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Wednesday, February 07, 2007
AUTOPSY OF A CHEAP HUFFY BEACH CRUISER BICYCLE
I've always loved the beach cruiser cantilever frame. I've built 2 such bikes in my lifetime so far and my recent interest in rat rod bikes has brought me full circle and I am totally hooked. Last week in the dead of winter I stumbled upon this red Huffy cruiser in our local kijiji site and couldn't believe my luck. The price was right($85) and the mere fact of finding one around here was amazing.
So I brought my new baby home and decided to start the transformation right away by removing stuff that I didn't want like the fenders. The removal of the fenders required that I take off the wheels to get to the fender bolts. While I took off the front wheel I heard the distinct sound of dry bearings in the headset assembly. Now this bike is very recent and to my knowledge has never been serviced and it should have some factory grease left in it...NOT! Those headset bearings were bone dry. I just couldn't believe it. I figured that the bottom bracket bearings might be in the same shape and I wasn't wrong, bone dry as well. It's not a matter of the bearings running out of grease, the grease was never present in the first place at all.
Now I know most of you are thinking, "what do you expect, this is a cheap bike" and I agree. But, I've worked on cheap bikes before from Canadian to Hungarian communist era made bikes and this as just never happened. There was always some grease left!
Low end mega store bikes don't have the best components and that is a given to most of us, but the basics must be there. Would you ever buy a car without oil in it? I don't think so. Grease is a fundamental element in your bike. Apart from protecting those bearings from wear, it also provides you with a better ride by reducing resistance on all those moving parts. A well greased bike will always be easier to pedal than one who isn't.
This is a prime example of why you should spend the extra bucks at a local bike shop. The quality of the bikes is better and I would be very surprised that such a situation would occur. Now this thing is just a cruiser and is used for riding around the neighbourhood, but they also sell mountain bikes. I'll let your mind paint THAT picture!
So for my taste, this bike is just a blank canvas for a custom ride. I've already changed the no bearing cheap plastic pedals for real ones and I will also change the front wheel hub in the near future. I will also push the "no grease" investigation to the rear wheel coaster hub. I have to be careful since these things tend to commit suicide on me when I open them up. Yes, I will post about it even if I fail so you can all learn either how to or how not to do it.
If you haven't gone tru this entire blog yet and want to know how to take apart a one piece crank bottom bracket, check here for the fork headset, check here
Simply pack everything with green axle grease and reassemble.
Til next time, ride safe and Godspeed.
Posted by Gerry Lauzon at 8:12 PM