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Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock PowerDork
8/23/15 8:40 p.m.

Yesterday I purchased a used bike. It's purpose was to get me out of the house, away from the computer and in the garage. I needed a project. I also want to be able to get my son out of the house in the evenings and weekends. I figured riding around the neighborhood would be a good way to do it.

DISCLAIMER

I know this is a cheaply made, junk bike. I know that I could buy a "decent" bike for the money I will eventually have in it. I realize all of that. The point of this is the project, the process. The end product is only a secondary consideration and not even that important.

With that out of the way. What I wanted was a rigid mountain bike. What I found was a Columbia Mountanaire for $30. It has horizontal drop outs so going single speed will be easier and it seemed to be very lightly used but is a little beat up from being stored in a shed for many years.

Some shots of the condition.

The first thing I did was pull the seat post out, cut off the disintegrated foam grips and give it a bath.

Then I started the tear down. I decided to try a vinegar bath on some of the most crusty pieces. And started a pile of parts that were not going back on.

Bare frame.

While the parts were in the vinegar I began working on getting the freewheel off of the hub. I don't have the special tool to remove a freewheel so I had to improvise. I pulled the freewheel apart carefully so as not to loose any of the little bearings, which I then placed in some glass containers with mineral spirits to clean them. With the freewheel pulled apart I removed the pawls which gave me a great place to hook on with my adjustable spanner. Using a hammer tapping on the spanner I was able to break loose the freewheel from the hub. I also removed the cogs from the freewheel body. The two smallest cogs are threaded onto the body. I was able to remove them with the same technique as the freewheel. Much to my disappointment the freewheel does not use the standard Shimano keyways, meaning non of the SS conversion kits that I've found will work with this setup. The good news is that it looks like a Sturmey-Archer setup and I should be able to get a new gear if the original one throws the chain a lot. Mine looks like thisnot this.

For now though, I'm just going to use a 40t front sprocket and a 20t rear cog from the original drive-train. As long as I can get a decent chainline. If I have issues throwing the chain I will explore my options later on. I know I can a 40t SS front sprocket for the one piece crank and it looks like there are options for the rear without having to change freewheels. I plan on running what I have but may decide to change to a 3 piece crank and chainring later on, we'll see.

So at this point the vinegar had done it's magic on the rust so I rinsed the parts off with water then used some baking soda to neutralize the acid to prevent it from continuing to eat the parts.

Everything came out looking very clean.

The original grease had turned into some kind of hard plasticy crap that would not come off of anything. I threw the bearings from the bottom bracket and headset in a container with some Seafoam to soak. I then grabbed a brass wire brush a rag and some mineral spirits and cleaned up the cups in the frame. Unfortunately when I pulled the BB out one of the balls was missing out of the cage, everything looks to be in good condition but I'll have to replace the bearings because if the MIA ball bearing.

The paint has a few nicks and scrapes but the green has grown on me so I decided to just clean it up and keep it original. I removed the stickers and then attacked it with some swirl remover and followed it up with a coat of wax. After that I went ahead and reassembled the headset.

I think it cleaned up nicely.

I cleaned up the handlebars with some aluminum foil and WD/40.

I also unlaced the front wheel. The spokes are terrible, just ugly. The rim cleaned up nicely but it is just absolute junk. The hub is Shimano and seems decent enough. I have the bearings out being soaked now and have cleaned up the inside of the hub. Those rims though. I don't know what I want to do with them. I may decide to paint them or just clean them up and throw it back together. Eventually I will upgrade the rims, they are just so terrible. But for now they will be pressed back into service.

That's where I ended the weekend.

Things I need. BB bearings, new tires and new grips. I have to wait until I get new bearings for the BB to set up the drivetrain. I still have to drill out the rivets that are holding both front sprockets together. Once that is done I can start to see how screwed I am with the chainline. Also I'm 90% sure I'm going put some BMX handlebars on it.

NOT A TA
NOT A TA HalfDork
8/23/15 9:52 p.m.

