[help wanted] Best focus to make an ACTUAL Huffy Parkside SE

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TL;DR I am dissatisfied with the fact Huffy's 'special edition' parkside isn't special at all. Instead of whining about it, I want to fix that.... but I am of low funds so it's 'piece at a time.'

Alrighty then,
What I have is a Huffy Parkside that's....

Rim brake mounts, twist shift (it is a revo shift though so that's nice I think,) seven speed 14t-28t freewheel.

See I'm not ever intending on like 'here let's go to whistler, or moab, or just see if I can ride down a sheer cliff lined with spiked rocks ending with a fifty foot jump.' I'm both uninterested in acrobatics and happy to leave more enthusiastic folk for such.

I won't even ask for a shopping list here since I see two paths here. One is to try leaning into the 'comfort' aspect that the marketing is leaning on (perfect fit comfort frame, fattie saddle, geomatry seems to encourage an upright posture) or try hammering to make it more aggressive.

Given my general riding is country fields, with the odd gravel patch, packed dirt, and the like I don't see any reason to not go full 'comfort' here since that seems to be what the bike wants and I don't especially care about MAXIMUM SPEED, since so long as I keep forward momentum going I'm happy.

Looking advice on points of focus especially as i have a limited budget. I'm not talking 'here buy this this and that.' More a case of 'where should I focus my attention on when making that order of importance list on things to research.'

Personally I'm a mind to immediately get an altus both because the flat face keeps going out of whack and gears go from smooth clicks to clankclankclankclankCLUNK until I go back and fiddle with it again. I'm not even sure if the altus will fix that issue, but I have heard it is far more reliable, plus I don't think I'd be able to trade much further up given integrated hanger.

Due to my vision I can't really tell what gear I'm in with the revo that's on the thing so... I don't know what thumb shifter is good or bad just 'oh hey i can see where the clicker is pointing.'

Then there's the question of handle bars. Should I just go full on beach cruiser bars?
What about seat? Stay with a fatgie or try going for a narrow? This is one of those thigns where i wish i had a way to try before i buy because I saw this video with a guy that took a narrow brooks saddle and... Look me and my stepdad kept horses for close to twenty years. I might not be GARGANTUAN into horses but something about dude applying the stain and oil just made me smile.

Half a mind to try going for brown leather looking (if not actual leather) for seat and grips. I found a place that sells chrome looking head badges and i've got one on order (that will not be installed til the rest is done.) Since that little touch of class.

Past 'here let's focus on parts order'
Are there any interesting modifications i could look into?

I also actually have a color scheme in mind for when everything else gets dialed in (see i like the sage green on the frame right now so I kinda want to keep that. so it's more focus on the accessories.) The sage green frame would work great with a brown leather saddle/grips. Muted yellow for cable caps, valve covers. If I could figure out how to stencil would want to have a big HUFFY on the chain guard (where the original sticker was advertising shimano parts.)

Any decals or the like I get I'd need to scrub the bike down, likely dismantle so they can be applied and proper series of clearcoat layers put over the whole thing (My brother works on trucks I've seen him rattlecan paint the first truck that was his... and it actually turned out nice looking after he clearcoated it.)

I just know me. I am the fool that rushes in half cocked, which is bad especially when I have little to no funds short of the oddball donation or winfall when things ease up.
 
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If you are keeping a tight budget, the Brooks will be a difficult option. They are not cheap, but definitely the link to saddle leather is there, Brooks is the real deal. We aren't the place that pushed hard for expensive parts, or whatever is correct for the build. This is the place where you build it how you want. Show us a picture or two and we can give you advice.
Altus is a solid derailleur, not top of the list or anything, but will get it done. The noise you are describing could be derailleur, or it could be interference, check out the chain to see if it clips anything at the highest/lowest gear
 
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Dialing in a derailleur with poor vision has got tp be a pain, even with a good one. Is the shifter indexed or friction?
Thankfully indexed (Do they even still sell friction shifters?) My bike is only like a year old (unless it's been sitting in a warehouse for a few years that is.)

I mainly go by ear on if it's good or not. Intentionally bring the H screw too far out, dial it back, and then start the process from there. Kind of a pain in the neck to isolate the noise of just the gear/chain but it beats eyeballing it.
 
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Show us a picture or two and we can give you advice.
Image heavy because I wanted to get shots of everything on the bike I thought was relevant.
IMG_20211106_105129.jpg
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And here are a few quick shots of the sort of fields I go through.
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Look I know It's nothing grand, but I included those more to show what I ride through rather than a video f the full go.

Advice would be appreciated.

Edit: Huffy themselves said the headtube is 1 1/8th. If it's that size why go with a quill stem why not give a threadless? A simple no suspension front fork can't cost that different threadless.
 
