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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi Wrenchers,

My brother has an old bike, circa 1990. It is out of tune and he wanted me to fix it up for him so he could ride pavement with his wife. They both are in shape, but not frequent bike riders. I know my brother hasn't ridden a bicycle in at least 10 years.

I am not a real mechanic, I just enjoy biking and have tried to do as much as I can with my bikes. I have a chain cleaner and some bike tools so I volunteered to fix up his bike for him.

My questions are related on where to start. His bike is a 1990 Diamond Back Topenga with Shimano Exage 300 LX derailuers. The bike is completely original, and I know for a fact he hardly ever used it.

I don't want to spend a lot of money fixing this bike up. But I will spend some money to help him get into biking. Any idea on where to start and what are the priorities of fixing an old bike up?

Thanks,

- Bruzer
 

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What's wrong with it, if anything?

I might suggest that you replace tires (probably old and dried out/rotted), brake and shifter cables, and brake pads first.

Once that's done, if the chain isn't worn (google "chain wear") then clean it and lube it and verify that the bike shifts properly. If not then google "adjusting derailleur" (with preference for www.sheldonbrown.com or www.parktool.com).

That should get the bike good and ridable, to figure out what -- if anything else -- is wrong with it.
 

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Is there anything wrong with it?

It might need very little, if it's been ridden that little.

-spin the wheels and see if they're true and the bearings are smooth

-pump up the tires to recommended pressure and see if they hold air

--put a little light lube on brake pivots and derailleur pivots

-run the shifters up and down the gears. adjust as necessary.

- maybe clean the braking surface of the rims. Rubbing alcohol works well

-clean brake pad surface with alcohol. If they seem to be glazed (likely), a little medium sandpaper will expose fresh soft rubber surface and improve performance dramatically.

- clean it up, polish with a bit of non-abrasive car polish or furniture polish, and tell him (nicely) to get the heck out on the road :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
neil0502 said:
What's wrong with it, if anything?

...

That should get the bike good and ridable, to figure out what -- if anything else -- is wrong with it.
I took your suggestion and to my surprise the tubes hold air! Took it out for a little ride.

What is wrong:

The tires are pretty rotten (cracking), but the tubes must still be good enough to hold air for some time at least. I plan to buy tubes and tires at the very minimum.

The bike still shifts, but the shifters feel sticky. The front shifter doesn't want to release after it hits the shift points. The rear is a 7 speed shifter feels OK, but a little sticky. Shimano does not make 7 speed shifters any longer do they? Is this something I can clean and re-lube? Does anyone know how to disassemble these old type shifters?

A few cables are frayed at the ends, but they are all still attached where they should be. Is it ever a good idea to try reuse old rusty cables by lubing them with something or am I just being naive? I don't mind restringing cables but I don't if the cables are replaceable in these old 7 speed shifters.

My struggle here is between what I would do to the bike (update/replace most everything) and what needs to be done. My brother is not expecting a miracle, he just want some road tires and a lube. However if it were my bike I would want a lot more done, but then I ride much more than he does.

I have done simple shift adjustments before but I will re-read to be refreshed. I do have a chain cleaner, and chain checking tool. I also have a cable cutter because I replaced shifting pods on one bike, never disassembled or fixed shifters before.

Thanks for the response, making a list of things to do now.

- Bruzer
 

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What kind of shifters?

bruzer said:
I took your suggestion and to my surprise the tubes hold air! Took it out for a little ride.

What is wrong:

The tires are pretty rotten (cracking), but the tubes must still be good enough to hold air for some time at least. I plan to buy tubes and tires at the very minimum.

The bike still shifts, but the shifters feel sticky. The front shifter doesn't want to release after it hits the shift points. The rear is a 7 speed shifter feels OK, but a little sticky. Shimano does not make 7 speed shifters any longer do they? Is this something I can clean and re-lube? Does anyone know how to disassemble these old type shifters?

A few cables are frayed at the ends, but they are all still attached where they should be. Is it ever a good idea to try reuse old rusty cables by lubing them with something or am I just being naive? I don't mind restringing cables but I don't if the cables are replaceable in these old 7 speed shifters.

My struggle here is between what I would do to the bike (update/replace most everything) and what needs to be done. My brother is not expecting a miracle, he just want some road tires and a lube. However if it were my bike I would want a lot more done, but then I ride much more than he does.

I have done simple shift adjustments before but I will re-read to be refreshed. I do have a chain cleaner, and chain checking tool. I also have a cable cutter because I replaced shifting pods on one bike, never disassembled or fixed shifters before.

Thanks for the response, making a list of things to do now.

- Bruzer
Shimano 7 speed STI shifters I think were 105 and/or RSX. If they are STI shifters/brake levers, turn the bike upside down and flush the shifters with WD40. Soak them, with a towel underneath to catch the runoff. The grease has dried up and that makes things sticky and not work well. If the cables are rusty, just get new cables, spray some WD40 in the housings, grease the cables and re string. What ever you do DO NOT DISASSEMBLE a STI shifter. Spray the pivot points of the front and rear derailleur with WD40 and work the points back and forth to loosen things up. Since the derailleurs were in tune prior to you removing cables, there is no need to fool with the adjustment screws.

I would really consider replacing the brake pads with Kool stop salmon pads. Plan a budget of about $80-$100, that should cover pads/ tires/cables etc.

Go to www.parktool.com for any help with repairs.
 

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I would not get into upgrading any drive train components. That will end up costing you money and grief. Not much is compatible with seven speed so if it's not worn out keep using it. Replace the inner cables, maybe the outer cables if they are kinked or the ends are badly damaged and the tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the responses, just spent a few hours of "quality time" with my brother's bike.

According to my Nashbar chain checker tool his chain is still within specifications. It doesn't even have rust on it after 18 years! I degreased his chain and lubed it with some Teflon lube. I also lubed the derailleur pivots with silicone spray.

Thanks for the tip on the brake pads, I scratched up the Shamino break pads up and they look as good as new. The rim cleaned up with some acetone, still will have to change the tubes and tires out but don't have them yet.

The Shimano 7 speed shifters are all that is left. I didn't tackle them yet thanks for letting me know not to disassemble. Would it be OK if I sprayed degreaser in the shifters and then re-lubed with silicone spray? Or should I use a solid spreadable grease?

Thanks again,

- Bruzer
 

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You still did not mention type of shifters

bruzer said:
Thanks for the responses, just spent a few hours of "quality time" with my brother's bike.

According to my Nashbar chain checker tool his chain is still within specifications. It doesn't even have rust on it after 18 years! I degreased his chain and lubed it with some Teflon lube. I also lubed the derailleur pivots with silicone spray.

Thanks for the tip on the brake pads, I scratched up the Shamino break pads up and they look as good as new. The rim cleaned up with some acetone, still will have to change the tubes and tires out but don't have them yet.

The Shimano 7 speed shifters are all that is left. I didn't tackle them yet thanks for letting me know not to disassemble. Would it be OK if I sprayed degreaser in the shifters and then re-lubed with silicone spray? Or should I use a solid spreadable grease?

Thanks again,

- Bruzer
STI? The fix for sticky Shimano STI shifters is WD40. It is cheap pro link. Regardless of what you may have "read" about WD40 destroying components and ruining the environment, it really does work well. Because it is thin in a liquid sense, it flows into the tight spots like water would. It lubes, displaces water and cleans greasy parts all at the same time. I had been on the fence for years about what good or bad WD40 would do to my drivetrain. You don't want to use it as the ONLY lubricant but what I have started to do this year is use it as an inbetween lube cleaning/lube agent. When I do my DT inspection while doing the maintanence, I spray and wipe the chain with WD40 about 3 to 4 cleanings I will lube with a wet lube and cycle it this way. It just amazes me how much quieter and smoother my chain works. Perception/placebo effect? No idea, but I like what I see.
 
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