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Commuter grade bike components?

Old 07-01-20, 05:45 PM
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aromeropompa
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Commuter grade bike components?

Hello!

I recently bought a kinda beat up vintage Bianchi (no idea on model, can't identify the frame, but made in Japan) from a friend, and my plan is to refurbish it over the summer and make a sporty-commuter bike for the city.
Issue is I am totally new to this bike business and I am looking to get some parts online as most Brooklyn bike shops seem quite overpriced for what they offer. Searching online gets me to either brands I've never heard of, or some really high end racing equipment.
I need to get some tires, wheels, and cassette, but I don't really wanna drop $500 on a bike that cost me $50.

Any recommendation for websites, brands, or beginners guides for finding parts that fit a bike that has seen better days?

Thank you!
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Old 07-01-20, 05:57 PM
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The question really boils down to what you want. What are you replacing and why? Old parts work as well as new parts. Google is your friend... sometimes.
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Old 07-01-20, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by aromeropompa View Post
Hello!

I recently bought a kinda beat up vintage Bianchi (no idea on model, can't identify the frame, but made in Japan) from a friend, and my plan is to refurbish it over the summer and make a sporty-commuter bike for the city.
Issue is I am totally new to this bike business and I am looking to get some parts online as most Brooklyn bike shops seem quite overpriced for what they offer. Searching online gets me to either brands I've never heard of, or some really high end racing equipment.
I need to get some tires, wheels, and cassette, but I don't really wanna drop $500 on a bike that cost me $50.

Any recommendation for websites, brands, or beginners guides for finding parts that fit a bike that has seen better days?

Thank you!

Good, reasonably priced commuter tires: Panaracer Paselas PT
For the wheels and cassette, we'll need to know what's on the bike already.
Wheels: What's wrong with the wheels that are on the bike? If you really need new wheels, then velomine usually has good options at good prices. https://www.velomine.com/
Cassette: What speed cassette? Again, going back to the wheels. Can you just use the same wheels and cassette you have? Are the wheels worn out? Are you looking for easier gearing? Let us know more about your goals. A Japanese built Bianchi likely has parts that are fine for commuting as long as they aren't broken or worn out. Is it a road bike? Road bikes in stock form are sporty by definition.
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Old 07-01-20, 06:14 PM
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For one bike to properly maintain and service the hubs, bottom bracket and headset you are going to need some specialised tools which will increase the cost of your first rehab...but you'll have the tools forever. In general handlebar tape, cables, housing, brake pads, chain, tires, and tubes are the usual suspects for replacement. Everything else gets cleaned, trued and lubed. Specific broken components will need addressing.
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Old 07-01-20, 06:25 PM
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You have to do the research here (bikeforums) and Sheldon Brown's website. Then find a co-op and/or buy your Park Tools on ebay/craigslist so you may do all the work yourself. A $50 japanese Bianchi which "has seen better days" will likely need a full overhaul. Then you can buy the next bike, overhaul it, trade up, sell one, buy another one, trade up, break even, sell one, turn a profit, buy another one ...
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Old 07-01-20, 06:57 PM
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The wheels are starting to crack on the sides where it touches the rim, so it feels as though it may split. Not to the point of being unsafe, but you can definitely see it.
As for the cassette, not sure how to identify it. It seems like a 5 speed Shimano cassette. It's rusty on the surface all the way from the derailleur to the cogs, but nothing to indicate that it's more than surface rust. I belieeeve is it a cassette and not a freewheel as innermost ring on the cogs does spin along with the rest of the 5 cogs.
But yes, it is a road bike, so I guess trying to keep it sporty as it is!
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Old 07-01-20, 07:00 PM
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There's the bike coop in Williamsburg, on Maujer St. Someone there might be able to help you. I'd offer to help myself but I'm keeping myself mostly isolated as I'm in a high risk category for Covid-19. You will want to get all of your parts online, my experience in Brooklyn is the same as yours, you won't find any bargains. Even at the bike swap meet that used to happen everything was overpriced junk. Check on ebay for the occasional bargain, but know what you are buying before you start.

But a Bianchi made in Japan sounds suspicious. It probably is OK but not one of their higher end bikes. You paid the right price for it.

If it is 5 speed it is a freewheel, not a cassette. That sounds really old then.
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Old 07-01-20, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
For one bike to properly maintain and service the hubs, bottom bracket and headset you are going to need some specialised tools which will increase the cost of your first rehab...but you'll have the tools forever. In general handlebar tape, cables, housing, brake pads, chain, tires, and tubes are the usual suspects for replacement. Everything else gets cleaned, trued and lubed. Specific broken components will need addressing.
Yeah I did replace the chain last week. True. Hmmm maybe I need some literature as well. I'll do some research to start building up some tools and equipment. I guess reading up and taking it apart for clean up and assessment would a good first step. Any ideas on treating rust in a way that isn't too abrasive?
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Old 07-01-20, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
There's the bike coop in Williamsburg, on Maujer St. Someone there might be able to help you. I'd offer to help myself but I'm keeping myself mostly isolated as I'm in a high risk category for Covid-19. You will want to get all of your parts online, my experience in Brooklyn is the same as yours, you won't find any bargains. Even at the bike swap meet that used to happen everything was overpriced junk. Check on ebay for the occasional bargain, but know what you are buying before you start.

But a Bianchi made in Japan sounds suspicious. It probably is OK but not one of their higher end bikes. You paid the right price for it.

If it is 5 speed it is a freewheel, not a cassette. That sounds really old then.
!!!!! I was just in that bike co-op a few minutes ago! Only bike shop on google I found open at this time, but I was pretty confused, I guess I was expecting a store. But yeah, good to know there's that,I'll definitely check it out with some more time another time. But yes, wear a mask and wash your hands often!
Thank you!
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Old 07-01-20, 07:23 PM
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$50. What a deal! Itís kind of like being given a puppy, isnít it?
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Old 07-01-20, 07:32 PM
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aromeropompa , since you can't upload photos until you have 10 posts, can you describe for us some of the components so that we can get a better idea of what you're dealing with? Most usually have make and model stamped on them.

Starting at the top:

Stem/Handlebars
Seat/Seatpost
Brake Levers (safety levers?)
Brake Calipers (side pull or center pull)
Shifters (downtube or other?)
Front Derailleur
Rear Derailleur
Crank (forged or swaged?)
Pedals (platform or other?)
Freewheel (number of cogs?)
Hubs (high flange or low?)
Rims (700C or 27" ?)
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Old 07-01-20, 07:50 PM
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Don't think for a second that a Japanese Bianchi couldn't be a great commuting bike. Eyelets and clearances for mudguards and and racks, lightweight tubes, cheap replacement parts (forever), and hip street cred if you want it. Post pics, ask questions, there no better resource. A dirt cheap membership here gives you privileges to request or sell or trade parts and collectively we've got an embarrassing hoard, err, inventory.
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Old 07-01-20, 07:53 PM
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If you don't think that there's a learning curve to this, then think again -- it really is an avocation, like any other; you reap what you put into it. Formulate specific questions, and you will find the answers.
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Old 07-02-20, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Don't think for a second that a Japanese Bianchi couldn't be a great commuting bike. Eyelets and clearances for mudguards and and racks, lightweight tubes, cheap replacement parts (forever), and hip street cred if you want it. Post pics, ask questions, there no better resource. A dirt cheap membership here gives you privileges to request or sell or trade parts and collectively we've got an embarrassing hoard, err, inventory.

Oh boy. I just moved apartments and I am painfully aware of the scale of my "inventory." And that's after getting ride of 3 bikes and/or frames, 2 wheelsets and some fenders.
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Old 07-02-20, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by aromeropompa View Post
Hello!

I recently bought a kinda beat up vintage Bianchi (no idea on model, can't identify the frame, but made in Japan) from a friend, and my plan is to refurbish it over the summer and make a sporty-commuter bike for the city.
Issue is I am totally new to this bike business and I am looking to get some parts online as most Brooklyn bike shops seem quite overpriced for what they offer. Searching online gets me to either brands I've never heard of, or some really high end racing equipment.
I need to get some tires, wheels, and cassette, but I don't really wanna drop $500 on a bike that cost me $50.

Any recommendation for websites, brands, or beginners guides for finding parts that fit a bike that has seen better days?

Thank you!
As a term, "commuter grade" is not common and I'd say it is not a thing. We can
talk about age of parts, technologies, basic quality versus bling (like Campagnolo
Mirage versus tha latest modern Super duper Record, or Tiagra versus Dura Ace)
priced on sale versus full list presumably with warrantee, et cetera. But as far as
a line of parts expected to be found on a "commuter" bike, I don't see what parts
to talk to you about. People commute an 50 year old cruisers, or last year's 3x11
carbon road burner.

Common features needed to commute:

ability to pack gear,
tires that roll smoothly on dry, wet, light snow, some amount of dirt surface,
wheels stand up to a lot of miles fully loaded and without structural issues,
steering is stable but adequately responsive,
frame allows you a position that you find comfortable,
frame allows for some shock absorption,
bicycle can be securely locked to deter theft or vandals swiping components,
can carry lights of significant size and performance, sound device,
provide for full fenders.

This is all really about the design of a bicycle and how you choose to equip it. It goes
without saying that the bicycle is maintained, that all of the bearings turn well, the
seatpost cannot be expected of slipping, the bars point where you installed them, the
correct brake squeezes proportionately to how hard you squeeze it, et cetera. Also,
nothing falls off. Pretty basic stuff.

At the same time, some people just jump on anything with a saddle and go. Your choice.

What else? I'm sure there's more.
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Old 07-04-20, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
aromeropompa , since you can't upload photos until you have 10 posts, can you describe for us some of the components so that we can get a better idea of what you're dealing with? Most usually have make and model stamped on them.

Starting at the top:

Stem/Handlebars
Seat/Seatpost
Brake Levers (safety levers?)
Brake Calipers (side pull or center pull)
Shifters (downtube or other?)
Front Derailleur
Rear Derailleur
Crank (forged or swaged?)
Pedals (platform or other?)
Freewheel (number of cogs?)
Hubs (high flange or low?)
Rims (700C or 27" ?)

Took me some time. Got busy with work, but hey! thank you for prompting what seems to me like a very thorough taxonomy of my bike!

Here's what I found:
Handlebars are tubular steel Winpista. Seems like 40cm / 25.4mm throughout.
Cloud 9 6x11" vented seat w 7/8 seatpost
Alhonga HJ-261AG brake levers, no safety levers with Continental pads
DIA-COMPE side pull brake calipers (something very close to Classic DC810)
Shimano 600 Golden Arrow downtube shifters
Front Shimano golden arrow derailleur A105 clamp-on
Rear Shimano golden arrow derailleur A105
Forged Shimano FC-S125 Golden Arrow crank
Generic steel road platform pedals
Freewheel? 5 cogs (+2 on front derailleur?)
Shimano-sansin freewheel hubs
27" Rim
Kendo 1 1/4" Tires

It seems like the components themselves are mostly okay, but a lot of bolts, screws, and nuts are rusty and would need a cleaning.
I also noticed the both wheels to be slightly off center from the brake calipers, one more than the other. On the front it seems like the fork could be bent, but the back I don't really know.
The front brakes are pretty responsive, but the back ones could definitely use some help; they have a delayed reaction, and they screech if I don't pull the lever all the way down. Any thoughts? + Where could the screeching originate?
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Old 07-04-20, 06:07 AM
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Look at the rim to see if it is steel or aluminum. There should be some kind of sticker on it with brand/model or other identifier.

It's just funny that I was just working on a bike that had the back brake problem, also a Bianchi. This was my daughter's friend. I took the bike for a quick spin and what I found was that the suicide levers were flexy as they always were, the actual levers were flexy, the brake calipers were flexy, the rims were steel, and the pads were ancient. You can't ride the bike on the hoods because of the suicide levers, and there was no comfortable position. Add all of that together and the brakes just don't stop the bike. It isn't just one thing, it was all of those. My guess is your bike is pretty much the same minus the suicide levers. At the same time, my daughter (this is how this all started) decided to try the old Cannondale we had that was barely used. The brakes worked OK, but the hoods and levers were uncomfortable. This C'dale was worth fixing up so I bought new Tektro levers, Jagwire cables, and Centaur calipers, including cross levers so you can brake from the tops, and bar tape. If I ever get all the parts with all the shipping issues it'll be a great setup but it all cost money, almost $200. I wouldn't recommend doing that to a decrepit bike though, it isn't worth it. The thing with Cannondale was all of their frames were the same from the low end to the high end, so this is a Criterium frame with lower end parts. For her friends Bianchi, I ordered a pair of Kool Stop Salmon pads. Those should add some braking power to the rear. Salmon pads work better on steel as they are a little softer and grippier. Plus these have a much longer surface area than the original. I haven't tried them yet so I don't know how well they work.
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Old 07-04-20, 07:00 AM
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If there's no sticker on the rim to tell you if it's steel or aluminium, then see if a fridge magnet is interested in it.

The brake pads may just be old. Old brake pads tend to screech.
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Old 07-04-20, 07:17 AM
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aromeropompa , you have a really nice bike with good components. I wouldn't change or "upgrade" anything just yet. The most effective (and economical) thing you can do to "refurbish" it would be to take it apart and clean the components. Dirt, corrosion, rust etc. are the main culprits of a poor performing bicycle.

Start with the drive train.......before you buy a new chain and freewheel, you'll need the tools to remove those two components. Once off the bike, they should be soaked in mineral spirits overnight..........remove the derailleurs, cables and shifters, take them apart as far as you can and thoroughly clean them as well

https://www.parktool.com/product/min...category=Chain

https://www.parktool.com/category/cassette-freewheel
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