Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rebuilding Bikes

My neighbor had a couple of bikes in storage and asked me to take a look to see if I could do something with them. It took less than a minute to decide that they were both junk. I stripped one down to the frame and am looking into making a single speed out of it. The first stop is to bring the rear wheel to my LBS and see if it can be cleaned up and converted.

I need to learn how to do everything and am going to ask the LBS to take me in as a paying student and rebuild the bike at the shop. I know bikes are a simple machine and once someone shows me how the thing is put together, I'll be fine and do the second one on my own. In the mean time I just may have a decent single speed for putzing around.


  1. Go on The Park Tool website. They will list the bike shops in the area that will be holding Park Tool schools in the off season. There held at night when the shop is closed, it's a great way to learn about repairs.

  2. As with most things bicycle, Sheldon Brown has some great tutorials on converting bikes to single speed and/or fixed. Try these links:



    Of course, there’s also the running joke I have with one of my friends (or is that with myself?), the cheapest way to convert to single speed is to not shift gears…

  3. I have a knack for most things mechanical and electronic, and to me, the bike usually "speaks" to me -- I know what it needs, and how to take it apart and get it back together properly. Mostly, because I've worked on things much more complex: transmissions, engine rebuilds and the like. For everyone else, there's The Web.

    I used to suggest the late-and-great Sheldon Brown's site, but it's unorganized and difficult to navigate without Google's help. Park was mentioned: http://www.parktool.com/repair/ and it's good. Very good, in fact. As they do not make money repairing bikes, they make it selling tools to people who want to repair bikes, it's in their best interest to instruct anyone willing to try, and give them access to the right tools to do the job. There's no bike technician union to lobby against them, either.

    Even more recently, however, is Bicycle Tutor. These guys (one guy, mostly, with the occasional guest) are bad asses. They have detailed instructions with a video of them performing the various repairs and upgrades. While they don't have nearly the amount of how-to's that Sheldon or Park have amassed, they cover the basics very well. http://bicycletutor.com/

  4. You are touching on a subject I have visited a lot this month. I have gotten a hold of 3 older Schwinn's. One a 75 Varsity I converted to SS by just buying bmx freewheel(orig steel rims), and put a bmx crank in it to give it a 3 piece. A Le Tour I actually made somewhat of a decent bike out of, changed it over to 700c's and put 7 speed on the back making it a 14 speed rather then 10 speed. I will powder coat it back to shine this winter but for now it is my commuter. I'd like to see some pictures of what you got and holler if you have any questions about different setups.