Austerity Bike Works

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  • Roll up, roll up. Skip bikes! Beaters! Assorted deathtraps! Absolutely nothing interesting or sexy!

    What don't I got:

    1. Money
    2. Time
    3. Mechanical abilities

    What do I got:

    1. Some bikes
    2. An aldi bike toolkit
    3. Actually, I think that's it.

    This here CP thread will/may/should be the kick I need to try and smarten up a bike or two. Maybe I'll even learn something. Will there be photos? yes. Will there be questions? aw hell yes.

  • First up, this wonderful Giant Speeder.

    I love this bike for a lot of reasons. I found it by the metal skips near my office and it was a cut above the usual junk bikes in junk condition that appear there. I took off the drops as it was an inch or two too long for me and put in a set of cheap, cheap risers. Weirdly for a supposed road bike of its vintage it fits 30/32mm fine which meant I could add some Schwalbe CX comp tyres and take it round the farm with impunity. It's been my work ride ever since and it owes me nothing. In fact I feel I owe it a bit of attention.

  • What does it need?

    1. New headset, probably. But see point 3 in my initial 'What don't I got'.
    2. New chain.
    3. New chainring - the smaller one, I've never been able to shift the front derailleur.
    4. New casette (23t is a bit too meaty a big cog for me)
    5. A clean, always.

    What's it going to get?

    1. Points 2-5 from above which all fall just within the limits mechanical abilities... I think
    2. Some swept back bars
    3. If it's not unworkable or foolhardy I might ditch the big chainring and stick the 4ot on the front for some trendy 1x fun.
  • Is the side pocket on that Carradice something you added? Mine does not have one and now I want a side pocket too, I'm also looking at the best shoulder strap option to add..........

  • It's got one either side and they were there when I bought it (off ebay). Quick email search says it was listed as a 'Carradice Trax Seatpost Bag', don't think they make this version any more.

  • Thanks, I'm pretty jealous of the bike as well. It looks very satisfying to ride, even if the ratios might be unforgiving.

  • Bought a few bits off SJS in an attempt to repay them for honouring the “pricing error schwalbe G ones” from many years ago. 28tooth cog! Looking forward to that. Chainring off eBay completes the component set for the moment. Now to forget to bring the correct tools to work…


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  • Not massively encouraged by this, ergotec. Appreciate the candour, tho.


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  • Does it mean ASTM condition 2?

  • Seems to have a rating system on the back. They were the ‘lady town’ model, I think.


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  • The Giant is really nice, great paint! Looking forward to see how it comes together with the new bits.

  • Kinderrad 🤘🏼

  • Lunchtime! So, having remembered that removing a lockring requires a chainwhip, I take my chicken tikka sandwich, the relevant tools and descend to the depths of the work basement to fit my sparkly new casette. Or so I think. The limits of my mechanical abilities and, if a bad workman I be, tools are well and truly exposed, nay mocked!, by the incumbent lockring.

    Chief amongst my woes is the fact that my lockring-removal tool only drops about 1mm into the lockring. I have to fit a weird little adpator (er?) into that and then a hex key into that and even the slightest pressure causes everything to pop out an go evereywhere. I decide to add some elastic bands to various parts in an attempt to make it all fit more snugly. This, in fairness, works quite well, but not nearly well enough to acually help remove the old casette. I'm able to apply a reasonable amount of torque for a little while but no dice, the tool ljust keeps popping out again and again. After 40 minutes my alarm goes off and I resign myself to defeat... for now.

    Apparenly Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I convince myself he never removed a 7 speed casette from an old bike and will wait until tea break to try doing the same thing but better...


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  • If it's 7spd it's quite possibly a freewheel not a cassette? In which case, hold the tool in a bench vice if possible, drop the wheel on to it and turn the whole wheel like a steering wheel , to the left (with the freewheel pointing down underneath the wheel)

  • Thanks. I was not fully aware of the freewheel possibility. It’s definitely got a lock ring on it that unscrews counter to the run of the freehub. Anyone know if one of those fixed cassette removal tools with a pin in it (to go into the QR skewer hole) would fit this period of wheel?


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  • I think not if yours does happen to be a freewheel not a cassette (the one in the pic is called a cassette tool specifically!) - basically the splines are slightly different dimensions but the theory is the same, and with a cassette it's necessary to hold the cogs with a chainwhip, which you don't need to do with a freewheel. Sorry I can't really determine which yours is!

  • Einstein 1 - 0 Tonts (HT).

    Question now is: bad workman or bad tool? Visit LBS or buy a more capable cassette remover? The most expensive and likely answer will be both.

  • You might need something that applies a little more ‘ahem’ persuasive power.
    I have resorted to this type of combination before.
    House keys for scale.
    If this fails, locknut goes in the vice and the wheel serves as the fulcrum.
    Or yes, get the LBS to sweat it out.


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  • Ah, ginger biscuits optional but of marginal gains

  • This good info! I will assess my wrench options tomorrow.

  • I admit I zoomed in on the biscuits before the wrench.

  • Lunchtime again and, taking @crossedthread’s advice I went in search of more leverage. First port of call is Richard the plumber, his workshop has moved but I track him down and he lends me a couple of “‘arold wilsons” - stilson pipe wrenches. A contractor called Geoff is in the workshop and Geoff seems to know exactly what I’m talking about re: freewheels. Turns out he used to ride a lot and loves fixing up bikes. He suggests I return with the wheel if my efforts don’t work. My efforts don’t work, so I return with the wheel and Richard and Geoff ponder the problem. The locknut tool is starting to round out and it doesn’t drop more than a millimetre into the lock ring which makes applying pressure without the tool popping out near enough impossible.

    After a few attempts, Richard suggests cutting a mil or two off the tool for a cleaner edge or an impact driver. We go for the impact driver and manage to get the locknut far enough in the lockring that Richard gives it another go while I hold the chainwhip. No idea what this has done to the innards of the wheel but after applying some serious torque, the chainring finally loosens and the old cassette is removed! I’ve won, but at what cost? Not much, ostensibly, but maybe time will tell a different story.

    I thank Richard and Geoff and Richard thanks me in return "Always like a challenge, something a bit different". Good egg!


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  • I felt really invested in this, and got a definite dopamine hit when reading of your success. please keep it up.

  • Haha, good to hear. I've forgotten a chainbreaker and any grease today so may have to give the drivetrain a proper go tomorrow. Ideally need it ready for thursday to drop a present to my sister 5-6 miles away. I'll add a photo of my unsuccessful efforts for comedy effect (easier to laugh when you've had a bit of success)


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  • Hang about… I’ve found some grease!


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Austerity Bike Works

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