Wednesday, June 19, 2013

PC or PoC: Spaghetti Bike

This next bike is what my father called a "spaghetti bike".

A spaghetti bike is your typical, mass-produced, made in China sort of crap I try to avoid when selecting bikes. I will pay more for a better bike than to cop out on a department store special. 

This point was driven home when I tried to purchase a decent bike for my then wife at Wally World. I aired up the tires of her new Roadmaster, fitted her, then she tried to ride it and both tires exploded.

After a few choice expletives, I investigated. When the bike rim is created, the manufacturer curves a channel made from either steel or aluminum and welds the seam. Not only was this bike's wheels so poorly welded it created slag inside the wheel, but the seam itself was not ground down inside the rim and had a slag spike inside the rim that burst the tires.

That is how this bike came to be. It was a freebie given to my then wife who really didn't want it and would have thrown it out. I took a look at it and all the complicated stuff (shifters, brakes, frame, handlebars) were in good shape (for a spaghetti bike) or only needed minor repairs. The tires were shot, the rims were bent, and the pedals broken. Someone had, apparently, tried a trick this bike was not designed for and perhaps wound up in a bad way.

For less than the cost of the department store special, I bought new rims, Bontrager tires, tubes, seat, pedals and brake pads. I spent 2 nights with basic hand tools and no bike stand fixing this bike up.

The result is something I would be happy to ride. I bought my bike a new Trek computer and transferred the Bell computer to the spaghetti bike. 

This bike exemplifies why I like fixing bikes. For less than $50 you can pick up a decent bike. Then, you can spend a little more and fix it up into something better - even if it is a crappy spaghetti bike.

Recent Fixes
I needed this bike to be tougher and my Trek to be easier to ride so, I swapped the tires. The Bontrager tires I used on this bike were to reduce rolling resistance so they were more of a road tire. Swapping the tires made the Trek more of a crossbike - a hybrid of mountain bike and road bike. This bike is now tougher with the beefier wheels.

I also replaced the seat with a more comfy seat as I took the one I originally fitted to this bike for the Dahon foldable. 

The bike is usable but could be better. The bike was abused and it still bears some scars. A repaint is called for. The brakes are working but decidedly pathetic as well. The shifter is indexed so that will require no upgrading. 

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