When is enough, enough?



yifeng vivian

New Member
Aug 23, 2012
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When I went to college (5 years ago), I got a cheap bike because I knew it would be outside in the elements most of the time, and because I didn't want to worry too much about it getting stolen. I had regular maintenance done and kept it in pretty ride-able shape. I have ridden it just about every day for the last 5 years, and continue to use it to commute--it's the only bike I have, after all.

Now, I've found out that I need a whole new drive chain. It turns out that the bike shop I had been taking it to apparently didn't look at any of of that? Regardless, my chain is very stretched and all of my gears/chainwheels are pretty worn. There is also some amount of rust on the frame from living outside for so long. ***

So the question is, do I put more money into it, or get a new (used, but new to me) bike? I know, the answer ultimately comes down to me, but what have you folks done in similar situations? thanks for in advance!
 

CAMPYBOB

Well-Known Member
Sep 12, 2005
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5 years of sitting out in the weather...

At a minimum, it is time to replace the chain. Perhaps to replace the freewheel/cassette. New rear derailleur pulleys may be needed or at least to repack the existing ones. Inspect, lubricate or replace any bearings as required.

Your bearings (wheels, bottom bracket, pedals, etc.), depending upon mileage and water/dirt infiltration, may require only disassembly and lubrication or they may require replacement. That cost could vary from relatively little to a lot.

Given that you say you bought a cheap bicycle and you did get five years of service out of it, you may be money ahead to just buy another cheap bike as opposed to paying for replacement parts and shop labor rates. As you said, only you can make that determination.
 

Volnix

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2011
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Buying new parts its not much of a waste, since later on you might want to buy a new frame and use the parts you bought.

The rust on the frame is an issue though. If you can buff it out then it might be ok. But if not... There is a spray that you can spray on the internal of the bike frame to prevent it from rusting. I saw it being suggested on the "Surly bikes" website. Its very very toxic though.

If you buy a complete new bike it will probably be cheaper then buying a frame and parts.

Maybe just repair this bike with the minimum expenses, (do a lot of DIY) and also maybe buy a new bike for those nice leisure rides. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
 

jhuskey

Moderator
Oct 6, 2003
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You need to ask yourself " what do I want from a bike"? This will give you a clue as to what kind of bike you need. You can get a used bike with decent components reasonable. People buy bikes all the time with the intention of getting into shape and then realize it takes effort. Without knowing what you want to spend and what you want to accomplish buying a good, mid- range used bike would be my suggestion.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
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Quote: Originally Posted by yifeng vivian .

When I went to college (5 years ago), I got a cheap bike because I knew it would be outside in the elements most of the time, and because I didn't want to worry too much about it getting stolen. I had regular maintenance done and kept it in pretty ride-able shape. I have ridden it just about every day for the last 5 years, and continue to use it to commute--it's the only bike I have, after all.

Now, I've found out that I need a whole new drive chain. It turns out that the bike shop I had been taking it to apparently didn't look at any of of that? Regardless, my chain is very stretched and all of my gears/chainwheels are pretty worn. There is also some amount of rust on the frame from living outside for so long. ***

So the question is, do I put more money into it, or get a new (used, but new to me) bike? I know, the answer ultimately comes down to me, but what have you folks done in similar situations? thanks for in advance!


FWIW. Well, with the understanding that I am apparently one of the few people who feels that there actually is an advantage to updating the components on a frame which many people would consider to be unworthy of sharing the same air space as the 'new' components, I think that short of coming across a bargain because an ex-spouse is getting rid of her once significant other's stuff OR you come across a sweet deal in an estate sale that you will generally get more bang-for-your-buck if you can make the upgrade as a DIY project ...

The requisite skill level is actually minimal ... if you can open-and-reseal a pickle jar, then you are probably 90% of the way to being capable of working on most bikes.

For the average rider, if the frame places the rider in a comfortable riding position & is not structurally compromised, then I think that it can be thought of as the "component" which holds the fork & other components together.

  • the frame's GEOMETRY can make a difference, but not as much as many people would like to think for most casual riding ...
  • here ([COLOR= rgb(128, 128, 128)]for the umpteenth time[/COLOR]) is an example of what some might consider to be an 'extreme makeover' of a fairly pedestrian MTB frame which I converted for Road use:



  • the bike rides great (IMO) ...
  • due to the spread of the chainstays, I needed to use the BB which would normally be used for a Triple so that I could use a 52t outer chainring
  • I needed to lace a 700c rim to a 135mm (MTB) hub
  • I had to enlarge the forward facing opening of the hole on the fender mounting 'bridge' on the seat stay to accommodate the long-reach Tektro Road caliper
  • subsequent to taking the picture, I replaced the pictured ISIS crank with a MegaExo Triple crankset
  • at the moment, the bike has been disassembled because I wanted to use the fork with another frame ...
  • essentially, as volnix noted, the components which you buy can often migrate to another frame in the future, so little is lost (IMO) if you choose you put new components on your old frame PARTICULARLY if you DIY

IMO, the skill level required for most bike assembly and/or maintenance requires the skill level needed to open-and-reseal a pickle jar.

There are only a few bike specific tools which are required -- chain tool, spoke wrench (GREEN for most spoke nipples if you have a Park-or-equivalent spoke wrench, BLACK for DT nipples, TORX for annoying MAVIC-and-probably-some other brands), lockring tool, and possibly a BB-specific tool. For some cranks, you will need a crank remover. The rest of the tools can be generic and can be found at stores like Harbor Freight (why pay more?), Sears, etc.

Almost all the information you need can be found online (www.parktool.com + Sheldon Brown's website + YouTube).

  • IMO, the ONLY people who should not consider doing their own bicycle maintenance are people who have arthritis-or-other-debilitating-condition, hand models, and surgeons ...
  • there really isn't much of an excuse for most of the rest of us BECAUSE it probably takes less time to DIY than it takes to drop a bike off at a shop and then pick it up at a later, less convenient time
  • and, the fore mentioned, basic tools, cost less than what most shops will probably charge
 

oldbobcat

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2003
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It comes down to whether you want to chuck the bike next year or ride it for five more years. If you want to keep riding it, I suggest replacing the chain because if you don't, you'll later need to replace the rear cassette or freewheel (more money), and then you'll eventually need to replace the chainrings (more money, if they can be replaced), or the crankset if they can't (even more money).

And if you decide to replace the bike with a used one, chances are very good that the chain will need replacement anyway. Your choice.
 

Dave Cutter

Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2012
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Originally Posted by yifeng vivian .

..... I have ridden it just about every day for the last 5 years, and continue to use it to commute--it's the only bike I have, after all.
If you cycle for fun on the weekends.... it isn't a big deal if you have to skip a days cycling to get a new part or perform a repair. But if you plan on depending on a bicycle for commuting... it should be a bicycle that is dependable. If your cycling to work... you need a dependable bicycle.. and you deserve one as well.
 

oldbobcat

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2003
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And by the way, a good shop can replace a chain in about 20 minutes. Good shops also take appointments over the phone so you don't have to leave the bike all week.