How To Safety Check A Retro Mountain Bike | GMBN Freak Week

How To Safety Check A Retro Mountain Bike | GMBN Freak Week


– Okay a bit more of an
unusual one this week. You might notice this fine specimen of a bike in front of me here. This is a 1993 Diamond Back Sorento. Why have I got this? Well,
this week is our freak week. Doing a whole bunch of
weird and wonderful things. But the point is I was asked
to buy a second hand bike. One for myself, one for
Blake and one for Neil. I picked this bike up for 125 quid. It’s a bit of a bargain and it makes an ideal run around bike. Of course, I don’t really
fancy riding into town on my expensive Canyon or Nuke Proof and locking them up despite
how good locks are. So this actually going to become a bit of a commuter bike for me as well. So, it’s a really good thing
for any of you to buy at home. Buy a second hand bike just as a rat bike. Running around sort of thing.
And when you do buy one I’m just gonna show you
all the safety features you need to check out on your bike. Now, to see if it’s in
good condition or not. Now where always I learned
this was working in bike shops growing up was working from front to back. Doesn’t matter what your method is but just makes sure you
have an accurate method of working on the bike so
you don’t forget anything. As I said, I’m going to start
up front and work to the back of the bike and run you through it. The first thing I’m drawn to is the tyre. So these are actually
ancient Tioga Psycho 2 tyres. So that’s a second edition of what wasn’t a very good tyre to start with. Unless you are John Tomac, of course. Amazingly for the condition of it, the rubber is not perished,
that’s what you’re really looking for in
a tyre as old as this. Gonna make sure it’s not
likely to fall apart. Inspect the sidewalls of the tyre as well. You just want to make sure
they’re in good condition. Of course, a tyre is
fairly cheap to replace just for a run around bike like this. So you don’t have to work
too much but it’s nice to keep it as it is if you can. Then we’re gonna be starting
to look at the wheels. Have a run around, make sure
the wheel’s not too buckled. Doesn’t move too much side
to side or up and down. Make sure the spoke tension is fairly even throughout the wheel. I’m quite astounded at the condition of this bike just from looking at it. It’s going to be interesting to see what sort of things crop
up as we look at the bike. All of these spokes feel pretty good. There is a bit of movement in
that rim but nothing too much. So unlike modern mountain bikes that have some kind of axle system
in the front fork, it’s just a simple quick release on this. So this is a stainless
steel quick release lever. Works on a cam system just to
hold the front wheel in place. Make sure the lever is facing
up or to the back of the bike. You don’t want the lever
facing out front because that could snag on stuff
and undo when you’re riding. Now there are tabs on
the bottom of the forks so if the quick release does undo it means you’ve got a
last ditch attempt but don’t rely on that just make
sure you keep an eye on that. Now, if I spin this and I hold the fork, I can feel there is noticeable vibration coming through from the front wheel. So I suggest that the
bearings are quite smooth and there’s no sort of play side to side. Whilst we still have the
front of the bike here you want to look at the
cockpit and make sure the handlebars are attached
to the stem properly. In this case there’s a six mil bolt here attaching to the stem clamp. Make sure it’s not over tight and make sure the bolt isn’t
corroded or broken in any way. Of course, make sure the
bars are nice and straight and there’s no cracks in them. On this particular bike you’ve got some Altus 4 finger brake levers here. There are monsters compared to
what you’re used to nowadays. But just make sure
they’re in place properly and the barrel adjusters
haven’t broken off of them because you do need that
when adjusting the brakes. Something that does make me laugh on this is firstly it has a pair of
Yeti handle bar grips on there. Quite expensive considering
the calibre of this bike. And also it’s got Shimano
groupset on the bike. But whoever owned this bike previously put some Sax thumb shifters on. Every one is indexed as you would imagine. But the front shifter is not,
it’s a friction based one. Which means there’s no spring pulling the front mech in either direction. You’re just using the cable tension. But it means it’s infinitely
adjustable as well which is quite a good thing because anything bends on the ride you
can sort of change the gear to sort of make sure nothings dragging. So as I explained in the beginning the fork and the whole front
end of the bike is very different to what a lot of
you are probably used to. Older style systems like
this are far less reliable a lot heavier, a lot clunkier and do require a lot more
maintenance. And if run loose, can actually destroy the
bearings quite easily. This particular one
