Have questions or want to discuss cycling? Join Now or Sign In to participate in the BikeRide community.

New: Take part in the September Giveaway for 29" Giordano® Intrepid Mountain Bike valued at $659

How to refurbish a bicycle 101
I thought I would do a thread about how to do a quality refurbish on a bicycle that will be a good user trouble free for quite a while. The scope of this refurb will not contain content about dealing with battle scars it may have endured in its lifetime, primarily because the bicycle is merely an example of a solid platform to build from (vintage lugged frame circa 1990). Purchased for $15us at a church sale. Also to give an understanding that even if someone were to give you a free bike that needs a tad more than Tlc the costs involved can climb rapidly. Is it a profitable undertaking? I would say not exactly depending on the bike being refurbished. If that is the reason for your build keep that in mind when choosing the bike to be done. Following the advice in this post will at the very least will show you how to turn trash into treasure. One other reason for this thread is to show the gross misuse of what others selling bikes in ads everywhere use terms such as "like new", "excellent condition" and so on. rarely truly the case in most bicycles I travel to purchase. The difference is that I am a builder and can look thru the grime and dirt to assess what the final build might become. If you follow this thread to the T and go to sell the bike, you will not need to use such terms that fall short of expectations of the buyer. Your build will be 95%+ perfect in all ways mechanically speaking and the bike will sell its self without having to say a word.
The labor involved can be extensive also which can eat away on profit margins too, this type of work I typically charge $150us for someone wanting my services of this scope + materials/parts.
That is not reflected in the rough draft build sheet. so when I am searching for bike to flip i keep my labor in mind also but not absolute. Step 1 is to gut the bike like a deer on opening day, inspect and assess every nut and bolt, it must be able to become 95%+ perfect when finished or gets replaced, No exceptions! This will automatically make the finished build come out 95%+ perfect.
I will also do this build with minimal tools and products that the newbie can easily obtain and use at home. Lets get started, You will be amazed at how well this dull old goat comes out, all cleaning of parts I do by hand, even the frame will be hand rubbed to a wonderful lustre. I will show you that you do not need 50 different products to achieve a build of high quality. Here are some starting pics of condition. I will start cleaning of the frame using a mild cleaner and cloth rags such as cut up shirts and socks etc...Next to attack the older dried grease deposits enter good old fashioned W-40, safe for paint and it breaks down the grease and emulsifies the grime, I use tooth brush to scrub the nooks and crannies. Once this is done, a quik go over with the mild cleanser to remove the WD-40 film and she is ready to hand rub.

Attached Files Image(s)
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
Thanks @Painkiller ; someone had to do it!
Take care,

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
got started on the cleaning and hand rubbing the frame, My go to polishing compound is none other than turtlewax brand, easy to obtain, cheap as a lot goes a long way. You just go over and over til you obtain the desired look. This is my first round, coming out nicely I think. Another tip for tight spaces is I use a baby ear swab, Yes it takes time but like most things short cuts equal compromise. Buy this round you will have become intimate with every square centimeter of the bicycle. and it will reflect that passion in the finished build

Attached Files Image(s)
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
Wow, Painkiller. Keep these series of posts coming. I just got back from a week of bikepacking trip. I was thinking of bringing my bike to a local shop for an inexpensive tune-up ( I am in a small Indian city). Following your guidance won't save me much money BUT will give me a great wealth of knowledge about my bike as I plan to ride this bike across India and beyond. So, please keep this series coming..
Thank you GirishH, It would probably save you money being your own wrench, but it probably would not save your time! Lol
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
Now is the time to talk about tools. Some tools can be basic and you may already have them. Some tools are not and you have to have them to perform the task without compromise. Whether you plan to be your own wrench or even more so if you plan to fix or repair for other people you should not compromise, ever. there are a lot of bike specific tools that really are not that expensive. Tools cost money in the short term. but make money soon after, especially when compared to the tool task @ shop labor. Probably the most expensive basic tools one should use would be the bike stand, truing stand, and the derailleur hanger alignment gauge. I have many types, my normal one is a shop grade parktool stand (expensive) , I have a parktool folder, I have another much cheaper folder as pictured that iI like over my Parktool folder. I also have a bench mount and a even a wall mount work stand. If you ever have to work on geared bicycles you have to have a derailleur hanger gauge. (no exceptions). If you want to dial in and fine tune to perfection there is no short cut to this tool, anything else is a compromise. When I started many years ago I would collect tools needed for the job/bike at hand and absorb the cost in labor which would translate to a free tool or a paid down tool for the cause. I cannot go thru all the steps for every skill it takes to perform the set up for the brakes, derailluers and so on in the scope of this post. This site and the parktool site have some good info on this subject, experience will help fine tune those skills too. Here is a pic of some of the tools used so far in the rebuilding of this early 90s Schwinn mtb. Feel free to ask any questions you may have at anytime and I will do my best to answer them. P,s, Yes, the bloody mary is probably the number 1 renewable tool in the group. Pick your poison on that one, Lol

Attached Files Image(s)
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
More than saving money I wanted to get comfortable taking the bike apart and putting it all back together without any leftover screws..:-) In the future, it will save me money and trouble if I am stuck with a mechanical issue away from civilization or assistance.:-)

Attached are a few snaps of before and after. I didn't do as good of a job as you but still feel like I know my fat bike better than before..:-) I took out and cleaned both the wheels, chain and frame. Now, the bike looks never. Thanks for your inspiration.

(09-23-2023, 02:32 PM)Painkiller Wrote:  Thank you GirishH, It would probably save you money being your own wrench, but it probably would not save your time! Lol

Attached Files Image(s)
Nice Job, You will learn as you go like everybody else does. Its always better to be your own wrench as much as possible. Start with the tools you need to do the bikes you have, worry about the rest as needed
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
I will be honest, Painkiller. I enjoyed doing what little I did yesterday or maybe even going as far as you do. But for some reason, I have this indescribable fear of things breaking down even though my bike is not too technical. I am "mortally" scared of getting a flat even though I know how to fix it and I carry all the necessary tools including extra tubes and tire..:-)

Anyway, your series inspired me to get comfortable with the simplest mechanical machine that has the potential to take us to places near and far..:-) Thanks again and keep this series going.

Forum Jump:

10 Latest Posts
Help me choose my bike(Dilemma)
Today 09:56 AM
Spokes: To Interlace or Not to Interlace...
Today 09:51 AM
A dream to cycle the world ends in trage...
Today 09:41 AM
What was your first bicycle?
Today 12:51 AM
How to refurbish a bicycle 101
Yesterday 11:58 PM
SHIMANO Reamed by US Authorities for sel...
Yesterday 03:16 PM
China has thousands of bikes left to go ...
Yesterday 07:27 AM
Flat Repair Tools
Yesterday 07:12 AM
Reasons to buy aluminium not carbon bike...
09-25-2023 08:38 PM
Colnago restoration
09-25-2023 03:23 PM

Join BikeRide on Strava
Feel free to join if you are on Strava: www.strava.com/clubs/bikeridecom

Top 5 Posters This Month
no avatar 1. ichitan
47 posts
no avatar 2. GirishH
19 posts
no avatar 3. Painkiller
16 posts
no avatar 4. ReapThaWhirlwind
14 posts
no avatar 5. enkei
12 posts