I see you put the front reflector that mounted under the stem in the junk pile. The reflector bracket often served 2 functions. 1st, it was also a spacer/washer and the headset top nut may bottom out on the top of the fork before it can lock the headset. 2nd, it was probably keyed and the key feature keeps the top nut from tightening the bottom nut/bearing race as the top nut is tightened. The key also helps prevent the headset from loosening. If you eliminate the bracket you should install a keyed washer.

Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock PowerDork
8/23/15 10:34 p.m.

In reply to NOT A TA:

Yep, I realized that when I reassembled it. I got to use my angle grinder today We don't need no stinkin' reflectors

ae86andkp61
ae86andkp61 Reader
8/23/15 11:27 p.m.

Awesome; looks like a fun little project! Rear cogs may not be that hard to source if your planned setup doesn't work out. Lots of internally geared hubs use the type of keyway you pictured, usually retained by a snap-ring, and new they go for $5-10.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
8/24/15 7:02 a.m.

Cool project. Green bikes are the best bikes.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde UltraDork
8/24/15 8:14 a.m.

Awesome! A vintage Columbia! Those are BANK!

Okay, maybe not, but it's still cool.

gamby
gamby UltimaDork
8/24/15 2:16 p.m.

In reply to Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock:

Finding parts of any quality will be a bit tricky as those components were low-end when they were born.

Options for a one-piece/Ashtabula crank are limited, but they're out there. The bottom bracket shell is too big for a 3-piece crank anyway.

For brakes, maybe some higher-end BMX brakes from the 80's? Good mountain bikes of that era used cantilever brakes, but there are no studs brazed onto the frame to install those. Those calipers will be pretty flexy and underpowered. Refurbished, lubed and with new cables and pads they should do the job--mostly.

Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock PowerDork
8/24/15 3:31 p.m.

In reply to gamby:

I had a line on some cheap dia-compe Bulldogs but those may have been sold already. I saw bell makes a pretty good imitation of them. They have several sets at academy for $11 that come with lines and levers. I need to get down to the LBS to see if they have a junk pile I can rummage through.

I haven't measured the BB shell but I'm almost positive several companies make pressed in adapters the will accept a euro cartridge BB. That's not on the immediate list anyway.

Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock PowerDork
8/24/15 9:16 p.m.

Did a little more tonight. I chucked the spokes up in my drill and cleaned them up with 400 grit sand paper. I figured I removed whatever protective coating they may have had, and I had about a half can of black lacquer left so I gave them a coat. I drilled 36 holes in a 2x4 to thread depth and stuck them in. Why? Why not

Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock PowerDork
8/25/15 7:44 p.m.

Anyone have thoughts on gearing? I'm not going to be commuting or any real road riding. I will only be riding around the neighborhood with the boy on his little BMX bike. It's all flat and asphalt, no dirt.

I'm leaning towards going with the 50t front ring. If I do I can get a 1.78. 2.08 or 2.50 ratio. But if I go with the 39t front ring I can get a 1.62, 1.95 or 2.29.

Those seem like the reasonable ones to me anyway.

ae86andkp61
ae86andkp61 Reader
8/25/15 11:47 p.m.

For singlespeeds, I like a touch taller than 2:1 for goofing off, off-road, or casual riding, 2.5:1 for all-around riding including hills, and 2.75:1 or taller for really getting after it on flattish terrain.

I may or may not have anything resembling fitness, so YMMV.

NOT A TA
NOT A TA HalfDork
8/27/15 2:57 p.m.

Nick your effort with the spokes is admirable. I have an offer you shouldn't refuse.

Make a list of all the little pieces you'd like to replace (like the spokes) and send it to me radrobs@aol.com. I owned a big bike/skate shop in CT for 25 years and my kid decided he didn't want to take it over when I wanted out. I'd already bought a home in FL and we were in the bottom of the recession so banks wouldn't lend money for business purchases and folks wanting to go into the bike business don't usually have a pile of cash on hand. So I had a looooong going out of business sale then closed the store. We packed all the rest of the merchandise that was left into big trucks and shipped it to my FL house. Piled the whole house to the ceilings (literally) and spent the next couple years ebaying most of it. I scrapped all the complete steel wheels so I don't have any of those. But, I do have all the little repair parts weren't worth the time to ebay and I have lots and lots of repair parts.

So, I'll send you a Columbia bike repair Grassroots care package for free. Just make a list of any bearings, spokes, nuts, keyed washers, bearing races, seat clamp, brakes, brake pads, seat post clamp, seat post, pedals, axles, cable clamps, brake lever barrel adjusters, cables, or whatever other small parts I may have that you might need. I'll probably mail back asking for lengths, diameters, ball bearing numbers, etc. then once I get it all figured out I'll ship ya everything I have that you need.

Enyar
Enyar Dork
8/27/15 4:03 p.m.

Where in FL are you?

Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock PowerDork
8/27/15 5:01 p.m.

In reply to NOT A TA:

AAAANNNNDDDD, you couldn't have told me this before I just spent two evenings polishing the nipples by hand!?

Seriously, that is a most generous offer. I will get a list together and be emailing you shortly. Thank you.

gamby
gamby UltimaDork
8/28/15 12:34 a.m.

In reply to NOT A TA:

That's a wonderful gesture! Bravo.

@Nick--cool info about the press-in BB adaptor. Great that these solutions exist.

The_Jed
The_Jed UberDork
8/28/15 5:48 a.m.

Love the GRM community because of people like NOT A TA and the others like him.

Also in for polished nipple pics.

NOT A TA
NOT A TA HalfDork
8/28/15 7:46 a.m.
Enyar wrote: Where in FL are you?

Delray Beach

RealMiniParker
RealMiniParker UltraDork
8/28/15 7:58 a.m.
The_Jed wrote: Love the GRM community because of people like NOT A TA and the others like him. Also in for polished nipple pics.

This bears repeating. Good on ya, NOT A TA.

NOT A TA
NOT A TA HalfDork
8/28/15 8:02 a.m.
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock wrote: In reply to NOT A TA: AAAANNNNDDDD, you couldn't have told me this before I just spent two evenings polishing the nipples by hand!? Seriously, that is a most generous offer. I will get a list together and be emailing you shortly. Thank you.

As a young man I cleaned spokes and know the effort involved. Persistence and determination show commitment. Like cars, many people take bikes apart and don't complete the project. Someone who cleans the spokes will reassemble and therefore is worth my time collecting all the bits up and shipping them to see them go to good use.

Will watch for your list.

Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock PowerDork
8/29/15 1:17 a.m.

In reply to The_Jed:

Here is a bag of polished nipples just for you

Compared to the before shot

I tried to get the hub shined up by hand but it looks like I'm going to have to dig out my buffing wheels, it doesn't look this bad in person, for some reason the camera really makes it look very pitted

NOT A TA
NOT A TA HalfDork
8/31/15 5:15 p.m.

Nick, check your e-mail. I need your address.

Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock PowerDork
9/11/15 6:40 p.m.

Okay, life got in the way there for a little bit. Haven't accomplished anything since the last update but I did get a box full of bike things from John (thanks again ) and I stopped by the LBS and picked up a tire, they only had one so I had them order me another one. This weekend is looking like it's going to have some terrific bike building weather so here's hoping for a lot of progress.

I'm going with the venerable Kenda K-Rad, it has that old school BMXish look to it that compliments what I have in my head.

Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock PowerDork
9/13/15 1:06 a.m.

Got the rims lace today. It was my first time lacing a wheel but it went pretty smoothly. Spent a ton of time truing the wheels, I never thought these crappy steel rims could run as true as they do. Mounted my one tire on the front. Hopefully tomorrow I can install the new bearing set and get the crank mounted.

The new SS spokes look terrific John

NOT A TA
NOT A TA HalfDork
9/13/15 8:21 a.m.
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock wrote: Got the rims lace today. The new SS spokes look terrific John

Yes, they do look good. Were the keyed washers for the front axle the right ones?

Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock PowerDork
9/13/15 11:48 a.m.

In reply to NOT A TA:

No, they were a larger diameter than mine. I was able to make my old one work.

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