14 August 2012 - 9:52It’s All About the Upgrades
Sometimes, you get a project that is both challenging and fun.
Not that long ago, a piece of mountain bike history showed up at the shop, a very rough looking, late 80′s Gary Fisher Advance. This is what the bikes we ride today spawned from. Where most shops might overlook this bike as a POS with no greater destiny than to take up space in a landfill, I was able to see some potential.
Just look at that chain.
The directive was to make the bike ride again, but also give it some flair. It wasn’t going to be a mountain bike anymore, so there was some latitude on how it was going to look when it was finished. After doing some research, I knew what needed to happen. After I removed everything but the headset and stem from the frame, I got busy cleaning and polishing. For a bike this neglected, the paint was in very good shape, save for a few tiny spots of surface rust.
The wheels were dead straight, but the skewers were rusted in place, and had to be discarded. The spokes had a bunch of surface corrosion, so I wasnt able to make the entire wheel shine, but I did make them look a lot better. The bearings were smooth, so there was no real reason to replace those. The tires were of course, nice and dry. We went with some white wall cruiser tires as replacements.
I was able to salvage the rear derailleur. Despite the surface pitting, it cleaned up pretty well, and had full range of motion after I lubed the linkages and exercised it a few times. The brakes were seized, and the pads dried out, so those went away after I finally freed them from their mounting posts. These were replaced with some inexpensive Avid linear pull brakes.
I really wanted to keep the thumb shifters, but they were just too manky to make work. Plus, they were mounted directly to the huge, and now incompatible, plastic brake levers, and I was unable to come up with an alternative mounting solution. For the time being, shifting is being handled with a crappy MRX level twister, until I can find a more decent 7spd trigger.
I cleaned and rebuilt the BB, and replaced the Bio-pace chainrings with a single 36 tooth middle ring and added a Spot bashguard I had laying around. Of course there was a new chain, but the cassette still looked good after I cleaned it up, so I opted to keep it.
The saddle was replaced with a classy looking brown leather Brooks knock off. The flat narrow bars replaced with an alloy cruiser style one, which were outfitted with the comfiest non-Ergon grips I know, the Oury, also in brown. White shift/brake cables added some zing. The rear rack was also a nice choice, and really brings the whole thing together.
So after about a couple hours of work, a couple hundred bucks in parts, we have us a fully resurrected bike. It went from sitting dormant for years, to being ridden everyday. It has all but replaced a car for around town errands and commuting. Now if that isn’t a feel good story, I don’t know what is. This is by far one of the more fun projects I’ve taken on lately, and I sorta wish more folks would take this route with their old, forgotten bikes.