Rebuildiing an old bicycle

I picked up a couple used bikes for 99 cents at a thrift store that I want to fix up for my niece and nephew, and vaguely remember how to do a few things from when I was a kid, but one of them needs new tires and a new chain and I’d like some details on how to do it myself. Does anyone know of a site online that shows stuff like this? The few I found either had no pictures, seemed to be in another language or were too complicated (like building a bike from scratch almost.) I’m looking for something along the lines of “even dumb people can do this” type directions. Thanks for your help in advance.

I don’t know of any right off hand, although I’m sure there are some. But for the two things you mentioned:

(1) You probably need a chain tool. They are only $5.00 or so. It has a small rod that is used to push the pin holding a link together out, and then you can remove the chain. The same process in reverse is used to put the new one in. It’s best to avoid pushing the link all the way out, but just push it far enough that it’s caught by the edge plate so you can more easily get it back in again. Its easier done than described - the whole process takes about a minute. But you might want to clean up the freewheel and chainrings at the same time.

You probably don’t need to oil a brand new chain. If down the road you clean and reinstall the chain, you can oil it, but wipe the oil off the outside of the chain because it just attracts dirt. It’s only needed in the inner load-bearing surfaces.

(2) Tires are easy to replace. You’ll need tire irons - the $2.00 plastic ones work fine. When reinstalling the new tire, do NOT use the irons, because it’s easy to pinch the tube between the tire and the rim. Just use your hands to roll the new tire onto the rim. It’s best to check for that before inflating the tube again.

peas on earth

Here’s a page I found on a web search:

It talks about changing flats, but the process for changing a tire is the same. It has pictures too!

peas on earth

Don’t thank me till you try these places, you probly already been there. had something about sizing tires anyway and you can translate it into russian! this is a video for sale
I sugest you pedal on over to the nearest used book store, that’s where i get my repair manuals. If they don’t have anything specific see if they have Readers Digest Fix-It-Yourself Manual, it has an EZ to understand section on basic repairs. Besides how to fix damn near any thing, How to Fix Damn near… is the title of another book too. You might have to grind or drill outa pin in that old chain. Take the old one to the shop with you so you get an exact replacement. If the old chain is just stiff and rusted and not broken you might try soaking it in kerosene and then oil then wipe it clean. you can get an EZ replacement link. you gotta take out a whole link and then replace with the EZ. If the old tires and tubes are shot just use a couple of medium sized or larger flat screw drivers to get um off, you’re not worried about damaging them. Poke one in between the tire edge and the rim start with the handle away from the hub slide it in and thenlever the handle towards the hub slide the other in along side and slide it along the rim some then leap frog and slide the two all around. just the one side of the wheel screwdriver handles towards the hub.
and of course don’t forget to go here “see how he uses a spanner”

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

Thanks for all the quick help, so far all is not going as well as planned. (I can see it in my head and it’s all so perfect!) I was thinking getting the chains off was going to be the easy part; when I was a kid my bike chain had a certain link that you could unclip and just slip off, I wasn’t aware that that wasn’t the norm. I’m also having trouble getting the wheel nuts off so I can paint the rims, and I ended up stripping one (even using Liquid Wrench) and now I’ll have to ask my husband for help. (I hate that!)

you don’t want to get him involved do you? Aside from the smug way he is gonna act, Wouldn’t it be better if he didn’t know about us? If you really need to get that chain off, file the ends of two pins off, make sure they are on the same link. you can get one of thse removable links to replace it… if the chain is totally shot break it, destroy it. use a hammer or a hack saw check for that release link again, sometimes they don’t look diff. but it may not have one.usually it has straight edges tho. that tool makes it easier to take off. If you really stripped that nut, it is turning but not screwing off, I have sometimes been able to get the blade of a screw driver under one,turn as I pry up on the nut and get it to grip and come off. other wise , see below. But I bet you didn’t strip it.
if you mean you ‘bugered’ it, rounded off that nut so the wrench won’t grip, maybe you can still do it. bet you used a crescent wrench or even pliers, next time use an open end wrench that fits, better yet a box end. got any vice grips? soak the nut with penetrating oil tap it soak it let it sit an hour, more oil tighten the vice grips on it and try again. A small pipe wrench might do the job. We might have to get into propane torches, files and saws here but you can do it. It is not as hard or scary as it sounds. ORRR you can tell your husband you are going to the hard ware store to buy a nutbuster. ( it’s a real tool and it will get those nuts right off of there. mite put the fear of rightuousness in him too and he’ll help out a bit more around there). Think of the sense of accomplishment! Think of the grease smeared on your face as you wipe the sweat,the busted knuckles, the broken nails. The mist of paint that missed and sprayed your fence bright red. The priceless looks on those kids faces as they lie writhing pathetically with broken twisted limbs after riding into traffic.

