Free bike!!

Hello bikers...

My dad has offered me his old road bike which I had a chance to look at yesterday. I haven't used a road bike before but thought a free one would be good to try out the different sitting position and get used to thin wheels.

However, I thought it looked too far from the seat to the handle bars and it is about 2-3 inches linger than my elbow to fist measure. I think that is one of the approximate measures of a biie, isn't it? But I wondered if a different seat or bars might help sort that out...

Then I noticed that the pedals seem very low down... Long shanks? I would need to change those.

It hasn't been used for 20 years, so the tyres need replacing ... Maybe break pads? Though the breaks worked well, if a bit stiff... Not sure how to check gear things... It has some light rusting ... the seat post bolt is a bit rusted the gear block thing is a bit.rusted, but I think that could be cleaned up....

Given one of the reasons I want a road bike is for the lighter weight, I was surprised when I picked it up as it was heavier than I expected. I am not sure whether it is much lighter than my hybrid...

So... Should I take it? I don't really want to spend much more than £60 to make it 'fit' since I am confident I won't be using it to race... But I don't want to seem ungrateful of the offer.... My Dad seems to think it only weighs 9kg and we are about the same height so he doesn't see why it wouldn't be perfect....


  • In my ver limited experience I would suggest taking it to a LBS and asking them what they think needs looking at or replacing, I woud think that it would cost you in excess of the use you will get out of it

    No one can really say if it fits you unless they see you on it

    My bet would be to put the money towards the bike that you will be competing on, you could however use your Dads old one on a turbo if the set up was appropriate?
  • Thanks Meldy. Good idea on the turbo thing.

    I measured the bike and I think it is too big for me, and haven't taken it. I am going to see what size bike a shop would recommend and think about it.

    Out of interest, the frame is a Reynolds 500 something or other... Chro-mo...? Anyone know anything about the weight of such a frame? It seemed quite heavy but maybe I was looking for reasons not to take it (and buy a new bike instead!).....
  • Ive got an old Dawes 12 speed racer with the gear change down on the bottom bar.Its 26 years old and I still use it for some training rides to save wear on my new bike.I know one thing the seat on my old bike is far more comfortable than the modern seats.If I were you give it a good clean up and oil the chain and crank and see how it goes before you spend to much money on it.
  • Jevans......Before I got my new bike (2 months ago) I rode an old racing bike with downtube gear shifters and did 2 Sprint Tri's on it without any problems and will continue to ride it over the winter. If you are looking for a new bike have a look on Winstanley Bikes of Wigan. I got a great deal on mine, saved £150...image  Like spongecake says give it a good clean and lube and see how it goes.
  • Reynolds 531  good frame in its time but a little heavy by todays standards - i would keep it, do it up and use it for training in winter if you can get it to fit - especially as it was your dads- but im a sentimental begger like that  image
  • Hmmm.... Maybe I should give it more thought. I am not sure how much could be done to make the bike fit me though. The seat post and the handle bar posts are a long way from each other and it feels too far away... Can you get seats and bars the reduce that distance?
  • you can put the seat forward a little but then its the alignment of the knee over the pedal that may cause probs, you can get different sized handle bar stems (cheaply) to adjust the reach, if you are going to use it just for turboing you could even reverse the stem to make it fit, most important is that it dont give you niggles after a few miles
  • If it says CroMo or similar then it's not Reynolds 531 - it'll likely be Reynolds 501 which is lower in the pecking order.

    Forget the fact it's longer saddle to bars than your elbow to fist - that's not a valid measure of anything - except maybe the length of your forearm and fist. If you don't know road bikes then you wouldn't really be able to tell if it was the right size - so don't assume it's too big - you say your dad is about the same height as you and as he seems to know more about bikes then you I'd assume it's about the right size.

    I'm sure the cranks (not shanks) are a perfectly normal length for the size of bike - cranks don't differ by that much anyway.

    A bit of surface rust will clean off. A bit of lube on the brakes (the calipers not the blocks!) if they are stiff may work - if it stops OK then why would you want to replace the brake blocks ? Bikes are really very simple things and there isn't much you can't just figure out - I'm sure your budget of £60 would sort it out easily if you are doing the labour yourself.
  • It's probably got a quill stem so getting a shorter one won't be easy.
  • Thanks Popsider. Its a Reynolds 500 so maybe further down the pecking order again?

    Cranks (!) seem long because the rat traps my dad has on his pedals drag on the ground if you dont use them. Dad also reckoned he has longer legs than me cos I am a girl.

    My dad isn't a bike expert by any means. He has just looked on a few websites. He only used the bike for commuting occasionally and didn't use it very often. He used bathroom scales to try and weigh the bike and reckons it added 9kg to his weight, but it still felt heavy to me.

    Am going to have to get a Bike Maintenance For Dummies book I think....
  • If it is a quill stem, whilst attempting to make an old bike fit me I managed to find a guy who had lots of them of different sizes etc - I needed one that was taller and shorter, and he was v helpful:
  • Oh right didn't realise you were a girl !

    I had to google Reynolds 500 and it's a plain gauge tubeset so relatively cheap and robust - unless your dad is very short I'd be surprised if a bike made of that came in under 20lbs so you are probably right about the weight.

    With the pedals dragging it's probably possible to unscrew the toe clips (cage thingys) so you can use them as normal flat pedals.

    I still wouldn't assume the bike is too big though - I know when I started back cycling (I used to ride a road bike as a teenager - not competitively just to school and stuff) the bike felt too big - it might just be getting used to it after a hybrid.

    As others have said if it is too big it might still make a good turbo bike - or I'll disagree slightly with Dave and say a new quill stem will be really easy to pick up second hand for a few pounds if you just need to shorten the reach - it'll be a 1" quill stem probably 26mm clamp.

    Otherwise just have it and stick it on ebay mentioning something about being suitable for a fixed conversion and someone is bound to pay over the odds for it. What make and model is it anyway ?
  • I remember reynolds 500 - it wasnt on top end bikes and theres no way that bike would be sub 20 lbs. Even with 531 and decent kit it wouldnt be.  From the scant information I think its too big for you and would need new tyres minimum. I expect its the old standard 27" wheels rather than 700c too? 

    Prob fine to use for a commuter  -if you can get it to fit you - but as you say - not to race. I'd take it so s to not offend. New tyres and full guards and sorted.

    Whats the saddle height like ?

  • Thanks again!

    Saddle height is too high but can be brought down, but its not a quick release thingy so I will need new tools as well, so I can shift it around.

    The wheels looked to measure 26-26.5" in diameter. Would tyres be more difficult to find for that? My dad was saying something about the wheels being so small that there wasn't a tube or something. I didn't quite follow what he meant. And he was saying about there being very small amounts of air in the tyres so a particular type of valve system is preferable and I might need a different pump...? I think my pump is a multi type pump, but I have always struggled with pumping my tyres up..... I always lose more air than I can put in them!

    I have a feeling that my local bike shop will be making a lot more money out of me in the future....
  • Read the side of the tyre to find out the wheel size. As Cougie says, the wheels are probably 27 inch. You can still get tyres that size. I would get new tyres and inner tubes, making sure you get the correct valve. There are only two types so it's easy to work out which you need by looking at picture on-line.

    There are a lot of pirates who know one end of an allen key from the other so if you tell us which area you're in someone may be able to spare a bit of time to help.
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