View Full Version : Buying used vs fixing up


firemaplegirl
11-15-2006, 10:53 PM
Thanks to everyone who responded to my last post (http://www.bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=586). It really appreciate the encouragement.

After looking at some pricing, in order to get the tires and brakes on a old mountain bike into working order it would be around $80. It doesn't have fenders, so getting those and lights would be an additional expense. (I realize they're not terribly expensive, but I'm a starving student so every penny counts.) The bike is one I inherited and never used, so I'm not particularly attached to it.

Someone suggested that instead of investing money in upgrading that bike, I buy an inexpensive one speed cruiser on craigslist for my short commute. Does this seem like a good idea? And what do I look for/check if I do go that route? I don't want to buy something and then find out that I'm not any better off than before.

Thanks!

monsieurcris
11-16-2006, 09:42 AM
I dont think the single speed cruiser is really a better idea. First, theyre usually fairly heavy. Second, if you have a hill on your commute or plan on expanding your milage soon hauling a heavy one speed is going to be a brutal way to start. Yes, a lot of them come with fenders and other goodies like baskets, but I dont think it is worth it. Keep and eye on CL and there may be a good commuter for fairly cheap. Dont count on finding it all (fenders, good brakes, light weight, lights, etc) on one bike, but perhaps you could find one that is better than what you have. Stick to your guns and your price and eventually something may come up.
Prioritize what you need as well. Brakes and lights are essential. Fenders, while really really really nice to have, are not a necessity as long as you can deal with being wet or carrying a change of clothes. (Come to think of it I think there was a post on here about making your own fenders from old campaign signs. If not there are definately plans online somewhere.)

If you do end up buying something else, try to get someone who knows about bikes to go with you to look at it. Otherwise make sure it is in working order, test ride it, try the brakes and make sure it shifts. Make sure the wheels dont rub on the brakes when you spin them. Make sure it fits. If it doesnt have fenders on it eye it to make sure it looks like ther'll be room for them. Ditto with the lights. Make sure the tires, when squeezed, dont have cracks in them. Of course, all these things could be fixed also, it just depends on the price and balancing out what the bike has and doesnt have.
Good luck!

nishiki
11-16-2006, 11:25 AM
Get a road bike tuned up from Alberta Community Cycling.

They are worth every single penny.

DJoos
11-16-2006, 07:40 PM
sticking with the mt. bike you have is a better bet than picking up a used cruiser.

cap'n pastry
11-17-2006, 11:40 AM
Another alternative - keep the bike and learn to do it yourself, in a supportive atmosphere, at North Portland Bike Works. from the BTA's e-mail Bike Digest:

WEDNESDAY WOMEN'S/LGBT MECHANIC NIGHT at North Portland Bikeworks - a
donation-based workshop for women and LGBT adults to learn how to
work on bikes in a safe and comfortable environment. Stop by any
Wednesday from 6 to 8 PM: 3951 N Mississippi Ave; 503.287.1098.


Community Cycling Center also has a women's night to work on bikes for the CCC's programs. Won't get your bike going very fast, but will give a chance to learn skills. from the CCC website:

WOMEN'S VOLUNTEER NIGHT
Learning a new skill--any skill-- can be intimidating and daunting. On Wednesday nights, we open our shop for women to join our all female volunteer group, learning more about bikes, and making connections with other women interested in the often male-dominated activity of cycling. These nights emphasize the learning opportunities inherent in volunteering at a bike shop and aim to help women feel more comfortable with bikes, tools, and mechanic skills. This will always be lead by a female staff.
Women's Volunteer Night Wednesdays 7:00-9:30 pm


Learning to work on your bike is a whole lot easier than learning to fix your car, so you get to feel satisfaction quicker. Extra bonus, you feel more confident any time you have to talk to a mechanic, or if something goes awry when you're on the road.

hydrogeek
11-17-2006, 03:34 PM
Firemaple,

I have found that a rigid MTB is the most universal bike for commuting and bombing around town. They are bit heavier than a road bike but you can attach racks and carry heavier loads without worrying about bending the rims and breaking spokes. The slightly larger tires help with curbs, potholes, etc. also.