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

You can still get links like that to put in bike chains. But if this bike doesn’t have one, using the right tool makes all the difference in the world. With even a cheap chain tool, it’ll be a 20 second job to remove the chain, and without one, all but impossible. It’s worth the couple of bucks for the chain tool to save the frustration, IMHO! Or perhaps borrowing one is an option.

Assuming this bike has normal hand brakes, you probably don’t want to paint the rims, or at least not the braking surface of the rim. Most decent rims are aluminum, and cheaper ones are steel. Without seeing the condition it’s hard to say, but if it’s an AL rim, you might be able to clean it up and leave it bare metal.

peas on earth

Phew! No wonder there were so many bikes to choose from at the thrift store! You’re right, I rounded off the nut so the wrench won’t grab it anymore. I did use the actual right tool, though (I think), a socket wrench of the actual size, but at some point I must have switched to an adjustable crescent because I think that’s what did it. Scowl! Now I’m going to have to buy one of those late-night wonder wrenches that costs $99 but replaces every wrench in the whole world, lol. I will break down and get the chain remover when I get a chance, since I need to get new innertubes anyway for one of them. It just annoys me because I don’t even like the darn kids but I thought I’d make them feel guilty by giving them a really awesome-looking present but be cheap about it, heh heh. Oh, and they’re kid’s bikes so they don’t have hand brakes, just the kind where you pedal backwards…so painting the rims should be ok, right? I don’t think I actually need to but I wanted to from a color scheme aspect. One is going to be a black, orange and white SF Giants bike and the one for the younger girl is going to be a yellow and black Pokeman bike. Cool, huh? In my HEAD anyways. :slight_smile:

see if you have a pair of vice grip pliers around the house… then clamp it on to the nut tight and twist it right off… no need to buy one of those “infomercial gimmicks” and once the back wheel is loose you should be able to slide it toward the front wheel a bit and take the chain off that way…

Socket is a good tool for that BUT for a tight nut use a six point instead of a 12 point. 6 point grips the sides of the nut too. 12 point just the corner and rounds it off. I HAVE sometimes had luck with a socket that is just barely too small bang it onto the nut with a hammer and try. use craftsman so when you ruin the socket you can get a replacement. Keep using that penetrating oil.
Colors are great. cept for the boys, paint it silver and blue. remember if you can’t fix it, it ain’t broke.

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

Nah, he’ll probably end up being a scofflaw anyways without the inspiration of the Dallas Cowboys. (Heh, heh!) :wink: Kidding!

I’ll second what Mr. John says about using a smaller socket. Back when I was a motorcycle mechanic, using the next smaller socket would mean that we would, for example, put a 1/2 inch socket on a 13 millimeter nut.

Craftsman sockets are also great because they are the cheapest socket that will not break in normal use. I’ve used cheapie sets and had the sockets break out the first time I used them. Of course, on the other end of the scale, there is Snap-on and similar brands, but these are made of expensivium and priced to match.

At this point, you might want to just remove the nut with a nutsplitter. Again, Craftsman makes a pretty good one. I couldn’t find it in my catalog, but it should be in the $5-25 range. I’d try to find a new hardened nut when putting it back together.

One more thing, if the nut is rusted on, you might want to soak it in penetrating oil, then, before you try to remove it, get a deep well socket that will go around the axle but not over the nut and use it to give the nut a good hard rap.

Is “Anybody’s Bike Book” still in print? That was a great resource for working on bicycles.

Seems like I remember taking off a chain without disconnecting it.No?
If you have a few bikes, just switching the wheels around to get a good pair might work. The cheap bikes you bought are way cheaper than a new wheel would be. Spokes are hard to mess with, unless you have a bench for the purpose of trueing.