Updating an old bicycle

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This page will cover some of the basics of wrenching on old bikes.

All of this will apply to Chicago era Schwinn bikes, and much of it will also apply to other vintage makes like Colson, Monark, Higgins, Hiawatha. But most old bikes, when found, need a ton of work and parts to make them ride decently again.

The crank bearings (also known as bottom bracket bearings) on most old bikes haven't seen fresh grease since the factory.

Having fresh grease in the crank bearings will greatly improve the feel of an old bike.

There will also be a tabbed washer between the locknut and cone, this is an important piece that helps you attain and keep correct adjustment.

Provided you do the general preparation and degreasing well, careful layering using cans of car spray paint can result in an excellent finish. It’s an art to spray a bike frame well without getting dribbles and uneven areas, and you really don’t want to be breathing in that drifting spray.

Our mechanic Leif is surely grimacing at how filthy Sandy’s cassette is.

To get started chain whip that old cassette off with a cassette tool and a big wrench.

Yeah, all bikes have tires, my bike’s always had tires on it… But since tires are the only part of the bike that touch the ground, the tires you run can make a difference in the way your bike performs!

There are two issues that could prompt you to buy new tires: 1) You could have the wrong tires for your local trails and the conditions you ride.

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