I got a FREE mountain bike ....

EddieN

Agent
Joined
Sep 23, 2000
Messages
35
finally I have a bike to ride around. I live in Austin and always see people on bikes and it seems like a great town to ride around in. It was fate. I was leaving the apartment and see a bike leaning up against the dumpster with signage on it that said FREE bike. It's really dirty and looks like it hasn't been used in ages. I lugged it up the stairs, it's pretty heavy, but it's a free bike. It's a Trek Antelope 800, it has Shimano Atlus C20 gear changers and what not, can't see what kinda tires are on it because it's so damn dirty. I like new projects and getting this baby all clean and greased up will be fun.
Should I just use water and soap to clean the frame and gears or is there something better ? Is standard grease and oil used for the chain and gears and ball bearings ?
Thanks,
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- Eddie
 

NickSo

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Jul 2, 2000
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You dont needa clean out the bearings or anything...
You could clean the deralleur and the rear gears though... You could wipe it down with a unwanted rag, or spray some degreaser on it, let it soak, then wipe it off... try not to use water around any bearings, they'll get in there, and get rusty or the dirt will stick easier and you'll have a whole pile of crap in there...
Also, buy a chain remover... Get that, remove the chain, then spray it with degreaser, let it soak, wipe dry with rag, then place back on the bike, lube it up with some chain lube (I recommend White Lightning)... The type of lube varies in climate... if you're riding in dry dusty desert, get a dry lube (whitelightning is dry), if its wet soggy mud, get a wet lube...

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brentl

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May 7, 1999
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Hey, a free Trek sounds great to me.
Brent L
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Jay H

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White Lightning is a wax based lube and it works for some people in some conditions and not others in others.. WL is weird in that way, you get people who swear by the stuff and others who hate it. Personally, I would stick to good ole oil based lube for abit to see how that works for you. I've used Finish Line and Krytech stuff for years but then again I get alot of free samples and stuff from the rides/races that I do. So if you get a decent citrus degreaser and some old rags, you can degrease the chain and relube.
As far as cleaning, warm water and soap is good. Like Nick says, keep away from the rotating parts (hubs, bottom bracket (the crankarms that you pedal go through the BB), headset (where the fork goes through the headtube), etc.
Depending on how bike-inclined you are, it might be worth it to take it to a bike shop for the once over. But at a minimum, you should thoroughly inspect the brakes, the brake pads, the spokes on the wheels (should be tight) and you can inpect the frame carefully for any cracks before you ride it. being a free bike, perhaps your $70 bike tuneup might be worth it. I think I remember the Trek Antelope bike, but for some reason, I'm thinking hybrid, but then that's just my memory. I'll take a look. It's also probably a good idea at a minimum to take a 4/5mm hex wrench and tighten as many things you can find on the bike that fits, the brakes, the stem, the headset, etc...
If you find anything specific, just reply and the HTF bike nuts will try to help you out!
Keep riding!
Jay
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EddieN

Agent
Joined
Sep 23, 2000
Messages
35
Thanks guys, really appreciate the suggestions. I just started a new job today at MCI Worldcom so my Trek hast to wait until Friday to get cleaned. I always feel so lazy after work. I'm also gonna call up some bike shops in the area and see what they charge for a "tune up".
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- Eddie
 

Paul Wu

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 28, 1999
Messages
96
If the bikes been around the block so to speak, you may be in for a bit of work.
How freely does the wheels spin? Just hold up the front and give the front wheel a spin. Look for 2 things, 1-Does the wheel spin completely around a few times? Or does it have trouble making it around even once? 2-Keep an eye on the rim, the shiny part, not the tire, and the brake pad. Do you see the rim move in and out, does it touch the brake pad? If it wobbles, the wheel is out of true, and will need a bit of adjustment to get it straight. If it bumps the pad, either the wheel is really out of shape, or the brakes just need some adjustment. Do this with the rear wheel as well.
Next how does the chain look? Is it bone dry? or is there some black gunk on it and grimy? You can buy a chain cleaner that clamps onto the chain without taking the chain off, but this tool used to be like $30, or you can get a chaintool, which should only run about $5. One thing, I may be out of date here, but when you pop off the chain, you need a special replacement pin, you can't use the old pin. This was with the old Shimano Indexing and hyperglide stuff, so I don't know if it would be appicable. But it sounds like an older bike. For cleaning the chain, you can also use some WD40. Make sure you do buy some bike oil from a bike store. I used to use Phil's, don't know if it's still popular or not.
Actually there's a bunch more that can be done, but I think I'll stop here. It might be well worth it to take it to a shop for them to look at it.
A Typical tune up used to be:
Check and adjust:
Headset
Hubs
Bottom Bracket
Brakes, cables and pads
Gears, front and rear deralliers
True the front and rear wheels
Remove and clean chain, rear gears, and front chainwheels.
We used to charge about $35, but this was like 10 years ago.
Please note the "Check and adjust," all this means is an inspection and to make sure everything rolls smoothly. However, if you've got an old bike, chances are you may need to replace some bearings, or at the least regrease your hubs, headset and bottom bracket. This would involve quite a bit more work. So you might get a call from the shop saying "we need you to authorize some more work."
Another option is the "Compete Overhaul" which would include the following:
Replace bearings and grease:
Hubs, headset, and bottom bracket;
Replace brake and derallier cables
Replace brake pads
True up front and rear wheels
Remove and clean chain, rear gears, and front chainwheels.
This would normally cost $100, but would ensure that you've got a well running bike.
However, note the "replace bearngs," unfortunately the bearings are only half the story. The bearings run on the metal surface, and there's a chance that there may be pits or little indents along the surface. So you may still get a call saying you may want to replace the headset or bottom bracket. Again more money. Oh boy, now that free bike is costing you major bucks.
I hope I'm not bringing you down.
But getting back to the free part, since it was free, I wouldn't worry about pitted surfaces, or even bother regreesing the bearings. I mean unless you are going to ride alot.
Uh, I think I've rambled enough for now.
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Paul Wu
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Jay H

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One thing, I may be out of date here, but when you pop off
the chain, you need a special replacement pin, you can't use the old pin.
I believe it is recommended but I've actually managed to reuse the same pin with some work with pliers and a hammer, but unless you're real careful, it wont work that good. Of course, I was at home too so on the road, you typically wont have access to the tools that you need. So, make sure you do not push the pin out all the way. Your chain tool should have two little grooves, one furthest from the turning screw handle is for holding the chain when removing the pin and one closest to the turning screw is for pushing the pin back in. If you close the screw all the way til it stops, it should not go all the way out, it should stop before the last "groove" A common mistake that newbies make and it's one that I made when I first tried to use the tool is to push the pin out all the way cause I had the chain in the wrong groove and wasn't paying attention to where the pin was. D'oh! Putting it back in was a PITA and it worked but was a never as smooth as new.
As far as chain cleaners, if you have one bike, it's probably fine to use WD40 (and a rag behind the chain so you don't get WD40 all over your hubs/rims and stuff. Make sure you clean your rear wheel rims too after lubing, slippery brake surfaces don't brake that well
I've had pretty good success using a $20 Finish Line bike degreaser cleaner that you put in the degreaser in the tray and hang the pulley and brush cleaner over the chain and by the rear der. pulleys and just freewheel the chain, rotate it backwards to the pedalling motion. Makes the chain pretty clean and I use it on all 4 of my bikes. It's about $20 and comes with some some degreaser and I think even a small bottle of chain lube.
Phil Woods is still around, he makes great bearing grease but you might not find his stuff everywhere. I wouldn't worry about what brand lube to use, buy whatever's inexpensive really, it's how you apply it that really matters on how dirty your chain gets.
If you do go for a tune up/overhaul, do make sure they give you an estimate before working on it.. You can get a very good starter mountain bike for about $450+ so considering the Antelope is probably vintage early '90s Trek model, don't go breaking the bank on the thing...
Don't forget to check for frame cracks!!! There's some chance the person crashed it and decided to toss it out and you have no idea the history of it...
Jay
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