Parts are easy to come by and cheap for the 90's era MTB also. I would look for sales at your LBS, Craigslist, and ebay to fix up your bike. Also, the PUMP sale this weekend usually has lots of used stuff that you might need.

After you DIY you will be able to fix your bike yourself saving tons of $ in the end. You will need some simple tools that you can pick-up used at your local hardware store. The LBS sells tools also, but only buy the specialty tools if needed, the regular stuff you can buy elsewhere for a lot cheaper.

firemaplegirl
11-18-2006, 12:19 PM
Alright, y'all have convinced me to keep the mountain bike and try to fix it myself.

After reading a couple of articles and knowing I can rope my dad into helping me if necessary, I think that I can fix the tire issue. My only question is how do I evaluate the tires? I believe the front one is fine, as there are no cracks, and it's holding air. The back tire, however, isn't holding any air. There are cracks in between the black and white rubber, but the underlying fabric-y part looks okay. Will I be okay if I just replace the tube, or does the whole tire need to be replaced? I know that replacing the tube would be a lot less expensive, but I don't want to compromise my safety.

cap'n pastry,
Thanks for telling me about North Portland Bikeworks. It's on the complete opposite end of town from me (sw suburbs), but I think I can tri-met it out there. Do you have any idea what the recommended donation is for the NPB? It sounds like a good option for taking care of that brake.

Simple Nature
11-18-2006, 02:54 PM
Get in touch with Steven Kung at Exchange Cycle Tours.

They have workshops every saturday with certified mechanics on hand. You should also be able to get some of the used parts you need at a reasonable price through them.

Here is the Yahoo link:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ExchangeCycleTours/

Info for Clinic:

Reminder from: ExchangeCycleTours's Calendar
Title: Community Cycle Repair Clinic
Date: Saturday November 18, 2006
Time: 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Repeats: This event repeats every week.
Location: Community Exchange Bike School, 2503 SE Division St., Portland OR USA
Description: Free Repair Clinic begins at 12pm.

Walk-in's or RSVPs welcome. Bring your own bike or use our bikes.

Advanced Bicycle Mechanic's Curriculum available.

All tools provided, spare parts available.

Instruction provided by Unitied Bicycle Institute certified mechanics and professional mechanics.

BillD
11-18-2006, 04:21 PM
I think you will enjoy working on your own bike. Here are a couple of good online resources for help.

Sheldon Brown Articles (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/index.html#articles)

Park Tool Help (http://www.parktool.com/repair/)

If I can do it, it's not that hard... :D

Bill

bikieboy
11-19-2006, 09:23 AM
My only question is how do I evaluate the tires? I believe the front one is fine, as there are no cracks, and it's holding air. The back tire, however, isn't holding any air. There are cracks in between the black and white rubber, but the underlying fabric-y part looks okay. Will I be okay if I just replace the tube, or does the whole tire need to be replaced? I know that replacing the tube would be a lot less expensive, but I don't want to compromise my safety.

FMG, you might find it well worth the expense to replace the tyres if they're the knobby off-road variety (you don't specify, but i'm guessing they might be...). Putting slicks on will give you a more comfortable, easier, & safer ride on pavement; it'll cost you something like $30 for a pair. Not trying to spend your money, but it's a sound decision to investi in good ( & use-appropriate) tyres...it's where the rubber meets the road & all that, dontcha know...

Bill, thanx for the tip on the Park site, it looks to be a good source of detailed repair info.!

ong
12-06-2006, 11:00 AM
You should probably replace the tire, if it's got noticable cracking. It's not so much a safety issue as a pain-in-the-ass issue where you'll end up flatting a lot. I hate to recommend Performance Bikes, but if you really need cheap tires, you can usually find 26" semi-slicks for under $10 each there. And, as someone else mentioned, slick or semi-slick tires will be a lot more pleasant to ride on asphalt.