I like to recycle bikes – I used to do it as a kid, and on rediscovering bicycles later in life, I find that I still enjoy making something worthwhile from unwanted bikes.
This project is to make something decent and rideable out of a decrepit department store bike . Why bother, one might ask ? Well, I wondered, what could I use as a “stepping stone” bike for my wife to learn on when she has little confidence in her ability to ride solo, although is a very good “stoker” on her hybrid tandem ?
This way, if she decides not to ride solo, there is not the problem of a more expensive bike to dispose of. If it is a success she can then move on to a better bike. I had on hand two unloved and abandoned bikes that were suitable, A Dunlop and a Roadmaster. I chose the latter as it was in marginally better condition, and will use some parts from the other bike too. They were probably made in the same Chinese factory as they are almost identical frames :
Here are the two frame and fork assemblies, with the chosen one primed. The cheap suspension fork on the Dunlop weighs about twice that of the Roadmaster and I don’t see why it is necessary, other than as a sales gimmick.
The hardest part about sanding back the frame was removing the stickers – they really are sticky ! I resorted to a soft wire brush on a power drill in the end. The original colour was a tacky red and silver iridescent that is prone to fade.
I had started this project before beginning this blog, so I don’t have full “before” images. Here is a shot of the one piece steel crankset disassembled and primed, along with the complete (and damaged) one from the Dunlop.
The primed seat post and quill stem are also included. Note the single ring in gold – I have decided to make the bike a 6 speed, not an 18, because it will leave one less shifter for a learner to worry about, so I drilled out the rivets holding the three rings together. In my opinion these bikes have too many unnecessary gears anyway.
This type of bike can be purchased cheaply new, around $100 – $150 – however I would always suggest buying from a proper bike shop that fits a bike for you and can provide good backup service. A better quality entry level bike would start from around $400.
See you in Part 2 …