Please tell me about this bicycle that I found

I don’t know much about bicycles so I want some advice here.

My girlfriend and I discovered an old vintage bicycle sitting by a curb. The people at the house said we were free to take it, so I took it. My girlfriend has been wanting a bike for some time so it was a great opportunity.

The bike is a vintage Huffy. It’s a “beach cruiser” style, I think, with fenders and a tan leather seat. I dig the beige paint job and the black-and-red markings.

Here are 3 pictures of it:

Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 3

OK, now from everything I’ve read on the Dope (I did a search,) Huffy’s are supposed to be real pieces of shit. They’re like, the bottom of the bike barrel, as far as most people seem to be concerned. I’ve read that they have shitty parts and that they fall apart easily.

I inspected this found bike pretty well, and while the chain and gear, along with the brake calipers, are rusted as hell and will definitely need to be replaced, and it’ll need new tires, the rest of the bike seems surprisingly solid. The forks, tube-frame, and handlebars all seem to be rock-solid to me. They don’t seem to be in any danger of bending or breaking at all. Like I said, I don’t know much about bikes, but it seems to me like this Huffy could take a serious beating and keep going, despite what everyone seems to say about it.

So what’s your opinion? Is this actually a piece of shit and I just don’t know it? I love restoring old things and I would absolutely love to wipe off the rust, replace some parts and get this bike shiny and clean because I love the vintage styling and the colors of it, and it would be a great gift for my girlfriend. Now, my girlfriend is not interested in doing serious riding or anything, she’s just a hipster chick who wants a quirky-looking vintage bike to ride around the neighborhood and to campus.

So is this bike worth the effort to restore, or should I just forget about it?

Check the condition of the three speed hub.
If it’s messed up, repair is possible, but that may be more trouble than it’s worth.

That really depends on your desired end result. If that’s nothing more than some funky cool reto looking transportation then yes, it’s totally worth it. If it’s to restore for the collectors market, save your time and money.

If your girlfriend ever gets bored with it, you can make a sweet lowrider out of it.

I used to have that model. My sister gave it to me; Dad painted it blue to make it a boy’s bike and gave it pinstripes to make it “sophisticated.” It did hold up surprisingly well. I used it for maybe five years and it was still working just fine when I gave it to the neighbors, but the three-speed hub never did shift right and had to be adjusted with pliers before the trip.

It stayed in second pretty much all the time. Man, that takes me back! Now I ride these bad boys.

Maybe a add placed in lost and “FOUND” is in order.

sure you should restore it - why not? A huffy is absolutely fine if all you’re talking about is riding round campus. Shimano do a relatively cheap internally-geared hub these days called the ‘alfine’. If the gears are bolloxed you could just buy an alfine on ebay - loads of bike parts on ebay. Essential that the brakes work, either get the existing ones in shape or replace them. You won’t be able to put a modern caliper on it as the bosses on the frame will limit your choice. Again, ebay will give you a lot of options.

Huffy is not a piece of shit. Millions of kids have ridden Huffy bikes.

I had one in blue in the 70’s. It eats your flare pants though, so watch out for that. The gear shift is internal to the rear drum. Don’t spend money on it if it’s messed up. It was a good bike for the times, but I would take any 10 speed over it today. It’s not old either! My mother’s bike we found in a farm shed was old. I guess when we found it, it was only about 30 years old too. :wink:

I have a term for you Banana Bike. Do you know what it is?

I really can’t judge how good of a condition it’s in. I will say that the wire running from the gear shift to the hub in the rear wheel is all loose and doesn’t seem to be connected properly to the shifter. Or it’s connected properly but for some reason it’s really loose and not affecting the shifting. (Honestly it’d be a pretty sweet single-speed bike even if that can’t be fixed, but I do hope to fix it.)

The tires are cracked and dry rotted to hell but miraculously, they held air and I inflated them up. I road the bike down the road and noticed that there was a “scraping” friction between the rear wheel and something. I can’t tell if it’s the fender or if it’s the rusty “hub” or the little joint between the wheel and the frame of the bike (don’t know what it’s called) that needs to be lubricated or just replaced completely. But other than that, it actually rode alright. I think it could really be pretty nice with new wheels and tires and a new chain.

I definitely am going to restore it now. I wiped a tiny area of the fender off and it really looks nice under all the dust!

Thanks for the replies.

Did you check the brake clearance on the rear wheel? You may have one dragging, or if it only scrapes once per revolution then the wheel’s bent.

Eh? I gather it was found on a curb outside a house, presumably ready for garbage pickup, and the owners of the house gave them permission to take it.

Yes, that is exactly what happened.

If you like the look of the bike, and it suits you, why wouldn’t you repair/restore it?

OTOH, if the thing is “just a bike” to you, you could buy something new at Target or Wal-Mart for less than than the cost of repair.

Didn’t Huffy change its name to Diddy? :wink:

the bike looks like a standard 1970-ish model.
Vintage, yes. And shitty, yes. But only if you compare it to a high-quality bike that you would want to ride for 50 miles of fun.

That’s part of the problem. The forks and frame on high quality bikes are designed to flex just enough to give a good, enjoyable ride.This Huffy handles like an overloaded pickup truck towing a trailer.

yes, but a good bike isn’t supposed to take a serious beating. It’s supposed to be fun to ride, lightweight and responsive to road.

This Huffy is a piece of shit when compared to any good bike, in the same way that an old VW bug is a piece of shit when compared to any nice car.

In short–it appears to be exactly what you need. Use it for short jaunts around campus, enjoy its quirkiness. But don’t spend much money on it.
Have fun!

Alright, today was a beautiful sunny day so I began the restoration process this morning.

“Naval Jelly” was able to remove almost every single bit of rust from the handlebars, the pedal-arm things, the brake levers, the chain sprocket, and all the other bare-metal parts. They are now all shiny as new. Wow! I can’t believe how good they look.

With a little elbow grease, the tan paint job of the frame also shines. It really looks surprisingly good, but for a few spots of rust here and there.

The tan vinyl grips and seat were restored to their original color with just a little water and a rag. All the dirt came right off.

There is a “community bike project” here where people can take their bikes and fix them up with the help of experienced guys, for free. I’m going to have to take it there on Monday and have some things looked into. For one, the tires definitely need to be replaced, and probably the wheels as well. It needs new brake calipers, and probably a new chain. The hub shifter thing seems to be pretty fucked up. It seems like there are a lot of 3-speed hubs for sale on eBay, of varying prices. This one, for instance - made by “Sturmey Archer.” Will one of these fit on this bike?

Good job on the bike. If the hub isn’t shifting then it either needs to be looked at by the community bike guys, who may be able to fix it, or you’ll have to replace it along with the rear wheel by the sounds of it. Building a wheel is quite a skill, and should be done by a professional. If you wanted to spend money you would source a hub and a rim, and the bike shop will build it up. Looking at second hand hubs, you need to make sure that it is the correct width to fit in the frame. This is not an issue with modern standardised components, but is worth checking for an old bike. You would then need to make sure that the number of spoke holes in the rim matched the number in the hub.

That been said, in the spirit of the project you should try and track down a second hand complete wheel. Again, the community bike workshop should be able to give you some pointers on where to try, second hand bike shops, ebay, listings etc.

It’s great fun working on bikes. I live in a third floor apartment and own 4 bikes, and there’s not room to swing a cat. I miss the gentle tempo of fixing the bike in a garage.

I just want to say that the first picture brought a tear to my eye.

I had one just like that only in light blue. I saved my own money to by it. It was stolen three weeks after I got it from our own driveway. :frowning: