I recently bought a tired BMC Fourstroke FS04 mountain bike, which had seen plenty of action, but not enough maintenance.
I saw potential (or as much as one can see from a couple of mobile phone photos…) and brought it home to breathe new life into it.
Sometimes you get lucky and there’s not much wrong with a bike. And sometimes there’s a few skeletons in the closet, but finding them can also be fun (as long as they’re not too serious!).
Firstly, I like to give bikes a good wash. Often so quickly after I get them home that I don’t get any “before” photos… I’ve got to learn some patience.
Washing a bike gives you the chance to look at it closely and spot things you previously overlooked. The BMC was superficially lightly dirty, but chain, chainrings, cassette and jockey wheels were well overdue a de-griming. I wonder whether half of restoration is actually just cleaning?
Now funky shaped frames are great, but who wants to clean their bike with a toothbrush after every muddy ride??
Overall, the bike is sound, frame is good, components all there. A few dings, but no evidence of crash damage to the frame – which is especially important for aluminium frames. Brakes are ok (if a bit spongey), rotors are true, headset is fine, BB has no wobble.
The front hub was loose, so I stripped and repacked it with new grease. Bearings fine, races fine. Sorted very quickly and only minor adjustment to the disc brake caliper needed to avoid rubbing against one pad after tightening the cones.
The rims are slightly out of true. Usually I use rim brake pads as a makeshift truing stand, to see minor wobbles and where to adjust spoke tension. Truing wheels on a bike with disc brakes will be a little more tricky, so I’ll leave that for later…
The biggest fault the seller mentioned was the twisted derailleur and chain. The derailleur looked ok, so I removed the hanger with the intention of replacing it with a spare from the Steppenwolf, but found it was a slightly different shape and wouldn’t fit.
A trip to the bike shop later, the mechanic told me he didn’t have any spare hangers in this shape, but he could bash it straight for me. Back home I reinstalled it, stripped the derailleur, serviced the jockey wheels, reinstalled the derailleur and chain (minus one link), and wouldn’t you know it – it worked perfectly!
If you read my last post on this, you may recall the seller mentioned his local bike shop quoted almost twice what I paid for the whole bike to sort this out (presumably replacing derailleur and hanger).
Pretty poor advice as I sorted it in two hours (including an hour’s walk to the bike shop and back with the kids) and at zero cost (a contribution to the tip jar was all they would accept). Some adjustment needed for perfect indexing, but 80% there. Result.
I adjusted handlebar position, flipped the riser stem and adjusted brake and shift lever positions, taking the opportunity to lube/grease all the screws that hadn’t been loosened in years.
While poking around I found a couple of other issues: a sawn off seat post (kids, just don’t do it…), a loose pedal spindle and broken chainring teeth, but overall this is turning out to be a nice little restoration project.
Watch this space!