First Build Advice

Aug 8, 2020
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Greetings. I’ve jumped into the deep end here with no guidance except an out of state friend and YouTube. I got a beat up Huffy for $20 that I decided to redo for my wife as my first ever build. EVERYTHING had rusted that could rust. But a combination of rust removing techniques and it was looking better.







I repainted it and started putting everything back together that didn’t need to be replaced. Now I’m at the wheels and this is where I’m looking for guidance.



The original wheels would take a huge amount of effort to restore. Now, I could just buy new wheels. But I’m confronted with the fact that for (nearly) the price of a new set of wheels, I could buy an entire new Huffy! And I can’t seem to cross that barrier in my head. Of course I don’t WANT to buy my wife a new bike, I want to build her one. But I’m stuck at the idea of paying the full cost of a bike for just part of a bike.

I’ve been scouring the city for “found” wheels but with no luck. So how does the "price for parts" element come into play with the community? Any advice would be appreciated.
 

Captain Awesome

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It's a struggle with the department store bikes on when enough is enough. It's nice to have a stash of parts to pull from

If sourcing used doesn't pan out and you want to keep it cheap but still be nice, you can score some new wheels here for cheap


Not sure what your budget is
 
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Jun 27, 2017
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Wheels can be a problem on a low buck build. I wanted to put a 3 speed coaster brake on a bike I paid $35 for. After a year and a half a bike showed up on FB Marketplace that had one with nice aluminum wheels for $40. Not sure you want to wait that long though.
How bad are the original wheels? Surface rust or flaky rust?

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Jun 13, 2015
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A lot of people buy Huffys to use the wheels for a build of something else. The ones on there look pretty rusty, but are they solid metal and can the spoke nipples still be turned to true it? If so, it would mostly just cost you time. If you know someone who can sandblast them for you, that would be the quickest. After all, even if you don't get them perfect, as long as it's decently rideable, it could be used while you search for better replacements.
 
Aug 8, 2020
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A lot of people buy Huffys to use the wheels for a build of something else. The ones on there look pretty rusty, but are they solid metal and can the spoke nipples still be turned to true it? If so, it would mostly just cost you time. If you know someone who can sandblast them for you, that would be the quickest. After all, even if you don't get them perfect, as long as it's decently rideable, it could be used while you search for better replacements.
Yes definitely just a commitment of time to clean them. I'm not sure if the spokes can be turned for trueing, I just haven't tried yet. Sandblasting is an idea I've heard a couple times now. Thank you for the input.
 
Feb 26, 2017
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Yes definitely just a commitment of time to clean them. I'm not sure if the spokes can be turned for trueing, I just haven't tried yet. Sandblasting is an idea I've heard a couple times now. Thank you for the input.
LAGreg:
Here's the thing: $20 for the bike is a good start, but you probably don't want to pay what media blasting would cost to save a pair of Huffy rims. If the rims aren't rusted through, I would soak the nipples with your choice of rust killer and see if they'll loosen up. If they do, great. If you bust a few spokes, no problem; you can buy new ones. Clean up the rims with wire brushes, emery cloth, or whatever abrasive seems to work. They don't have to be great, just so they're smooth enough so as not to rough up the tubes. Then you can learn the fine art of wheel truing.
Have fun!
 
Apr 26, 2020
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Been there, sorted that. Look on ebay, craigs list etc for cheap used ladies chinese made Schwinn cruisers. They are way cheaper than the men's equivalents.bSome are better made then others. Look for the ones with nexus 3 speeds as they are the more expensive models. Plus you'll get other usable parts. I've paid no more than about $50 for a bike but lately during the scamdemic prices have gone up as there is a shortage of bikes globally.
 
Jan 21, 2009
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I'd start trying to clean up those rims and see how bad they actually are. One way I've used on rims is to put them in a pair of old forks and spin them as I held a scraper to the rim. Cleanup goes much faster.

I've had the best luck using craigslist and checking yard sales. Women's bikes are preferred because they usually haven't been abused like the men's cruisers. But there are many bikes, mens and womens, that were hardly ridden and left in the garage for years, probably like your Huffy. The rims must be true and hubs in good shape to buy them used. I have found a lot of Nexus 3 speed hubs with coaster brakes on cheap bikes. You'll have to run a shifter and cable if the existing ones are bad. There is sometimes an ad that is someone's big pile of parts that has the most to pick through. They usually started collecting bikes and wound up with a huge mess of parts.
One speed as the Huffy was to begin with is probably the best bet for replacement. You'll have extra parts with the extra frame and forks too. There's your next project. You'll need some kind of storage to keep all the parts you will accumulate over the next few months. It builds up quickly.
 
May 18, 2020
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Try Offerup too. Most of my best bought bikes this year have come from there. Pricing isn't always as crazy as Craigslist tends be (at least in my region).
 
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Captain Awesome

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I saw a wheel poking out of the back of a truck today and knew it was a Huffy. Stopped and asked the guy if he was tossing it out and he said yes. I told him I'd take it and save the landfill some space. As I walked up to the truck he asked me if I wanted both.............I was blown away

Cheap Huffy Nassau (pre Nel Lusso). Good enough for spare parts and possibly a flip with some minor fiddling

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But underneath was the real gem. Columbia Newsboy. Appears to be original, but I'm no expert

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IMG_20200922_103726996.jpg
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Never hurts to ask
 
Jan 21, 2009
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The serial number on the Newsboy should be on the left rear dropout. Their numbers were smaller and lightly stamped. In 71, and 72, it should begin with a "W". 71 was the beginning of the BMA sticker. My number list ends at 1972.
 
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