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If it has radial core cable housing changing to linear core could help. Another possibility: Your change to smaller crank sprocket may need to lose a link to keep the upper idler from running in to the low gear hub sprocket.
 

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If it were mine this would be my short list.........

Strip off all those reflectors
Lose the chain guard and mounts
Lose the dork disc under the cassette
Upgraded seat
Upgrade the v brakes to better ones
Adapter to run a threadless stem
Tires are suited for off-road


If money allows an IGH for the rear
 
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I thought threadless stems were 1 1/8 so, what do I need an adaptor for? All the oens i'm seeing are 1' to 1 1/8th.

Suggestions on seat?

The chain guard looks like it can come off pretty simply, but the mounts are welded on.
 
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I'd say that you should focus on the cruiser aspect. You are never going to turn it into a full on trail bike, but a trail capable cruiser is definitely in it's scope. For reference, here's Duck Norris, my hot rod trail cruiser
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I have a blast taking that thing places it doesn't belong. Note that it still has its chain guard and fender tabs.. I just use whatever cruiser seat I can find that is comfortable. Been looking for a replacement for a while.
 
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Duck Norris does indeed look quite nice.


Geared hubs, frankly, look amazing. The alfine is easily a full hundred bucks more than my bike cost plus I'd have to rebuild my rear wheel. Might be a fun 'for later' project especially if I get my mitts on a frame and build up.

The idea of a more upright posture so I can better look around does appeal, both due to general poor vision, and the fact my stepdad's heeler/mix likes chasing me around. I like keeping an eye on her.

Just now noticed looking at those pictures that my rear cable has some flex right as it's going into the deralliur. Will have to fix that here in a bit. Shouldn't be too bad, there seems to be a bit of slack up front.

So the plan right now is looking like:
Better deralliur (reliability)
I'm unsure ... to do for seat but the last seat I tried was... not fun. I put it on a junked mongoose along with some cheapie handle bars while cleaning it up to donate to a local church. I do SORTS feel like I could have done better on that but discussion for another thread. So, any suggestions on a decent seat?
More swept back handlebars seems like a decent idea to encourage that more upright posture, but might run into a cable length issue.
Get a thumb shifter, because being able to glance down and see what gear I'm in would be really nice as opposed to squint, look too long, realize I'm not looking ahead, and lose momentum.

Things i'm somewhat iffy on:
Better brakes (Being able to stop is good but I don't necessarily see what's wrong with my current brakes. Open to explanations, though I am sure it boils down to 'like the derailleur currently there it's bottom bin and will burn out under any real load.)

I'm VERY tempted to get a freewheel with a bigger low gear, but I'm not sure how needed that is. Then again the problem this would address may solve itself by me getting in better shape.

Need to go look up a good tutorial on how to do a full teardown and regrease. Also need to know if, beyond tools, I need anything past lithium grease or if I can get away with just that to make sure what I want to move, stays moving and provide barriers between steel and aluminum parts.
 

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I thought threadless stems were 1 1/8 so, what do I need an adaptor for? All the oens i'm seeing are 1' to 1 1/8th.
If your head tube is in fact 1.125 it appears to be a threaded fork and therefore you don't have any excess extending up to put a stem on. There are various versions of 1.125 forks. Threaded, threadless, steel, alum, ...........

I have a Profile adapter in some random 1.125 threaded eBay fork so I could still run a threadless stem since they are much cleaner looking and your choices are infinite. The fork is alum and just happened to be the correct ID for the conversion
 
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I'm not sure what part of the country you live in, but I would recommend seeking out a co-op or bike collective that is local to you. They're a marvelous source of information and gently (or not so gently) used parts. They are by far the most economical way to go. Every bike I own is a rescue and you'd be surprised what people throw away for the most minor of reasons! A broken and unrideable Trek, Kona, or Scott is not useless junk to people like us--it's often free parts. Since money is tight, resist the urge to upgrade just for the sake of... Focus on the shortcomings that irk you personally. You've already done that with the crank set; I believe the derailleur will be next. Unless the saddle is bothering you, why spend the money? Saddle, handlebars, shifters, grips...they are all a matter of personal style and there is no one 'proper' solution.
 
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I have no idea what those are.
The carcass of the cable housing can be manufactured in one of two ways--coiled or linear. Each type has their purpose, but the linear style is best suited for indexed shifting--it does not compress like a spring would. This is advantageous when shifting relies on very precise placement of derailleur & chain.

cable-types_1.jpg
 
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View attachment 176928

Bike Model: Huffy Parkside Men's 27.5 SE

That was taken with my phone. So apologies for lack in quality. By that point I'd put a new crank on (that fit the existing square taper) and shortly after that photo I'd de-stickered it because 'really my guy? You're going to call this 'special edition' and all you did was have a different paint color, same lowest end parts ands stickers? Not even a proper headtube badge? Literally component for component there are no differences between this and the regular one.'

