Saturday, October 12, 2013

The $5 ride gets some TLC

As you may recall from this previous post I picked up an old Raleigh Reliant for 5 bucks at a University police sale in August.  I initially thought of just stripping it for parts but decided maybe I could make a commuter out of it.  First step was to get into the rack.
While deconstructing the bike I quickly realized that rear derailleur was severely tweaked to the point of being junk.  Fortunately I had a new Shimano 6/7 speed RD that I had picked up on sale.

After about a half hour of wrenching I came up with a frame and a box of parts. (yes I did get the crank off eventually)

Some rusty parts at that.  The seat-post is pretty indicative of what I was up against.  Thank goodness for a Dremel tool and brass wire brushes.

Oddly the most difficult part of this job was getting the old tires off the rims.  I would have expected a stuck stem, seat-post or maybe a pedal  but in this case the rotten shrunken tires were on so damn tight I ended up cutting the wire bead in multiple places to finally get the tires off.
After alot of cleaning, fine steel wool, lube, and brass wire brushing I was ready to start putting the Reliant back together.  I had some fenders and a plescher rack in the parts bin, they went on.  The original seat was trash it got replaced with a new one, stem shifters make me a bit queasy so I put on some cheap new thumb shifters.  The brake levers that came with the bike were busted but I had some nice vintage Shimano  mountain bike levers in the parts bin to use.  I ditched the pie-plate and was able to put a lightly used 6 speed freewheel and chain to upgrade the bike to a 12 speed.  And of course the standard treatment for any bike I refurb gets new; tires, tubes, rim strips, brake pads, bar grips, cables and housing. A brass bell on the stem topped off this build.

We'll see what the craigslist crowd thinks.  Thanks for looking, as always


  1. Thanks for stopping by John and thanks for the compliment, it was fun rescuing this bike from the brink of the dump and it also let me use up some items in the parts bin that were just sitting around.

  2. Are you sure you could not have rescued those tires???
    I really like that era of bikes with curved front fork and the chrome taking you down to the hubs. Looks sharp with your touch to clean them. The work alone on those pedals to get the rust off and shined up is yeoman's work. I am willing to bet this gets snapped up. Even somebody that is a bike newby would realize what an improvement this would be to invest in vs a department store bike. Lugged steel frame and components that are all adjusted properly and work!
    Nice work as always Ryan
    Another bike rolling down the road instead of living in the landfil.

    1. Thanks Jim, I am pleased with how it turned out and I agree I am a sucker for lugged steel and chromed fork tips.-just a classy look and it always feels good to make something useful out of Landfill fodder.

  3. Nice update. I searched for the Raleigh Reliant model and all the pics I saw showed it with drop handle bars. Yours looks great with the change to std handlebars newer controls [brake levers, shift levers, the bell etc] are great.