How to Build a Bike From Junk

Here's a practical, from-the-ground-up solution to the high cost of getting from here to there, including detailed photograph, illustrated instructions.

| July/August 1982

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    Diagram: Cotter/crank/spindle detail.
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    The parts of a standard bike.

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Here's a practical homemade solution on how to build a bike from junk in order to keep down your high cost of getting from here to there. (See the homemade bike diagram in the image gallery.)

A lot of people think of bicycles as either toys or (in these days of fancy ten—or more!—speed roadriders) status symbols . . . but a bike can provide a convenient, efficient, and downright practical means of basic transportation. The members of my family, for example, make all their short trips from half-mile jaunts to the post office to three-mile "milk runs" to the nearest dairy farm—by pedal power.

Of course, those of you who've recently priced two-wheeled errand-runners know that the cost of new machines can be formidable: Even most ordinary one-speed coaster bikes start at around $100 these days! Well, I've got good news for you. Bicycles that are bought to serve as toys tend to be used up and discarded like toys . . . and there are thousands of good thrown-away frames and parts just waiting to be pieced together and pedaled off. I think you'll find how to build a bike from junk surprisingly easy to scrounge up those components from junkyards—as I did—and construct a fine, functioning bike for no more than $10!


I suggest that for your first effort, at least, you build a simple one-speed cycle. Sure, the low gear of a three-speeder can be helpful when you're climbing hills, but such units are generally more complicated to work on than are the old reliable coaster bikes (and more expensive . . . you'd probably have to spend at least $8.00 on new brake and gear cables and a shifter, since such components tend to rust quickly).

If you decide to tackle a one-speed cycle, try to start with either Bendix or Komet wheels, since they're so common that you can easily find replacements for any defective hub parts. And whichever brand name you dig up, look for 26 inch by 1-3/8 inch British EM wheels. (The measurement applies to the inflated tire. The rim will be about 23-3/4 inches by 1-1/8 inches.) Wider units might not fit inside your bike frame. (Avoid the harder-to-replace Schwinn 26 inch EA1 wheels unless they already have good tires.)

6/3/2013 7:38:19 AM

Different types of bearings are used in vehicles like bicycle. Tapered roller bearings, groove ball bearings are used for reducing rotational frictions. They need proper lubrication before fitting because of not having periodical greasing.

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