Renovating an old bicycle is a perfect DIY project. It is useful, it saves money and it is as fun as it gets. The entire bicycle is mechanic with no electrical parts which means that it can easily be tackled by a layperson. If you are interested in refurbishing your old bicycle, here is what you can do.
How much work will it require?
Start your renovation process by assessing the damage done to the bicycle over the years. A good thing about a bicycle is that you can easily put it apart. When you start renovating, it is very helpful to make sure that at least the frame is still in a good shape. Otherwise, this project is not a renovation, but assembling a whole new bike. If you are purposely purchasing a vintage bike, check the frame first and make sure that it is not broken, and if possible, not too corroded. However, even with some cracks, it is still not the end of the world. What you will surely need are new tubes and tires, as well as a comfortable seat. As with many other projects, it won’t hurt you to put together a list of all parts you will need to replace. Check bicycle stores for prices. Alternatively, you can visit auctions, landfills, flea markets or any other place you know which sell old bicycles. The alternatives to a modern store are particularly useful if you have a vintage bike to repair as you may find parts that resemble the original ones.
Gather the tools and materials
Gather everything before you start so you do not have to interrupt the process because you are missing something. You will need several sizes of wrenches and sockets so it doesn’t hurt if you have a set. You never know the exact size of the screws you will come across. You will also need a pipe wrench and some screwdrivers, pliers, angle grinder and tire levers. The prep for the paint job will require Brass wire brush and some sandpaper. Once that is done you will need a paint primer, some spray paint, and a clear coat. WD-40 is your best friend when repairing anything old and mechanical. You need a solvent to clean the small parts, as well as several different containers to soak them in. The last two items on this list are the new parts you are going to use and a bike pump.
The greatest challenge of disassembling must be assembling. Try to think while you set the bicycle apart and figure out the mechanics behind each of them. This will help you remember how to assemble them and target any issues that may occur once the bike is ready. If you find it difficult, it does not hurt to take pictures of the original state so you know what goes where once you are done. To avoid damaging the bicycle or your tools, soak any stubborn parts with WD-40 and wait for it to become looser. Take the parts one by one, and make sure you sort them into “piles” so you do not lose or mix up any tiny parts such as screws.
A fresh coat of paint
Once your frame is loose of all extra parts, it is time to start prepping it. Start by stripping it of old paint. You can send it, use sandpaper or chemicals designed for this purpose, or the grinder which is probably the quickest way but it also requires the most skill. You should do the same for the chain guard if you have one, crank, fenders, handlebars and wheels that is if there is paint to remove. Use the brush to get the rust off. If you decide not to paint some of these parts, coat them in clear coat to prevent further corrosion. Those that you will paint, first coat with primer. Read the instructions provided to get this part of the job done well as it will ensure you get a good base for the paint and consequently a durable paint job. The paint should be applied as equally as possible. Be patient and apply several thin coats to avoid dripping. Leva it all to dry and once you are sure you are done, clear coat it to get a nice finish and protect the paint.
Put it together again
Remember that when deciding on the parts, you will have a variety of products within a great price range. Purchase whatever you think is the best for your bicycle and your pocket. Make sure that everything is clean, nice, and dry at this point. Start with the seat and the handlebars and place the bike upside down. This will make it easier to work with. Grease up the bearings and put them back along with the crank and move onto adding the kickstand, fenders and the chain. Once you install the tires on the wheels and inflate them, add them to the frame. Set up and tighten the chain and reattach the breaks. Reattach the pedals, though it may be somewhat easier if you turn the bike around and place it upright.
Accessories and gadgets
We are so lucky that this industry is also following the modern trends of producing a variety of gadgets and accessories. I was about to say that these were unessential items, however, a bell, reflectors and a light are a must. You can search the web for these, e.g., find a website of a lighting wholesale company and see where they deliver that is local to you so you can buy the headlight and the taillight you prefer and which match the style of your bicycle. There are plenty of gadgets available including phone stands and devices able to control your phone and read your messages for you, radios etc.
Once you are done, you will get an amazing feeling of accomplishment! Don’t forget to inspect and test-ride your bicycle before you set off on a longer trip. A second test-ride may also be a good idea, give it about 5-10 km to see whether any parts will start coming off. If everything is still in its place, you are good to go on your new bicycle.