actually feels pretty good so I’ve got high hopes for this. Now on top of the steer tube is welded on to these
forks is some threads. There’s a bearing here
just like on a traditional headset that you know
and a bearing on the top. The difference is there’s
a threaded nut here and that screws on to the top of the threaded steer tube and
compresses it together. Now on some headsets you have two nuts, a lock nut and a tightening nut. This thing just has a single nut. So it’s going to require a
bit of fine tuning for that. The stem itself has a quill design. So unlike the lightweight stems you see that clamp on to the steering tube this one has a big quill
that goes on the inside and has a wedge that when you
tighten the bolt on the top it draws up and expands
inside the steering tube. Now the thing with the wedges is it can, with corrosion and road salt and stuff, pretty much bond to the inside of the fork and become stuck in
there. Or the opposite is they never manage to grip tight enough so the stem can actually
move quite easily. You really want to pay attention to that cause that’s for own safety. At the same time as checking the fork making sure it’s nice and straight, cast your eye over all
of the welds of the bike. And what you’re looking for is corrosion or any signs of the weld
itself being cracked. And again, the tubes as
well, you’re going to make sure everything is straight, stiff and not so corroded or
cracked and damaged. So something else that’s
going to cause you problems if anything, on a bike of this age, it’s going to be the cranks
and bottom bracket area. If these cranks are not tightened
sufficiently on the axle, the axle itself is a square taper, so if the cranks aren’t butted up properly against the taper they
work their way loose. And the crank itself on the
inside is made of a softer material than the bottom bracket axle is. It will actually sort
of deform slightly and you’ll never be able to tighten
the crank properly again. And it will creak and come
loose every single ride. Any rider of the 90’s
will be familiar with that absolute pain so just
make sure you look after them. As long as they’re tight,
they’re gonna last you. So, on an old bike like this you want to be making sure that you
don’t have to replace the whole transmission otherwise it defeats the purpose
of buying a cheap bike. And I just checked the chain on this and interestingly there’s
not even that much wear. It’s got about half the amount of wear I would have thought a bike
of this age would have. And again the ricker set looks okay and the gears genuinely work really well. The neck is straight and
the hanger is straight. But you just want to
make sure you check all of these things before you buy the bike. Unlike the more traditional
brakes you see these days which would be disc brakes
and in some cases V brakes the traditional counter
lever brake has quite a lot more adjustment on it and
one of the biggest things you need to pay attention
to is the arc of the pads. So in this case, the rear left pad here is actually contacting the tyre sidewall. Obviously that’s going to
wear out your tyre sidewall and it will give you a puncture
or failure of some kind. So it’s really important to make sure it’s secure and tightened. Now there are two types of
cable set up on these as well. There’s the more traditional
version which has a cable straddle here and there’s a
single cable that passes across the brakes and then a single brake cable that comes down to the
straddle and bolts into it. In this case it’s got the
Shimano system with the little yolk here for the cable
for the lever passes through the yolk and straight to the
brake and has a built on cable just for making sure
you can undo the brakes to release the wheel from the frame. Again, this is another
thing well worth checking because if that’s frayed, the brake fails and you don’t have any brakes. The last things to check on
this bike is the rear axle just make sure it’s tight
and in place properly. You want to check the bearings to make sure nothings loose or rattly. So there is quite a grindy feel to that but nothing’s loose and it goes round. I suspect the bearing’s surfaces due to the age of the bike,
are just pitted slightly. So that happens if
something’s been overtightened or just ridden until it
was just absolutely done. Hopefully my rundown on
buying a second hand bike like this trusty old Diamond
Back that I’ve got here has been pretty helpful for you. At the very least you’re
gonna take away some points and different componentry to you that’s not that common these days. If you want to find out about buying a second hand bike click down here. Pretty useful video on all the things you should look out for and
how to spend your money wisely. If you want to see another retro bike check out the Proflex down
here that Neil has done. That is a seriously cool old bike. Of course, as always, please click on it to subscribe brand
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