I am.... well aware of just how little biking communities think of big box bikes (bike shaped objects, dumpster bait, tacos in the making, etc etc.) I am also under no illusions of what i can and cannot do with this specific bike. No disc brake mounts (I'm unsure if the holes above the derailleur are for a rack, or brakes but given the front fork has no mounts I assume it's for a rack,) cheapest derailleur, etc. Welds are shockingly nice according to my brother (who has welded in past jobs so I trust his opinion over my own,) and the guy they pulled for assembly on it actually did a pretty reasonable job. Wheels probably aren't dead on true, but there's not an obvious wobble to them or anything.

Some Background: I have had lifelong vision issues preventing me from driving, and I am effectively live in help to care for my special needs siblings that both require full time care. The bike is a way for me to get some cardio in, and to just kinda mentally declutter for a bit while buzzing through the fields near my house (No shoulder back roads with a steep lip between it and the ground, no real nearby destinations of worth, and I honestly don't trust the drivers around here to not intentionally aim at me for points.)

Use Case: Buzz around nearby fields and essentially footpath trails (is there a trail grade that's less difficult than green? That most likely.) Most 'difficult' feature is the hilly nature of the terrain and the fact the rider is grossly out of shape. Have taken it on a few green space park paths but they're all dead level paved.... the actual use case advertised for.

Mostly just trying to get in better shape so I can go for longer rides, and not feel like my everything is going to fall out at the end of it.

That and I like to tinker. The bike was a gift. Make it the best version of itself that it can be.

Work Done: Installed an 'Action' crank as advised by Kev Central to take it down from 44t to 32t to accommodate for the grass and hills I'm riding on vs what (to huffy and walmart's credit) all the marketing points this bike at being intended for (smooth paths and roads.) Adjusted the derailleur and tightened the cables.

Needs doing: Frankly, I should pull the whole thing apart and grease the everloving schlitz out of everything since I genuinely don't trust the assemblers to have bothered doing more than a thin film and I've got a giant tub of lithium grease, but given the fiddly tiny nature of bearings I hadn't wanted to risk it even though I am like... 90% certain it's all caged bearings so less of a hassle for me to find if dropped (unless the bearings pop out of the cage.)

The derailleur needs replacing, but considering i've been on the fence on moving up to an 8 or 9 speed, staying at a 7 speed, and the fact the megarange freewheel seems to be about as easy to find as hen's teeth and if i change gearing i'd need to convert to a freewheel/cassette system which means either buy a hub and rebuild the rear wheel or buy a new wheel? I've been holding off on that.

Front fork could probably do with replacing given the hilly and rutted nature of where I normally ride Biggest problem is I don't like the idea of mixed disc/rim brakes on a bike and frankly I'd rather have matched rim brakes than front disc rear rim since 'uuugh that's how walmart gets people. prominently display the front disc brakes, make sure people won't casually notice the rear rim brakes.'

In Closing: I'm mostly here for information on what other people are doing and try finding some kind of supportive community. If my situation changes for the better I do want to go ride more, try actual trails. Where i live has a lot of very beautiful countryside.
Hey there !!

i like the look of your Bike !! It looks like my old Maruishi cruiser that is currently missing and I’m still trying to find .., That’s another story ..

I built Big box Bikes for a living in Canada 🇨🇦 for Canadian Tire stores ..
There’s nothing wrong with the quality of the Bike …. It just needs proper setup of the rear changer.

Try this
Get the Bike off the ground by hanging it up.. Suspend it from a rafter with a rope around the seat and one around the handlebar stem .. Have the stem lower than the seat ..This keeps the front wheel pointing forward ..

Shift the Shifter to Hi gear position

Now.. Turn the crank to get the wheel turning and by hand push the Deraileur in and out using your Thumb ..

If it goes too far in set the “ Low “. Screw to stop it. If it doesn’t go all the way to the Lowest gear back the screw off a bit …
Do the same with the Hi gear setting
The Jockey wheel on the Deraileur should sit directly below the Hi gear sprocket ..And run quietly.. If not …while turning the crank turn the set screw until it runs as quiet as possible. …

Okay. Now the Deraileur should be set not to be running too far in or out ..

Now you can set the cable tension which is critical for indexed shifting to work…

Now turn the Crank and by using the Shifter run the Bike through the gears and see what happens …

If it doesn’t go all the way to low then then
You need more cable tension ..

Try turning the adjuster barrel that the Cable goes through which is on the Deraileur …. Once you have enough tension on the inner cable it should be shifting properly ..

I hope this helps …. Don’t start changing any parts .., The parts should be fine..,
The Issue is only the set up adjustment of the rear Deraileur …. Cable tension is probably the whole issue ..

Good luck 🤞
Peter M
 
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